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Where the Spirits have Lease

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Where the Spirits have Lease Empty Where the Spirits have Lease

Post by Searchlight March 13th 2022, 4:49 pm

The city of New York, no matter its place in time, was always a hotbed for illegal and dangerous activity. Its place on the water had made it a perfect target for piracy and the constant comings and goings of traffic allowed for the stubborn breeding of crime. One might say it was endemic to the city, others might claim it to be an unfortunate side-effect of its very nature. Searchlight, as one of the few who had watched its birth, its growth into what it now is and, seemingly, its decay, concluded that New York was just like any other animal Earth: growing old and riddled with ungodly parasites. That being said, those that lived within the city were still under the watch of the Searchlight, the flaming-headed phantom watching from the fog as those with nary a soul in their bodies nor a moral thought in their minds rip apart the city just so they can fill their pockets.

...And on this night, judgement was to be distributed amongst the unclean.

It was a full moon with an empty sky, dark clouds floating across the deep, endless blue as the rats scuttled beneath it. Two men in particular had just made a break for it from an old warehouse, bags of money and other stolen goodies draped over their shoulders as they fled into the shadows. Smiles marked their faces, satisfaction and relief, trading barbs with one another as if they had already escaped! It would only be deep into their run that they would notice the fog starting to spill in all around them, filling the alley-way passages with countless whisps of white. Their vision would reach barely a foot before their eyes before slamming dead against the wall of amorphous nothing, that very nothing closing around them quickly, blocking their view of escape! Fear would throb in their chests as they tried to backtrack the way they had come, running even faster than before to try and outrun the fog! ...It was as if their feet could no longer carry them, each step in the road appearing just the same as the last.

"Thou hast fled from thine own crimes..." A raspy voice echoed through the fog. "...Crimes against man... Against state.... Against God." The men would slowly come to a halt, their chests swelling and contracting with each heavy breath, turning around to see... a face peering through the fog... It appeared to be an outline of one... but of flames, the eyes staring intently through the boundless fog, the upwards curve of a sinister flaming grin carving into the minds of the thieves. "Will thine heart answer the call to thine punishment...? Or shalt thou resist and suffer a most terrible retribution....?"

Slowly, a figure would push through the fog, a being in a suit with a large pumpkin head on his shoulders and a wide-rim hat atop it. From his eyes and mouth flames burned excitedly, ember blowing out from between his jaws as if such a thing could draw breath. From its hand dangled a short bronze chain and, from that, an iron lantern, its flame surging and pulsating like the heartbeat of an infernal beast.  The embers the figure breathed arched around his shoulders and head, coagulating into a half-dozen flaming spheres no larger than a fist, each one dancing slowly about its maker. The sound of the surrounding world faded to nothing as the fog around them all grew thicker, only the loud echoing chime of the lantern's clashing chains and the eerie *CLACK* of the figure's boots upon the ground reverberating through the area.

"Thou art already marked for judgement... Dost thou wisheth thine suffering compounded...?"
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Post by Nate6595 March 19th 2022, 8:27 am

And where did we wander this time?

New York City was no stranger to…well, to the strange. On the average day, a person could see some crazed loon raving about the end times and then turn a corner and see an attractive topless woman handing out pamphlets to a book club and then turn the next corner and be on their way as if nothing at all had happened, that this was just a normal day. Performers, promoters, tourists, businesspersons, and just the local residence of the city, it was all strange mishmash of all these people, all blended together in a great big pot of strange. Moreover, what was strangest of all is the fact that no one questioned it. No one bothered asked why or had to double take at what they saw, it was all matter of fact. In a way, strange was the normal of the city and if you didn’t accept it then you would be the odd one out, the one who was truly and undeniably strange.

Perhaps that was why Kinno had felt at ease in the city. She felt as though no one really stared at her as she made her way down the streets and alleys, most assuming she was something they called a “cosplayer”, one of those modern words she still didn’t quite understand. A few times, in fact, someone wanted to take a picture with her to which she happily obliged. She rather liked that sort of attention, and especially liked pictures all the more when she learned that cameras weren’t a device that stole your soul away. That had been a misunderstanding for a while until someone had stolen a picture of her and she found her soul largely intact.

The comfort and strangeness of this “New York City” had carried the young-looking woman through the warmth of the day and into that cool evening. She was excited to learn what a city that never slept was like, and then found herself far from disappointed at what she saw. A city illuminated by golden lights from the looming buildings, people still actively making their way through the night and heading off into who knows where. The night had also been filled with new life, mainly in the form of rodents and the occasional owl coming out and enjoying the slight quiet that accompanied the city.

Along with the good, however, there had also been a slight edge to it all. She now had to keep her eyes on the dark alleyways, where the shadows cast by the golden lights seemed to shift and move along with her, as if something was lurking and watching her. At one moment she could find herself in a crowd of people, heading down the street, then make a turn down another and find herself completely alone. She felt a tension arise from those shadows and in the moments she was alone, an eerie, almost ghostly feeling to it all.

She, of course, had carried on like the feeling hadn’t bothered her. The truth of the matter was…it didn’t. She was unbothered by that eerie, ghostly feeling because…well, it was a strange city. Moreover, ghosts were especially the norm for her. If anything, there was something even more welcoming about that, to know that there was work to be done here, spirits to be guided to wherever it was they needed to be.

She had found herself on the perch of a building, a place she could appreciate and view the city and its strange displays. From one angle, she could see those shifting shadows in the eerie alleyways and then turn to see the golden glow against the water, and shimmer in the growing fog. She hadn’t been on the lookout for anything, however, as her eyes gazed out to the waterfront she couldn’t help but tilt her head. Something had been going on over there. From her perch, she could see the orange glow of flames, burning brightly, though they were still relatively small flames. Her ears also noticed the faint sound of chiming, and that…that wasn’t normal. Maybe honking or the squeak of brakes, but chimes…that had been strange.

With a quiet pursuit forward, she began to make her way towards that flame, almost like a moth following the light, eager to see what it was. Everything else in the city had been amazing and wonderfully strange, surely this would be the same. She hopped from roof to roof, landing with grace, each roof bringing her a bit lower to the ground, until she stood atop the old and metal roof of a warehouse. There, above the alley, she could peer down and see it all.

From above, witnessing the strange ghostly figure and the two terrified men, she couldn’t help but smile beneath her mask. “And where did we wander to this time, here in this strange city?”
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Post by Searchlight March 28th 2022, 1:41 pm

"The... the headless horseman..." One of the men whispered before tripping over his own feet in his own retreat! He fell HARD to the ground but the impact did not phase him, not with a pumpkin-headed demon burning with the flames of hell towering over him.

"Thine last words in this life art those...?" Glowerdown whispered, his jack'o'lanturn smile curling upwards cruelly. "'Tis a pity human-kind hast become so cowardly in the face of divine judgement." A fireball SHOT from around glower down into the man chest, ENGULFING him in flames from within! Fire SPILLED out of his mouth, his eyes, his ears, encompassing his form in blazing rapture! The man had not the time to scream as he quickly burned away to dust, reduced to less-than-nothing in a matter of moments as Glowerdown watched over him!

"May the Lord find forgiveness for thee in the next life..." He whispered hauntingly before turning to his companion. "...Because thou shalt find none in this one." Reaching into his coat, Glowerdown would withdraw a long, silver blade, the soft whine of the well-sharpened steel grinding against the sheath as he brought it out into the light. The remaining robber dropped the money he'd been carrying and dropped down to his hands and knees, gibbering and begging, PLEADING for forgiveness to the Pumpkin-man!

"In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit..." Glowerdown chanted. leveling his blade at the man's chest. "May thee find in thine infinite mercy forgiveness for these blighted souls, men who hast broken thine eternal covenant..."

The man looked up, hopeful... only to notice the tip of the blade pointing right between his eyes!

"...I offer these souls back to thee... so that they might receive their final judgement..."

The man JUMPED up in fear and tried to run, SPRINTING in the opposite direction of Glowerdown only to feel a hand SHOOT from the fog and LATCH onto his throat! Slowly, the Pumpkin-headed figure emerged from the fog in front of the man, seemingly teleporting instantly from behind to in front of him! The tip of the silver sword bit at the man's chest, threatening to dig into his heart as he struggled!

"...Amen."

*THUNK!*

,...Gradually, the fog would fade, revealing only Glowerdown, the remains of his targets... gone! Erased! As if they hadn't even been there! The only thing that remained... was the blood dripping off the tip of Glowerdown's sword. With his mission complete, the pumpkin-head would glance up, noticing the figure spying upon him from above. She must have witnessed this purging of sin... Might she be a sinner as well...?

Glowerdown would say nothing and only lock his flaming eye-sockets with he eyes of this woman, as if questioning what she was going to do now. Attack? Flee? Converse...? It was all up to her now.
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Post by Nate6595 April 3rd 2022, 3:36 pm

There was something lazed about the way she watched the scene before her. It was a sort of detached way of looking about death...murder even, regardless of whether or not the people were deserving of such brutality. Nothing in her suggested that she cared about any of that, not off put, not interested or fascinated by, just looking with a patient gaze. The only reaction she seemed to utter was a slight widening of the eyes each time one of the humans fell, though it wasn't from surprise just...it was hard to say exactly the emotion behind it.

As the last of the duo fell, she gave an idle nod and slowly extended hand down towards downed pair. Soon, seeming to drift from their bodies, were a pair of glowing light orbs. They bobbed as they danced up to her hand. They floated just above her grasp as she inspected them, before nodding gently. The strange woman leaned to them, quietly murmuring something in a strange, but almost nostalgic sounding language. The orbs seemed to glow brighter for just a moment, before that light died down significantly to only the faintest bit of a glow. She tucked the souls away into a bag and then turned attention back to the murderer, giving another cant of the head.

Now, now she expressed curiosity, interest, a vague sense of wonder about entity there. In a calm, fluid motion she rose, and then stepped off the roof. She didn't float, but it almost seemed as if she fell slower, only to land without a sound, crouching at first, but quickly rising to her feet. She nodded knowingly towards the entity and extended a hand. "A strange wayward Spirit, how curious I am in you." Her voice wasn't loud, but it seemed to carry faint, ghostly echo to it. "What a world we exist in which the dead create more dead..." She tilted her head the other way, "Do not worry anymore, you restless spirit, I shall help you pass on."

She made a small motion with her extended hand, "If you please, I can guide you onto the next life, just take my hand and follow me, strange spirit." There had been no judgement in her tone. She spoke with a kindness to her words, almost motherly as if she was trying to sooth the spirit.

Despite all that kindness, she still didn't lack something threatening about her. Perhaps it was the way she spoke about the topic, or maybe it had been the weapon at her back? She certainly wasn't human, or at least the average human. A potential for a Meta-human, no doubt, but even the general air about her was different, as if she was something more. If anything, Glowerdown could probably tell that she was entity like him, something a bit supernatural.
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Post by Searchlight April 5th 2022, 2:43 pm

Glowerdown's empty, burning sockets watched on as the souls of the men were pulled from their bodies into the sack of the ghastly woman, his pumpkin-mouth clenching shut with ANGER as flames lapped out from between his "lips." How dare she!? Those souls belonged to God and God alone! She would steal from the Almighty Lord and do so brazenly before his avenger!? What was more, this woman had the gall to approach the pumpkin-headed revenant from his level, offering her hand to him and promising him "release!"

...And the temptation was there. Glowerdown had been alive for many centuries. He had seen human evils bordering on truly satanic and had been witness to body-counts larger than anyone alive could fathom. Through faith, he had kept his wits... but immortality wasn't as easy to handle as God's grace would make it out to be. He was tired, both mentally and physically, fighting back the pull of the demon inside, shedding the blood of men, as evil as they were, even in the name of a higher power. There was a temptation inside to just... sleep and let it all fall away...

Glowerdown slowly began to walk towards the woman, extending a gloved hand out towards hers. His hand would drift past the spirit's however, instead ARCHING up to LATCH onto her throat, his mouth OPENING UP to reveal a MASSIVE fireball brewing inside!

"Demon...! Thine vile temptations shalt not tempt a man of God... Perish in thine unholy flames!"

Fire would SURGE out from Glowerdown's mouth and over the woman, aiming to consume her and reduce her to nothing! The souls she had trapped within her sack (and who knows where else) would have their release, to be punished or acquitted as He sees fit! This being...? It was a skimmer, a launderer, someone who scrapes off the top when they think He isn't looking! Scum... Her greed would burn her very soul!
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Post by Nate6595 April 10th 2022, 2:37 pm

If she was put off by the sudden display of fire and scorn that was burning through this pumpkin faced spirit, she didn't show it. There was no anger, sadness, or fear that seemed to manifest on her expression or in the way she carried herself. It was more like she was...waiting. Waiting for him to let it all out and to see how he would proceed. She rarely ever made the first move against spirits like this. Many had a hard time accepting their end and would lash out in some way. This was normal.

Normal...

As that word came up in her head, for the first time she seemed surprised. She just processed that this figure was not in fact normal, at least compared to other spirits. She was surprised it had taken her this long to come to such a conclusion, especially with the flaming pumpkin head. She blamed the strange city...it had thrown off her senses and her ability to weed out the strange from normal. Despite being a spirit, this must've been some kind of a demon or undead creature. It was still something that needed to be put to rest, yet probably with more force behind it...she couldn't let it just carry on its way like this.

She hopped back from the flames, only getting slightly singed from the heat, and landing quietly once more as she drew the weapon on her back. She didn't make a move for a new mask yet, she had to appraise the situation and see what would work best for this person and instead just held a defensive stance. "Foul spirit..." She spoke quietly, though still loud enough to be heard. "Worry not, I shall help you move onto whichever afterlife suits you best and that you receive your just dues. Do not resist too much, else you will prolong any suffering you endure."
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Post by Searchlight April 15th 2022, 10:00 pm

"Meaningless lies from a foolish demon." Glowerdown uttered, his jaws snapping shut, cutting off the flames that flowed from them. The creature had evaded his flames deftly, hopping back with agility ethereal enough to confirm his suspicions. This woman wasn't just some mortal with fancy powers... She wasn't alive at all in the mortal sense. Some spiritual haunt aiming to capitalize on the work of a saint, no doubt, to steal souls and consume them for her own power! Glowerdown's eyes flicked to the back where she had stuffed the souls of those sinners, a faint... gnawing pain arching across his own stomach.

The spirit, once again, beckoned for the Pumpkin-headed man to submit himself to her whims, this time edging in a little threat at the end of it! Oh...? So she was bold enough to now attack a servant of God, was she...? Foolishness!

"Draw thine blade and defend thineself, monster." Glowerdown challenged, drawing his own blade and raising his lantern! "...For thou faceth an agent of the Lord."

Suddenly, a fog would roll in over the area, growing denser and more opaque by the second! Sound, sight, it all would bleed away to those outside of the fog itself, as if that piece of the world had simply been cut out of reality! For the spirit, as the fog rolled over her, the reverberating echo of Glowedown's lantern-chain creaking in her ear! The soft clack of Glowerdown's footsteps would pound in her head beating against her senses as the Pumpkin-head approached. The grinding whine of a metal blade sliding from its sheath would SLICE the air around the sack-cradling spirit, a light spark flashing before her vision... Then, that spark would radically grow... until a HUGE FIREBALL SHOT FORTH FROM THE ENDLESS, TWISTING WHITE! From his cover in the fog, Glowedown fired off a massive fireball from his lantern, aiming to encompass the foreign spirit entirely in burning judgement, before fading into fog himself and reforming in a different position! All the while, more and more mist flooded the area, Glowerdown focusing in spreading his influence out across this section of the city the very same way a spider might a corner in an attic. The more area he flooded in mist, the fewer places this...thing could hide and the fewer places she could attack accurately back from.

...After all, with reverberating echos pounding your hearing and a dense fog blocking your sight, what else you have?
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Post by Nate6595 April 23rd 2022, 12:56 am

Everything for her seemed to click into place. She had assumptions from before, but at his second declaration, it became evident what was going on. This was a devout Christian spirit. She had learned a bit about religion in all her years of shepherding spirits off into whatever afterlife they were headed to and in all that time, there had been a good handful of this particular religion to be...extreme. There were extremists of every religion, of course, but Christians were an interesting brand of extreme due to the variety that they came in.

This one however was making an attempt at the old way of speaking, so...probably an older spirit, perhaps...from the Crusades? She had to mull this over and try to recall if there were pumpkins in the area at the time, because....

It was all a bit too much for her head at the moment, besides, the extreme, misplaced, and hostile spirit was readying something. Fog rolled over her, trying to dim her vision no doubt. She had seen this tactic before in times of war, a place she tended to linger in search of lost souls on the field. Through the fog, sticking out like a lighthouse on a mist-filled ocean, she saw a blazing flame, growing and growing. She trusted her own defenses, but not so much that she would thoughtlessly endure such a hit.

She hopped back once more, letting herself fall back on a roll, attempting to dodge the emcompassing flames, but felt some singes along her legs, just barely failing to dodge the flames fully. Such a wide attack was a difficult thing to dodge, though as she recovered she didn't display any sort of expression of pain. She, of course, did feel the pain, but didn't show it, not yet. Instead, her eyes were studying the fog as grew thicker and thicker. She needed a plan.

With a small exhale, she reached to her side, searching masks. She took one that bore the face of crow and set it to her face, letting the transformation take hold. In an instant, the mask almost seemed to meld with her face and two large black wings sprung from her back, sending her backward and into the air, flapping a few times to catch her as she tried to rise above her fog. Her weapon began to shimmer and shift, turning into a large bow, which was already readying an arrow. As soon as another flamed was lit in the fog, she would let the arrow fly, soaring with the speed and power of a bullet, seeking to hurt, but not overly so, the spirit.
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