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The Naivety of Vanity

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The Naivety of Vanity Empty The Naivety of Vanity

Post by Zonkes October 20th 2021, 11:34 pm

Andrea Beinheim, of the Beinheim royal family of France, hated American high school. From Elsa to Snow White, her “peers” loved teasing her about her status. Which was odd considering that no one ever bothered Jacques about this. Perhaps it was due to her descendancy? Maybe not… Andrea sighed as she opened the door to the French embassy, ignoring prompting from the Royal guard. She walked straight through the white marble halls to her personal bedroom, locking it with a constructed padlock. ‘No intrusions.’ She thought.

She turned on the white television and listened to the news. Another botched plan by DANGER DAN!, Lucius Alba addressing the UN, a break in at a museum a few blocks away, Mad Jack suspected in a string of murders that occurred while the victims were sleeping. Nothing out of the ordinary. She opened her trigonometry homework and placed it on the black desk. Her room was the size of a mid sized apartment in New York, and despite its size it was sparsely decorated and very Spartan. Obviously preferring function over fashion.

Multiple constructed weapons lined the walls, mixed with mundane objects. The floor, originally marble, was replaced by hardwood at Andrea’s request. Unfortunately, the blindingly bright coloration of the room was not something the architects were willing to budge on. Andrea had to get some paint so she didn’t go blind due to the sheer amount of light that the room gave off.

The black couch was pointed at the television, catty-corner to the large French doors that led to her deck. Andrea had setup massive padlocks on that door the moment she had the chance, and reinforced the windows with her own constructs.

As Andrea studied, she realized how late it was getting. She stripped out of her every day clothing, and put on a pair of silk pajamas and laid down to sleep. As she drifted off… she smelled it first. Expensive cologne. Wine and spice. She gripped the handle of her blade and whipped it in the direction that she heard the jingling of jewelry from. “Who are you?” She said in her accent tinted English.

Bright white light surrounded her body as the white armor of the Templar’s manifested. The visor of her helmet immediately covered her face.

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The Naivety of Vanity Empty Re: The Naivety of Vanity

Post by Descendants November 13th 2021, 5:24 pm

Haru liked to think he was a master of stealth. Of course, Francine would call him overconfident, Barret a loaf, and Balthazar an idiot, but he knew he was right. He had yet to be caught, right? Despite being one of InterPol’s Most Wanted (well, the Red Bandit was, but that was Haru now, so what, really, was the difference?) and living in a world of superhumans with no powers, he had yet to be caught. A merit of his ability, surely; and he ran the world’s largest magical black market out of his freaking antique shop! If that’s not talent- anyway, not the point. The point he was making is that he’s damn fine at stealth, thank you very much.

So getting caught in a ridiculous trap like this was just pathetic.

It was common in houses like these to let some of the tiles, especially around the edges of the room, to creak; the people who live in the house would know not to step there, but any intruders would step there, not knowing the floorboards were left that way on purpose. It was a simple, stupid, amateurish thing to fall for, all things Haru is not; at least most of the time. Can you blame him for being enraptured by the angel sleeping not ten feet of him? Sure, he was here to rob her, but Haru was a guy who appreciates a pretty girl. And that was a pretty girl. He had been so involved with staring at her that he didn’t even think about avoiding stupid shit like that.

Well. He was paying for that now.

She had suddenly heard him - the creaking of the floorboard had startled him, his numerous jewelry clanking as he jumped - and Haru knew he had fucked up. She had a sword, and white light was surrounding her, evidence of some sort of magic; and anybody who uses a sword in todays world of guns and bullets was definitely confident in their ability. Haru had never seen magic like this, but he didn’t have to focus on the masterful use or the waves of some sort of energy currently washing over him (it was even more odd that the Clasp of Anansi couldn’t determine what type of magic it was). She asked who he was and before he could control himself, he answered.

”I’m your strippergram. Wassup, baby girl?”

Welp. He was dead. Might as well lean into it. Haru flashed the girl an incredibly charming smile, tucking his multi-colored locks behind one ear and winking at the girl. If he was going to die, he was going to do it as he lived.
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The Naivety of Vanity Empty Re: The Naivety of Vanity

Post by Zonkes November 15th 2021, 9:06 am

Andrea stared daggers at the man who broke into her room. She stood, keeping the point of her sword aimed at his chest. She slowly maneuvered her way to the armor and smiled. “Rude to watch a girl dress, non?” She waved her hand and a blinding white blindfold wrapped itself around Haru’s eyes, bound by equally white chains. Andrea, within a matter of moments had the armor on. She was now ready for battle.

She waved her hand again, and a key unlocked the chains around Haru’s face fell away. She shoved the point of her sword into Haru’s lap. “Now then, “Strippergram”. I think you were going to tell me why I shouldn’t castrate you.”

Andreas heart was pounding. She kept it well hidden, but this was he first time that she would be completely without guard. She didn’t want to call out, and only hoped that they might hear the commotion. She needed to make as much noise as possible to grab their attention and keep herself safe. She kicked the chains out of the way, purposefully making them clank and clatter against her armor.

She closed her eyes for a moment, and her eyes turned almost pure white as she examined the strings of fate. This man had an expected number of strings attached, most of them silver. However, she saw two strings of differing color. “Who is your backup?”
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The Naivety of Vanity Empty Re: The Naivety of Vanity

Post by Descendants November 18th 2021, 5:51 pm

”Well, sweetness, nobody ever accused me of ever being polite.”

His grin was equal parts “shit-eating” and “flirtatious” and did absolutely nothing to betray his heart pounding staccato in his chest. He was petrified, to be honest; for the sake of simplicity, he had left the majority of his magical artifacts behind, which was good in this situation; nobody else would get their hands on them. What was bad, however, was that that meant he was left without protection from the very angry, magical warrior woman holding a sword on him and currently talking about removing a part of him he enjoyed, thank you very much.

But Haru wasn’t worried.

On the contrary, he seemed positively breezy, adjusting his position to lean on the wall. An eyebrow flicked upwards on his handsome face as he crossed his arms, taking a very casual stance on the wall, as if his life wasn’t in danger. Only then did he snap his fingers; at that, a floating red dot appeared first on his chest, then travel across the floor to settle squarely on her chest. If she knew anything about movies, she would know what it was, even if it was only for show and dramatic flair in real life. Haru chuckled under your breath.

“Well, the answer ta both your questions, precious, is that little red dot there.” he winked as he pointed at it. “Sure I don’ have to tell you what it is, you’ve seen movies. On the other end of that dot is a really big gun. And holding that gun is my dearest friend, Patriot-” A buzzing from his earpiece interrupted him. “We ain’t friends.” But Haru ignored it, continuing on as if he hadn’t been interrupted. “-who wouldn’t hesitate to put a hole right through your pretty face. Oh, and don’t even think whatever magic you have can save you. I promise you, we’ve seen it, and his bullets aren’t normal.”

Haru was still nervous, but he hid it expertly; now was a time for steel. If she thought for a second that he was bluffing, she could attack, or worse call her guards, and any attempt to strike it rich would go down the toilet, ruining months of planning. This *had* to go smoothly. There was an energy in the air he knew they both could feel, a spark that made the hair on his arm stand on end. It only magnified the closer he got to you; there was an urge, almost, to touch her, just to see what would happen, like holding a firework until it exploded just to feel the burn.
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The Naivety of Vanity Empty Re: The Naivety of Vanity

Post by Zonkes January 24th 2022, 5:55 pm

Andrea looked to the dot on her chest. Andrea flinched. Could she take a bullet? She decided it wasn’t worth the risk. She set down her blade and peered at Haru.

”Who are you, and why are you here?” She said glancing out the window. She started twisting her fingers around the line of destiny connecting Haru and his backup. If she could get the man to swing the weapon around… she just needed more time.

”Have you come to rob me? If that’s the case, then by all means. Take whatever you like. It’s all fake anyway.” Andrea summoned a pure white replica of the Mona Lisa. ”I’m an excellent artist. Would you like me to sign that for you?” Andrea forced her will once more, creating a glowing white labrador puppy. ”Or perhaps you’d like to take Marshmallow? No?”

She smirked at Haru. ”Or maybe I’ll just call for the Templar I keep at my beck and call…” She inhaled, ready to call for John if no one stopped her, smirking at Haru.

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The Naivety of Vanity Empty Re: The Naivety of Vanity

Post by Katrina A. Russel February 12th 2022, 12:34 pm

”Tsh.”

He scoffed at the mention of Templars. A right pain in is ass. The buzzing in his earphones again, and Balthazar, now with a worried tone, suggested they leave. But Haru ignored him; this girl, this fuckin’ spoiled little princess, was starting to piss him off. No way by Lucifer’s shiny right testicle was he gonna let her win. So he met her, shining silver eyes staring into her white ones- but gods, she was distractingly beautiful. It was weird, really; because most people, after you’ve been around them for a moment, you start noticing little flaws. Like their nose is a little crooked, or a little gap between their teeth, or a mole on their chin.

But not with this chick, not a single fucking flaw, and to be honest, it was pissing him off. How fucking dare she be perfect? It was raging jealousy, sure, but he also felt sorry for her; perfection was a burden he wouldn’t wish on anyone else. Oh, he didn’t let these emotions cross his face, though. Wouldn’t do to let her know the boiling rage Andrea inspired in him. No, his eyes were perfectly calm, if narrowed in consternation, no sign of his irritation showing on his curled lips.

”Rob you? Nah, baby, maybe of a good night's sleep.”

He went to sweep the sword away from his family jewels, but something stopped him; like a whispering in the back of his head, suggesting he shouldn’t touch the blade. So instead, her moved his hand to finger the bracelet, doing his best to ignore the very sharp sword getting fresh with his business. Her business with the forgeries was a bit odd, but there was something quite off about; he had never seen this type of magic before, but to so effortlessly create a perfect face? … nah, he didn’t believe it, otherwise the underworld market for this type of stuff would crash.

”Well, say I wanted ta rob the most valuable thing in the house. You wouldn’t be so kind to uh, lay down and take it, would ya?”

His eyes flicked suggestively towards her crotch and he winked a single, silver eye.

”Jesus christ, Haru, are you trying to get killed?!”

He ignored the tinny voice in his ear.
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The Naivety of Vanity Empty Re: The Naivety of Vanity

Post by Zonkes June 4th 2022, 3:16 am

Andrea’s face cracked in a wide smile. “If you won’t tell me who your accomplice is, mon bon ami, then they will simply have to show themselves.”

He may not have shown it obviously, but Alexander taught her when to spot weakness in her opponent. Something about her was setting him on edge.

She lowered the blade, ensuring Haru’s ability to procreate another day, with a sneaky cut to the leg that she hoped was shallow enough not to hurt until she was ready for it.

She flicked her hand and the strings that connected Haru to whomever he had on the outside reacted, coiling around her hand like a serpent. The white mystic fibers becoming visible as they connected with flesh.

“Well, Strippergram, it seems I have you all wrapped around my finger.” She put on a pair of blue jeans, and sat on her bed. “I assume you’ll be staying the night, non? Try not to stain the carpet.”

She yanked on the chords connecting Haru and Balthazar, in just an instant Haru and Balthazar would feel a twist in their stomachs, somewhere deep and primordial. She hoped she didn’t yank hard enough to make them puke. Cleaning that up was worse than blood.

Balthazar and Haru would be overcome by animosity towards each other, not quite changing their fate, but exploiting what was already there. The hero and the whore. A pairing seemingly designed to fall apart, and when she released the threads… the cards fell where they would.


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The Naivety of Vanity Empty Re: The Naivety of Vanity

Post by Katrina A. Russel June 16th 2022, 7:54 am

For a moment, just a moment, it seemed like nothing happened; the twisting in his stomach made him gag, but if that was her best trick she’d have to do better. Haru could only stare at her with an eyebrow cocked; he prepared the verbal barb he was going to throw at her, but it was then that he noticed the red dot on her forehead was gone. He had just enough time to look through the window and see, glimmering in the distance, the glimmer of a gun barrel. And then everything turned white.

Or was it silver? Sparkling, twisting, mirrored reflections and glitter forming a solid ground. Uncertain mist swirled around unstable surfaces, massive, black walls forming barriers around him. He seemed to be floating; and it was then he remembered. He was dead! Frantically he ran his hand over his forehead where he distinctly remembered feeling a bullet push through his brain. Surprisingly, there was no hole.

Haru was feeling a bit detached from reality at the moment; honestly, he was more worried that he wasn’t worried than he was actually worried. Did that make sense? Thoughts were so LOUD in this space- wait, was this hell? No, Hell would be different. Oh fuck the gods, this was Limbo wasn’t it?! That was just insulting; Limbo was for lame-o’s, people who had no beliefs or commitment to follow those beliefs. Say what you want about him, but at least he was dedicated in his morality!

Or lack thereof.

”You’re not in Limbo.”

And with a crash, though there was no physical force or sensation at all, Haru hit the ground, a silvery mist wrapping around him, twisting and solidifying into what looked like mirrors lining the walls. It stretched into infinity, each individual reflection showing a slightly different scene from his life. Failures and successes laid out in equal measure for him to peruse, each embarrassing low and addicting high relieved in all its glory. Though he dragged his first love, his first failed trapeze, and the time he tried to write a book, they eventually settled on the figure sitting in a silver throne seemingly wrought from ether, situated on a similarly vague pedestal.

The man looked vaguely familiar, like some famous celebrity or politician, but - it was strange. As if his features shifted and, not that Haru took a closer look, he was not entirely sure it was a guy or, indeed, even human. There was certainly something ethereal about him, staring down at Haru from his elevated place in this … Hall of Mirrors. Confusion was the main emotion roiling through Haru, coloring his face and demeanor. As if reading this, the individual on the throne chuckled, shifting just lightly and becoming a thousand different people in the process.

”Yes, I know, I’m magnificent. Introductions!”

He moved with the capriciousness that only came with supreme power, clapping his hands; as the sound reberated through the air, the mist solidified, creating surroundings shaped by thought and will. The mirrors disappeared into a million stars, reshaping into a buffet fit for a king. The square block formed steps with every footfall of the being, a long, winding stairway exposed on either said. But he walked with such an assurance, there was no risk of him falling. The ground rippled and reformed, like liquid mercury around each footstep, forming into waves and mountains before once again turning into ethereal mist. The being continued walking forward until he was face to face with Haru, who was frozen in place in … fascination? Fear? Something.

Another clap of the beings glorious hands and he shifted into a form more physical and solid, though there was still an unearthliness about him. Long silver hair stretched across thin shoulders and a lanky frame, and it didn't seem to end, the tips disappearing into mist. Though his clothes were flashy - long and flowing, covered in gemstones like an 80’s rockstar - it were his eyes that drew Haru in. They were silver discs embedded in his head, like eldritch stones peering into the soul and divining the line between truth and reality. It would be terrifying were it not so mesmerizing.

”Finally! It has been many thousands of years since I last saw one of my children!” The blank look on Haru’s face only seemed to amuse the deity. ”I am Hebel! Just Hebel, like Biance. Or Sia, whichever is more culturally relevant. Some people call me Webweaver or “The Vain”, which is frankly just rude.”

The look on Haru’s face went from blank and confused to concerned, but Hebel just waved it off with another laugh like tinkling glass. His arm (did it have too many joints) wrapped around Haru’s shoulders and pulled him close, the cloak enveloping him (why couldn’t he pull away?)

”Don’t worry, don’t worry. I’ll explain everything. See, I’m the God of … well, many things, first come first serve in these types of situations, but where it’s related is Beauty, though the less-beautiful call it Vanity. And you, my dear, dear Descendant, are here because you died! Hey, at least the chick who killed you was a looker … and another Descendant, but we’ll get into that later.”

For the first time in what felt like several hours, but who knows how long it really was in this place, Haru spoke.

”So I am dead?”

His voice fell like lead, cracking mirrors and filling the room with a dreadful hue. Emotions had literal weight here, forming a flow and ebb that affected the physical. Again, Hebel just waved him off, as if his concerns were pittance to him

”No, no! … well, yes, but only technically. It’s a lot of complicated stuff you’re not ready for, but you’ll be coming back soon, don’t worry, and without any cool scars either! Here, maybe this will help.”

Before Haru could protest or get anything else than sputtered indignation, one long finger touched his forehead.

And the illusion shattered.

Gone were the mirrors, the mist, and the ethereal throne; a massive spider-web was in it’s place, souls balanced precariously on the edge, and in the center sat Hebel, in the form of a giant spider. His many legs twitched and plucked at webs like guitar strings, slowly pulling towards him the souls stuck on his webs. They were unaware of their danger, and though Haru tried to call out, it was pointless, his voice lost to the vastness of the space he was in. He felt as if he was on the verge of discovering something fundamental about himself and his place in the universe, watching these souls obsessed with perfection and their own beauty that they could not escape the trap that had been laid.

Like a camera pulling back too quickly, Haru found himself back in his body, laying on the floor of Andrea’s bedroom. But he was … different, now. He could feel it … and see it, if he pulled his hair up to the light. The multitudinous colors were peeling away like ribbons, disappearing into the air. He noticed every detail; the way it split, turned into atoms; the smell of paint and dye, the sound of the molecules moving and parting. It was almost overwhelming, yet he found himself capable of handling it. As if his experiences in the other world increased his capacity for information.

And he sat up just as the last of the hole in his head healed, revealing for a brief second shimmering silver blood.

”... I’m also tempted ta think it was brain damage.”

His voice was … different now, too. More subtle, pleasing to the ears regardless of who hears. And though Andrea was not affected by the supernatural aspects of it, she would notice that Haru was less … repulsive-looking than before, especially as his shining silver hair blew gently in the wind, matched by his glistening eyes, still staring blankly at the bullet now embedded into the wall. It seemed like a dream, but the evidence was clear around him. And the last words Hebel said to him reverberated in his mind.

”You are so close do discovering your true strength, but here’s a little taste.”

Numbly, Haru clenched his fist, and like snakes writhing from the ground ,splitting the wood despite no need for the earth underneath, silver vines grew, wrapping around his fist with an iron grip. Despite the flow of mana through them, they seemed as hard and solid as titanium, shining with a mystical energy. For some reason, he knew what he could do, despite never doing it or receiving instruction; it was like it was an innate ability, something born into his very soul. From the tip of one of the vines a glass nodule grew, growing outwards and outwards like somebody blowing air into a balloon. As it grew to about palm size, it stopped, and Haru plucked it like a ripe apple, the sound of liquid sloshing within.

With little hesitation, he downed it one drink.

Fuzakenna.” He slipped back into his native Japanese in his shock. His hands, now immaculately slim and nails shimmering with a coat of paint that seemed impervious to chipping or damage, ran through his hair in shock, moving down to his mouth as he contemplated what it meant. It was only when he had several seconds to stare at the vines did he snap his gaze back to the princess. It wouldn’t do to let her see his shock; and now that he had powers, he doubted she was much threat to him. A lustful look crossed his face, glancing between the vine still curled around his hand and Andrea.

”Well, looks like ya can’t even kill me properly. Turns out, I’m just like you, cutie. And somehow I get the feelin’ you’ll be seein’ a lot more of me, so admit it; you think I’m cute, doncha?”

He leaned against her wall, winking one silver eye at her.
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The Naivety of Vanity Empty Re: The Naivety of Vanity

Post by Zonkes September 5th 2022, 4:36 am

As soon as the crack hit the air, she knew it had worked. She didn’t even have to look at Haru as he hit the ground, she just heaved his body into a closet and opened the door for her guard, so they could see nothing was wrong.

Since she was awake anyway, she began studying. She sat, not noticing the sudden strengthening instead of slackening in Haru’sfate strings, and the sudden tint of silver it brought.

She was reading a book on Shakespeare when the annoying voice spoke again, and she whipped on him with a blinding white axe attempting to take his head off.

She stopped the head of the axe right before it hit his neck with the skill of a master. She narrowed her pearlescent eyes at the man. “…merde…” She muttered before sighing. “So, you are a descendant as well. Fine. You will stay there, and I will call… whoever you call in this situation. Police? Koshek? Alexander? Fucking Atlas?!” She threw her hands up in the air in frustration. She knew she could take him, he was only a baby descendant and she had the advantage of training.

Still, she imagined that fighting a cousin of hers… no matter how lacking in grace would lead to Koshek throwing her to the wolves. She began walking to the door, striding with confidence and just enough annoyance for Haru to get the point.

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The Naivety of Vanity Empty Re: The Naivety of Vanity

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