Stand And Fight
Location • Grid:Off-Grid Location (Lurk's Haunted Shore) •
Factions • Vampire
Date • 2020-05-09
Summary • The Gangrel meet to choose a Priscus their way, with the very real threat of the mists tainting the restraint and resolve of all comers.
There's a particular sense of esoteria about this place. A foreboding thing that can't really be placed. There's the gentle lap of the river's bank, the hushed still of deep wilderness pocked with the occasional, haunting call of some manner of beast or another. It could be peaceful, it might be lovely, but something is certainly off, like the sensation of a thousand eyes all lain upon you, witnessing all, but never seen.
The area has been set up for expected guests -- already in the relative quiet of the 'arena', the stirring sound of adrenaline fueled pulses pounding away like the spirituous rhythm of some debauched dance. When the clearing is found, there is a group of blood dolls sat in a formation that is doubtlessly with some esoteric meaning to the host, but is not explained. They appear to all be here willingly -- they're not bound in any fashion, their senses seem about them ... well, most of them, anyway. In varying states of inhebriation with a myriad of 'flavours', equal parts excited and frightened.
Just the way Lurk likes them.
Away from the waters, a very traditional 'ring' is set up, as one might expect in a world of underground boxing. The sandy ground, the weathered ropes that have likely served a million uses in their lifetime it cordoning off, white handkerchiefs with rusty spots hanging from it here and there like chum in calm waters.
There is a beast, er, 'lurking' here. It's not obfuscated, it's not timid, but it is strange. Slick like an eel, oily, hungry, watching as though with those indeterminate yet assuredly innumerable eyes in the dark.
Scruffy and a cliche' grumpy persona, Frances with her unbrushed blonde hair wearing her usual stained blouse, jeans and worn to hell boots will make her way into the area to take note of all the 'ambiance' within. Exits are noted and even as her own beasts leaps within at the possibility of a battle royale, the other bit seems to enjoy the serenity of nature. Food is there but they are a people and people are annoying and she has fed, she is full even if her beast deems that a lie, no nomming from her as of yet.
Tonight's joy ride, made easier to acquire thanks unusual times, is a rusted out 83' Pontiac Firebird, complete with flaming paint-job. Its throaty American growl can be heard first from afar, rumbling through backwoods with a practiced hand and heavy foot. Only one headlight still works, but Hellcat could drive this thing in the dark just as easily. It pulls into a grumbling halt in the gravel near the river, kicking rocks and dust into the balmy night.
From the driver's side, Henry unfolds to affix his hat at an appropriate angle. "Lookit this..." The Archon glances from across the hard top at the blood dolls on display. He allows a moment for his ghoul to exit the car while sniffing at the air with feral senses. "... no sneeze guard on the buffet."
Henry is not alone. The aforementioned ghoul is one Deirdre O'Shaunessey, known for being the oldest ghoul in the Praxis, and a general pain the ass. She's on her best behavior tonight, though. (For now). One of these things is not like the other. While Henry is all swank in his fancy zoot suit with that slick fedora, she's beyond casual in a 'Enya -- Shepherd's Dream Tour' tee that's all moth-eaten, and a pair of humble stretch denims in the bright rusts and teals of her County's plaid. Her fire-colored hair is pulled back into a thick, wispy braid, and she's sporting combat boots.
Circling above for a short time is a golden eagle, majestic in it's huge wing span as it glides on the light warm updrafts. For a time it stays there, wheeling around while others gather at the pre-determined location. Finally as everybody has gathered it descends in those slow lazy rings until finally landing while at the same time shifting into a man. Tiarnan stands there, offering a greeting all around with a tip of his head to those gathered before stepping aside to observe in silence with arms crossed.
The big and fancy eagle is followed a few moment later by a one-eyed crow. Which flutters to a landing in a far less dramatic manner, irritably cawse at Tiarnan for being such a pain in the ass to keep up with, and then poof Fen is here. Still a bit weirded out by this transition thing. As the token fledge she doesn't have a lot of say in not turning up. Also she's hungry. Also she is not without curiousity, what as she hasn't a lot of 'meetings' under her belt. Pink hair in a loose pony tail. Blue jean jacket. White tee. Faded black jeans. Sneakers. Classic look, eyepatch not withstanding. There's also a skull & crossbones neckerchief she's tied up in the form of a bandit mask for the sake of stylish social distancing, but that's stuffed in a back pocket for now.
It isn't until well after everyone has arrived and had a chance to mingle that Lurk makes her first appearance. She's a suspicious creature that prefers knowing what she's getting into before stepping in the ring. It will be from the water that she approaches, as might be expected from one such as herself. There is a pattern of bioluminescence that shimmers through the shallow waters before she peels away from the 'deeps', stepping soggily out onto the shore without much in the way of pomp or circumstance, wringing out the yellow and gold scarving that's draped across scaled shoulders. For now, those scales are subtle, hard to notice, but present all the same.
As she meanders toward the group, her hands clasp before her. Gone are the stylish steam-punky threads, replaced with a sort of harm-pants and scant top that keeps her decent, but only barely. It's like showing up to someone's door and having them greet you in their fine silk jimjams.
"So good to see you all." She begins, a vacant smile creasing dark lips as her too-bright eyes scan over those that have gathered, "Some of you I know, some of you I am meeting for the first time." She nods toward those that she hasn't previously met, before continuing. "Please help yourself to snacks, and be welcome in my home." She takes in a slow breath through her nostrils, before letting it out in a sigh.
"In the interest of not drawing things out, as my time is precious and in high demand these days, allow me to explain why I have invited this cordial meeting of savage brethren." She clears her throat, "With my recent appointment as Seneschal, I can no longer carry the mantle of Priscus. This, of course, means that I must find another to shoulder the weight of this profound honour, and great responsibility. But," She lifts a clawed finger, her fingers too long to seem normal by any measure. "How could I choose, I wondered? ... then I realised ... it is not my choice to make, but 'ours'. And so," She gestures toward the ring, "I thought perhaps we might let our baser instincts rule, and engage in a competiton of wits and brawn both."
Her eyes scan those gathered, "Any who wish to be considered for the role of Priscus, if you would be so kind as to approach the ring, we can get started."
"What's say there, tin-star." Hellcat watches the eagle stick its landing and grow Irish, followed in kind by the one eyed crow and her youthful alter ego. Frances is a scent perhaps tasted in passing, but never still never met. And then there's Lurk's inky prints on the banks, noted with less familiarity, like a strange Tom's markings. He starts towards one of the blood dolls first, perhaps the sanguine parties of the First Estate are on hiatus during the Pandemic. Its been a moment since he's been to a free for all. But maybe, that feline beast of his can wait until clan affairs have commenced to gorge its self. A glance is spared for Deirdre, and he rejoins her with composure and hands stuffed away in his pockets. "They seem healthy..." He comments for her benefit. Settling into a lean, Lurk is afforded his attention while she speaks. A glance to the ring, then back to Lurk, then back to Irish.
There's a soft grumble from Frances as if that inward want to BATTLE RAWR and ugh, just enjoy the peaceful creep that is the 'here' is a challenge in of itself. For now she'll not make any movements towards that ring as if wondering if someone else is going to head over there first, not exactly rushing into even more 'sponsibilities as of yet. She will clain distraction from the endowments of the weird wet current gangrel priscus because that's a great excuse... soo many scales! She will not partake of the food, eye candy, curiosity and far too many thoughts sustains her for the moment.
Deirdre looks amused when Lurk makes her announcement, and a mite bit curious as to whom will take up the charge. She cants her head towards Henry and murmurs something quietly to him, up-nodding towards Frances as she does so. She is very pointedly not looking at Tiarnan right now, but she does spare him a respectful nod. He's Sheriff, after all.
"Pettygrove." he replies in greeting toward Henry with a headtip toward the other Gangrel. As he listens to Lurk, the aformentioned Sheriff glances around with a hint of curiosity in his expression. Also NOT looking at Deirdre, he makes it a point to ignore the ghoul in favor of Fen at the moment. "Are ye planning to give it a go, lass?" Tiarnan asks the fledgeling, obviously in a teasing manner. Arms still crossed, he scans over the other Gangrel, wondering who might step up since he cannot as Sheriff...
Priscus? Yeeaaah no. "Pass," Fen'll flatly mutter. Gonna will sit that one out. She'd like to keep her being beaten to a crunchy pulp to a minimum, thanks! No, she'll just play crow to Tiarnan's eagle, keep out of the way and pick at the scraps. Or less metaphorically speaking eye the blood dolls with distant curiousity, wonder which one of them carries the intoxicant of tonight's preference.
Lurk simply very patiently waits for someone to step toward the ring, a vacant and unnerving smile gracing her lips, hands clasped before her, still as the dead.
Not a step taken towards the ring, intentionally, Frances will just blurt out an, "Fightin ain't all the Gangrel do and no offense Priscus but we gotta be more than that..." as she gestures towards the ring. "Getting the title means shit if you can't keep it and if you don't gain respect in it. I already got a job to do with the wolves even if they aren't many of them out there right now it's still a job."
Deirdre's whispers bring the vaguest grin to Henry's human mask. "The night is young, ain't it..." His address is more audible. Tiarnan's address gets a slow nod in reply. A moment's spent on Fen, waiting for the wild card's entry into the ring. Either way, its easy to see he's going to have a go at whoever eventually does. With purpose, he twists his hat off and hands it to his ghoul. "If you would be so kind, hold my hat." Hellcat starts towards Lurk, unbuttoning his jacket upon his approach. "So you want a bloody hand off to this?" Its asked with some sizing up. The creature spends a half circle on the host, chaffing out with cat like menace. "Alright..." After a second half circle, he cuts towards the ring. "I'm game for any takers."
"It's nae a traditional Praxis position. Wolf go-between or whatever." Deirdre points out toward Frances. She's Invictus, so, she knows her Shit with a Capital 'S'. Plus she's Empowered. Chances are good she wouldn't be shy about speaking up anyway. Gangrel vitae in the belly does that. She takes Henry's hat and puts it on.
Henry's entrance to the ring is noted, perhaps in her mind's eye she'll imagine her triumphant defeat of him. Y'know, foot on his prone body, her hands held up in victory. The cheering crowds. Sponsorship deals. Little nod. Yep yep, good times. Would that be how it goes? No, no it won't. But imagining success in the face of possible odds hurts at lot less than inevitable failure.
"I agree with the Seneschal. This is the traditional way to decide on a Gangrel Pricsus and it has been for as long as I have been walking this Earth." Tiarnan states, putting his little two cents in on the subject. Yet, he does not move from his place yet. Bright green eyes do follow Henry as he heads over to the ring and considers him for a moment. Head tilts as he studies the other Gangrel in silence for a few seconds. Curious. Aside to Fen he mutters, "Is it bad I now have a desire to be Priscus and let somebody else be Sheriff?"
Her head turns toward Frances when she speaks up, Lurk's brows ticking upward ever so slightly as she observes the young savage with that smile ever-present. Those words seem to interest her, her head tilting to the side by fractions as she considers her openly, if silently for a little too long. "Fascinating." That's all she says to that for the moment, her attention then gained by Henry at his approach and circling. She watches him, but she does not turn as he makes his way around the path he's chosen.
"What I want," She responds, "Is the right person for the job."
Her attentions then go to Deirdre, "Liaison." She informs politely.
And then it's back to Frances, "You are correct. This position is more than simple brawn. Not only a position of authority, but a commitment to the embetterment of the clan, and by proxy the Praxis at large." She squints slightly, looking between Frances and Henry, ending on the gruff blond woman. "Having an open line between Savages, and 'savages' couldn't hurt."
Muddy loafer after muddy loafer, Henry steps into the ring. And its dirtier for his visit. Moving towards its middle, he stretches his neck in a straining manner, popping out stale ligaments to snap back into place. A turn back towards the gathered, the Archon seems to have no particular problem with this type of Gangrel tradition. Or at least, his inhumanity keeps him from showing it.
"If there are no takers, I'd have a civil word for yas..." A moment is allowed for any to step towards him. Maybe tic-tac-toe will work? Either way Frances will allow her lips to twist into a soft frown with a shake of her head as she looks towards Henry at that ring and actually takes a step towards him before stopping, "You know they think we're just their cannon fodder right? Throw us at the first lines while the rest of the clans don't do shit but let us take the hits like we're the only ones that can be strong, the others are just fuckin lazy asses." But she can't ignore the fun it may be to get her vitae "pumping" and with an unneeded sigh, she'll begin her approach over towards Henry. "Traditions are meant to be broken... just sayin, it's stupid."
Tiarnan's personal conflict gets a shoulder roll. "Which is less work for me?" she'll mutter back in that deadpan way she has, glance up to see what sort of reaction she's rewarded with, then look back towards the food. Perhaps grin faintly so the Sheriff can't see.
Dee just waits to see who will do what, though maybe she does side-eye a bit towards Henry as he buttons his jacket. Is he gonna take his shirt off? Green eyes sweep to Tiarnan, briefly, when he says what he does, and she smirks a little. But back to the show! Is Henry still wearing his shirt? Goddammit, he is. Bother.
"That would be the case, yes." he mentions to Fen with a bit of a smile. "Is that what you want, Fenny?" the Sheriff wonders with a side glance at her. As if she has a say in this. His gaze goes to Lurk, then sweeps over to the ring where Henry is waiting for any takers. When Frances begins to head for the ring, brows arch and this piques his interest. Tiarnan begins to head over toward the ring to get a better vantage point for watching.
"Well ya lookit that, so much for civil words..." Henry says as Frances approaches, his jacket now peeled off sleeve by sleeve. "I had intended to say somethin' sweet about my dear departed sister, who did the mindin' of our blood before us. And how I wouldn't dare throw your lovely faces into a wood chipper in sacrifice to the dogs of carnage." The rum-runner comments and backs towards a corner of the ring. "Maybe after, instead. You got my respect for steppin' in though." A final glance is offered towards Lurk. "Got some rules for us?"
The pink-haired teen is not really interested in the 'more work for me' angle here. But yes. Not her say. Fen rarely has say. It doesn't stop her from complaining. Or in the very least, giving attitude, which in this case is in the form of a long-suffering Look Tiarnan will get. Anyway Frances got there first. Go Frances!
Once she gets close enough towards the ring she'll take a few moments to look over Henry as he lets out his host of shit-talking before she'll offer up some of her own with a slight tilting of her head, a knowing thing, "Like your sire right... what would he think if he woke up right now and saw you as this? You think he'd be proud of what you've become or do you figure he'd be more interested in his own traditions?" Frances will then slip into the 'ring' not bothering to remove her shirt, hike up her nonexistant skirts or otherwise fluff her tits because it's just clothing and there's more where that came from. She will, however, remove her necklace and place it and the ring that was on the chain, into her pocket for safe keeping.
"Maybe you can do better than your sire did... we're supposed to be better than them..." Deirdre angles Henry's fedora on her head in various ways until she finds the optimal look. It might be a little Michael Jackson, but hell, he can sport it. He may not get it back. She observes as Frances enters the fighting circle. She pays attention to that bauble Frances has on that chain, curious as a kitten about it.
Deirdre angles Henry's fedora on her head in various ways until she finds the optimal look. It might be a little Michael Jackson, but hell, he can sport it. He may not get it back. She observes as Frances enters the fighting circle. She pays attention to that bauble Frances has on that chain, curious as a kitten about it.
As the combatants are getting prepared and doing their preliminary shit-talking, Tiarnan steps over toward Lurk and gives her a slight nod of the head. His voice remains low, as to not interrupt anything, especially if Lurk is enjoying the commentary from the duo preparing to fight. Still, he speaks in a low tone, "I must take a sojourn. I will be away for a week maybe. I donnae ken how low exactly. It may take longer..." A pause before he adds, "I just wanted ye to know. As Seneschal. We need to find a replacement, temporary or otherwise for Sheriff..."
Frances' reply gets an angled squint from Henry as his jacket falls into a crumpled mess in the corner. "That is the most interestin' thing said tonight so far." He compliments and begins to peel off his shirt, a lithe white muscled frame beneath it. "My old man, he wasn't proud of nothin' cept what he did. I gotta think, if he was around tonight, I'd be in a world a' mess. But better than him? Dunno if we count the same on the better scale. Different times, different measures. Anyways, if you can make me leave this ring, you deserve the hassle of a shiny new title."
Sometimes it's what you say, the words used and all and well since she can't murderize Henry, which would be a pity because he's likely a good guy and notable Gangrel in his own right, she CAN call him on his bullshit and indeed do what he insinuated. So... she'll straight up head over there and grab ahold of him... (Frances)
It's probably inconsiderate to check out the buffet while people are hitting each other, so she'll stick with Tiarnan for now and watch the fighting. (Fen)
As Frances takes him for his literal word on the matter, Henry looks towards the black sky momentarily. Its been some time since he's practiced Judo moves, (if not ever) and both her words and technique puzzle the Archon for as long as it takes for him to absorb Frances' incoming momentum. His loafers dig into the ring to brace his stance at the rush, though he doesn't give any space. A test in return is offered for the challenger when he shifts weight, but is denied his purchase. "This isn't really what I meant" Chances to clarify are often ignored in combat.
"Just goin by what you said..." Frances states as she attempts to get Henry under control.
Henry gives out a small grunt that sends sudden strength throughout his limbs. His embrace gobbles up his attacker in a vice like hug, wrapping around Frances as two steel cables which snap tight. The Acrhon twists to keep his opponent in place.
Crunch, crackle, pop is heard as Frances's body gets huggged too deeply. Never really having been one for snuggles or PDA for that matter, she'll sneer at the man and allow her fangs to descend before hissing out a gutteral, "Hope that made you feel better..." before simply dissolving into much of nothing that's actually able to be grabbed upon, well unless you have like a hundred tiny hands anyways. There's now a swarm of fire ants puddling at Henry's feet, pissed...off...and hungry fire ants. She took her hit, Henry got his one... now she knows what he's capable of and she's sooo done with it.
An ant hug is less than satisfying. As Frances pours onto his dirty loafers by the cup full, the Archon steps back from the forming swarm of angry red when his embrace no longer finds a single lover. "I shoulda brought the bug spray." And at that moment, he shuffles outside of reach. But his presence suddenly blooms with majestic potency, Henry raises his chin just a few notches in display.
Pshaw like bug spray would actually DO anything... Frantz wants to nom nom bitey bite mcaweface so pfft on all that fancy stuff. She'll scurry and make flap flap over towards the more squishy.. and chewy... bits. Oh darn, did he remove his shirt, poor thing, looks like someone's going to get covered in bitey marks but no... anyone who's seen Frances in her swarm form knows that she's far more ... exploratory, she's going for the inside bits and through any natural opening since it's easier than trying to bore through like some momma wasp needing to lay eggs in a caterpillar.
It seems Henry is not in the mood to stand still and slowly be devoured. That would be a really silly look. So he shuffles around the ring for a few paces, beyond the swarm's gnashing teeth. "Come on... Yer not gonna get me out like. Use yer noodle." The Archon invites.
Can ants look intimidating? Well these are moving their anteeeeneee and puffing up and chomping their little jaws o doom. RAWR Henry RAWR!
When the ant hill decides to test Henry's beast, it finds something terrible inside the man's chest. The Archon blooms out with an intense predatory aura that could peel paint and strip rust. It follows the tail of a snarl and display of fangs that seems entirely ill matched to this so far friendly match. (Bitting swarm aside.) "No... no...." The monster barks out in retort, "Not that way either! Still now, or I'll pound ya into paste..."
He's stronger, older and obviously more powerful and then there's just something within that totally bitchslaps the fuck out of her own beastie and within moments those ants are coming together to form the regular humanoid collection that is Frances in all her bruised glory. She'll snarl out a simple, "Fuck you.." because yeah, THAT'LL change the tide for sure! Then she'll go down to one knee, exhausted looking and soo..very..spent, shakey and ready to gtfo because Henry is a big bad ebil Gangrel who's beastie RAWRED at her. She's stilled, the young Gangrel at least not wasting all her blood so she's not .. fully .. a frenzy risk but then again you never know. If she were mortal she'd be panting but instead, stilled and silent, cowed like proper prey. The battle is over.
Observing from his spot just outside the ring, Tiarnan enjoys the fight between the two Gangrel. This is how Priscus is decided. Not by a vote. Ventrue or Daeva might vote, but Gangrel are strength. At least that is the truth of it in the mind of the old Dead Wolf. He casts a glance to Fen as things shift in favor of Henry and he beats Frances down with his beast. He can feel it, the two beasts battling each other, just as if he could watch the contest of strength visually. Once it is over the Tiarnan smiles a bit and hmms, "Nice fight Frances. When I get back, maybe I can show you a few things to help."
Yet his attention really falls on Henry now that the contest is over and a pause that lasts several seconds is finally broken as he says, "Mister Pettygrove...I would like you to stand in as acting Sheriff while I am gone."
Sometimes things are done before they start.
The snarling thing that is Henry tames his beast, mastering the thing back down into a dark pit inside his rib-cage. When Frances submits, the Archon licks away his fangs. There's no boasting, cruel or otherwise. The man just retreats into stillness when tempers calm. His attacker's curse upon him isn't returned.
"Respect is earned, my wiggly cousin." Hellcat says to Frances, its his version of compliment. When Tiarnan speaks up, he pivots towards the Irish. "Sheriff. Well, I suppose I could help out the station, if needed of course. That would mean, I'd have to pass the Priscus tittle again." Here, he looks back to Frances. "Well, what's say blondey? You battled hard enough for it. What's the danse without musical chairs?" He leans over to reclaim his shirt and jacket. "Get up Priscus, it's your time." Shirtless, he exits the ring to reclaim his hat. Looking back to Tiarnan, he has final words. "Gimme a few nights, warnin'. I won't let the city get outta sorts..."
Observing the interaction between Henry and Frances as he passes the Priscus on to her, the Dead Wolf arches his brows a bit. "If ye feel that ye must pass on Pricus, but I donnae think it is necessary. Unless ye wish to remain Sheriff even after my return..." Tiarnan notes with a curl of his lips into someting resembling a smile. "Which...we can consider when I return." he adds and nods to Henry. "Consider this the few night's notice. I must leave on my journey soon and I will be gone for a week, maybe two...or more. I cannot know just yet."
That was.. unexpected and that obviousness shows in her tired gaze as Frances, obediantly, gets up fully while still very much twitchy regarding Henry's beastie even if it is 'put away' for now, the residual is still lingering there in her core. For now she won't say a peep and instead she'll reach into her pocket and pull out that ring on a chain before slipping it back around her neck, a mundane thing to help settle herself. There's nothing really TO say so she'll just slip out of the ring and find a spot away from the others, too twitchy to be in proper company at the moment. "I'll contact everyone in a few nights, good fight Henry.." and then she'll start to walk away into the wilds to probably beat up a tree or something equally stereotypically Gangrel.