4719/Old Graves

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Old Graves
Date of Scene: 14 January 2021
Location: Tribeca
Synopsis: Nightgaunts walk the graveyard of Trinity Church in Tribeca. The Witchblade senses them interrupting a delicious Korean meal with Angelo Tampambulos. Amanda Sefton arrives by portal to lead them into battle.
Cast of Characters: Sara Pezzini, Achilles, Amanda Sefton

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Broadway at dusk on Rector Street is populated with high rollers from the Financial District. The street is a funny mix of the expensive and eating on the cheap, catering to the up and comers, grabbing a bite between put calls. Leave it to Sara to be there for the food - Korean food, specifically. Or so she tells herself.

Flashes from the Witchblade have made eating and concentrating on the handsome man across from her challenging. The last glimpse of a tall monument set before an iron fence hit her as she snipped a piece of beef to put on the grill between them. She almost snipped her finger off and lets the succulent piece drop.

"Damn! I think I need to make a phone call, Angelo. There's been some things I haven't told you about recently." She holds a finger up, fishes her phone out of the purse on her lap.

"Surprise! Amanda, it's Sara. Where are you at right now? If you are in town, how would you like to meet me at Rector and Trinity at 8:30 pm. Call me back and let me know."

With an apologetic tilt of her head to Angelo, she puts the phone face down on the table. "Enjoy your food. We might have some business after dinner."

Achilles has posed:
    There are those who seem to have been cursed with immortality. Those who sought it out for its own sake. And then.. there is one for whom immortality was neither of those things. It was something his mommy stole from the gods and forced upon him.. the gods didn't curse him. They just kinda rolled their eyes. For his mommy -was- technically a lesser god, while his father was a far removed demigod. So there was enough divinity in his blood to survive the ambrosia and styx immersion. Okay, enough about that.
    The momma's boy known in the modern era as Angelo Tampambulos sits with Sara and sets down his fork after taking a bite. His brows lift as he turns his green eyes towards Sara. "Keeping secrets from me now?" he asks. "For shame." he adds sarcastically. But then he shrugs and adds, "I suppose I deserve it. Tell me when we are not in as public a place?" he inquires as he grins over the table at her.
    It doesn't take super long to eat succulent meat and sides. But he summons the server and hands over his credit card to cover the meal before standing and wrapping a scarf about his neck and then pulling on his leather jacket. It's... not what he would call super freezing out. But it sure isn't Mediterranean warm. Mostly, it is a night that seemed like it desperately wanted to rain, but failed to drop that water on folks. Instead, it became a fog that crept up from the ground like a living thing... so that when Angelo and Sara step out and head for their meeting, they seem more like silhouettes than actual people in the night. "This reminds me of..." begins Angelo as the two of them traverse the foggy night. Everything seems to remind him of -something-.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda's return call comes in only a few minutes after Sarah hangs up. "I can be there," is the basic gist of the call. All of which means, by the time 8:30p is approaching, a portal opens into a shadow near the corner Sarah specified. Amanda steps through, cloaked as Daytripper, but projecting a spell that makes her seem unremarkable to passers by. Shoving hands into her coat pockets she steps out into the light.

Her blue eyes scan the passersby, seeking a familiar face. And her magical senses range out in search of that familiar presence -- the Witchblade. She has something of a strange detente with it -- or, at least, it seems that way. She respects it, and it doesn't object to her. Or something like that.

Thus, it's in short order that she finds herself weaving through bodies that naturally shy away from her, thanks to that spell, toward the couple arriving from their Korean meal. "Lovely evening, isn't it?" she says by way of greeting to Sarah, her British accent, touched with German, distinctive to the New York twang usually heard on the street. Her eyes flick from Sarah to Angelo. She remembers him, and thus nods lightly in greeting to him, too.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Chic as the restaurant was, Sara had not dressed in high heels, call it a second sense. Wrapped in a camel hair coat, her favorite cashmere scarf gifted to her by Angelo tucked around her neck, and knee-high boots, she could be dressed for a walk in the country. She stands next to Angelo, arm laced through his, watching the fog rise from the church grounds across the street.

The Witchblade pulses in tune with the magic emanating from somewhere near them. Pulling her arm from under Angelo's she twists around and spots Amanda immediately.

Hand lifted, she beckons to the Sorceress, saying in an aside to Angelo, "I have a lot to catch you up on. Ah. How are you with demons, sweetheart?"

Achilles has posed:
    With a shrug, Angelo gives a nod of greeting to Amanda. To Sara he replies, "About the same as I am with anything else. I wouldn't say that I am an expert with them but..." he smirks a bit, "I have visited Tartarus more than once. And... when family squabbles involve -my- family?"
    He shakes his head, "Anyone who can claim Hades as a great great uncle is going to have demonic sorts around once in a while."
    He speaks as if the idea of demons is much the same as car shopping. "To date, I have not found a supernatural creature that didn't hate a blade made of celestial bronze." he adds.
    And then his brain catches up with his rambling mouth and he looks from one woman to the other and adds. "Why?"....

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda glances across the street to that church. "Revanants?" she queries, glancing to Sarah, head canting some at Angelo's words. "There's a small graveyard." Still, she raises her head some, almost as if testing the air. And, on some level, she is... though, in this case, she's using subtle magic to do so. "There's something there, to be sure," she concedes.

She gives Angelo a tight smile. "There's something rotten in the neighbourhood of Tribeca," she tells him, misquoting the Bard. "Somewhere, I believe, there's a hellmaw open and it's letting all manner of dark and deadly things out of hell to stalk the night. I've been having a devil of a time trying to keep their numbers down while I triangulate the source."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Sara nods without enthusiasm. "It seems you both have had a lot more experience with demons than I have." She means herself. "Well, alright, the Witchblade, too. It's why I called. Not that I have anything definitive, more a guess at why I've been, ah..." Her voice trails away as she rubs her coat covering the bracelet.

"Amanda, I'm sorry, this is Angelo Tampambulos, someone who is good to have in a tight place even if there is magic. Angelo, this is Amanda Sefton. She is quite adept at things magic." With a vague gesture at the churchyard, she adds, "I googled it. There is an actual graveyard, old, too."

Achilles has posed:
    Lifting one shoulder, Angelo inclines his head, "We .. briefly met, if memory serves." he says towards Sara as he indicates Amanda. "And when you say hellmaw? Are you referring to Hades, Tartarus, or which of the multitude of religious and mythological dark afterlives or underworlds? Or.. some amalgam of all of them?"
    That said, he steps a half pace away, peering towards the graveyard. "I always wonder if the dark magics fuel the imagination, or if the belief in such dark things makes them real. Either way, I am no sorcerer. I am no bearer of the blade. I am just some guy who can't die. Handy talent, aye." he says as a Xiphos sword flows into his hand from the Hephaestus-constructed bracer.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
"I don't know," Amanda admits to Angelo. "I'm going to guess, though, that it's less Hades and Tartarus and more one of the multitudinous other realms out there, given I've not come across anything I'd specifically link to Ancient Greek legend."

She gives Sarah a small smile. "Angelo helped me deal with some of the Avatars during that Zodiac mess last summer. I think he may have been there the night you and I met, in fact -- though he had, I think, taken his leave by then." She rolls her shoulders briefly and allows a small orb of witchlight to form in the palm of her right hand. "Shall we cast some light on the situation and see what rises to meet it?"

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Glancing at the sword blade, Sara makes a valiant attempt to not roll her eyes at Angelo. "Suppose someone sees you," she huffs in a cloud of breath. The temperature seems to be dropping, coldness rolls from the darkened graveyard. "Good, that you know each other. Funny, how small the City can be."

With one glance back at the light and warmth of the normal New York street, a traffic light changing to green behind them, she assents, "There is a gate just here."

She walks a few yards down the sidewalk to an ornate gate leading to a green next to the tall brick form of the church entrance. The lights at its entrance don't seem to penetrate the darkness out of which a fog rolls in thick waves unnoticed by passerbys. The discreet clink of metal heralds the Witchblade unfolding to meet the darkness.

Achilles has posed:
    "What? Some guy in the fog with a blade? It's New York. I think they'll call it Wednesday." he says casually as his eyes drift towards the witchlight. Then he just shrugs and reverses his grip on his weapon, the blade lying along his arm now, and more out of sight than before. "Besides, I don't have handy tricks like that one." he says with a gesture to the magic illumination. But he -is- moving to position himself between the ladies and the graves or potential sources of demonic infestation. Or maybe he just has no idea that they might appear elsewhere. Immortal does not mean omniscient.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda can't necessarily keep Angelo from being noticed without extending her spell, but as he says, this is New York. The chances of anyone paying attention, especially given the whole "don't look here" vibe rolling off the cemetary, is fairly slim.

The sorceress tosses her witchlight over the fence, letting it drift like a small golden sun into the darkness. The darkness seems almost entirely unaffected by it. "Oh, that's not good." Not a surprise, mind, but not good, all the same.

While she appreciates Angelo's instinct to protect them, she is not one to hide behind others in a fight like this. She rises up on eldritch winds and lets them carry her into the cemetary itself, rather than use the easily anticipated entrance. A shadowcloak spell gathers around her, making her all the harder to see in the darkness -- save that she is limned in reflected light that glints off of her outline where the moonlight might hit it, were it not behind the clouds. It's enough, at least, that they should be able to maintain some awareness of her presence while making her less of an overt target.

Never send your mage to do a tank's job.

The witchlight orb expands as she chants softly, filtering through the fog now. Shapes move among the shadows and tombstones. "Nightgaunts," she says to her companions. "That's really not good."

The creatures are tall and spindly with leathery wings and sharp, curved talons. They don't necessarily make their homes in cemetaries -- unlike Revenants or Ghouls -- but they can be relied upon to desecrate Holy Ground whenever they can. Perfectly silent, even in movement, they are perfectly deadly and even a small nest of them could do great damage to the city.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The cold air freezes Sara's throat when she takes a gulp of air. A silver blade licked with faint blue flames forms as she leaves the lit street to be engulfed by the darkness. A faint luminous form, Amanda, floats above her further into the darkness that drinks the light.

"Nightgaunts?" The Witchblade furnishes her with an image that makes her falter on the path. "Jeeeeez, okay."

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Nightgaunts. Yeah, such a fun way to spend a mid-week night.

"Time to go to work, then," Amanda says to her companions. She opens her palms, a brilliant green energy flickering over them. The only way to burn off this fog, after all, is with firepower. She curls her fingers into fists and brings them together to launch a powerful, double bolt of eldritch energy at the nearest 'Gaunt.

The creature opens its mouth as if to scream, but no sound escapes. The things really are entirely soundless. Still, it is flung backward, its limbs and wings flung outward as it careens backward into a heavy obelisk.

The shadowy shapes within the fog spring into action all around, like bats disturbed in their roost, swarming towards the trio of heroes.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Sara knows how to fire a gun; she has excellent marksman scores. Hand-to-hand combat is also a skill that she is qualified at, more than qualified, especially since the Witchblade lends her superhuman strength. She's never had a course or training or even had much idle thought given to how to deal with the random Nightgaunt. It comes to her that she didn't even know they existed before Amanda's short explanation.

The Witchblade gives her a short, sharp course in dealing with them. It cuts no corners nor tries to be gentle to spare her sensitive feelings: one of its criteria for choosing Sara was her innate mental toughness. It boils down to slash and duck.

She feels rather than sees a Nightgaunt appear to her right. The Blade blazes blue as she slashes diagonally, lopping off a clawed arm and part of a leg which maddens it. Dancing backward, she swings again as it rushes her, nearly taking its head off.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Nightgaunts take to the sky. Amanda rises higher, letting go with her magic blasts left and right. They're more concussive in nature than searing, but they allow her to hammer targets down toward the other pair, setting up a sort of one-two punch maneuver. She breaks their wings and lets the blades deal with cutting off their heads... or whatever else they decide to do with the damned things.

Where she can, she hits hard enough to take the things out. She splits her magical focus into shields and blasts, trying to keep ahead of the rush and keep her companions from being flanked and overwhelmed by aerial attacks.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Angelo naturally puts himself back to back with Sara, they each have their arc of battle to pay attention to. He had already told her that he has her back, she had assumed it was metaphorical. In the midst of the demonic mayhem it gives her a warm feeling but she doesn't have the time to spare for an awwww. The air is filled with the rush of wings.

A large Nightgaunt plummets from the darkness straight down on the fighting pair, intent on separating them. It succeeds. Sara stumbles forward, blood coursing down the side of her face from the claw that gashed her head. Armor closes about her, late but not too late to protect from the other leg slashing at her. Angelo's sword severs a foot. Sara turns, and his attack drives it onto her uplifted sword.

"Amanda? How many are there? Where are they coming from?" Her voice is shockingly loud in the near silent battle, the cemetery seemingly cut off from the sights and sounds of lower Manhattan.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
There's still so much fog. "Directionally? Further in. Probably a mausoleum or high spire?" Amanda calls back. She focuses some energy outward, illuminating the fog, looking for likely shapes in the haze. Nightgaunts are drawn to the light, soaring upward towards the witchlight.

The sorceress dodges a flight of them, rising higher up to avoid being dive bombed. "There's got to be a flock leader," she tells the others, using a communication spell to allow them to speak over such distance. "If we can find the queen, for lack of a better term, we may have a better chance."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
"Geeez, the Queeen," Sara says with a splendid Brooklyn drawl. The two sword wielders walk into the darkness. Following the witchlight like some phantom lighthouse piercing the ocean of the fog blanketing the graveyard, Angelo and Sara march forward. Angelo walks backward, content to let Sara protect his back.

"We are coming to you, Amanda." It was only recently that Sara realized that she could levitate or fly, her armor capable of morphing into wings. Flying is by no means a reflex. She spends a precious second dithering about leaving the invincible Angelo on the ground. She lifts off, sword held aloft, its blue flame blooming into an orb of light in the foggy air. A 'gaunt spins her in the air as it strafes her, setting her up for an attack from another. Sara wonders what the cleaners will find on the ground tomorrow as she severs a wing from one which drops to the ground.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
The cleaners will find some blackened earth. The media will likely report vandals in the old cemetary who set fire to lawns... or maybe used battery acid on it. Whatever the case, dead Nighthaunts do what all creatures of the worlds beyond this one do: They dissolve and disappear.

Amanda fires more blasts to knock Nightgaunts out of the sky. She throws up another sheild as another careens into her from a flank. It bounces off the shield, but still pushes her off course. But as she is not entangled, she rebounds quickly.

Eventually, she finds herself nearing the oldest part of the cemetary -- the place where founding fathers and upstanding citizens from well before the Civil War era are buried. There are fewer nightgaunts here, but only because they'd been sent further afield to deal with the intruders. The fog is thicker here, darker, and harder to penetrate. But that just tells Amanda they're very close to the center of the nest. "I think I've found it..." she says as a darker shadow rises amdist the smokey haze.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The Witchblade unleashes a stream of blue energy that boils away the chest of the 'gaunt that took advantage of the first 'gaunt's attack. Below her she can hear the telltale sound of flesh and bone being rent apart as Angelo battles alone. The Blade sets her on course to find Amanda. She arrives in time to large blot of darkness loom over the Sorceress.

Rhetorically, she asks as she comes even with Amanda, "The Queen?"

Amanda Sefton has posed:
"That's my guess," Amanda says, looking up at the looming shadow. She glances to Sarah. "I'll try and keep it distracted," she tells the other woman. "You... see if you can take off its head." That's usually a surefire way of taking out nasty, demonic creatures like this. Unless it's a hydra or something. Hydras always seem to have no shortage of heads.

She sheds the shadowcloak spell in favour of a sset of eldritch armour and starts flinging magic bolts at the thing to capture its attention. Then, she casts an illusion that multipies the images of both her and Sarah, to confuse it and make the attack seem greater than it is.

As far as the creature is concerned, its surrounded, though Amanda must keep moving to allow real bolts of power to strike it from different directions. Her illusions, after all, are merely smoke and mirrors.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The sound of wings surrounds them as 'gaunts fly to assist their Queen. Sara glances back to see Angelo holding his own against a double attack. Suddenly, she finds herself in a house of mirrors; both Amanda and herself multiplied into a platoon, wielding light. The light that surges from the Witchblade glances off of the shadowy creature as though it is behind a shield. A claw that would have removed her arm clacks against her armor.

Sara roars in fear, lunging forward trying to pierce the thing's throat but it darts out of the way. They play dodge, exchanging claw strikes for blade strikes, evenly matched for a moment as Amanda's magic pounds it.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda continues to pound at the creature with her magic bolts, aiming for its eyes and head when she can. Above Sarah's strikes, certainly, but there's no faster way to catch its attention than with a burning light show. She soars higher, tossing the occasional fireball into the mix, aiming for fragile wing membranes. If it's grounded, there will be two blades that can be brought to bear.

Mainly, though, she wants to open up its guard to let the detective and her Witchblade through for the kill. Kill the queen, kill the hive... for all that nightgaunts are precisely hiveminded. At the very least, it will disorient them. It'll do.

She hopes.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Blinking against the fire bolts that rain from above, Sara parries a clawed swipe. Instead of moving back, she dips in the air to move up and into the creature's arms. Sparks fly as claws rake her back, the creature trying to throw her to the ground by her armored wings. Double-handed Sara thrusts the flaming Witchblade into the Queen's maw. There is an audible grinding of teeth as its teeth gnash the sword, gathering all her strength, Sara pushes the Blade into its throat. Blue flames wreath the Queen's head as the point pierces its throat. Transfixed by its gaze, Sara stares into what she knows is a glimpse of hell before it drops like a stone, nearly snatching the Blade with it.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
The Queen falls toward the cemetary, its great wings shredding the fog as it plummets. The unnatural darkness within the fog ripples, flowing over the ground, retreating from the outskirts of the property into the corpse of the Queen. The monster's body collapses in on itself, dissolving over the graves and across the lawn. Lesser nightgaunts, those Angelo hasn't destroyed open their mouths in silent screams before they scatter away into the night.

Amanda lets her illusions collapse and drifts toward Sara. "Are you alright?" she asks, concern in her eyes. "Are you hurt?" She'll want to check in on Angelo, too. But first thing's first. With the fog dissipating, it will be easier to find him, certainly.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Breathing hard, Sara pushes the helm upward to wipe at her wet face. The metal of the helm separates and begins to dissolve as the Witchblade sensing the threat gone retreats into itself. Last to go is the Blade as it returns to its waiting form of a bracelet. Sara's feet touch the ground just as Angelo reaches her.

"Winded, a bit bloody but it looks worse than it is. You know, head wounds." She shrugs modestly but grips Angelo's hand hard.

"How are you?"

Amanda Sefton has posed:
"May I?" Amanda asks Sara, holding up a hand as she lands lightly beside her. "I'm a healer." And she'd hate the woman to have to carry a wound from this encounter longer than necessary. She gives Angelo a once over, as well, to see that he is largely unharmed. Scrapes and bruises don't concern her. Head gashes, however, are another story.

With Sara's permission, she will heal the woman, and attend to any of the more serious wounds -- if any -- Angelo has. But the graveyard is now quiet and the nightgaunts have scattered. They may find roosts somewhere else, but singly and in pairs they're far easier to pick off. Clean up will be inconvenient, but not insurmountable.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The fog that had obscured the street and the City's light dissipates, tendrils lingering at their feet. Sara examines her hand after touching her head, surprised at the fresh blood. "Demon claws. I...yes, please." She touches her head again, "Glad it wasn't my face."

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Demon claws, yes. Amanda gives a wry smile. Golden magic fills her eyes and settles on her fingertips. She reaches out to gently touch Sara's head, allowing her magic to flow across and through the wound. There's a light tingle as the flesh knits and the pain recedes. When she is assured the woman is hale and sound again, Amanda draws her hands away and gives a small smile.

"That should do it," she says easily. She chuckles softly. "If it had been your face, I likely would have insisted on healing you. As it is, I think you'll be fine. A little tired, maybe... but that may just be me." Between combat and healing, she'll need rest to recover what she's drained.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
"You lead an exciting life, Amanda." She touches her head gingerly and smiles. "Thank you." After dropping Angelo's hand, she turns in place, gesturing to the now quiet headstones, "Will there be more?"

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda rolls her shoulders briefly. "At least, it's never boring," she smiles. At the question, she inhales a deep breath. "Likely. But not tonight. Come morning, I'll speak with the church office about reconsecrating the grounds. That will help." She hopes. It depends on how touchy the Anglican leadership are about dealing with gypsy witches.

"Did you get anywhere with that Jane Doe?" It's the only other thing outstanding between them, really.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
"No leads yet," she shakes her head. "Her DNA is not in the databank. Probably too young but we are still crossmatching for relatives. I'll let you. Call me if you want? I don't mind lending a hand. I figure the more I deal with this," Sara walks over to a low stone and bends to touch it, "well, the better I'll get at it." Tucking her scarf back in, "You ready Angelo? Amanda, thank you for dealing with the church. They might need a gallon of holy water to get this place right again. Don't hesitate to call." Her boots make no sound on the grass between the tombstones.