Darkest Heart Redux

Joeyray's Bar
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Ten minutes into the battle between the hunter and the vampires and there were more windows than when either party arrived. Of course, these 'windows' were also large enough to be considered doors as well. The Shadow Walker was dead, killed early on by a lucky parry and thrust early in the fight that impaled the creature's heart while it was unphased, the only way it could attack. No, the true challenge had proven to be the pureblooded Vampiress. Her ability had proven to not be one, but two, meaning she'd drained another of her kind. The hunter ducked another blast of icicles and countered with three more shots before holstering the pistol and placing both hands on his hilt. That was the first her abilities, ice. Most likely the borrowed one as she didn't seem adept enough with it.

Still good enough to nearly impale me three different times at least. Shaking his head, the hunter focused on the sexy red head in front of him. Everything about her was designed to be perfect, from her slender, perfect form to her perfectly, no smaller than C-cup sized breasts. The most capturing feature, however, was her face. Almond shaped with just perfectly prominent cheekbones, round eyes that were a deep blue color and full lips. The only thing that ruined the beauty of the vampire in front of the hunter was the snarl on her face and the elongated fangs that showed for it.

"So, Van Helsing, are you ready to give up?" The man, Van Helsing, breathed heavily. Even with his special help, this fight was winding him. Bringing his sword back up to the ready position, he shakes his head.

"Come now, Vampiress, since when have I ever given up this easily?" Lunging forward, he swings the blade in a sharp diagonal slice from above, but not with so much force as to not change into a different attack or a defensive maneuver. The Vampiress leaps back with a hiss and lunges forward herself, a shadow blade, her innate pureblood ability, formed in her right hand. She slices at his neck and he grins beneath the brim of his hat. Ducking the blow at speeds no human should be able to move, he slams his hand around her throat, lifting her up. "Seems the game's up."

Now picture the absurdity of this all. A human being, first dodging a pureblood's attack is amazing enough, passable as a stroke of luck, but then the HUMAN lifts up the vampire, a supernatural being who can't be light. Now even the vampiress is confused and simply stares into Van Helsing's blue eyes. "W-what are you, Van Helsing?" The hunter simply chuckles and rams the sword through her heard, letting the holy energy spread.

"Your end."


Two hours later the same hunter rides towards the edge of town, passing by the asylum again, reconstruction crews already working to repair the damages caused by both his scuffles and the battles held between the two warring factions. The Necromancer was in the hands of the Church's priests, who had promised to cleanse him and set him on the right path. Now he stopped and looked up at a building with in sight of the asylum, straight at the pair who'd observed everything. "So you two, you going to hide up there all night?"
The transition of drivers was quick. As it turned out, they had come to a stop in the middle of a highway. And though the highways of Darkova were nowhere near as full as those of the mega-cites of Korhal, they were still busy enough to be dangerous.

The driver began to accelerate as soon as both doors were closed. "So... What happened? With the orphanage I mean. It didn't sound like a win."

The inquisitor took off his hat and ran his hand along the flat brim. "It was a trap. An obvious one, looking back on it. Perhaps that is why the church sent Exorcist Daniels, four others and myself. For the report we received it did seem like overkill... but if they thought it was a trap the number they sent makes a little more sense..."

The blind inquisitor suddenly punched the reinforced glass in front of him. A spiderweb of cracks leaped into existence. "Why didn't they tell us?!"

The driver flinched. Nothing smaller than a 50 caliber round was supposed to be able to dent that glass. The driver's voice quivered a little. "Inquisitor. You are scaring me."

The inquisitor flexed his hand a couple of times. "Sorry. This is the first time I've... lost someone. None of them were people I was friendly with or anything like that... But I've always worked alone. Always. This was my first time hunting with a group."

The driver glanced the inquisitor's way for a moment. "I'm sorry."

The inquisitor replaced his hat. "Anyway. The demon's rushed us, just like they were supposed to. We exorcised the building like we were supposed to. But then it all went wrong. My condition was the only reason that Matt and I weren't in that building when the lynch killed everyone inside."

The driver's hands tightened around the wheel. "A lynch? How? Those guys are famous for keeping to themselves. There is no way one of them would risk the wrath of the church."

The inquisitor smiled and his tone became slightly ironic. "Ah, yes. But who would tell them? The inquisitors and the exorcist would have been, and for the most part were, killed in the explosion. All that would leave is you. And as you might have noticed they had a fate all ready set up for you."

The driver shivered as he remembered all the exotic ways the demon had promised to torture him. Just thinking on some of them made him want to crawl into a hole and hide.

The inquisitors wry smile vanished. "Anyway. The children I managed to save went screaming in every direction when the wall exploded. A piece of debris hit inquisitor Matt. I think he has a concussion. He said I wasn't a cloud."

The driver shot a strange glance at the inquisitor. "A cloud?"

The inquisitor shrugged. "I haven't the foggiest."

The diver checked the mirrors and merged into the exit lane. "We will be at the hospital in a couple of minutes."

The inquisitor just kept looking strait ahead with his bandaged eyes. His chin jerked up suddenly. "I have an idea. Listen closely."

The driver checked the mirrors again and made a turn. "You have my attention."

The inquisitor smiled. "Here is what happened. You saw the inquisitors get into an argument. Inquisitor Matt was sent back to the transport, you think he was being reprimanded for something."

The driver smiled smugly. "I thought that looked like an argument."

The inquisitor snorted. "So you saw that. Adds some truth to the lie. Anyway, you and Matt were talking about... me... yes, that should do. How he thought it was unfair the way the others objected to my presence. With me so far?"

The driver nodded. "Yea. I see the argument, inquisitor Matt comes back and complains about how you were treated... Why did they object to your presence?"

The inquisitor shrugged. "The demon attacked when you asked that question."

The driver snorted. "Convenient."

The inquisitor smiled. "Not for inquisitor Matt. The demon clouted him on the head when he delivered the killing blow. You buckled him up in the back and headed strait for the hospital. Got it?"

The driver nodded. "Ok. What about you?"

The inquisitor smiled in an almost wicked manner. "I died in the explosion." The inquisitor opened the side door and tossed himself out of the moving vehicle.

The driver cursed loudly as he tried to get a glimpse of the inquisitor in any of the rear view mirrors. No luck. "I knew inquisitor's were scary, but this guy... This guy is just freaky."

The driver let his thoughts churn for a moment. They came up with another possibility.
Or inhuman.
IC: "Not really, just on my way to something and decided to watch the show. Good job by the way. Anyway, I'll be on my way now." Arden leaves through the roof back down to the ground floor and begins walking to Helsing Manor again.
Grr... Malek would have moved in once Tobi had finished off the Vampire...

"Nope, now that the show's over, I've got better things to do with my time..."
Malek calls down before locking a grappling hook into the roof and repelling down. Retrieving the line, he gives the powerful hunter a careful look;
"You sweep the place for any cursed artifacts?"
Malek asks.
Well, I have a good friend who's got a good life.
He's got two pretty children and a real nice wife
Yet he never seems quite satisfied.
I said "I know what's on your mind,
But you better think about it before you cross that line.
The grass ain't always greener on the other side."

Then what? What you gonna do
When the new wears off and the old shines through?
It ain't really love and it ain't really lust,
And you ain't anybody anybody's gonna trust.
Then what? Where you gonna turn
When you can't turn back for the bridges you've burned?
And fate can't wait to kick you in the butt, then what?
Oh, oh, then what?

As his sis had been vehemently advising him for the last several years, Rich kept the radio volume turned down to a moderate forty-five percent. "Forty," she told him, "and no higher. You're gonna blow out them ears of yours, and then what?" After some argument, she had eventually agreed that forty-five was acceptable, but only for his favorite songs. He was of the opinion that he wasn't about to get any deafer, having been half-deaf since childhood, but around Rachel it was best to just duck your head and comply. It was easier that way. If bureaucrats on Korhal feared to violate her will (and they did!), it was probably best for people like him to do so as well.

Well, I ain't saying that looking's a crime,
I've done my share from time to time.
It don't mean that you gotta take that leap.
When you're standin' on the brink,
Before you jump you gotta step back and think.
There's price for every promise you don't keep...

The speed limit was 55 mph. Rich was going 60. He had always been taught that the speed limit was only a guideline; in fact, on a road like this you could always get away with five over as long as you maintained your speed. Not to mention that the faster he went, the faster he got home, and the faster he got home the colder the milk in the back seat would be when he got there. He deplored warm milk almost as much as he deplored vampires. The regular stream of romantic movies filled with handsome 'vampires' that flowed from the prosperous core worlds were enraging to any citizen of Darkova. Darkovans knew what it really meant to fear the night. Everyone outside the cities (and many within them) had at least one piece of silver somewhere accessible in the house. True, few could hope to defend themselves against a bloodsucker for long, but as they said: when seconds count, a slayer is only minutes away. Every moment you could buy was worth it.

Then what? What you gonna do
When the new wears off and the old shines through?
It ain't really love and it ain't really lust,
And you ain't anybody anybody's gonna trust.

Red smoke. Rich frowned. Someone must have been burning something unusual. A cloud of scarlet fog, smelling strongly of sulfur, wafted over the asphalt, the stench making it difficult to breath. Fortunately he left it behind in a couple of seconds.

Then what? Where you gonna turn
When you can't turn back for the bridges you've burned?
And fate can't wait to kick you in the butt, then what?
Oh, oh, then what?

Fortunately, even in the countryside attacks were infrequent at worst, particularly lately. Slayers were once downright frightening, accused of consorting with demons, but of late people were only mildly suspicious of the likes of Tobias Van Helsing. Once someone saves you from being slowly, painfully devoured a certain number of times, the fact that they're creepy begins to mean a little less. Rich was personally glad for the existence of Slayers of Night Creatures, but had no desire to have anything to do with any of them. He was lucky enough to have inherited the family house (Lady Rachel the Successful had no need of it), which was secluded and safe, right down to the old runes carved into the walls and foundation. Great Grandpa Calvin, who had built the house, had been studying to be a priest before coming to Darkova to get away from the exhaustive and, according to him, useless studies. Supposedly life on the blatantly haunted world had renewed his faith pretty quickly.

Randy mentally planned his course of action. He had to fix the stove tonight. He'd been putting it off for too long now. That would eat up an hour or so. He'd have plenty of time, then, to do that after checking on all the 'tenants' and changing the tire, which had decided to become flat. The question was whether or not he would get a chance to call Jay Kalgan with the information he'd wanted.

Do what you want, do what you wish.
It's your life but remember this:
There's bound to be some consequences
Sneaking under other fen...


The sudden and violent impact momentarily silenced the radio, before it began singing away cheerfully again. Should have been watching the road! Rich berated himself mentally as the figure bounced with a grunt off of the truck's hood and over the cab. He had reflexively begun to slam on the brakes, but came to a stop to late to avoid the collision. He swung the door open and jumped out of the car.

Then what? What you gonna do
When the new wears off and the old shines through?
It ain't really love and it ain't really lust,
And you ain't anybody anybody's gonna trust.

Good Lord in Heaven, I hit someone! Mentally he began reviewing the situation as he ran around the side of the truck to where the body must be laying. Not my fault, he protested mentally. He came out of nowhere. I think he jumped out of that car in front of me! He glanced over his shoulder. The offending vehicle was already gone. He looked in front of him again, and discovered to his surprise that there was, in fact, no body laying on the ground. He searched around and under the vehicle briefly, and found nothing.

Then what? Where you gonna turn
When you can't turn back for the bridges you've burned?
And fate can't wait to kick you in the butt, then what?
Oh, oh, then what?

This was Darkova. Stranger things had happened. Scratching his head, he made his way back to the cab, opened the door, and swung himself into his seat. He glanced to the right and almost jumped out of his skin.

"Drive," the man commanded. Rich stared at the bandages over his eyes, at the weird robes.

"Er... Inquisitor?" He observed out loud.

"Explanations can wait, or perhaps be postponed indefinitely. Really, it would be best if you kept driving before you attract attention."

His face feeling like it was fixed permanently in a surprised position, Rich stepped on the gas, reaching out automatically to turn the radio down to forty percent as the song ended.

Oh, oh, then what?
The hunter smiles and shakes his head, calling after Arden. "Hold up, Arden. I do believe you have plenty of time. You can stop to chat." The hunter knew that the young man would be confused as to how he knew his name, but the opportunity to mess with someone's head was never any fun to pass up. Turning to the cloaked man nearest him, he nods.

"All the cursed artifacts were on the Necromancer's person, I made sure of it personally." Climbing off the old Harley and standing up, Van Helsing offered Malek a hand. "Malek Bancroft, correct? Glad I ran into you." The man before Malek was certainly intimidating. His hand bore a tattoo of the Order, a mark all Hunters got at a young age when it became clear they would follow in their parents footsteps. The rest of his arm was hidden by the brown duster, though he was clearly well developed in the muscle department. His face was older, around 30 years, with a five o'clock shadow beginning to show. He had a strong, square jaw with a scar just on the bottom, faded from age. His eyes were a sky blue with his brown bangs sweeping his forehead.

"I believe you're both bound for Helsing manor? At least you, Arden. Mister Bancroft, Tobi would be glad to have your unique assistance."
As the older hunter calls Malek by his name without being told it, Malek takes a half-step backwards, tensing as he sizes up the older hunter through wary eyes;
"And just how would you know our names without being told friend?... And more importantly, what's yours?..."
Malek asks carefully.
Tobi smiles inspite of himself and retracts his hand. "I don't believe my name is important right now. My good friend, Tobi Van Helsing, told me who you were and that I should keep an eye out for you on my travels." He refrained from saying more and slipped a hand into the folds of his jacket and into his pant pocket. "Answer enough for you?"
Malek thinks over it for a moment before nodding;
"Alright, fair enough. I'm a little surprised that Van Helsing himself knows who I am, but I guess I shouldn't be too much... Besides, I've picked up a few things that I can't dispose of, and I can't think of anyone better for the job than the most powerful hunter on Darkova."
He says with a chuckle, relaxing.
IC: "Well, I do have a minute to chat." The fact that he knows I'm headed to Helsing Manor and my name suggests that he is either that man who gave me that letter, or he is Van Helsing himself. Likely the latter, but not guaranteed..."I was considering jumping into that fight myself, but I think you handled it perfectly." Arden's face remains unchanged.
"I don't know that Tobi specializes in the destruction of cursed artifacts. Typically the Church handles it." Turning to face Arden, Tobi offers a smile. "It was only a Necromancer and a Vampiress. Nothing too serious. Demons would have been a different matter." Climbing back on the Harley, he starts it up with a roar. "Helsing Manor is only another ten or so miles from here. I'd offer a ride, but my sword takes up extra space. I trust I'll see you both there?"
Seraphim & Elisabeth will show up right after Tobi. Just a heads up.

Malek nods, grinning slightly;
"Not a problem, I could use the walk. See you there."
A loud annoying sound woke Nefas from his sleep. The sound of a very bad singer singing a very badly composed song. An audible groan escaped the Demon-man's lips.

"Oh ho! Oh ho! A Demon offering from me!
Oh ho! Oh ho! A gift to Tobi!
Something to slay!
Something to play!
Oh ho! Oh ho! What a glorious day!
Oh ho! Oh ho! What a glorious day!"

The priest sang in a creaky, out of pitch voice, as if trying to harm the ears of all the animals around him. Even the Oxen were trying to reach their hooves up to cover their ears as they walked. For the first time in a while Nefas begged an answer to a question he rarely asked, Why me? And although he only thought it, it was pitiful, and he swore he heard a cackling echo instead of light thunder as lightning struck in the distance.

The singing stopped and a cheerful yell went out, "Look ahead, hellspawn! The Helsing Manor is up ahead! Be honoured to be slain such a great hunter!" And indeed the priest was right. Nefas saw it looming in the distance, the dark gates barring their path. Even if he wasn't there yet, even if he couldn't see it so well right now, he felt the holy wards that would prevent him from entering were there.

"You are a foolish postulant. Otherwise you would see I am no worse than any man, woman, or child on this planet," Vezlo looks down at his arm. "I can only hope Tobi is not swayed," he quietly adds.
Nodding to the pair, Tobi roars out of town in the direction of the manor, his cheery demeanor lessened by the thought of the war he'd just broken up. The two had worked together long enough to get the asylum in their ownership. That wasn't good. The two were supposed to kill each other on sight usually, if not immediately. Vampires didn't like black magic, typically, though many practiced it. So specifically, Necromancy was the hated one. Not that he blamed them, raising the dead was a bad practice. So then why does it disturb me so much that the two paired up to get ownership?

Shaking his head to clear it, He continued on out of town, wondering if Altun had returned yet. Two years since the Fallen had begun their attack on the human populace of Darkova, not to mention the Greater Demon trying to free itself from Hell. Of course, there had never been any proof against the Fallen having given up on the attack. The were packs were still nervous and had, at Tobi's own suggestion, moved their territories and their epicenter away from Helsing Manor to a new, as of yet, undisclosed location.

After about five or six minutes of driving, the Helsing Manor came into view, the imposing building with it's gates still a powerful sight, instilling fear into anyone who saw it, an unfortunate side effect of making it impenetrable to the beasts and horrors that roamed this planet. Tobi knew the rumors and stories that circulated around the many towns and villages of Darkova. It was on Darkova many had vanished, not that the Dominion, Umoja, or Kelmorians cared. The planet had been left to it's own devices when all the various diplomatic representatives were killed by a small squad of demons that some foolish Witch had summoned on accident. Smiling to himself, Tobi gunned the engine and sped up.

"Too late for such speculation now," he mused, "Darkova is a free planet, so to speak, so we're better off that way." Tobi didn't fool himself, the more populated and prosperous worlds were always churning out 'horror' films with Zombie hordes, handsome and sexy vampires, and a werewolf that didn't know what it was. Darkovans took offense to it. What did those worlds know of living in fear of every shadow during the day and of the darkness of night? What did they know of zombie hordes? The kind not even a group of talented hunters could stop? Tobi let a single tear fall. What did they know of watching children, possesed by demons so foul they made your spirit ache by mere presence, get gun downed by local militia, all with tears in their eyes as the innocent souls were forced into release to escape the torment?

No, while all the other planets of the Terran race lived in fear of only Zerg and Protoss, Darkova lived in fear of things far worse by comparison. Even the few Protoss who visited left quickly, sensing the many dark presences that the Hunters could never seem to get all of. Ancient history though, from Tobi's great-great-great grandfather's time. Pulling up to the gate, it opened as he approached it, closing once he was clear of it's path. "Now," he muttered, "we begin in earnest."
Before Tobi can get too far, he hears a familiar counter-grav engine. With a low thrumming rumble, a vulture bike comes around the bend, a familiar blond-haired man in his prime wearing drab utilitarian clothes sits in the drivers seat while a not quite so familiar young woman dressed in black leather rides on engine compartment.

Pulling a heavy lever, the man hops out as the bike settles down onto the road with a puff of red and black smoke from the engine compartment, the young woman slipping off behind him;
"Tobi! Long time no see! We got your letter and came as soon as we could."
Seraphim Dante calls out, a rugged smile on his face.
Though Seraphim grinned, Tobi couldn't find it in him to smile. Word had just reached the manor of the Inquistors taking out an orphanage of possessed children. "I'm glad you could make it, Seraphim, but..." he cuts the engine and climbs off, leaning against it. "Things...things aren't like they were two years ago, or even five or six before that." He draws Order and begins reloading it, one round at a time. "I just finished clearing an asylum, full of Undead and Vampires. The clan leader and necromancer worked together to buy it."

OOC: No one knows he's an angel. We'll just say that the events of the previous one only played out specific ways, so the students fought a...Vampire Lord.
By too far, I meant into the manor & out of sight.
I edited and the OOC part of it is important.

AFTERTHOUGHT EDIT: Tobi is 30 years old with greater knowledge and understanding of his family's gifts and heritage. While certain events from the previous incarnations did happen, the entire previous ones did not. The attack on the manor in the last one? Happened. The hunter fight with Tobi? Didn't happen. They fought a Vampire Lord instead.
Seraphim nods, sobering up as he lets himself and the young woman in through the gate;
"I know what you mean... I've gotten into a few of rather tight spots lately where I was forced to use Deamos. Its even more powerful than I imagined, but... using such a weapon is.. costly."
He says with a wince, rubbing his sword hand, a heavy rune-lined glove on it and an even more heavy-duty rune-lined bracelet just above the wrist. Pausing for a moment to rub his hand some more, he continues;
"And I'm also afraid I'm not here to stay. My parents are getting too old to do anything more the protect our home and the town nearby so I have to look after our entire territory. But still, You requested help, so help you shall have. Allow me to~"

"Relax bro, I can look after myself you know, much less handle a little introduction."
The young woman speaks up, walking past a bemused Seraphim towards Tobi and offering him a handshake;
"Elisabeth Dante. I'm ol' jedi dude's little sis."
She says, pointing a thumb at Seraphim who shrugs helplessly;

"We've tried working some manners into her, but they never seem to stick. Perhaps you might have a little more success than we did. Besides, I finished off my training with a stint under your watch, so I figured that the same would be good for here. I just hope the team your throwing together doesn't have to many handsome young men in it, we've had enough issues back home with riling up half the boys in town."


I'm off.
Tobi nods to Elisabeth and then to Seraphim. "With what's happening of late, boys will be the least of her worries. And I can always call my sister back from Korhal if she gets too big for her breeches." Beckoning the pair into the manor, I head for my office. "I apologize we're not meeting again on better terms, but Alistair fears a Ninth Circle daemon may be close to breaching the Veil and crossing into our world." Stopping in the entry hall, Tobi waits to a count of three before his 'butler,' as he was told to be called, appeared, a stock of fresh bullets in hand and an oil rag for Argost.

"Things have slowly gotten worse over the last two years, and we never did finish off that Fallen Angel when he assaulted the manor. After that, the Great Packs moved their territory to a new location, one they haven't shared with me yet for fear of another," he pauses as he looks for a good phrase, "mind jack." Taking the bullets and the rag, he continues up the stairs as Alistair disappears once more into the darkness. "It's not been a pretty mess to clean up."

Opening the door to the office, though it was more of a study, Tobi goes around to the chair behind the desk and sits down, drawing the golden blade from it's sheath and setting to work cleaning it. "I'm sad to say that there won't be much in the manor training this time as in the field."

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