July 28, 2018:

A stone, a spear, a cross. And angel makes four.

Brooklyn, outside Judge, Inc.

One of the few un-gentrified streets left in Brooklyn.


NPCs: Angelus warrior


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It's a pleasantly warm evening in New York, and Brooklyn, in particular, still holds the heat of the day. One of its streets holds a stretch of shops that are day-time only, casting shadows and stillness over the entire street at night.

Well, mostly quiet. "YO HEE HO AND A BOTTLE OF RUM!" Tom Judge is apparently on his way back from a bar, his path uneven, though the way he clings to the bottle is pretty certain. By the time he gets to the door of the dingy looking office that has the handwritten sign 'JUDGE INC', he's hiccuping, trying and failing to get his key in the door.

Down the street, lights flicker. They don't go out, though, instead growing oddly, markedly brighter, creating a glow that spills into neighboring streets. In the midst of that light, something — not demonic, but not belonging — arrives, a breath of power that zings out, shakes neighboring windows, and sets off nearby car alarms.

"Need a bit of help, Tom?" The voice, familiar, humoured, unwelcome, sounds from the doorway of the shop two stops down, where Viviene has been waiting for the man of the hour to arrive home. Or to work, or, well, whatever the place in when he's in such a state. She straightens up from where she was lurking, stepping down onto the stoop first, and then to the sidewalk, heading in Tom's direction. She's made, perhaps three steps, before the car alarms start blaring, and her head lifts, eyes turning towards the sound of the disturbance. There's no humour in Vivienne's face, though, as she looks back to Judge and then towards the light. "Tom." Her tone was serious, as she began again, this time to step between the man and whatever it was that was coming…though, she likely had a good idea of what it was.

It was probably the GPS's fault. That's what she was going to tell herself, anyway. She swears she put in the right address and this damned phone was walking her all over the place. Adara was just wanting to go out for a nice walk at night. SHe can do so without much fear given her, uh, extra capacity for self-defense.

Now she rounded a corner only to see a drunk and his girlfriend up ahead. She sighs and slumps a little as she realizes she's simply failing all over to make it back home only to blink a few times and look up at something past the now rather defensive girlfriend and drunk guy. The lights were getting, brighter?

Adara tilts her head to the right, trying to figure this out.

THUD! Tom's kick of his door doesn't do much to help with the scenario, except perhaps make his neighbors think his place is being broken into (again). No one calls the police, though there's a few yelled imprecations: "Shut that racket!" from a couple of doors down. The car alarms are enough for Tom's brow to furrow, briefly, but its to Vivienne that his gaze locks, with a sharp exhale.

"Christ!" he exhales, sharply, then scowls at her. "Were you lurking there? You know how I feel about… lurking." When Vivienne's attention is drawn away, his goes back to the defiant lock, muttering under his breath, ignoring her warning tone.

There's movement, within that splash of too-white light. The thing inside resolves itself into something almost indescribable as it takes a step forward. A thing writers yearn to describe and fall short of, painters attempt and fail at. It is breathtakingly beautiful, almost alien in bearing — glad in brilliant, gleaming armor that reflects the light even more. It's face is… it's an it, no sense of gender, despite the golden locks that make up its hair. The immediate descriptor that comes to mind is this: Angel.

Also: it carries a large, glowing sword, the gleam of its gaze turning towards the figures down the street. It starts moving forward.

"Well. I would have stood in front of your door, Tom, but I might have gotten in the way of all of your clients." There might have been humour in the tone, if it were not for the seriousness of the situation. Vivienne manages a deep breath, before she abandons Tom to his lock and his booze, a hand unbuttoning the single button holding her trench coat closed. And once it is open, the reason it was closed, on such a warm evening is evident enough. It's armor, in black and red, emblazoned with a gold cross beneath the coat and not more usual attire. And a pair of katanas, nearly sheathed to lie close to her sides. The coat she simply shrugs of, leaving it in a pool by Tom's door, as she steps forward, as if she meant to confront the oncoming 'angel' OK Corral style. Her right hand rises, catching itself on the edge of her belt, her left hand reaching back to remove a small hand spear from a holster on her back, "Get inside, Tom." Whether he actually does or not, she doesn't stop to check. A flick of her wrist and the shaft of the spear simply seems to grow to the length of a full two-handed weapon.

"Oh crud, oh crud…" Adara starts speaking as she sees the angel like warrior thing appear. She looks to the pair and then angel thing. She takes off running, focusing on the angel creature as she runs and she runs a few steps past Tom and Vivienne without so much as a glance at either as she imposes herself quickly between incoming angel and the drunk guy and his girlfriend.

"Lady, get your boyfriend inside and grab your…giant spear and armor?!" She looks back in time to see the spear extend in Vivienne's hand and blink several times, "What in the heck?!" Adara declares before she looks then back at the angel and then at Vivienne a moment before saying, "Wait, I'm not interrupting some kind of like LARP am I?"

That quip earns a deeper scowl from Tom, as much because Vivienne's point hits a mark — the dusty nature of his store front suggests that he's rarely seen a client, if one was indeed willing to darken his dingy, Brooklyn space. Adara's sudden appearance earns a baffled look, and then she, too, gets a scowl from the thin ex-priest. "She isn't my fucking girlfriend. Fuck's sake!"

The street lights gleam, going bright-white and then popping, burning out, as the Angelic creature moves down the street with a stalking purpose. It's gaze is on the figure at the door, a sharp interest that feels like a weight burning in that gaze. And then, as she steps forward, its gaze turns to Adara, though its stalking pace isn't altered at all by her — and Vivienne's — sudden appearance in its path. "My mission shall not be denied," it states. It doesn't sound human, either. Not like bells, but kind of musical, lyrical, but it also hurts in some unfathomable way, too.

Tom Judge takes one look that way: just one. And then he shoulders his door open with a strength that belies his thin, scrawny frame. The wooden door shutters and cracks open, and he's in, running… away. What a hero! 'Get inside, Tom,' she says, needlessly, perhaps. He's gone.

"Does that look like a LARP to you?" Not that Vivienne moves to do as the other woman attempted to instruct her. She simply continues forward, seeming oblivious to the fact that the thing is massive, compared to her good self. Or that it's could easily span the width of the street. She also, as it happens, doesn't spare attention for the woman who seems intent on putting herself out in front of everyone else. She simply draws a sword with her right hand, and continues the advance. "Really? I've killed your kind before, Angelus." Alright, well, it was sort of a combined effort between Vivienne and the Running Man, but there you are. She seems determined to get it's focus on her and not the man disappearing into his shop. And if he's smart, throwing himself out of a back window and legging it.

"Mission?" Adara stares a moment and then blinks as she hears wood cracking and sees Tom run inside. Then she's looking at Vivienne advancing and then she's just staring. This was all quite confusing and frankly she wasn't planning on any of this. She then lets out a littel whine and runs over to the side of the road, "I liked this outfit."

She tosses baggy with her cellphone and wallet in it into a bush. Then she kicks her shoes into the bush as well. She the nlets out a soft sigh and looks at the shirt again. She stares at it a long moment and then she takes a breath and looks toward the Angel thing.

"Angelus, huh?" She nods and then there's a burst of pure heat and fire. Vivienne will feel it. See it in a way as her shadow stretches out before her. The average sized Korean girl grows nearly a foot in height between heels and just general change. Her form covered in a bio-organic black and magma like armor that flows over her feet forming high heels and up over her body, burning away her clothing to replace it. A plunging neckline leaves her far less covered than even she would like but she's grown used to it. Her hands extend into sharp claws and her eyes open slowly to reveal firey holes.

"I don't care who or what you are." She takes stalking steps forward behind Vivienne, "But I can't allow you to stalk people in this city. Neither can armor lady here." SHe gestures even as firey wings topped with bone like blackened support flows out from her back, flexing wide.

One by one, the lamps around them glow bright and burn out, casting the surrounding area into shadow. It's not dark, however: the angel's very presence seeming to shed an ambient light that gives the impression of twilight as it gets within range of the two women. That sword it carries, too, gleams — as its swung directly towards where Vivienne — being closer — is standing, seeking to sweep her aside as if she were little more than an irritant.

"You are nothing, humans," it says, though there's maybe a hint of something like ire as Vivienne names them.

Of course, that's before Adara changes forms, sprouting wings. The Angelus continues the movement of its sword, upwards, then down seeking to strike the place where Adara's form now takes up the street.

"Holy shit, what the fuck is that?" Tom Judge has been accused of many things in his time. Being smart is definitely not one of them. He's standing in the doorway of his shop, a sword held at his side, but he's… well, he's distracted by the woman on fire.

"I think you have me mistaken for someone else." Though Vivienne, well, still looks entirely mortal. She does not, however, look in the least afraid, as the angelus warrior swings its sword down in her direction and she raises the spear. As soon as the sword hits the air around the spear, a shield of brilliant white light, as bright as the creature but pure in a way the thing simply is not explodes out from the point of impact, forming a crescent around Vivienne and incidentally, likely, partly around the transformed Adara whom she has not yet seen, the creature ahead of her taking all of her attention. Instead, she pushes her advantage, pressing forward as she swings her sword in an attempt to strike the creature.

It seems that Vivienne is taking this hit on her light shield. That leaves Adara free to not be hit but to instead blink at the lady and then she blinks as she hears something from the house. She shakes her head and then looks back at the firey beast. She takes a step to the side and looks the angel thing over, "I know you look like an angel but you are none that I have heard of."

She looks to Vivienne and calls out, "Be careful not to move forward into it." Into what though? That of course is when suddenly fire whips up from Adara's feet and runs along the ground and turns toward the center. It seems to move around Vivienne and her shield, seeing a way to the angel and then flares up around it in an attempt to engulf the creature.

The appearance of the Spear of Destiny is clearly unexpected by the Angelus. It focuses, laser-like, on the object, with an equivalent of a sharp inhale of breath. The creature takes a step back, but only enough to give it room to counter Vivienne's swing of the sword, and unnautral strength trying to drive it home, but not able to get past the shield of brilliant light that springs up. Frustration weighs in a second attempt to strike through her guard.

For a moment, it forgets Adara even exists. That seems to be one of it's failings: its sole mode of focus, such that, when Adara's fire whips forward around the shield, it hisses out a noise and recoils, fire engulfing it for a moment, all brightness and heat that is difficult to look directly at.

There's a moment where it's fair to say that Tom Judge weighs up the sum of his life and determines whether today's a good day to die. An Angelus is one thing, but a fire woman with wings? Then again… it's not that unusual… He steps out into the street, the silver object hanging from his neck gleaming in the reflected light that comes off the Angelus. The sword Tom carries is a twin to the one the angelic creature holds — though without the glow to it. Tom wields it carelessly, despite its size, like it weighs nothing. "Hey — looking for this, bub?" He swings it back and forward a bit, though it's obvious he's no swordsman.

If Tom's intention was to distract the creature, well, it worked. Perhaps a little too well. The still-burning angel fixes on him, taking a leap that takes it past Vivienne and Adara, and lands on the street between the two and where Tom is standing. The sharp wind of its movement serves to put out most of the fire, though a twin of thin lines on the back of its arms still burns, blackening the metal of its armor, the rest of the flames leaving scorch marks that seem to make it look duller in the fire's wake. Leaving its back to the pair, the Angelus advances, driving its sword down on top of where the very mortal-looking Tom is standing.

The second strike of the angelus warrior's sword on her shield pushes Vivienne back, boots sliding along the asphalt, her knees flexing as she takes the weight of it, the way a body might handle the recoil of a gun. The swing of the sword, of course, misses, as she really can't get in close enough to the thing. And that's all to the good as she's suddenly surrounded by flames. And even that, doesn't bring her head around, despite the Adara's words, because, of course, she expected that the fire came from a different source. Her eyes narrow, attempting to shield her vision from the brilliance of the flame, but she continues to hold the spear aloft, the sword dropping from her right hand so that she can take the Spear in both hands. It isn't until the warrior leaps up and over her that she spins around and catches sight of the woman made of flame and magma. Two plus two of course now, and for a fleeting moment, there's something almost like recognition in her expression, "No angel. Only a manifestation." The shield around her fades, as the warrior advances on Tom, "It means to have him, and the sword." And then, she leaps, not quite 'tall buildings in a single bound' but far higher and faster than any normal human, spinning the Spear in her hands, seemingly intent on taking advantage of the creature's direction to attempt to drive the Spear into its back, with any luck directly at the point of its heart.

A blink as she watches the thing leap and then she hears Vivienne. She looks at her and then she is all leaping, too. She considers this a moment and watches as Vivienne goes for that stab. She can't do much without potentially causing more harm than good so she does the next best thing and uses fire in a way that it was never intended.

Her hands hit the ground and fire slithers out of them like two snakes going straight for the Angel creature. The tendrils of fire form clawed hands and literaly attempt to grasp the ankles of the thing and hold in a burning, yet very solid hold.

Tom is not really naturally agile. The whole theory of 'getting the things attention' sounded great in theory, and now that he has it, not so much. Instead of diving out of the way, he holds up the sword that is twin to the Angelus'. There's no way, just by laws of physics and force, he should be able to withstand the blow that comes down on him from above, that rings out a tone like a great bell — painfully — and drives him to his knees. Yet somehow, he manages it, both hands on the hilt, muscles trembling under the pressure.

For a moment, it seems like Tom will hold on long enough. But soon, his arm trembles, the silver double-barrel crucifix hanging from his neck gleaming. "No," he growls, a denial. Yes, comes the response, and a noise wails from his throat.

It's at that moment that Vivienne attacks, the Spear of Destiny digging in through the weakened, blackened spots in the armor, driving deep — and the Angelus makes a noise, ear-shattering to all present, what might be the equivalent of a painful wail. The Angelus kicks out a careless leg as it turns, sweeping Tom-and-sword alike, sending them flying across the street, thudding into the front of his shop and smashing through the window.

Wobbling now, the Angelus turns its attention on Vivienne — just as two waves of flames rip towards it, clamping onto its ankles, preventing further movement. Again, that inhuman sound splits the air, painful, as it writhes and burns. The heat is just as fierce as the light — painfully so, impossible to look at — as it cracks apart in a sudden outward burst of heat.

In its wake, the Spear of Destiny clatters to the ground, completely intact, unburnt.

Vivienne, hardly more than human weight in her armor, nevertheless brings all of her force to bear as she aims the spear, the warrior's movements, as it attempts to free itself from the weapon, from the flames that once again snake out to, this time, hold it captive whips her around, and the sudden lack of a body and the sudden drop loosens her grip on the spear and sends to woman into a hard impact with the ground. She, somehow, just manages to avoid the flames on the ground, as she rolls back up to her feet. She moves, immediately, flames or no, to retrieve the weapon, sparing a glance for the woman who summoned that fire. She's still very much an unknown quality, for all that they were momentarily allied. "For the love of all that is holy Tom Judge." Spear in hand, she rushes towards the whole the man's body made in the front window of his office.

There's no movement at first, amongst the shattered remains of the window that spreads across Tom Judge's office floor. And then there's a cough, and a pained groan, as more bits of glass go tinkling to the ground. "Did you get its sword?" he asks, out of the blue. Nevermind he's bleeding, well — almost everywhere, covered in little cuts. "Was thinking I ought to consider making a throne of swords. What do you think?"

A laugh racks through his body, and then a groan, as he curls up for a moment, because that shit hurts.

He hasn't noticed that, in the interim, the fire-woman's departed abruptly.

"I'm afraid it took it with it when it went." Vivienne picked her way carefully through the debris, making her way over towards where Tom had landed and was, probably unwisely, trying to rise to his feet, "Hold on, let me heal you before you start grinding more of that glass into your body." She does look back, but seeing the woman now vanished, turns back to Tom, "One of yours?" And then back to the man of the hour, "I don't think you want to collect more pieces of the angelus' power. Then you'll never be rid of them."

"No, I'm" Tom doesn't quite recoil, but he's not far off it, holding up a hand as if to ward off the Magdelana's. "I'm not that bad." Which is… kind of true. Even though he's cut up, it's largely superficial. "A bottle of rum and some tweezers and it'll be fine." After another breath, he manages to sit up, though not without a visible wince, maybe putting his words into doubt.

"Mine?" he echoes, dumbly, then squints past her. "Uh, no. I'm the only me that I'm aware of." Just in case, his hand instinctively reaches up towards the Rapture, clasping it. "I have no idea what that… was." But his curiosity is definitely piqued. "Eh, I figure, got to catch them all, right? If I collect enough they'll know not to fuck with me, right?" He gives another laugh. He doesn't believe it for a second, of course.

"Tom." There was something utterly weary in Vivienne's voice, as if this conversation took more of her energy than the battle itself. She simply watched the man, before she came to her feet. "Fine." And that was unusual for the woman who would have previously argued with him about his refusal to accept her aid. "Suit yourself." She stepped away, leaving him to rise on his own, turning her back and heading to the now glassless mostly still a window. "I think I have an idea of what she was, or what that was." Vivienne shook her head, "Not quite. Those aren't swords, in the way you and I imagine them. They are pieces of her. Imagine how you would feel if someone cut off your arm and then was running around town with it and wouldn't give it back to you."

Tom waits a little longer before he tries standing. There's a pained wince that he doesn't quite manage to suppress — awkwardly embarrassing after you've just flatly refused to be healed — but he finally manages it. He moves gingerly, shaking his coat, dropping more glass to the floor, before he carefully shrugs out of it and loops it over the back of his turned-over chair after he rights it once more.

"She wasn't a demon," he says, after a moment. "Or, she didn't feel like one. Normally they… they feel different. I didn't get much of a chance to look at her closely, though." He carefully pulls off his t-shirt, and then sinks into the chair, bending to examine his skin. Some of the glass is easy to grasp, and those he pulls free and drops to the ground, methodically, before her words sink in. Clearly, this hasn't occurred to him, and for a moment, he just laughs. "I mean… I wasn't exactly running around with it. I had it stashed in a parking garage for a while, and then under my couch, and then it was embedded in the floor for a bit after someone tried to steal it… but I take your point." Not that he offers to give it up, mind.

And quite unlike herself, Vivienne seemingly completely ignored the sounds of Tom attempting to rise to his feet and begin the process of removing the glass that had embedded itself in his skin. She seems intent on focusing on the street outside. There was, for a wonder, very little damage, save for the shop itself. The car alarms had long since worn themselves out, and only the blown out streetlights remained as a reminder of what had passed. "No, she wasn't. I would have felt that. But I think I read something that might be a clue. I would need to look into it a bit more. "It doesn't matter where you hid it, or where you try to hide it. She would still be able to feel it, sense it. And she will send her warriors after it until they get it back or you're dead."

Another grunt, followed by another tinkle of glass against the ground suggests Tom's sticking at it despite slow going. "And that's kind of the point," he picks up her latter words. "They're going to come after me, anyway. And there's a kind of fun irony in defeating them with their own weapons, don't you think?" He seems to, anyway. He sets aside the speculation as to their unexpected ally, for now. Research definitely isn't his thing.

"Except that you're not defeating them with their own weapons, Tom. You can hardly keep yourself in one piece. It's one thing to know that they want the artifact you carry. It's quite another to purposefully and wantonly stick your fist into a beehive and shake it around. You might have had one or two attacks before, now you're going to have a host of them coming after you. Because it's not just about that thing that you're wearing anymore." Vivienne finally turned back, though she remained where she as standing. "What are you doing this all for, Tom? You want to keep the Rapture? Fine. But this isn't that. It's not doing everything you can to protect it. This is doing everything that you can to see how much it will take for something in this world to kill you. Is that what you want? Can't commit suicide, lest you end up in hell, so you'd rather commit suicide by demon, by angelus, by the bottle? Anything that will put the fault and the blame on someone else?"

At first, his gaze remains down, but as she continues, he tenses up, and then finally stands. There's a mute wince as he draws to his full height — tall, but hardly impressive, as thin and banged-up as he is. His jaw is tight, mouth a thin line of anger at her accusation — as much for how close it cuts to the truth as the fact that she voices the words at all. "Why are you even here?" Apparently he means it rhetorically, since he's turning away, bending just long enough — and with enough of a pained grunt — to collect the sword — before he moves to thump up those stairs. She can see, as he retreats, the cuts that draw blood already winding down his back as he goes, undoubtedly impossible for him to get on his own. It's probably about what his stubbornness deserves.

Vivienne still did not step forward, made no attempt to help him. And she did not look for a moment intimidated by him, for all that she knew what he could become, and did not know if she could defend herself against it. She simply stared at him, as he went about the business of righting himself and picking up the sword. "Because I give a damn about you, Tom. Even if I can't for the life of me figure out why I should, as you couldn't care less." And as he mounts the stairs Vivienne steps though the remains of the front window and back out into the street.

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