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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Monkey Kitty
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

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Gilda Engel and Isaac Fishblatt

Gilda hoped she hadn't made a mistake, telling Berta what she had. She didn't normally go around announcing that she was in the Resistance, for obvious reasons. But Gerhard was too, and had just as much to lose as she did now if word reached the wrong ears. Maybe more to lose, because Gilda had plenty of experience with charming her way out of a tight situation by pretending to be just a silly little blonde girl who didn't understand the consequences of her actions - something Gerhard wouldn't be able to manage as convincingly. No, if Berta was here, if meant she had Gerhard's full trust. Besides, a disabled woman wasn't a likely supporter of the Nazi regime.

"I hope I have not betrayed Gerhard's confidence by telling you this," Gilda said with a trace of worry. "But it's your life too, not just his. You shouldn't be in the dark about what's going on. If he's angry at me, so be it. You deserved to know."


***


"My... serum?" Isaac blinked, looking genuinely confused. It took a moment for him to put the pieces together. To realize who 'he' was. Then everything clicked into place suddenly. Gerhard would see realization dawn on Isaac's face.

"Gerhard, I'm so sorry. I'm afraid that you've gotten mixed up in something more than you bargained for."

Isaac wondered how much he should say. Hiding this was a reflex. But once the full moon came, there would be no more secrets anyway. Better to get everything out in the open now.

"There's a reason Kraus chose me for his experiments. A reason he injured me over and over. He realized that I could heal. Not just in the conventional sense. I... this isn't easy to say. I'm a Lycan, Gerhard. A werewolf. I was bitten in the concentration camp. A guard had beaten me badly, almost to death. I was unconscious. A decision was made on my behalf by a friend. I lived - but with the burden of immortality, and all that came with it. I'm sorry, Gerhard. I'm sorry the burden may have been passed to you too."

That might sound crazy. Or perhaps not, given the obsession Hitler and some others in his party had with the occult. Either way, Isaac wished this hadn't been the way Gerhard had to find out...
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Quaxo9
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

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Berta and Gerhard Einsbrect

The girl's mouth bent upward at one corner before spreading into a full grin.

"Oh possibly, but he had it coming. Like you said, it is my life too and he thinks that by not saying things to me he can keep me safe. Ridiculous. Thank-you for treating me like an adult - I think...I think he hasn't noticed. Don't worry, he won't be mad at you. He'll be too busy fielding questions from me."

Berta winked at Gilda and took a moment to look around, basking in her newfound knowledge. Her eyes focused on a spot on the wall for a moment before she looked back up at the other woman.

"Wait...you said 'we'. Are you ... are you Gerhard's boss?" The girl's eyes twinkled with mischief, but it was easy to see she was thrilled with the prospect.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gerhard was...considerably less certain of what was going on. There was no way Isaac could be serious. How could he make something up at a time like this? All the words that came afterwards washed together. Werewolf. Ridiculous. Various words seemed to come through, though, as he pushed past Isaac to further enter the kitchen. Opening various drawers he finally found the one he was looking for. Drawing the knife across his open palm, he held it up to show the other man.

"May have been passed? What is this? The real story. What is this."

Gerhard's voice was still low and controlled, but his eyes suggested otherwise. The man was close to unhinged.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

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Gilda Engel and Isaac Fishblatt

This hadn't occurred to Gilda - at least not in those terms.

"I suppose so," she replied with a smile. Though, for the sake of honesty, she added, "Though I have a boss too. I haven't told him about Gerhard yet. I... got myself into some trouble. I disobeyed an order. I am still confident that I did the right thing. But I didn't want Gerhard to get tarred with the same brush. I'll wait until things calm down a bit before I introduce the new recruit."

Gilda hoped she wasn't running on at the mouth too much. She just wasn't accustomed to company she actually wanted to talk to, and suddenly she had it in spades.


***


Isaac froze when Gerhard pulled the knife, hands raised in a gesture of being non-threatening.

Why? he wondered. Why did my life turn out like this? I'm just a librarian. How did I end up surrounded by violence?

It was a surprise when Gerhard turned the knife on himself - but made the situation no less fraught and tense. Isaac continued to keep his hands raised, unsure of what was going to happen next.

"That will heal," Isaac said, trying to keep his voice even. He felt faint, lightheaded. He wasn't really well enough to stand this long, let alone doing so in such a worried state. "It will heal quickly. Supernaturally quickly. The only explanation I have for you is the one I already gave. I'm sorry. You don't have to believe me if it seems too farfetched. When the full moon comes, you will see for yourself."

Isaac started to sway, and his vision swam. He managed to grasp the counter briefly to avoid falling all the way to the floor, and clung to it, watching Gerhard warily.
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Quaxo9
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

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Gerhard Einsbrecht

"I know it will! That's the problem!" He smeared the blood on his palm with his fingers, lifting them to reveal nearly mended skin. Every time it was faster. What was going on? He thought Isaac would have the answer...but it occurred to him that maybe this was the answer Isaac believed. The thing he'd set upon to explain the strangeness of his condition.

His condition.

As the man collapsed toward the floor, Gerhard recalled that mere days ago the man had nearly died. Dropping the knife into the sink, he held up his hands to Isaac as a form of apology and a gesture of peace as he approached to attempt to support him.

"Gilda? Your assistance please." He didn't raise his voice by much, nor change its pitch, but the urgency in his call was nonetheless plain.

"I'm sorry Isaac. I should not have bothered you about this. Not now. Please forgive my brashness." Gerhard's voice had dropped to a whisper as he came close to the man's shoulder. His mouth a hard line, his eyes belied a softness that went with the words spoken.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

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Gilda Engel and Isaac Fishblatt

Gilda entered the room a moment later, and immediately started helping Isaac to his feet and back to the couch. "Isaac, what are you doing up? You aren't well enough for that! Even though you're..."

She stopped abruptly. She had almost said it.

Isaac gave her a weary little smile. "Gerhard knows," Isaac said. "He doesn't believe me. But I told him."

Gilda's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Isaac, it's not a good idea to tell people such things unnecessarily. Trust is one thing. But this information has to stay need-to-know."

"I... I understand that," Isaac replied. "But Gerhard needed to know. Apparently Kraus continued experimenting with my blood. On their own soldiers."

"Oh. Oh no. Oh dear." Gilda met Gerhard's gaze with a worried look. "I'm so sorry. But it's not all bad..."

Isaac couldn't dismiss his own worries so easily. He was concerned for Gerhard, what this would mean for the young man - and what the reprisals would be. Gerhard might not accept what he was told now, but the truth becoming clear was only a matter of time. And then what? Immortality was a great burden. It was one Isaac was not sure he would have chosen for himself, had he been conscious enough to make the decision - though he appreciated that it had been a great act of friendship to save his life that way.

And there was another thing. How was he going to tell his parents? Gerhard barely knew him, and had taken it hard. What would his own mother and father say? Call him crazy? Or even disown him entirely?

Immortality was a lonely prospect if there would be no one to share it with. Thank goodness Gilda seemed so willing to share it with him, at least for the time being.
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Quaxo9
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

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Gerhard Einsbrect

He could only blink at her in confusion. Gilda...believed it too? Gerhard realized he needed some time to take in this new 'information'. The kitchen had a convenient door to the garden which he took his escape through without an additional word.

The cobbles ended, but he kept walking until he found a nice flat stone looking over the ocean. It wasn't the whole werewolf thing that was filling his head right now. No, it was the details of that night in the lab. Something he hadn't been able to parse out yet.

She had sung to him - sung the life back into him. How, he hadn't been able to figure...but now. Now these stories...these stories were coming back to him. Stories of things that weren't human.

Normally he wouldn't have even spent a second considering such a thing...but things weren't normal. He saw someone sing someone back to life. He saw a man impossibly heal himself after brutal torture. His own hand healed... He looked down at his palm. Evidence staring him in the face. It...wasn't...couldn't.

But there it was - staring him in the face. The pink line on his hand. It was time to consider....alternative possibilities. Good thing he had a week off.
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

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Gilda Engel and Isaac Fishblatt

Gilda and Isaac exchanged a look when Gerhard left the room - both thinking the same thing. The reason for the man's sudden departure might be a decision to betray them, to go alert the authorities to where Isaac and his parents were hidden.

"I'll go watch him," Gilda said, and crossed to the window.

If Gerhard circled around to the car, she would have to think quickly. Get the three Fishblatts into her own car, and drive... somewhere. She wasn't quite sure where. And what of Berta? Where would that leave his sister?

Gerhard didn't go to his car. He sat on a rock. Just... sat.

Gilda nodded, and returned to the living room. "It's fine," she told Isaac. "He's thinking about it. He'll come to terms with it."

"I hope so," Isaac replied worriedly. "Because at the full moon, he won't have much choice."

At that point, reality would confront Gerhard, regardless of his opinions on the matter.
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

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Berta Einsbrecht

She'd heard her brother's voice, but his tone hadn't registered. Perhaps she was a bit overwhelmed by her new surroundings - or perhaps she didn't know him as well as she thought she did. He had changed. She'd read it in his letters, though he always wrote cheerfully about things, there were things that he couldn't hide. His worry. His sorrow. His frustration. It all came out in the strangest of places - in the sharpness of his pen strokes, the incomplete sentences, the deadening of his vocabulary.

The war affected everyone. No one was safe from its grip. This was especially true for the people gathered in this house, she realized. Jews and Resistance fighters. And a cripple. While she knew she was sheltered and that she'd been relatively lucky to have had the Mullers looking after her, she wasn't blind to how the world was changing. This new world was only safe for a select few, it seemed.

Berta finished putting away her meagre belongings into the dresser by the bed. It was small and easy for her to open - and she really only had a few articles of clothing. The rest of the things she'd brought were the letters Gerhard had written her, her own stationery and writing implements and a small book of poetry. The former items she left in the suitcase, the latter, she laid on top of the nightstand within easy reach.

Feeling like she'd done as much squaring away as she could, Berta wheeled herself back into the sitting room. Poor Isaac did look quite unwell - a little worse than when she'd met him at the door, if she was honest. And Gerhard was nowhere to be seen. Strange, but perhaps he'd had to go into town for supplies. Certainly he had not brought enough with them to suffice a stay of any time here. And so, she was at a bit of a loss. She was a stranger here, but was eager to not be. What could she do to help that along...

"Would you mind if I put on a kettle for tea? I can get it - if that's alright with you. I'm sure...we could all use a cup?" she smiled, hoping that Gilda wouldn't mind the small way she was trying to be helpful.
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

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Gilda Engel

"Of course, Berta," Gilda replied with a smile. "Please, make yourself at home. Consider this your house, too."

If Berta considered it home, it was more than Gilda had ever managed. But maybe that could change. It was starting to feel more homey, filled with the Fishblatts and the Einsbrechts. The shadows of the past were starting to retreat.

If only she could just stay like this. Forget the war. Forget the Nazis. Never see Kraus again. She could do it. With the wards on this place, she could disappear and never surface again until it was all over.

She could... but she wouldn't. Because that would mean condemning people to death that she might have been able to save. Like it or not, she was in the middle of this until it was over, one way or the other.

"Truthfully, I don't know how much help you require," Gilda told Berta honestly. "So please just tell us if there's anything you need, but do anything you wish for yourself."

She glanced out the window, verifying that Gerhard was still where he had been.

"Your brother went outside. I imagine he'll be back in soon. He has... a lot to process, I think."

And of course, Berta didn't know the half of it yet. It wasn't Gilda's place to tell her, though.
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Quaxo9
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Re: False Flags (WWII setting)

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Berta Einsbrect

She replied with a smile of her own and entered the kitchen as she'd said. In a way, it was nice to have someone recognize that she did have certain limitations - perhaps it was because of how it was said. An acknowledgement of some things existing out of reach, while suggesting that there wasn't much to hamper her. The spirit of friendliness was also clearly hanging in the air. She had a feeling that she and Gilda might one day be very good friends.

But first, tea. The kettle was on the stove - easily filled and replaced from her chair - though she couldn't see the bloody knife in the bottom of the sink. The stove on, she next began her inspection of the kitchen cabinets. She had several unwrapped wire coat hangers stuck in along the sides of her chair with the ends bent to varying degrees. They helped her pull doors closed behind her, and more importantly, open and close those of cabinets. Finding the tea set and a tin that might contain the actual herb, Berta hefted herself up onto the counter and began pulling down what she needed.

"Berta!"

She'd heard the door open, so she wasn't surprised by Gerhard's sudden appearance, and she gave him a mischievous grin. He made a movement suggesting he was going to pick her up. She raised a finger, her look growing hard.

"Gilda said I could make tea. I can do this myself. Don't make such a fuss."

She went back to pulling down tea cups, the kettle starting to jump around on the stove behind Gerhard. Its whistle blew as she swung herself back down into her chair, she herself letting out a sigh of contentment. Pulling the tin of tea toward her, she hastened to toss some into the pot.

"Of course, you could be a dear and take the kettle off the heat."

Gerhard obliged, still eyeing Berta with a mixture of admonishment and wonderment. She really was something. As he was already holding the kettle, he took the opportunity to fill the pot nearly to the brim. Taking his cues from his sister, he took up the tea tray and set it on her lap before loading it carefully with cups and saucers. She gave him a look for failing to put the pot on the tray as well but he left the room before she could speak up about it.

The two Einsbrechts were reasonably composed upon their return to the living room and set out the tea, Berta pouring and Gerhard offering steaming cupfuls first to the elder Fishblatts, then to Gilda and Isaac, and finally to his sister and himself. Sitting down with a leg crossed over his knee at the ankle, he held the brew close to his face and took a moment to savour the aroma. Anything to make this feel a little more normal.

Berta, on the other hand, was wondering what exactly 'normal' was going to be. Her teacup resting in her lap, she turned her bright gaze around the room before asking, "So, if this is to be home, will we all be staying here? For...some time?"
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