Under the Bright Lights

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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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

He'd honestly been prepared to go by himself to the Greenway's. The Fae threat was very real. Isaac was likely going to need every body he could get if push came to shove and the Fae group outright attacked. He'd seen how they dealt with Auguste's men...swift, merciless, deadly. It made his gut twist ever so slightly to turn away from the group remaining behind at the barrier and run inland.

They caught up to the humans in mere seconds, passed them and took up positions between the humans and the Greenway's house. While Riff realized that standing in between mages was a very dangerous place to be, he wanted the symbolism of their commitment to be clear. To both parties. Still, to be safe, he signalled to the others to stand further apart. None of them were in their lycan forms, but everyone was on their toes. Perhaps a little too on their toes. While it was lovely to think that there were lycans who hadn't seen much combat and that his family now lived in such a community, at the moment, Riff realized they were at a bit of a disadvantage. No matter. They were here and he'd do his best to make sure they all got back home.

Not breaking his defensive pose, he simply spoke in the loudest voice he could muster.

"You've attacked a peaceful community. What do you want? Stand down and we can talk this through."

The words sounded strange to his ears. Riff wasn't the guy in the lead. He was the back-up guy. The one who took orders, not the one who gave them. And yet, it seemed like the thing to do in this situation. Huh. Hopefully being met by a line of werewolves who wanted to talk would be enough to give these invading mages pause.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Several of the humans exchanged looks. The word 'Lycans' was whispered. Then one of them stepped forward.

"We have no quarrel with your kind, Werewolf," he said. "As long as you don't interfere with us. Our business here is our own. It does not concern Lycankind."

A shorter, balding man standing beside him cut in bluntly, "There's a demon here on this island. That's our concern here. Once we've dealt with that, we'll mop up any other issues that remain and be on our way. We have no quarrel with Lycans."

"Nor do we particularly like them, however," the first speaker interjected in response. "We didn't come here to kill werewolves, but we would have no problem doing so if you push us. Stand aside. The demon must be destroyed, for the good of humankind."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Isaac Fishblatt

Isaac cursed himself for putting himself in a vulnerable position by kneeling down. He had been so concerned about the girl that he hadn't thought - but now neither of them were safe. He was glad for the semicircle of Lycans standing behind him.

One of the Fae took a step forward. "We have come to end this curse."

"You cannot understand what you're dealing with here," Isaac said calmly. "It has been explained to me, and I know what to do. Your interference isn't needed."

"Oh, we understand. You think this... thing... cannot die. The mages must have told you that. But they're wrong, and so are you. We have a way - a blessed dagger that will end the unlife of these abominations."

Isaac's heart started beating faster. So they thought they had a way to kill this poor girl - and he had not missed the plural. They were here for Seraphina Greenway as well.

"These young ones are no threat to anyone," Isaac replied with forced calm.

"Young? That..." he tried to prod the girl with his toe, but Isaac pulled her back before the shoe could make contact. "That thing - that corpse - was murdered in the 1990's."

Isaac shrugged. "I don't see the relevance."

As he prolonged the conversation, he shifted slowly, readying himself to stand with the girl and run if violence broke out. He trusted that his Pack could handle fighting the Fae if necessary; only he himself was in a position to save the girl.

"These things may have life, Lycan fool. But they are not alive. Not truly. The force that animates them is an affront to nature."

"Ah. 'Life unworthy of life'? Where have I heard that before? This is the second time your people have tried to kill someone whose safety has been vouched by my Pack. We protected the others. We will protect this girl."

"Our queen has ordered the death of these abominations..."

Clare suddenly dropped to her knees too, but instead of joining Isaac, she knelt by a puddle and stirred it with her fingers. "Mother?"

Iphigenia's image appeared in the surface of the water. "What is it, Clare?"

"Mother, Isaac found another like the Greenway girl. He wants to take her to the Greenways for help. Is that a problem for you?"

Iphigenia looked surprised but shook her head. "No. Isaac shall do as he sees fit."

"Thank you, Mother."

Clare stirred the puddle again, and the image vanished. "So. Any more lies? Or are you going to let us move on with what we need to do?"
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Isaac Fishblatt

The unknown Fae never answered Clare's question - though he flinched slightly at his queen's response. Instead, he continued addressing the Lycan leader.

"You are a cruel man, Isaac Fishblatt," he said coldly.

Isaac was startled. "Cruel? Me? I'm not the one who came here to slaughter innocents."

"Yes, you. Always making it about yourself. Poor Isaac, the one with the dead brother and sister - the only one who has ever suffered, who has ever grieved. You can't see beyond your own losses and projecting them onto everyone else. You can't accept death, and everyone around you has to suffer for it. Do you have any idea what this girl has been through? How her killers made her suffer for days? How they tortured her? How they strangled the life out of her? And how long she's been left in this half-dead, cursed state? We have the power to end all that. To give her the gift of mercy. But it is a mercy you are incapable of. You insist on prolonging her torment. Her torture continues because you are a coward. Because you're too weak to act in her best interest instead of your own."

Isaac shivered. Could that be true? He could feel the girl breathing faintly, and he knew he couldn't end the life in his arms. Not even out of pity. Was what he had convinced himself was compassion really only weakness? Were his actions mere cowardice, for his own good rather than hers...?

But then he thought of Seraphina. The green-haired girl on the porch playing checkers with her brother. Her bike in the driveway. Her soccer ball on the lawn. That was how their life should be. And if there was the slightest chance Isaac could give that life to this girl too, he would take it, the opinion of these Fae be damned.

Isaac stood, scooping the girl up with him in one smooth motion. She weighed very little, and Isaac noticed she was missing her right leg from the knee down. Not that it mattered right now - not when he was going to carry her.

The Fae drew weapons. Isaac took a step back. Then with a single accord, the Pack stood between their leader and those who were threatening him.

"Go, Isaac," Clare said evenly. "Get her to the mages. We won't let anyone follow."

Isaac nodded, and with Lycan speed, he turned and ran in the direction of the farmhouse.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

Well, at least now they knew who these mages were after. Of course, Riff couldn't help but wonder how they'd managed to find Nick so fast - the island had only just arrived - but maybe it was a mage thing. Right now, they had a problem and it looked like he was the guy who was going to have to call the shots and hope for the best.

"Well, actually, it's not a matter of 'kind'. We have a alliance with these people - human and otherwise - and we plan on sticking by them. So, whether you have an argument with Lycans in general or not, you have an argument with these particular Lycans if you choose to persist."

Riff had never thought he could come up with something that sounded that badass in his life. Maybe it was all the hero movies that were starting to rub off on him - or maybe he was conjuring up past conversations with Boris and Isaac. Either way, it was still very cool and totally unlike him, which meant that his additional words were of course very much his own.

"Besides, have you even met him? He's a pretty nice guy."

He was waiting for a response when Isaac sprinted past their line with a girl in his arms. The girl from the ward. Strange, she'd smelled pretty dead when he last saw her, but he could clearly see that she was holding her own head up as Isaac ran with her toward the farmhouse. Hooboy. This situation just got a little bit worse. Riff kept facing the mages, though his eye had watched the Pack's leader on his way past. Hopefully the humans hadn't noticed the blurr that was a Lycan moving at full speed.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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The humans did notice Isaac... but they didn't seem to concerned.

"Hey, isn't that your corpse?" one of the men asked nonchalantly.

A blonde woman nodded. "Yeah. We'll get her back later," she said in an equally unruffled tone.

Meanwhile, another man was scrutinizing Riff. "Hey, you're from town," he said. "The new one."

There was a moment that seemed almost a pause. Then suddenly, there was a bright and chaotic display of magic - highly distracting. While this was going on, the dark-haired man formed a sort of energy shield bubble that enclosed himself and Riff.

When they were effectively alone, even surrounded by Pack and Mages, the man spoke again. "We've been watching you. Like we said, Lycans aren't our concern - but Fae are. And you brought two more Fae here. A woman and a kid. We have them prisoner. If you want to see them released alive, you will follow our instructions carefully. You will call off your Pack. How you do that is up to you. Just get them out of here, tell them they're needed somewhere else. Then you will help us lure the demon out of the wards that protect the house. We'll do the rest. What do you say? Will you help us, or will your Fae lady and the kid die?"
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

He'd had to squint against the light, sudden and bright as it was, and was unsettled to find himself cut off from the rest of the Pack. Needless to say, the man in front of him had his full attention, even before he brought up Maria and Sofie. He was chilled completely to the core at the initial threat and his heart threatened to pound all sense and reason out of him. But now wasn't the time for rash decisions. Too many lives hung in the balance. Besides, how did he know this guy was even telling the truth?

Forcibly calming himself, he straightened and stared directly at the man.

"I don't believe you. I think if you had wanted to do something to them, you've had plenty of opportunity. Why should I bail on these people for a lie?"
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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A small smile creased the mage's lips. His hands moved in a circle in the air, faster and faster until a shimmery image appeared.

Riff would see an image of the inside of his own home where they were staying as Pack guests. The bed he shared with Maria was unoccupied, the covers hastily pulled back. A single slipper lay discarded on the rug beside the bed, and her bathrobe was draped over the bedpost haphazardly.

The vision shifted to Sofie's room, also empty of the occupant.

"Is it normal for them to be gone in the middle of the night?" the mage asked with a self-satisfied smile. "Is it usual for your wife to take off with your daughter when they should be snug in bed? Oh, I'm sorry - she's not your wife, is she? Just a diversion for you, I suppose. No wonder you care so little."

He dropped his arms, and the vision vanished. There were sounds, though. Sounds of screams that filled the air in the bubble around them.

"Do I have your attention now, Lycan?"
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

His first instinct was to panic. To protect. His mind wanted to gallop into a hundred different worst-case scenarios in an instant. What would these people do to his family? Were they even still alive? But even in the throes of adrenaline-fuelled speculation, Riff's years of experience stood by and urged him to look at what was really there.

What he had asked for was proof that Maria and Sofie were being held by this group of mages. What he had been shown was simply that they weren't where he might have expected them to be. What he asked for was proof that his family was being held hostage. What he heard was a cacophony of voices - none of them belonging to his Maria or his little girl.

They were his. As much as one could ask another to belong to them. He knew that he belonged to Maria heart and soul and he thought she felt the same way. The mage's insult was largely ignored. Not worthy of contemplation in light of the truth he held inside him.

More than likely, they had gone to the Fishblatt's house while he and Isaac were away. That, along with the lack of any real evidence on the part of the mage prompted Riff to be bold. The whites of his eyes were swallowed by his pupils and his fangs grew a bit longer - but he didn't transform fully. Two could play the 'make threats' game and he was willing to bet that the mage would make good on whatever ones he could. Riff had to be prepared to do the same.

"Yes. You have my attention. But you don't have my trust. I will make you a counter offer. You and your allies leave this island now and we can still part ways without bloodshed."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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"Hm. Perhaps."

The mage rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

"There's a bit of a difficulty, though. You see, we've been employed by a certain... interest group, let us say. A group without skills such as ours, but who have realized they must fight fire with fire, so to speak. The terms of our employment require that we complete certain objectives on the island. But we could... consider changing jobs."

He beckoned over the blonde woman who had made the comment about the corpse.

She smiled at Riff and gave a little wave. "Hey there!" she said. "I'm Candy."

The male mage didn't bother introducing himself. "So," he said. "What can your Pack offer us to get us on your team instead? And don't bother saying money. That's not a currency people in our line of work care about. You need to make it really worth our while."
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