4826/The Measure of a Good Hunter

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The Measure of a Good Hunter
Date of Scene: 22 January 2021
Location: New York City, Alleyway
Synopsis: An old hunter in a pinch meets an old friend and violence is had before moments of reminiscing.
Cast of Characters: Eric Brooks, Ariah Olivie

Eric Brooks has posed:
The sounds of fists hitting a person is a distinct one.  Almost wet-sounding.  Loud, too, especially in a confined space.  Oh, random alleys.  The preferred location of nighttime beatings for many years.

This started out as reconnaissance.  Blade was trying to discreetly track the movements around a nest and ended up on the receiving end of a tidy little ambush.  He's been stripped of his coat and any obvious weapons, and there's a half a set of handcuffs clinging to one wrist that's broken at the chain.  Whatever's happening, it's been going on for longer than a few minutes. 

It's anyone's guess as to how many vampires there were when this started, but there's still six of them left.  It's the usual mix of party boys and girls who managed to die young.  They seem extra hungry tonight. 

Blade's giving a pretty good accounting of himself, despite having one eye swollen shut and favoring one side as if his ribs pain him.  He's fighting smart, hands held high and his elbows tucked in to protect his body.  Normally, six vampires wouldn't be a problem for him.  One of the hits he's taken must be slowing him down pretty badly.

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    Ariah is often out at night. A daywalker, sure, but she operates best when the sun goes down. Her tenuous grasp on technology means that even the most simple of smartphone tools takes some serious effort from her. She often forgets to charge it, and is also often bewildered when Google Maps gives her strange directions. She pushed the 'On Foot' tag a dozen times, didn't she? She's dressed well enough for the New York winter. Boots, Long coat with a hood. Beneath, a short skirt, thick leggings, and a short-sleeved corset top. Blacks and reds are the colors of the night.

    Her semi-lost wanderings bring her down a side street in the maze that is the city, and while it isn't the sounds of fisticuffs that reach her ears, it's something else. Blood. Her senses focus and she pauses mid-step, not far from the mouth of the alley. She slowly glances around, the unmistakable scent. Then there's those noises. It is indeed unmistakable, the echo of flesh to flesh, unarmed combat. Pocketing her phone, the tiny woman walks towards the mouth of the alley, stepping out into the middle of it to take a good look at what might be going on.

    She's not doing anything to hide herself, and for all intents and purposes, might look like a lost teenage girl. The expression on her face is blank, neutral, but a snow brow lifts as she gets a good view on what's happening--and what her other senses are picking up. She can detect heartbeats from a good range off... and vampires, even those locked in mortal combat... don't have them. Still, she doesn't speak, nor does she step in further, rather more curious to see more of the whole picture. Of course, to other vampires with vampiric senses.. she isn't exactly pounding out a pulse either.

Eric Brooks has posed:
It seems like the worst of the beating has already taken place and the vampires have moved on to toying with their dinner.  They're close enough to the sidewalk to be caught in the pool of light cast by a streetlamp and they don't seem to care. At all. For the moment, they're focused on tormenting their prey.

Blade fends off a punch, feints a counter, then launches a vicious headbutt that splatters the nose of a burly man with a square jaw.  That one's still alive, but it shouldn't be much trouble for the next few minutes. 

It provides an opportunity for the rest to swoop in and nip at him like a pack of hyenas.  One knuckles Blade in his already injured side; another kicks him in the back of the knee and forces him halfway to the ground. 

Still in the fight, the vampire hunter roars up at his tormentors like a lion, showing his own canines.  Then, against all odds, he starts to laugh.  "You know..."  he spits out some blood and uses his tongue to check for loose teeth.  "You assholes only have about two more minutes before this fight is over.  And I'm gonna win."

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    Ariah lifts a snowy brow. It is a... very interesting scene. Of course, the gentleman surrounded looks like he's pretty beat up, but... there's also a lot of fight left in him. She can see this. But she doesn't enter the alley just yet. She stands, watches, and watches the man rear up and roar. She doesn't say a word, still analyzing the situation. Still taking in the scents, the sounds. The various heartbeats, or lack thereof... the scent of blood. More than one individual's, at that. And certainly not exactly recently -living- blood.

    Then, she slowly begins to peel off her gloves. Long, black opera gloves, lined with fleece for the winter chill (not that she needs the protection but they're pretty) and made of a shining leather. She frees them, pockets them, and then... begins to clap. Slow, slow clap, those dead eyes wandering between each individual, each vampire there that's facing the man in the middle they're trying, and apparently failing, to curb stomp.

Eric Brooks has posed:
This is the first thing that's put a pause on the festivities since they started.  The five remaining hyenas freeze in an almost comical fashion.  One is too close; Blade drills her in the breastbone with the heel of his hand hard enough to drive her back and audibly crack something, but it doesn't put her down. 

Another has been hanging back more than the rest.  He's been quieter, too.  Not as if he isn't enjoying himself, but as if he's guiding the proceedings more than taking part.  Now he glances between Blade and this new arrival and considers splitting his forces.  Even if only one or two went after the snack-sized girl, they'd still be taking a risk.  He makes a decision and attempts to appear charitable in the process.  "Leave.  Now.  Fast.  Or die."

This one isn't exactly a genuis.

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    Ariah blinks, pursing her lips, a little mou of black-painted flesh. Her head tilts to the side, watching the woman take a solid crack to the chest before the alpha speaks up. She has a bewildered expression on her face, and then holds out her hands, palms up, "Je m'excuse, mon anglais n'est pas bon..." she says quietly, her voice soft, but as icy cold as the winter wind. "Ou peut-être que je ne parle pas idiot?" she asks, and this time, her tone is... clearly meant to be insulting. To the ear that can understand her? 'I apologize, my english is not good' and 'Or maybe I just don't speak idiot?'

    Whatever the case, if anyone can understand her or not, she does step to the side a little, but it's to take off her coat. She drapes it over the barred cage that protects one of the downstairs windows of the building, and then turns to face the group. "You are... how you say... on the incorrect grass, young man?" she rolls her eyes upwards a moment, trying to figure out if that is the correct saying, then shrugs her shoulders. A few steps are taken into the alleyway, bare fingers curling and uncurling. "...do you turn them to ash yourself, or leave them for le soleil to find in the morning?" her silver eyes flicker towards Blade and begin to glow.

    Then her arm ignites. Runes etched in her bones, under her skin begin to flare and from shoulder to wrist, that limb looks ablaze with some arcane power. In her palm, that energy coalesces into a glowing, pulsing sphere. All of it is blue-white and burning bright. "...who will be the first to punch my dance card?" she asks, voice cold while her hand is ablaze.

Eric Brooks has posed:
"Well.  That's new."  The utterance comes from Blade, but the sentiment seems to carry across the board.  Laughing again, he picks himself up off the ground and switches to French.  His is rusty, but intelligible.  "Ils ne parlent que connard," he replies.  Loosely translated?  These ones only speak shithead.

He's not wrong, either.  With little choice in the matter, the five vampires separate into two groups, with the group of three now heading for the woman.  The sixth, he gets back up, turning the odds into 2.5-to-1 against Blade.

The initial attack is unsophisticated.  They rush en masse.  Things stay tight on Blade's end, he's kept busy enough warding off fists to prevent him from landing any good hits of his own, at least for the moment.  "Burn these motherfuckers!" he urges.

On the other end of the fight, a vamp pauses just long enough to scoop up a broken piece of concrete.  Then somewhat more hesitant than they've been with their previous quarry, they approach.  They're not eager to get burned.  As if by unspoken agreement, the one with the concrete throws it as an improvised missile, then all three rush the small woman.

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    While Ariah might not be smiling, and one may wonder if she ever does, the woman -does- laugh. Blade's French and his phrasing bring some definite amusement to the tiny woman. She shouts to Blade in French, watching her three new friends approaching. <<You are yet still alive? Let us try to keep it that way, no?>> she offers, finding something of a familiar face in the man in the alley. But, for now, odd reunions can come later. Of course, amidst a pack of vampires, now that she knows the full extent of things... she is more than keen to go all out herself.

    "You are not worthy of the immortal blessing you have been granted..." she snarls, baring her own fangs. Yes, she's one of them. Or one of -something-. And her voice? Ice cold, grim, and dark. The incoming block of concrete is intercepted with her free hand, batted away and left to hit the ground by the wayside. Then she simply charges the three head-on.

    She certainly doesn't possess the legendary vampire 'blink' speed, she is still quick, that sphere of burning energy held in her hand, a balance between the raw magic and her own flesh before she hurls the pulsating orb of power at the one who had fired first. It's a fastball throw to center mass, but like a flak shell or a missile, it doesn't detonate on impact. It detonates when it's as close to her target as it can get--lest he dodge. It's an explosion of raw magic, the pure energy as white-hot as it is bright. A gift just for him.

Eric Brooks has posed:
When Blade said 'burn them', he wasn't aware his request would be met this literally.  Like her arrival, the woman's attack brings everyone to a halt while they watch it happen.

The vampire in question ignites and is fully immolated within seconds.  It seems like a tidy process.  Of the two remaining, one just shakes her head and sprints away.  The other is more cautious, he pulls a set of brass knuckles from his pocket and uses them to throw a weighted, reinforced punch.

"I'm good, thanks."  Blade's reply is coupled with an elbow, putting down the nose-broken vampire and this time it doesn't move.  There's a quick glance at his own watch before he elaborates.  "We'd better hurry.  We've only got about sixty seconds."

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    It is pretty literal. It's not your typical fire, of course. It's not electricity. It's just pure, raw magical energy. Just hot enough to ignite things and melt flesh and burn vampires to a crisp. Among other things. Ariah does, however, focus on the runner before the one coming at her. After all, there was something about a nest, and running to get more help, or something? She isn't sure, she just knows there's two errant biters that need to lose a few dozen pounds in the form of being turned to dust.

    <<"What happens in sixty seconds?">> she calls out, still in French. Another draw of that energy is pulled from her, both arms blazing blue-white as the runes ignite within those limbs. In one, she forms a lance of that shining energy, hurling it like a javelin at the back of the runner. It's made from the same stuff as the sphere, only it's not going to explode, instead acting more like a good solid spear of raw heat and light. Even if it doesn't pierce the heart it's going to hurt like hell and burn like a motherfucker.

    The OTHER guy? His swing comes down hard and there's the sound of metal hitting glass as a glowing barrier of force flickers over her other arm. It's a good solid hit, vampires aren't exactly slouches, even shitty college student neonates. The brass knuckles hit it like it's a windshield, cracks in the flickering barrier forming, spiderwebbing along its surface, but it holds. They're running out of time but she isn't sure why, and she does quite pointedly glare at the man who felt like he really needed to get up in her personal space like that.

Eric Brooks has posed:
The spear of raw energy pierces the sprinting vampire through his back and out his chest.  There's a vague possibility he might survive the hit.  It's looking unlikely from the quantity of smoke, though. 

A half-moment later, Ariah's second attacker reels as his punch encounters an unexpected level of resistance.  Unlike his comrade, he doesn't flee.  Not that it would do him any good. Instead, he circles his opponent, looking for a mistake or an opening.  Anything. 

Meanwhile, Blade throws short, vicious boxer's jabs at his remaining foes, then offers up a cross that puts another one of them on the pavement.  <<"What happens in 60 seconds?  This happens.">> he replies to his French-speaking rescuer.

The hunter holds out his hand to stall further vampire attacks.  "You fuckers should've frisked me.  You got my guns, you got my knives, but you missed this."  It's reddish-orange and about the size of a stick of butter.  Between his gloved fingers the word 'SEMTEX' can barely be seen on the transparent wrapper, along with an attached timer that's counting down.  53.  52.  51.  

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    The spear doesn't last forever. It does its job, piercing flesh, impaling and burning, and then dissipates with lighter-than-air wisps of energy rising upwards to vanish. The shield, however, also flickers and fades, the energy in it being drawn back into her body as she's circled by the one remaining brave soulless that's on her.

    She gets into a solid stance, old soldier training put to good use, conserving her magical energy for the moment just in case there's more surprises coming. Well. She was kind of right.

    There's definitely an opening when she glances at what Blade is carrying, that nice stick of plastic explosives just waiting for someone to swallow it. <<"You did not tell me you were a demolitionist, too,">> she states, brows lifted but tone still quite on the neutral side of things. She looks around the alley, its tight confines, and what kind of collateral damage it could possible do to them and the buildings around them.

    <<"What now?">>

Eric Brooks has posed:
"Demolitionist?  Ha!"  This is in English and is coupled with a rich laugh from Blade.  "No, I'm just a guy with a bomb." 

This makes Blade's final foe nervous.  The one-time leader of a small vampire gang decides to get wise and pull a pistol.  Or he thinks he's being wise.

Blade is Not Amused.  He spits out some blood along with a few curses.  "Fuck you.  Shoot me." 

The vampire is in an unenviable position, as is the one with the brass knuckles.  They share a glance. 

That's enough time for Blade to snatch the handgun and smash it into the leader's face like a club.  They both seem spent after this; neither one of them is standing an instant later.  Issues are complicated by the fact that not all of vampires Blade downed are dust.  He doesn't waste time thinking about it, instead he starts inspecting his explosive device and trying like hell to remember how to disarm it.

Meanwhile, Mr. Brass Knuckles returns his attention to Ariah. He doesn't fully catch her distraction, but he follows his instincts and lashes out with a second punch that's almost as hard as the first.

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    "Subtle," Ariah says quietly, her English delightfully accented in that way that it is. She lowers her arms, watching the exchange, brief as it is. There's a shake of that snowy head, eyes closing for a moment, a tiny sigh exhaled. "It is a mess, non?" she offers, seeing the pair clashing in that quick instant of gun-to-face love. Of course, that means there's a still-standing fellow with a brass-braced fist coming her way.

    An advantage to being small is that people generally have to punch down to reach you. Ducking under a punch isn't difficult, and you're right in range of a number of more vulnerable places. She leans to the side and ducks inwards, avoiding the punch and bringing one of her own right up towards his midsection.

    There's nothing finesse about it. No judo throw or weight reversal, or even using his momentum against him. At least, insofar as his forward-carrying efforts meeting the brick wall that is a small fist slamming up under his ribs. Her punch curves, trailing that blue-white light from lit runes, but it's a purely physical punch, intending to slam the contender's back against the nearby wall. For someone her size, combat training and vampire physiology have been very, very good to her. "...you are not worthy of the blessing of eternal night..." she utters to her dance partner.

Eric Brooks has posed:
It's interesting, watching someone who doesn't have to breathe get the breath knocked out of them.  Between being hit in the guts and slamming into a concrete wall, Brass Knuckles isn't going to be a danger to anyone anytime soon. 

That leaves Blade and his new companion more or less alone.  There's the occasional groan from one of the bad vamps who hasn't quite been taken down, but otherwise the alley is pretty quiet.  Except, of course, for the beep-beep-beeping of the digital timer attached to the plastic explosives.  40... 39... 38...

Blade pauses his inspection of the device just long enough to kick the groaner, making sure he stays down.  Then he's back to business.  "It's a mess, oui.  I have an idea, though.  This thing only has a blast radius of about fifteen or twenty feet.  Let's just... leave." 

It's an elegantly simple solution.  Pleased, the wounded hunter drops the bomb amidst the fallen-but-unfinished bad guys and girls.

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    The moment knuckles is out of commission, Ariah pulls back and the runes are extinguished. There's some red marks on her hand where she'd been holding the magical projectiles, telltale signof the burns she'd inflicted on herself to ramp up the heat. A double-edged sword, that power. "It is irresponsible, and city services will be very unhappy. Will it not alert the rest of the nest somehow?" the woman asks, ever practical. And speaking of ever practical, she's still gathering up her coat.

    "Oui, we simply leave," she says. Clearly her vocalized misgivings were simply there to mention consequences, but she isn't exactly looking to stick around to warm her bones by an explosion.

Eric Brooks has posed:
"Oh, fine.  Ruin my fun."  Blade's irritation is feigned.  It's true, it's not a particularly good idea to make a loud and destructive spectacle when there are more enemies about.  Still, he grumbles as he squats next to the Semtex and looks it over one more time.  There's only two wires attached to the detonator.  Shrugging, he walks his fingers back and forth across them.  "Eeny.  Meeny.  Miney.  Moses."

YANK.  One of the wires is pulled loose and the timer stalls out with nine seconds still remaining.  This does allow him to reclaim and reuse an expensive piece of gear, so it's not all bad.  He stuffs it back into his pocket and straightens.  "Alright, sun should be up long before these ones start moving. Let's get outta here." 

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    Ariah's shoulders lift before she slides her coat on, a light shrug. "...the collateral damage does not concern me... the dinner bell and harm to civilians does...." she explains herself, her decision. Her lips purse, though, as she looks over the scattered creatures in the alley. "..how long will that be?" she asks, eyes blinking as she looks up towards the man who absolutely towers over her. It's a legitimate, sincere question. She doesn't know what time it is.

    "...if it is not going to be for some time, others may find them while waiting for dawn to break..." those cold eyes drift around the makings of a crime scene.

Eric Brooks has posed:
"How long?"  Blade glances at his watch and does some mental arithmetic.  "About ten minutes.  Maybe less.  You're still alright in the sun, yeah?" 

As they work their way toward the mouth of the alley, he kicks a couple more times.  Just to make sure nobody starts wiggling.  "Thanks for the help.  If I'm remembering right, UV isn't your favorite type of radiation, but you usually don't have to hole up? If you do then you might be stuck somewhere that's less than cosmopolitan.  This neighborhood sucks."

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    "It has gotten later than I thought," Ariah states quietly. "...the winter hours here pass quickly, or perhaps fighting in alleyways makes it so..." She nods, "...you are most welcome... it is not every day I see an old... friend..." she muses, feeling like it's been decades since she's seen the man. Not that they haven't been doing the same business of sorts around.

    "Oui, it is a terrible neighborhood, and non, the sun does not bother me... overmuch. It is just not a good time to be, how you say, picking fights..." she explains softly. "...and you?"

Eric Brooks has posed:
"You know me."  Blade dusts himself off and rubs a thumb along a split cheekbone, then licks at a cut that stretches across the corner of his mouth.  "I like picking fights.  Son.  Of a.  Bitch!" 

On the word 'bitch' he grabs at his side and pulls on something hard.  It's a good-sized pocket knife that hits the ground with a wet, clattering THUNK. 

"That's better.  Oooh, my coat."  As the pair rounds the alley and hits the sidewalk, some of his personal effects are visible.  Most of his knives, all in one pile.  A pistol without its holster.  Another one that looks like it came out on the worse end of an encounter with some concrete.  And, of course, the coat.  Like a strange game of pick-up sticks, Blade starts collecting his personal effects and putting himself back together.  "So, how've you been?  Jesus, how //long// has it been?"

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    "Your coat," Ariah nods, echoing when she spots it after Blade does. "...you would think they would have run off with your toys..." she states. "...are they not tailored specifically for fighting their ilk?" she watches, somewhat amused, as her companion gathers up all of his personal effects from the winter sidewalk. She's patient, has nowhere to go, and is always glad to meet an old friend, even if her icy outward demeanor makes it seem otherwise.

    "Sometime between World War 2 and now. The years are a blur, at times, for an immortal. Decades is all I can pinpoint. It is good to see that your work has not yet been your end," she bows her head politely, grey eyes glancing towards the brightening horizon for a moment. "I have been well. Nazis still taste terrible."

Eric Brooks has posed:
"The more things change, the more they stay the same.  I think it's the local cuisine.  It makes them a little... pungent.  At least they were back in the 40s."  Interesting.  "I don't do that anymore, though.  I've got this fancy serum.  Feels like pumping drain declogger into my veins.  Great for parties.  The suckheads leave it alone, kind of like my toys.  That's just from all the garlic and silver." 

Blade treats the subject as being very droll, but a second look would reveal that no matter how unpleasant he makes it sound, he's pretty happy about this serum of his.  Dramatically, he tugs his coat closer.  "Blech.  Makes me shiver thinking about it.  Rats, too.  I hate rats."      

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    Ariah quirks a brow, "...a sort of.. anti-vampire-ing serum?" she asks, finding the topic curious. "It is good that I am not your average... suck head, as you called them?" There's no sign of her seeming insulted. More amused, perhaps, than anything else. "Because it is fortunate that garlic and silver do not concern me... It is good that we are on the same side, non?" she suggests, as she does not relish the idea of having to fight an old friend.

    "While I would be curious what it could do to me, I do find that I enjoy this life. And again, I am glad to see you still in business, Eric," she looks up again at the taller man. They're a lovely little sea of contrasts, the two of them. "...you said there was a nest, oui? Those were only the, how you say... door guards?" she glances back over her shoulder towards the mouth of the alley, now further away, step by step.

Eric Brooks has posed:
"It's good to see you, Ari.  Hah.  My friends would shit bricks if they knew I was saying that to a vampire."  Blade's laugh takes any potential insult away from his words.  Like she said, it's not as if Ariah is an average vamp.

He looks a lot more comfortable once he's got his various stakes, knives, and firearms tucked back where they belong, as heavy as it all must be.  Once every strap and holster is full again, he spins around to point at an apartment building a few blocks down and across the street.  "See that shitty, boarded-up tenement? That's where the nest is."  Another spin, this time to point about two blocks in the opposite direction at an abandoned meat packing plant.  "That's where I live.  Assholes are in my backyard and something smells off about it.  I decided to watch the place, see what I could learn, ran into the welcoming committee."

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    "Then tell them I am a witch," Ariah says quietly, simply. It's matter-of-fact enough for her to hae said it without any sort of thought or hesitation. She doesn't even seem to be wary at the sight of all of those implements made for gutting other bloodsuckers. Some might even work on her, to an extent. No, she's trusting enough. Old friends and loyalties, after all.

    The follows the gestures, the gaze, nodding slowly. Then she turns slowly towards the other direction, making note. "...the area would go up like a tinderbox if you were to deliver unto them grand arson... it must needs be done in a less... explosive manner..." she lets her eyes wander back over Blade, finding the spot on his person she'd seen that Semtex get stowed before meeting his eyes with her own. "An unpleasant welcome. You would have been fine without me, non?"

Eric Brooks has posed:
"Oh, yeah, I was having a blast before you showed up," Blade replies dryly.  "You always did like it when things were tidy.  Fine, I won't use demolition charges in a confined urban area.  You and Koko, I swear, trying to ruin all my fun."

There's a pause and a shrug from him.  "The bomb was my only backup plan. It's good you came by when you did.  I owe you one, let me know if I can return the favor."

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    Ariah blinks owlishly at Blade, almost as if she doesn't understand the meaning of sarcasm. "...if you destroy everything, all of the vampires will be dead, oui, but then there will be nothing left to protect, either..." she states, as if the thought of burning everything down has maybe crossed her mind on occasion.

    "No favor to return. Such creatures are an abomination..." she states, completely serious. "...the touch of immortality is wasted on such things..." A pause, pursed lips, and she meets his eyes again, "If a favor, then let me know if you are to cause more damage, s'il vous plait. I would wish to help."

Eric Brooks has posed:
"Yeah, yeah. No scorched earth. Oui, I would wish for you to help.  There's a lot of them."  Slowly, Blade is leading them back toward his hideout, but not before the sun crests the horizon and roasts what's left of the 'welcoming committee.' 

There are no attempts to conceal himself from any potential observers, which is barely worthy of another shrug.  "They seem to think I don't know about them.  I figure I'll let them keep thinking that, act like they aren't here, maybe still surprise them when the time comes.  Anyway, you need a ride somewhere?  Or you're welcome to stick around and ride out the day, but my place isn't exactly posh."

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    "Two versus a nest...?" Ariah asks, glancing over her shoulder towards the other building as they walk. She squints a bit in the daylight and pulls her hood up. She isn't bursting into flames or anything, or sparkling. "A ride... non. I will find my way. It is time for a nap. I was already on my way home when I found you there, and your... friends." She reaches into her pocket, fumbling with her phone. It takes her a moment but she gets to the screen with her number on it, holding it up towards her companion.

    "If you need me, call me," she says quietly.

Eric Brooks has posed:
Blade glances at the screen and memorizes the number with the casual eye of a combat veteran.  He nods and pats his pockets until he comes up with one of his cards.  It's got a stylized knife on one side and a phone number on the other.  Cute.  "Likewise.  Keep your teeth sharp, I'll see you soon."