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Penywise Oct 3rd, 2016 (edited) 3,314 Never
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  1. Katrina rests on the wide windowsill, looking over the city-state of Fuil. The walled and dark city sits upon the frozen coast, a long northern stretch of bleak beach, of dark grey sands and pale white waves.  A grim storm had blown in west off the ocean, blanketing the city in its sombre clouds and raining upon its windows and steeply tiled rooves a storm of sleet.
  3. She watches as the snow brushes against the top of the glass window and melts into an icy sludge on its way down to finally trickle off the edge as water. It was by no means a short journey, considering the window was at least three times as tall as a man. The glass reflects the faintly glowing light of her ice blue eyes just as well as it reflects the rest of the room within and the rest of Katrina herself, naked except for laced undergarments. Though, even without, her hair is long and voluminous enough in and of itself to cover her. Her state of undress wasn’t necessarily reflective of the room either. There was a fire place and it was burning, but not with enough intensity to heat any more than a handful of meters around it. The rest of the spacious, high-rooved room was bone-chillingly cold. Any mere mortal would freeze. But to her, the cold is simply a non-issue.
  5. Her gaze stops following the falling sleet and reaches far into the distance. Her mind wanders back to some months ago, to the snow-blanketed forests nestled at the foot of the mountain pass and the man she found within. She traces her reflection’s hand as it slips down the pale white skin of her toned stomach. She watches as it bites down on its lower lip and strokes itself through a thin layer of deep crimson silk.
  7. Her thin, graceful fingers slide down the indentation of her slit and rub against the hard nub of toe-curling, mind-melting nerves. She’s only moments away from slipping a hand into her bra when the enormous double doors begin to open themselves. With a half-sigh, half-whine she stops.
  9. A moment later her sister walks through, holding a silver tray with silver cups, plates, jugs and a teapot upon it. The tall slender woman gives a soft laugh and shakes her head, her silken black hair bouncing about, dressed only in a long black nightgown, thin to the point of complete transparency.
  11. “Don’t stop on my account.”
  13. “I…” Kat sighs, “No… It’s fine.” The woman puts the tray down upon a table before the fire and Kat slips off the windowsill gracefully, making her way to the table and the lounges around it.
  15. The other woman steps around to intercept Katrina, bumping up against her gently, chest to chest. With a wry smile on her face, her hands drift to Kat’s hips before sneaking around to grab handfuls of her tight, curvy rear. “I could give you a hand.” She opens her mouth wide and fangs glint in the moon-lit room. Katrina shivers wistfully and tilts her head to the side, offering her throat. Her sister’s lips descend on Kat’s neck but rather than bite, her tongue slides out, cool and wet. She holds the vamp closer and lays seductive kisses along her supple neck.
  17. Greedily, she gropes Kat’s ass, squeezing the pliable flesh and a smirk comes to her lips as she feels the girl’s nipples stiffen under her bra. Kat bites down on her lower lip and shakes her head softly, pushing gently at her sister’s shoulders “Not tonight, Kamilla. It’s alright. The longer I wait the sweeter it’ll be.”
  19. Kamilla laughs softly and disengages, “The longer you wait? Kat, that carriage is going to smell like Lara’s bedroom by the time you get to the Imperial Capital. You can barely keep your hands off yourself ever since you found out about the mission.”
  21. The sisters sit and Kamilla begins to pour the tea into the cups. “I’m eager,” Kat’s gaze drifts to the small saucers and she watches the steam rise off the soft cakes placed upon them. “What of it?”
  23. Kamilla only smiles in answer. Thick cream has been poured over the top and it runs to the bottom of the saucer, soaking the cake in its goodness. The sights and smells elicit a deep hunger within her, but she also knows that a part of it is due to the third jug, not full of tea, nor milk, but the rich warm blood Fuil is prized for.
  25. Kamilla puts the teapot down and reaches for the jug of milk, turning the dark black into a milky off-white. Then she reaches for the jug of blood, adding a deep crimson swirl to the tea. Kat nods her polite thanks and takes a cup, blowing at the liquid softly before taking a sip. Kamilla watches with a smile as her sister melts into her chair with a blissful sigh.
  27. “Is it that good?”
  29. Kat shoots a look over the rim of her cup, “Modesty isn’t your strong point, sister.” Kamilla gives a gentle chuckle and Kat takes another sip. “I’ll miss this.”
  31. “You can take some leaves with you if you like”
  33. “It isn’t the same if you don’t make it.”
  35. “You’ll have better blood.”
  37. A wistful grin takes her, “That… is true.”
  39. “Speaking of, are you sure he is the best target?”
  41. “Yes. Edward von Althofen,” She rolls the name about on her tongue and in her mind, like a delectable sweet, “the heir of Althof and the only son of Grigory von Althofen. His power in the empire is small, but his line is one of the oldest and most respected. He isn’t ambitious either. Clearly the most suitable target.”
  43. The older vampire taps her chin thoughtfully “Hmm, shouldn’t cause too many ripples if you hop in bed with him.”
  45. Kat blushes, “Kamil, please.”
  47. Kamilla laughs, “Sorry, sorry. Shouldn’t cause too many ripples if you “infiltrate” his house.”
  49. “That’s what I thought. Old but small. Respected but not threatening to the power players. The Althofen rise through slow and honest means. His father earned a lot of respect in his service to the Empire in the military and Edward is no different,” She leans over and takes a small fork, using it to cut into the spongy cake cooling before her, “slowly but surely piling up achievements. The north pass has been at its most secure in a long time thanks to him, you know.” She pops it into her mouth with a satisfied hum.
  51. Kamilla pulls a face, “Yes, I know all too well. He’s put plenty of my raids in the ground, with little more than a garrison of some hundred. You’re the only one who finds his figure heroic, Kat. I think he’s just a pain in the ass.”
  53. Katrina grins, “That’s because it’s your zombies and skeletons he’s hewing through.”
  55. “His combat intuition is astounding. Don’t you think it’s risky?”
  57. She shakes her head, “No, he’s good in a fight but a little…”
  59. “Dense?”
  61. “Honest.” She gives a dopey little smile, “I don’t mind that in a man.”
  63. Kamilla’s eyes narrow, “And if he gets in the way?”
  65. A cold still settles between the two of them. “I… I’ll deal with it.”
  67. “Good.” She softens and a light smile tugs at her lips, “You aren’t there just to seduce yourself a man, after all.”
  69. There is an emphasis on ‘just’ that makes Katrina laugh weakly, “I know, I know. Locate the demon plants and keep an eye on their movements. I haven’t forgotten.”
  71. “But first you have to get into the courts. Pretending to be a Fuil noble is all fine and well, but you’ll need to attach yourself to someone suitable too. I’m still not a hundred percent sure, but I’ll trust your judgement.”
  73. “Well, can’t I just… hypnotize him?”
  75. Kamilla shakes her head firmly, “No. But that reminds me, come to my room later tonight and we’ll go over the list of people we actually do want you to ‘contact’. But no, you’ll need to seduce Edward the good old way. You’ll be spending too much time with him and there will be too many opportunities for something to go wrong if you hypnotize him. Its fine for the nobles who you’ll only contact briefly, but Edward will need to move of his own will. It’s up to you to ensure that his will bends to suit our purposes…” Kamilla pauses and takes a sip of tea. She puts the cup down and looks out the window.
  77. “You could always…”
  79. “No. Don’t even say it. I’d rather kill him with my own hands than turn him into one of those.”
  81. Kamilla’s lips twist in a little smile and she turns back to Kat playfully, “There is always the alternative.”
  83. Katrina’s eyes go wide, “Really? I didn’t even consider that. Do you really think that’ll work?”
  85. “I’ll talk to Lara, it’s a possibility. An incubus like him would be a powerful ally. If I thought he was a pain in my ass now, I shudder to imagine the carnage he would work with a bit of Blood in him.” She levels a naughty grin at Kat, “Ultimately it all depends on how well you seduce him. You can’t depend on your beauty either. The glamours we’ll cover you with will leave you looking decidedly… human.”
  87. The vampire blushes a little at the thought, “I’ll try my best.”
  89. “Good. I’ll let you get packed then. Don’t forget to visit me before you leave.” Kamil rises and turns to leave before halting, “Um, are you going to drink that?”
  91. “Hm? Oh! No, I’m not particularly hungry.”
  93. Kamil smirks, “Nervous?”
  95. “A little.”
  97. The older vampire takes the jug of blood and up ends it, moaning in satisfaction before putting it back down. “Don’t worry about it. They wouldn’t send you if you weren’t up to it.”
  99. Kat nods, “…Right. See you soon.” The giant double doors open once more and Kamilla steps through and walks down a large hallway. The doors swing shut soon after she leaves and Kat rises after downing the last of her tea.
  101. “Right. Let’s get to packing...”
  103. She heads over towards her giant bed and surveys the clothes she has to pack away before she flops down atop it all, “Later.”
  106. *   *   *
  108. The carriage jumps and bumps along the road as it whisks Katrina away from Fuil, riderless and pulled by two dead horses. There are layers upon layers of glamours and illusions cast upon herself, the horses and the carriage. Enough to ensure that she’ll blend in no matter who sees her. A bandit will see a run-down carriage with a beggar atop it; a timid guard will see a visiting dignitary with a mean soldier atop it and a bolder, more corrupt one would see a holy vehicle with a Strohmbelt inquisitor atop it. And none of them would think to stop it.
  110. The only ones to see the true form of the carriage and the horses pulling it would be her vampiric sisters. She slouches back into the seat and peels back a heavy curtain, squinting and wincing as sunlight streams into the dim carriage. The sky above Fuil is still overcast but even then only a scant few are out and about in the city. There weren’t too many in Fuil who understood the true nature of their masters, but a cloud of oppression hung over the commonfolk all the same. All they know is that you don’t question your noble betters and you lock your doors at night and hide your sons.
  112. But it isn’t as though they have any concrete complaints. Anyone who sees anything; hears anything, anyone who rises up against injustice finds themselves in a ditch, light headed and with an unnatural urge to devote themselves to the city of Fuil.
  114. Every waking moment of every day has them breaking their backs to farm, build and construct. Never resting, sometimes doing so entirely without pay. They don’t last much longer than a few years in the best of cases. Even with everything added up, none of it is quite enough to solidify any kinds of fears or enemies, but there is more than enough shadow to keep the peasants afraid of the dark, without quite knowing why.
  116. Kat passes down the main road, getting further and further away from the higher class neighbourhoods and the unremarkable carriage trundles along through the trade district and joins a handful of others in the traffic as goods are traded and transported from the empire to Strohmbelt and all the provinces in-between. The north lands were wild and dangerous only a decade or two back, Fuil being the north most reaches of the civilized world with only a single feeble kingdom further north, withered and beset by demons.
  118. That feeble husk grew into a powerhouse of fanaticism so pure it would make the Empire blush and stabilised much of the region, often staging patrols along the main roads. Kat had to kill more than a few inquisitors encroaching into nearby towns. Tough, merciless and fair bastards, not at all like the twisted, cruel and petty lot under the Empire.
  120. Their sudden burst of power is a mystery that she and her vampiric sisters are very interested in for obvious reasons, but the most common working theory is that effete leadership simply strangled the potential they always had. But keeping an eye out on inquisitors isn’t her charge anymore and she tears her mind from political developments in the northlands and directs it towards the event later tonight.
  122. The party is held by a powerful noble for his daughter’s 16th birthday and it is a perfect opportunity to kill a great many birds with a single stone. Fuil is looking to do trade with the girl’s father and he is a great mark for a gentle hypnosis, a light suggestion the he should lean favourably toward Fuil and its demands. Amongst the guest list are a number of individuals entrenched in court life that would make excellent spies in order to track down the movements of the demon plants. Making a move at the party will be relatively risk free, as the Bathory court of vampires are fairly certain that their presence in Fuel was unknown except to a limited few. Her pretending to be a small-time noble shouldn’t draw suspicion.
  124. And finally, the bird she’s hoping to hit most, Edward von Althofen. His invitation to the party prompted a four month leave during which he would leave the border to another commander and return to Althof, a small fief north of the capital by the woods. Edward would return there and oversee his lands before leaving for the borders once. Katrina is hoping to use the party to entice him into inviting her over for the four months he would have spare, plenty of time for her to work up an influence in the capital.
  126. Kat sighs and squirms in a nervous anticipation. Chalking it up to the sun, she draws the curtain shut and closes her eyes as the carriage rumbles out of Fuil.
  129. *   *   *
  131. Edward finishes with his last pleasantry and excuses himself, his steps uncomfortably light. Somewhat concerned with this revelation he makes a mental note to perhaps not wear his armor so often. But then you never know what might raid the border, nor do you know when, so that note itself may prove to be foolish. There is, at least, the comfort of the thick and broad sword sheathed upon his hip.
  133. The mansion is large with two huge double doors opening into a spacious room and a flight of stairs leading up into a frankly obscenely large hall. Currently it was flocked with throngs of nobles and merchants, prompting Edward to take a short walk. Or a long walk, providing he could find a cliff short enough. Upon the second floor, just before the stairs leading down were landings heading left and right. The one to his right leads to an outdoor balcony. The one to his left, if memory serves, leads deeper into the mansion. Outside is likely the only place where he might be able to enjoy a drink and a spot of quiet.
  135. He stands there ponderingly. He’d already given his gifts to the birthday girl. Perhaps he could just make an excuse and leave? There sure are other places he’d rather be right now. All such meandering thoughts vanish as he locks eyes with the woman ascending the stairs. Sound around him seems to simply end, and in the quiet; he can hear her heels stabbing into the wooden stairs. Her faintly glowing, ice blue orbs pierce his, open in a slight expression surprise.
  137. What strikes him most… well, lots of things strike him as he lay eyes upon the ethereal beauty. Such as her pale white skin, the kind of white that noblewomen of the Imperial Courts would have to apply layer upon layer of powder and makeup to match, but her almost death-white skin was undoubtedly natural. Or perhaps praeternatural, but all the same he supposes this woman hasn’t worn a scrap of makeup in her life, unlike the other women around him who seem to have employed the royal patissier to do their job for them. Her silken white hair seems to drift like mist. He can scarce imagine the beauty of it free and floating but unfortunately it was done up in a rather complex and ornate looking ponytail.
  139. But asides from that, one of the – perhaps more notable – things that strikes him is her dress, an odd mix of noblewoman garb and battle-plate, bearing a bat wing motif upon much of its design. Her collars rise as high as her cleavage cuts low, held up by a pitch-black metal breastplate reminiscent of an over-bust corset that further props up her eye-popping breasts in a way that threatens to have them spill out with only a single errant movement. Her shoulders are clad in the cloth of a noblewoman’s dress, a puffy, frilly affair that flows down her sleeves and disappears under solid metal gauntlets that stop short of the elbow.
  141. Below her breastplate is more layered dress, the bottom of which sits just under the right hip and hangs down diagonally to above the left knee, under it a long gown that stops just short of the floor, with a deep and wide slit that allows one to see the entirety of her right leg while revealing an utterly indecent amount of… undergarment in the process. Her shapely leg is clad in thigh high plates of armor with frilly stockings underneath rising an inch further. A sheathed sword clings to her wide hips, its hilt bearing a simplistic and practical cross-guard. The pommel however, is a nude, curled up woman. Her figure is barely visible, in a sheltering cocoon of bat-like wings. It is both ornate in design and brutal in functionality, looking thick and solid enough to crack a skull.    
  143. The woman’s surprised expression falls away and she shoots Edward a warm smile before nodding politely and passing him by.
  145. Leaving aside her peculiar and risqué style, leaving aside the stark disjoint of dress and plate armor, leaving aside even the far stranger fact that no one but him seems to notice to peculiarity of it all, what strikes him the most as he watches her head into the ball room is the way she waks. If you could call that unnatural grace walking. The way she glides? His eyes are locked on her and yet she moves further and further away without him really being able to read her movements. It is more like she dominates the floor and simply has it move under her. Or at least, that was the impression that he gets. His battle-honed instincts scream at him that she is more than a skilled fighter.
  147. He stands there, rooted and stupid, as she gets further and further away. It isn’t until she disappears into the throngs that his wits return to him. He shakes his head softly and heads down the walkway to the right. Maybe he should stay a little longer.
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