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Random Adventure

Discussion in 'General Role Play' started by Sem, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    It was the middle of the night, around 3am. A certain figure was hastily making their way through the streets of downtown New York. Upon reaching the corner of East 57th Street and Park Avenue the figure stopped outside of a certain establishment.

    The figure was dressed in what seemed like pirate garb. A green, military frock coat was paired with brown leather boots and a large, tricorn hat with a large pink plume. That was all. No shirt, no pants. Not that the figure needed them. Why not? He was a skeleton, and his name was Captain Bellefleur. He also had a scabbard for a cutlass to one hip and a rapier simply tucked through his belt on his other hip. There may or may not also have been an old flintlock pistol tucked into the belt. He also had a satchel over his shoulders, and he was currently going through it.

    In no time at all he produced a small object and held it to the front door of Terra Investigations. The object was a skeleton key that was actually skeleton-themed. It was an incredibly powerful object, only one of which was in existence, at least, the only one of its caliber. The key allowed the undead captain to access any lock or keyhole, and so far it had not come across any enchantments that could stop it. It was mainly used to borrow cars, cars which may or may not see their owners again.

    The key somehow fit into the lock of the door and the good captain opened it, only now he was on his hands and knees. He scurried inside in that fashion in order to avoid being seen by the establishment's also undead receptionist named John. John did not sleep at night and really never left the desk. Ever now there was a tiny light turned on as the poor zombie waited for the phone to ring, even though it probably wouldn't until well into the morning.

    The room also smelled very bad, but thankfully Bellefleur had no working nose.

    Without warning, Bellefleur jumped up and sprayed a bunch of perfume from a bottle in the zombie's face and then ran down the hall, arms flailing.

    The Captain came upon a door, through which he entered as silent as, well, the dead. It was a bedroom, and upon the bed slept a powerful sorceress who he didn't want to wake. On a stand next to the bed he saw his prize - a large and very old tome - Adam.

    Captain Bellefleur stepped up to the stand and grasped the old book, waking the animated figure on its cover. Bellefleur held a single finger up to his skeleton grin as Adam awoke.

    "What in the world?" Adam whispered, rubbing sleep from his eyes.

    Bellefleur waved at the man in the cover of the book. His way of saying good morning.

    "You? How did you get in here? Do you know what time it is?!"

    Adam was making quite a ruckus now, which he tended to do. Julia, the sorceress, stirred in her sleep.

    Bellefleur stared at Adam for a long moment before suddenly snatching the book off of the stand and running out of the room with him. He stopped by the reception desk once again, finding that John was giving him a rather bored look. Before the zombie could say anything Bellefleur left the bottle of perfume on the counter and then ran wildly out of the building and down the street.

    OOC: RP featuring Chad and myself, of course. But others are free to join.
     
  2. It was another one of those nights. The nights where John did absolutely nothing but sit at his lonely desk, in the dark, and wait for a phone that would never ring at this hour. There weren't going to be any cases popping up this early in the morning; there were exceptions, but they were few and far between. So, the zombie sat at his desk and resigned himself to doing nothing until Julia and Angel awoke. It was nothing new, of course, it was how he spent every night. He wished that he felt tired, at the very least, so that he could try and sleep even though he didn't need to, but he never felt tired. He only felt alone.

    That is, until the door to the establishment unlocked itself and the door opened. For the briefest of moments, he thought that maybe someone had come to see him. He didn't see anyone though, and then he got to thinking about just how the door unlocked itself. That had never happened before. "Hey, is someone there? I'd really appreciate--"

    He was cut off by a skeleton spraying a bottle of perfume into his face. It didn't sting his eyes, seeing as he couldn't feel pain, but his body reacted instinctively causing his eyes to water. He stared after the skeleton, who he now recognized as his friend Captain Bellefleur, as he climbed the stairs.

    A few moments later, the Captain returned and the two stared awkwardly at each other for a moment. That moment ended when the Bellefleur placed the bottle of perfume on his desk and ran away wildly.

    For a second John was dumbstruck, completely unsure of what Bellefleur could possibly want with Adam, who he noticed tucked under the captain's bony arm. Then he picked up the perfume and sprayed it onto his clothes, enjoying the scent, as he placed the bottle lovingly into his desk drawer. "Well, that was unexpected."

    He produced a small notebook, in the front cover were the words MY FRIENDSHIP BOOK, and he began to write. Tonight, Captain Bellefleur came into the agency and gave me a nice bottle of perfume, it was really thoughtful, since I've been trying different ways to cover up the decaying smell. We had a nice bonding moment too before he ran away, like everyone else. Oh, and he took Adam. I'll tell Julia in the morning.

    He tucked the book back into his desk and returned to what he was doing previously, staring at the ceiling and waiting for the phone to ring. "Julia won't be very happy to know Adam's gone," he sighed, "I hope Bellefleur brings him back soon, otherwise I'll actually need to tell her. I don't like delivering bad news." His lamenting continued long into the early morning.

    --------------------

    "So, stealing now, is it?" Adam scoffed at the bony pirate. He'd always gotten along fairly well with the skeletal being, even if his sign language was a little rusty, but this was going a bit too far. "And just how do you propose to explain this to Julia? Sorry, just decided to take your immensely powerful and incredibly handsome tome out for a midnight walk, hope you don't mind." He groaned, slightly pleased that an opportunity to complain had presented itself, it was one of his favorite pass-times after all. "The Undead," he spat, "you all have your odd little quirks, don't you? I suppose I should be glad you aren't horribly depressing like John."

    The odd pair continued moving along the streets, Adam being carried and Bellefleur striding along, unpleasant clacking sounds emanating from his bones. The dictionary realized how pointless it would be trying to get Bellefleur to return him to Terra Investigations, it was apparent that the captain needed him for something badly enough that he'd risk upsetting Julia. An exasperated sigh, long and over-dramatic. Giving up on the prospect of sleep, Adam asked, "so, where are we heading, then?"
     
  3. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    Francis peaked around the corner, looking down W 59th Street. Central park lay right ahead of the skeleton and the book. Blackest darkness lay just beyond the reaches of the streetlamps. Whatever Adam was saying, Francis wasn't listening. Something was happening in the darkness of Central Park. Something of the foulest nature. The old captain could feel it, you guessed it, in his bones.

    He looked both ways down the road, waited for a taxi to roll past, and then sprinted across the street, boots clunking loudly on the worn asphalt.

    An entrance to the park was right around the corner, but Francis wasted no time with that. While running, Francis chucked Adam over the stone wall. Then, he reached into his satchel and from it pulled out a bright yellow umbrella that should not have been able to fit inside of it. The umbrella opened, flashing the sky with the giant smiley face pattern it was etched with. Like most things Francis kept on his person, it was enchanted. The umbrella lifted him neatly over the wall and landed him amongst some trees.

    Francis remained crouched as he impossibly slid the umbrella back into the satchel. He looked left, then right, his skeleton head showing no emotion yet all the emotion at the same time. Adam was whispering harshly from somewhere. Feeling that the coast was clear the captain stood up and pulled yet another object from the satchel. This time it was a flashlight. He flicked it on, pointing it into some bushes, making them smile, for the flashlight beam was also a smiley face.

    Bellefleur listened, despite his lack of ears, for Adam's angry whispers. After a minute of placing faces on every tree and bush in the area, Francis finally located the unhappy tome.

    "Well there you are! And how dare you!?" Adam fumed as Francis nonchalantly dusted him off, as if that was all that was required to placate the tome. "Does your brainless skull not understand how delicate I am?!"

    As Adam continued to rant Francis clenched the flashlight in his mouth and dug out yet another object from his bag. This one was spherical, slightly larger than a softball. It was black, and made of plastic with Mattel engraved somewhere on it. An 8 within a white circle marked the ball.

    Francis shook the 8 Ball and then peered into the window. Yes, it said. With that Francis took off, running through bushes and avoiding trees. Eventually they came across one of the many paths in Central Park. Francis put the flashlight away as he looked left, then right, then shook the ball again. No, it said, which seemed to cause Francis to turn left onto the path.

    They followed the path for quite some time, with Francis occasionally counseling the Magic 8-Ball. What he was asking the ball was uncertain, but Francis seemed to be completely certain in its reliability. At one point the ball said, Soon.

    A few minutes later there was a park employee up ahead, but Francis was ready and flung himself off of the path and into the bushes. The action was apparently not enough to avoid detection, as the employee heard the clatter of bones and the thump of a heavy book.

    "Hello?" the man asked, approaching the bushes. He flashed a light down at the ground, discovering a lifeless skeleton in pirate garb and an old book - Francis had ensured that Adam's face was in the grass.

    At first the man flinched in shock, but then his face contorted in confusion. "What the hell?" He reached down to his belt and pulled a walkie-talkie. "Hey, I've, um, well, I found a, uh, skeleton...?"

    Static.

    "...Sorry, you found a what?"

    "Yeah, a skeleton," he confirmed, prodding Francis' limp body. "Clean, nothing left on him. Except, uh, pirate clothes."

    Static.

    "You being serious right now?"

    "Yeah!" he said, standing up and turning away.

    "Someone's messing around, I guess. Can you carry it back here?"

    "Uh..." the man trailed, turning back to look at his discovery, only in place of a skeleton there was a white rose and a happy face sticker.

    "... Shit."

    -------

    After half an hour of trailblazing through the park with a cutlass, Francis stopped. Noises could be heard up ahead, hushed voices. Francis consulted the 8-Ball one last time, receiving a Yes. He put the object away and then crawled on his hands and knees towards a hedge of bushes and shrubbery.

    Just beyond them, in the trees ahead, were a group of people clothed in all black. It was obvious they weren't supposed to be there. There was a single light among them, and they were all stooped to the ground, looking at something there. They had been digging, and it was down within the earth that held the item of interest. Francis could feel it very strong now, it was practically vibrating through him. Whatever it was, it wasn't meant to be found.

    "What, what is it?" Adam whispered. Francis merely but a finger to his mouth and continued watching the group with his empty gaze. After a moment, an long object was lifted up out of the earth. It was a rusted black, about a yard in length. Light cracks were dispersed here and there. It may have been made of stone. It was a mallet, the kind used to ring large bells.

    Francis held Adam up and pointed frantically at the mallet. The people who had unearthed it seemed pleased, devilish grins on their faces. They took the mallet, and in the blink of an eye the group of them vanished, leaving Francis and Adam alone in the middle of the park.
     
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  4. "A stroll in Central Park, is that what you've dragged me out here in the middle of the night for?" Adam asked exasperated, a conversation with the captain was a bit jumbled at the best of times, but when something was obviously on his mind, it was nearly impossible for the book to tell what was going through his skull. It was only as they approached the park that Adam could tell that it was something more than a stroll.

    "Wait, what are you doing, Francis? Francis?" The skeleton captain rushed forward toward a wall, "don't even think about i--" without waiting for Adam to finish his protest, the captain hurled him over the wall.

    The tome landed with a thud, the branches of the bush he landed in scratching both his front and back covers, and the book knew that it would take a trip to a book binder to get him back in prime condition. "Well I've never been so insulted!" He growled, keeping his voice low in order to avoid drawing the unwanted attention of any patrolling park rangers. "To be chucked like a brick through some vagrant's window! You thick-skulled, cadaver!"

    "Well there you are! And how dare you!?" Adam fumed as Francis nonchalantly dusted him off, as if that would be enough. Francis would be paying for his trip to the binders, and then some. "Does your brainless skull not understand how delicate I am?!"

    "I know an excellent binder in Manhattan, you're going to have to get me there, I can feel my edges fraying. I can feel my bindings loosening. I'm too important to be treated with such carelessness!" The captain carried the tome through the park, seemingly ignoring his ranting. "You don't seem to understand that I-- what is that? Is that a magic eight ball? What's it say, yes? Yes to what? Did you ask it if you'd manage to infuriate the most important book in mankind's history?"

    Still frustratingly ignorant to Adam's self-importance; Francis was skittering about like a frightened cockroach. Correcting his path according to the eight ball's directions; of course Adam could tell that the item was enchanted, he was incredibly sensitive to magics, but it was still ridiculous that he was consulting the toy for directions.

    "Look out, there's a park official." Adam hissed, but it was apparently unnecessary as the skeleton dove off the path and into some more bushes. But the official noticed them regardless and shined his light right into their new hiding place. Of course, Adam could hardly tell this simple fact from the light reflecting from the grass in his face. Francis had the audacity to place him face down on the ground. He'd have to give the skeleton yet another piece of his mind for that.

    -----

    Another half hour passed in much the same way as before, Francis following his enchanted plastic's directions, and Adam complaining about it with every step, until a group of people speaking excitedly in hushed tones made the tome quiet down. If there was one thing Adam cared about more than complaining, it was self-preservation. And something about this group of people made Adam think that his future would be questionable in the least if they heard him.

    Francis pointed frantically toward an object that the group had unearthed, but it was hardly necessary, Adam could sense immense energies emanating from the mallet. Something sinister was mixed into it, like a great power that had been used for nefarious purposes.

    It seemed to Adam that he should know what the mallet was, what it pertained to, but he couldn't place it. As the group disappeared, Adam spoke up again, "I don't understand. If there was something this dangerous going on and you knew about it, why didn't you bring Julia, or Sorena, Sem, Chadwyck, anybody else? I can't help you beyond telling you what it is."

    In response to Captain Bellefleur's glance, he smiled, "of course I realized what it was." He left out the "I think" that he was going to add, not wanting to seem as infallible as he believed himself to be. "The mallet belongs to the Cataclysm Bell, an ancient, well guarded artifact that causes great natural disasters whenever it is rung. By that mallet that they just absconded with, actually. The more it is rung, the more disastrous the results."

    "So, now that you know what it is, what do you plan to do about it?"
     
  5. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    It was a fair question. Why not bring Julia? Or Sem? Or Sorena, who was a master in magic that had to do with weather and disasters. The simple answer was that he couldn't. He didn't know specifics, but he simply knew that informing any of the aforementioned people wasn't going to be an available option.

    Whoever those people were who took the mallet, they couldn't be completely oblivious to the superpowers that could stop them. Sem and Sorena were hardly obscure names to anyone in the supernatural underworld. They'd both been alive too long and done too much. Chadwyck and company? Also famous for their antics overseas. Terra Investigations was literally around the corner and also had some notoriety. Lysis Fox? She was many things, but unknown wasn't one of them. All of these people would be on a list of people to incapacitate, especially since they'd all been known to cooperate with one another.

    Francis? He was obscure. No one knew of him, nor was he really a threat. The swords? The pistol? They were for show, intimidation really. Did he know how to use them? That remained to be seen, but at the moment he would feel awful simply swatting a fly with his cutlass. Of course, that was because he was basically an embodiment of goodness. "Embodiment" being used loosely in poor Francis' case. It was the whole reason he could sense what was happening in the first place. Something was happening that could potentially upset the balance of the world. Something evil.

    And Adam hadn't realized it yet, but Francis had taken him because he knew that Adam would be the most helpful. It was actually a sign of how much esteem Adam had in the empty eye-sockets of Francis.

    Knowing now what the malicious object was, time was obviously a precious resource. Francis pulled out his flashlight again and scurried back from whence they came.

    -------

    Back in front of Terra Investigations, Francis stood peering into the glass of the the window. John was not in sight. There was some energy in the air, probably magic. Adam would probably know what it was. Francis pulled out his skeleton key and slid it into the lock of the front door and tried turning it.

    It wouldn't budge.

    Francis stared at the key in the lock, feeling only God knows what. Confusion? Awe? This had never happened to him before. Truly powerful magic must be at play to disable the use of his key. Perhaps it was dimensional magic that had trapped the building in some pocket universe. Again, Adam probably knew what it was, but it didn't really matter. Either way there was no getting help from Julia or Angel, which confirmed what Francis had already gleaned from his magic eight ball. Adam was smart, he would be able to tell that this magic was affecting not just Julia and Angel.

    The only important thing was knowing what could break the spell, which Adam could explain, and probably was already doing so as Francis ran off back down the street like some crazed rag doll. He rounded a corner and stopped dead, haha, in his tracks, looking directly at John Doe, the poor, poor, unfortunate, zombie secretary. John must've left the building before the spell was cast. It was almost five in the morning. An early morning stroll? Francis then noticed a bag of McDonalds in the zombie's hand. Food break? John ate? McDonalds? No wonder he looked awful. The skeletal chef could not allow such a heresy of food to pass. Francis smacked the bag out of John's hand before grabbing John by that same hand, and dragging him into a nearby alley, where he sat them down on the grimy ground.

    Forcing Adam into John's arms, Francis dug into his magical wonder satchel once again, this time pulling out a crumpled white sheet of paper. It had a map of the world on it, though it looked like it had been taken from a coloring book, and, indeed, it had been colored on by someone who had probably been five at the time. There was a happy sun, and a happy crescent moon, and happy clouds supporting a most-likely happy rainbow on the paper as well.

    If they couldn't get help from anyone they had easy connections to, then they would have to get help from the outside. Francis consulted the magic eight ball again. He shook it a few times, each time the ball said No. Francis was running out of people to ask for help from. He thought for a moment, realizing that he would need to seek help from the unlikeliest of places. Someone powerful enough yet someone who wouldn't be considered a threat. After a moment a name came to mind. If anyone else knew what he was thinking they would scream no at him. However, he had no such reservations. The safety of the world was at stake, and if she would be beneficial to the securing of that safety, then so be it.

    Just to confirm, Francis shook the ball one last time, this time seeing Yes. The plastic sphere had spoken! She was indeed the one they would need to ask for help from. He hoped his comrades wouldn't put up too much of a fight.

    Francis placed one hand on John, who held Adam, and with the other hand he pointed a finger at Italy, specifically at the small picture of the Colosseum.

    -------

    It all happened fairly quickly. One second they were in some New York back alley, the next they were in front of the actual Colosseum.

    And it was daytime, afternoon really. And there were people everywhere. And wow, people could scream. So Francis hadn't thought that part entirely through. He stood up and looked around, spotting the nearest Vespa and running to it, dragging John along as well as he could without dismembering him. Francis jammed his skeleton key into the ignition as John settled in behind him, and suddenly they were off.

    Well, not so suddenly.

    Francis had a hard enough time driving cars. A scooter was new territory. Curses. Francis removed the key and instead pulled something else out of his satchel. The yellow umbrella made a reappearance. Francis grabbed John by the hip and opened the umbrella, causing them to fly up into the sky.

    Once they were high enough Francis could see where he wanted to be. He gazed in the direction of the Holy City, glowing in the noonday sun. The umbrella began moving them in the direction of the Church capitol. Surely they were a bizarre spectacle, but they were causing less commotion than on the ground.

    After a few moments the happy-faced umbrella set them down not far from the south gate, a bit out of sight, but they would be spotted soon enough.

    "Are you utterly daft?" came Adam's voice. "Are you seriously considering walking in there? You? A skeleton? With his zombie pal?"

    Well, Francis wasn't planing on just strolling in through the gate. They'd be obliterated by holy magic before even reaching the South Sanctuary. But they did need to get in there, yes, so Francis nodded at Adam's question.

    "Don't we know a saint or two that could help us?" Adam pondered, more to himself. The only person Francis knew of who could get them in would not do so once he found out what he was planning on doing. Alphard. Had he asked the eight ball about Alphard? He quickly did so.

    It is uncertain.

    Good to know Francis supposed. He also consulted the ball on what to do now.

    Wait.
     
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  6. "Well that was quite the trip, Francis, but next time try to call ahead or something. I like to know in advanced before I'm going to be dragged out of bed and forced into a terrifying situation with a dangerous artifact. I'm just happy to be home, now we just need to let Julia and Angel know about what's going on..." Adam stopped in his tracks, so to speak, as they approached the front doors of Terra Investigations. Something felt wrong.

    The tome's suspicions were confirmed as Francis tried his skeleton key in the lock and nothing happened. Adam knew the key's enchantment quite well, and if it couldn't open a simple lock then there was something far worse going on than the book could fathom. "There's a strong spell on the building." The tome said, though it was hardly necessary at this point. "I thought something felt off, but I never would have expected magic of this potency, something able to counteract the enchantments Julia placed over the building. Strong enough to lock her away." It was at this moment the dictionary started to panic.

    "Julia's trapped in there! What good am I without my wielder? None, that's what! I've got a contract with her, no one else can read my pages until the contract is broken or Julia dies, without Julia I'm just an empty book." If it were possible for Adam to hyperventilate, it would have happened multiple times over by now. While it was true that Adam had access to all the knowledge that he possessed and could easily "share" it with whoever he wished, verbally, the only true way to access the power stored within his pages was to enter into a contract with the dictionary and draw energy from the spells within.

    "It isn't just Terra Investigations either," he said, finally calming himself down. "Now that I've felt the spell here, I can sense it popping up all over the place. I don't know specific locations, but it's a safe bet that other people we could ask for help are in similar situations. Which means the likelihood of stopping whatever is going on just plummeted." Adam searched through every detail of his encyclopedic knowledge for some sort of solution, as Francis bolted down the street again.

    "Bad news, I'm afraid. That level of magic can only be dispelled a couple of ways, all of which seem unlikely at this point in time. We would either need a spellcaster of the highest ranking, someone like Julia or Sorena, to dispell it. This would take a lot of time and energy even if we had both of them at our disposal. The only other way would be to kill the spell's original caster. Aside from that, the only thing we can do is wait for the spell to dissipate naturally. Which I don't see happening any time soon."

    ----------

    John often went out early in the morning, before too many people wandered the New York City streets and the night still concealed his nature well enough to prevent panic among the people who were out and about.

    It was one of his favorite times of the day, when he could get out of the stuffy office and into the fresh air; and if he didn't get out once in a while, his rotting flesh really stank the office up. This way he could air himself out a bit, it hardly worked at all, but it was better than nothing.

    At least the shock of seeing the zombie had finally faded from the late night and early morning McDonald's employees, who had actually grown accustomed to John's visits. The first few times John had been completely unable to order anything at all because everyone was shouting and throwing things at him, despite his reassurance that he was more than content with a Big Mac and wanted nothing to do with the brains in their skulls. They were hard enough to get to, what with the skull to crack through, and then they weren't that great anyway. They were too mushy, and lacked any sort of flavor, and then there was the inconvenient fact that people needed them to live, and were often unwilling to part with them. Not that John even wanted them in the first place, he hated the idea of hurting people, his biggest goal in after-life was to be accepted by others.

    Now, after several attempts, they were accustomed, if still unnerved, by the zombie's presence in the restaurant. But at least they let him order, spend the money he made working at TI and leave in peace. John did even need to eat, especially considering his digestive tract didn't even work anymore, but it gave him a place to go, and the tasteless meat patties produced by the fast food giant were great zombie fodder.

    Terra Investigations was right around the corner, and John was a bit reluctant to head back inside. "Julia will wake up soon," John sighed, looking at the bottle of perfume in his hand sadly and then spraying a bit on his neck, "I really hope Francis brings Adam back before she gets out of bed."

    It was a great stroke of luck, in the zombie's eyes, that Francis happened to be staring at him as he rounded the corner. They regarded each other for a moment, and before John could say anything, the skeleton chef slapped his Big Mac from his hands and dragged him into an alleyway. "Nice to see you again, Francis, thank you again for the gift," the zombie sprayed some more perfume onto his clothes, in an attempt to show Francis that his gift was being put to good use.

    When Francis shoved Adam into his arms, John looked the book over and said finally, "did you have a good time with Francis, Adam? I would have liked to come along, but I didn't want the folks at McDonald's to miss me this morning."

    "A good time? Hardly. There's something sinister at work, John, and we can't ask Julia and Angel for help."

    "Of course you can, they'd be happy to help I'm sure."

    "No, you dense ghoul, I mean we physically cannot ask them for help. They've been sealed away by some spell, I suspect you avoided being sealed yourself thanks to your trip to McDonald's."

    John considered a moment, but before replying he looked over at Francis' map and sighed. "Oh that's lovely, Captain, did you color it yourself? I really like how happy everything looks on that page, I wish that it was that simple to put a smile on this face." The zombie gestured sadly to his lifeless lips. Of course, Bellefleur wasn't listening, he was too busy consulting the magic eight ball about his unspoken plans. John looked at the captain hopefully when he put a hand on his shoulder, hoping that there would be a hug that followed. John had always wanted a hug.

    Much to the zombie's disappointment, there was no hug. Instead he was greeted with the all too familiar shrieks of terror and panic that usually followed his arrival in a crowded area. He was too surprised by the fact that he was suddenly in a bright, afternoon Sun and no longer in an alleyway in New York City to pay the screams too much attention.

    "Didn't plan this out very well, did you, Bellefleur?" Adam shouted, trying to be heard over the confusion. The captain dragged them to a Vespa, started the engine and proceeded to move no where at all.

    "Captain, if you'd like, I think I could--" John's sentence was cut short as the captain flourished his umbrella and the trio set to the sky. "Nevermind."

    -----------

    Rare were the times that Balthasar McCormick was in the Holy City. The Saint much preferred the adventure of wandering the world as a Cleric, the warrior priests that acted as the hands of the church to smite evils in the world. As such, the man was seldom in Italy at all, but often times traveling wherever the church needed him to be. It was far from glamorous work, and he received next to no recognition for what he did, but the priest needed no praise. His was holy work.

    Currently, however, he was at home. One of the times between wandering; the man had little love for sitting in one place for too long, but if there was somewhere to be stuck, it was Rome. Saint McCormick was returning from a pleasant trip into the city for some R and R, he had found a shady spot where he could stretch his massive six foot six frame out on the grass and watch the people go about their lives.

    He was hard to miss, the man was bald, with a graying goatee and dark, round shades covering his eyes. He wore a priestly uniform, a black shirt, with a white collar, black slacks and black leather wingtip shoes. The only thing that seemed out of place was a massive steel claymore that lay on the ground beside him; but the priest couldn't leave his weapon behind, in the event of an unholy attack, he had to be ready to protect his flock. The dual silver rings on the middle finger of either hand flared with light at the thought.

    "Guess I'd best be gettin' back," he stretched, and stood up, heading toward the Holy City, it'd be a few minutes walk to the South Sanctuary, but it would give the priest some time to collect his thoughts. There were a few things he needed to speak with Alphard about, but that could wait until after he'd had some dinner.

    As the priest approached the Holy City, he sensed something odd. And shortly after sensing, he heard a familiar voice chastising someone. And shortly after hearing a familiar voice, he smelled the unmistakable stench of rotting flesh.

    "Adam and John Doe, what on earth are you doing in Italy? What are you doing outside the Holy City?" Balthasar probably frightened them, the way he just barged into their conversation, but this was a dangerous place for the undead to be. John could be obliterated on the spot, and so, Balthasar noted, would be the living skeleton beside him. "I don't believe we've had the pleasure..." the priest sized up the skeleton's attire, "captain?" he guessed the title was appropriate. "I'm Balthasar McCormick, and you're in very real danger if you hang around."

    "We can explain everything, Balthasar. It's all a bit confusing and more than a little frightening." Adam proceeded to quickly summarize what brought the unlikely trio to the Holy City, at least as far as he knew. About the Cataclysm Bell, and the people who had unearthed the mallet. What exactly they were doing in the Holy City, Adam still wasn't sure, Bellefleur hadn't thought to share with his companions.

    When the book finished, Balthasar's face was grim. "That's grave news you've brought with you, lad. And something definitely needs to be done about it, tell me what you need and I'll try and help you as best I can. I think it'd be best if you didn't enter the sanctuary unless it's absolutely necessary, though."
     

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