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World On Fire: Operation Pathfinder

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Agritum
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World On Fire: Operation Pathfinder

Postby Agritum » Fri Jun 26, 2015 3:37 pm

April 26, 1942, Warsaw

Ralf Wendell took a deep breath, taking in the fresh nocturnal air of the Polish spring, slightly held up his Stalhelm, letting some hair peer through it. "To think that I must pass through the summer with this pot on my head. Gefreiter Loewe, got any remedies for this?"

The three-man patrol halted for a moment, under the light of one of the many lamplights set up to illuminate the nightly streets of the occupied city. Loewe, a portly man who sported a look more akin to a rugged NCO than a Lance Corporal, shot a seemingly annoyed look at the nimble blond young private who tailed along him. " By not being an hotheaded wuss like you currently are, Soldat Wendell. Complainin' about the helmet? Seriously? A dirty Polskie can come out and nab you in the balls, and you get pissed that the helmet is too tight for your poor little baby head? You..."

"Loewe, cut it."

Unteroffizer Stahlmann's words resounded in the air, drapped in their rigid martial tinge. Loewe was immediately silenced: even the rowdy Bavarian Gefreiter had to bow down to the Iron NCO, the Party Member, the Failed Waffen-SS Who Went Heer, Stahlmann. Soldat Wendell shivered at the command.

"Roger, Unteroffizer..."

Wendell gave a glimpse on the side of the road. A long street full of closed shops separated the patrol from the outskirts of the Jewish Ghetto. The Heer didn't do patrols there.

"Hey Wendell, what's wrong? Itching to shot kikes?"

"Uh...no, more...well..."

"Me too, but Himmler's boy scouts get to do the cleanup job. Shitty, eh? We only get to round up unruly Pollacks, and sometimes get shot at by their Home Army friends. But maybe we're better off like this: knowing you, even a Jew could take you down, with a good nosebutt in the face."

The Gefreiter chuckled at his own comment. Wendell glared, letting his anger boil quickly but quietly. "I'm...not afraid of Yids and Poles and what they do. We...we rule this place, right? We're the bosses...sure? Nothing much they can do." he muttered, with a tinge of uncertainty. "Yeah, yeah..." replied Loewe, nonchalantly.

"Halt."

Stahlmann broke the talk again. He pointed off in the distance. A silhouette, small, with flowing clothes. Little Pole vagrant with a bed cover draped around to keep warm. Stahlmann looked in the distance. His eyes glared like the one of a predator. Wendell gulped, Loewe stood waiting. Run, little riding hood, run.

Stahlmann didn't even order to fire. He drew out his MP40, and soon the weapon vomited a burst of lead into the street. The little feet shuffled too fast however, and they disappeared round a corner. Wendell felt the adrenaline rise. Loewe drew his rifle out and pounced into battle.

Two jackbooted big bad wolves rumbled in chase of Little Riding Hood, with a little jackbooted lapdog following them. The Heer patrol, the curfew enforcement, the anti-Partisan look out...they all stopped existing for them. Stahlmann wanted the bedsheet covered child down in a puddle of its Slavic filth, and he couldn't be convinced otherwise. Loewe's trigger fingers were itching, itching for fire and gunpowder and blood, for the sake of it. And Wendell just rushed faster than everyone, because he didn't want to be a pussy, he didn't want to be the unit's lapdog, he wasn't a boy anymore, the war would make him into a man.

Wendell was the fastest one. He chased Little Hood into a small sidestreet. And then, it was all black and dark. He heard the sound of a manhole opening, and closing again. Riding Hood had gone underground. Wendell panted. All that run, for nothing.

He turned back to reach the rest of the patrol. And he heard Gefreiter Loewe scream for the first time in his life. "Wendell, get here! Unteroffizer is down! FUCK! Get here fast!"

Ralf exited the sidestreet. He found himself face to face with Loewe. Loewe's haughty mask of machoism had disappeared, replaced by the genuine look of a man fearing for his dear life. He pointed in the distance. Sthalmann was on his knees, upright, looking away from them. "G-go check him...g-go!" Loewe said, nudging Wendell with his rifle.

The Private advanced, shuddering, before he was directly behind the man. "Unteroffizer? You alright? Offizer?"

He nudged the man. Stahlmann fell backwards. His face was a grotesque mask, his jaw broken and deformed by an high-velocity concussion, a river of blood coming out of it, and from the pierced remains of his right eye, splattered all over his forehead and cheeks and his smashed eyesocket. Wendel gasped, letting the corpse continue its fall. A small but precise bullethole opened over where his heart was.

"Gefreiter, they shot him! He's dead, he's..."

Ralf turned around.

He saw this cloaked, trenchcoated figure wrapped around Loewe, throwing away his rifle, pressing a blade against his chest. Stabbing. Loewe tried to scream, but was muted by his throat being cleanly slit. He gurgled as his lifeblood spilled over, his fingers trying to keep the burningly painful wound together with a vain reflex. He dropped down.

The figure looked at him. Red eyes glowed in the night. Ralf trembled. He screamed, and raised his rifle, unloading the clip wildly. He was a man. Real men die fighting.

He missed. The rifle clicked. The figure drew another iron from its pocket. Ralf saw the flash, heard the noise, and felt something smash through his chest. He advanced forward, charging, the adrenaline muting his pain. But his body couldn't hold. He fell, and rolled over, clutching to his chest.

Footsteps. Closer. And closer.

He looked up.

He saw the trenchcoat. He saw the long flowing hair, black as midnight, and the fiery red eyes, encased in a pale, stern looking face, of a woman. Of a young one. Those rubies of hatred gazed down at him. There was a pause. A moment to think. Ralf saw the fire of those eyes calm down, and become a glare. A pained one.

The woman knelt down, took his head among her arms, made him look away, and gently rested it on her bosom. Ralf felt the warmth of her body, and then the cold of the iron of pistol placed against the back of his head.

A gunshot. No screams, no pain.

"A lamb who wanted to be a wolf."

She shook her head.

"Naive."

She slipped away from the corpses of the patrol, and became one with the shadows of the night again.



April 27, 1942, London


"♫ Dum de dum dum de dum dum de dum, na na na...I doooon't want to set the World, on, Fireeeeee ♪ "

"Elektra, stop."

"♪ I just want to staaaart, a flame in your heeeaaaart. Dum de dum dum dum de dum de, da da da! ♫"

"Elektra, turn off that radio and watch the road!"

"Killjoy."

A maroon Rolls Royce Phantom II swerved through Camden Town, nearly hitting three market stalls and eliciting panic among bystanders, before speeding down the street and vomiting exhaust fumes all over the place. Abraham Van Helsing gripped the edges of his seat, gritting his teeth and looking at his sister Elektra with a glare that spoke more than a million words. Elektra gripped the wheel thightly, giving a wily smile.

"Here, Killjoy, I'm slowing down. That said, if you had issues with my driving style, you could've very well taken some time away from Cambridge to practice your driving. You didn't, and now I get to drive the Helsing-mobile." she said, with a cheeky grin. Abraham rolled his eyes.

"That's not a good excuse to drive like you're in Le Mans, and...SWERVE!"

Elektra forcefully swirled the wheel to the right, almost crushing onto a passing double-decker bus. Abraham looked even more flustered. "You're a menace on four wheels. Where did you even learn to drive, no, endager people like this?!"

"I met this nice Welsh chap back in Cambridge. Went out with me while you stood up studying at night. Turned out he was a rally driver. Pretty good one, but we eventually parted ways. He wasn't really my type, but he taught me well."

"....you...had a boyfriend? And you didn't tell me the whole time? You know what can happen....gosh"

"Did I have any reasons to? Abraham...wake up, you're not dad. I know you're the current head of the family but...we're brother and sister and brothers and sisters sort out things much more amicably than father and daughter, don't they?"

"I....I'd just like it if you didn't keep going on searching for thrilling paramours and exotic voyages without telling anyone else. Remember...remember that time with the son of the French ambassador?"

"I didn't even kiss him, Abe! But you're right, he was a bit of a snob. Also, he wasn't really thrilled to discover that I am, in fact, German."

"Elektra...firstly, you're....German Dutch? Well, Anglo-German-Dutch. Secondly, please don't change the topic. I'm going to be travelling outside for a lot of time, Elektra, and you can very well understand that you'll be essentially alone in the HQ up until I return. So, stay safe, don't do any stupid stuff, practice your magic and give a good impression of the family, ok?"

Elektra grunted. "I was actually going to tell you that I would've missed you, big brother, but you just remembered me that yeah, I shouldn't have done it. Abe, I'm old like you. I'm an adult, I'm educated, I was trained by dad just like you AND maybe I could even accompany you to fight Nazis if the old bigwigs at SOE didn't decide to keep me here in the capital."

Abraham sighed. "Right...well, the governmental agents told me you were needed for very important gate-related work here in London, so that's still pretty nice and interesting, isn't it? You're great when it comes to mystic portals, and they know it."

"Sigh...I see, I see. By the way, we're here."

Elektra stopped the car by the side of the road, turning the key and removing it from the ignition. Baker Street was bustling with cars, pedestrians, and armed Tommies which routinely patrolled the street, either on foot or driving newly christened Willys MBs, courtesy of the Americans. "Hey, that's Sherlock's home there, 211B Baker Street. Grandpa has been there too, Abraham!"

Abraham smiled. Gramps. He didn't know much about him. The elderly Abraham Van Helsing had died senile and plagued by dementie while he was still three. He had a long life, well-earned, but full of hardships, occasional conquests and occasional delusions. Even then, collaborating with Holmes, that Holmes, to solve the Ripper vampire crimes was certainly part of his golden days.

Elektra climbed off the car, closing the door. "Abe? Time to go. Lead me." Elektra held out her hand, for Abraham to grasp, only to receive a raised eyebrow. "We're not going to a ball, little sister." he scoffed, generating a slightly disappointed look in Elektra's face. "I hate it when you think only about your job, Abe."

"Can't help it. A good researcher works like that. Duty, and all. Let's head in." Abraham said, motioning towards the door of 83 Baker Street, guarded by what looked like to be two soldiers in street clothes.


April 27, 1942, Baker Street HQ


Abraham and Elektra found themselves being escorted by an handsome young man man dressed in his impeccable RAF service uniform. "Oh, you're mister and miss Van Helsing. I am glad to welcome you to Baker Street, home of the Irregulars, the sharpest millimiter of the Allied spear's tip. Now, I would like to politely ask you to follow me to the Briefing Room, where you will learn your exact assignments.

Elektra nodded ecstatically, while Abraham absentmindedly nodded away, observing the vast amount of eccentric and peculiar figures that passed through the grand halls of the HQ. A long-bearded Sikh officer with a towering turban looked him up and down with a martial glare, while on a nearby corner a well-groomed French-speaking gentleman discussed the amenities of Louis XIV's court with a gentle, pale lady. Vampires. On the other side of the room, a white-haired youth was reading a book with an heavy-looking red hardcover, and golden letters in Cyrillic emblazoned on it. While he was observing the boy, Abraham's line of sight was invaded by a small group of witches in khaki and brown colored robes, speaking an idiom which seemed a strange mishmash of Dutch and English. Afrikaners.

"Sir? Are you still with us?" the young RAF officer asked, smiling lightly. Elektra nudged Abraham. "Come on, this is not time for sight-seeing, as you would say!". Abraham sighed, and continued to follow the two deeper into the halls of the building. In doing so, they passed multiple secured doors and checkpoints, and eventually headed into a reinforced elevator.

"What about you, officer? You didn't even tell us about what you do here..." Elektra said, smiling warmly at the RAF man. "Well, miss, to put it short, I am currently one of your colleagues, even if I won't work in the same team as your brother. I am part of one of the first Shadow Operations squads to be ever formed, and since we're currently on a few months long downtime, M gave me the task of welcoming new addtions to the Shadow Teams."

"M?" Abraham uttered curiously.

"Yes, M, the codename with which we are required to refer to our Head Mission Planner and agent handler. But don't worry, you'll quickly learn his name anyways. I know him pretty well: he's my step-cousin." The RAF officer replied.

"Really?" Elektra uttered. "Highly interesting! Now, maybe I'm being too blunt, Sir...but could I know your name too? Or is it top secret?" she added, beaming at the Officer, who smiled in kind. Meanwhile, the lift arrived at destination, its automatic doors slowly sliding open.

"Christopher, Miss Helsing. Christopher Frank Carandini Lee. A pleasure to meet you, Miss. Now, enter, please."

Abraham quietly grunted, a bit ticked off by her sister's particular audacity and...apparent closeness towards Lee. The lad was no vampire, Abe knew how to tell a nosferatu, but he certainly had the charm of one. "A pleasure for me too, Mister Lee." Abraham replied in stead of his sister, in a droning tone.

The briefing room didn't really look like one. Rather, it resembled a comfy, posh studio of a Member the Parliament, full of bookshelves, armchairs, couches, with various dim lamps bathing it with their faint light. Most of the studio was cloaked by shadows, maybe an intentional design choice. At the other side of the room, behind a mahogany desk, sat an human-looking silhouette apparently smoking a cigar.

"M?" Abraham asked out.

"Lieutenant Commander M, Mister Van Helsing. Please, sit down. You happen to be the first of many other incoming arrivals." the man replied, toying with his cigar, his face still shrouded by the dark. "And some are also late. Especially Crowley. Not unexpected from him, but..." the man sighed, and then fell silent. "Better not to think about it. Unfortunately, not everyone can be as punctual as you fortunately are, Mister Helsing."

Abraham and Elektra sat down, a bit puzzled, but patient enough to wait a little more.

Christopher gave a glance at the lift, which was now coming down again. "Other arrivals, Sir."

"Let them come." M relied sharply, giving another smoky puff.
Last edited by Agritum on Fri Jun 26, 2015 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Malshan
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Postby Malshan » Fri Jun 26, 2015 4:44 pm

April 21st, 1942, Tennessee USA

The cabin was, as far as cabins go, quite neatly kept. The wood was stained and sealed, the thatch roof waterproofed, the firewood was stacked neatly against the side, and a small wisp of cooling woodsmoke drifted from the chimney. A quiet, peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

At least, to the naked eye.

Markus Lenion sat in front of the fire in the hearth, quietly puffing on a pipe as he stared into the flames, rocking back and forth as he recounted his long past filled with memories. There were the usual good and bad ones, some happy, some sad. But his favorite, the one he lingered on the longest, was of the darkest night of the first Great War.

It had started out as any other night in the trenches; the shots would slowly abate as each side lost sight of the other and campfires would light up as the surviving soldiers cooked their evening meals. Those that had the luxury of doing so, of course. Markus was not among these fortunate few.

Instead, Markus Lenion was creeping across the dreaded expanse of No Man's Land, carefully circumventing the tangles of barbed wire and the explosive pitfalls placed by those who had made it so far across only to die to the water-cooled machine guns that had become so prevalent in the time. His stomach growled softly, churning as it searched for sustenance. Markus paused, making sure that the German line was undisturbed before continuing on his path toward the trench.

One he made it inside, Markus quickly switched uniforms, having picked up a Kapitänleutnant's uniform as he picked his way across the field. The poor sap had lead a charge, it seemed, and had gotten caught up on the barbed wire. Markus spoke no German, so he knew that he would have to be silent and avoid conversation until he reached his destination.

The trench he was currently in was small, containing only twenty men, and was placed at the forefront of the line. Which was convenient for Markus, of course. And the German engineers obviously hadn't taken into account anything like Markus when they dug the arrangement out.

Markus crouch-walked through the trench, making sure to keep his head out of sight of the exposed ground. Snipers, though relatively new, were always on the prowl. And in the trench warfare of the Great War, everything you didn't see in your trench was a target.

He drew a knife as he approached one den, made for a lookout and housing only a single person. He poked his head inside and nodded to the soldier cooking his meal over the small flame. The lookout, recognizing the uniform, beckoned him over and held out a small piece of meat on a tin, which Markus took gratefully. The soldier watched as Markus devoured the scrap, looking a tad curious as he looked on.

Markus finished the meat and looked back over at the soldier, smiling wolfishly at the man, baring his obviously inhuman teeth at him. The soldier leapt to his feet, yanking a pistol out of his belt, a scream of alarm rising to his throat, and that was when Markus struck.

Markus leapt upon the man, sending them both to the ground in a heap of limbs. Markus smashed the hand holding the firearm with his fist, breaking the man's wrist while muffling the man's screams of pain with his other. Crouching over the man, Markus slowly shed his uniform and began convulsing as the excitement of the situation invoked a change in him. Fur sprouted from his skin, face elongating into a muzzle, his teeth becoming even more obvious and pointed. Seconds later, a fully transformed werewolf crouched over the man, now gibbering in fear, whispering a prayer to his God.

The wolfman grinned maniacally at the man, his entire body shaking with mirth. He growled out something sounding vaguely like English, "Dinner is served..." before dipping down and taking hold of the man's throat with his teeth, snapping the man's neck in an instant. Markus immediately fell upon the meal, noisily ripping into the man's flesh and showering the foxhole with blood and bits of the man. He paused halfway through and howled, unable to contain himself longer.

The howl, of course, brought men running from the other foxholes around the trench. What they found waiting for them was something out of their worst childhood nightmares.

Markus towered over them, his white fur stained red with the drying blood of his first victim, his golden eyes shining through the night like a searchlight, pinpointing his next target. The remaining soldiers screamed, opening fire with pistols and rifles, all of which simply rebounded off of Markus's fur, repelled by the density of the fur and the toughness of his skin. Markus howled fiercely at the soldiers, leaping towards them with a snarl of elation.

For hours afterward, screams echoed through the night as both sides waited and wondered what was happening in that God-forsaken trench. Too frightened to poke their heads up and check it out, they clutched their comrades and shivered as the bloodlust-fueled feeding continued.


April 27, 1942, Baker Street HQ

Markus Lenion, having been "recruited" by some suited men from his home in the mountains of Tennessee, strolled down Baker Street, munching on what resembled a steak sandwich. Juice dripped from the bread as he lapped up the raw meat. He was, of course, followed at a discrete distance by some different suited men who had been assigned to keep an eye on him.

As he approached his destination, Markus finished the sandwich, loudly swallowing and sighing in contentment. There wasn't much in the way of food that could satisfy him in this part of the world, but the sandwich had been provided on the account that there would be more later.

Markus turned and waved at the men as he disappeared into the Baker Street HQ, glancing around at the building that it was contained in. A young lieutenant strode up to him and got his attention.

"Excuse me, sir. Markus Lenion, correct? Welcome to Baker Street. If you will follow me, I'll take you to the briefing room where you will receive details on why you have been recruited."

"Lead on." Markus stated gruffly.

The two walked through the halls of the HQ, Markus glancing this way and that, noting the various entrances and exits of the place, noting uneasily how many soldiers were around. He swallowed and pulled at the collar of his shirt, licking his lips and wishing that the steak had been a tad more substantial. It was going to be hard to resist eating everyone around at this rate.

The lieutenant led Markus into an antechamber in front of an elevator. They boarded and were soon descending to the apparent level. Markus noted the crispness of the air and the scent on the slight air currents.

When the doors opened, Markus saw what was serving as the briefing room, a large studio with books, which appeared to be what Markus caught the scent of. He stepped out of the elevator and walked slowly into the room, noting that the lieutenant stayed behind. "Hmmm..." he remarked, looking over some of the books, waiting to be noticed. He eyed some of the other people in the room with him, sizing them up with the practiced eye that a butcher would have when viewing a freshly slaughtered cow.
Last edited by Malshan on Fri Jun 26, 2015 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cylarn
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Postby Cylarn » Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:00 pm

March 7th, 1942; Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

Clark Harris was celebrating his birthday behind bars once again, for the fourth year in a row ever since the federal government had decided to throw his ass into a federal lockup for organized crime-related charges. The former enforcer for Atlantic City's strongman "Nucky" Johnson felt that the fact that his involvement in the Spanish Civil War had more to do with his incarceration, considering that a large number of the volunteers in the International Brigades had been leftists. The Appalachian boy was not much of a leftist, though he was far from being a Fascist. Back in the mid-30s, he was an idealistic college student, who had become a Second Lieutenant in the Organized Reserves of the US Army, largely leaving his criminal life behind him following the end of Prohibition. Before he knew it, he was enthralled by Spain's plight, and eagerly joined one of the many International Brigades that had formed to fight General Francisco Franco and his Nationalist forces.

Being a trained military officer, Harris was put in charge of a platoon of volunteers. They first saw fighting at Jarama, where his unit proved its worth by moving behind enemy lines and storming a Nationalist artillery position. The young officer, new to military-style combat, foolishly led his men from the front, brandishing a Tommy Gun as they charged the preoccupied artillery unit. He was wounded multiple times by shrapnel and hand-to-hand fighting, but he pressed forward, inspiring his troops to fight with similar vigor as they took the pressure off of the Republican tank columns that were repulsing the Nationalist advance. After some more combat, they would soon be forced to assist in repulsing a mutiny in their own battalion, following the disastrous attempt to take Pingarrón. His courage and performance at Jarama - and during the rest of the war - earned him great admiration among the Republican forces and their allies. Back home, however, his masters were less than pleased. Here he was now, stuck in prison while the world burned around him.

Since his first days in captivity, Clark had become disheveled in his appearance. Bags had developed under his eyes, his hair had grown out a bit and become bed-raggled, and he had developed quite a beard. His appearance contrasted greatly with the well-groomed gentlemen that sat across from him in the grey, drabby interview room. He smoked a cigarette as he silently watched the men, his grey, dirty jumpsuit contrasting greatly with their neatly-pressed suits. The men watched one another, waiting for someone to say something. He didn't know who they were, but he had an idea. Feds...

"So...I imagine that you fellas ain't part of the parole board," Clark said, breaking the ice as he ashed the cigarette in the stone ash tray in front of him. "I ain't no bootlegger, either. Not much more I can say, since you fellas threw an innocent man in jail."

One of the men, an older gentleman who looked like some sort of bulldog, maintained eye contact with Clark, sliding a forward towards the former bootlegger. His facial expression remained stoic, unchanging from his scowl.

"Mister Harris, you have an opportunity at freedom," the man said.

"Freedom?" Clark said as he raised an eyebrow, leaning forward and reaching for the file.

"Yes, Mister Harris," the man said once more. "President Roosevelt and the government have acknowledged your "service" in Spain. We've all seen your records from the war; you were brave in combat against the Fascists, your men liked you, and - more importantly - you have firsthand experience from fighting Nazis. We need men like that. We need you."

It was true; Clark had fought the Nazis before. Hitler had sent in his Condor Legion to assist Franco, and to showcase Nazi Germany's military might. They were ruthless, efficient killing machines. Now, the Allies were battling the Axis for control of the world, and things were going from bad to worse.

"So, you're going to draft me?" Clark asked.

"In a sense, yes," the man said once more. "The US Army and the government are willing to expunge your criminal record and release you from prison. Your commission in the Army will be reinstated, and you will be made a Captain in the active-duty Army. However, there are some conditions."

Freedom was in sight, and while Clark looked rather nonchalant in his outside reaction, he was about to burst with glee on the inside. He hated prison, and he wanted to fight. For all he cared, the government could have made him FDR's personal fluffer; anything was better than prison.

"Such as?" Clark asked.

"The Office of Strategic Services is looking for men to serve in a specialty unit. It's a mixed-nationality unit, comprised of soldiers from every major Allied power. It's dangerous work, but I feel like you understand that. A lot is at stake."




April 27th, 1942; Baker Street HQ

A Willy's Jeep carried the Captain through the still-devastated streets of London, as its denizens carried out their day-to-day routines. Clark had taken the time to groom himself; his beard was gone, his hair was cut and slicked to the side with a slight cow-lick, and his prison garb had been replaced with an officer's service uniform, complete with a peaked cap. Since his release, the government had sent him off to train with the best of the best. The OSS taught him Dutch, German, and French; they taught him how to conduct espionage, and blend in with the locals. The Marine Raiders had taught him how to take the enemy by surprise; how to storm a position with nothing more than a Thompson, a bayonet, and a couple grenades, and escape before reinforcements could show up. The British Commandos had taught him how to jump into combat; to land behind enemy lines and wreak havoc on supply lines and the enemy infrastructure. Captain Clark Harris had trained with the best of the best, but he didn't know what he was actually in for.

The drive was rather uneventful; he quickly arrived at the new HQ and exited the jeep, grabbing his baggage and approaching the front door. One of the accompanying Tommies opened the door for him, and he walked inside. Upon entering, he sat his luggage down near the foyer and removed his cap. He looked around at the immaculate interior, and waited for someone who knew what was going on to assist him.

EDIT: An attendant soon discovered Clark, and led him to the room where the others were waiting. The officer took a seat, and waited patiently. His eyes studied the officer sitting across from him. The man looked aristocratic, rather serious and somewhat menacing. Clark kept his mouth shut, waiting for the officer to speak.
Last edited by Cylarn on Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Monfrox » Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:18 pm

As was often the case, Willow was enjoying her ride to her new post in the back of a deuce and a half truck that was courtesy of the United States for their and Britain's Lend-Lease program. She had just gotten back only yesterday from her joyride in a German dive-bomber and was already being transferred to a different outfit. Still, she was actually somewhat looking forward to it, as the only thing the SOE told her (or COULD tell her) was that she would be able to keep blowing up Jerry's stuff. It was almost like the SOE itself was giving her a birthday present, as today was her 20th birthday. Still, she felt like a kid. A kid now, a kid forever. She wouldn't be surprised if she was the youngest out of the new unit she was heading to. She didn't let it bother her, though.

The truck twisted and turned, churning her around in the back and making it almost impossible for her to let her guard down unless she wanted to end up on the truck bed. She kept her souvenir Sten across her lap as she bounced around. She kept one leg on the floor, and the other braced against the other bench as she had her arms crossed over her chest. Ah, yes. Willow wasn't exactly "well-endowed" for her age, but she was really pushing that philosophy. It was only helped by the fact that she was still in her handed-down SOE clothes which consisted of combat boots, cargo pants, the most basic web gear that held her ammo pouches, sidearm holster, and a canteen, a turtleneck sweater, and a knit hat, all colored black to emphasize stealth. Well, the turtleneck emphasized more than just stealth for Willow's case. On one occasion, one of the resistance members made a rather astute observation about her body and informed her in such a way that her first response was a swift left hook.

Even though she had a lot like that to deal with, she was still confident in herself and her skills. But she was an American, and felt very out of place in London. Try as she might, she couldn't help but feel that she needed to be with her own for a few moments out of the day. She was still in the game, though, and her national pride only came out in her All-American homegrown way of doing things. She was a go-getter and always ready for a fight. If things didn't work to plan, she improvised. In fact, she'd rather just wing an entire operation at points, which made her lucky she wasn't in command of anyone. Whenever something needed to be done, or especially blown to tiny pieces, you didn't have to look any farther than her.

It was around this time that the truck pulled up to the Baker Street HQ. The driver's passenger got out and walked around back.

"Alright there, lassie. This is as far as you go." The man said in a thick Irish accent.

Willow grunted and slowly shuffled her hunched form out of the back and hopped out.

"Give the lads a good show, there!" The driver called out as his partner sat back inside the cab.

The Kreisau Circle
Willow flashed a thumbs up with a grin and the truck roared off down the street. Once gone, she turned around and walked into the building. Surely with all the Occult in this place, Willow must've stuck out like a sore thumb. Almost as if she reeked of normal, and yet at the same time she didn't seem to be normal in either sense. Not one to dwell on her situation with work to be done; Willow walked on with her escort to the briefing room. She threw the door open and walked a few steps in, only pausing to quickly glance at the others present. Quite a collection of individuals so far, but she assumed this wasn't the entire unit. The man near the bookshelf seemed a bit sinister, and the others were also quite up to something. Still, this was SOE, and if she was any case, then the cast only got more colorful after this.

Willow, adhering to her American attitude and brash, took a seat, dropped her gun down, kicked her feet up, leaned back, and decided to check her eyelids for cracks.
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Mnar Secundus
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Founded: May 26, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Mnar Secundus » Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:41 pm

April 27, 1942, Baker Street HQ

"But the Auraicept na n-Éces is clear on this. Beithe should be written like this, not like this" the portly, middle-aged magus said querulously, illustrating his speech with two mostly indistinguishable movement of his fingers in the empty air. "I know you see the difference; surely you are not suggesting that Solamh wasn't aware of it? And the significations, depending on the scale used, must therefore be distinct."

Sophie Acenath Dulac kneaded her brow, frustrated. "Look," she answered in a very obviously patient tone, "there's no logical connection between your two points. Of course Solham knew the difference, but he must have also realized at the time that the execution varied between individuals. In the first place, Cu Chulainn has a different signification for the same rune."

A third, older magus snorted loudly in disdain. "While I am on your side of this debate, Dulac, I'll have to stop you there. We all know that Cu Chulainn is apocryphal. It's a sixteenth-century text, of all -"

Both Sophie and the portly magus surged towards him in protest, the maga waving her cigar while her earlier interlocutor interrupted loudly: "Sir, that is preposterous! There is no basis for dismissing Cu Chulainn out of hand the way you do. We know ogham initially came from witchcraft, and witches in that area commonly avoided writing down their knowledge."

Sophie sighed as a fourth magus -- a maga, in fact -- intervened, the conversation shifting towards the history of Irish witches in relation to runic magecraft. You couldn't have two scholarly magi in the same room without either an argument or a debate, and there were seven of them in this obscure alcove of the Baker Street HQ. The situation was rapidly escalating.

It had started simply enough: Sophie had been walking towards the escalators at the other end of the hall for her briefing when she had run into Mr. John Mandrake, a former instructor at the Lodge School of London who she had met as a visiting lecturer years ago. They had merely taken a few moments to catch up on what each one of them had been up to since the outbreak of the War ... and then it had somehow come to the topic of whether runes' different significations were discrete or overlapping, a fine point of contention between specialists in the field (Sophie was of the latter opinion) ... and then, in a matter of seconds, other magi had seemingly appeared out of thin air around them, drawn to the academics like houseflies to honey. Of course, as a maga, Sophie couldn't let the issue rest, and so here she was.

Preparing her next argument in the vast confines of her mind, she distractedly looked at her pocket watch ...

Nom de Dieu.

"Well then, ladies and gentlemen," Sophie said urgently, to little reaction from the arguing scholars, "I have a meeting several minutes ago, so I'll have to see myself out, if you don't mind ..." Which clearly you don't, she added to herself, amused. The only one of her interlocutors to even register the message was Mandrake, who nodded at her with a distracted frown as she turned and strode off towards the escalator.

She made her way to the boxes at a brisk pace, pumping on her cigar from the corner of her mouth as she thought about the aforementioned meeting. Briefing, really. Apparently this was where she would meet her teammates; an important step, assuredly.

The escalator smelled slightly of food when she walked into it. I can't believe they invited someone who would eat here, the maga in her commented scathingly, but she pushed it out of her mind. Sophie soon left the elevator infused with the pervasive, fruity aroma of cigar smoke, laced with tinges of unidentifiable chemicals, ink and old paper, to take a few confident steps into her superior's office.

"I assume you are M," she said to the man behind the desk. "I say, this is a nice office." This was true: she liked the abundantly-filled bookshelves, the comfortable furniture and the high-quality smoke from the man's cigar. A bit more light would have been pleasant, but from a stylistic perspective, this was fitting. The maga glanced over the other people in the room: five humanoids, including one who was quite possibly a werewolf. Well then. "Sophie Acenath Dulac," she added -- politely, she thought -- as she sat down in an armchair. "Reporting for duty, I suppose."

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Nature-Spirits
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Ex-Nation

Postby Nature-Spirits » Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:30 pm

April 27, 1942, Baker Street HQ

A woman, fairly young, walked through the door of 83 Baker Street, carrying a faded carpet bag and a long, thin bundle. She wasn't tall by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly not the shortest of people, and she had just enough fat on her to add an extra layer of warmth and somewhat round out her thin frame and angular face. Her long, wavy dark brown -- almost black -- hair was done up in a simple bun, and contrasted starkly -- though not startlingly -- with her pale skin. Her eyes -- very dark brown, with a few flecks of green visible if one looked closely enough -- darted around occasionally, and harboured bags beneath them. A mid-sized mole jutted out of the right side of her pointed chin. She wore a full-length grey wool dress -- though London was somewhat hotter than Québec, and sweat pricked at her skin beneath her clothes -- and a string of dark wooden beads hung from around her neck, a stylised crucifix attached to it and hanging at her breasts (similar to a rosary, but nevertheless distinct). There was a butterfly with peculiar colouring -- its wings were monochromatic, black with grey detailing -- sitting tranquilly on her shoulder.

Adrienne Lapierre was this woman's name, and she was a witch from the Québec Coven of Canada. She had left her home on the Île d'Orléans about a week ago, when the mundane government people had come to collect her, and after a few days of becoming acquainted with the military, had travelled by boat to England from the Maritimes, along with a number of other occult volunteers -- mostly witches and magi, but there were a few Wendigos (whom she ignored completely) and vampires as well. She had spent much of the journey seasick -- this had been her first time on the ocean, and in fact she had never before been outside of Eastern Canada and the Northeastern States (and on those rare occasions she had travelled out-of-province, it had been only for a few days at a time, usually on official Coven business) -- and had occasionally resorted to levitating on her broomstick in her quarters to escape the rocking of the floor, if only for a few minutes at a time.

Upon arrival in England, she had been allowed two days to rest and recover from the shift in timezones (something she was thoroughly unused to and didn't like one bit), and this morning another military man had come to fetch her, saying that he would lead her to the "Baker Street Headquarters" for a "briefing" (anglophones had such a strange way of speaking).

So here she was, having been dropped off right outside the door by that very same military man after a short car ride.

Shortly, an English man approached Adrienne, and informed her that he would escort her to the "Briefing Room" (how a room could be brief, and why it was being brief continuously, she wasn't quite sure). She nodded curtly to the man, and let him lead her through a number of halls and doorways, until they reached an elevator. They entered, and as they began their descent Adrienne felt strange, a worry clouding her thoughts -- she was unused to such mechanisms, and highly uncomfortable with them. When the doors finally slid open once more, she briskly exited the elevator. Glancing around her, she noted that there were already several people in the room -- mostly humans, from the looks of it, but certain members of the cadre unsettled her. After a few more moments, she went to an armchair and sank into it, placing her bag and bundle at her feet and waiting in silence, for once unsure of the situation.
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Reverend Norv
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Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:39 pm

1030 Hours
27 April 1942
London
United Kingdom


The cabbie leaned out of the window of his vehicle and looked Matt Beecher up and down. His jaw worked a couple of times; Matt thought of old Shwe Anh chewing betel back in Mong Yawng, and of a cow chewing its cud. Finally the cabbie gave a philosophical shrug - more things in heaven and on Earth, Horatio - and pronounced: "Big bloke, ain'tcha?"

Matt smiled. He stood out, it was true: head and shoulders taller than almost anyone else on the street, broad enough at the shoulders to all but block the sidewalk. He wore a uniform, which was hardly unusual; but he also wore an American uniform, dark olive jacket and khaki trousers and neatly creased garrison cap, and that stood out a bit. A captain's bars glinted on Matt's shoulder straps and on his cap; two lines of ribbons marched across his chest; the patch on his upper arm was embroidered, and showed an American eagle diving toward its prey, a thunderbolt clutched in its talons. Minuteman Project.

"Sure," Matt finally replied. "I suppose I am." He leaned down to talk to the driver through the cab window. "Baker Street?"

The driver made a vague noise of affirmation. Matt clambered in the back of the cab. The driver wrestled with the transmission, and the car started off down the street.

London was strange. Matt had never liked cities, and London was definitely a city: big buildings, lots of stone, not much green. Chilly and damp, too, in a way that made Matt think of November at Harvard. But London was also smouldering, brutalized. Buildings lay here and there in heaps of rubble. Bread lines stretched down the streets. Government facilities were almost buried in sandbags, and guarded by Tommies with fixed bayonets. Firemen sat in groups by drained hydrants: immobile, covered in soot, eyes closed in boundless exhaustion.

But there were still people out on the streets. A market still sold what few items weren't already restricted. Women bustled about their shopping, ration books clutched firmly in their hands. Life went on, or seemed to.

No children, though. The kids had all been sent away, to Birmingham and Edinburgh and points north. There were no young voices to brighten the dreary morn. And so London's stiff-upper-lip resilience felt, to Matt Beecher, like a lie. A brave lie, maybe a necessary lie, but a lie nonetheless.

People were not finding ways to go on with their lives. The war had taken their children away. There could be no normalcy after that.

Matt thought of his father, staring out at the Pacific Ocean, struggling to form words. He thought of Grace, who had written to Matt about Shakespeare and Dickens and Twain every week for four long years in Montana. He tried to lean back in his seat and close his eyes, but he was too tall; the top of his head touched the roof of the cab, and the pressure forced him to sit upright, back straight and true, eyes wide open to London's brave hopeless lie.

* * *


There were two soldiers in civilian suits guarding the entrance to Shadow Command. They were no half-trained conscripts, either: their weight was sunk into the balls of their feet, not their heels, and their eyes were always moving. Matt smelled smoky wool from their suits, and aftershave, and oiled gunmetal: Brownings, probably, in shoulder-holsters underneath the suit jackets.

Matt strolled up to the two, hands in his trouser pockets; Minutemen could flout the Army's pointless uniform regulations to their hearts' content. He tried to think of something to say; after years alone in Montana, small talk felt foreign, and Matt felt a strange flicker of anxiety in the pit of his stomach.

"Hi."

One of the men nodded at Matt; the other gave him a gimlet, fish-eyed stare.

"Know anywhere good for lunch in these parts?"

"Sorry, GI," drawled fish-eyes. "Jerry blew the only decent pub on this road to kingdom come last week." The man gave an elaborate shrug. "Guess you'll just have to settle for your chocolate bars and cigarettes. My mates say the girls in these parts will trade you a damn bit more than they'd like for either of those." Fish-eyes looked ready to spit on Matt's shoes.

Matt shook his head, and looked away, and said nothing.

"There's a pasty stand two blocks down near Marylebone Road," said fish-eyes' partner, a tad apologetically.

"Thanks," Matt replied, still wrong-footed.

"But there's a meeting inside. You're expected."

"Right."

"So maybe wait on lunch, eh?"

"Right."

The plainclothes man gave a thin smile, and Matt nodded gratefully. Fish-eyes looked like he had bitten into a raw lemon.

Inside, the headquarters felt small to Matt, and overcrowded. It was still basically an old house. Women in robes and the occasional pointy hat roamed the corridors in groups. Young, white-haired men and women barely out of their teens stood awkwardly in corners. Patrician-looking people gave Matt stares that reminded him of fish-eyes at the door, and moved in a way that raised the hackles on Matt's neck. A hirsute man stood stock-still and stared into empty space, shoulders rising and falling like a dog panting. A group of middle-aged men and women argued over unclear issues in a bewildering variety of languages.

Wood-paneled rooms opened onto marble-floored corridors. Matt twice had to duck under chandeliers. One had a bat sitting on it, which gave Matt a very un-bat-like glare before flying off. Matt lost count of the number of languages he heard around twenty. He smelled gunpowder and ash, curry and perfume, rank animal sweat and old paper.

Guards waved Matt through checkpoints, ushering him on toward a reinforced elevator. Matt ducked into the elevator, and the doors whisked shut behind him. Ordinarily, that sense of confinement would have given Matt a vague surge of claustrophobia. Now, it gave him a chance to lean back against the elevator wall and catch his breath. The American thought of Master Yui, and he let his mind empty, and he felt his diaphragm rise and fall, tighten and relax, like a great bellows. The air smelled of raw meat, and animal sweat, and cigar smoke, and parchment. Matt felt strength flow through his veins like molten steel. His chest expanded, and his heartbeat slowed, and the elevator came to a stop, and his eyes opened.

* * *


The elevator doors whisked open again. Matt stepped out into a fairly small room filled with leather-upholstered furniture and well-stocked bookcases. At the far end of the room sat a large mahogany desk. Amber lamps cast a dim glow, but most of the office was shadowy; nothing could be seen of the man behind the desk save his silhouette. As Matt watched, the figure took a drag on a cigar; a red coal flared, aglow, in the shadows. Absurdly, Matt thought suddenly of Winston Churchill.

There were other people in the room. A young, vaguely Latin-looking man in RAF uniform stood languorously near the desk, his back to the wall, exuding both a patrician grace and a quiet lethality. A man and a woman, both red-haired, both perhaps five years younger than Matt, sat near the officer; they looked uncertain, out of place, though a merry excitement danced in the girl's eyes. Brother and sister, maybe, Matt thought; they didn't look unusual in any way. Maybe experts of some kind? They seem young for that, though.

An enormous man in civilian clothes stood near the bookshelves; he was several inches taller even than Matt, bearded and hirsute and swarthy, with pointed ears and strange deep lines graven into his face. He smelled like raw meat and rank sweat, and his eyes moved casually over the other people in the room like a predator assessing his next meal. Matt had never seen a werewolf before; until a few months ago, he had not known that such things existed. Now, he had no doubts. When the big man's dead gaze passed over Matt, the Minuteman raised his head and made direct eye contact, his blue eyes calm and open, unchallenging but unafraid.

Matt saw another man in U.S. Army pinks-and-greens seated near the two young redheads; he wore captain's insignia, and a line of ribbons and qualification badges even longer than Matt's adorned his chest. The other man's uniform bore no unit patch; OSS, Matt thought. The captain was dark-haired, good-looking in an unexceptional way; he sat comfortably, but his eyes were alert and he looked ready to leap out of his chair at a moment's notice. There was nothing obviously supernatural about him; he reminded Matt of some of his training officers back in New Mexico. Matt gave him a professional nod, one American officer to another.

A very young woman with short, dark hair was in a chair next to the American captain; she wore combat boots and fatigue trousers, a turtleneck sweater and a watch cap. All were black. A canteen hung from her belt, and an empty holster for a sidearm. She seemed completely normal, at least physically. More OSS, maybe, Matt thought. Or SOE. The woman's - girl's - feet were up on the table in front of her, and her eyes were closed. That was gumption. Matt smiled to himself, impressed. No, she's American, no question. OSS, then. Some kind of hotshot.

Another woman sat in the next chair over: perhaps five or ten years older than Matt, but with a kind of austere, athletic elegance that made her seem almost ageless. She wore civilian clothes, and she was practically draped over her armchair, radiating confidence as if the office was actually her own. She smelled of a strange kind of cigar smoke, sharp and chemical, and of old paper, and maybe of ink for a fountain pen. Her eyes were moving, but not with a soldier's searching wariness. It was more like the gaze of a museum curator: idly curious, ceaselessly assessing. She did not seem normal; she seemed like she knew something important of which everyone else in the room remained ignorant. She made Matt vaguely uncomfortable.

Finally, there was another woman, also a few years older than Matt, sitting silently in a chair that seemed too big for her; her eyes flitted here and there, uncertain and a little anxious. A faded carpet bag and a bundle about the size of a rifle sat at her feet. She was fair, with long, dark hair and weary brown eyes, and she wore a full-length grey dress and some kind of beaded crucifix necklace. A grey-and-black butterfly sat, unmoving, on her shoulder. Matt mentally reviewed the briefing that he had been given after Pearl Harbor. So this is what a witch looks like, he thought. Matt studied the woman again. Well, she does have the mole. But she's not green, that's for sure, and it looks like nobody's dropped a house on her yet. If he was honest with himself, Matt felt a faint tug of affection for the woman. She looks about as disoriented as I feel.

Abruptly, Matt realized that he had been standing just in front of the elevator door for significantly longer than would ordinarily be socially appropriate. Blast. Blast, blast, blast. This is what comes of living entirely alone for four years.

Crushing his embarrassment, Matt stepped forward. He moved strangely, almost unnaturally, like newsreel footage sped up and then slowed down again, or like a cheetah forced to go the pace of a snail. He walked on the balls of his feet, and his shoes were soundless on the hardwood floor. Every motion carried a leashed energy, an intensity of focus, that was distinctly unlike the way that even the most talented of fighters carried themselves.

Matt pulled off his garrison cap; a shock of fine, sandy hair fell over his forehead, and he pushed it back into place. "I'm Matthew Beecher," he told the room. "Captain. United States Army." A rueful grin tugged at one corner of his mouth, introductions seemed utterly inadequate under these circumstances. "Pleased to meet you all."

With that, Matt picked the sturdiest-looking chair in the room - and one from which he could keep an eye on the werewolf by the bookshelf - and he sat down to await developments.
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
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Occupied Deutschland
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Founded: Oct 01, 2010
Ex-Nation

Postby Occupied Deutschland » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:52 pm

February 18, 1942
London, England


To say the aura inside of the meeting room was cold would have been an understatement worthy of any of the British man-cattle outside. The feeling of the room was more accurately characterized as ‘hostile’ rather than merely cold, at least if one paid enough attention to its vampiric occupants. But it was a type of accepted, friendly hostility that had not, and would not, degenerate into physical violence thanks to the promises made by all those present. But those blood oaths, as solemn as they may be, could do nothing to counteract the waves of challenge coming from every Count and Countess inside towards the others.

“We kindred from the presently German-occupied territories of Europe should request recognition by the Allied powers of our rightful Countships now, and continuing in perpetuity. As well as acceptance of the traditional resource exploitation rights those Countships conferred on their possessing families.” The speaker was one of the younger French Counts, and spoke with an accent-tinged English that was almost indecipherable. Jannie restrained her own urge to applaud, despite her agreement with the demand. The young Count was being used by his elders, including Jannie, to advance a purposefully unacceptable position. There seemed little chance that their new human allies-of-necessity would agree to the ‘resource exploitation’ rights demanded. Not when the resource under discussion was the blood of every human residing within the Countship.

But, the politics of negotiation meant one set out an utterly unreasonable demand and then grudgingly retreated from there. The vampires of Europe had been masters of the technique for centuries. It was surprising how appreciative food, or in this case the vampires of North America, were to ‘reasonable’ figures willing to compromise. Most of them were too ignorant to even notice when they were being taken advantage of in such a way.

“Are you insane? Do you want us to get thrown into the same category as those psychopathic Germans? Because demands like that is how it happens!” Another vampire stood, and even went so far as to slap a palm on the desk before him. American kindred never had been good at the more dignified minutia of diplomatic relations. It seemed to be something they inherited from their human foodstuffs.

Jannie allowed herself to relieve a modicum of her frustration at the outburst by letting a smirk creep onto her otherwise neutral face. Much as they liked to ignore the commonality, her kindred were just as territorial as the werewolf packs that had been one of their favorite food sources and most problematic competition for millennia. So many senior vampires gathering together like this didn’t help, either. Usually, if such talks were necessary they could be carried out in short series by the youngest members of each Countship. They would then report back to their patriarchs and matriarchs without requiring those elders to come into contact with the hair-raising ‘smell’ of competing bloodlines themselves. It was a slower process than directly meeting like this, but what concern was time to virtual immortals?

Except in this instance, time was a concern. It had to be. ‘Military necessity’, a phrase nearly meaningless to her and her kindred only a few years before, was now bearing down on them and forcing them to give up such conveniences. The high-level meetings, along with the seemingly breakneck speed of events themselves, were a new experience for the typically stolid vampires, and Jannie was sure she wasn’t the only one who disapproved of the rushed feeling it inspired in her. Unfortunately, there was no other choice.

“If my respected kindred from Boston could restrain himself for a moment, he would hear my reasoning.” The young French Count explained with what would, on first listen, even sound like restraint. Those listening more closely could almost feel the aggravation concealed under the surface though.

Jannie settled into her chair slightly as the explanation began. It was so much window-dressing she didn’t really have to pay attention to it. It was filled with arguments that they all knew would not be convincing to the man-cattle. But it would provide the kindred the best cover to achieve the more limited goals they really wanted. After all, mankind didn’t have to accept the claimed vampire right to their blood. So long as they allowed the Counts and Countesses of the continent to return to their traditional homes, they would be able to milk any human for their blood at any time they wanted. What need did they have of human permission?

Jannie resisted an urge to smile a few hours later as the meeting wrapped up. She was patient enough, but the presence of the other elder vampires in the room provided a tension that only began to relieve itself as she put distance between herself and them. Unlike man-cattle, vampires were not social creatures, at least not outside of their direct relations. Since all of Jannie’s direct relations were likely either dead or, in the case of her youngest brother, collaborating with the Nazis, she was quite lonely in Britain. And in vampire circles, such ‘loneliness’ meant vulnerability. She had no siblings to side with her, and no sons or daughters of her own that might inherit her Countship or the blood-oath to avenge her if she were killed by another vampire…Or a vampire-hunter, for that matter. This was England. The base of operations of that accursed Helsing family…

“M-I-five tells us meetings like that are actually frustrating for your—uh—species? But it seemed very respectful to me.” A uniformed man said, matching Jannie’s unhurried stride as she left the building. He was unable to catch the slight falter in his voice as he reminded himself just what ‘species’ he was referring to and suffered from the still-common awkwardness in speech addressing their betters created for the mundane. Food was always far too easily ruled by their emotions, fear especially. In some cases that could be almost frightening itself, but in this one it was merely amusing.

Jannie’s eye shifted to the man, who’d been considerate enough to walk on her left so she didn’t have to turn her head to compensate for her always-closed right eye. Her eyebrows lowered a minute fraction of an inch at the probing nature of the question, but then relaxed. While it was important where MI5 got that information just in case one of the Countships was compromised, she already had a much more likely guess as to how they came to it. While the Army officer beside her would have likely been fooled by the ceremonial mask the meeting had taken place under in accordance to tradition, more diligent observers (such as the ones MI5 undoubtedly had listening in) would have been able to spot the tension between the vampires easily. Either that or they’d been told. Most likely by those damned vampire-haters in Albion lodge.

“That is because you are not a vampire, nor are you familiar enough with Us—“ The capitalization was obvious even in her voice, “—to know when We are actually being respectful.” She explained as neutrally as she could, though a slight bit of snap entered her voice. It was as thorough an explanation as he could have asked for.

The officer was silent for a moment, but then nodded in recognition of the point. “I certainly do have a lot to learn. None of us even knew vampires existed a few years ago.”

Jannie kept her eye on the man for a moment, trying to gauge how serious he was. At least he admitted his ignorance. For food, that was something she had to give him credit for. She had the disturbing feeling that now that the Masquerade had been broken, there would need to be humans capable of such who came to be more familiar with her and her kindred. Immediately because of the demands of the war, but also in the long-term to perhaps temper any…overreaction the blood-filled masses might have to the sudden discovery that their bedtime stories meant to frighten children were true. Her father had told her of how dangerous the few organized bands of hunters had been in the Middle Ages. She could only imagine how much worse the effects would be with popular sentiment, radio and industry spurring it on, unless there were those urging caution.

“We preferred it that way, Lieutenant. You may dismiss your countrymen calling us ‘monstrous servants of Satan’, but we do not have that luxury. They are precisely why the Masquerade was practiced in the first place. We have all lived long enough to see what your kind does to those they fear.”

“In fact,” Jannie continued after a barely noticeable hesitation, “That is why many of the German Counts sided with the Nazis instead of combatting them.”

“They sided with humans because they’re afraid of humans?” Lieutenant Myers couldn’t conceal his disbelief or his slight confusion at the turn the conversation had taken. She couldn’t blame him that much though, they had so little control over their emotions.

“They sided with the humans in power, at least in part, because they are concerned over what humans might do with that power. Your species does not hold a great reputation for rational thinking. Particularly on matters concerning those of us who lived on the other side of the Masquerade. They were trying, in part, to protect themselves from humanity.” Jannie was tempted to sigh, and had Myers been a vampire she might have. But to appear so obviously frustrated by food not understanding her kindred’s politics would be horribly gauche, and even a little unfair if she were to be completely honest. It wasn’t his fault he did not possess the context for such a discussion.

“You’ll pardon me if I don’t immediately agree with you on the ‘why’ of all that. But you almost sound like you admire their decision.”

Jannie allowed her first real physical indicator into the conversation with a small shrug, “Perhaps ‘understand’ would be more accurate. Are you familiar at all with the term ‘Faustian bargain’?” Lieutenant Myers shook his head, as she’d expected he would. Uncultured barbarian, it wouldn’t surprise her if the man had never heard of even Shakespeare. “Well, in any case, the protection of the Masquerade disappeared only a few years after they—We—lost the relative security and comfort of the nobility of Austria-Hungary and Imperial Germany. Titles many of Us, or allies of ours, were in possession of were suddenly useless. You should understand that made all of Us rather…uncomfortable. Myself included. We did not know how humanity would react when We were exposed, and those things which had allowed us some management or, at least, warning of government policy, were gone. Along with protection from the excesses of the hunters. Part of the German Counts’ reasons for joining the Nazi cause was undoubtedly the security and power that involvement in the new government would grant them.” Jannie deliberately avoided noticing Myers’ reaction to that statement.

“Not that they did not have other, equally important to them and, frankly less sensible, reasons for the decision. It is not all that surprising the Prussian Counts were attracted to some of the racial themes of the National Socialist party.” Jannie restrained her own emotional outburst to a slow shake of her head and a slow gesture to her scarred-over right eye. “I do not ‘admire’ their decision, Lieutenant. But I can step back from my own emotional involvement in the matter to try and understand why they made that decision. It is something I desperately hope your race can develop before your fear of what has been on the other side of the Masquerade drives you into rash action.”

Myers frowned, but appeared to at least think about the words. Under the circumstances, that was perhaps the most she could ask for. What the lout thought himself wasn’t all that important, but she knew he reported to higher-ups periodically. Perhaps he would include such admonishments in them and someone in the human chain of command would take note of them. It was about all she could do since bursting into a meeting of the Big Three and lecturing them about humanity wasn’t likely to be successful.

“There was not this kind of vengeance-fueled trouble after the Congress of Vienna. Perhaps if you humans had settled things more equitably in Versailles and Saint-Germain, you would not have created such problems for yourselves.” Jannie trailed off.

Myers snorted, “Yes, and perhaps if the Jerries hadn’t started that war as well, we wouldn’t have had any of the problems of the last forty years.”

Jannie restricted herself to a blank stare at the man while inwardly she rolled her eyes at the ridiculous assertion. Humans were always so emotional. They couldn’t seem to look past the immediate future and past to what the world might look like decades down the line or how the current one had come into being or how it might turn on itself in the future because of those same attitudes. Immediate enemies to them were obviously the only ones that would exist, and were responsible for all sorts of nefarious deeds in the past regardless of actual occurrences.

These were the same ones demanding they be allowed to choose leaders to represent them and listen to them? What fools! It was a miracle they had not exterminated each other already.

Which, she supposed, she should be more thankful of no matter how aggravating some of them could be. Their blood was so much richer-tasting than other livestock animals. Not to mention they were much easier to make a meal out of than werewolves were. They had an almost charming weakness to them, a near-helplessness that inspired in her the same feeling Jannie had always imagined a parent felt for a small babe. Werewolves were a thrill, a challenge one hunted for the status symbol of their blood and the challenge. But the masses of humanity were the staple, and only really dangerous when they organized themselves into groups with a capable leader.

Thankfully, many were retarded from such mass organization thanks to their modern mass of blood-filled citizenry’s insistence on electing or approving their leaders. Oh well. She wanted them for their blood, not their brains.

“It is ‘Germans’ not ‘jerries’, and they did not start that war, bomb-throwing Serbian anarchists did.” Jannie corrected, almost gently, as she quickened her pace slightly. There was only so much explaining she could do in a day and she realized she’d become somewhat bored with the conversation, such as it was.

Without a word of warning or farewell to the man who was, at least in name, her ‘liaison’, Jannie burst into a fine mist. Pre-dawn London, already inundated by similar emanations of non-vampiric origins, absorbed the slight bit of extra with no difficulty.

On the street she’d left behind, Lieutenant Myers shuddered. He was unreasonably thankful that the duty assigned to him to observe and accompany the woman as oft he could was coming to an end. He was a loyal officer of the Royal Army, but he’d be damned if he wouldn’t prefer fighting in Africa to risking his neck, literally, around the woman. Let the SOE handle her, he wanted to fight the jerries not humor her ridiculous sympathizing.


April 27, 1942
Baker Street HQ


“[I do not deny that the man’s reforms did frustrate me at the time. Having to spend my days and nights showering him with attention when he was there and not knowing the safety of my Countship? Infuriating. But I think in the long-run they were necessary for the prosperity and, more importantly, stability of the French state he was trying to build. Made it much safer for the kindred as well by stopping those foolish civil wars they are so fond of for some time. I cannot fault him too greatly for the costs imposed on me. After all, France spent the next century dominating Europe before those mad anarchists ruined everything. And at least the man knew enough to treat us in splendor at his ‘hunting lodge’. I understand the humans enjoyed the food and drink provided immensely, and—]”, The count grew a conspiratorial smile as he paused to glance around the room before continuing in French, “[—We did as well.]”

Jannie de Danek von Waldstein politely laughed at the coy suggestion, hiding her mouth with one glove-covered hand as she did so. There was a slight bit of challenge between herself and the elder Count, but it was much more easily sidelined than it would be had there been any other vampires present to amplify it. The pair had been speaking for a couple hours since the sun had risen outside, wandering from current events to things which had led to current events and snowballing from there until she now found herself hearing the man’s assessment of Lois XIV’s impact on the reorganization of the French state back when the Bourbon dynasty had reigned supreme.

“[I am certain your suffering was truly Sisyphean.]” she said, drawing a polite laugh of his own from the Count. “[My sire always said his time observing Louis the fourteenth during the Spanish Secession was perhaps when he was most impressed by a single man-cattle in his life. I always imagined Louis the fourteenth as a model of what Napoleon could have done if that one were not so corrupted by their foolish revolution and its ideals. A man to embody and act as the state, without all this consent and discourse the English demand.]”

“[An interesting idea. I must admit, I held hope for the diminutive general. Even supported him when he returned from exile. Alas, it seemed tha—“]

“Excuse me, miss?” A British lieutenant interrupted, barely looking up from a notepad to address Jannie before swinging his eyes back down to it. “The meeting is about—“

“[Do pardon me a moment, Count.]” Jannie slipped in perfectly, stopping the Englishman mid-sentence without so much as looking at him. “Lieutenant, I am a Graefin, or should you find the German too distasteful to use at this point in your country’s history, a Countess. You should address me as such. More importantly, you interrupted an ongoing conversation. Wait to be acknowledged.” Jannie said in a voice demanding obedience.

Jannie was silent for a heartbeat to be sure the words would be heeded, and assuming they would be nodded at the French vampire. “[My apologies, Count. You were saying?”]

The Lieutenant looked between her and the notepad. He’d simply been told to tell the vampire-woman where to go, and he had no idea who she was or whether his own minute military rank was more authoritative than her own social one. His eyes darted around the room seeking support or direction. He didn’t find either before the vampires conversation continued.

“[Merely observing that after Napoleon’s final defeat I held little hope for the restored monarchy. The people became far too enraptured with their silly ‘revolutionary ideals’. The state changed shape so many times, even I grew tired of any involvement with it. Almost all of them took the notion of ‘liberty, equality and brotherhood’ to their heads, like this young man.]” The French Count didn’t do anything to indicate the British lieutenant that had interrupted him, but Jannie knew who he was referring to. “[And it has made them so rude, hasn’t it? No respect for titles or nobility. But, I shall bid you goodbye for the moment, Countess. The man-cattle with their short lives are so concerned with punctuality, it would be discourteous to keep them waiting too long, don’t you think?]”

Jannie extended her hand slightly and the Count of Avranches took it and gently brushed his lips across the top of her glove. They both shared the same whisper-thin smile at his words. With that, the French Count stood straight and calmly turned to his own affairs. Jannie mimicked the turn, but stopped midway through to focus her eye on the Lieutenant who had interrupted the conversation.

“How may I help you, Lieutenant?” Jannie asked, with no trace of the whiplike crack that had been in her voice when she’d last addressed the man. She seemed utterly unconcerned with his earlier transgression. Instead, she merely waited for his explanation in head-cocked neutrality. The Royal Army lieutenant did his best to hide a shudder.

“You were to report to M’s office?” He said gently, in a tone that obviously shifted the blame for the politely-phrased order from himself to his superiors. He didn’t know who the woman was, he was just a secretary and go-for at the Baker Street headquarters. Assigned there because he could type fast and accurately, he had no desire to get into confrontations with the humans he worked with, much less any of the non-humans.

Jannie nodded minutely, “Indeed, lieutenant. Lead on.”

Not relishing the event at all, but too stubborn to abandon his job, the secretary lead her through a handful of checkpoints where the ridiculous identification she’d been given by Her Majesty’s government was compared to her appearance. Convinced she still looked like herself, she was passed through without fail.

“Just down the elevator past these last two checkpoints, Mi—Countess.”

Jannie’s eye had narrowed at the near-misstep, but returned to normal when it was quickly corrected. She was already moving forward when she muttered a dull “My thanks, lieutenant.” in the same voice one might use to thank a toaster or lightbulb for doing its job.

Entering the elevator alone, Jannie took the opportunity to preen slightly and ensure her clothing was set just right. Thankfully, it wasn’t that difficult. The simple, dark blue shirtwaist dress she’d worn for the day never presented her any trouble. Unlike the petticoats and such she’d worn years earlier that were functional nightmares even if fashionable. There was the trade-off, of course, that the plebian masses could easily wear the same thing she was to work. But clothing was only a relatively small part of one’s class.

Her immediate thought upon emerging from the elevator was how tasteful this ‘M’ fellow’s office was, particularly in his choice of lighting. So many man-cattle practically bathed their workspaces and homes in light, casting it everywhere inside a room for complete coverage that left not a single unlit corner. As if the light was wallpaper or paint. Thankfully, this space was more reserved in its application. Paired with the bookshelves, it exuded a quiet dignity she approved of. A quiet dignity that reminded her, in a quick stab of homesickness she did not let touch her face, of her own home.

What did not have the same dignity were some of the other occupants of the room. Two of them, the one she guessed to be ‘M’ behind the desk and, perhaps worse, a woman, were smoking of all the uncouth things. Not to mention a good number of them seemed to be mere mundane man-cattle, though one she immediately pegged as such was probably a witch upon closer examination and another might be a maga. Jannie wanted to shake her head, but instead glanced at the one man who’d been standing as something struck her.

He wasn’t a man, though. Even if the strangely lupine feel his looks exuded weren’t evidence enough, Jannie could smell the difference on him. Or, perhaps more accurately, in him. Pulsing with every beat and sending animalistic drink through his veins that whispered in the back of Jannie’s mind with dark temptation. From knowledge of his species alone, she could draw the appropriate conclusions about him. He was an uncultured creature of basic instinct and cruel taste. She could hope desperately for him to prove her wrong, but he was a werewolf. She did not expect much.

There was something else, though, as well. It was a much more subtle scent, so much so that Jannie almost ignored it, or perhaps almost missed it. It was very much like human blood, except not. It held a shadow of the wild call coming from the werewolf’s veins, but was much more tempered, more controlled. It was completely novel to her.

It came from a truly gigantic man who seemed to be trying to squeeze himself onto a chair built for a regularly-sized human. Had the SOE found a giant somewhere? Jannie was usually not that conscious of her height, but found herself straightening her back and her calves to add an extra centimeter to her unimpressive figure. Unlike the British lieutenant, this one did not seem the kind of man who would bend to a simple commanding tone in her voice. He was an interesting discovery. A very impressive specimen of a man-cattle.

With a mental shake of her head, Jannie nodded her head very slightly to first one side of the room and then the other. “I am Jannie de Danek, Graefin von Waldstein Lord of Wartenberg, Countess of Liberec-Zittau. I bid you all a good morning.”

Jannie hadn’t wanted to extend that courtesy to the werewolf, but appearances demanded it of her. She was a master of upholding appearances and she would not be the one to offer first insult to the creature. Stepping aside, she hesitated a moment before settling herself in a chair near the massive man. With a slow, feminine shrug of her shoulders she settled into the seat and crossed her legs before her. Patience was something she had in abundance, being rather unconstrained by a natural lifespan as she was.
Last edited by Occupied Deutschland on Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Latznavia
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Founded: Nov 06, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Latznavia » Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:23 am

Outside Moscow, USSR - April 10, 1942

A young man dressed in a khaki coat, pants, and peak cap entered. He held the door open and removed his hat, holding if under his right arm. The room was dark, with a single light floating above a steel table and a man in a more moderately overdressed military uniform. His face zhdoud but the darkness could not hide the deep wrinkles under his eyes or the thick, white mustache. He motioned the younger man to approach, and so the younger man closed the door behind him. He pulled the chair out and placed the hat on his knee, the older man reached under the desk and pulled out a thick, manila file with his name. BELLINKOV, ANATOLY.

"Welcome, mister Bellinkov. I am General Zharkov. I am here to interview you. Is that understood?" The man spoke hoarsely, adjusting the file in his hands. Anatoly nodded, but remained quiet. "A quiet child. You are already better than the last man." Zharkov chuckled. Anatoly chuckled in following but not as vocally. "Anatoly, it says here you fought against Germans earlier this year in Minsk. Is that true?"

"Yes sir, I went there to service the people there. For the betterment of my home, glory to the USSR." Anatoly spoke, Zharkov zipped the glass of water that sat next to him.

"I have read your file and I must say that your file is one of the best I have seen come from Katorga 11. So, explain to me why you think you deserve this honor." Anatoly was a bit taken back, he was expecting to be told he was not accepted and lead out now. He cleared his throat as Zharkov placed the file down. "I am waiting, Mr. Bellinkov.".

"Sir, I feel that I would be a great asset not only because of my ability, but because of my attitude. I want to help everyone and make sure that the war ends before the world falls to Germany, sir." Anatoly said, he looked at Zharkov who slowly reached into jacket as his once smile now became a stoic expression. "Is there something wrong sir?"

"If the USSR had more men like you, we wouldn't be so damned hated." Zharkov pulled out a letter with Anatoly's name on it. "Congratulations, Mr. Bellinkov. Your interview has proven us correct. Stalin wishes you well, you will be representing the USSR in the greatest fight of our brief lives. The fight against the German Threat. Anatoly-" Zharkov stood up and saluted, Anatoly stood up as well and saluted, then shook hands with Zharkov. "Your plane leaves in two hours. We hope that you serve us proud." Anatoly smiled and after a few moments of hand shaking, Zharkov motioned towards the door to which Anatoly placed his hat on his head, smiled and left the room.

Baker Street Headquarters, London, England - April 27, 1942

Anatoly Bellinkov sat quietly in the back of a London cab, besides him was an elderly looking man in a black suit, with undergarment vest. A pocketwatch chain hung from his pocket as he sat just as quietly in the back. Anatoly was resting his head on his hand as they passed construction crews and wrecked housing still recovering from the London Blitz barely one year ago. The man was tapping his hand up on his knee, which Anatoly attempted to ignore, one movement may force him into a conversation that he would not be prepared for. His English was terrible and he did not want to offend anyone. The car was stopped at a light and it became clear the man was growing curious as he glanced at Anatoly's khaki uniform and dark peaked cap. He noticed the man seemingly enticed by the emblem of a hammer and sickle on it.

The car came to a stop as if someone's God had granted this man the mercy of having to talk. He opened the door as the taxi driver held his hand our, clearly wanting some form of payment. Anatoly reached into his pocket and pulled out his money, only to pull from his pocket a handful of rubles. He swore under his breath that he never exchanged these damned things. He cleared his throat.

"Apologies are mine, money is no good for you." He said, but the cabbie seemed only angered by this and opened his door, getting out of his cab. He looked at Anatoly with a bit of a scowl.

"Whatcha mean money is no good, you wanker" the cabbie shouted violently. Anatoly looked a bit scared and confused. He placed his hsnd against his mouth, thinking before he before attempting to speak. However, the doors to the Baker Street entrance opened and a British man walked over with pleasantry and joy until he heard the shouting and ran over.

"Sir, what is the problem?" The suited man asked, Anatoly looked confused and unable to explain but merely showed the Rubles to the man who nodded and reached into his pocket slowly and revealed a few pounds. "Sir, here you are. Now, let's get you inside. You must be exhausted from your long trip. Where did you say you were from?" They turned as the cab driver drove off,

"I am of Minsk, sir." He spoke, as they entered. He saw the rest of the group of men, the French Vampire, the African, and so many others. He grew a bit worried as he stood out, but then he remembered what the propaganda said, 'Show the world Soviet Pride'. He straightened up and walked around, eyeballing everyone not out of suspicion but amazement that the unit truly was a multicultural mess of people. He looked at the Americans as well, probably longer than the others. Amazed that despite being in a recession, they were happy. He blamed it on their 'corrupted' media and their 'selfish' state of mind and chuckled knowing they may never know the happiness of less. A man called from the railing on the second floor for all of them to go upstairs.

His heavy Combat boots, Russian made and Russian strong, banged lloudly with every step as he clambered up the stairs. A Butler held the door, but Anatoly smiled and removed him to hold the door. After a few people entered, he walked in. The walls were lined with numerous books the smell of fine wine filled the air. He inhaled, enticed by the amora.

"So this be Shadow Operations. I is impressed good by these." He knew he sounded like a Slavic idiot but at this point, could not care. What mattered was service to the nations of the world. He stood at attention as M introduced himself. "Greetings, Sir M. I is happy to service here." He said as his hand came to his forehead in a salute before going to parade rest.
Last edited by Latznavia on Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Cylarn
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Cylarn » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:52 am

More people had begun to join the room, namely a massive figure in a uniform similar to Clark's. He blinked; it was a Minuteman. During his time as a reserve officer, he had heard rumors of government experiments on GIs, trying to create the perfect soldier. The fellow in question, who introduced himself as Captain Matthew Beecher, possessed a build unlike many that Clark had seen before. He guessed that his uniform had to be custom-tailored to fit his person. Clark gave the man a respectful nod.

Yet another female walked in, and Clark's attention was not drawn by her aristocratic demeanor, but by the massive scar on her face. Regardless, he took the precaution of not staring at her face, lest he catch her wrath. She was attractive, even with the scar, and her aristocratic demeanor was confirmed when she introduced herself. Clark didn't know what to make of the titles, but he knew that he'd do well to not piss her - or anyone else, for that matter - off.

Then came the Ruskie. Clark wondered if anyone else disliked the Ruskies more than him, but then again, he didn't know if many of them had been in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. The Soviets had deployed advisers, troops, equipment, and numerous other assets to support the Republican government, and Clark was of the mind that the Republicans would have been better off without the overbearing Soviets. They were mean and self-righteous, touting their Commie bullshit and reigning themselves above their counterparts. More than once, Clark had come close to putting a round from his .45 in the head of a Soviet Commissar. Executing retreating soldiers during the heat of battle stemmed from a lack of respect between the rank-and-file and the brass, and during his tenure as a platoon commander with the Brigade, he made sure that he had properly earned the respect of his troops, lest they mutiny or flee the battlefield.

Listening to the others introduce themselves, Clark decided that it would be best if he did the same. He stood to his feet, looking around at the curious-looking individuals around him.

"Captain Clark Harris, US Army," he said, his voice containing that distinct Southern Appalachian twang, but tempered with the advent of a somewhat deep Southern Philadelphia dialect, which did well to keep him from sounding like a total mountain hillbilly. "Pleased to be here."

He sat back down and reached into his uniform pocket, producing a small pack of matches and a soft pack of Lucky Strikes, the crown jewel of RJ Reynolds Tobacco. He removed a cigarette and placed it in his mouth, before placing the pack back in his pocket and striking a match. His hands cupped around the unfiltered cigarette and the lit match as he inhaled slowly, igniting the tobacco and the paper. A puff of smoke was released, and he extinguished the match by waving it through the air a few times. He then tossed the extinguished match into a nearby trashbin.

"Would anyone care for a cigarette?" he asked, looking around at his companions. "They're toasted."
Last edited by Cylarn on Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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WolFina
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Ex-Nation

Postby WolFina » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:30 pm

London, United Kingdom (27th April, 1942)

"I never killed an Italian before," Carrie said aloud. Next to her, her sister bit her lip and hoped that the taxi driver wasn't paying too much attention. "You think if I tore out his innards, I could use the guts to flavor my spaghetti?" the vehicle came to a grinding halt, and the driver turned around.

Marcie put her hand over her twin's mouth and laughed. "She's kidding. Been reading too much Poe." that didn't deter the driver's bewildered glance, but he merely turned his head back around and decided not to press for answers.

"Look's like it's the end of the road." he pointed to the wreckage before them, from where the Luftwaffe had sent hell down on the city of London. "Guess we'll have to drive the long way around." he groaned, not sure how long he could take with the pair. The one on the right with blue eyes wasn't so bad, but the violet-eyed one on the left was a nightmare, panting like a dog and saying creepy things that would haunt him for the rest of his days.

"No problem, the HQ isn't too far away." Marcie stated, opening the door and walking to the driver's window. She pulled out her wallet and tried to round her American money up to British pounds before Carrie spoke up again.

"There's so many dead bodies, I wonder what they taste like."

The driver held up his hand. "Just.... just get her as far away from me as humanly possible, and we'll say it's paid." Marcie rushed over and grabbed Carrie by the shirt collar, running past the debris and heading for the HQ on her map. Even if it hadn't been close, she would have made up a lie or excuse to manage to get out of Carrie in a car ride.


Baker Street Q

Carrie pushed on the door in frustration, before taking both arms and pounding against it.

"Wait - you just need - to - " Marcie fell silent as Carrie's arms became wolf-like and sent the door flying into the opposite direction into the briefing room. "... turn the knob..."

"Good morning, United Kingdom!" Carrie exclaimed enthusiastically, saluting the congregated with good old fashioned American cheerfulness. "Thompson & Thompson from the US reporting in. Please accept our humblest regards." she didn't attempt to hide her West Virginian accent, which stood out as clear as day.

Marcie walked past her sister, but not before hissing in her ear, "You just had to turn the knob." face bright red and head down, she took a seat and twiddled her thumbs, clearly too embarrassed to talk.

"I apologize it took us so long to get here. There's just so much rubble from where you let the krauts bomb your country."

Marcie would have been lying if the thought of murdering her twin sister hadn't entered her mind.

I hate everything.
Last edited by WolFina on Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Nature-Spirits
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Ex-Nation

Postby Nature-Spirits » Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:25 pm

April 27, 1942
Briefing Room, Baker Street HQ
London, England


Adrienne took deep breaths as the seconds, then minutes, wore on. Cities such as London were foreign to her -- yes, the Coven was based in Québec City, but they all lived outside of the city proper, and for the most part they rarely left the Île d'Orléans -- and she felt highly uncomfortable in the midst of a place with such a high concentration of people and buildings and machines. It was almost... surreal.

She could appreciate the obvious love for books that the man in the desk at the front of the room apparently held. Of course, she did not read much, herself -- witches, unlike magi, relied predominantly upon oral transmission of their teachings, and centuries -- if not millennia -- of learning and knowledge and refined techniques were encoded into poems, rhymes, and songs (some of which, unfortunately, had made their way into the mundane world as nursery rhymes and children's games, though they tended to be diluted, the hidden messages vanishing and remaining the covens' secrets). Indeed, most witches had little use for books. That said, she did enjoy reading quite a bit -- after all, when one has nothing to tend to, and there is a book laying around, one may as well read it. She especially enjoyed the great French writers: Molière, Balzac, Voltaire, and others of their ilk. Even if they were men, and mundane (she supposed) at that.

Her eyes continued to move about the room, and Adrienne took note of all those present:

At the front of the room, the mysterious man-shaped silhouette smoking a cigar sat behind a mahogany desk. He was clearly the one to whom this room belonged. Adrienne could not determine much about him, and this somewhat unnerved her, though she knew that logically, she was likely completely safe.

Nearby the desk, a young man in a uniform stood silently. He looked kind, but was clearly a soldier: not only the uniform, but his very comportment exuded military training and discipline. In the past week that the witch had spent among military men, she had learned much about them, and had determined many of their tells. Otherwise, he seemed to be mundane, though it was possible that he was a magus or somesuch; he did not exhibit many of the behaviours possessed by magi, nor did he seem to have any magical paraphernalia, but she knew that one who had spent enough time among mundane humans could easily blend in with their kind.

A young pair, a man and a woman, sat close to the soldier. They were similar in appearance -- their hair, features and skin all bore a close resemblance, though they did not appear to be twins -- so Adrienne guessed that they were siblings. They, too, appeared to be mundane, but at the same time they had an aura about them that was difficult to place. It was almost as if, beneath their simple exteriors, they were possessed of a lethality encountered rarely among mundane folk; however, their mannerisms were not those of military-trained soldiers. The way they managed to evade clear definition intrigued the witch; she would keep an eye on them.

Her eyes moved over to another man, this one standing by the bookshelves. She froze. Everything about this man screamed "werewolf": his face, his manner of moving, the way his eyes moved hungrily over the people in the room. Her eyes narrowed, and she flexed her right hand, taking note of every line and curve of the werewolf's figure for future reference. In case it needed to be put down, like the dog that it was.

Cautiously, she looked away from the werewolf -- best not to attract its attention by staring too long -- and glanced over another soldier man; then over a young soldier woman, who seemed quite rude, with her feet on the table before her. She was probably American, and perhaps slightly unhinged.

Then, she took note of a woman -- about her own age, probably -- smoking a cigar. The woman was obviously a maga, what with her clothing and paraphernalia, but seemed to be more relaxed and at-ease than most magi she had encountered, and was more athletic than most of her kind. Adrienne was not quite sure what to make of the maga.

She realised that the elevator had opened once more, and her eyes moved to observe the new arrival -- and, once more, she froze. This was a giant of a man, and the way he moved -- it was careful and measured, as though he was restraining himself. She had no idea what to make of him. She quickly glanced away, finding that she felt a slight discomfort regarding his size. He announced himself as one Matthew Beecher, apparently a captain in the US army. Odd.

Next, a woman appeared. She was perhaps a few inches taller than Adrienne herself, and an angry scar ran across her face, sealing her right eye shut. If the woman's pale skin and careful grace left anything to doubt, her status as a vampire would be confirmed when she announced herself. The titles all flew over Adrienne's head, but one word -- "Countess" -- confirmed that this was not only a vampire, but one of high rank; probably quite old and considerably powerful.

Then, a young man entered, and the witch raised her eyebrows at his white hair. His English was bad -- worse than her own, and hers was nothing to brag about -- and his accent was distinctly Slavic. He, too, was a soldier. She could not determine whether he was mundane or of the occult.

Suddenly, a scrabbling came from the entrance, and then the door blew inwards. Adrienne gasped, raising her right hand and muttering in French as the air before her hand heated up. However, her words trailed off and the air returned to its normal temperature when a boisterous young American girl bounded into the room, announcing herself and her sister. The other rushed to a chair, obviously embarrassed, while the boisterous one continued speaking. Adrienne slowly dropped her hand, but narrowed her eyes as she noticed the girl's slightly bestial hands. Werewolves? More of them? Perfect. She scowled slightly, but they seemed less dangerous than the other beast by the bookshelves, so she turned away, staring at her carpet bag. I could really use a drink right now.
Last edited by Nature-Spirits on Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:38 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Malshan
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Founded: Sep 08, 2010
Father Knows Best State

Postby Malshan » Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:36 pm

Markus watched the staggered stream of new arrivals with both anticipation and anxiety. Perhaps due to his dual nature; one part of him wanted to get to know who they were and in what capacity he would be expected to cooperate with them, and the other part of him wanted to know what their livers tasted like. With effort, Markus reigned himself in and limited the bestial expression to a licking of his lips.

Then they began speaking, seeming to feel the need to introduce themselves, to establish a baseline relationship with one another. Humans are not unlike my own kind. Pack animals, the lot of us. he thought to himself, chuckling a bit.

And then the door slammed open and a pair of newcomers arrived. Markus's nostrils immediately flared as he took in the lingering scent of mountains and streams marked with the distinctive scent of two young werewolf females. Markus sighed and rolled his eyes as one of the two, apparently the more human of the two, began apologizing for their apparent tardiness. Stupid pup.

Markus levered himself off of the bookcase he was leaning on and took a step forward, deciding that it was in his best interest to introduce himself. He realized that most of the occupants knew what he was, or at least had an idea. So he decided to put a name on the monster in their midst.

"I'm sure ya lot already know whot I am, but I'll tell ya anyways. I'm a greymuzzle." said Markus in a gruff voice. "For those of ya unfamiliar wit' the term, that means "old as dirt werewolf". As for the basic questions, no I don't have a pack, yes I showered before I came, yes I've eaten something, and no I'm not planning on eating your tongues fa whatever passes as tea 'round here." He paused. "Besides, I'm more fond of the human liver anyway."

"As for a name, I'm Markus. You can call me Markus. I used to have a rank back in the Great War, but I kind of lost it when I decided that Germans tasted better than Americans."
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Rupudska
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Founded: Sep 16, 2010
Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

Postby Rupudska » Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:41 pm

London
10:37


"Take me to the Baker Street Headquarters, please."

The young Jewish girl's request drew an odd look from the cabbie she had requested it to. It was an odd request, after all, as she was clearly less than eighteen years old, and the United States Army uniform she was in clearly wasn't that of a nurse. "Aren'tcha a little young to be in the Army?"

Esther only glared at the man, before rolling her eyes and nearly throwing herself into the car. "Just drive the taxi, taxi driver."

"Sure, sure." Bitchy Americans, the driver thought to himself as he started the cab towards Baker Street. It wasn't very long before he was stopped again, this time by someone much older looking, much more voluptuous, much more clearly not human, and much more clearly not... one hundred percent white.

"Baker Street HQ."

So she's going where I'm going, Esther thought. She sized the (Australian, judging by the accent) woman up and down, realizing she was a vampire on the second pass, and realizing that she was aware she was being visually analyzed on the third. She immediately looked away from the Australian, trying to hide her embarrassment but failing.

"Never seen a 'strayan before?"

"No, it's not that, I've just never seen a werewolf before."

The cabbie did a double take, staring at the Catherine before she and Esther both yelled at him to watch the road.




Baker Street HQ

Eventually, and with much discussion along the way, the two women made their way to the Baker Street headquarters. The two of them quickly entered the building, Esther in her slightly-too-big-for-her US Army uniform, and Catherine in a fitted (if slightly tight) women's suit. Esther's Army uniform was of typical makeup, typical appearance, and typical quality. It was made neither for hot or cold weather, and as such was merely warm enough in London's cool April air. The suit was made out of a very light fabric, the kind meant to be worn in the hot northern Australian weather, yet strong enough to withstand the northern Australian monsoons. However, it was poorly suited to such temperatures.

"Bloody... freezing... my... arse... off..." Catherine chanted as she charged into the building, with Esther merely walking behind her. 12 C wasn't that cold to someone who had lived in New York for a long time, after all.

But, it didn't matter. They were soon inside, in the pleasantly warm HQ, and after passing through a few checkpoints, they were inside, and the two quickly sat down.
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Monfrox
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Father Knows Best State

Postby Monfrox » Sat Jun 27, 2015 5:38 pm

To the effect of the door slamming open and the shouting; Willow jumped, shifted, and lost her balance and falling back onto the floor. The rather quiet room that had only been resonating the casual introductions and conversations of the other members of the unit had it's atmosphere punctuated articulately by Willow slightly deeper-than-average voice.

"FUCK!"

Willow ungraciously rolled off the chair and stood up. She shot a glare over at the Thompson twins as she dusted herself off and then took her seat again. Now, this time she was visibly alert in her lounging. She also took the time to glance around the room again as more people had shown up.

The man from before seemed to had successfully made his way into the office. A somewhat gaunt, older looking guy that seemed to want to be anywhere but here. The smoke from his cigarette was drifting, and that also brought her to look over at the older woman smoking a cigar. With the others she saw before hand, she was quickly feeling like the odd one out as a younger member. They had been talking, along with everyone else, but Willow hadn't been listening.

There was one other thing that stuck out. The giant of a man that sat on a chair too disproportionate to his size. Jesus, he looked like he could take your damn head off with only a small slap across the cheek. She half-wondered what it would take to get to that level of physical shape, but settled on "not enough in a lifetime" for that.

The twins were making themselves comfortable as well. They seemed to look almost the same, but act entirely different. They played off each other in the uncanny way twins usually do. She never understood it, but figured it was one of those things you had to experience to get. Another girl seemed to have caught an unhealthy dose of something to her face, though. The scars that ran along her face told a story, but not a very descriptive one. No, that would have to come from the girl herself. She seemed rather dignified like the other two women sitting around.

Yet another soldier was seated in, but this one looked different. Face and uniform were definitely foreign. Russian, perhaps? She wasn't exactly a fan of the communists, but they were technically on the same side of the war so there wasn't much reason not to trust them. Still, something about him was...off-putting. Hell, something about everyone else was off-putting. Willow just couldn't put her finger on it, but that "sixth sense" was telling her that no one in here was entirely "normal".

The next two seemed to only fortify that philosophy. They too, like her, took a seat without saying a word to anyone else. She respected that, as she had done so herself. She wasn't an open book, and no one needed to know anything about her that they didn't need to, obviously. Still, that rather tanned girl seemed about ready to bust the buttons on her suit jacket and shirt with those bombs under her chest.

Willow didn't take her time to once everyone over and kicked her feet back up, trying to stay a bit under the radar after that little accident.
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Occupied Deutschland
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Founded: Oct 01, 2010
Ex-Nation

Postby Occupied Deutschland » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:14 pm

Jannie would have been forced to move her seating position if she wished to watch any arrivals enter the room with her eye. Instead, she relied on other senses. She was almost immediately disappointed by what she noticed in those when the Russian-accented man entered.

Gritting her teeth under a blank expression, Jannie told herself repeatedly that it was not the worst thing she’d ever smelled. Opium-addicts had given off a much stronger scent of spoiled food, for instance. But it was certainly not the smell of someone she’d like to feed on. She idly wondered what the cause of the rankness coming from the Soviet’s veins could be. Despite what her Nazi kindred claimed their ‘refined palates’ could distinguish, she knew from personal experience Slavic blood tasted no different than German or French blood. So there had to be something…
Cylarn wrote:...
"Would anyone care for a cigarette?" he asked, looking around at his companions. "They're toasted."

“No thank you, Captain Harris.” Jannie didn’t glare at the American, realizing he was trying to be polite. Nonetheless, her level look at the bridge of his nose may as well have contained one. But perhaps the answer to the mystery-Russian lied in the man’s offer. It was possible he was a heavy smoker and that was responsible for his displeasing scent, exacerbated in his case by perhaps the usage of Soviet cigarettes. But that seemed too convenient, somehow. No, she could almost feel something else going on, but she didn’t have a good guess as to what.

The dynamic entry of two more werewolves, and the exceedingly foul language used by a girl behind her, evoked a slight frown of disapproval from the vampire. The wolves seemed the exact opposite of their male counterpart. The pair seemed almost painfully childish.
Wolfina wrote:...
"I apologize it took us so long to get here. There's just so much rubble from where you let the krauts bomb your country."

“It is ‘Germans’ not ‘krauts’, young lady. Or 'Nazis', if you prefer.” Jannie said evenly. She seemed to stiffen slightly in her seat at the derogatory, which was quite an accomplishment when she was already sitting so woodenly. She was almost unsure which annoyed her more though. The use of 'krauts', or her need to correct it by addressing the werewolf as a ‘lady’ when she clearly possessed none of the qualities for such. Unfortunately, it seemed a common trait in those females around her. Smoking, cursing, making sly eyes at the RAF officer, virtually all of them were lacking in gracefulness.

Which she knew was only going to get worse as yet another werewolf entered. Jannie became half-convinced at that moment the entire reason for this ‘meeting’ had been an elaborate test by Allied scientists to determine how many werewolves they could cram into one room with a vampire before problems arose. The mundane humans and others were just there as a convenient cover. She knew the idea was ludicrous, but the humor of it helped her pay as little mind to the beasts as she could.
Malshan wrote:...
"As for a name, I'm Markus. You can call me Markus. I used to have a rank back in the Great War, but I kind of lost it when I decided that Germans tasted better than Americans."

Turning her head slightly, Jannie focused on Markus for an instant before returning her head to straight and placing him in the blind-spot of her right eye. “It is nice to meet you, Markus. I believe I can speak for everyone here when I say I hope you do not find it too bothersome to keep from killing and eating any of us.”

There was no trace of insult or criticism in Jannie’s words. Instead, they seemed to be merely a friendly conversational counterpoint. In fact, they sounded wholly sincere, as if she were asking a favor of the aged lycan. They were also quite clearly directed at more than only Markus, and included the other werewolves as well albeit by suggestion rather than explicit statement.
Last edited by Occupied Deutschland on Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Latznavia
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Founded: Nov 06, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Latznavia » Sun Jun 28, 2015 12:35 am

Meeting Room, Baker Street - April 27, 1942

As Anatoly looked around, he began to see how much he would truly stand out amongst his compatriots. His thick slavic accent, his lack of English speaking, and the mostly capitalist team made him feel like an outcast in an Operation that at one point made him proud. He walked over to one of the bookcases and sat down, and as he looked up he noticed a woman who seemed to glance around the room. Then he noticed the massive man who was apparently known as Matthew Breecher, terrified at the size and strength of the American. 'What on this earth is the Americans feeding these troops, smaller troopers?' He could only assume as he thought that. He turned as to not seem creepy, but by doing so was now staring at woman from Austrailia.

Her clothes screamed mage, and her clothes were covered in numerous magical items. He glanced away when she began to turn to him, he sighed. 'Stalin, why would you send me of all men here. I stick out like the stench of a fresh kill in a living room.' He whispered, placing his head in his folded hands as if to make some mock prayer. Suddenly, there was a large boom from downstairs and he jumped to his feet. He scrambled through the crowd and saw the two sisters, 'Great...' He thought to himself, 'More Americans, it is likely they will send every able-bodied person in their country to ensure victory.'. He didn't have a deep hatred for Americans like other Russians, but rather had a respect. Like two lions in a cage, he pictured them circling in a field of honor as mutual, yet destructive, foes. He shook himself back into the real world.

The two girls walked passed and immediately, his nose was filled with the fresh pine scent and river smell of the American Eastern mountains. He smiled as this was a very familiar smell to the farm he had grew up on and their actions reminded him of a pair of sisters from Minsk, full of spunk and vodka who could take out men like handbags. He wanted to say something, somethingn that would not come out as utter garbage or creepy in English. He opened his mouth,

"Two of you remember me of sisters of Minsk." He said, 'Could have been better, remember their Americans so say something that won't come off as completely offensive.' he thought and continued speaking. "You are full of vodka - spunk - unt heart like people of Minsk. Brave souls, you are." He smiled, his slavic accent was very noticable and he walked back, glancing back at the witch from Quebec. He hoped his advances to his new team would at least open up some kind of connection of trust and maybe even friends. That is when a horrifically embarassing event came into his world, as they reentered the meeting room, his boot struck a fold in the rug which tripped him. This would not have been bad, but then the rug slipped and he fell but barely caught himself into a one-handed push-up stance in. He was flush red, eyes wide, and just wishing that he could die right then and there.
Last edited by Latznavia on Sun Jun 28, 2015 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Lunas Legion
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Founded: Jan 21, 2013
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:32 am

Robert Karlmann, April 27th 1942

Robert disliked England. He disliked it intently. It was a stupid place, full of rain, rubble, strange humour and people he found thoughly dislikable. Yet he could tolerate it, for now at least. He'd only arrived with his shipload of fellow Yanks a few days ago and had been immediately posted off to some Baker Street Headquarters. At least it wasn't fighting. Yet.

He cursed under his breath as he scrambled across a pile of rubble blocking the street, cursing both his misguided sense of patriotism that made him abandon the most promising lead on Lovecraft since the St Johns 'robbery'. He was no closer to finding that Philosopher's Stone than he was before, if the black stains on his cellar walls and callused hands wasn't enough. At least his clothes were nice enough. He'd appropriated a dark green jacket of indeterminate military origin on the way over, who's pockets were currently stuffed with a wide variety of vials, some empty, some holding paper formulae, some with mysterious liquids that he wasn't entirely sure about. More results of failed transmutations.

Otherwise, it was almost standard GI service gear he'd been issued, except for the complete lack of rank and unit insignia over it. It wasn't too comfortable, but it was warm for the most part. The real kicker was the rucksack; since it was only for food, he'd been able to fill it with a fairly decent amount of alchemical equipment and texts. Copies, of course, made by his own hands. He wasn't about to risk 16th century alchemical treatises on the nature of alchemy and the philosophy behind it on a battlefield. As for his equipment, equipment could be replaced. He'd hopefully have a cellar to set it up so as to enable him to continue his research.

After several more minutes of walking and scrambling over the occasional rubble pile, he finally reached the HQ. After negotiating several checkpoints and a random spot-check, he finally reached the room. He could understand their need for security; all alchemists were paranoid to a degree that someone would 'reallocate' their research notes and use them for themselves. He had his with him; they were memorised if they were destroyed, but he would not leave them back in his lab, such as it was, in the back of a old truck.

He didn't bother taking note of any of the individuals in the room; they didn't matter to him. A few caught his eye; a colossal man in US Army uniform, no doubt one of the genetically-enhanced tanks rumours of which had been drifting through the alchemical world for sometime. A bestial-looking man who screamed 'werewolf'. He spotted a few others; a man speaking in a strange accent he couldn't penetrate. He shrugged as he entered, the vials and alchemical equipment clanking together as he found a half-decent looking chair, carefully set his rucksack down in front of him and flopped into it, slightly tired.
Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Mnar Secundus
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Posts: 1974
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Ex-Nation

Postby Mnar Secundus » Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:56 am

Sophie considered herself a phlegmatic woman. Indeed, she knew for a fact that this was the case. She had traveled far and wide across the world, seen more things than most people could even imagine, faced wonders and perils beyond the average magus' wildest dreams. Therefore, she had not expected this meeting to feature anything of great note to her.

At first, she had been right. Mundanes were of course the most, well, mundane of things, whatever their nationality. Werewolves were also a common sight to Sophie -- she had dealt with them dozens of times in the past, fought them on a handful of occasions, and she even had personal friends in the Tatar packs of central Asia. Vampires she knew well enough, having interacted with a number of them regularly if distantly over the years either for safe passage, asylum or academic issues; as a result, she picked up automatically on the Countess's nature, and didn't let it bother her in the least. And as for witches, they were par of the course for any open-minded magus -- admittedly a rare occurrence -- on an adventurous trip: Sophie could recall many a night spent taking discreet notes in a clearing's corner as a coven chanted around its bonfire.

The hulking GI who had entered the room shortly after the witch, for his part, and been a bit of a puzzle at first -- the way he moved, along with his impressive physique, reminded her strongly of the were-jaguars she had seen in central America, but he lacked their typical non-human features and their aura of sheer, hard-contained bestiality. It was a gut feeling, which she didn't like relying on, but she felt that he was human. That being said, even though alchemy wasn't her field, the maga knew there had been countless experiments on human beings, and the American's bulging veins and corded tendons suggested something along those lines. She spared a few seconds of admiration for the Mundane scientists who had likely designed Captain Breecher, then thought no more of it.

Wolfina wrote: - snip -


However, she had not been prepared for the door to be forced open that way. By two werewolves, one of whom was entirely over-enthusiastic for her tastes -- most werewolves had a ... volatile temperament, especially indoors, but there was volatile and there was unhinged, and this was the latter. Heh. Unhinged. When she thought back on it a few minutes later, she would cringe internally over the pun; right now, though, the maga in her was sparing her protests for the sheer rudeness of barging into an important briefing this way.
But Sophie Dulac hadn't spent a decade touring the world beneath the Masquerade by staying a theorist, and before the door had even finished slamming open, a nigh-reptilian movement of her arm had ended with her stylus in her hand, the tiny Thurisaz, Nauthiz and Isa runes slightly glowing a deep purple along the metallic shaft. The maga did not move from her armchair, but her weapon was pointed at the doorway and ready to let loose before she realized that there was no threat.

Sophie lowered her wand slowly, letting the purple light dissipate as she flicked it back into her sleeve, then remarked to no-one in particular in a light and conversational tone: "I've spent some time in the USA, actually. Now I'll admit that I didn't visit the entire country, but really, I'm almost certain this kind of behavior would be considered inappropriate all over the place."

Still, despite her caustic tone, it hadn't been entirely bad. The younger Mundane girl's reaction had been rather entertaining, and Sophie had even managed to catch most of the witch's incantation for later study. She let the issue rest and focused on the next arrivals: yet another werewolf -- or a weresomething, at any rate --, a teenage girl who reminded her of something, and a man who was clearly an alchemist, judging by the contents of his pockets. They never really understand the concept of lab safety, do they, she thought distractedly.

She let her mind wander for a short while, but it came back to the young girl of its own accord. Sophie was almost certain that she had seen her before. It had to have been from afar, or she could have recalled it in detail, which meant that the girl had been in a position that made her noteworthy even from a distance, which would have been fairly exceptional considering her age. She had to be around fifteen to seventeen ... Ah, bien sûr, the maga thought as she realized. The golem tournament in Prague.
She had been in Eastern Europe in 1938, which happened to have been the year of the international finals in the golem fighting world. Sophie wouldn't have known about it if she hadn't been staying with Jewish friends, who were discreetly involved in the tournament. I haven't seen the Rosenkranzes in a while, now that I think about it, she added to herself as she recalled the events. She hoped they had managed to escape from Czechoslovakia before the Nazis annexed the country.
Of course, golem fighting was strictly illegal, but Sophie had done many, many, many illegal things over the course of her very active career (even more than most magi, which was saying something), and even though Kabbalah magecraft wasn't her field, she thought it would be profitable to go and see what it had to offer. The fight itself hadn't been particularly interesting, though, and she was unable to grasp much of the magecraft involved, so it had been a disappointing experience overall ... But she had noted that one of the competitors, the American champion, was extremely young. A genius, according to Sophie's acquaintances. As for her name ...

Sophie clicked her tongue and pointed her cigar at the teenage maga, greeting her with a smile: "Miss Esther Rothenberg, I believe? I'm Sophie Dulac. I saw you in Prague in 1938, although you probably didn't notice me." She continued, her smile turning into a sideways grin that the younger maga would interpret however she wanted: "I was ... part of an audience. You were most impressive."
Last edited by Mnar Secundus on Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Reverend Norv
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Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sun Jun 28, 2015 7:33 am

1038 Hours
27 April 1942
Shadow Command Headquarters, Baker Street, London
United Kingdom


Matt settled into his chair. By ordinary standards, it was a big piece of furniture: overstuffed leather padding, sturdy hardwood legs, sweeping throne-like arms. It reminded Matt a little of some of the expensive teak furniture he'd seen in Thai houses, growing up. But that had been a long time ago. Now, Matt had to twist a little in order to squeeze into the armchair, and he felt the leather cushions pressing at the outsides of his thighs. It was a snug fit.

The Minuteman's arrival provoked a few reactions. The werewolf by the bookshelf licked his lips, and chuckled darkly to himself. The American captain blinked, and his eyes moved slightly incredulously from Matt's head to his toes, and then he returned the Minuteman's nod with crisp professionalism. Matt smiled quietly.

On the other hand, the woman in the grey dress with a butterfly on her shoulder - the witch, Matt thought, and felt his mind go all but blank at the sheer bizarreness of that notion - froze when Matt walked in. She looked like a deer in the headlights; Matt saw muscles tense, rigid, in her shoulders, and her stare was fixed and unblinking for a long moment. Then she looked away. Matt thought he saw discomfort in her face.

The elevator doors opened again with a mechanical whisper; Matt twisted awkwardly in his chair, hoping to get a look at the new arrival. He saw a woman: dark of hair and pallid-skinned, of average height and weight and build. Her looks would have been average, too, if it were not for the great twisted river of white scar tissue that wound its way down her face, sealing shut one of her eyes in the process. It reminded Matt of an old man in Mong Yawng; the man had helped the British hunt tigers in Bengal in his youth, and he had paid the price for his efforts. In a way, the woman moved like a hunter herself: there was a predatory grace to her stride. She glared at the werewolf who stood by the bookshelf, and gave Matt a blank look that spoke of a reaction concealed.

“I am Jannie de Danek, Graefin von Waldstein Lord of Wartenberg, Countess of Liberec-Zittau," the woman announced. "I bid you all a good morning.”

So a vampire, Matt thought. Identifying these mythical creatures was a whole lot easier when they matched up to their popular stereotypes. The woman settled into a chair next to Matt with a languorous shrug; she didn't look at the Minuteman. She had a faint metallic smell, Matt thought, like dried blood and ash.

After a moment, the door whisked open again, framing a fair-haired young man in what Matt immediately recognized as Soviet military uniform. Matt sucked on the inside of his cheek. He wasn't a rabid anti-communist; he had been raised by missionaries and learned his politics from Roosevelt's fireside chats. But he had also spent four years alone in Montana, listening to the radio. He knew what Stalin was, what he had done. The purges. The famines. The churches burned to the ground. And Matt knew, too, about the teenagers with seemingly magical powers whom Stalin had thrown into battle in order to stem the Nazi tide. Mad science experiments gone horribly right.

Of course, Matthew Beecher himself was a mad science experiment gone horribly right, too. But there was an important difference: Matt had been told what would happen to him, and he had given his consent. Stalin didn't work that way.

But that meant that the boy who now stood framed in the elevator door, looking tentatively around the room, was a victim and not a villain. He hadn't chosen to be born in the USSR, or to be turned into a human weapon, or to see his country invaded by Hitler. He was just caught on the wheel of history, trying not to be broken.

"So this be Shadow Operations," the Russian said. His English was badly broken. "I is impressed good by these." The man saluted. "Greetings, Sir M. I is happy to service here." He moved toward his seat, his eyes panning over the group; when the esper saw Matt, the Minuteman glimpsed a flicker of genuine fear in the Soviet soldier's eyes.

The other American captain glared hard at the esper, and he arose from his chair. For a moment, Matt thought there might be trouble; a lot of Americans had listened for years on end to Father Coughlin on the radio, and Coughlin and his ilk weren't known for their ability to distinguish between Stalin and the people unfortunate enough to live under his rule.

But then the American officer just cast his gaze around the room and introduced himself. "Captain Clark Harris, US Army. Pleased to be here." Clark's voice had a strange mix of accents: something Southern, something urban. Matt had spent the first sixteen years of his life in Burma; his ear for the dialects of his own country was far from perfect.

Clark dug in his pocket and came out with a book of matches and a pack of Lucky Strikes. He lit up, took a pull, and shook out his match. "Would anyone care for a cigarette?" the American asked. "They're toasted."

Matt smiled a small, private smile. He thought the offer was a fine gesture. Janine de Danek gave Clark a pointed stare out of her one good eye and said: “No thank you, Captain Harris.”

Matt's smile got a little more amused. When Clark looked at him, Matt shook his head, waved a hand, mouthed the word: "No." He didn't smoke. He also didn't make a spectacle of telling people so.

Someone hammered on the briefing room door. Matt frowned, and half-rose from his chair. The padding relinquished its grip on him only reluctantly. Matt opened his mouth to ask a question.

And then, without the slightest warning, the door exploded inward, clean off its hinges, like it had been hit by an industrial wrecking ball. It went flying through the air across the room. From the way it moved through the air, Matt could see that the door was heavy: probably reinforced steel beneath oak, a security door made to resist breaching, weighing close to three hundred pounds. Whatever had broken it down packed a serious punch; the door was moving fast, with enormous momentum. It could break a man's spine if it hit him right, and it was headed for the middle of a crowded room.

Matt's eyes went wide, and he moved, crossing the room in five steps that turned his legs into a blur, stepping in front of the hurtling door, his feet planted, his hands extended to catch the door before it hit anyone. The Minuteman's fingers closed around the sides of the door like iron bars. The momentum wrenched at Matt's shoulders, his hips. It did not move him. The door came to an abrupt halt like it had hit a midair wall. Matt held it in the air in front of him, at arm's length, motionless.

The rest of the room reacted astonishingly fast, barely a millisecond behind Matt's superhuman reflexes. The esper leaped to his feet. The woman in the grey dress raised a hand and whispered in French: Matt felt an unnatural heat warm the back of his neck. The elegant woman draped over a chair produced a little metal rod, and aimed it at the door; runic symbols lit up down its length. So she's a mage, some calm voice at the back of Matt's mind concluded. Matt shifted his grip on the door, ready to use it as a seven-foot, three-hundred-pound club.

There were other reactions, too. In his peripheral vision, the Minuteman saw the slumbering girl in black military gear fall out of her chair to a rude awakening. She bellowed: "Fuck!" Her voice was surprisingly deep.

And then, to Matt's stupefaction, two teenage girls walked breezily into the room through the vacant doorway. They were clearly identical twins, dark-haired with heart-shaped faces. "Good morning, United Kingdom!" one declared; a strong nasal twang flavored her words. "Thompson & Thompson from the US reporting in. Please accept our humblest regards."

The other sister hissed a whisper into the first girl's ear, and hurried to her seat. Matt's enhanced hearing detected the hushed words: "You just had to turn the knob."

The first sister ignored the whisper. "I apologize it took us so long to get here," she announced. "There's just so much rubble from where you let the krauts bomb your country."

The woman in the grey dress lowered her hand and glared at the pair. Matt managed not to roll his eyes in sympathy with her reaction. He sniffed, and smelled sharp sweat and damp fur. It was like the smell of the huge man by the bookshelf, but without the reek of raw meat. Werewolves, Matt thought. Well, that explains it.

Jannie had stiffened when the girl talked about krauts. “It is ‘Germans,’" the countess said firmly, "not ‘krauts’, young lady. Or 'Nazis', if you prefer.”

Matt nodded. If you couldn't blame Russians for having to deal with Stalin, then you couldn't blame Germans for having to deal with Hitler. Most people were just trying not to be broken on history's unforgiving wheel.

But aloud, Matt said nothing. He shifted his grip on the door, and carefully leaned it against the wall, where it wouldn't fall and crush anything or anyone. Then he turned to the cockier of the two twins, and looked down at her, his blue eyes direct and frank. "Please don't do that again. You could have hurt someone."

The elegant woman made her little metal rod - her wand, I suppose, Matt realized - disappear again. "I've spent some time in the USA, actually," she announced lightly. "Now I'll admit that I didn't visit the entire country, but really, I'm almost certain this kind of behavior would be considered inappropriate all over the place."

One corner of Matt's mouth tugged upward in a reluctant, wry grin. He returned to his seat, and casually picked up the heavy chair with one hand, turning it so that he could see both the vacant doorway and the werewolf by the bookshelves. With some care, Matt sat back down.

As if on cue, the huge man by the bookshelves decided to introduce himself. "I'm sure ya lot already know whot I am, but I'll tell ya anyways." His voice was gruff, with an accent that was clearly American but sounded old more than anything else, like something out of Mark Twain. "I'm a greymuzzle. For those of ya unfamiliar wit' the term, that means 'old as dirt werewolf'. As for the basic questions, no I don't have a pack, yes I showered before I came, yes I've eaten something, and no I'm not planning on eating your tongues fa whatever passes as tea 'round here. Besides, I'm more fond of the human liver anyway."

Matt thought that that might have been an attempt at humor. Matt didn't smile. He wondered how quickly he could get out of his chair, and decided that it would be fast enough, if push came to shove.

"As for a name," the greymuzzle continued, "I'm Markus. You can call me Markus. I used to have a rank back in the Great War, but I kind of lost it when I decided that Germans tasted better than Americans." Matt's teeth ground at that, and he felt a muscle jump under the skin of his cheek.

Jannie was still sitting next to Matt. She turned to the werewolf. “It is nice to meet you, Markus," the vampire said with cheerful and obviously false sincerity. "I believe I can speak for everyone here when I say I hope you do not find it too bothersome to keep from killing and eating any of us.”

That same wry half-grin played over Matt's face. Vampires and werewolves, he thought. They briefed me about this. Aloud, he murmured: "Amen," quietly enough that probably only Jannie could hear.

As Markus spoke, two girls stepped through the empty doorway and quietly moved to the remaining vacant chairs. One was dark-haired, fine-boned. She looked very, very young, not more than eighteen or twenty. She wore US Army uniform with no insignia. It was too big for her. Matt felt a pang. She shouldn't be here, he thought. She should be in school. In his mind's eye, a Chinese soldier stared up at Matt, eyes wide, and Matt kicked him in the liver, and Matt watched the soldier's eyes drain and go empty, and Matt knew that he would never be a child again.

The other new girl was larger, older, with a deep bronze color to her skin that made Matt think of people in Mong Yawng. She wore a summer suit that looked too thin for the London weather. Matt caught a whiff of that same scent of sweat and fur, but different somehow: dryer, spicier. The woman said nothing, and so Matt asked no questions. He offered the two new arrivals the same professional nod that he had given Clark, and gave a small smile to the younger girl. She might wear American uniform, but she was still a kid a long way from home.

The Soviet esper, meanwhile, smiled as the American twins walked past him. He paused for a moment, and Matt could almost see the wheels moving behind his eyes. Then the esper announced: "Two of you remember me of sisters of Minsk. You are full of vodka - spunk - unt heart like people of Minsk. Brave souls, you are."

Matt raised his eyebrows, grinning broadly. Full of vodka, eh? But there was no malice in the Minuteman's expression; he wasn't laughing at the Russian. It was a sweet thing to say. I think. Certainly it was supposed to be, which is good enough for me.

And then, to all appearances, the esper fell over for no apparent reason. There must have been a loose floorboard or a fold in the carpet, but as far as Matt could see, one moment the Russian was walking toward his chair and the next he was falling on his face as the carpet slipped and pulled out from under his feet. The young man's eyes went wide, and one of his hands dropped toward the ground, and he caught himself on one arm - Matt thought suddenly of Russian dancers, Russian gymnasts at the Olympics. The esper stared around like a deer in the headlights. Nobody moved.

With a sigh, Matt got back up out of his chair, crossed the room in two strides, unceremoniously took the esper's free hand, and pulled him back to his feet. The young man felt like he weighed no more than a large dog, and Matt essentially lifted him off the floor like a dumbbell. "Happens to the best of us," Matt told the young man with a small smile. Without further ado, the American headed back to his own seat once again.

As Matt helped the Russian, another man stepped through the empty doorway. He looked about Matt's age, and he was swarthy, dark of hair and eye, good-looking in a nondescript way. He could have been Clark Harris' cousin. The newcomer wore a green fatigue jacket and American-issue ODs; he carried a large rucksack. Matt's enhanced senses told him more: the man reeked of chemicals, and Matt could hear a faint clink and rattle of glass and metal coming from the newcomer's pockets and rucksack. Matt thought of test tubes. The stranger gave Matt a look of detached, analytical curiosity that was as alarming in its way as Markus' hungry stare; Matt thought of vivisection, of the tube jammed down his throat as the world faded from view. The newcomer didn't so much as glance at most of the other people in the room. He walked silently to an open chair, carefully placed his rucksack on the floor in front of it, and silently sat down by himself. Matt tried not to look at him.

The very young girl in US uniform had sat down near the elegant-looking maga who had pulled a wand on the werewolf twins. Now, the older woman clicked her tongue and smiled, pointing her strange-smelling cigar at the girl. "Miss Esther Rothenberg, I believe?"

So the girl is Jewish, Matt thought. He thought of Kristallnacht, of Father Coughlin on the radio, of things half-heard between the lines of radio newscasts. She has more reason to be here than any of us.

"I'm Sophie Dulac," the maga continued. Matt thought that there was something vaguely condescending about her tone, but he couldn't put his finger on it. Maybe it was just Sophie's aristocratic manner. "I saw you in Prague in 1938," the maga explained, "although you probably didn't notice me." Sophie's smile was sly. "I was ... part of an audience. You were most impressive."

Matt thought again of his first impression of Sophie. She seemed like she knew something important of which everyone else in the room remained ignorant. So far, that assessment seemed to be borne out. Matt considered asking Sophie to explain herself. But Esther's the youngest person in the room, and Sophie may be helping her to feel more at home. It would be wrong to derail that process.

And so Matt kept an ear open for Esther's reply, but he held his peace. His eyes moved between M's shadowy figure, and Markus, and the Thompson sister, and the empty doorframe, and he waited.
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:02 am, edited 6 times in total.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
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Cylarn
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Cylarn » Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:47 am

As Clark enjoyed his cigarette, he was suddenly disturbed when the door was suddenly blown clean off its hinges with a great amount of force. Alerted, he jumped from his chair and balled up his fists, his eyes glaring at the entrance as he waited for the threat to show itself. The "threat" was nothing more than two little girls, and Clark realized that they were more special than met the eye. They were opposites of one another; Carrie acted like a boisterous redneck, while Marcie was obviously distressed. One of the other Americans - a female not much older than the twins - had a similar reaction to Clark's, and the muscle-bound but cordial Minuteman had caught the door. Other people were casting spells and doing other actions, and Clark honestly couldn't help but be a bit weirded out by the magic, considering that he was still wasn't too privy to the once-hidden world of the supernatural.

He wanted to scold them, to wear their hides out like their parents should've done a long time ago, but he had to restrain himself. After all, they had knocked a door off its hinges, and he could discern whether or not the other Americans would back him up in a fight. So, he relaxed himself and sat down, somewhat astonished that his cigarette had remained hanging from his mouth during the ordeal. He listened as the others introduced themselves, and remained quiet. He felt strangely out of place in this unit; these people all had special powers, and he was nothing more than some two-bit bootlegger who had a brief two years of glory fighting a war that his country would hold him in disdain for fighting. They didn't need him, not in the slightest. His eyes observed the others, and his mouth stayed shut, save for the exhaling of smoke.
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Malshan
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Father Knows Best State

Postby Malshan » Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:57 am

Occupied Deutschland wrote:
Malshan wrote:"As for a name, I'm Markus. You can call me Markus. I used to have a rank back in the Great War, but I kind of lost it when I decided that Germans tasted better than Americans."

Turning her head slightly, Jannie focused on Markus for an instant before returning her head to straight and placing him in the blind-spot of her right eye. “It is nice to meet you, Markus. I believe I can speak for everyone here when I say I hope you do not find it too bothersome to keep from killing and eating any of us.”

There was no trace of insult or criticism in Jannie’s words. Instead, they seemed to be merely a friendly conversational counterpoint. In fact, they sounded wholly sincere, as if she were asking a favor of the aged lycan. They were also quite clearly directed at more than only Markus, and included the other werewolves as well albeit by suggestion rather than explicit statement.


Markus inclined his head in Jannie's direction. "Ah course, my dear. As I stated previously, I have had something to eat before I came. Beef, unfortunately, but it will hold me for the duration of this meeting. Besides, chewing on a vampire is like chewing on jerky; delicious, but ultimately unsatisfying. You're safe, not to worry."

Markus turned his gaze back to the rest of the room and decided to have a little fun. He spoke loud enough for all of the occupants to hear. "Ah course, all beings have their own tastes associated with them. Venison and squirrel is gamey, beef tastes like the feed it eats, and birds tend to be a tad on the dry side. Not to mention simply being a morsel."

Latznavia wrote:'Stalin, why would you send me of all men here. I stick out like the stench of a fresh kill in a living room.' He whispered, placing his head in his folded hands as if to make some mock prayer.


Markus's hearing caught the whispered phrase clearly, turning to face the young esper. "Stench of a fresh kill, ya say? How remarkably...astute of ya."

And then the young esper tripped upon the rug, falling to the ground where he caught himself. Markus gazed down at him with hunger in his eyes, licking his lips eagerly.

"And human has by far the most varied range of tastes associated with it. Germans often taste of spiced meats, Italians of peppers and olives, Americans tend to be a bit greasy...."

"And Russians? Eating a Russian is like eating a snowcone...ya just..." Markus breathed in through his nose, seeming to savor the scent. ".....Ya can just taste the tundra in their blood." Markus grinned, no trace of humor in his toothy smile. He paused, staring at the esper for several seconds.

And then all hints of the predatory smile vanished and Markus relaxed, going back to leaning on the bookshelf, a satisfied smirk alighting upon his visage. He shrugged. "But I've agreed to not kill and eat any of ya. It was part of the recruitment papers I had to sign. 'Participant agrees not to harm any of the other participating parties for the duration of the operation(s). Forms of harm include but are not limited to: maiming, dismembering, mauling, scratching, and biting.' It's a shame, of course, but with the promise of war in the future? I can wait. There's a feast to be had."

"The key thing about werewolves is that if the beast is not satiated, then the beast will satiate itself."
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Nature-Spirits
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Ex-Nation

Postby Nature-Spirits » Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:47 pm

As Adrienne looked up from her carpet bag -- deciding that, given the circumstances surrounding the meeting, this was not the best moment to begin drinking -- she realised that she had not been the only one to react to the werewolf sisters' grand entrance. She noted that the maga had procured a peculiar-looking wand (which she was just now returning to its place), and though the witch had only on a few occasions had the opportunity to get a decent look at a wand, she was certain that she had never before seen a metal one. An interesting maga, indeed.

"I've spent some time in the USA, actually," the maga said, in a tone that almost suggested amiability -- though, to anyone with an ounce of intelligence, the underlying sharpness was clear. "Now I'll admit that I didn't visit the entire country, but really, I'm almost certain this kind of behavior would be considered inappropriate all over the place."

Adrienne smiled, the corners of her mouth turning up just a bit and the corners of her eyes crinkling almost imperceptibly. Despite this woman being a maga, the witch's opinion of her had shifted slightly upward.

Adrienne also noticed a few other reactions around the room: most amusingly, the young American soldier woman had fallen out of her chair and was in the process of recovering; but, most impressive in her opinion, was the large American man's reaction. In about the same time it had taken her to chant the first two or three words of her incantation, he had risen and crossed the distance between himself and the flying door, and neatly caught it. Perhaps most curiously, the momentum of the door -- which appeared rather heavy, judging by its manner of flight -- had not moved him even a fraction of an inch, and he had proceeded to lean it against a wall while calmly scolding the young werewolves.

Then, the old werewolf spoke, and Adrienne whipped her head around to look at him. "I'm sure ya lot already know whot I am," he began, "but I'll tell ya anyways. I'm a greymuzzle." Adrienne narrowed her eyes ever so slightly at him, all traces of her smile having vanished. "For those of ya unfamiliar wit' the term, that means "old as dirt werewolf". As for the basic questions, no I don't have a pack, yes I showered before I came, yes I've eaten something, and no I'm not planning on eating your tongues fa whatever passes as tea 'round here. Besides, I'm more fond of the human liver anyway." The witch was not sure that she had fully understood all of the words -- not only was her English vocabulary imperfect, but his accent obscured some of the meaning -- but she was certain that she understood the sentiment. She flexed her right hand again, her tongue eager to fling incantations about and her trigger finger itching to shoot the old dog in the head.

"As for a name, I'm Markus. You can call me Markus." Adrienne locked onto the sound of the name and bounced it around her head a few times, committing it to memory. After all, names could be useful information -- doubly so when the name belonged to a potential threat. "I used to have a rank back in the Great War, but I kind of lost it when I decided that Germans tasted better than Americans." She suppressed another scowl. This werewolf was obviously a man-eater; why had the stupid military men decided that he was fit for service?

"It is nice to meet you, Markus," the vampire woman said, and Adrienne glanced over at her before returning her attention to the werewolf. "I believe I can speak for everyone here when I say I hope you do not find it too bothersome to keep from killing and eating any of us." At that, the witch looked down and brought her hand to her face, covering her mouth as she suppressed a giggle. Vampires -- especially their nobility, in her experience -- had a wonderful way with words; she had encountered both high-ranking and low-ranking vampires in Québec City and Montréal on several occasions, mostly on official Council business, and while the common vampires could be nuisances, she admired their nobility's sense of decorum and sharp wit.

She noted, then, that the Russian was speaking again in horribly broken English -- What's a "minsk"? she wondered -- and despite the language barrier, she recognised that he was attempting to build a good rapport, and gave him a small smile when he glanced at her. Then he fell, catching himself with one arm. As she considered whether to help him up, her decision was made for her as the giant American -- Matthew -- went and easily lifted him. That man is unnaturally strong.

Shortly, two more women -- a young girl with dark hair and woman with dark skin and light hair -- entered. Many probably would have thought it odd that such a young -- apparently human -- girl would be sent off to fight in a war. And while Adrienne did sympathise with the girl's situation, she did not find it odd in the least. After all, this child appeared to be of about the same age she herself had been when her abilities had appeared and the Council had begun steering her along the path to weaponisation. Granted, she had been probably a few years older when she had first killed.

The first maga greeted the young girl, appearing to recognise her -- So she is probably a maga herself, Adrienne thought, confirming her suspicions -- before introducing herself as Sophie Dulac. Adrienne raised her eyebrows ever so slightly. The name itself, combined with the way the woman pronounced it -- just shifting slightly out of her flawless English accent and taking on a hint of a French one --, suggested that she was francophone. Her opinion of the maga shifted slightly up again.

The dark-skinned woman, meanwhile, appeared to be from a much warmer climate. It was difficult to ascertain what exactly she was, but she did not appear to be a maga or a witch, and lacked the grace possessed by most vampires. So she was either a mundane human or some kind of werewolf creature -- or, she supposed as she glanced at Matthew, who appeared to fit into none of the usual categories, something else entirely. Whatever the case, the woman's species would be revealed soon enough; in the meantime, she appeared to pose little threat.

Soon after, yet another man entered, and Adrienne wondered for a second just how many people she would be working with, before analysing him. He was wearing typical military clothes, but did not appear to be a military man himself; he lacked the typical insignia, and he did not move in a way typical of someone used to combat. On the contrary: she heard faint clinks coming from his bag and pockets, which were most certainly not made by conventional weapons or equipment. Some kind of magus, then; one who used implements of some kind. She was not familiar with all the schools of magecraft, but tentatively decided that he might be an alchemist; she did not know of many schools that used instruments that would make such sounds.

She then became aware that the old werewolf was speaking again. She glanced over at it before quickly moving her eyes to her long bundle sitting at her feet, seemingly examining the faded off-white cloth it was wrapped in. However, she was in fact listening intently to the werewolf's words -- and they almost made her sick. She itched to have a drink. Either that, or blow the filthy dog's head off. Preferably both.
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Wolfenium
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Founded: Jan 17, 2010
Father Knows Best State

Postby Wolfenium » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:54 am

Shadow Command Headquarters, Baker Street, London, United Kingdom
27 April 1942


"Oh poppy! I'm late! I can't be late for the first day!"

Sprinting at top speed with a wedge of toast in her mouth, a young blonde in a dark brown officer's uniform was storming her way down the sidewalk, pressing down on her red beret as it tempted the rushing wind to blow it off. Dodging around the smattering of pedestrians, she hurriedly leaped over a road works barrier, much to the shock of the repairman filling the shell crater. Pulling out a band from her pocket, she hastily tied her long silky bands of blonde hair into a quick bun while she narrowed the distance to her destination. Slowing down towards the door, she finally stuffed the bread in, making a final adjusting to her clothes as she stepped in.

"Sorry I'm late," she called out into the hallway, removing her shoes as she briskly walked in to the briefing room. From a glance, it appeared rather packed, with plenty of nationalities represented in the bunch. But the first thing she noticed was the number of OSS members present for the meeting. Even compared to SOE and other Empire staff, they took up a sizeable majority, not something she found very comforting.

"Respectable number of Yanks here," she mused, taking a seat in the back as she twiddled her thumbs absentmindedly, "I almost thought this was an OSS-led ops."

Not a very presentable first day for Ariel Remington. She only wished she had not gotten the time wrong and slept in. Peering around for a closer look, she noticed a timid young brunette witch dressed in very plain rural clothes, huddled at the corner with a cup of water in her hands, as she stared down nervously to avoid any gazes. The proud boasts from the group's less human characters seemed to frighten her quite a lot. She could not blame her for it. The supernatural had always been rather scary, excelling in raw power and instincts enough to kill a mundane in second. Her choice of familiar, though, was even more of a mystery, a dove as white as a bleached bed sheet. Most witches, she was told, preferred more unruly creatures as pets, like cats and crows. Perhaps it had to do with her character. A fairly nice change from the hissing crones for once.

Soon, another character limped into view from the door, a cane jabbing on the floor in repeated thuds. A sickly, pale young girl with red eyes, she looked barely into her teens at all. And her leg disability was too much to ignore, a dangerous liability for their kind of work, especially in frontline duty. But her distinct white hair drew the most attention, a sign of her powers as an esper. But her officer uniform looked like standard British fare, much like her own, a stark contrast to the garish olive, red lapel suits sported by the Soviet meat shields.

*チー...*

Watching the girl's eyes meet her own, Ariel instantly averted her gaze in awkward silence. She was clearly being rude by staring at the child, and she dared not cause more offence. A quick glance back, Ariel could see the child proceeding to a chair. It was almost pitiful seeing her trying to get down to her seat without falling. If she was not sitting so far, she might have walked over to help.

*チー...*

Again, the esper turned her attention at the noble, forcing her to press her head forward. She was clearly offended, and the ditzy Brit felt rather ashamed for glaring at her. Sure, she appeared special, but Ariel did not mean to annoy her. She could not help but find her doll-like appearance adorable, and yet pitiful at the same time.

'Don't stare,' she thought to herself, 'don't annoy the poor lass. She's still into middle school. No need to be an ass.'

Not the most respectable first day for Ariel Remington, not the least with beads of sweat over her forehead.
Last edited by Wolfenium on Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Latznavia
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Founded: Nov 06, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Latznavia » Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:10 pm

Meeting Room, Baker Room - April 27, 1942

Anatoly stared down the floor boards for a few moments before he actually pushed himself up. He felt himself pushing himself up with ease, he thought this would be harder, then his hand left the ground and he turned to see the giant American helping him up, face to face with the giant who merely smiled at him. He was scared, thinking the man would unhinge his jaw like a snake and devour him whole, but no, the man placed him back on his feet and he dusted himself off as Breecher went to talk to the girls who had entered, the twins. Embarrassed, he couldn't help but hear the whispers from other people before greymuzzle words caught his ear.

"And Russians? Eating a Russian is like eating a snowcone...ya just..." The greymuzzle breathed in hauntingly then continued. ".....Ya can just taste the tundra in their blood." Anatoly walked past and whispered something, hoping he didn't catch it.

"Filthy dog should of being forced to wear grey muzzle." He spoke, before his attention was drawn to the two others who came in. A small girl who seemed too young for the army, which he guess he had no right to judge considering his stance, then an a tanned woman in tight clothing and light/fair hair. It was a bit odd to see, he had never seen anyone like that.

Right now though, he had to sit down. Everyone else were talking and getting along so he decided to sit by the frame where the doors were, he just wanted to prove himself in the Combat field. He sat down and suddenly jumped at the sound of a new voice.

"Sorry I'm late," she called out, and he turned to a woman entering, she walked right passed him and was quickly followed by a young child limping in with light hair like his and closing red eyes, he decided to look away from her. Then, his eyes returned to the woman, she had long dark hair and wore a trenchcoat and just seemed like she was different, then again everyone here was different. He decided to walk over to her and talk, at least get to know her. He walked towards Adrienne.

"Good Morning, Is nice, da?" He asked the woman, putting his hands in his pockets, "I is -" he paused and thought of the others speaking. "I aaam Anatoly Bellinkov, but many people speak to me as Anatoly. I am of hope that we make goodest team. Da?"
Last edited by Latznavia on Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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