Prologue: Tauroctony, Scene II (Lauren)

   
"Sure thing Miss Sanders." Scott grinned, his smile threatening to split his face wide open. He grabbed the heavy flashlight-club from the desk and got up, closing the office door behind him. "I fix most of the bands equipment, I'll get the van going again in a jiff."

Scott lead the way downstairs and outside without so much as a glance as to where he was going. Whatever else, he knew the building like the back of his hand. Instead, most of his attention was directed at Lauren, and most of that was at chest-height. Along the way, Lauren learned that his name was Scott McLelland, that he was in a rock band that played at a club called Orion, which was really close by. There was the subtle (relatively) insinuation that Scott could get tickets to the club for free.

The van was still where Lauren had left it when the two arrived back outside. Oleander, however, was nowhere to be seen. There was just a white van at the end of a driveway. Scott turned his flashlight onto the machine. "That one's yours?"

Lauren was doing an excellent job of smiling and nodding, and dropping "oooh's" and "really's" in the right places.

When they arrived outside, she was dismayed that Oleander seemed to have vanished. She had been counting on his help, since he looked like the type that had experience doling out beatings. But maybe he was hiding. In any case, there was nothing to do but charge onward.

"Yeah... it's awful, I know. Mine broke down though, so I'm stuck with this piece of junk for a while."

"Friend does pizza delivery?" Scott said, glancing at the logo on the side of the white van. He grinned, that super-broad smile of his. "It's okay, I'll get this thing moving, just give me a minute."

Scott, however, did not have a minute. Out of the mist, Oleander moved, and he moved without a single sound. It was downright uncanny, as there was not even the barest whisper of noise as he glided through the night, coming up behind the hapless security guard. He smirked at Lauren, and then he brought both fists down on the back of Scott's skull.

There was a sickening crunch, as something broke back there. Scott crumpled, falling into a boneless heap on the ground. Even as he fell, there was no sound, Lauren's supernatural hearing just barely picking up the sound of the man's collapse.

"We should drag him out of sight." Oleander said, nudging Scott with his foot. There was a small trickle of blood coming from the back of the young man's head. He was breathing at the moment, but in absence of medical attention, this state of affairs would not continue for very long. "Good work, by the way."

Lauren eyed Oleander suspiciously as he re-appeared from nowhere. That was weird. It wasn't too often that she was the one being snuck up on, and not the one doing the sneaking. And she definitely preferred the latter. At least Scott was out of the way, now.

Whoa, was that a compliment? ...Maybe this guy wasn't so bad after all.

She smiled slightly and nodded at Oleander, before looking back at Scott. He was going to die soon, but whatever, not her problem. "D'you need help with that? If not, I'll go work on the cameras."

"I can handle it." Oleander said, regarding the downed security guard for a moment. Slowly, Lauren realized just what Oleander was doing. He was waiting for Scott to stop breathing.

"The bull is your problem, though." Oleander said, the smirk back on his lips. By his feet, Scott's breath rattled one final time, and then he was still. The blond hulk toed the dead guard once again, then stooped to wrap a rag around the back of his head. It wouldn't do to get blood evidence all over, now would it?

There was a large door that led down to the basement, used for deliveries. Supposedly there was a ramp there as well. Given that Scott had keys, which Oleander was presently tossing at Lauren, getting the bull down into the basement shouldn't be a problem. Assuming, that is, the bull cooperated.

Lauren frowned at Oleander as she caught the keys. Weird. But so was dragging a bull into the basement, so whatever.

She went to inspect the entrance to the basement. It looked pretty manageable. A few cameras, which
Dice Roll: 6d10s8e
d10 Results: 3, 2, 10, 1, 2, 4, 2 (Total Successes = 1)
Lauren set to disabling. With that done, she unlocked the door and threw it open.

Now for the bull. How do people make bulls move, anyway? Cattle prods? Red sheets? She didn't have either. It couldn't be that hard. It was just a dumb animal... that was pretty big...

Lauren opened the back of the pizza van and crossed her arms. "Alright, if you cooperate, I'll kill you quickly."

Well, threats had no effect.
Dice Roll: 1d10s8e
d10 Results: 2 (Total Successes = 0)
Perhaps tugging at him and cooing like she saw people do with their pets would work better.

The white bull regarded Lauren passively, shaking his mighty head just once. Given that the bull outweighed Lauren by about eight to one easily, force was going to be about as effective as threats at making it move. Instead, the big bull just stood placidly in the van, looking at Lauren with those big, moist eyes.

Oleander came back now, the late, unlamented Scott deposited in some dumpster or alleyway. He leaned up against the side of the van, crossed his arms, and made absolutely no move to come help Lauren.

Oleander got absolutely no acknowledgement for his moral support, and Lauren briefly contemplated stabbing something into those big, moist eyes. That would maybe kill him, though, so... bad idea.

Deciding to take a less violent route, Lauren broke off a leafy branch from a bush nearby and waved it at the bull. And she started cooing at it again. This totally had to work. It always did in the movies.

"
Dice Roll: 4d10s8e
d10 Results: 9, 7, 9, 5 (Total Successes = 2)
C'mon... you're hungry, aren't you? C'mere.... I'm not gonna hurt you... yet...."

The bull regarded Lauren calmly, stepping forward out of the van to take a bite of the leafy bush. The van shuddered a bit under the bull's weight, and then Lauren was slowly leading the white bull down the ramp, out onto the street. One could only hope that no one was looking outside at the moment, or if they were, they couldn't see anything in the fog.

"Nice." Oleander said, clapping his hands together soundlessly. He closed the van's door after the bull, then headed towards the office building alongside Lauren.

***************************************************************************

With several more bushes being denuded of branches, and a great deal of cajoling, cooing, and making soft noises, Lauren was able to get the white bull into the office building. Oleander jogged ahead, opening doors with the late Scott's keys, and checking one of Moon's print-outs to find the Mithraeum.

The Mithraeum itself was still largely intact, for all that the top of the temple had been shifted some thirty-five years ago. For millennia, it had lain hidden underneath London, just one more part of that terrifying amalgam of chambers and tombs known as the London Below. This particular bit had been discovered by the Kine, but not all of its secrets had been revealed.

The narthex was small, and hidden behind a steel office door, with only a single window. It seemed as though the mortals sometimes let people down here, for tours or archeological purposes, Lauren could only imagine. It was a small chamber, and it looked bare and lost. All the old sculptures had been taken away, leaving only a second floor below, similarly bare, and a stairway to lead down to it. There was still an altar, however, of sorts, though given the size of the bull it was more of a raised platform. And the blood of the bull-slaying would flow downwards, into a hole in the floor, to the level below.

According to one of Vincent Moon's pamphlets, ("Mithras, the Cosmic Bull, and You!"), the Ancient Romans had stood beneath that hole, and the soldiers and legionnaires were bathed in the blood of the bull as it died. In doing so, they reaffirmed their vows to Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun. But down here at night, with the bloody sacrifice waiting to happen, it was easy to believe that this ritual had something to do with the Kindred.

Oleander wasn't smiling as he entered the chamber next to the bull, closing the door behind them. He rubbed his hand along one of the walls, revealing a stone tile emblazoned with a lion-headed man entwined by serpents. Ahriman.

"This must be the place." Oleander said, glancing at Lauren and then at the bull. "Do you want me to do it?"

Lauren lead the bull onto the platform and threw the rest of the branches on the ground. "There!" She patted him awkwardly on the head.

Finally free from playing bull babysitter, she took a look around. The chamber was certainly old and, at this time of night, foreboding. A good place for sacrifices, if she ever saw one. And look, a convenient drain!

Lauren was snapped out of her admiration for sacrificial chamber design at Oleander's question. "Yeah... um... hang on. I forgot the... sword." She rushed out of the basement and back to the van, retrieved the sword, and ran back.

"All right..." Lauren unwrapped the sword and held it up. The bull needed to be stabbed in the neck, and while the sword looked like it could cause some damage, it might cause the wrong sort of damage if wielded by someone who wasn't sure how to grip it. Besides... after staring at that stupid bull for the whole trip inside, she felt... kind of sympathetic. Those big eyes grew on you. All he wanted was food, and they were going to stab him. She noticed Oleander staring at her (probably judging her too, the bastard) and frowned. She was going to have to do this properly.

"I'll do it. But you could show me how to hold this thing and help me get on top of it." Lauren jerked her head toward the bull.




 

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