Tanith enters from the street outside.
Tanith's hair is vividly blue, shaggy and cut short; it accentuates her fair ivory skin and slanting eyes of brilliant violet, the pupils slitted catwise. Apparently in her mid-teens, she's taller than many men but boyishly skinny, her motions transforming angles to curves, bones to clean grace. She wears a sleeveless shirt of silky red velvet, cut somewhat like a vest and with pearl buttons in front. It's tucked into narrow black jeans, worn over kung fu slippers. A bracelet like lapis lazuli, melted and swirled with rubies, twines around one wrist; a ring of gold braid rests next to her silver wedding ring, the seal a cream sea-bird on crimson.
Tanith grins as she wanders in. "Hey, Shannon."
Thugs still lounge around the room, at various points.
Shannon sits down at the oblong table.
She is about medium height and medium build, with hair that seems black, but is revealed to be a dark brown upon closer inspection. Her eyes are the most striking feature about her. Their colour is normal enough, a sort of cross between green and hazel.
She's wearing a rather comfortable looking green top and knee-length black skirt. She brings with her a longish bag, perhaps a metre in length, but otherwise somewhat shapeless.
Tanith sits down at the oblong table.
Tanith bounces down opposite Shannon.
Eyes rest on the two women, from various corners of the room. A waiter drifts over, to take an order.
Tanith smiles to the waiter, and says, "Can we have a pot of coffee, and some cream and sugar on the side if you have that? Or milk is good as long as it's from a cow."
Shannon says "What if the cream isn't?"
Tanith adds, with some chagrin, "The cream, too."
Tanith giggles at Shannon.
The waiter grunts. When he returns, it is with a large pot of steaming black sludge, two cups, a jug of milk and a bowl of raw brown sugar.
Tanith gives coins to the waiter until he looks happy.
The waiter grunts again, and goes away looking far too happy.
Shannon pours coffee and adds condiments.
Tanith adds lots of the sugar to hers, and stirs it vigorously.
Tanith blows gently on her coffee when not talking to Shannon.
One of the men rises, putting down his bowl of tea, and drifts over to the two women, tread soft.
The man bows at the waist, folding his hands. "Pearls of the panther, I ask your pardon for speaking directly to you, but your master is not here for proper intercession."
Tanith glances up at the man, curiously, then breaks off what she
was saying to Shannon to look at him fully.
Tanith says, politely, "I'm sorry; you must be mistaking us for people with masters."
Shannon says something to Tanith, meaningfully.
Tanith nods to Shannon, beginning to look a little annoyed.
Shannon suggests helpfully, "Maybe you should wait till he gets here."
The man blinks. "No, no, sapphire of exquisite beauty with eyes like starlight. Surely I may be excused this once."
Tanith says "Okay, you're excused."
The man glances between Shannon and Tanith. "It was merely desired that it be known if you were among the Faithful."
Tanith looks expectantly at him.
Tanith brushes her hair away from her eyes. "Well, if being faithful means we'd have to have masters, I think your answer is no, we're not. However, it's a good character trait, and I think we both at least try to be faithful in everyday life."
The man bows again. "Sweetness of the spring night, are you too among that elect company who shall sit at the right hand of the Unicorn?"
Shannon says seriously, "I can't answer that question."
Tanith says, to Shannon, "Cougar with lots of really sharp claws, do you know what he's talking about?"
A couple of other men begin to rise, looking dark, and drift towards the table.
Shannon says "Boss told me not to talk to strange men, just in case they weren't really decent, but pretending to be."
Tanith says, more moderately, "Look, if we're annoying you we can dash after we've had our coffee."
The man looks wounded. "We do not descend to harming the pearls of other men. We respect a man's right to beat his own concubines."
Tanith sets down her coffee, which she still hasn't managed to do much more than taste, and sighs. "However, I'd like to point out that you came over here. Do you descend to bugging random women for no apparent reason?"
One man stares at Tanith's eyes, and mutters to a companion. They both make an odd, twisting sign.
Tanith mutters to Shannon, "... know,... hate bigots."
Shannon keeps drinking her coffee, anyway, so she'll have one nice cup before more men come over and say silly things.
Steel begins to enter the man's tone. "Are you for the Unicorn, or do you support that flame-haired whore of Chaos?"
Tanith says, mildly, "I don't make a practice of supporting whores. I
wouldn't get much use out of them, for one thing."
Tanith picks up her coffee and sips.
Tanith says something to Shannon, quietly.
The man bows, once again. "If you will not deny that you support that jade, that strumpet, that concubine of the Lords of Darkness, that harlot of the Serpent - why, then we shall know what to think."
Shannon pauses, thinks hard, then comprehension dawns on her face.
Tanith comments, definitely annoyed, "For someone who bows all the time, you really do have a dirty mouth. Do you know her name, or do you just enjoy slandering people?"
A couple more men begin to drift over. One spits. "That worm of infamy who styles herself rightful Queen of this land."
Tanith blinks, slowly. "Coral? As in Luke and?"
Tanith says "I don't think I've even met her."
Shannon says "Certainly don't serve her."
Tanith looks disgusted. "Jeez. I thought you were talking about Cecilia."
One man mutters to another, "Must we endure the feeble lies and attempted evasions of this fragile pearl of the sea, whose very eyes betray her dubious nature and loyalties?"
Tanith starts to say something to Shannon, and then her eyes go vague.
Shannon looks disappointed, "I thought they were talking about Cecilia too."
The leading man stands upright. "Do you declare the Unicorn in your lives, or are you mere trespassers here, pearls of price? Are you.. of the Abyss and even of the Courts of Chaos?"
Shannon reaches down and fiddles with her shoelace. And her bag.
Shannon says stoutly, "My Daddy's a big mean Amberite, and he'll beat the crap out of you if you imply I have a price, bozo."
The men glance at each other, rapidly. One whispers, "The Blood. The Rare and Precious Blood."
Tanith smiles politely, eyes still rather abstracted, and holds out her hand.
Constantine appears in a rainbow sparkle, grasping Tanith's hand.
His eyes are dark, and hooded; he moves with a simple grace, utterly certain, purely precise. His shirt is as purple as a bruise, rich silk, hanging loose and concealing; his breeches are a muted black, quiet contrast. Across his back hangs a crystalline blade, scabbarded, and two ebony shortsticks ride at his belt; he wears a silver chain about his neck, and a woven gold ring on his left hand.
Shannon has unzipped her bag, and has her hand on the hilt of her rapier. All this under the table, too.
The men surrounding the table glance at each other. One takes a step back.
Constantine says, alarmingly, "Fear death."
Other men begin moving forward. The leader, a touch reluctantly, bows. "Noble panther of the desert, we must request the presence of your younger pearl."
Shannon mutters to Tanith, "... they're miffed... you."
Constantine looks oddly pleased. "Flying dragon, do you wish to be entertained by these town-dwelling ruffians? I had promised you certain recreations."
Shannon looks at the biceps of the thugs, then at the biceps of Constantine and then declares of the thugs, "Eew."
Constantine explains to the thugs, "She who is among the jewels of my existence declines your ingracious invitation."
The lead thug looks highly offended. "We would not wish to attempt the sanctity of this maiden's jade rose. We merely wish a minor donation of blood, as she has declared that she is of the Sacred and Supreme Blood."
Shannon says "No, I didn't."
Shannon says "I'm adopted."
Shannon says "And Dad has the flu. He can't donate blood."
Constantine opens his mouth, then shuts it.
The man's eyes shutter. "Ah." There is a noticeable shift among the men behind him: to a more battle-ready position, perhaps. "Still, even the unrighteous may be cleansed by the wholesome letting of blood to the honour of the Unicorn."
Tanith mutters to herself, "Jade rose?"
Constantine looks even more pleased. "I regret that you perhaps had not heard my earlier urgings?"
Shannon says to Tanith, "He means your...you know, that."
Tanith says "Ohh."
Constantine adds, aside, "The well from which the blessed might draw infinite pleasures, although Shannon is perhaps too young to be blessing just yet."
The man's hands fall to his sides. "May we request that the noble pride of night, as he is only accompanied by his two pearls, submit and receive the blessing of the Unicorn?"
Tanith turns in her chair halfway, to casually prop a foot on the seat of the chair next to her. She takes another sip of coffee.
Shannon says "Hey!"
Tanith sputters in her coffee, laughing.
Tanith says "Ow, hey. Don't do that, carrodva."
Constantine points out, back to the man, with the air of one who is repeating himself, "Fear death!"
The man looks profoundly offended. "You think that I, a servant of the Cult of the Ubiquitous Unicorn, would tremble before one who is clearly stained with the filth of that abhorred cesspit known as the Court of Chaos?"
Tanith says "Jeez."
Constantine says, more courteous, "Not in the least. I would expect that the flying dragon would be more than enough to lead you to the error of your ways, without the able assistance of my beloved wife and myself."
Others of the thugs also look deeply hurt. One lifts his chin.
Shannon looks enthused. "Really? Can I?" she asks.
The leading man bows one last time. "I entreat you, for the sake of your immortal soul, repent and cast aside the error of your ways. Forswear your concubines and devote yourself to chastity and good works, and cast down the whore who sits above."
Tanith points out, "Not that I wouldn't help. Unless it embarasses you, impressively scary cool jaguar who lurks in the night."
Constantine flicks his hand, in an altogether flashy manner that leads to a crystalline throwing blade appearing. "Flying dragon, precious pearl, I invite you to wreak your perilous wills upon those who even now impugn your, um, virtues."
Tanith says "You know, I'm getting really sick of being called a concubine."
Constantine adds, thoughtful, to himself, "Jade gate..."
The men at the front bow, together: this permits a number of the ones at the back to cast their tea-bowls at Constantine. A couple of others seem to be fumbling with thick pouches of some fabric, as the bowing ones lunge forward to grab the women.
Tanith rather casually slings the chair her foot was on, hooking it by the chair-back, in the direction of one of the other men, as she throws her mug, contents-first, into the face of the leader.
Constantine flicks his blade through the shower of tea, in the general direction of the bowing men, and foolishly (but not without bravado) accepts the inevitable impact of bowl upon body.
Shannon pulls her blade fully out of the bag, as she's been preparing to, and flicks the side of the rapier hard against the nearest man's face.
Tanith's chair takes the leading man in the face, and he goes down with the crack of breaking teeth: another chokes at the impact of the coffee. He manages to stagger forward, grasping at Tanith.
Another man's face is cut open by Shannon's blade, and yet another goes down before Constantine's blade, as Constantine himself is bathed in flying tea. The men press forward.
Constantine backpedals up onto the table, shaking his head to clear his sight, crouching. "The pitiless pain of noonday sun fall upon you!"
Tanith's motion causes her own chair to tip backwards towards the lunging man; she gets one foot under her as the chair falls and uses the impetus of the fall in her kick with the other foot.
Shannon picks up the coffee pot with her other hand, and carefully throws it at the men fiddling with the pouches, in order to introduce them to the pitiless pain of the hot java.
The leading thug yells, "May you rot in the everlasting darkness of the belly of the foul, vile, and flatulent Serpent!" as he manages to land directly in the path of Tanith's kick.
Shannon's move with the coffee is also impressively accurate, causing one man to drop his pouch: the group disappears in a fog of sweet-smelling white smoke, out of which two stagger, choking, trying to open their own pouches.
Shannon clenches her fist and says, "Did you call her flatulent? Ooh, now you've made me mad." She has obviously misheard the man. Perhaps because the last words were muffled by the kick.
Constantine leaps! Flipping forward, over the edge of the table, somersaulting around to grab the edge of the table and lift it up and over and SLAM down as he completes his arc.
One man chooses to body-tackle Constantine, head-first, as Constantine raises the table, impacting directly abdomenwards, but fortunately not blade-first.
Tanith's eyes are bright and intent, and she backplants her kicking foot on the chair to snap the chair back upright, carrying her with it.
Constantine drops the table on whoever's near, not aiming, just getting rid of the thing.
The table lands on a couple of spare thugs, who abandon their sneak attack and concentrate on trying to get out from underneath.
Shannon scoots around to the side, aiming her blade to smack one of the two guys with the pouches upside the head while his hands are busy.
The men near Tanith forget about style, and three of them decide to attempt the sheer body-weight maneuver, throwing themselves at her. One manages to mutter an apology. Something about flawless pearls and ineffable butterflies.
Shannon aims brutal smacks at the back of men's heads, saying, "But am I a butterfly, or a Great Roaring Temperamental Phoenix dreaming it's a butterfly?"
Tanith hurls herself off the chair, tumbling it under the feet of one of the men, and kicks out with both feet at the other two, about face-level.
Constantine unleashes a fury of punches, not unadulterated with the occasional snap kick to the groin, but completely pure of apology. His face bears the clean light of pleasure, as he works his way into the crowd.
As men crumple beneath Constantine's attacks, or with considerably more surprise beneath Tanith and Shannon's, a couple manage to open their pouches and cast them to the ground. The room begins to fill with the white dust that spills out.
White dust begins to swirl through the room, and some of those thugs still standing drag their headcloths over their mouths: the scent is sweet, vaguely dreamy, somnolent, and things begin to move gently in the shadows just beyond perception.
Tanith alights butterfly-like on one of the men's chests, spies the dust, and takes a deep breath before it reaches her.
Constantine recommends, sideways, "Hold your breath, raging butterfly!" Which does not completely distract him from a spinning leaping side kick.
Shannon, who has just bashed one of the men fiddling with the pouches over the head, holds her breath while pretending to totter in a drunken sword kata.
Tanith darts at any handy nearby men and gives them solar plexus jabs to think about.
Strangely enough, the number of active nearby men is reducing. People seem to prefer attacking Constantine to attacking Tanith. One man is heard to mutter that he did not take this job in order to subdue fragrant pearls.
The man that Shannon is assaulting goes down, coshed. Constantine's side kick connects, and leaves the man a gasping mass of agony on the floor, which is now becoming treacherous with all the blood and dust and bodies.
Constantine flicks a feint of a kick at a nearby thug, which turns into a useful way to convey a toppled chair to his hands, which eagerly make use of the chair to finish the combination and, with all due luck, leave the thug unconscious.
The thug goes down, with a last defiant glance.
Tanith picks that man out in particular, stalking him from tabletops, and gets a moderately clear breath before she pounces with an elegant three-kick combination.
Shannon does a graceful drunken stagger, right back into a thug, who she smacks in the face with the flat of her blade, which was apparently being used to help her balance.
Thugs are beginning to back off, moving towards the doorway. One looses another pouch of the powder, which clouds but does not hide the elegant and effective maneouvers of Tanith and Shannon.
Tanith doesn't finish up the combination quite as elegantly as she started, and she retreats to a tabletop by the doorway.
Constantine calls over to Shannon, "We might be done," and falls back to join Tanith. On the way, he flings the chair towards the thugs in the doorway.
One thug calls out hopefully, "Surrender, panther with the pearls who strongly resemble silver leopards, and we will permit you to leave in peace!"
The thugs in the doorway scatter, somewhat, the chair going out into the street and taking a late-departing thug with it, face-first.
Shannon climbs up onto a tabletop, to better view the chair flying towards the doorway.
Tanith says "Timing!"
Kieran appears in a rainbow sparkle, grasping Tanith's hand.
A man in his mid-20s stands before you; he has the high, wide cheek-bones and coppery complexion of the Native American with the dark brown hair and bright green eyes of the European. He stands just under six feet tall and has an athletic, medium build. His thick hair is kept short along the sides and off the collar. He's wearing a tan flannel shirt buttoned up the front and tucked into a pair of 501 blues. Over the shirt is worn a bulky, brown leather vest with several pockets both inside and out. A pair of scruffy hiking boots adorn his feet. At his left side is sheathed a long, thin dagger while a matte-black tomahawk hangs along his right. His right arm, up till just a few inches past his wrist, is covered by some malleable, black material.
Tanith swoops out after a thug.
Clouds of white dust drift through the room, sweet and narcotic, blowing among conscious and unconscious thugs.
Kieran comes in low and wary, he glances about quick, assessing.
Constantine says "Oh, <cough>, good. I have an appointment, Serpent take all religious fanatics."
Tanith says "Leave in peace my grandmother's ass."
One thug pales in fury - or as much as can be seen under the wrappings. "You dare so insult your honourable ancestor!"
Kieran zips up his vest, his hands sweep to his sides and reappear holding a knife and axe.
Shannon looks down at the thug she missed below her. She drops a mug on his head, while he's looking at Tanith.
Constantine finds another table, for height, and leaps for the staircase; from the commanding position, he descends upon the thugs like a black avenging demon of doom and destruction.
There is a sudden policy decision taken by the thugs: as fast as they may, they stage a tactical withdrawal, a couple casting down another pouch or two of the white drifting powder.
Constantine says, exuberant, "Fear death!"
Tanith gets a lungful of dust but decides to go after the thug who last yelled at her.
Shannon covers her mouth, so she won't inhale half the room from laughing at Constantine's comment.
Tanith says, angrily, "My grandmother's ass is smarter than your brains."
Kieran laughs low and protects Tanith's blind side as she advances.
Constantine bangs stray heads together, being a brutal and ruthless spawn of the Serpent.
The thug mutters, on his way out of the door, "And I am certain she was a far more proper and elegant pearl than you, oh nacre-spread leopard who dines upon her innocent prey."
More thugs become unconscious, whether from mugs or other concussion-inducers.
Tanith advances very rapidly indeed, and her form is relatively unmarred though she's breathing a fair amount of dust. She goes for a hold on his shoulder and a nice sharp swing into the doorframe.
The thug encounters the doorframe: the doorframe is harder: the thug lies still.
Shannon stays more or less above the dust line, looking for non-Chaosian movement.
Kieran's dagger flashes out upon occasion, slicing for eyes; axe thumps an occasional head.
Tanith looks disappointed, rebuttal dying on her lips, and chases the escaping thugs out the door.
Constantine says "Take care of them, will you, Kieran? Not that they need it. I'm late."
Tanith vanishes out the door.
A number of thugs lie asleep on the floor, or dead, as others flee down the road.
Kieran nods to 'Tine, "I know who, 'Tine."
Constantine moves forward and vanishes in a rainbow sparkle.
Shannon waves, saying, "Bye, Lord Constantine," before she follows Tanith out.
Kieran looks to Shannon, "Hey cuz."
Thugs flee down the narrow, dark, twisty lane outside, their paleclothing perceptible in the shadows.
Shannon beams at Kieran, then decides it's best to follow Tanith, albeit a bit later.
Tanith chases after them with fleet energy, though her breathing is notably more labored than usual.
Around a corner, a few twists ahead, the thugs pause: one looks back, then signals the others to the sides, waiting for the pursuing Tanith.
Kieran runs out screaming, "Yahhhhh!" at the thugs.
Shannon is ahead of Kieran, yelling, "Tanith, wait up!"
Tanith barrels through, though she will take to heights if she's actually lost sight of the thugs. Window ledges, crates, awnings, anything will do.
As Tanith comes around the corner, on a window ledge, she encounters a thug who was waiting for her to come through at street level. Others are paused below.
The thug blinks. He mutters, "For the Unicorn's sake!" and launches himself at her, a straight grab.
Kieran stops a moment and concentrates lightly, silver flashes through his eyes.
Tanith tries to leap up and over the man as he lunges at her, heedless of her trajectory.
Shannon spots Melee up ahead, and goes to meet it, a new weapon in her free hand. A big, squishy, overripe gourd-type fruit.
More and more silver begins flashing through Kieran's eyes as a formless mass begins writhing in front of him.
The thug misses Tanith, landing in a pile of rotting laundry: but Tanith herself goes tumbling off the window-ledge, past three washing-lines, over an awning, under an awning, and towards and just behind the thugs below.
Tanith looks almost like she's just forgotten something important, but she does twist neatly in the air so she can land facing the thugs. After a roll or two backwards, she'll be up on her feet again.
Shannon gives a truly frightening kiai as she surprises a ground level thug by launching the missile weapon at him. Hard.
Darkly warped colors of violet, and azure, ribbons turning this way and that; his eyes now silver orbs, he sends a ribbon out into nowhere.
Tanith says "Ya!"
The thug goes down with a muffled cry of fruit-impelled suffocation: other thugs try to grab at Tanith, but too slow: she's on her feet by now.
Tanith dances back into the crowd, with specific and painful attention to regions that macho fanatic Unicorn cultists probably consider very vital indeed.
Kieran smiles, an almost evil grin as he pulls an arm back and suddenly in front of the thugs and those fighting in the general melee appear two small animals struggling in the grip of some unseen noose. The animals squeal in furry and spray the melee with cloud after cloud of noxious furmes and oils...yes, these are the Kashfan equivalent of skunks.
Shannon follows Tanith's example, Tanith being a sort of role model and all.
The thugs go down with high-pitched screams of agony, this heightened by the odours of the skunks. They drag themselves away from the she-devils and the evil-smelling animals, towards any available dark alley.
Tanith's vengeance is dark and terrible indeed, though it would probably be more efficient for her to be throwing the thugs at each other instead of at Kieran.
Shannon turns to look at Kieran. She looks unhappy.
Kieran dances back and drops the poor animals amidst the thugs where they do what upset skunk-like animals do: bite, scratch and spray.
Tanith does seem to realize that it's counterproductive after the first thug, at least.
Thugs go spinning, pained and odorous.
Shannon walks towards Kieran.
Kieran smiles to Shannon and a shield appears in fron of him, "C'mon, cuz, I'll find you something to make you smell pretty again."
Tanith retreats to the heights, looking thoroughly disgusted.
Shannon eyes Kieran. It is the gaze of one who thinks that a Major Power will not save its target.
The remaining few thugs retreat, agonised and identifiable from downwind. Or even upwind. There is the sound of disciplined, organised, guardlike running feet.
Shannon says "Five."
Shannon says "Four."
Kieran says "Let's split before the guards get here. I'll get you clean again, Shannon."
Tanith digs something out of her now malodorous pocket. "Me
Tanith says "Gah."
Kieran nods, "Hold still you two, Sticky's is our destination!"
Tanith says "Gah gah gah gah gah."
Shannon says "You better do it _real_ fast, Kieran."
The approaching guards are clearly very near now. One man can be heard yelling, "What's this festering puke-ridden stink?"
Kieran sends out a couple of tendrils about Shannon and Tanith.
Tanith holds still, albeit with ill grace.
Another guard can be heard muttering that if it gets on his uniform, he's going to rip off the legs of the person responsible and stick them down their throat, bleeding ends first.
The guards are clearly just about to turn the corner, boots very loud.
The guards turn the corner, to discover an empty, stinking alley.
Countess Tanith to'Uoknor at'Constantine -- the section of history this log takes place in.
Log: Unicorn Cultists
/ Gretchen / Flick
Last modified: April 23, 1997 / email@example.com