The Devil You Know [CLOSED]

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Windigo
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The Devil You Know [CLOSED]

Post by Windigo » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:06 am

Bloomington, IN
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The acrid scents of sulfur and burning flesh filled the midsummer air in equal parts. Phanuel had long since begun to turn what was by now going to be nothing short of a brutal slaying into a dance intended to keep the creature on its toes, to force it to strike in ways that opened up its weak joints to the tip of his blessed blade and preternatural strength, while at the same time avoiding all but the first swipe of its claws and tail. His instincts had honed in on the thing - instincts that he was sure weren't entirely his, but for which he was grateful nonetheless, especially in the face of a creature that seemed to be designed as an optimal predator.

The demon - because that was the only title his brain could conjure for this thing - had gotten the drop on him, and cut through the back of his coat in a way that seared flesh and probably would have severed his spine, had something else not jumped into his mind and warned him of an appropriate course of action. He didn't want to give that something too much credit, but it had, he would admit, saved his life from this feline-reptilian-insectoid-piscine creature of Hell that had decided to make him its prey.

The most dangerous part was balancing its jaws and its tail, which was why he'd chosen to put it on the defensive. His own method left him open, but his recently enhanced senses gave him more than enough warning when one or the other was coming for him in an attempt at subtlety. Whatever constituted the creature's brain was too animal to have considered the possibility of using its forelegs as well, or of removing his sword from the equation and therefore exposing him. Patrick wasn't going to complain about that, for obvious reasons, and managed a feint that forced the creature to finally expose the chink in the armor of its neck for him to drive his rapier through and then scamper away before it realized what exactly had happened.

He armed himself with daggers as it choked on its blade, confused for a moment. When that moment ended, however, it was because a spark of white light had leapt from Patrick's gloved fingertips into the body of the creature, using the lodged sword as a lightningrod that easily directed the final attack down its spine and throughout it, frying it almost immediately. It locked up, but ultimately fell, and was already catching fire before it hit the ground.

Patrick stood over the body, taking a few seconds to breathe, just a little, before reaching into his coat's deep pockets. His hand brushed against a few things, including a watch he couldn't remember getting but decided was worth keeping on him, but his fingers wrapped around the body of a small plastic bottle. He withdrew it, unscrewed the cap, and then dumped the water over the body of the creature. One would expect it would put out the blue flames; instead, it was as if he'd just dumped gasoline on the demonic corpse, and the flames jumped higher, the body being consumed faster. He screwed the cap back on, and replaced the bottle in his hand with a rosary of beads. He sat down on the grass of the mostly-abandoned fairgrounds and focused on regaining his strength as he made the Sign of the Cross across his face and chest, and bowed his head to pray, undisturbed except by the crackling of the demon's sputtering flames.

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Re: The Devil You Know [CLOSED]

Post by Ryoko » Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:02 am

"You're not half bad, you know that?"

At first glance in the direction of the voice, Patrick might not have seen her. He'd have to let his gaze drift upwards a good ehhh... 60 degrees to catch sight of the girl resting atop a telephone pole. If nothing else, he knew that hers was a face that he'd never seen before with a voice never before heard. In contrast to his knives, she carried a solid-steel, pristine Axe with an edge far too sharp for any tool expected to last beyond a single-use and wore a jacket that consisted more of more patchwork and stitches than the original fabric.

And she kept her distance for a reason.

Even if he had done the world a favor and removed another pest from this world before she could even get there... he reeked of sin. Not the usual degree of stink that came from douchebags and habitual liars, but the kind that came from defilers and murderers. And when you factored in the fact that he wore a mask? Yeah, no thanks. She was just fine up there atop that pole.


"It's usually my job to take care of those things. I appreciate you saving me the trouble, especially since I rarely come this far out from home. Good to know that... I'm in Dolan, right?"

The downside of teleportation was that you often lost the opportunity to read any signs or mile markers that let you know where you actually were aside from "near the target". Well, unless you were somewhere important. But Bloomington? Yeah, Kore wasn't about to remember this place for too long unless something spectacular happened real soon.


"Doesn't matter. You usually go out of your way to fight those things or are you just having an unfortunate afternoon?"
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Re: The Devil You Know [CLOSED]

Post by Windigo » Fri Jul 03, 2020 1:28 pm

Patrick seemed to ignore Kore for just a few moments, a whispered murmur of a prayer on his lips while she spoke to him. She'd see the movement of his hand as he crossed himself on e more, and then looked up at her, eyes strangely perceptive in the dark. He was still getting used to having a houseguest, however evil, that enhanced strength and senses to a preternatural degree.

She's upwind. I can't get a read. Be careful with her.

He ignored the voice, actually ignoring it, and heaved himself to his feet with a wince as he pulled at the gashes across his back. He also ignored the burning, however, and bowed his head in a nod toward the girl, attitude calm.

"Bloomington," he corrected, even though she'd glossed over that, completely unaware that he was in the Dolan township, and apparently not caring. "And while I normally go looking for monsters to take out, this one managed to get the drop on me."

The fire was already smoldering down into blue embers, putting out the nearest source of light. He withdrew his attention from the strange girl and in the meantime stepped up to the remains, carefully pulling his rapier out of the corpse and just as carefully sheathing it. He then slid his rosary beads back into his pocket, and turned up to the girl again.

"You say you take care of these things regularly, right? Is there a chance of it coming back?"

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Re: The Devil You Know [CLOSED]

Post by Ryoko » Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:09 am


Kore was slow to answer. Not because she didn't have one for him, but because she wasn't sure what he might've done with the truth. Sinners that reeked as badly as he did were the last folk that you wanted to "overinform". Especially when they knew their way around a knife. And, of course, when they had just openly admitted to hunting down things associated with the abyss.

Unlike the Nosferatu in Duskburg, there was no reason to sympathize with the legions of hell or grieve their passing. There was no excuse for their behavior, and there never would be. And it wasn't like they wanted one, either.

In the abyss, they would be reborn after a time and continue their pursuit of agony without a moment of hesitation. There were only two ways to keep demons out of this world. The first was to see Kore's head roll across the floor and slam shut the door that allowed them to cross over. A temporary solution that would only last until the next antichrist was born. The second, and more desirable, was to put down the devil ruling over that hell when he crossed over. The only permanent solution. This kid had a long road ahead of him if he intended to eradicate the demons of this world. So...

What would a typical hunter have said when asked a question like that?


"I'm not entirely sure. I've run into the same kind of demon more than once, but I couldn't tell you if it was the same one I fought before or another of its kind. They're kinda like metahumans in how unpredictable they are. And they're getting stronger by the day..."

Kore knew that someone would see that monster again very soon, even if it wasn't this boy. Demons weren't entities that could be compared to the creatures of this Earth. They were more comparable to the eldest or dragons; beings that existed to fulfill an absolute purpose, rather than in pursuit of purpose. They were pure chaos incarnate; beings that required neither food nor water to sustain themselves. And their only objectives were to spread suffering in whatever way possible and cultivate a future of continued perdition.

Not the proudest pedigree to carry on your back, was it?


"You hunt alone out here? Work for a church maybe? What made you get into this business?"

A small test of character.

Kore's words carried more purpose than just the alleviation of her mild curiosity. It was a neat little trick that she had come to learn recently. Although the morality driving action often varied, lying was always a sin. The more malicious the intent behind the lie, the worse the stench it added. And Patrick, or at least that odor that he carried, would continue to capture her attention as he spoke.


"You look like you've been through alot..."

If he could prove himself honest, then maybe it would be worth getting to know him... and figuring out why he was draped in such a disgusting aura.
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Re: The Devil You Know [CLOSED]

Post by Windigo » Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:21 am

Patrick laughed at her last comment, the deliberate, polite laugh expected of someone who shared similar experiences. If she was who she said she was, then she'd understand why.

"Haven't we all."

Still, he didn't need an inner demon to tell him that she wasn't telling him the whole truth, but he decided to let it slide. She likely trusted him as much as he trusted her right now, whether or not they were on the same side. After all, he couldn't rule out the possibility that even though she was certainly human-shaped, and intelligent enough to maintain a conversation, she could be something else far more devious.

But if she were an intelligent monster, that would make her infinitely more dangerous than the thing he'd just taken down, no matter how many sets of jaws it had. Already injured, he didn't need to provoke another fight without probable cause to suspect. It didn't help that the creature sharing his body still couldn't catch her scent. Something that might very well be intentional, given the circumstances.

At least get her to come down, it advised uninvited. One way or another, you'll be able to determine what she wants with you then.

Once again, he didn't acknowledge that he'd heard it, although this time he did take its advice.

"Hunting things like this runs in my family, but I'm in this for personal reasons. Morals, more specifically, and yes, they're religiously affiliated. I work alone though, most of the time." He then stepped back somewhat, just to adjust his position, and rested his hand on his rapier while he bowed slightly. "I go by Phanuel, by the way. For identity reasons."

Even if he had known she was trying to gauge him, he wouldn't have said anything different. It was the truth for the most part. Even if he couldn't be sure he could trust her, he didn't want to unnecessarily spark something by telling a deliberate lie. And besides, he had nothing to lose by sharing what he did, which was essentially nothing. Still, as he straightened up to look at her, there was a little smile playing invisibly behind his mask.

"Alright, I've spilled my guts, now it's your turn. You already look like you work alone, and don't really strike me as religious, so what's your story?"

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Re: The Devil You Know [CLOSED]

Post by Ryoko » Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:33 pm


As the boy spoke, Kore would grow noticeably more relaxed. The stench of murderous sin never left him, but it didn't respond to any of his words in the slightest. Whatever it was that he had done to earn that horrid aura, it was had to have been something from the past. And, if he was going out of his way to be better than he was, then she'd throw him a bone.


"Alright."

She tossed the axe to the side, then warped over to his side in a plume of black smoke. And she extended a hand for the honest boy to shake.


"Kore. And I guess you could say that I'm just making the best of a strange situation. One day I woke up with powers. One of which allowed me to sense demons within a hundred miles of me. Figured, since I could find em' as soon as they showed up, I might as well try to get rid of them."

God, what a crazy world this was...

A world where you could just walk up to someone, tell them that you randomly got powers one day, and actually fit more into the norm with a vague story like that than an origin that actually carried more meaning than random chance and good genes. Still, it wasn't like Kore could complain.


"Do you work alone by choice or is there some reason for that, because well... your folks are hunters, right? They've been doing it for ages. It would be kinda nice to meet more people like that."

It took her a second to pick up on the implications of what she had just said, and a second longer to imagine what might've gone through Phanuel's head after hearing all that. She took a step back as a slight blush spread across her face, but had enough control over her voice to keep an even.


"N-not that I'm asking you to bring me home with you or anything. I've just... never run into another dedicated hunter before. Meeting you might've actually been a stroke of luck for me. I've kinda had to learn everything I know from the ground up, hehe..."

She cleared her throat, then opened a void portal to her side. For the moment, it led directly into the void, but she could change that on a whim.


"Uh, I can give you a lift somewhere if ya want. I don't have much money, but I can get you a burger if you're hungry. It's the least I can do for taking care of that monster for me."

In the grand scheme, it wasn't Kore's job, alone, to deal with the monstrosities that made their way into this world. Hell, it wasn't even her job, so much as a self-imposed duty that she had sworn herself to. And, even without her presence in this world, aliens, monsters, and psychopaths with crazy powers would continue to storm through the streets and tear them apart, anyway. But, unlike many of the heroes, or hunters, who rose to the occasion...

Kore was directly responsible for every demon that slipped through the door.

If she ever wanted a chance to sleep soundly at night, she had no choice but to fight and get stronger so that she could bring one huge piece of this shitshow to an end. As far as she was concerned, anything that her kind did to bring chaos into this world was was a fault of her own. So people like this guy? This Phanuel guy? She would never have a problem lending him a hand if he, through his actions, could alleviate that burden on her shoulders even a little.
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Re: The Devil You Know [CLOSED]

Post by Windigo » Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:39 pm

Patrick learned several things about Kore in the moments after she'd come down. Her name, for one, and apparently her background, though he still had no reason to believe her. Especially not when he got a whiff of her.

He heard it in himself, maybe a little too loudly: his heart rate spiked, and his breath hitched slightly, cutting off the deep, accidental inhale of a stench not at all unlike the one of the now-charred corpse that was once a demon. He should've known. She looked human, but despite all her explanations it was awfully convenient of her to just show up like this, right after he'd finished with one of her kindred.

Calm down. She's similar to that, sure, but not the same. There's a bit of human in there.

He clenched his teeth. He had no real reason to believe his own inner demon, and to the outer one, he'd just look uncertain behind his mask for a moment as he thought very loud thoughts back at the voice in his head, which responded in the same even tone as before.

Look at her. She has almost every disadvantage against you without that weapon, and you'd have time to brace yourself before she can draw another or start using an ability. If she saw you as prey, she would've attacked as soon as she saw that you're injured. Maybe even while you were praying.

Would Patrick's inner demon have done that if it'd been in her situation?

Depends, but if I was looking for prey, yeah. I would've gone after you while you looked like an easy target. Relax a little. She's harmless, at least for the moment.

He still looked uncertain as he glanced into the void of her portal, and then back at her hand. But, ultimately, he took a deep breath and accepted her handshake, in way of a semi-apology for being on edge.

"I learned there're things I've needed to learn on my own." He smiled, and it showed in his eyes this time. "Like who to trust, and when."

He chuckled a little as he remembered what she'd implied in the few seconds when he'd been debating with himself, and then, slightly more serious, asked, "How old are you, anyway? If I'm allowed to ask that."

He then sighed, whether or not she answered, and looked back into the void.

"I could go for something to eat. And I can pay for myself. I'd need to swing by my car first, though. Get bandaged up." He rolled his shoulders, which had stopped stinging but were now stiff with the early stages of scar tissue and clotted blood. "Like I said, it got the drop on me."

Congenial though he'd managed to be, he now didn't trust either of the demons hanging around him. He decided that this might be a good test of character - if she didn't try to take him down while he was feasibly unprepared, he'd at least have more reason than the word of the evil spirit he'd picked up to go on about her. If she did, then he'd know what to think of both of them, and...well, and he'd probably have to take her out, but that was better than trying to gauge her during a simple social interaction. Easier, in a lot of ways. At least something trying to rip your throat out was straightforward about it.

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Re: The Devil You Know [CLOSED]

Post by Ryoko » Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:45 pm


"Sixteen" she admitted, "I've been doing this for just a little over a year now"

With a shrug, she let the void orb fade and followed him to his car. It was... just a normal ass car. Not some fancy, gold-trimmed, logo-branded monster-hunting family car, but... some old Chevy Sedan. The kind of car that her dad drives. Ironically, that made it cooler than what she had been expecting. In some twisted way, it was nice to know that she wasn't the only person in the world who wasn't rolling in dough. And while he went to patch himself up, she took a seat behind the steering wheel.

And immediately realized that she didn't know a damn thing about driving.

She gained access to her own pocket dimension before she was even old enough to start learning how to drive. And, after that, there wasn't a great deal of incentive to try to... even if her stepdad had been pushing her to learn. Out of little more than curiosity, she started messing with the steering wheel, the gearbox, the radio and etc. in his car. She didn't have the keys, so it wasn't like they were going anywhere, but that probably didn't make the experience any more enjoyable for Patrick.


"Well yeah, I know. You can't learn to fight without fighting. But that's not really what I was getting at. You were born, and you had your whole family to teach you how to properly use a knife, and fight and... shoot lighting from your fingers... apparently. I woke up and suddenly discovered that there were demons in the shadows all over my city. All over the world, really. And my dad's a pencil pusher who's never had a fight in his life."

She turned to the back seat and looked at Phanuel like he was insane.


"Like... I love my dad, but you can't seriously tell me that I haven't missed out on a few life-lessons that I'm going to need to learn if I want to keep this up."
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