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

"Oh, right on. We'll have a trio then at the very least!"

Riff rubbed the back of his neck and looked behind him at the Pack members setting up, then set an eye on the woods behind them.

"Yeah, heh, not been much surprises for me in that sorta sense in a long time. But uh, you don't seem too surprised about the Fae? I guess, Clare told you about that when you moved in, eh? You're taking the news pretty good. Not everyone takes to finding out about our lot so well. Anyhou, glad to meet you - should be a good time tonight. We brought marshmallows."

He added the last bit in a conspiratorial tone and gave Sofie a wink.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Elijah McDermott

For a moment, Elijah looked very, very nervous. He cast a wary sidelong glance at his uncle.

Then, carefully, he said, "Aunt Clare... that wasn't the first time I heard. Sorry, Uncle Declan. I guess I should've said something. I just wasn't sure what to say. Before my dad started drinking so much, he made some new friends. A group of guys he would hang out with all the time. At first I thought it was just the normal good ole boy stuff, but then it became... more than that. These guys knew all about Fae. They believed in them. They hated them. My dad listened to them. Then he decided he hated Fae too."

Declan turned pale.

"Well, that.. probably answers the question about how those guys in Germany knew about Clare," Declan said with forced calm.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

Well, shit.

For some reason, it had never occurred to him that the Cold Iron Brotherhood might have members in this Fae-friendly town. Despite the fact that the township had also, until recently, housed Nazi werewolves. It just made his blood run cold to find out that this safe haven...was not so safe. He glanced at Maria and pulled her imperceptibly closer.

"Well, pretty glad you brought it up now, Elijah. Um, are there a lot of these guys? I mean, not saying that I'm gonna start anything, but I'd kinda like to know who to keep clear of. I got some people who are important to me relying on me being able to do that."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Elijah McDermott

"There aren't a lot on this island," Elijah said. "At least not that I know of. Dad would get together with four or five of them at a time - always the same guys. I don't think there are more than that around here. He went to the mainland with them once, though. I think they met up with more there. It was after they came back that Dad really started drinking a lot. I guess whatever he saw and heard there, whatever they did... it really bothered him."

Whatever had transpired, though, Elijah had never been told. Had his father seen something horrible? Or been forced to participate in something that went beyond his comfort zone? He had no idea, because his father had refused to speak of it, and when Elijah had asked, the reaction that resulted was the first time he had ever been scared of his father.

The first... but not the last. The drinking had escalated. So had the anger. Then it had finally erupted in the beating that had landed Elijah in the care of Uncle Declan and Aunt Clare.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

He would have liked to have breathed a sigh of relief, but his chest was far too tight. Cold Iron Brotherhood here in Hollywell. And one of them was Declan's brother. This wasn't like Germany at all. This time, not only were things close to home, but they were very, very personal. But what could he say? It was the kid's father; even if he wasn't good to his son, it wasn't like Riff could ignore that connection.

"Well, as much as I'm curious as to what happened, I'm a little more on the worried side that something might happen here. Man, I thought...I thought this place would be safer. I mean, it still is - because we have good people around us to support us, but this is kindofa shock, Elijah - sorry."

Having let his fears out, Riff felt his shoulders sag as he finally let out the breath he was holding. The next intake of breath seemed to rejuvenate him.

"And I'm sorry about your dad getting mixed up in something that drove him to drinking - and for your relationship not being the best. That's...gotta be tough. Glad you're here, though, an' that you don't mind hanging out with Fae and werewolves. I mean, I think we're a fun bunch...but that's just my take."

His characteristic grin was back on his face, though Maria would notice that the tension had never left his arm. They might be safe for the moment, but there was no mistaking that Riff was worried.
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Maria Yeats

The tension seemed to radiate from Riff, despite his casual words and characteristic grin. Maria squeezed his arm.

"Hey," she said. "Riff, it's okay. This is not that bad. Most places, everyone would be trying to kill us. Four or five people who might be an issue? We can handle that. It's going to be alright."

It wasn't that she didn't sympathize with his fear. It was understandable. But still, her own heart felt lighter than it had in years. They were together, and they had support. They were a family. And they had an extended family again.

Surely everything would be alright.

"Really. We're going to be okay. Try not to worry. This is still so much better than things have been. Look at all our allies. We're still safe here."
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

She was right, of course. They had a family. They had a Pack. The people who might want to harm them were the minority. Maria was right. The tension left the rest of his body as he kissed her on the top of her head. What did he do to deserve this woman?

"You're right. We are in a good place - better than good, really. And we are surrounded by good people. It's a change that I hope to get used to real soon."

Riff took a look around at the encampment. Friends and soon-to-be friends all gathered in one place. He could see that everyone had sort of carved out their own space and wondered if they should be building a fire of their own too, or maybe should be helping get the central fire ready to go. At any rate, they weren't going to meet the rest of the Pack just standing in one place.

"Well, I suppose we should let you get back to setting up your campsite. See you all later!"

As the three of them walked away he thought to himself that it would be nice if their new neighbours could have joined them. Of course, there was the whole quarantine period still going on for them, so it wasn't an option, but it would have been nice to introduce them to everyone in this casual way. Maybe they could live stream the campfire songs to the island and have them join in at least a little bit. If there was any service out here, of course...
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Gilda Engel and James O'Brien

Gilda was gathering sticks and branches for the campfire when she crossed paths with James, who was doing the same. She exchanged a hello with him, and then was about to move on when James unexpectedly addressed her.

"Do you miss him?" James asked.

"Miss whom?" Gilda replied a little absently, more focused on the needs of the fire than the conversation. There were a number of people who could be 'him' - some of whom Gilda missed, and some of whom she didn't.

"Kraus," James replied, sounding surprised that Gilda hadn't followed his context-less train of thought. Seeing annoyance flicker across Gilda's face, James added, "I'm not trying to be like that. I'm not trying to bust your... chops. I'm really not. I'm trying to be understanding. I wanna be able to sympathize with you. So we can get along better. It must have been hard, right? Choosing? You were involved with them both. Do you ever imagine what it would be like if you were still with Kraus?"

Gilda shook her head. "You are still not understanding, James. Kraus was a vicious, evil Nazi. You of all people should know that. No, I never imagine what that would be like. Isaac is a thousand times the man Kraus was. Isaac is kind, compassionate, intelligent, witty, brave, loving... and frankly, between you and me, Isaac is much better in bed than Kraus. There's nothing to miss. Isaac and I are where we belong. Kraus is in a grave where he belongs. I'm more than happy to keep it that way."

James was suddenly distracted. He walked over to a nearby tree, sniffed carefully, and then beckoned Gilda over. "You ever see something like this?"

Gilda shook her head. Lines and circles were carved into the tree, clearly symbols, but she could make neither heads nor tales of them.

"It looks like runes of some kind," Gilda ventured. "But it's nothing I've seen. I don't know what they mean."
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

At the very least, it was obvious that wood was to be gathered. Dry wood, of course. Riff thought he should try to do his part to provide for the site. He doubted that he and Maria would start their own. Sofie would go to bed a lot earlier than most everyone else and he felt better about being able to curl up in the tent with her and Maria without having to worry about accidentally setting something on fire.

He nodded and smiled in the direction of Fae scents when he came upon them. Not all of them were as bold as the two he'd met at Auguste's camp - and he'd already known that most of them weren't as comfortable around non-Fae as Clare. Still, he wanted them to know that he was happy they were there. Riff had a small armful of sticks the size of his fingers when a different scent caught his attention. His eyes quickly zeroed in on the source - a scent around some funny symbols carved into a pine tree.

Riff stared at the symbols for awhile, then looked up and around like he was hoping to find someone to talk to. These symbols...there was something about them. They didn't look like a prankster's gouges. They were purposeful...and almost familiar? He needed to talk to someone else about this. Whirling back toward the campsite he soon found himself near friends and used one of his sticks to draw the symbol on the ground. A memory struck him as he was finishing his drawing and he purposely didn't complete the last circle. He'd learned to listen to his gut.

"Does this look familiar to you? Some kind of Fae language? Golem?" He was talking to himself as much as Maria and whoever else was within earshot.
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Clare Murphy and James O'Brien

James almost reflexively did what he had always done - blame Gilda. Surely she was holding out on him. Surely she was lying. What was she hiding? What did she have to gain...?

But then, something unfamiliar happened. Something that would never have happened before Riff's intervention, before he and the others had worked to reconcile James to the Pack.

...His common sense kicked in.

It occurred to James that Gilda had been raised by humans. She'd been found wandering on a beach as a toddler, and had passed through a series of foster families, children's homes, and boarding schools on her way to maturity. Even in her immortal adulthood, up till very recently she seemed to live almost exclusively with Lycans, not other Fae. This wasn't a werewolf thing. So maybe...

...Maybe Gilda was being truthful. Maybe she didn't know.

He gave her an awkward nod, then looped his way back to Riff to report what he had found - only to see that Riff had spotted another. Clare had joined him, and was scrutinizing the tree.

"It almost looks like Fae runes," Clare said. "But it's not of my people. That's not how we do trail markers. Ours would be subtle, not noticeable to mortals even staring straight at them. This is brazen. This is an announcement. But of what? Who would do such a thing? It might be harmless, of course, but it's... worrisome. Though I'm not quite sure why, exactly."
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