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  1. #201
    Ellen Greenway

    "The initial infections showed up almost instantly," Ellen told them. "Anyone who had been exposed showed symptoms within a day or so."

    "And you said the initial event was years ago?" Isaac asked with a slight upward quirk of the eyebrow. "It seems unlikely anyone here is infected at all."

    "There's a bit of a wild card," Ellen explained. "There are a number of theories about what happened - I won't bore you with all of them - but one of them is that there was some sort of pocket dimension created where time ran differently. It sounds outlandish, but there is some evidence to support it... like the seeming lack of aging by the human population. It may be that the progress of the disease was somehow halted, but will resume now that we've moved them out of that... well, 'loop,' I guess you might say."

    Isaac nodded. "This is all a bit beyond me, but I get the gist. You think that bringing them here may have kickstarted a disease process that was somehow on hold where they were before."

    "Exactly," Ellen agreed. "We couldn't leave them there to be destroyed with the island, but that was the risk we assumed by moving them. I think it would be safe to say that within a month, any possible danger has passed - no one who was previously infected took anywhere near that long to manifest the results. In the meantime, those of us who are immune can act as go-betweens."

    Nick explained, "There are a number of people here who are immune due to various... other situations. The disease only seems to affect humans, and some of us here are... well, not."
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 09-13-2020 at 07:52 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. #202
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    The large part of this conversation was over this werewolf's head. Other dimensions and time stuff - out of his league. He'd stick to the stuff he knew and let the people more learned deal with whatever they were talking about. When the talk shifted to the topic of non-humans, however, Riff perked up immediately. This was something he knew something about.

    "Fantastic! There are lots of non-humans around here. Do you have anyone with, um, special requirements? If you do, it's okay, just put it on the list. Honestly, no request is too...for lack of a better word...weird. I used to work for the underground in Europe. Seen lots of different folk and got them set up all over the place."

    He hoped he sounded reassuring that everyone on the island would be welcomed, human and otherwise, and hoped that no one would feel too embarrassed about their needs to add it to the shopping list. Sure, most of his contacts were in Europe, but there had to be connections on this side of the ocean too. He hadn't thought about looking for a blood producing facility. Hopefully the local vampires wouldn't mind sharing - that is, if there were any around. Isaac hadn't mentioned a coven, but with everyone underground these days, who really knew?
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  3. #203
    Ellen Greenway

    One again, Ellen and Nick exchanged a surprised look. This wasn't how things typically went. Usually there was a risk assessment - words and labels were weighed - and it didn't always go in their favor. An immediate offer to help was not the expected next step. At all. But it was a welcome one.

    "I don't think we need anything in particular," Ellen said. "Thank you, though. Sincerely. This is much more kindness than we expected. No one here has any special... requirements, really. It's a more matter of origins. Nick, you know about - and you've probably guessed about me as well."

    Isaac nodded. "I would think the two of you... wouldn't normally be on the same side? But it's wonderful that you are."

    Ellen cracked a small smile. "Yes, you're correct. We have other family members and townspeople along the same lines. Succubi. An attempt at a familiar. More... cryptic sorts of creatures. And so on."

    Isaac couldn't help looking a little startled. Riff probably wouldn't be, after his experiences with immortals beyond the 'standard' varieties in his old community. Isaac recovered quickly. "Well, you're all welcome," he said. "Origins are not a concern, as long as you're willing to live in peace. Which brings me to a less pleasant subject. We've recently discovered the existence of two different threats."

    He nodded that Clare should present the Fae concern. She explained, "My mother is the leader of the Fae on Fog Island. She will not cause any difficulties for you. I'll inform her that you're no threat, and she'll be relieved that her court can just leave you alone. Her court has some rogue members, though, and she's having difficulty keeping them leashed. They're already aware of you - that's how we found out - and they spoke about attacking you. My mother forbid it... but I don't know how long they'll listen, or if they'll rebel openly."

    Isaac added, "There's also another matter. There are some... well.... Nazi werewolves. I don't know that they would pose a direct threat to you. But..."

    Ellen said bluntly, "I can assure you, we do not want Nazi werewolves around. There is no possible way that could be a good thing."

    Isaac smiled. "My thoughts exactly. I think it would be best for us to ally for mutual defense."

    "Agreed," Ellen said - still very surprised by the turn this had taken. When the newcomers had arrived, she had been wary. Not only had they been welcomed, but they had potential allies.

  4. #204
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    He didn't quite have the nose for whatever it was that Isaac was referencing with Ellen and Nick being from opposite sides, though he could guess. Admittedly, he didn't know too much about whatever sort of dimension these folks were from. The idea was there, though. The idea that at the end of the day, they were all just people looking for a place in the world and not wanting to see harm come to anybody else. Of course, he was still excited to meet these new types of people - the lycan could barely contain his curiosity. He wondered if there were any golems around like the girls...when he found them, they'd have some other kids who understood that part of their lives. Riff still couldn't grasp a world where not everyone made it out of that mayhem alive. He knew it was nothing wild, unfounded hope, but he was willing to accept the fall that came later if that hope proved false.

    Right now, there were some people whose future he could help secure. And there were more than a few things attempting foil that plan. That the communities could come together as allies in spite of all that put a beat of pride in the man's chest. New neighbours making their link to their Pack official was definitely a good start to a long friendship.

    "Hope you don't let a bit of civil unrest and immortal Nazis scare you off. Pretty much everyone else around here is okay!" His tone was light, and the same ear-to-ear grin plastered his face - until a second later when it fell into what could resemble a serious mien on the perky lycan's face. "Like, really. Good folk." His duty to make sure that his community was viewed in only the best of lights, the grin reappeared even as he looked over at Isaac. "Speaking of those Nazi werewolves...we should probably get to that, eh? Not to be making acquaintance and dashing - hope you understand."

    The last bit was offered to Ellen and Nick in the most earnest of apologies. Truth be told, Riff wanted to meet everyone on the island...but first, he had to make sure that those people would have people to meet when they got out of quarantine.

  5. #205
    "It was wonderful to meet you," Ellen said. "I mean that. We weren't... quite sure what reception we would get here. It's nice to be among friends. Please tell your wife thank you for the pie. And thank you all for coming, and being so hospitable in welcoming us."

    "Happy to do so," Isaac replied. "I think this friendship will benefit all of us. We'll keep you posted on any developments."

    The boat trip back to Hollywell was much less tense than the trip out had been. They knew what they were dealing with on the island now - and the reality was much better than it could have been. At least one potential crisis had turned out not to be one after all.

  6. #206
    James O'Brien

    Spending time around Gilda - really spending time with her, not just watching from afar - gave James a very different picture of the woman than the one he had put together in all his years of obsessing about Nazi hunting.

    When he smelled an unfamiliar Lycan lurking around the cottage, his initial reflexive reaction was to revert back to blame. This must be Kraus! James had been right after all! Maybe not about the scientist, but he was right about the affair...

    But then he caught himself. He remembered how Gilda had kissed Isaac goodbye before he left for the boat trip to the island. The way she fixed his collar, and then put a pie in his hands to take to welcome the new 'neighbors.' The way she had made an effort to include Katie and Alice in her plans for the day, playing board games with them and teaching them to bake cookies - not the actions of someone who was trying to slip off for an illicit tryst. Hirsch and Sara were around all day too, and Gilda seemed pleased by their presence. James was surprised by how genuine she seemed. Nothing sneaky or conniving at all - and he had looked hard. Out of habit.

    So the scent of this new Lycan... perhaps Gilda wasn't responsible. Perhaps it was a bad sign...

  7. #207
    Gilda Fishblatt and James O'Brien

    If James had been used to living in a Pack, he would have alerted Hirsch and Sara to the scent of the unfamiliar Lycans. The couple had been much older as humans than James when they were turned, so their senses of smell were less acute than his - they didn't perceive the unexpected scent readily as he did. He might even have alerted Gilda.

    But he said nothing. Instead, he got up wordlessly to investigate.

    Gilda was mildly surprised by his unexpected departure... but not more than mildly. James had poor social skills. His conversation was strange and stilted, and his actions tended to be abrupt. She assumed he had remembered a task he needed to complete, or had simply had his fill of socializing. She didn't wonder too much about why he had left the cottage without saying goodbye.

    She didn't realize anything was amiss until she stepped onto the summer porch behind the house to clip some fresh herbs from her outdoor planter. Suddenly she sensed the presence of several immortals. One was presumably James - but that left three unaccounted for. For a moment she allowed herself to hope they were Pack members - but she knew better. Friendly visitors would come to the door, not circle her from the yard. Nor would she feel this sense of foreboding.

    Three Lycans approached Gilda from different directions. All three were male, tall, muscular, blond and blue-eyed with close-cropped hair. Gilda found it rather difficult to tell them apart, similar as their physical types were.

    One of the three sniffed the air. "He's not here!" the Lycan announced with irritation.

    Isaac! Gilda thought with panic. They're looking for Isaac!

    "But here's a pretty thing," he went on, eyeing Gilda up and down. "And more in the house?" Another sniff. "Couple of Lycans. Couple of Fae..."

    Gilda realized who these people were, and what they wanted. If they got in the house, no one would be safe. Not her in-laws - the only true parents she had ever known. Not her foster daughters. These Lycans would wipe out the people she loved without a thought. If they got in the house. She couldn't let them get in the house.

    She smiled at the Lycan who had spoken. A Siren smile. "No one in the house is important," she said in low voice. She moved closer to him, and ran her finger down his cheek. She raised her voice slightly so the other two would hear. "No one in the house is important," she repeated.

    "No one in the house is important," the Lycan echoed.

    "You should just leave..." Gilda said, allowing her voice to flow like ocean waves among the men, lapping against their consciousnesses too softly for them to perceive what was happening.

    "We should just leave..."

    Gilda almost breathed a sigh of relief. But then the Lycan started to fight her control.

    "Wait! We didn't come here to leave empty-handed." He looked Gilda up and down again. "You're a pretty thing. I wouldn't mind taking you instead. You shouldn't be with that..." A slur was uttered, and Gilda had to fight the cringe she felt inside. The Lycan continued, "You should be with someone like me instead. What do you say?"

    Gilda weighed her options. There was only one way to protect the people inside. Even if the Lycans left for now, she wouldn't be able to maintain her control with them out of earshot, and she might not be able to get it back when they inevitably returned.

    "I'm interested," she purred. "Let's get out of here."

    He kissed her, and she let him. She let his lips forcibly press against hers, and his hands run up and down her back.

    As she turned to leave, she saw James standing at the edge of the lawn. "I knew it!" James exclaimed... with more disappointment than triumph. "I was right about you all along. Isaac deserves so much better than you."

    "I don't care what either of you think," Gilda told James coldly.

    James stared at her. Gilda had changed completely. She was beautiful still - but the beauty was that of a marble angel, not the warm, lively woman whose kitchen he had eaten in. She seemed distant, her eyes lifeless. And James wondered if he had just made a terrible mistake.

    "Let's go," Gilda said. She disappeared, arm-in-arm with the Lycan stranger, leaving James gaping in her wake.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 09-26-2020 at 06:49 PM.

  8. #208
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    He was flying pretty high despite the threats hanging overhead. The great bunch of people they'd just met - and they were allies now too. What an epic day. Now if only they could catch up with the Nazi Lycans before the information from Iphegenia's scryers got cold. Of course, how they were going to take on a crazy pack and win...well, that was something that was starting to sink in. On the ride back, he confided in Isaac.

    "What kind of uh, armament do you got? Do you have silver rounds or are we going to be doing this old school? That'd be fine, just sayin', it just makes it...harder."

    Maybe it wasn't something that they should be discussing right now, but Riff couldn't help but want to plan ahead. Besides, they didn't have a lot of time to come up with something. Not if they wanted to hit them before the moon came up. He figured that if any of the other pack were pups, at least they'd have an advantage there. The Lycan chewed on his nails, uncommonly quiet in the back of the car.

    He was still deep in thought when they came up on the house. It didn't take his nose long to pick up on lingering scents in the yard. His head came up and his eyes blackened, prepared for an attack...but no, the scents were too faint. The house. He ran for the front door, hoping against hope that everybody was safe. Maybe they were just watching the place. Maybe they'd come up and left when they saw the car...

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