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It was not Ilena's duty to defend the desires of a thrall that had none.

"Then do as you will."

Though Dragan disdained such behavior, the shadow-witch could not care, in truth, for what perverse charities the former priestess held, not when the Crimson Star, the voice of Ichor, rang so clearly through the opened doors. The dark skies burned with sanguine light, shadows of greater demons swirling in the savage firmament. Behind her, others emerged, familiar, storied faces, but for now, they meant nothing. The Sovereign, the Progenitor, has made her request, and it was something to make even a god-disdainer feel pious.

She joined Dragan's side, slipping into shadow to slink soundlessly up onto the balcony, before reconstituting her form from the fluid shadows once more. Even now, her loyalty remained, and the shadow-witch kneeled, eyes downcast.

"Goddess, I am Ilena. Once more, my fangs are yours."
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Dragan Meszaros


Dragan frowned at the thrall's response, turning away to let Luna do as she would with her. If the poor woman truly had no desires of her own left, then she would continue to serve. As a bewitched minion of a siren, no doubt. But he could not defend the wishes of a thrall that had no such thing. Just as the door opened and Ichor's voice began to be heard, Dragan noted the arrival of yet three more vampires out of the corner of his eye.

The newcomers were, at the very least, somewhat familiar to him. The ambassador, the ice princess, and the cleric of the blood lily. Over the course of his unlife, he'd either met or heard of each of them enough to recognize all three by sight. Each was at least respectable in some way, perhaps moreso than either of the other two vampires he'd been accompanying. By reputation, at least. In practice, things could be entirely different.

Regardless, Dragan nodded towards the newcomers, removing his helm as he turned towards the door.

"Welcome, compatriots. It seems you're just in time to hear what the Goddess wills for us. Shall we?" With little more said, he followed Ilena through the door and onto the balcony, kneeling before the light.

"Command us, Goddess Ichor. We are your swords, to do with as you will."
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Giselle de Farry
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“Next time, perhaps read the room,” said Giselle, as soon as Rikard had left. Pinching her nose, she gave the woman an exasperated look. While she was glad that she hadn’t fully burned the bridge with the strange human, especially so after the man’s warning and manner of exit, she remained rather annoyed with the priestess. If she had just played along, then it was very likely they would have had a far superior replenishment of blood than that of a filthy rat. As it was now, though, it was all that she had.

Rather than sinking her teeth directly into the dirty fur of the rat carcass, she opened her palm upwards, letting the rat float upwards for a couple inches before she began to extract its blood from its body in a long stream of ichor that she then civilly drank. It had a displeasing, pungent taste to it, even if it did provide a kick of fulfilling energy to her starved body. For this act, she couldn’t be entirely displeased with Akyasha, even if had bungled the entire thing in the final stretch.

At the very least, the path to the cathedral was no longer barred. Without any further interference, they entered the sacred building soon after, walking into three more of her fellows, and a most peculiar scene. The new company she recognized, even if only passingly so for two of them. The third vampire lord –the only man among them for now, it seemed—she was more familiar with. Together with herself and Aleksiya, he was a lord in the more traditional sense.

It seemed, however, that reminiscing about the past could wait for another time.

She acknowledged Dragan’s words with a slight incline of her head. “Indeed.” Without further words, she followed the others onto the balcony. Kneeling before her presence, her light, she relished in the familiar comfort of Ichor’s embrace. Giselle had always been more secular among the lords, but her loyalty, especially in these times, was never in doubt. Faced with such a bleak future, who else was she to look to for guidance?

“My Goddess, I am once more at your disposal. Guide us as you will.”
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"Tch. Idiot."

Aleksiya's criticism of Akyasha's actions was far less gentle then Giselle's. Even as she snatched the rat, the scowl on her face made her feelings immediately obvious.

They could have earned what was likely human blood by cooperating with that man, and yet they would be feeding on the blood of rats, and for what? The diminutive vampire hadn't the slightest idea as to why the priestess had chosen not to cooperate. For one who professed her love for her fellow vampires, it seemed that something else was more important to her at the moment.

Still, she couldn't exactly ignore the prospect of a chance to feed, even if it was on some foul vermin. Her teeth were for the necks of humans, those who had earned the right to enjoy the privilege of her feeding, or her enemies who would be drained until nothing remained. A rat, by contrast, was vermin.

She would not bite into the flesh of vermin. Digging her nails into its skin, she needed only a small injury to permit her desired manipulations.

The rat's body spasmed as she began to move the blood inside of it, its flesh tearing as its blood began to freeze, tearing its way out of the rodent's flesh, a glistening crystal of blood steadily extracted from its body.

It was that which she consumed. It tasted foul, but it was far more refined to feed like this then anything else. Tossing the bloodless body away, her attention refocused.

The most important matter, indeed.

Ichor's voice. Hearing it once more...

The sight of the other long lost lords, especially the absence of certain ones among their number, was a pleasant one.

"Indeed, we shall," she replied to Dragan's words, smiling as she approached the balcony. There was comfort in the Goddess's words. The framework through which this world would no longer be twisted, where monsters would be given their due punishment. It was a warmth that cut through the terrible condition of the world around them.

Aleksiya curtsied.

"My wings of frost shall always spread for you, goddess. Please, guide us."

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"How ungrateful the both of you! I get put in a dire position and this is the thanks I get?" Akyasha was justifiably angered. The Cleric pondered if she should help the either of them if they were in a bad situation again, considering how rude the two of the have been to her since they had woken up. She had made an oath to treat her sisters well but she felt, in the situation, that treatment didn't have to extend to the rudest of them. If their unlife were in danger, perhaps. Otherwise, they were on their own. This would not be a violation of the oath she had taken, surely.

It took some small amount of time, but the troop walked into the Cathedral proper and, as Akyasha was taking in the beautiful sight of it all, she noticed some few others here as well. Ilena, Dragan, and Luna and a thrall of some sort? Curious. "More of our fellows! Perhaps you all will be less of the rude sort than my current company." Akyasha said before hearing the voice of the Goddess. "Ahh! Goddess! To the balcony?"

The woman rushed to the top happily, "Goddess! I beseech thee, bless your unworthy children with thy words!" The cleric had said after practically sliding into a kneeling position at the top of the balcony. This was standard fare for the Cleric, of course.
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“...ร๏ Ŧคг…ร๏ ร๓คɭɭ…”


The red light gently caressed the undead that presented themselves. Not even the titans, entrapped by the storms could make them feel threatened in their weakened state. The commanding voice they had initially heard faded into a quiet caress.

“...๓ץ ς๏๓๓คภ๔…เร รเ๓קɭє.”


Though the crimson star was worlds and realms away, her voice was still clear despite the quiet echo they could all hear.

“...รєשєภ…รєשєภ ๓๏гє…ยรє Շђє ђєคгՇ. ๒гเภﻮ Շђє๓…Շ๏ Շђє ợยєєภ…”


The queen? Seven more? Perhaps it would have been more cryptic to others, but for any of the vampires with an inkling of how things were before the end of the last era, there was no doubt who the seven were.

“…ฬєรՇ…รՇคгՇ Շђєгє…ђย๓คภร…”


Slowly, the crimson light faded. The swirling storms far in the distance slowly spiraled out of view, the darkness that had become familiar to the six upon their resurrection. They had a direction from their goddess, at last. West. Humans. Were it not for the giant undead blocking the main gate in that direction, this would be a simple task.

But it seemed, the only way they were to go on their journey is by through it. If nothing else, the few vials of blood left that the Thrall was carrying, now would serve their purpose. It would not grant them major strength, but if nothing else, they would certainly be able to take this shrieking undead with little difficulty.

Supposing Giselles’ group informed the other three of it.

Or perhaps the six had other ideas. Their goddess certainly gave them a heading, but then what of Rikard? Or this mysterious partner of his? Or the odd serpentine creature Ilena’s group ran into? So long as they ultimately completed their goal, it likely mattered not to the goddess.
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Westward, then, to claim blood more human, more satiating. And to seven more lords, resurrection to grant, the seven whose fall marked the vampires' end. The sanguine light faded, Ichor disappearing into the cosmos, and Ilena let out a breath, rising up from her position. Amethyst eyes flickered from one new arrival to another, faces indistinct but repute well-marked enough that unfamiliarity would still bring forth fragments of knowledge with regards to their pedigree. Two royals, and a true-blooded cleric of Ichor. Of the naturalborn aristocrats, Giselle de Farry was more tolerable of the two, an architect of crimson constructions compared to the more child-like pretensions of the Rime-Winged Vermillion Angel and her hedonistic pursuits. And as for that Blood-Lily Cleric...

...well, Luna may have found her a like-mind, but the two were incomparable in methodology and grace.

"If the Goddess desires it, then westward we depart." This city and its mysteries could be left to be uncovered at another time, for vampires truly had but an excess in time. As for her familiar, for the Skeeters she's sent out to hunt?

She can await their return on her own time.
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Luna Emeraltide


Much as the thrall had her own ideas of servitude and punishment, Luna had her own -and who would have a better handle on what was best: herself, or a thrall? As the nameless woman slipped back into unconsciousness, Luna disregarded Dragan, and began the quick ritual to revive the woman as her new thrall. With shut eyes, she could hear Dragan's motion in the background. Quickly, blood dripped from her eyes as gentle tears, and ran down her cheeks. She cradled the thrall with one arm, and with her other hand reached up to pry a single droplet. She paused, her body freezing at the feeling of something washing over her.

A warming voice, distant and pleasant, roused her ears and fluttered her unbeating heart. Ichor's voice rolled over the balcony and banisters, and its familiar, enlightening spirit drew greater power from Luna's eyes; her tears flowed more freely, more voluminous, and in turn poured greater power into the ritual. It was not her intention, but this thrall would given more strength than Luna had planned for. In her trance, it was difficult to care.

Prying a single large droplet from her closed eyes, she fed the blood to the thrall through her lips, and offered a short prayer.

"Beneath Ichor's gaze, this child, this master commands thee to rise anew. Born again as servant to Luna Emeraltide."

Whether the thrall awoke or not, Luna stood, still carrying the woman, and hurried up the stairs to the second floor where the others had gathered to witness their Goddesses' light and hear her command. She set the thrall to the side -away from the gates which Dragan had opened- and joined the others. She practically fell to her knees, and clasped her hands in silent prayer as her ears caught the last vestiges of Ichor's mystic presence. Even as it left, she remained there in pious reflection for a moment more.

Standing, Luna only then acknowledged the three additional faces. Little introduction was needed for so notable a crew. Though, truthfully, Luna had little inclination to give regards to one in particular. Their journey was just beginning, and there was little room for petty squabbling and rivalry Luna felt. It was time to behave and consolidate.

"Have we any needed preparations before going?" she asked to the group at large, "Did you find anything of note yourselves?" she directed to Akyasha, Aleksiya, and Giselle.
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Dragan Meszaros


Dragan merely kept his head bowed as he received his orders, waiting for Ichor's light to disperse before he dared stand once more. As he did, the Death Knight contemplated the directives they'd all been given. Head west, and resurrect the seven vampire lords in the Queen's service before bringing back the Queen herself. Understandable goals. If the current group had all been brought back to life, it stood to reason the same could be done for the greatest among their number.

Of course, there were some that Dragan would have preferred not be brought back, but a command from the Goddess was inviolatable. The Blight Lord and the Sanguine Regent were stains upon their shared race as a whole, but their abilities and knowledge were invaluable. No matter his opinion, though, what was left of the paladin inside of Dragan drove him to follow Ichor's decree. Even he could see the logic in bringing them back, and if what he assumed of the crusade had been true, vampires had been all but wiped out until their recent rise.

"Westward, then." Dragan murmured as he placed his helm back atop his head, turning to exit the balcony. He turned back towards the others. "For those of you that just joined us, Lady Ilena is already bearing the heart that the Goddess mentioned. It ought to be safe in her care until the time comes for it to be used."
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Giselle de Farry
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Great, it seemed like the priestess was as clueless as she was stupid. Not that Giselle was ever going to say that, either to her or in public. She was too much of a class act for that, even if she did like to show her disapproval of things at times. Rather than correct Akyasha’s misconceptions, the white-haired vampire thought that she had better things to do, such as to pay proper attention to the words of her goddess. She hardly rushed to hear her words like a giddy child, instead affecting a solemn pace and posture as she received her words.

Her words of guidance were more worldly than what might have expected out of a god, but given the circumstances, it was very understandable. To revive more of her fallen brethren, together with the queen of her kind was only logical.

Giselle did have her doubts about ‘the seven,’ but there was little doubt as to who the seven were—the seven remaining vampire lords that had not been resurrected and were together in the cathedral with her. Some of those remaining seven, though… Well, for somebody who valued good governance, administration, and the love of her people, she had no love for them and thought they should continue to rest as they were.

But who was she to question the will of a goddess? She did have to admit, in these times, a strong set of hands would be needed to guide things onto a better path, no matter how flawed the tools might be…

Eyeing one of the leftover vials of blood, Giselle made to partake of it, even as she continued to mentally curse Akyasha for the loss of an extra good vial.

“West we shall go, but a word of caution, friends,” she said, once she was done. “The three of us recently came from that direction. With six of us, it might not be so problematic, but it is worth mentioning that a great skeleton beast lies in our path there. Perhaps one of you have also encountered it?” She glanced over at Luna, Dragan, and Illena, inclining her head towards the latter as Dragan mentioned her as the bearer of the heart.

“There are also other humans in the city we have encountered. Other entities too, though it was not I who encountered them…” Trailing off, she glanced at Akyasha.
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Akyasha was happily smiling at the goddess' words and pondered them after. The woman had a good idea of what the goddess meant, though she wondered just how the landscape has changed since their time of passing. Perhaps even what was west at this point. It was a bit bothersome to remember. Though, she did remember the others in front of her. Lady Luna, Sir Dragan and Lady Ilena. She was quite happy to see the lot of them and had the urge to bring them all into a hug, perhaps a fragment of her prior days as a human that she had otherwise since long forgotten. Akyasha was, of course, not her name at the time. She had even forgotten that as well, but that aside, she took the moment to greet them.

"It's great to see the three of you again. Among the goddess, no less. Hopefully, you've not forgotten me in the long age since we last met." The cleric said with a smile. "So it is to the west we go then? I'm curious to see how this world around us has changed. Though, perhaps not as much upon further consideration." The Cleric thought on how her beloved city had changed, using the dreamscape Est had shown her as reference. "As for anything to note, yes. As Miss Giselle mentioned, I had encountered an interesting creature that I was both cautious and curious of. In fact, I would have loved to have informed you both earlier," Akyasha had stated, "But for some reason the both of you have decided I am a fool and I had no chance to elaborate."

"Now to start. As we made our way through town..." The Cleric had begun to regale the lot of other vampires of her discovery. Of the giant skeletal behemoth she witness, the ghost she had dispatched, the shadowy rats and of the corpse dressed as one of those doctors of a certain Vampire Lord. Then, finally, a brief version of her somewhat lengthy encounter with Est and what she assumed to be a dreamscape of Alavaris. "And of course, she gave me a warning about 'A man that looks like he’s seen far too much and a young girl that swings around dangerous weaponry too much'. After that, I come to you with rats in hand. As cautious I was of Est, she most likely kidnapped me to entertain herself before seeing me off and gifting the three of us a meal." The Cleric thought on it a small bit more and remembered one thing. "Bring you thoughts back to the man and girl I was warned of. I assume the man was the one you two encountered and how glad I should think we are not to encounter the other. While I can't verify the rat's claims, she also mentioned, 'That girl swings around a sword that contains the power of the Old Light.' It's a curious thing but not one I'd like to examine first hand."

Akyasha seemed finished with her tale at the time. "Forgive me should I have missed something. It's been such a short time since we have awaken and much has happened. With how confusing conversation had been with Est... Well, I'm still managing the thoughts in my head. Rest assured, should something come to mind I will bring it to your attention. Now, if you all would excuse me for some moments, with the blood I have I believe I can summon a cute little bat to help us scout our path forward." With that, Akaysha broke from the group for a short time to prepare for a summoning. While simple, she wasn't sure how tiring it would make her feel after so long. With their absence, she was not sure how difficult it would be to bring forth Ichor's chosen creatures.

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Aleksiya was left to reflect on the words of Ichor. Seven more.

There was no doubt in her mind that these seven were the Lords who were not present here. Of their number, there were those whom she would welcome the sight of openheartedly, and those whom she never wanted to see again. Chief among them was the vile Blight Lord, a horrific monster she held nothing but scorn towards.

But it was Ichor's word. She would not go against it.

Out of the ones who were present, however, Aleksiya could not say she was unhappy to see any of them. Even Akyasha, as frustrating as she was, was not truly a negative presence. She was at times quite unhelpful, but Aleksiya did not want to see her clutched by death once again.

Perhaps put through discomfort, but nod dead.

Of the others, she found them at least not directly offensive, and at best quite helpful and valuable as comrades. Needless to say, she was pleased to see them returned.

Or perhaps it was the fact that they had been presented with proper blood, even if it was just a small vial, that made her feelings especially charitable. Needless to say, she was swift to take one, removing the lid and relishing in the taste of actual human blood. Of course, it was only a small amount. But compared to the foul flavor of the rat's blood, it was utterly delicious. She could feel the deep hunger abating, the strength returning to her in some small amount. Hardly the true measure of her abilities, but definitely better then she had been on her awakening.

Aleksiya sighed.

"Ah, what a fine taste," she declared, placing the now-empty vial aside, "Did that familiar bring them? When she awakes, I should like to show my approval."

She paused a moment to listen to Akyasha's story. She still thought her an idiot, but at least it was some kind of explanation for her actions and her behavior. Not one she would have liked, but at least she understood the transactional nature of her coverage for that woman.

Understanding simply did not mean approval.

"... Well, I suppose that explains some of your behavior, if nothing else," she replied with a dismissive wave of her small hand, "In any case, it is as Lady Giselle says. A monster bars our path. However, I have nothing but confidence in our ability to destroy it, now that we have at least some blood in our bodies."

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The thrall, did not initially respond as Luna’s lips met hers. Sanguineous blood blessed by Ichor flowed from Luna’s tears into the Thrall’s mouth. After a few seconds, the thrall’s body convulsed, shuddering involuntarily as new power life, and more importantly…a new mistress flowed through her veins. As Luna left to heed Ichors words, the Thrall managed to barely lift herself from the ground, seeming both still exhausted and in somewhat of a daze.

As the others would converse among themselves after Akyasha explained themselves, the Vampiric Cleric would move away slightly. Performing a summoning was a simple task, depending on if one wanted it to be permanent or a temporary service, such as in the midst of combat. All one needed in such a case, was typically, a sacrifice of the vampires own blood and a brief chant to call forth the creature one wanted in question.

As it stood, Akyasha would have little trouble summoning something as simple as a Blood Elemental or Gorebat, two of the lowest beings in Ichors servants. As Akyasha cut herself for her own blood to be offered, she’d chant something simple as the blood fell to the floor, and from it, however briefly, a rift between Ichor and Alavaris formed. And from that rift…the smell of copper and purest blood as from it, the blood formed into what was ostensibly something uncharacteristically ‘cute’ for the creatures of Ichor’s realm.

It was something like a tiny, humanoid, bat. They were not physically strong, nor were they extremely effective in combat, but their diminutive size, swift speed, and the fact a single one could drain a human male ntirety of blood in thirty seconds along with being able to use low tier support magics such as minor healing and if needed, could be used as a quick and dirty source of blood themselves both for feeding and blood magic made them invaluable tools.

Swarms of these thing in the past, were quite a dangerous thing, but Akyasha for now, managed to summon two which would hopefully be more than enough. The small bat creatures would light on either of Akyasha’s shoulders, awaiting for her to give them a command. The one on her right seemingly affectionately nuzzled the cleric. No doubt they were hungry, but alas, she had no blood to give them right now.

“Nngh…” By now, the Thrall had managed to lift herself to her feet, weekly holding onto the Altar to support herself. “M-my lords…your…mercy knows no bounds…” She’d weakly squeak out. “There is a dangerous skeletal beast…I think…its one of the old paladins. It possesses a blade made of silver…its old and corroded but it still will be dangerous. Please, if you go that way, be careful…”

Ominous.

The Thrall managed to get to her feet properly, though she seemed exhausted it was nothing a bit of rest and food likely could not fix.

“I am sorry I can not be of more help in my state…but if it pleases you, Lady Luna, I will give my body to ensure your safety if I must.” Well, hopefully that wouldn’t be needed.

Whenever the six decided to leave the Cathedral and head back out into the city, they would be met with the same silence as they moved from the Cathedral yard towards the gate that had barred Aleksiya’s and companies path earlier. The wailing of that large undead creature could be heard further down, but it was distant. The shuffling of the undead on the other side of the gate, though, could be seen and heard clearly by the vampires.



Location: Alavaris
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The familiar crept along the ground, having avoided most of the putrid, beastly threats that called the place home. Perhaps, if it were able to independently think, it’d think that cleaning this place up would need to be a high priority if the vampires wished to clean Alavaris from the filth that currently infested it.

But alas, it was incapable of such thoughts.

It skittered along the muddy ground, through the halls of the old orphanage, down an old, creaky set of stairs leading into the earth until two voices reached its ears.

“Where have you been?”

“Chasing Vermin, what else?”

“A fools errand after it fled…is what I’d normally say, but that look of yours says you found something.”

“Maybe, maybe not. Did you find our secondary objective?”

“Unfortunately, yes…”

The creature skittered after the voices, moving within the shadows of the ruin, behind old walls, out of sight, for it did not wish to be seen. The voices became muffled for a few moments as it struggled to keep up. Did they move faster? Or had they some other method of movement? The hall lit up, revealing the body of some large, serpentine creature.

“...I see what you mean.” It could not see what they saw beyond the corpse, for fear of exposing itself but it could still listen. “This does not bode well indeed with what I encountered. Whoever did this…is quite the vicious beast themselves.”

“Spit it out, Rikard. We don’t have time for your games.”

“Hmm…” The one apparently named Rikard seemed to move towards the other one. “First, Rhea, I believe we should get rid of our eavesdropper.” Immediately, the familiar pankicked. It moved but it was too late. Sun and fire seared its flesh, turning its weak body to nothing but ash.

“Damn it. Was that what I think it was?”

“We’ll head back to Society for now. We must inform them of events here.”

With its dying breath, all it could manage to send to its mistress was the names of the two voices, and something about a ‘Society’ before its life failed it completely.
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A mistress of rats? An ‘Est’, who warned of…

Ilena blinked, a sensation, a thought, re-entering her body. Even with the physicality destroyed, a morsel of her own essence returned to her in that moment, shooting into her shadows, deciphered by the demons that safeguarded her mind.

Ah.

It connected, like objects of differing polarities snapping into place.

“Rikard…and Rhea. Belonging to the Society. Returning to the Society, to report. A piece of me died at the orphanage, where they last were.” Ilena settled her gaze on Akyasha briefly, before turning to Luna and Dragan. “The gunfire was likely involved with their hunting of Est. Though whether they are enemies or merely cautious…” From within the cathedral now, the sound of buzzing Skeeters echoed, the gargantuan insectoids flying over to Ilena before touching down, their abdomens swollen once more with the results of their hunt.

She didn’t bother with excising the blood carefully now, and instead, her shadows swallowed the enthralled insects whole, assimilating their disparate parts into her own body.

“...it matters not. Nor does the gargantuan beast that we encountered on our path here, if it seeks not to disrupt our departure. Let us slay what remains of that Paladin and leave for more plentiful fields.”
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Dragan Meszaros


"A skeletal paladin, still bearing a silver blade?" Dragan turned to the thrall, an eyebrow raised underneath his helmet. "How my former brothers have fallen. Fortunately, the blade will be all we have to fear. As for this Society," He nodded in response to Ilena's words. "We've no reason to seek them out for now. No need to start unnecessary fights."

Foreknowledge of the enemy would be invaluable. As he was now, Dragan had no doubt that most lesser undead would fall under his sway once more. This skeletal paladin sounded to still be beyond his grasp, however. Precautions would need to be taken. The Death Knight glanced back towards the rest of his companions, turning to venture deeper into the cathedral.

"I imagine some among us have preparations to make before we set out, myself included. When I'm finished, I will meet you near the west gate, past the yard."

Centuries-old memories led Dragan to the armories he knew the cathedral possessed. A quick search of said quarters revealed a collection of weapons, many still more or less usable. None were of the highest craftsmanship, but experience and knowledge of steel told the vampiric knight which were servicable and would hold up in a fight. He hefted a two-handed warhammer into his hands and took a practice swing, nodding in satisfaction. This would serve, for now. A blunt smashing weapon would be the most effective against the skeleton that barred their way. It wasn't his old mace, but it would be more efficient on his blood reserves than conjuring one up.

Once he returned outside and regrouped with the others in the courtyard, Dragan stepped forward towards the gate. The sound of shuffling undead had him extending a hand out, the other clutching his warhammer.

"Serve." He commanded, exerting his will to take command over as many lesser undead as he could in the immediate area of the gate without taxing his blood reserves too much.
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Giselle de Farry
Undead Princess, de Farry



The ashen-skinned vampire couldn’t help but to raise an eyebrow at Akyasha. “I was not aware your ability to sense social cues had degraded to such an extent during your slumber. Had you successfully played along and fed that human some nonsense information, he might have given the three of us one of those vials of high-quality blood that were displayed very prominently on his coat.” She made her criticism of her response far more obvious here, but that was just about all that she had left to be said about the matter, leaving the red-haired vampire to continue her tale.

Further reinvigorated by the one vial that she did receive, she gave a nod of acknowledgement to Aleksiya before her attention was taken by Illena’s report. She was one of the stranger ones of the vampire lords assembled here, but that was no issue. “Rikard… that was the human that we encountered on the walls,” she acknowledged. “It would seem we have a name for his partner and his employer, then. If there is a ‘society’ of any sort, then perhaps society as a whole may not have degenerated quite as badly as I’d initially thought.”

Turning towards Dragan, she too gave him a nod. “Quite. If I have your measure correctly, then we’ll be heading to the same place, so please allow me to accompany you.” She made her way to the armory otherwise silently, where she gave her own critical eye over what remained in the centuries-old vault. A good number of the weapons there were still serviceable, although not to the point where she would replace her newly refurbished scythe as her primary arm.

To her mild surprise, there were some firearms in reasonable condition among the cold-steel weapons. She would not trust the rifles or their high-power ammunition, not without spending more effort than she wished at the moment to give them a once-over, but she picked out a revolver, and after creating a cloth and leather holster for it around her thigh, took it with her and strapped it in. Without anything else that she needed, she soon returned outside, ready to make their push west.
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"Hello there little cuties." Akyasha said, nuzzling back to the one that started it. These little creatures were both adorable and useful. Back a long time ago, Akyasha had an entire fleet of these adorable bundles of bloodsucking. She could gather information and blood from just about anywhere she needed. It was a small bit saddening that all of those had fallen when she did, but nonetheless she would desire to reconstitute her fleet. "Can I have you two scout around the city a small bit? Find where this giant skeletal paladin is particularly at the moment. Otherwise, take a look around and most importantly, stay safe."

The most important thing right now was no having to replace the two Gorebats she had summoned. "Please keep me informed you two if there's anything interesting." With that, she sent the two off with a smile. She wasn't sure if they'd find anything else in this city. Hell, she half expected to find Est again though it'd probably be better if she didn't.

And now, she was thirstier. Unsurprising of course, as she had used blood to summon those cuties. The Blood Lily Cleric stretched her arms a small bit before sniffing at the air. Perhaps that smell was what she thought it was? It carried her to the edge of the balcony where she looked down. She noticed a nice little something where Luna was with the Thrall earlier. The Cleric licked at her lips as she quickly made her way down and took up a vial of blood that she had not noticed earlier and quickly downed the substance. Now she was ready to explore the city and find the best path through it to the outside of it's walls. "Dragan mentioned the west gate? Not that I have much else to prepare for anyway." With that, the Cleric head in the direction, ready to head out again to heed the Goddess' words.
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"A paladin? Then all the more reason for it to experience a second death."

It was bitterly ironic, really, that a paladin would end up as a far more abominable form of undead then any one of the vampires present. Indeed, Aleksiya felt she wasn't abominable in the least. Nor were any of her compatriots present, though at times Ilena's abilities made her feel mildly uneasy.

Their mentalities were another matter entirely given Akyasha, but the priestess wasn't abominable simply because it seemed her brain had not recovered from death in the same manner of the rest of her body.

"Akyasha's brain may not have recovered as effectively as the rest of her body, but her deployment of those familiars should help give an overview of the current situation, at the very least."

In mock prayer, she clasped her small hands together.

"Oh, Ichor, please finish restoring your devout priestess's decayed mind, so that next time she shall perhaps recognize what her beloved companions desire from her."

She paused for a moment to allow her words to hang in the air, as if they were a genuine prayer, before brushing her golden hair back.

"In any case, I am quite curious of the news of those hunters' 'society', whatever it may be," she continued, "As Lady Giselle says, it seems as if there may yet be some form of human civilization that remains."

In some ways it was good news, to some extent. It meant that there was at least some sort of structure in place that could be used as a starting point. With that being said, with little more information and the violent response to Ilena's familiar, it wasn't necessarily a situation in which they were friendly.

Then again, bartering for blood vials indicated they perhaps were not entirely the enemy of vampires as well. Still, without further information it was difficult to make a judgement call on that end. Hopefully there would be another opportunity to learn more.

"For the moment, breaking that former paladin is our most important task," she added, gesturing idly with one hand, "If we can destroy its arms as swiftly as possible, the blade ceases to be an issue, does it not? That, should be our goal, barring any method of destroying its entire body utterly."

As they were now, Aleksiya doubted any one of them could do that quickly, and so targeting the abomination's most threatening weapon seemed only natural.

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Luna Emeraltide


Making their final preparations to leave, Luna strode to her thrall with newfound (or rather, enhanced) confidence and extended her hands, taking the thrall's into her own with care. "Fret not -I will have use of you in the near future, I am certain. For now, simply rest. You have returned from near-death after a long journey. As we leave, take care by my side; you already know of the dangers lurking outside. Have you any experience with combat?" Luna paused, her eyes turning upwards.

"There is one more matter to take care of," she smiled, "You need a name now. Stripped of one in your previous servitude, it is fitting that you receive a new lease under my eye." The vampiress hummed a little tune to herself in thought, the melody nevertheless strikingly -indeed, supernaturally- pleasant for all its half-heartedness. "You shall henceforth be called Fra. Fra Mauro," Luna declared.

Leading the newly-dubbed 'Fra' out to the west gate, Luna then took the moment to greet everyone properly.

"Before we set out upon this great journey, let me be the first to say that I am confident in our abilities, together, as six lords of the Goddess. I, Luna Emeraltide, shall put my all into securing this broken world for all our kind. Let us assure our future," she said, giving a curt, rehearsed bow to the entirety of the other five. "Though we are newly fed and revitalized, let us be nevertheless cautious; the full extent of our powers, I assume, are yet to return, and we are now aware of potentially antagonistic forces brave enough to lurk so closely to us."
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Location: Alavaris
Church Ward Gate
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The vampires scoured the Cathedral, looking for anything that may aid them in their quest. The thrall, still nameless and recovering from nearly dying, had taken to sitting beneath the statue of Ichor and the witch, not seeming to want to speak unless spoken too, or the vampires required something of her. Little more than a meek shadow, perhaps, seeking not to be seen or heard.

Dragan and Giselle both had luck in the armory. A number of weapons still in serviceable condition left behind from ages past, either from the old paladins of the old Gods or their vampire thralls once the place had been overtaken. A hefty warhammer, perfect for smashing if not overly fancy was the Warlords pick. For Giselle, a pistol, and a few rounds of ammunition would be found in serviceable condition, not that she would need ammunition once she had regained some of her strength.

Akyasha found the Gorebats at least, being friendly enough for blood drinking pests, though whether they shared any such emotions beyond simple desires was hard to say. With her command, though, and a chittering cry, they’d be off, swiftly disappearing out a broken window above and out into the darkness. Perhaps sending the only two she could summon for now scouting, wasn’t the smartest of ideas. Unlike Ilena’s shadow puppets that were a physical part of her body, the bats were less so and would need to physically report back, but with as swift as they were, it would likely not be long before they came back with relevant information.

Luna decided to get acquainted with her new Thrall. As the others searched for weaponry or useful items, the Thrall would find herself having her hand taken by Luna and being taken to her feet, still seeming a bit unsteady as she was led from her resting place towards the cathedral wards gate.

“F-fra…Fra Mauro?” She’d stutter out. “O-oh forgive me, Mistress…this weak Thrall is undeserving of such a name…” She’d shuffle her feet quietly, unable to meet Luna’s gaze, shaking her head. “I am useless at anything other than being unseen by anyone…” The newly named Thrall would turn to the others, bowing just as Dragan began to wrest control of the mindless undead, though remained some distance away from the others, not seeming to want to make herself a target or to otherwise get in their way. “A-allow me to introduce myself proper, most gracious and merciful lords…” She’d quietly say. “I am…Fra Mauro,” She paused a moment, the name, perhaps, feeling a bit odd on her tongue after being so long without one. “Mistress Luna’s servant…”

With their preparations done, the Vampires would then set out. Dragan made his move first, reaching a hand out, necrotic energy suffusing the skeletal undead on the other side of the gate. Immediately, some of the creatures responded with shrill shrieks as the necromancer wrest control of the old undead. It should have theoretically been easy, but it almost felt like he was wresting control of them from something or someone else, his magic being deflected by a few while others were more easily controlled.

In all, he now had about ten skeletal soldiers under his command, armed with various makeshift weapons and about two spectral entities, one without any weapons and another seemingly holding onto some jagged, aged knife.

And it seemed, the former Paladin knew what was happening, or at least had some idea of it. From far off near the city’s main gate, the vampires could hear it shrieking once more as the undead Dragan did not control slowly began to turn towards the undead servants Dragan had made, hostile intent clear. The gate was still closed, though the gatehouse could easily be accessed from this side and lifted fairly easily should they wish, but perhaps...the gates could be used to their advantage.
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