4087/The Dragon's Heartbeat

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The Dragon's Heartbeat
Date of Scene: 08 May 2016
Location: Alberichstadt <P:WTWM>
Synopsis: Strange noises have been heard at night coming from Drachenblatt. Janine organizes a team to make sure the noises aren't Forest-related.
Cast of Characters: Janine Liberi, 941, 513, Kotone Yamakawa, 747

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The sky above Alberichstadt is overcast tonight. Perfect for an infiltration mission like this one. Janine has asked everyone to meet her in front of the wrought iron gates that separate the campus from the outside world. On either side of it is tall brick walls, topped with spikes, which now have barbed wire wrapped around them. Evidentially, a more recent addition.

    As are the two security cameras at the top of the gate supports. In spite of their obvious presence, Janine seems quite content to stand right in front of them, bundled up in a dark hoodie that conceals her bad arm. Her other hand is occupied with her smartphone which she stares at intently. Once people begin making their approach, she goes to work.

    Next to the gate is a little door into a security booth. Janine pokes at her phone with a thumb, and the light on the magnetized electronic lock goes from red to green. Carefully using her ring and pinkie finger, she pulls the handle down and steps inside.

Mel Brock (941) has posed:
    Marshal Mel Brock would not be taking part in breaking-and-entering without a very, very good reason.

    Goings-on that might be a supernatural threat to the students within the academy are, just barely, a good reason. But she still looks visibly anxious about the whole thing.

    "You, uh. You want me to take care of the cameras? I can do that from here, but it'll be pretty permanent." Even asking that question sits weirdly with Mel, and she can't quite hide it. She's dressed casually, much as she was when she visited Janine in the hospital; a turtleneck in dark blue, a pair of slacks in a slightly lighter shade, a smoke-grey longcoat, and her ubiquitous 'hands-free cellphone mic'. It's her limiter, of course, but she doesn't volunteer that. Let people assume what they want, and if the 'normals' ask, she'll tell them it's greentooth. Or whatever.

Finna (513) has posed:
Later, if people actually get a chance to look at security footage from the cameras, they'll see something very strange indeed. A slightly amorphous blob of static moves into view, conspicuously shaped like a velociraptor. The footage glitches, losing resolution and turning fuzzy, but Static-Raptor appears to do a little dance before zipping on towards the gates.

    The whole thing is just too bloody weird, but any attempt to analyze the footage will be inconclusive. Did the camera REALLY see that or was it just a bit of corruption on the storage medium?

    Either way, Janine and Mel did indeed see a FULL-GROWN VELOCIRAPTOR come dashing out of nowhere and right through the gates Janine just unlocked. Janine, in fact, gets a great view of the creature skidding carefully down the hall and shifting shape, shrinking down to human size and becoming a white-haired young woman wearing what seems to be pretty normal clothes for the school. "I'm always up for some mischief. What's the mission?"

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa has returned to Alberichstadt, she's clad in the stelath suit she's likely best known for in the multiverse. She's already cloaked herself and should be nearly impossible to see with this world's level of tech. If she's careful she's also ready to go to town on any computer systems they might encounter. Seeking Mel's got hte cameras if needd Kotone will keep out of that... and she slowly moves in but she pauses for a moment at Finna, she just stares.

Scarlet Everille (747) has posed:
    So, Scarlet doesn't know Janine, but she knows the others from the Crystal Forest, and has been there twice. Suffice to say, she has a vested interest. She's come in her own uniform today, somehow even more posh than that of an already pricey private school, but others outside of the core group won't recognize it as anything but belonging to Alberichstadt despite how clearly different it is. All she needs, as always, seems to be the expensive messenger bag, the smartcollar device comfortably around her neck, and probably 100k of reagents in her satchel. That is to be said, all she /apparently/ needs. The girl is surrounded by a veritable kaleidoscope of complex wards invisible to the human eye, and tailed by a pair of familiars that are likewise unseen; a blessing considering what Nobodies typically look like.

    "So, would you like to tell us if we're looking anything in particular?" she asks Janine, not believing that she is especially inclined to introductions or formality. The question is innocent enough; casual and non-accusatory. "I can search the building much faster than us going room to room if I know what to look for, you know. I've seen the Forest before."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Mel gets a long look as she arrives. She would never admit it, but she's happy to have someone like her along. Gives the whole thing a sense of moral legitimacy. "Don't worry about the cameras. I'm in the system, and I'm feeding them a loop from my home computer. The place will look empty until I say so," she says as she holds the door with her foot for everyone.

    Thank God for that, because now a dinosaur is walking up the street. Janine stares, eyes wide until it suddenly speaks. "... Jesus fucking Christ I thought you were a Shadow. Don't do that! If anyone saw you... ugh." She's grumpy now, enough so that she misses Kotone entirely. Scarlet's arrival paints a curled lip on Janine's face as the Italian takes in the other girl's obviously expensive attire. That is, until she lets out a long sigh.

    "Might be Shadows, might be something else... might be nothing. I got no clue, just that there are weird noises at night." Once everyone is inside the security booth, Janine jabs the unlocking button to get into the school grounds and says, "I'm wiping the logs of these doors opening too. Paid someone to set it all up for me. Just don't break anything, and it'll be like we were never here."

    The grounds consist of clean cobblestone paths (waterblasted once a week) and carefully manicured lawns, each blade near the exact same height as its neighbours. The path goes up to the school's entrance, a small but grand older building from the Gothic period, complete with gargoyles on the roof. Thankfully, it's been wired with the more modern buildings that are just barely visible in the darkness behind it. So Janine lets everyone inside with her smartphone.

Finna (513) has posed:
Having managed to get Janine a bit hot under the collar, Finna cracks a playfully innocent grin. "Gotta put on a show sometimes. Don't worry, these silly cameras can't get a glimpse of me-- oh." Finna frowns upon hearing the recordings will be useless. Drat, on the one night she could really screw with the security guys...

    Finna shrugs with a sigh. "Fine fine, no more foolery. Noises at night, gotcha."

    The Lunar has reason to hang around and investigate. Things in this region are STRANGE and there's things to learn from it! She's just... not sure what. But she inhales, exhales... and focuses her instincts, her senses. Sharpens her hearing.

    And lets the strange power protecting her from digital eyes lapse.

Mel Brock (941) has posed:
    Finna just sort of gets a flat stare from the Marshal. Scarlet, meanwhile, gets a more lingering, appraising look, before she calmly observes, "...You feel like 'stumbling down a dark alley full of glowing red eyes while absolutely plastered'. And I have never had to use that phrase to describe anyone's feel before." She'd say more, but Janine has some info for them.

    "...just don't break anything," Mel mutters. "I, uh. I make no promises if we get into a fight and I need my TK." But now that they're on school grounds, she quietly reaches into her coat, and draws out a sleek, high-tech pistol of some sort. She keeps it held in both hands, moving with a relaxed sort of caution, eyes always sweeping the area. "So, give me the short rundown. Only thing I know about Shadows is 'they're bad shit'. What exactly are we talking here?"

Scarlet Everille (747) has posed:
    Well, even if Janine doesn't approve of Scarlet, the Brit clearly approves of her. She's got a kind of relaxed, easygoing and agreeable atmosphere about her today, despite the inherent after-hours tension of break-and-enter theatrics. "Oh? That's good to hear. I appreciate someone else being able to handle electronics with some common sense for a change. Having everything planned out competently saves me some work." That first may have been a subtle little dig at Finna, but she doesn't seem too perturbed walking up the pathway, seemingly very comfortable in the kind of blend of classic architecture and modern convenience, even if the place is less deliberately, excessively grandiose than Heliosanctus.

    "So we're expecting odd noises? Easy enough." She holds her hand out in front of her as if checking her nails, and the laser projector at the throat of her smartcollar -- a cherry red metal choker of slim, compact electronics, functionally the personal portable computer of her era, and obviously the top end -- projects a complex magical circle on the back of it in defined blue light, selected from a digital grimoire. That isn't to say that what happens isn't clearly magic, and it doesn't feel exactly great. As usual, there is an inherent, if faint, pulse of 'wrong'ness from the incantationless spell, as if the magic itself had been a violation of some rule that should be nervously left alone. The effect isn't especially dramatic however. With a subsequent snap of her fingers, what passingly appears to be puff of dandelion seeds bursts from her hand, though once they slow to a near halt, they're more visibly akin to some kind of microbial organism teeming with little waving flagella, swimming eerily through the air.

    They seem harmless enough at least, as the first thing they do is quietly stream on into the building, splitting up to cover as many rooms as possible. Really, all they are is an especially weak and unimportant species of Nobody, basically the bottom of the food chain in Nowhere. What they're useful for, is being extremely cheap to summon and maintain in large numbers, and having very good sound and light sensitivity, so they make ideal, wide area remote viewing. Hopefully, she'll be able to pinpoint anything that sounds out of place, and direct the group towards it.
She makes conversation as she moves, curious, though outwardly not bothered by what Mel has to say. "Hm? What makes you say that?" she asks. "I mean, I can take a guess, but that's a rather colourful analogy."

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa isn't able to make heads or tails of the static that is in the vauge shape of a dinosur infront of her eyes. She attempt to run system checks but finds nothing is wrong She seems to be a bit distressed at this but she fall in making ready to move out she's hoping there's nothing here, well that's what she's hoping as she moves in. Still she's very troubled by her body is suffering errors wth no sign of there being any which is going to be quite troubling to her andshe keeps moving on ahead now being cautious and looking for traps or security systems as she goes.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine just scowls at Finna as she backs against the front doors to get it open. "This isn't a game. If I'm right, people could die." Jeez, spoilsport. Either way, as the Exalted expands her senses... she smells the odour of so many teenagers on the grounds, a mix of hormones, B.O and very expensive deodorants and perfumes. Mixed with the smells of teachers and administrators, coffee and stress. She hears the sounds of water gurgling through pipes, light breezes through the distant trees.

    But, the unusual stuff? She can smell harsh smoke and alcohol from above, and a much more present scent of teenagers. They seem to be having a good time up there. The same can't be said for what is coming from below. Pained groans, the smell of blood.

    Scarlet's little spell gets a shocked expression from Janine, and a mouthed 'what the fuck.' As the little creatures spread out through the school, the main rooms are empty, as they should be. But they too, spread and find evidence of noise and light, higher up, and below.

    The attic and the basement. Two places to check.

    Janine is ignorant of this right now though, as they've stepped into the entrance hall. A handsome reception desk has been set up, flanked by trophy cases and with portraits of past headmasters hanging above it. More security is set up here, Kotone may note. But Janine did say she had all of that sorted. Speaking of Janine, she is looking into one of the cases right now with her phone's flashlight. Specifically, at a gold trophy topped with a little fencing figure. Before it is a group picture with her in the centre. And she's smiling.

Finna (513) has posed:
"Gloat all you like. You have six or seven decades to outshine me. I get five or six millenia to-- ooooh what's this..." Her nose starts wrinkling. "Not nearly enough private places around here for people if it smells like this." Whatever THAT's supposed to mean is left to the imagination.

    "Above and be--" Then, of course, Scarlet goes and does some pretty bizarre sorcery that leaves Finna staring uncertainly. Then making a face, because them tiny things're ugly. "Demon... summoning...?" She mutters, simultaneously curious and maybe a tad disgusted. Scarlet's given a vague stinkeye look, 'I have my eye on you,' but the Lunar stretches and returns to focusing a moment later.

    "Above and below. Above smells like a party... below..." She grimaces, showing oddly sharp teeth. "...BLOOD. Suffering."

    Well, there's no questioning she's concerned. A single look at her eyes shows that. But she soon waves an arm Janine's way. "Win and you live. Lose and you die. Life is too a game, and if you die without having any fun you might as well have not lived." Her ears twitch a few times and tail wags. "And I don't tolerate it being cut short for no good reason, so the basement's my next stop."

Mel Brock (941) has posed:
    "I bet your guess is spot on," Mel replies to Scarlet. "Esper. Psychic. Whatever you want to call it. My ESP and telepathy are pretty weak, I normally don't feel a thing unless I'm actively searching. But you feel pretty... yeah. Especially that spell of yours just now. What the /crap/, man." She maintains her careful posture, prepared for any sort of unexpected assault but not in tense 'I'm about to be attacked' mode just yet. "We got any sort of bearing on where to go first?"

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa puts the glitch out of her mind as she moves forwars she checks local wireless to be sure she trust Janine might have had means to deal with it but she's wanting to be certain. Given what they are doing she does not want to get in a scrape with the local police. They really don't deserve to have a bad night dealing with the likes of this crew. She is however thankful for the shockgloves she has on hand should it come to that. Though she does take note of the picture and that /gets/ a double take from her.

At Finna's words she tenses up this could be bad...

Scarlet Everille (747) has posed:
    Scarlet can't help, or rather she can, but allows anyways, a slightly smug little smile. "Good sense and experience are two different things. You're getting a little presumptuous though if you think I'm going to age and die that fast though." The medical advances of 2076 probably aren't something Finna knows about, but the girl does /reek/ of something magical. It's not wholly unlike Essence in its nature, and does clearly suffuse her body, though it doesn't feel like it originates within her, or is being pulled from the environment around her, more like it's being funneled from somewhere 'else'.

    "They aren't demons though. People used to believe that back in the middle ages, but we've come past that. They're more like fauna, in their own odd way. I'm certain they look very strange to you, but by the aesthetic standards of where they come from, they're quite ordinary. Rest assured, these ones aren't even intelligent, never mind malicious. They're perfectly harmless, and there's nothing unholy about them." There's no indication of dishonesty whatsoever there. Just plain patience.

    Her expression does 'serious up' significantly once she detects those lights and sounds however. She can't smell the blood through the myriad familiars that would make a lesser magus sick and dizzy trying to keep track of all at once, as they lack proper olfactory organs, but she gets the idea. "Well, upstairs is either a ghost watching party by bored teenagers who've heard the school is haunted, or adults who definitely shouldn't be on grounds at this time." Isn't . . . she a teenager too? Kind of? Actually, it's really hard to tell. Is she in college? "The basement does worry me more. I wouldn't argue against splitting up just to check, but if we're only going one way or the other, I strongly suggest that it be downwards.

    Brief radio coordination seems to be agreement, so she follows the trail of floating seeds towards the basement doors, letting Janine handle them if they are, quite likely, locked, and then proceeding downward using the diode on her collar to provide surprisingly bright illumination. "Well, my apologies if it makes you uncomfortable. I can't say I have much familiarity with psychic powers, so there's not much I can do about it at the moment. I do understand that the look and feel of our magic is a little different than the kind of fire and lightning most people from other worlds are used to though. Do trust me. I've been doing it since I was five, and my parents for almost eighty years."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine seems to be tuning out the conversation right now, but mentions of blood draw her attention. "Aw shit, there's two places to check... well. I guess it was just shitty teens like me, breaking in too... can't believe I wasted 1000 Euros on this," she mutters moodily.

    Another tired sigh as everyone seems to agree over radio to head down first. "Right, down... that'll be the service tunnels probably. Gotta find a way in... uh, this way." Through a set of double doors she unlocks, along a hallway with a long Turkish rug and paintings on the walls. As if to prove she was listening, she starts contributing to the conversation. "'Demons' is just what people would call scary shit that they didn't understand. Everything is flora or fauna if you really think about it," she says to Scarlet. A little belatedly, she says to Finna "Easy for you to say, being some crazy immortal or whatever. And I don't appreciate being talked down to, but here we are."

    And indeed, here they are. Another door, electronically locked, but not for much longer. Janine gets it open, revealing a concrete stairway heading down, a stark contrast to the luxury of the school. She seems on edge now, switching her phone from the school security system to some kind of mirror mode. She hasn't got her sword with her, so she's likely hoping this counts as a mirror enough to summon her Persona. "If it's kids, try not to do 'impossible' things, okay?" And down she goes. Now, the groans are audible, as is a distant laugh.

    The tunnels are all concrete, spreading out in a gridlike pattern. The lights are actually on, revealing metal doors are labelled for what kind of storage they are. Desks, boards, uniforms, even a wine cellar. No need for fancy spells or Exalted nonsense, the noise echoes quite far and is easily followed. Janine starts to walk quietly as they get close, approaching one of those metal doors that are ajar.

    Peeking inside, the party would see two teens, a boy and a girl, probably a year or so older than Janine. They're standing over three other teens, two girls and a boy who lay on the ground. The standing girl raises a foot and stamps down hard on the boy with a malicious giggle while the boy records on his cellphone.

Scarlet Everille (747) has posed:
    "A fair enough observation, though I understand that Demons has a specific kind of connotation where . . . Finna comes from." She doesn't seem to have an objection to Janine's insistence on secrecy. After all, her kind of magic is extremely subtle by the multiverse's standards, to the point where it's considered gauche for it to be visible in public to those without the extra senses to perceive it, and even then, in bad taste to flaunt it. The sight that greets her is simultaneously relieving, not involving some kind of horrible cult sacrifice, and disappointing, in displaying good old fashioned childish cruelty.

    So she asks the others to hang back for a bit. Charging in and trying to break it up by force, or make a citizen's arrest, is likely a bad idea on school property they're not supposed to be on. In fact, Scarlet is nebulously the right age to fit in, and her uniform has already been made to conspicuously appear to others as the correct one for this school. Why not take it first. She switches the light off for a moment and steps into the room unhidden, as if she was supposed to be there, looking to the three of the floor with practiced non-concern. When she starts talking though, it's like she's a completely different person, suddenly taking on such a startlingly believable persona that a movie actor would probably embarrass themself on stage with her.

    "Hey! Sorry I didn't text you. Am I late~?" she asks in a gleeful, conspiratorial little whisper, as if she wished nothing more to see this awful little spectacle, nudging one of the prone forms with the toe of her immaculately polished shoe, hands behind her back. Of course, she has no idea if this was any kind of premeditated assault, but that doesn't really matter, does it? What comes off as raw charisma to the Elites is a powerful alteration to the way everything about her is perceived before it even reaches the other two, sorting itself out into exactly what they want to hear and see to fit with what they'd believe. "Ahhhh, looks like the fun's kinda over. Did you at least get a good tape? I wanna see it later!" she leans over the girl's cellphone, peering at the screen in faked excitement. "So~? Tell me how it went~!"

Finna (513) has posed:
"I don't appreciate being called incompetent by people who probably can't make their own clothes and boots, craft their own weapons or hunt their own food. We're both quite good at different things!" Finna retorts, casting a sideways glance at Scarlet the whole while... even though Janine's the one who said so.

    But she does't seem hostile towards the Nobodies at least. Just... wary. Because they look damn freaky, no other way to describe it. In Creation, looking freaky USUALLY means bad. Very few exceptions.

    Like the Fair Folk, where looks can literally kill.

    "Right, not a problem."

    So down, down they go, Finna skips down the stairs with startling agility... but not supernatural speed. But oddly... very quietly. Like she weights almost nothing on the floor. Hearing and smelling more clearly what's going on she almost doesn't need to SEE it.

    If Janine hadn't said to hold back though, there would be quite a spectacle going on in there.

    Nothing lethal. But it probably wouldn't do well for the rumor mill.

    For now, Finna leans against the wall near the door, out of sight, listening to Scarlet's antics and ready for trouble. Her tail twitches every so often...

Mel Brock (941) has posed:
    "It's alright," Mel replies to Janine. "I've got old-fashioned nonpsychic combat training." She shows it in the way she moves, still calm but cautious even now - weapon pointed downward, but held ready in both hands. Down into the basement they go, and Scarlet opts to take the lead on this; Mel is fine with staying back and letting the creepy magic girl do her thing. Since there's apparently someone in there, the marshal has a feeling letting someone their own age talk to them is probably a good idea.

    Even if they're doing something rather... questionable.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    As Scarlet makes her entrance, all five in the room have no idea what to make of it! At least, until her magic hits them. Goodness, she just seems so /sure/ about being here... "Um... sure did," the girl says in a thick German accent, swiping at her screen to play back on some recordings. Kicks, slaps, even cigarette burns are clearly documented, with the two addressing each other audibly by name ('Hans' and 'Gretchen' apparently).

    One of the girls on the ground groans, "Fa male..." The translation effect makes it come across as 'It hurts,' and based on the way Janine bristles, it might be Italian. Her thumb blurs as she takes as many photos of what's happening as possible, trying to get Hans and Gretchen's faces in the shots as clearly as possible.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is just keeping her eyes open now, there's something around here from what Finna said. She keeps alert for a moment and she looks at Janine for a moment. She hears the comment abotu demons nd just thinks n that for a second, she'll deal with that later as they move on. Tjhey go in deeper and she looks to see that there's some bad shit going down here. She narrows her eye as she seems to be going she's cloaked and she's moving in, Kotone is not powering up the gloves /yet/. No maybe some fear is going to be needed shortly.

She is recording all of this after all she records everything she sees but she's moving in at this point.

Janine's got the right idea taking the photos as well, Kotone s making ready to get in, and she does so, to get more visuals to give to Janine later, she is making ready to act but not just yet...

Scarlet Everille (747) has posed:
    Hans and Gretchen. Scarlet already hopes that's coincidence, but isn't going to be deterred either way. "C'mon! I asked how it went! How'd you get 'em here? No way they were dumb enough to just show up because you asked nicely! I mean they're stupid, but not /that/ stupid!" If there's an issue of race here, then Scarlet will sound to them like she's speaking German. If the two of them had arranged it privately, then they'll probably have vague memories of her being peripherally included. If they just hate the students on the ground in particular, Scarlet radiates contempt for them as well. There's just no mistrusting how eager she looks and sounds. That's how it is with Circle Ceint on people like these.

    "How long have you been down here anyways? Is everyone else still upstairs? They didn't notice you left?" she's putting two and two together. Someone wasn't invited to, or wasn't popular at, the party for this to happen. There's /no way/ these two groups of students accidentally showed up on the same night and didn't notice each other at all. "Or is everyone too drunk to remember by now~ Bah, there's probably nothing left for me now is there?" She nudges the girl who spoke up. "You guys can head back up if you want. I've got jack shit to do so I'll take care of these cretins. If there's anything left, save a beer for me, 'kay?" Oddly enough, to the three on the ground, she sounds nothing like the malicious teen sociopath she's affecting. To them, her subterfuge is incredibly obvious; the sound of someone unmistakably covering for them like a stranger guardian angel. Hopefully that'll be enough to keep them quiet and compliant.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    "Oh, you know. Blackmailed 'em, the usual shit," Hans says with a smug grin. "Told them to show up with drinks, then brought them down here for fun." Gretchen is giggling and snorting as she shows off more photos. "Nah, they knew. They were just too interested in drinking and smoking. Fucking layabouts," she says. The three on the ground seem to pick up on what Scarlet is projecting, looking up at her in awe as the Germans nod to Scarlet. "No promises, so hurry up!" Hans says on his way out.

    Janine quickly tries to usher everyone behind a pile of cardboard boxes once it's clear that Scarlet is trying to get the two to leave. To Mel, she whispers, "Can you get their last names with your mind bullshit?" However, upstairs... the sounds of joviality suddenly turn to shouts of panic and fear.

    Something has happened.

Mel Brock (941) has posed:
    Mel moves into cover when ushered; she shifts her pistol to one hand for ease of huddling in, but other than that she's still keeping it ready. This close, Janine can probably see it's dialed down to minimum, well below the lowest setting marked with an 'L'. When asked about her psychic abilities, Mel shakes her head. "If I so much as try to read their surface thoughts, they'll feel it," she whispers. "I'm a shit telepath. Lucky I can do it at all." She's gone from anxious about the situation, to biting back an urge to get out there and kick some uppity teens in the pants. That won't solve anything and it'll cause a lot of new problems besides.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Janine would get a text from Kotone, it doesn't trigger a notice sound oddly.

<<I got this, I can get into their phones>>

Kotone opens up her wireless connections, the phones the kids have are not bad but, she's from a very like world several decades later, so she's got some ideas of how to get into hardware of this era. There's no real sign she's in, she'll get in, attempt to pull their numbers and personal info, she'll also grab any photos, mails or video files if she can without alerting them and get out.

She'll hang back and let them go for now she hopefully has enough to burry the two thugs, or start a nasty viral bit online with what they were doing. Either way she's now more concenred for their victems now.

Finna (513) has posed:
Finna decides to hide using a very different method entirely. She shapeshifts INSTANTLY to fox form and VAULTS up to... the ceiling. Possibly there's some pipes she can cling to or perch upon. If not...

    If not, well, she stands on the ceiling.

    And making it all the weirder, her whole body ripples and shifts color to match her surroundings. Even her fur.

    Just like a chameleon.

Scarlet Everille (747) has posed:
    With the two gone, Scarlet waits patiently until they're up the stairs, judging by the sound of their footsteps, briefly considers killing the auto-recording on her collar, and then decides not to, instead crouching down to start helping the kids up off the floor; any who can stand, while checking the extent of the injuries on the ones who cant. She addresses them directly in Italian; not fake magic Italian, but actual, fluent Italian. When you learn things at three times the normal rate, picking up secondary languages in the EU is easy.

    "Virgin Mary what the hell do you think you were doing? You could have been actually killed. Try not to worry about anything right now, I'm going to get you off of school grounds and call an ambulance; tell them to keep the sirens off. Nobody will know." She's instantly shifted from giddily sadistic to appropriately philanthropically worried. There's no much she can do in the way of medical transmutation with Janine insisting she do nothing flashy, unfortunately, so it's the local healthcare system it is.

    She hits her radio frequency through her collar, doing thought to text to speech. "-Trouble on the roof. Screaming and shouting. Move, double time. I'll catch up-".

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine gives Mel a withering look. "They're drunk, and probably high as fuck. They won't noti-" And then her phone goes off, indicating a huge attachment of video files and personal information, courtesy of Kotone. Janine looks around in befuddlement. "Who sent this?..." Looks like Kotone's stealth skills are too great for Janine.

    But then, reports of the party upstairs becoming less of a party. And Hans and Gretchen are taking their sweet time... "Fuck it," Janine says, bringing her reflection back up on her phone screen. "Biancabella." The flowery Persona appears, filling the hall with the scent of rotting roses. Like a ghost, she glides up behind the two and wraps her arms around the two's necks, pressing bloody stumps against their mouths and noses! They panic and struggle, but quickly slump, unconscious.

    "Quick!" Janine barks, rushing out from the hiding place. "Thanks!" she yells to Scarlet on her way past, feet clapping against the hard floor on the way upstairs. She barges through unlocked doors, not taking the time to wipe the logs just yet. It's three floors up before they finally reach a door into the attic space, which is thankfully also electronically locked.

    Up the rickety wooden stairs beyond is a vast space, filled mostly with dust and smoke that smells like it's not just from cigarettes. Several more teens have been using the place as a hangout for a while, based on the amount of empty cans, bottles, junk food wrappers and butts. The five or so that are here are staring at a mirror with wide eyes, trembling with fright.

Finna (513) has posed:
In her fox form, Finna's incredibly fast. The four-legged creature can outrun any human and she is no mere fox. She's like a bolt of white lightning up those stairs, even running on the walls using PURE MOMENTUM to defy gravity at several points. Bouncing and darting around with incredible speed.

    Yet as she nears the hangout her form ripples yet again, expanding back to her human form in the student attire.

    What they find up there has her making a face.

    "Mirrors. Never have felt comfy sitting with my back to one..."

Mel Brock (941) has posed:
    Scarlet sends the rest of the group a warning. Mel is about to say something in reply to Janine, but that takes immediate and full priority. She's just starting to take off when Janine puts on one hell of a show, that ends with two unconscious teens. There is probably a moment or two where the marshal is holding herself back from pointing her sidearm at Biancabella. But it's Janine's. So she forces herself to hold her weapon at her side.

    And boy can she run. She's right there along with Janine, easily so, her pistol in both hands once again.

    And up through that last door, into an attic full of youthful indescretion and, now, what is pretty obviously mortal terror. "Everyone, back away from the mirror," she orders, sliding easily into a tone of authority, and bringing her pistol up to keep pointed at the mirror itself. The hope is that her voice will shock them into moving; Janine is the expert on these mirrors, but she can at least get them away from it and be ready to attack just in case.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa sees it's time to move out and she's quite pleased with the info dump she gave Janine and she moe son things are getting serious, Janine deals with the two thugs and she's noe heading upstairs with the rest. She wonders about the smoke and just what's actually gong on here. With the injured handled she's fully able to focus nad push on ahead, she should have brought some drones with her, really she should have.

She now decloaks and moves in towards the mirror, she's also armed here's a machine gun across her back even if it's not pulled and she did just pop out of thin air.

"Get clear of the MIRROR! NOW!"

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Everyone's sudden arrival startles the hell out of the teens. It's apparent that they're more than a little drunk, and the acrid smell of the smoke suggests some kind of controlled substance. The production of guns by Mel and Kotone only makes them more panicked and paranoid, all of them edging away from the reflective surface. "Pierre, he..." stammers a girl with a French accent, before suddenly bursting into tears. Another German boy in a clearer voice says, "W-We were playing that mirror game and he... he just went through the glass!"

    "Fuuuu-" Janine starts, breaking into a run towards the mirror. "-ucccccccck!" she finishes, just before phasing right through, the glass rippling like water. The other teens scream again, only growing louder when she pokes a hand through, gesturing at everyone to follow!

Mel Brock (941) has posed:
    There are few things that can give Mel pause. 'Janine screaming an obscenity while running through a mirror' turns out to be one of them. She just kind of stares for a second or so, dumbfounded. The hand is what prompts her to motion, and she turns her attention briefly to the teens. "We'll get Pierre. All of you, get the hell out of here. Go home, it's not safe. Maybe think about finding somewhere well-lit and public to get shitfaced next time." With that sage advice, she turns and hurls herself into the mirror as well.

Finna (513) has posed:
Finna finally glances at Kotone, who's chosen to appear, as if worried she might be about to shoot the mirror. And yet with Janine diving right on in... Finna flinches. But then she grimacces. Like hell's she going to chicken out now and be upshown by this gang!R
    But one worry pervades her as she charges for the mirror... she stops at the last moment, only long enough to grin at the gathered ex-revelry gathered here.... and grins.

    With WAY too sharp of teeth... or is that just a trick of the light? On a second glance it's hard to say. "Back to your homes, and not a word about this to anyone, or else."

    THEN she backflips through the mirror.

    Because she'd rather scare the bajeezus out of them all and get them running away and FAR from the mirror, instead of getting brave and thinking of smashing it.

    She's not sure if the mirror being smashed while they're in it is a very good idea. Probably isn't.

Scarlet Everille (747) has posed:
    With any luck, Scarlet will have the Italion trio outside shortly after all the screaming stops, and actual medical pros on the way to pick them up without issue. They look pretty beat up, but she hasn't found anything immediately life threatening. It's a bit of a ways back to the roof, though if the other kids are gone, she'll just cheat, but that at least ensures that she'll arrive after they've already lost their chance to panic-shatter the mirror. She doesn't really have the time to be sketching out a circle capable of human translocation under these circumstances, lightning fast as she is with arcane geometry. She's been to the Forest before, she knows how this goes, and so she hops right in cautiously delayed from the crazy girl and the demonstrable superhumans.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa looks to the teens nods one and heads right go th emirror, she's going to follow right after Janine and dive right into it, and some part of her expects the mirror to break when she does this. Yet she know it wont' she'll end up coming out the otehr side in a roll trying to rise up as quickly as possible.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    With Janine holding open the portal, everyone can run and/or backflip through as they please. And indeed, it's back to that mad place. The Mirror Forest, a different location to where the mirror in the shack leads. Glass trees stand all around them, the sky that nebulous overcast colour where it's unclear what time of day it is

    Standing above the figure of Pierre, who is curled up in a panicked foetal position is a vision of red. Its form resolves on a visual level like a typicall lumberjack of some kind. Red flannel shirt with open buttons to reveal a broad chest with curly red chest hair. Dark red pants held up with bright red suspenders, a fiery red beard and red hair under a red beanie. Even his axe looks like a fire axe with the red blade.

    But on another, instinctive level, one that the likes of Finna and Mel might be more receptive to, its many other things. It is Siegfried and Achilles, Beowulf and King Arthur. It is a king's divine right to rule, it is Manifest Destiny. It is every new discovery, every step on humanity's advancement. It is every war, every drop of blood shed for a cause. That axe is the first tool, the first spear. The first firework, the first explosive. The first car, the first tank. The first split atom, the first atomic bomb.

    It is The Red Woodsman.

    Janine has frozen up in surprise, starting at it, trembling. On close inspection, her eyes seem to be watering.

Mel Brock (941) has posed:
    For Mel, there is no 'back'. This is her first time there. And the moment she steps in, she's about as tense as you can get. "...What in the green hell..." No, no. Shake it off, Mel, this isn't a time to get distracted. Worry about this place later, you've got someone to protect. She brings her pistol up and covers her own advance, which only lasts a step at most before she notices Pierre... and the freakish thing above Pierre.

    Seeing it has the hair on the back of her neck practically doing jumping jacks. It sends a shudder through her. It hits the instinctual panic button. For an instant, she's a frightened little girl in her bedroom at night, staring with fear into the inky blackness of her closet and absolutely /sure/ she sees crimson eyes staring out at her. Something about that /thing/ gives her every negative vibe it possibly can, and for once in her life, Mel Brock falters. She takes a step back.

    She catches a glimpse of Janine trembling beside her. And remembers where she is, what she's doing, and more importantly, that there are people around her in just as much danger as she is.

    About half a second later, a wall of psychic force slams into the Red Woodsman. Pure kinetic energy, enough to lift and toss a hundred-ton weight. A little yellow light blinks on briefly on the device stuck to her jaw.

Finna (513) has posed:
Well at least this time there's no strange journey through an enormous dreamscape of crystal forest or whatnot. Finna instead finds herself facing an extremely burly and capable-looking guy. Who is huge and strikes ALL the right chords to get her jaw dropping... then lips spreading in a big darned grin. He may not be the most handsome thing, but that's not what has her full of fuzzies.

    Along with an adrenaline rush from what she senses to be an upcoming battle.

    "HAIL, AXEMAN!" crows the Lunar, craning her neck back like a trumpet being sounded off.

    It just seems DISRESPECTFUL to not acknowledge him... yet...

    At the same time, her body flickers with power. Primal, savage power. Fingernails shine silver and lengthen, harden, sharpen. Flesh shines with silver power from within, pulsing with life and vigor. A billowing rush of moonfire ignites around her body, illuminating a sign of the Crescent Moon on her forehead.

    She's ready for battle.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is back on her feet and going for her weapon now. She's howver not opened fire yet she's not sure if they are too late for now but she does not move to attack she waits and she watches wondeirng how this is going to pan out, but she has no real idea, with how its going to go. She simpley has to wait and be ready for it.

Scarlet Everille (747) has posed:
    Though Scarlet isn't quite privy to the same magnitude of the sight as Finna and Mel are, it doesn't take an empathic prodigy to begin to understand the significance, or perhaps better described as the enormity, of what they're seeing. It'd be a lie to say that it's her first time seeing something that doesn't entirely fit within her human understanding, and equally so that she expects it to be the last, but what sets this Red Woodsman apart from the sights and sounds and the bizarre, unthinkable laws of the other side, is just how deeply 'human' he is. Of a terrifying magnitude, certainly, but something uniquely, and maybe even proudly, intrinsic, and belonging, to humanity.

    Which is why she thinks it might be kind of a mistake to immediately react with violence. She's heard all about the Wolf. She actually /jumps/ in front of Finna before she gets any crazy ideas, too late to really stop Mel, but at least symbolically between her and the Woodsman. "Hold the phone a minute! Calm down for five seconds and think about this! Isn't the woodsman supposed to be the wolf's enemy in the old stories?! You know! The one who saves little red riding hood?!"

Janine Liberi has posed:
    A nod is offered to Finna, just before a massive amount of force is flung at The Red Woodsman... an in spite of it, he only raises his axe to brace against it, sliding back a few feet but standing firm. He projects annoyance, and hefts that axe while Scarlet argues for peace, or at least a more nuanced approach.

    And just as she mentions the wolf, a howl echoes among the trees.

    It carries heavy significance with it. It's a wolf's howl, but it's also the sharpening of a reaper's scythe against the grindstone. It's the dull sound as a blade scrapes bone on its way to pierce a vital organ. It's the bang of a gunshot that proves to be fatal. The sound of a body going cold and rotting over the passing years.

    The Red Woodsman hears it too, and looks from Pierre to the party before jogging off into the woods again, towards the source of the noise. Janine is more than frozen now, she's trembling. Tears trace their way down her cheeks as she takes time to compose herself. "Grab him, and let's get the fuck out of here," she finally stammers, indicating the prone boy.

Scarlet Everille (747) has posed:
    Honestly, Scarlet is a little relieved to be rid of the Woodsman, a little more relieved that she hadn't had to meet this Wolf she's heard so much about just yet (at least without being armed to the teeth, figuratively speaking), and extra super glad that they'd manage to avoid violence with whatever that was. Continuing to play the part of teen role mode, she hefts the prone boy up with actually really surprising strength for her frame; not abjectly superhuman but definitely a little beyond natural, and starts hauling him out if he refuses to walk. "Gordon Bennett this is a little much for a drunk party."

Finna (513) has posed:
That HOWL resonates strongly with Finna. She's heard that howl before in so many ways, perhaps more than most here. An aspect of that is very, very Lunar indeed, and yet.... not. But it shkes her out of the momentary tension with a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT thing to be tense about. The hair on her neck's standing on end and heart skipped a few beats there! Even the Red Woodsman tromping off - seemingly barely perturbed at the reflexive hostility Mel showed - doesn't break her from a momentary flicker of fear on her face. She swallows hard, but...

    Flexes her fingers and sends a rippling motion through her body, every muscle readying for battle. "Think he's more friend than foe. Hopefully! That beast, though..."

Mel Brock (941) has posed:
    Mel looks between Scarlet and the Woodsman with growing comprehension - she's lost her head, she's lashed out, and... shit, the Woodsman seems to know it.

    Then there's that howl, and she whips around in a near-panic again. "/Shit/, what the..." Once again, she recovers herself. Quicker this time. Realization starts to set in, puzzle pieces fall into place, and-

    "Fuck, I'm- I'm sorry," she says to the Woodsman. What else can she say? She just slammed a man who probably protected this boy from that monster out there, with all the strength she could muster. She's suddenly very thankful for a number of reasons she had her limiter on.

    But the Red Woodsman is off to deal with the wolf. And Scarlet has Pierre. "Alright, all of you fall back, I'll cover our escape. You-" she adds, pointing to Finna. "Stick on my right side, keep me covered." With her shooting stance, it's easier for her to turn to her left if anything comes from that direction.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is now looking at how things are reacting now she hears the howl for a moment and she look to Pierre she knows what she's got to do nd we have to deal wth this now.

She fully agrees it's time to run, she's not. So once the boy is in hand by someone it's time to /go/. So she's going to get ready and go, and she knows they can't deal with whatever is hunting them.


Death is coming and she has no desire to meet it.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Back through the mirror, where everyone has thankfully cleared out. Pierre isn't all that heavy, lucky for Scarlet. Janine immediately flops down onto an abandoned chair and breathes heavily to calm herself. "Jesus Christ, I never thought tonight would end up like this..." she mutters, hugging herself with one good arm.

    She looks up at everyone and mutters, "Thanks for coming. You can uh... go now. I'll make sure no one talks. If we're lucky, they'll pass tonight off as a bad trip or something..." She nudges Pierre with her foot, rolling him over. He's passed out, thankfully.

Finna (513) has posed:
"GO?" Finna blinks. Mel's ready to retreat, Kotone's panicking, Janine wants them to leave? She frowns. Now uncertain. "We'll be dealing with that eventually... would rather have big red's help with it than let him go it alone..." She's frowning heavily. But it's pretty obvious this will just have to wait...

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa sprawls on the floor for a moment with a thunk and she just ... going to need a moment before she heads on out.