Just Like Clockwork: Epilogue - Caelan, Erin, Ilkin, Rakesh, Rose

Just Like Clockwork: Epilogue - Caelan, Erin, Ilkin, Rakesh, Rose

1:02 AM, Wednesday, November 12th, 2003

Highgate Cemetery. Located in the north of London's inner city, it was the most famous cemetery in all of England. Karl Marx was the most famous burial here, but a long series of businessmen, poets, artists, occultists, visionaries and madmen had been buried here over the years. The poet Christina Rossetti, the parents and brother of Charles Dickens were buried here. More recently, Douglas Adams weas interred in the ground, some two years ago. Authors, scholars, and monsters all alike could be found beneath the dirt here. It was considered the most haunted cemetery in Britain, a well-deserved reputation.

Rose could see the ghosts around her. Old ghosts, potent and powerful, mad beyond reckoning by the years. They watched as Ilkin and Seventeen led you down the torturously circular paths, between trees and shrubbery. Highgate Cemetery was green, even at night. A little haven of nature, inside London's beating heart. Foxes, mice, wildflowers and trees, all allowed to live and grow without interference.

The ghosts watched from between the trees. Some looked human. A little girl in a dress from the turn of the century, her face pale and translucent, a burning mark of crimson emblazoned on her brow. A businessman in a sharp suit, his throat cut and still dripping ephemeral blood, a bloody mark burned into his forehead. Others were less understandable. A whirling cloud of lights and knives and bullets, a scarlet symbol floating in its depths. A three-faced hag, babe, mother, and crone, three faces arranged around a single head, with six arms and lower half dissolving into mist, their triple-faces branded with the red mark. Everywhere, the Guardians of the Veil had tamed these wild spectres and put their mark upon them. It looked like a steel mask with three slits, for eyes and mouth, framed before a gallows noose.

"Here we are." Seventeen said at length, as a large mausoleum appeared out of the trees. This was in the old part of the cemetery, which had been founded back in 1839. Jeffries was carved in the stone above the great brass doors, and then a motto, Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden". This was the task the Guardians set themselves. To hide that which cannot be hidden.

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Inside, the Jeffries Family Tomb, the City on the Hill, the Citadel Building, the walls were a brilliant white marble, and there were plants everywhere. Potted flowers, small trees, everything was white marble and living greenery. It was blindingly bright and more vividly alive than the actual world outside. The first room you entered was empty, save for a dozen doors of gold, or at the least gilded wood. You saw nothing else.

Seventeen, without so much as pausing to scrub the dirt and mud from his shoes, stepped across the blinding mausoleum and towards one of the doors, tracking dirt onto the spotless marble floors. He opened it, and ushered you through. The Citadel Building was larger inside than it was on the outside. A trick of the magic of space and location, that threaded together scores of rooms and tombs scattered across Highgate Cemetery into a single whole, bridging distances.

It was to one of these other rooms that you now passed through. It was an office, though with the same decor of white marble and green plant-life that had been in the entry hall. An ornate desk in some Victorian style occupied most of the back, dark wood made to be nearly black by its brilliant surroundings. A chair of the same style and material, occupied, made up the remainder of the furnishings. It was a spartan assemblange, intimidating in its harsh austerity.

There were three people present. Two of them stood on either side of the chair. They looked like Seventeen, just a bit. Brown-haired and with aristocratic features, a man and a woman stood at attention. Each one wore a black suit and black sunglasses, their hair cut to a short trim, their faces set. Each cradled a large and very modern looking rifle in their hands.

"Hello Kenneth, Barbara. Everyone, meet MIB Barbie and MIB Ken." Seventeen said casually, waving the rest of you in. The two bodyguards gave him matching flat glares, no love lost there. A tad more respectfully, Seventeen half-bowed to the seated figure. "Hello Grandfather."

The seated figure was just a silhouette, a black outline amidst the startling green and white of his office. There was no earthly reason for this sharp division of light and dark, certainly no bright lights behind him. But his entire form was shrouded in nigh-impenetrable darkness. You could make out a handful of details. Tall, aristocratic in bearing, with a trim beard and short hair.

The silhouetted figure put down a pen it had been using and clasped its hands together, waiting.

"Lovely to know this place has not changed," Ilkin said dryly. He walked in, hands in his pockets and devil-may-care grin on his face.

"Civitas," the Acanthus bowed, "A pleasure, as always. I'm pleased to announce that we have a bit of a bastard only you can deal with. Do be careful. He's wanted by one of the Gentry."

Dice Roll: 8d10s8e
d10 Results: 4, 4, 7, 1, 8, 6, 6, 8 (Total Successes = 2)
Int + Occult

Erin had spent all of the long, uncomfortable van ride in complete silence, staring at Wormwood. The stare was broken only when the reached the graveyard, when she mechanically took the operating table to guide it over the twisted terrain. She paused to wipe her feet at the doorway, then paused even longer to take the mud off the table wheels. None of it mattered; Seventeen was tracking dirt and grime all over the Citadel.

Originally Posted by Kaitou Kage View Post
"I'm pleased to announce that we have a bit of a bastard only you can deal with. Do be careful. He's wanted by one of the Gentry."
"A demon," Lamothe said unobtrusively from the back. She stood straight as a pin in the presence of Civitas, and it somehow made her seem smaller. Her eyes were cast down to the floor somewhere in front of his desk.

As it happened, Erin would have much rather have dealt with the less authoritative Seventeen than this man, who was trying very hard not to seem human. But Seventeen was in the room, so she couldn't take him aside. Civitas clearly held seniority here, which meant it would be rude and punishable to address his grandson instead.

"I beg pardon for the interruption, sir," the tired changeling began, her voice sliding into painfully formal speech. "But this man is dying. May I take him to an infirmary? It- it won't be any trouble for you, sir," she added, as if she actually thought Civitas might refuse and needed to be convinced.

"If I may add," Kertenkele clambered on to Ilkin's head, making the Acanthus look a little bit ridiculous. "I believe Wormwood has a ban, which explains why he has yet to attack us. If he is caught fairly, he cannot attempt to break free."

The lizard's tiny head stared at their captive. "I'm sure he's plotting a way to get around his ban, but I have worked with a Guardian Acanthus before. I know you have dozens of tricks to keep something like him under."

The silhouetted figure in the chair listened patiently to all of this. To Seventeen's casual greetings, to the Libertine mage's equally casual greetings, and then to Erin's humble request and to Kertenkele's warning. During all of this, the Hierarch of London did not speak, merely waiting.

"Seventeen, take Charles and Olivia with you and deliver Wormwood to the eleventh room." The silhouette said. The voice that came from the darkness was quite calm, a mellow, middle-aged kind of voice. He had just a hint of an accent, something continental. French, or possibly Italian. "We will see to more permanent restraints shortly. If M. Werewolf would accompany you for the duration, it would be appreciated."

"Of course." Rakesh said, as the two bodyguards moved silently to Seventeen, and together they led the inhuman mafioso from the room. Wormwood had a philosophical expression on his face.

At this point, Civitas stood up from behind his desk, walking towards the gurney on which Cuchulainn lay unmoving. Civitas was not as tall a man as he had seemed at first. Five-six, five-seven? No more, certainly not like the long-shanked Seventeen. But then he had presence and authority enough to fill the room, if need be.

He stopped next to Erin, and even still, he was nothing but a black silhouette. The room was certainly bright, though the light seemed to come from nowhere in particular in this room of white marble and green plantlife. But there was no earthly, possible trick of the light that would have allowed for Civitas to remain this darkened silhouette, not while walking amongst you.

The Hierarch of London pressed his hand against the bloody bandages, and the darkness seemed to spread somewhat from his hand. A moment passed, then two, and Civitas removed his hand. Drops of black blood dripped from it, turning slowly crimson as they fell to the floor. Cuchulainn stirred, and groaned, opening his eyes to blink uncertainly at the surroundings.

It was hard to tell, looking at Civitas as at a shadow-play, but the Hierarch of London seemed to remove a handkerchief from a pocket of some kind and wiped away his hand. He looked at you, or at least faced in your direction. "Your efforts are to be commended. The capture of a demon, and without casualties."

"The bane of the demon is lead, sir," Erin quietly spoke once again. Presumably Seventeen would have mentioned it at some point, having been there when Schafer told them, but it was worth mentioning. She didn't really have much else to say to the Hierarch's statement - it was that, a statement.

At the very least, she seemed as convinced as she could be that the shadow-man was, for the moment, benign. Which was to say, not completely convinced.

She knelt down next to the groggy Cuchulainn, leaving the straps in place for the moment, in case he tried to get up too fast. Having intimate knowledge of the damage done to the Guardian, seeing as she'd had to help try and fix it, Erin felt it wouldn't hurt him to stay lying down for a bit. "Hey," she greeted softly, setting her hands on the edge of the operating table. "How are you feeling? Take it easy, you almost didn't make it."

Unless he'd seen Death itself hovering over him, she doubted Cuchulainn could ever have a full understanding of just how close he'd come.

Caelan almost squeaked when Rakesh left the room, escorted by the black-tie bodyguards. It was one thing to love the ideas and mythology of the occult--it was entirely another to stand in the citadel of its police force. Maybe an older vampire would care less, or more, in a different way.

"We think," the vampire muttered and glanced up to the Hierarch from the floor. She didn't know if it was appropriate to open her mouth about the changeling hunters. Was it a mage's business?

"Um, why would a demon want mage-invented clockwork brains?" she asked meekly.

If they had taken one more minute to get inside the building Rose would have had to block out the ghosts. It was fine and dandy seeing one, seeing two was a little unnerving, but seeing a buncha freaks with glowing marks on her head wasn't just ****ed up and creepy as hell.

"I don't like what as done to them... I don't care what the reason." she pursed her lips after mumbling to GeGe who watched the ghosts wearily, his grin lacking any amusement.

Rose zoned out a bit over the next part, she was busy contemplating the red marks on all the ghosts and GeGe himself seemed on edge filtering it through her. The building was like some freak hospital that the villain Poison Ivy had taken over.
"Say hello to MIB Barbie and MIB Ken."
The skank smirked a bit, if Seventeen hadn't said something she would have and right now she wasn't sure she should be screwing around with people who played with ghosts until she understood the situation more.

The men in black left, escorting Wormwood and the dog man with them, "Bye bye!~" she called out in a sing song voice after them as her and GeGe both blew mock kisses to Wormwood trying to ease the edge out of her and her geist.

There was a bit more of an exchange between Ilkins lizard and Erins muttering that rose didn't pay attention to. The shadow of a man walked over to the table and while he preformed some mumbo jumbo that looked like healing Chu, Rose muttered a "Deal?" to GeGe, having come to a decision.

Chu made a sound and as Erin rested her chin on the table Rose sighed and hopped herself up next to the mage who was regaining conscientiousness "Rise and shine!" she slapped the table with her hand, more to jar Erin and her sickening sweet mothering then to bother the injured guardian.

Weather the next gesture was subconscious or made on purpose even Rose wasnt sure. The rag tag tired woman clutched the brain and wand tighter in her lap and crossed her legs perched on the edge of the table. They were theirs. The Sin-Eater and Geist were staking there claim on the anchors. They wouldn't leave Schafer, as crazy as she was, Rose couldn't stand to be apart of whatever it was that marked ghosts instead of helping them to pass on. The fun part was going to be getting the table somewhere like storage while she tried to figure out what to do next.

Technically it could fit in her apartment but it would take up most of the space. Then again at least one person here owned a flat which was very roomy.... That could always work.

Originally Posted by Caelan
"Um, why would a demon want mage-invented clockwork brains?" she asked meekly.
The shadowed mage did not answer for a time, moving back to his desk and sitting back down in the large, Victorian-era chair. Civitas clasped his hands together before answering.

“While it is unlikely that Wormwoods motives will be known short of a full confession, I expect the lure of creating loyal servitors, servitors incapable of betrayal, appealed to him.” Civitas's smooth voice said. “Demons are untrustworthy creatures, and humans little better. Developed to a sufficiently high degree, his clockwork servants could become both competent and incapable of betrayal. Though it is unlikely that Chernenko was at any far stage of development.”

Originally Posted by Erin
"Hey," she greeted softly, setting her hands on the edge of the operating table. "How are you feeling? Take it easy, you almost didn't make it."
Originally Posted by Rose
Cu made a sound and as Erin rested her chin on the table Rose sighed and hopped herself up next to the mage who was regaining conscientiousness "Rise and shine!" she slapped the table with her hand, more to jar Erin and her sickening sweet mothering then to bother the injured guardian.
Cuchulainn jerked a little at the unexpected movement, but otherwise sank back onto the operating table. “I'll live.” He said in a hoarse voice. A few moments passed. “Is everyone alright?”

“A rather surprising, but quite commendable lack of fatalities. Though I expect you shall be taken off active duty for a few weeks.” The Hierarch of London said drily, his mellow voice still coming from that bleak silhouette. “There is no magic quite as perfectly suited for recuperation as the human body's own.”

“Now then, will there be anything else?” Civitas said, picking up the pen on his desk once more. As it entered the Hierarch's hands, it drained of all color, becoming only a black silhouette as well. “Marduk, if you would do me the final favor of transferring Cuchulainn to the sixth room, you may be dismissed. Seventeen will be in contact with you regarding a suitable recompense in the nearby future.”

Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
Chu made a sound and as Erin rested her chin on the table Rose sighed and hopped herself up next to the mage who was regaining conscientiousness "Rise and shine!" she slapped the table with her hand, more to jar Erin and her sickening sweet mothering then to bother the injured guardian.
Erin put up with a lot from people - being unnecessarily smooched, for instance, or being called a slut immediately afterward, or being yelled at for being polite and trying to help - especially when those people had completely saved the day by making a crazy, unresponsive ghost into a crazy, responsive ghost. To be frank, Erin had endured far worse treatment than Rose. But at a certain point in a exhausting, nerve wracking evening, Erin's childish temper had gone hot.

"Get off of there!" Erin said snappishly, with an aggressive push. Said shove was likely too weak to faze a kitten, but it was slightly surprising; she grabbed one of the table legs, to make sure Rose didn't knock it over out of spite. The little changeling paced around and leaned up to Rose's ear to whisper into it, though she had to stand on her tip-toes to do it. "Stop that, stop it stopitstopit," she hissed, quietly enough so no one else could hear it. "Or I'll tell them to take the anchors away. I'll snitch."

She settled back down with a huge frown on her face, folding her arms grumpily.


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