Three On A Match
-- : Third on a match. Meaning: bad luck.

Grave and Spirit
Upper Fens 

Jules Durand Offline
Lich Undying

Jules slid his black coat over his black tank top and took a slow turn in his room feeling the weight of the clothes on his body. He made no expression physically, but a mental frown crossed his thoughts as he bent his knee a bit and seemed to be playing with his weight a little. Finally he pulled out a pair of car keys and his cell phone from one pocket and did the little display again. He nodded once, then put the keys in his left pocket and his phone in his coat pocket. The weight was more in line with what he expected and he was pleased with the outcome.

Walking away from his room and the few clothes strewn about he glanced at the abysmal state of his home's living room. It had been trashed recently when he'd had something of a fit and he still hadn't taken the time to clean it. He'd wiped away the worst of the writings he had coated on the wall and now he just needed to buy some new furniture and have a cleaning professional stop by to fix things up. Perfectly normal though if they questioned too much about what happened he would have to kill them.

Checking his phone again, Jules nodded to himself and left his home. It was dark outside, the witching hour fast approaching and he had people to see and places to be. Specifically he had a security guard to meet and the place was the cemetery. Honestly he should have visited much sooner but you know how these things go. You get buys with law cases and visiting uppity wizards in their stores and you just let these things slip.

But he was a necromancer dammit, one of the best by his own estimation that he could recall, and it was just upsetting to not have material to work with. He planned to visit the headstones, walk the grave dirt, and bind a few spirits to his will. That would make things a bit easier in the future and to be honest would put him a bit at ease too. Oh bringing up a few bodies was all well and good and he would reanimate a few soon enough, but ghosts. That was where the real prize was. A corpse rotted and decayed without magic running through it constantly. Even a monstrosity forced to live, even in a state some would call a mockery, had a ever ticking timer on its usefulness. But a properly bound ghost? Ah, there was nothing so beautiful as a spirit toiling away its eternal suffering while being useful. 

Jules sent a single simple text to the person he was planning to meet, a guard named Renzo.


Jules hit send on the message, not realizing that it wasn't normal to have everything capitalized like that and honestly not knowing how to turn that off anyway. He'd briefly talked with the guard a few times, interesting fellow suffering from some curse. Though the more Jules looked into it, and he hadn't been looking that hard, the more the lich suspected it wasn't a curse at all. 

Leaving his home he drove to the cemetery and parked. Looking at the black iron gates of the graveyard something in him seemed to uncoil and relax in the floating presence of death in the night. Like coming home after a long vacation.
Gregory Renzo Offline
Siren Inactive

It had been a long day, one in which Gregory hadn't done much work but felt exhausted anyway. It was also coincidentally one of those strange days when the feathered parts of his body had the skin prickling and tingling like it was being grazed by a glove of needles. The most alarming part of that was that he was beginning to feel it on his nape, too. Gregory knew that it meant his nape would soon also start growing feathers, which meant he needed to find a cure for his curse soon.

He'd been at home, shirt pulled off, holding a hand mirror in front of him with his back to the bathroom mirror, looking at the reflection of the reflection of his nape and gauging how long he had before the feathers grew out of the skin. His phone buzzed once, making him put the hand mirror down to look at the message. With brows furrowed in confusion about the sender, Gregory briefly pondered if he should go to the meeting place. He pulled on a shirt and a jacket. The message being in all caps made it sound urgent, and he knew of very few people who had his number.

Since the cemetery was far from his apartment, Gregory hailed a taxi to take him there. He thought deeply about the text, who sent it, why, what they wanted, and other questions as he watched the bright lights of the slowly turn to distanced streetlights. The driver had been curious for his reason to visit at such a late hour, and all he could say was that he had a date. That was enough to stop the man from prying, but he still provided some last-minute warnings just as they stopped a distance from the cemetery gates. It seemed even the driver didn't like to get close to the dark graveyard.

"Freaky and creepy girls tend to be a bit psychopathic," he said. Gregory reassured the driver that he would leave at the first sign of danger before he hopped off the cab. He rubbed the back of his neck as he turned around and stared at the dark expanse in front of them. 

Gregory took a deep breath. "Welp, here goes nothing," He said to himself before he walked towards the gates. As he neared, he saw a parked car. It was familiar to Gregory, and it took him a while before he realized that he often saw the car at work. And it belonged to his strange and rather frightening lawyer-sorcerer friend, Jules. That certainly explained a few things.
Jules Durand Offline
Lich Undying
Jules waited for his companion for the evening. While he stood in the night a thought occurred to him and he walked over to his car and opened the door again. Reaching in he pulled out a small carton of cigarettes and a simple silver lighter. Drawing them from the car he closed the door behind him. He tapped the carton against his palm twice and then withdrew a long black cigarette from the carton. Technically, according to the child at the store, these were a type of clove. That was ideal since nicotine did nothing for Jules and he more wanted the things for the smoke they produced and the embers of dying light. He put one of the little sticks in his mouth and flicked the lighter on.

It did not produce a flame.

He looked at it with scorn before trying again and producing a small orange glow. He likely needed to add oil to the device. Holding it up to his mouth he put the cigarette against the flame and then did something he rarely indulged in. He breathed. The magic that animated him swarmed around his shriveled lungs and pumped them like a bellows. He drew air in and the little stick released a bright glow from its end, when he stopped drawing in air the glow dimmed and then he unleashed a torrent of smoke from his nose as his necromantic energies crushed in on his lungs to expel the collected smoke.

He was satisfied with the display and puffed a time or two more on the thing as he waited. He needed the smell in the air and the smoke about him. He'd probably end up smoking a few more before the night was done and while it was tedious to actually use his lungs it was nothing more than a hassle, not a true inconvenience.

Around this time Renzo pulled up having gotten a ride from some no name townie. Jules used the hand holding the cigarette to wave him over toward the lich's own car. "Took you long enough. Come on, the night won't stay young forever." the undead said while gesturing toward the gates of the cemetery.

Jules moved with a kind of minimalist purpose. He stepped quick and certain yet his body used as little motion as possible for each step. He hadn't even puffed on his cigarette since he saw Renzo, just keeping it between his fingers while it burned. Looking at the gates around the cemetery the walking corpse considered the metal bars curiously. "Would you like to do the honors or should I?" Jules asked Renzo, still not explaining why he had called the guard to a graveyard in the middle of the night.
Gregory Renzo Offline
Siren Inactive
Although a sliver of fear of Jules still lingered in his mind--it was easy to remember the heavy table moving on its own a couple of times and even easier to feel the non-human air about the lawyer--the time spent away from him and speaking to him had certainly diminished that initial fear. It was still there, of course, constantly reminding Gregory not to fool around whenever he's with Jules. Still, the man's strange demands were met with a confused frown. "Can I at least know what we're doing here?" Gregory asked as he stepped towards the locked gate. He inspected the lock on the chain looping the last bars of the gates together. It was rusted and the type that could withstand one of those large cutters. They didn't need any special tools, however.

Gregory simply put one hand squarely around the U-shaped part of the lock and another around its solid body and... snap. The lock had broken cleanly into its two main parts, the U-shaped metal snapping cleanly off the body of the lock. He unwound the chain that held the gates together and pushed one side open all the way, stepping into the property. Once he pushed the gate in, he turned around and gestured to Jules.

Considering they were at a cemetery, he wondered if they were about to bury a body. Or dig out a body, knowing Jules from that one time they conversed. He wouldn't put it past the sorcerer, even if his day job was practicing law. He didn't seem like the person who cared much for the law if it opposed his interests. And that was one more reason why Gregory was somewhat wary of him.

Looking back at Jules, Gregory realized that he was wearing all black. "Should I have dressed for a grave-digging occasion?" he asked, looking down at his good clothes and good sneakers. Well, they were good but they were old. If he was to dig graves tonight, which he'd complain about until he didn't have to, he wouldn't feel bad about wearing them to this peculiar meeting. They're due for a replacement pair soon, anyway.
Jules Durand Offline
Lich Undying
"I already explained all of that." Jules said.

He hadn't.

Fact was Jules thought he'd set all this up before hand but was very mistaken. Small bouts of insanity made mix up likes this on occasion. When Renzo moved over toward the gate and gripped the chain to easily snap it Jules took note. "Strong. Have you always been that strong or is it recent?" Jules asked curious. If it was increased strength then the changes the guard was experiencing were more than just skin deep. It led evidence to the lich's theory that this wasn't a curse but something in his blood finally awakening. It also made Renzo more useful as a companion should anything particularly odd happen. Jules very much expected to be distracted while trying to bind any spirits he found so it was always best to have a pair of eyes helping.

He used to have an apprentice that would do such things but... ah he couldn't remember any of them so why worry about it.

Jules walked past Renzo as he gestured and then remembered to take another small puff on the cigarette so that it stayed bright. He let the smoke slowly roll out between his lips as he willed his eyes to dilate wide and take in every drop of light in the night air. Behind him Gregory asked if he should have dressed for grave-digging. "Don't be childish, bodies buried in a modern cemetery are almost useless. Too pumped with chemicals to decay or rot properly and stitched and locked in heavy coffins. Useless save for weak man power when you are desperate." Jules said, clearly more than a little annoyed as he spoke. He wasn't a fan of the modern method of dealing with a body for burial. The chemicals kept the body in a rotting state for so long yet ruined it for any kind of research that might have made use of their dead flesh. The mouth was wired shut making them unable to bite. Stitched into a suit that limited mobility and often with their eyes sewn shut as well. All of which locked in a heavy casket that most corpses lacked the strength to break free from.

If Jules pushed enough necromantic energy into them then sure he might be able to raise a few but the cost-return ratio made the entire affair a waste. Better to find a morgue where the bodies were just cold or a swamp where they were rotting properly at the bottom. No cemeteries were lousy for corpses in Jules' opinion. They were however ideal for spirits.

As he looked around he opened his senses, feeling for that cold tingle that told him there was a spirit in play somewhere in the graveyard. He caught a few cold spots that warranted a bit of further investigation. He didn't need strong spirits yet, no soldiers or killers, or anything. A spirit's personality was akin to its power... to strip a spirit of its individuality was to rob it of much of its power and potential. However if you just needed a hand then all that freewill was a waste of effort. Jules needed some extra hands and was more than comfortable ripping a spirit to pieces until they were little more than extensions of his own will to get them.

"We are hunting ghosts." he told Renzo, who seemed to have forgotten everything they had talked about prior... which of course never happened.

Jules using his fancy new Spirit sense to hone in on the ghosties
Gregory Renzo Offline
Siren Inactive
No, Jules didn't at all explain anything about what they were doing tonight. In fact, Gregory was surprised to find out that they had a thing to do tonight at all. Nevertheless, he said nothing to Jules and simply followed him deeper into the cemetery. He pulled his jacket tighter to his torso as they walked past the headstones and graves. "Not a recent development, but it appeared with the feathers. I just... forget about it most of the time," Gregory said. Well, that was somewhat of a lie. How could he forget that he had unnatural strength? Apparently, except that one time he met Jules for the first time. He blamed the sorcerer for that one, though. Hard to remember that he could also easily push the table with a toe when he saw Jules drive it away and back with just a thought. Plus, Jules scared the shit out of him that time.

Still does, especially now that they were amongst the dead. Gregory said nothing as Jules ranted about the bodies today being too pumped with chemicals to be of good use. What "good use" meant was something he wasn't keen on knowing. He did get a glimpse of Jules' age from what he said. He must be old enough to have seen bodies before modern funeral practices. He'd check online later exactly how long ago "modern" funeral practices began. When was the last time people didn't use heavy coffins for burying their dead? He'd check with Google later, too. All that he was certain of was that Jules was old. His age probably span centuries.

"What?" Gregory paused in his tracks when he finally got his answer. Now, walking through a cemetery at night with someone else wasn't all too terrifying. Not if Gregory actively thought about other things, like the moon's bright light on the dark expanse and the stars above. However, the moment Jules reminded him of the supernatural--ironically, even though his existence as a sorcerer was quite supernatural itself-- that was when terror began to creep into Gregory's mind. He hated the supernatural. To be specific, he was terrified of ghosts and ghouls and hauntings. The rest of the supernatural world was easy to ignore, like fairies, trolls, witches, or whatever else. But the undead and things beyond the grave were something else. Damn Paolo for his stories. Damn that one Japanese horror movie that scared the shit out of Gregory as a kid and had scarred him ever since.

"How exactly do we hunt ghosts?" Gregory asked, keeping the creeping fear from affecting his voiced question. Did they use holy water? Jules didn't seem like the type to need that. Heck, he might even be allergic to it, considering his connection to the dead or undead, whichever it was that he told Gregory many nights ago. "And will ghost hunting help me fix the curse? Or am I the bait?" He wouldn't put it past Jules. Not that Gregory knew him well enough to tell if he would actually make him ghost bait.
Jules Durand Offline
Lich Undying
Jules slowly turned a circle as he felt the spirits lingering in the graveyard. Not as many as he had hoped. Not as angry. Not as tormented. At least not yet. He sensed for them and finally ended facing the closest he could feel. It lead toward a small grave stone that gave a name Jules didn't care about and numbers that told him the deceased was just under forty years old.

If this was their grave and not someone they were just watching over. Renzo was still talking. It actually made a fair bit of sense to Jules to forget how strong one could be... though the lich thought of it more in terms of how flimsy the world actually was.

It was when Renzo asked how and brought up his curse and possibly being bait that he drew a single hoarse laugh from the walking corpse. "Ha! Neither. You are a guard. So you are here to guard me while I work." Jules said simply.

At the same time he shrugged off his black coat to reveal the black tank top underneath. When his hand passed through his sleeve it knocked off a spray of embers from his still burning cigarette.

"I'm somewhat vulnerable while I bind spirits. Please ensure someone doesn't chop off my head or something while I work." not that chopping off his head would kill him, at least not for long.

It would be terribly annoying though. Jules slowly raised up his bare arms while he focused on the space in front of him...he started gathering his energy and his skin seemed to pale and thin a bit as he did.

Then, as he started to weave the necromancy outwards... the spirit vanished. Just like that. Gone.

It had sensed him. Then it had fled. Jules frowned and glared at the empty air. "Dammit. Too smart for its own good." he mumbled at the failed attempt.

Necromancy Cinder roll: 6d6
... 1 pass. FAILURE
Gregory Renzo Offline
Siren Inactive
Now, it was more or less a relief to hear that Gregory would be guarding Jules. Well, at first it was a relief. Being a guard was far more preferable compared to being bait. But then, after a second of thought, Gregory wondered who or what he'd be guarding Jules from. Then, that's when it was less of a relief and more of a safety issue for him. After all, Gregory would be better at smooth talking his way out of terrible and most likely supernatural situations than fighting his way out. How the hell was he going to fight a ghost who'd want to chop Jules' head off, anyway? He couldn't go full Ghostbuster without the appropriate gear, at least.

Gregory's train of thought was cut off when Jules stripped off his coat and immediately began his... ghost hunting process. At first, it seemed to Gregory that nothing was happening. He even wondered if this was Jules' idea of a prank. Then, he began to notice something strange occur to Jules. Gregory watched as Jules seemed to grow gaunt and pale. His muscles--what little he had on his thin frame--seemed to shrink further, followed by his skin. Veins began to seem much more visible as the skin grew from a healthy-ish hue to the color of paper. Dull, white, and almost translucent under the moonlight.

Around him, the air seemed to grow heavier yet also sharper. It prompted Gregory to step back and away from the miasmic atmosphere that permeated from Jules. It was a terrible feeling being near it. It was like standing next to the external part of an air conditioning unit on a hot day, but with the feeling of death and decay instead of heat. He stepped back until he was a good few feet from the man.

All that occurred for only a few seconds, however. In a moment, the invisible death bubble around Jules seemed to implode. Gregory waited and watched in silence as he cursed the soul for being too smart for its own good. "Maybe it moved on just as you tried to hunt it?" he half-joked, half-helpfully said. Gregory wasn't sure if ghosts could just choose to move on, but he hadn't even been a believer of this ghostly kind of supernatural thing until just a few moments ago.

A quick look around them showed that nobody or nothing had changed. Gregory's hair still stood on end for being out in the cemetery at night, being almost all alone, and during an almost-full moon. "So... what happens to the ghosts you hunt?" he asked, unable to contain his curiosity despite the passive fear coursing through him.
Jules Durand Offline
Lich Undying
Jules made the effort to roll his eyes when Renzo mentioned the possibility of the ghost moving on. Literally. Willing his eyes to alter the natural direction they sat at and his facial muscles to express just to give it the proper response it deserved.

"You greatly underestimate the difficulty to actually move on. It just fled." he said.

Jules slowly walked sensing again for new spirits. He approached the next cold spot he felt and nodded. As he approached Renzo asked an interesting question. Jules looked back at him as he considered how to answer. Being too straightforward would probably be a bit much for the guard.

"Most spirits are trapped in the cycle of their own existence. In a way I give them the power to break their cycle. But in exchange they are bound to my service." Jules explained.

It was technically true. Jules broke any cycle these spirits may have been experiencing... though for these particular spirits he broke it by stripping away everything they were. It likely hurt.

Jules raised hid hands and his skin began to receded again. His face and body grew gaunt as he quickly lashed out with his necromantic will.

The invisible strands of magic whipped out and snapped around another unseen force. They began to spread and wrap. Everywhere they touched gouged into the spirit like barbwire. When it struggled the spirit was torn free and then the wire gripped somewhere else. When it finally settled the necromantic barb wire wrapped from its left foot up around its body and up to its right arm.

Jules lowered his arm and drew the spirit inwards toward him. When it overlapped with him his flesh filled in again. He looked back at Renzo. "See, not so difficult a task." he said simply.

Jules Necromancy Cinder
6d6: 4 passes = Complete Success
Third on the Match Offline
Bereaved Banshee
DC 5
Intent: Neutral
Keywords: Sound/Song, Empathy
Cinder 9d6
Strike 4d6
Luck 4
Standing by an old overgrown obelisk, the name and date of the one it stands in remembrance of long since worn away by the tooth of time, there is the figure of a woman. A grey shawl covers her shoulders over a green dress intricately decorated with embroidery. She stands just under five feet tall, seemingly human, with red eyes from continual weeping. Should one look at her out of the corner of their vision, her hair will remain a bright, vibrant red, but her complexion will, for a split second, appear to be sallow and ghastly, her clothes in tatters.

She takes no notice of the two, gently sobbing where she stands. She will respond to questions with non-committal and dismissive answers, but any hostile provocation will have her intent change from neutral to hostile. She will scream out her prediction of the imminent deaths of those who disturb her mourning, inspiring fear and encouraging those around her to run.

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