False Flags (WWII setting)

The war between Vampires and Lycans has ended, but an even deadlier threat has risen: Humanity. The world of immortals is a secret no longer, and terrified humans seek to exterminate the source of their fear. Vampires, Lycans, and other immortal species now hide themselves, struggle to survive, and fight back. Their future and their very existence are at stake.
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Quaxo9
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False Flags (WWII setting)

Post by Quaxo9 »

Berta Einsbrecht
A sunny day. There seemed to be fewer of those lately. Maybe it was that she spent so much more time in the house these days. Elbows on the window casing, she leaned against the glass, chin in palm. The longer this war went on, the more things seemed to change.

If only it were for the better.

Despite the lovely view outside, Berta wheeled herself to the kitchen and lifted the kettle onto the stove. She could make herself a cup of tea, but she didn’t quite feel like hefting herself up onto the counter to reach the tea tin. They’d moved it up a shelf again. She was of the opinion that if she needed to stay in the house, the least they could do is allow her to drink tea while doing so.

Book in her lap, she waited beside the stove so she could snatch the kettle up before its wail could disrupt the relative silence of the house. Not that it mattered. She was the only one there. The Müllers were frequently out: Herr Müller worked at the autobody shop and Frau Müller worked at spreading neighbourhood gossip. They locked the door when they left which was the only reason Berta was still inside on such a lovely day.
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Quaxo9
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

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Gerhard Einsbrecht

He’d made his decision.

The rental car sputtered and shuddered along the road leading to his hometown, threatening to maroon him among dairy cows and old fences. The road was still a mess after the heavy rains the day before and he had to fight to keep the machine on the road. It was probably for the best as he needed something to distract him from the mad thoughts running through his head.

He’d wasted little time turning in the appropriate paperwork for his medically-directed leave and getting into his civilian clothing. The landlady had required his rent before he left and he did with assurances that he’d be returning soon and that no, he wasn’t sick. Wasn’t sick. But wasn’t he? Or was he the opposite of sick? What had Kraus done to him?

All the more reason to move through this next phase of his plan quickly and get to the little cottage where he hoped Isaac was now residing.

But how was he going to explain things to Berta? Their little community was practically an island. She wouldn’t know how perceptions and opinions had swayed in the urban centres away from cultivating community and instead grooming distrust and selfishness. So she might think he was crazy for wanting to take her away from their home and into the unknown. Of course, he couldn’t tell her that he was also worried for her with his new position in the Resistance instead of the Third Reich. She was in danger from her own people more than any other force and that thought sickened him.

Cresting the hill, Gerhard felt a pang of nostalgia threaten to unseat his best intentions. The little church’s spire still stretched toward the sky. His friend Will’s house next the little green. And the gap where his childhood home used to be. Perhaps it was better this way. He had sort of gotten a fresh start – Berta deserved that chance too. Whatever that fresh start might look like for a disabled girl in hiding.

What was he doing? What kind of life would Berta have? Would he be able to get her across the border – and if so, so what end? Would she be equally ignored in some other country? Foreign languages, strange cities, endless possibilities suddenly seemed so dangerous in the face of the idyllic village scene before him.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Gilda Engel

The Fishblatts must be hungry and thirsty, Gilda realized. Though they weren't in quite as bad shape as their son had been, that was only because Isaac had been at death's door. The parents had clearly been suffering from malnourishment for quite some time. They would need to eat regularly to get back into shape. But of course they were too polite - or too nervous? - to ask for anything. They were under the impression this was her house, after all. Which was true, in a way; her name was on the deed, and had been for years. But the cottage had never truly felt like hers.

"I'll get us something to eat," Gilda said with a smile. "Maybe some tea...?"

She made it as far as the kitchen doorway before the bad memories hit. She stopped dead, with one foot across the threshold, clinging to the door frame with knuckles gone white.

I have to go in. I have to go in. They'll think I'm crazy. I have to...

There was a light touch on her shoulder. Gilda startled instinctively - then realized it was only Sara, who had come up behind her.

"Are you alright, dear?" Sara asked.

Under almost any other circumstance, Gilda would have lied and said yes. But Sara's eyes were so kind. So genuinely caring. It seemed so natural to confide in her.

"Something bad happened in this house," Gilda said softly. "In the kitchen."

Should she be saying any of this? Surely it would sound trivial, compared to what the Fishblatts had been through. But Sara was regarding her sympathetically, and there was so much understanding in her gentle demeanor. The words just tumbled out.

"I lived here with a family when I was a child," Gilda told her. "They were going to adopt me. But then... things changed. I was strange. I was different. They got scared of me. One night in the kitchen, they tried to kill me. The father stabbed me. Here." She indicated the back of her neck, where her smooth alabaster skin was marred by a long scar. "It was.... more difficult than he thought, I guess. So they pushed me into the oven. Turned on the gas. I would have died, but the neighbors came, and... it was over. But this room. It still looks exactly the same..."

"Oh my goodness, Gilda," Sara said. She wrapped the younger woman in a gentle hug. "That's awful. That's... an unconscionable thing to do to a child. I can see why you're so afraid. Shall we go in together?"

Gilda bit her lip and nodded. Sara took her hand, and together they walked into the kitchen. Together, they put together a tray of food and filled mugs from the kettle. Somehow, it didn't seem quite as terrifying to Gilda with Isaac's mother by her side.
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Quaxo9
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

Post by Quaxo9 »

Gerhard and Berta Einsbrecht
She could hardly believe her eyes. In so many ways he wasn’t the same man he was when he left, but still, it was unmistakable. Her brother was walking up the path. After all this time. And without having told her that he had leave. Part of her thought something must be wrong – the same part that had whispered as much as the weeks went by without a letter from Gerhard. That part of her could wait by its gloomy self.

The Müllers were equally surprised, sharing none of Berta’s excitement and all of her doubts. The two shared a look before the man of the house went to the door and met Gerhard outside on the front step. He had intended to have a private word with the man, but Berta was not about to be dissuaded by Frau Müller’s shushing and wheeled herself through the door. The chair was still moving forward as she flung her arms wide in greeting. Gerhard caught her in his embrace just before she launched herself off the top stair.

He couldn’t speak. He could scarcely breathe. She was so pale. So thin. But there was such strength in her body and vitality in her whole being. The concerns he had about his plans fled his mind. This place was no longer suitable for his sister. He needed to get her out – but in such a way that no one suspect his intentions to get her out of the country entirely.

“You should pack your things – we can talk in car.” He whispered in her ear as he felt her lungs expanding in readiness for prolonged conversation. Berta drew back from him enough to look him in the eye. She was curious, perhaps a little suspicious, but also…relieved? Yes, it was a good thing he had come. Even if the road ahead was dangerous, he was certain that she deserved the opportunity to travel it. Berta backed away and re-entered the house without a word, much to the surprise of the Müllers.

The two of them were a bit afraid, he thought, as the stiff-lipped woman took her husband’s arm. Gerhard decided that the affable treatment was best. He smiled pleasantly, told them of his promotion and subsequent move to a nice apartment in the city where he could care for Berta himself. They seemed dubious, but he plied them with tales of the new hospital – and more than a few banknotes. Pretty much his entire savings, actually. He was all too aware that he was buying their confidence.

The deal done, he went inside to help Berta with her things, but found she was already ready and waiting for him. Everything she owned fit in their mother’s small brown suitcase. She had a shawl around her shoulders and her favourite hat perched on her head. He knew it was her favourite because she’d described it to him in her letters – though it occurred to him that it was only her favourite because it was the only hat she had.

The two shared an unspoken word before he pushed her out of the house, down the walk and to the waiting car. He had stooped to pick her up, but she’d pushed his hands out of the way to take hold of the door and seat, easily moving herself into position and pulling her legs in after. The pride in her eyes made him smile even as she laughed at his surprise. He strapped the chair onto the back, covering it with a blanket. He told her it was to keep it clean and dry. His tone told her that they had a lot more to talk about on this trip than just the weather.

~~~~~~

The rattling of the car’s engine echoed off the stone wall next to the cottage only briefly before it was extinguished. The two Einsbrects sat in the growing silence – one steeping in the realization that there was no going back, the other just beginning to imagine the prospects of this new future. Gerhard was partly relieved that his hunch had been right about Gilda and Isaac acting on his note and also a bit worried about how his conversations with the two of them might go. Had he been too assuming to bring Berta here so soon? How was he going to break the news about the serum to Isaac? His reverie was broken by his sister’s eagerness. Berta had opened the door and swung her legs out, a smile on her face as she looked the cottage up and down.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Gilda Engel

All three of the Fishblatts startled at the sound of the car engine, but Gilda quickly stepped in to try to ease their worry. "It must be Gerhard returning," she said. "Only a friend would be able to get here."

Isaac knew the reason for this, and accepted it without question. His parents - knowing nothing of Fae or wards - looked back and forth between them, but took the statement at face value, if with a hint of confusion. Gilda realized they probably didn't know about Lycans, either. Or that their only surviving child was one now.

That was going to be... a conversation.

But it was a conversation for another time. For now, they had the arrival of Gerhard to see to. Gilda pulled the curtain aside and looked down the path. Fortunately, the stone was smooth, and the walkway was flush with the stoop. Easier for a wheelchair to navigate that way.

"He's brought his sister," Gilda informed the others. "Good."

It was good. It would be much safer that way. But Gilda had to admit she was a little nervous. In the past, she'd had difficulty getting along with other women - other girls, even, when she was younger. There was often jealousy - whether Gilda intended it or not.

Gilda sometimes felt like she was two completely different people. When she was making the acquaintance of Nazis and their hangers-on, she was utterly suave, confident, and charming. But that was because in her heart, she truly didn't care. They were monsters, whether they loved or hated her. There was a coldness, a moral emptiness in them, that made Gilda feel empty too. It was easy to wear a mask. It was easy to smile and flirt. It was easy because she was plotting their downfall.

It was different with people she actually wanted to like. People who mattered to her. With those people, she felt awkward and nervous. Afraid of saying the wrong thing. Desperate to please. To make a good impression. Gerhard's sister fell into the latter category.

"Please, come in," she said. "My name is Gilda. This is Isaac. My... Isaac."

She had almost said 'my boyfriend,' but she wasn't sure how Isaac felt about making that public. Her attempt to correct her flub had not improved the situation, though. 'My Isaac' was even worse. She blushed crimson as she glanced over at Isaac - but he didn't seem to mind.

Recovering, she added, "And his parents, Herr and Frau Fishblatt. Welcome. I hope you will find it to your liking here."
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Quaxo9
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

Post by Quaxo9 »

Berta and Gerhard Einsbrecht

He'd hurried to take the chair off the back of the vehicle, pushing it to just behind the open door. Before he could step in, however, Berta had snagged the chair, pulling it to face the car. She set the brakes and lifted herself into the chair as easy as anything, released the brakes, and backed over Gerhard's foot. He didn't say anything, but she whispered to him tersely.

"I told you - I'm not an invalid. Please, Gerhard."

Her brother had told her parts of what she was certain was a much larger tale, but the one of the things she'd latched onto was that she was going to be meeting new people today. Living with new people. Berta was desperate to put her best foot forward...so to speak. Which meant, for her, showing them that she wasn't going to be the burden everyone assumed a girl in a chair would be. As excited as she was to get out of that house, she was nervous too. Nervous to meet new people and more than a little nervous that whomever she was meeting was hiding Jews. Herr Muller had listened to the radio every night for as long as she could remember and some of the things that came out of it had made her marvel that the world she lived in could change so much in such a short time - and not for the better. Gerhard had promised she'd be safe, but she worried for these people.

Morso once she saw them. The woman who greeted her - Gilda - was so beautiful and graceful...yet she seemed to be just as nervous to meet her as Berta was. And the Fishblatts...the kindness in those eyes. Eyes she could only assume had viewed horrors based on the younger man's physical state. Surely these people had not deserved this treatment. To be hunted like animals in their own country. Suddenly, the war seemed so very, very real. And so very, very close. She could not very well turn away. Berta wheeled herself over the stoop and into the living room, working the wheels expertly to guide the over-large chair into a position where she could view everyone. Gerhard stepped inside with her suitcase and nodded a silent greeting.

It took her a moment to open her mouth. It was a bit overwhelming. She hadn't been anywhere in such a long time...nor so much as had company that seemed to wish to interact with her in nearly so long. Letters had been her solace and she found herself struggling to take the words she would have gladly lent to paper and release them. When she did speak, it was with a bit of a rush.

"Thank-you so much. It is such a pleasure to meet you, Gilda, Isaac, Herr and Frau Fishblatt. I am Berta. Gerhard tells me that I am to stay with you for a little while. Thank-you for your hospitality and your...your..."

What was it she wanted to say? What was the word? While Berta had intentionally overlooked Gilda's embarrassment, she found she couldn't escape her own. Not only couldn't she find the word, but she found herself a bit out of breath from her hurried greeting. When she lifted a hand to her chest, she saw her brother begin to lean in. So much for not being perceived as an invalid. Still, his hand on her back was comforting and she had to love him for his concern and tenderness.

"I'm sorry." she said to the room, even as she straightened herself up in her chair and offered a smile. "I am not quite used to...conversation."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Gilda Engel

"No need to apologize," Gilda assured her. "Being in a new place, and among new people, is an adjustment for anyone. Would you like to see the room you'll be staying in? Once you've settled in, I can make you some tea or something to eat."

Her tone was oddly hopeful, like a schoolgirl trying to make a new friend. It wasn't that she thought Berta couldn't do those things for herself. Rather, she wanted to make a good impression. She wanted to persuade Berta to like her.

The room set up for Berta was on the ground floor, so she wouldn't have to maneuver herself up the stairs. Hirsch and Sara had helped Gilda prepare it; Isaac was still too weak to move furniture or dust shelves. Gilda was embarrassed to admit to them that she had left everything as it was when the family had lived in the cottage. It had never felt like her house, so she'd never had the courage to move or change anything. Somehow, it was easier with the Fishblatts there to provide affirmation. If they thought it odd that she hadn't already done so, they gave no indication. Berta's room had fresh linens and empty drawers. The unnecessary items left behind by the previous occupants - the children's furniture and toys for children who would never return - had been relocated to the barn.

"If you need anything - anything at all - please let me know," Gilda said with a shy smile.

Despite how nervous she had been around Isaac's parents and now Berta, and as desperate as she was to make a good impression, Gilda wished she could just stay here instead of going back to the city. She wished she could just forget Kraus and never think of him again. But of course, that wasn't possible. Still, she'd enjoy her reprieve.
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

Post by Quaxo9 »

Berta and Gerhard Einsbrecht

She was grateful for the distraction. Certainly, she was excited to be taken to her new room, but more relieved for the brief reprieve from the expectation of conversation. It had surprised her, her catch. She'd been looking forward to having someone to talk to for so long...it was almost like she'd forgotten how. Chewing her lip, she took a moment to look about the room, then smiled and perched her hat on the bedpost.

"Thank-you Gilda. This is lovely." The compliment was sincere, even as her inner thoughts shaded her eyes. Gerhard hadn't come in with her, which gave her a moment. She glanced at the door, then spoke in a lower voice. "But this is because Gerhard is in trouble, isn't it. He didn't explain very much on the way here. Please. If you are helping me, you must know. Is my brother going to be okay?"

Berta wasn't the only Einsbrecht to be asking questions behind the other's back. Gerhard approached Isaac and spoke quietly, his back to the the elder Fishblatts. "I need to speak with you. Privately." If Isaac had been concerned by the other man's approach, the undertone of fear in his words would either set him at ease or on edge.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Gilda Engel and Isaac Fishblatt

Gilda paused for a moment, considering what to say. In the end, she decided for honesty, even if it was difficult to hear.

"Gerhard has chosen to be on the right side of history," she said. "In the short term, that will be more perilous for him than going along with evil would be. But it allows him to keep his integrity and his honor. It allows him to keep his soul. In the long-term... it depends on the outcome. Personally, I fully intend to win. And if we do indeed win, Gerhard will be on the side of the victors. I will do all I can to ensure we're all around to see that victory."


***


For a split second, Isaac froze in fear. His first thought was that Gerhard had changed his mind, and had decided to shoot him after all.

It wasn't that he was ungrateful for all that Gerhard had done for him. And for his parents, in particular. Isaac felt he owed the man a debt. Nor did he believe that Gerhard was truly a Nazi in his heart. Gerhard had shown he was a far better soul than that.

Gerhard still wore their uniform, though. He still marched under their flag, even if now it was only with the intention of subverting their cause.

After all Isaac had seen - all he had suffered - it was not instinctive to separate the two.

He would, though, Isaac insisted to himself. He was a rational being, not an instinct-driven animal. He could move past his fears.

"Of course," Isaac said, doing his best to keep his voice even and controlled. "How can I help?"
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Quaxo9
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

Post by Quaxo9 »

Berta and Gerhard Einsbrecht

It took almost a full minute for the meaning of Gilda's words to sink in. Berta never took her eyes off of Gilda's, so the woman would be able to see the gears turning in the girl's head. She also got to see Berta's true reaction to the news.

"You mean...really? He's?" The relief and pride was plain on her face. "I knew that all this couldn't sit right with him. I knew my brother..." Tears came to her eyes. It was a relief, really. That Gerhard hadn't bought into the mentality that was taking over the whole country. And this woman was helping him. She smiled up at Gilda.

"Thank-you."

~~~~~~~

Gerhard's stomach dropped. He had forgotten. How could he have forgotten that he was still a German man who wore the Nazi uniform - and Isaac was a Jew. He swallowed and leaned back to give the man some space. Clearing his throat, he nodded to the kitchen. He knew Isaac must be nervous, but he was also concerned that the information was a bit too sensitive for those in the room. Unless of course the elder Fishblatts also had the thing that Doctor Kraus thought they might. Gerhard spoke lowly, to clarify for the man without concerning anyone else.

"It's about the your serum. He gave it to me...and I think it took."
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