Logs:TSO-NOLA - Snow White and the Bloody Bundle

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TSO-NOLA - Snow White and the Bloody Bundle

Characters: Seth, Nikola, Muse (Band of Savages), Rafael, Seven and Mingzhu as ST
Date: 2020-06-17
Summary: Five go a-hunting, and find their serial killer...

.oO( The Old Ursuline Convent Museum )Oo................................................o.

A shining example of French Colonial public architecture, the Ursuline Convent sits two storeys high with a further attic level styled with dormers, in an L-shaped configuration. It is bracketed by smaller buildings and retaining walls, with an immaculately-kept front garden set with brickwork walkways and low hedges.

There is no particular security other than the walls and alarms, no guards or dogs or whatnot - as respected a museum as it is, it contains nothing of exceptional value.

Shuttered windows face into the front garden, and the entrance portico is a pool of ominous shadow, not helped at all by the faint sliver of crescent moon in the sky, no lights or lamps here to help the eye.

Not that this matters for at least three of today's guests.

Approaching the convent in a white and yellow van announcing 'Crescent City Florists - Visit Us on Royal Street' along the side along with a smiley face on a flower stem, the infiltration team parks along the edge of the convent's outermost parking lot, in a secluded spot of shadows adjacent to an alleyway. The people who emerge from the vehicle definitely aren't florists, however: Seth is clad in a flak jacket, with a black backpack of equipment slung over one shoulder and an assault rifle with a circular suppressor, slung on a strap, that is partially concealed beneath said backpack. Another suppressed pistol is holstered at his side, and his hair is covered up by a black beanie. He pulls up a dark bandana with the Ghostbuster's logo over his mouth as he approaches the building, glancing over his shoulder and gesturing for the others to follow. "Alright, radio check, one two," is all he says, his voice crackling over ear-pieces that were given to the others.

Once they've picked out a secluded spot with sight lines away from the street to clamber up, Seth leaps up and clambers his way to the top of the roof with the assistance of climbing claws, before throwing down a rope to aid the others. All of this is done in relative quiet, and then he's keeping a look-out while the others climb up the building.

Attired in the dark urban camo and flak jacket combination her coterie-mate had insisted upon - as well as black athletic shoes, foregoing her beloved combat boots for once - Muse waits serenely in the shadow of the balcony as Seth begins his ascent; green-gold eyes above the wrap of her balaclava scouring their surroundings in a habitual manner, with the occasional drift upward to keep him in sight. The Mekhet herself? She's already a little.. indistinct. The edges of her silhoutte blur naturally against the dark backdrop, lending her an ethereal, uncertain presence as she draws the shadows instinctively about herself in a literal cloak of night. Cutting a glance sidelong toward Niko, she holds the Ventrue's gaze momentarily, her expression giving little away beneath the concealment of both her cat-burglar ensemble and the impassive set of her features. As the rope unfurls from above and slinks down almost to the ground near her shoulder, however, the littlest Savage turns her attention to the next stage of this little adventure, abandoning whatever wandering track her train of thought had been meandering along. Probably best not to give the inner workings of Muse's mind too much thought, honestly. Therapists are expensive.

The darkness writhes and swirls around the brunette at the behest of a mere whim, her already tenuous outline ebbing and fading from sight even as she reaches overhead to grasp hold of the rope, springing upward from beneath to give herself a headstart. Hmm. She's admittedly a lot lighter without the weight of her boots to anchor her to the earth. And.. that's the last they see of her. Only the slight sway of motion assures her companions of her continuing climb.. and the brief grasp of Seth's forearm for balance as she alights, bracing a knee atop the stone wall of the balcony and gracefully making her way over. That done, she lets go and.. well, it's anyone's guess, actually. She's here. Somewhere. "Check." Her soft voice is audible in proximity for her fellow Shadow, and via the ear-piece for the others.

Unseen, obviously, she drifts unthinkingly into the dark corner, out of the way, and considers the distance to the shuttered windows along the roof with a contemplative air.

"Solid copy," murmurs Nikola -- no doubt a phrase he's picked up from his Amazon Prime binges in the solitude of his quarters. He, too, is wearing a flak jacket and camouflage, a backpack dangling from one shoulder. He carries no obvious weapons. Tugging his own bandana in place -- a skull-and-crossbones -- Nikola lets the Mekhets lead the way. He holds Muse's gaze as she looks over at him and winks, dark iris vanishing briefly.

As Nikola watches Seth and Muse scramble up the walls, Muse visible only as an absense -- the rope jerking beneath her weight -- he smiles. There is a glance cast aside at Seven before he steps up to the wall, absently running a hand along the smooth surface. He closes his eyes, hands dropping down to his sides. Spreading his fingers slightly, the Ventrue begins to concentrate. Strange pads begin to form on his hands, patches of waving insectile legs. Claws extend from his nails, razor-sharp.

He keeps his eyes closed as he begins to climb, apparently receiving his sensory input from some other source. He settles onto the roof easily, lazing a grin over at Seth. The bearded Ventrue absently scrapes the shape of a casket into the roof tile he crouches atop, gray-and-blue camouflage blending into the slate-colored surface in the night.

The paramilitary look of the vampires got a look that says 'seriously?' from Rafael, who's shown up dressed a bit less like an urban warrior and more like your usual person on the streets of New Orleans; he's at least stuck with his usual color scheme, though, which happens to match theirs. A pair of black jeans and a black windbreaker over his own kevlar, gloves to make sure he doesn't leave any fingerprints behind. A pale mask covers his lower face, nabbed from an industrial shop. If he has to worry about breathing in paint fumes, at least he'll be fine.

"Loud and clear," he murmurs into the mic, considering the climb for a moment before reaching for the rope with a bit of a grimace. Hand over hand he pulls himself up, a foot occasionally bracing off the building, but despite the awkward clambering that it takes him to the top he doesn't make much noise in the process.

Seven just sort of shows up. The vampires are unloading from their vehicle, then she's there. Not that she couldn't be seen, wandering up. With a mission on the line, the young woman is back in her hoodie, leggings, and sneakers, all black. The expression on her face is a serious one, but when isn't it? She quietly follows along, stoic and focused.

When they reach the building, she scales the side with aid from the rope rather easily. Even making it look effortless. Then sneaking inside? She takes some preparation, her skin becoming dark, scaly. Again, she eases through, quiet as the dead. Green eyes are constantly looking around, remaining vigilant.

After Rafael and Seven reach the rooftop, Nikola carefully edges forward along the roof, drawing a small crowbar from his backpack. He nods to Seth as he carefully makes his way around the other Vampire -- it would be extremely embarrassing to splat off the rooftop if he missteps, after all -- and makes his way to the nearest of the dormer windows.

Glancing over his shoulder once more, assessing the group, Nikola begins to fit his crowbar into the dormer window and carefully works it back and forth. Slowly at first, gaining leverage, and then -- with a sudden jerk -- he pops the lefthand shutter open. The right side follows quickly, made far easier with the easier access. The Ventrue is smiling beneath his bandana, the corners of his eyes wrinkling as he shifts to press his back to the side of the window, making room for the next person.

Drifting forward, the intangible presence of her feline Beast fleetingly 'brushing' past those of her coterie-mates to assure them of her proximity, Muse draws to a halt at Niko's shoulder as he pries open the nailed shutters, mindful of her footing on the rooftop. Tilting her head in a mannerism of curiosity, despite it not being visible, she purrs a soft 'hmm' of contemplation, audible to those nearby. "..nobody's been using this route, then." There's a momentary breath of a pause before she adds, "..careful of those nails. Rumor has it they were blessed by the Pope." Does she actually believe in such things? Perhaps. Either way, forewarned is forearmed.

Once the tall Ventrue has successfully cleared the way, the Shadow deftly sidesteps to avoid bumping into him, then lowers to a knee to take care of that lock. There is, admittedly, a shiver of disturbance in the form of grating, jostling metal; a near-imperceptible vibration of effort down at the lever.. and then it simply pops open. Simple. A splitsecond later and the sash window is gliding upward, as if of it's own accord. Muse, it's likely safe to assume, ventures inside with a typical lack of hesitation.

As the others take care of breaking and entering in through the window, Seth watches the courtyard and nearby streets from the shadows of the rooftop. His voice quietly crackles over the team's earpieces, though he's keeping his words soft. "Keep your eyes sharp, people. If we're really walking into the lair of a Vampire elder serial killer, and it's actually home, this could get very dangerous, very quickly. Once we've secured the place, a few of us can start using the crime scene kits to look for clues we can take back with us. Nobody go anywhere alone. Thirty minutes or less, in and out. If this gets out of control, Seven burns this fucker down so we can make our escape. I left the keys to the van on top of the front left tire."

It's not until Seth actually enters in through the opened up window that he withdraws the suppressed assault rifle he has slung over his back and flicks the safety off, raising the barrel up and beginning to sweep the room in a military fashion to secure it. He's not using a flashlight: he seems perfectly fine in the pitch dark.

A hand on either side of the window, and Rafael lifts his legs to swing them in - carefully resting his feet on the floor and then straightening up inside, moving out of the way but ready to lend a hand if the next person through needs it. A key-ring LED flashlight is brought out from a pocket, twisted on to give him a bit of light without the betrayal of a full flashlight, swept over the area they've found themselves in to get his bearings.

"...let's burn down the city landmark as a final option, if we could," he murmurs into the radio, tone dry, "Alright? If we're wrong I don't want to be making the national news tomorrow."

Obviously Seven thinks that just burning the place down is the simplest method to dealing with whatever might be lurking around the nunnery. The young mortal does realize that doing such might bring more trouble than it's worth. At least without trying the 'safer' method first. However, she can't help but perk up momentarily as the idea is tossed around again. There's a pause in thought, a glance down to one of her hands. "If controlled fire is needed against this possible elder... Safeword for you all to look away. To run." She looks to Seth for a suggestion, since he appears to be heading up their little excursion. Otherwise, she falls silent again, thoughtful and vigilant as they enter the 'lair'.

The attic floor of the Ursuline convent is a series of storage rooms connected to a corridor running down the centre. The room you've entered via the sash window is one such, half-filled with boxes and crates that themselves are covered with dust sheets. The air is stale and musty, the room is almost completely dark save for the very faint light coming in through the window - and now the narrow illumination of Rafael's LED flashlight - and the only way out is a door at the far end connecting to aforementioned corridor.

Even from this location however, most of the quintet can hear that they're not alone. Everyone except for Seven can hear a soft female voice coming from somewhere else on this floor, one of the other storage rooms perhaps. The owner of the voice is singing quietly. Singing in French no less, the cadence of a lullaby or children's nursary rhyme.

Perhaps the strangest thing about it is that, although each of those who can hear it is certain she is singing French to begin with, the words seem to distort and change after mere seconds, such that she is singing in the language each of them considers to be their native tongue. To one, it might be English, to another, Croatian, to a third, Egyptian?

This might be odd enough on it's own, but Seth and Muse both catch a little something else. Something tickling along their more primal senses; blood. The scent of blood. Cold, but coppery-rich.

<OOC> Mingzhu says, "The song, incidently, is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Au_clair_de_la_lune"

<OOC> Mingzhu says, "You're coming in at the end of the second verse; "I think she's there / Because in her kitchen / Someone is lighting the fire.""

Nikola slips the crowbar back into his pack and zips it shut. He climbs to the top of the window, grasping it lightly and crawling straight down the ledge, then across the roof, as he makes his entrance. The Ventrue clings to the ceiling like a shadow, creeping along above the others, faint traces of dust occasionally dislodging themselves and floating down in the pitch dark.

As Rafael's flashlight flicks on, Nikola drops his head down from the ceiling to hang near the man's shoulder, his feet and one arm still keeping him, lizard-like, above the others. "Don't worry," he acknowledges, in his Eastern European accent. "We don't like fire very much." He winks, and pulls himself back up, skittering along above the group. He reaches a hand down to touch Seven's shoulder, insectoid legs flittering. "How about 'bananas'? I like the look of banana foster, very much."

The Ventrue doesn't seem outwardly disturbed by the sound of music, but it's hard to tell what he's really thinking, up there in the ceiling. He simply skitters along, following Seth's lead. But his eyes tighten, jaw flex, fangs extend as he realizes something. In a highly unlikely turn, he is hearing this music in his native Croatian.

The swinging illumination from Rafael's flashlight, scant as it is, is enough still to rouse a brief wince of discomfort from Muse, her face turning away from the light source. Taking that as her cue, the brunette moves forward a short distance behind Seth, the better for her eyes to roam through the darkness of which she herself is a part. The discussion of the pros and cons of fire she allows to continue without interjection. If it becomes necessary? Damn right she advocates razing a convent to the ground. No problem with that. But let the others decide such things. Slowing, then drawing to a halt near a stack of dusty boxes, the brunette draws a sudden inhalation of the musty air of the attic, tasting the scent and raising a hand to tug down the cover of her balaclava in order to better savor that coppery tang. "..Seth?" Dark eyes still roaming their surroundings, she addresses her fellow Mekhet in little above a breath; a subtle query as to whether he's caught that telltale scent, too. Mmm...

Ahem. There are other factors to consider.. and that recollection gently ushes the Shadow's Beast back behind the bars of its otherworldly cage for the time being. She could have sworn that the feminine voice she can hear was singing in French - she doesn't speak it herself but recognises the nuances of the language all the same - but now.. it's in a tongue she can understand? '..Someone is lighting the fire..' go the lyrics and up go the proverbial hackles at Muse's nape, a sudden thrum of disquiet assailing her. Beyond all this, she remains silent and unseen.. perhaps just as well, seeing as a hand creeps slowly inside her armor, fingertips reassuring her of the brace of knives kept secured against her slender ribs.

With a glance aside in the direction that Muse's voice sounds, the other Mekhet nods before speaking quickly into his mic underneath his balaclava. "Contact, no eyes on, yet. There's cold blood here. Might be the kill site." Seth's restrained voice crackles briefly over the radio, not coming as much of a surprise to any of them except perhaps Seven, as he raises up his rifle. The singing has obviously gotten his hackles up, but he still sweeps the room that he's in before moving to the doorway. At this point, military training is unearthed from its burial in the sands of Seth's past, and he is very precise as he clears each of the rooms' sight lines while taking point for the group with the assault rifle in his hands raised.

Seth is following the scent of blood as he clears the rooms in the attic, careful not to get ahead of the rest of the group by more than a few feet.

Seth has heard this lullaby before, and though it sounds in his head in Egyptian, he's also following along in French, the words familiar. Perhaps it's soothing, and perhaps he's just trying to figure out the timing of when the song ends.

The hanging vampire doesn't seem to disturb Rafael much, his own head canting to look up at the skittering Venture with a slight nod. "Still," he mutters. Monsters are one thing, but burning down a city landmark? "If we do have to burn it down, I'm not going to explain that one to the Wardens." As the sound of singing reaches him, he turns towards it... and his brow furrows a little, a deep frown starting to crease his lips even as the hair on the back of his neck stands up. He can't place it just yet, but there's something wrong about the song.

He moves after the others, keeping the beam of the flashlight low and near his feet so it hopefully won't attract attention.

Bananas is the shared suggestion by the vampies, so bananas it shall be. Seven gets distracted by thoughts of fire, burning things, and now bananas. Roasted bananas... Even when Nikola touches her shoulder, she remains distracted for a few moments. Then people are mentioning things going on and she pulls herself back to the present. Blink blink, she takes a quick look around, trying to figure out what has everyone concerned. A questioning look is given to the group, brow raising at them. "... hear something?" she wonders, still not hearing it herself for the moment.

OOC - Seth rolled a failure on his perception, and chose to make it dramatic.

o/' By the light of the moon / Likeable Lubin / Knocks on the brunette's door. o/' o/' She suddenly responds: / Who's knocking like that? o/'

The soft singing continues unabated - now audible to Seven as well - still in French and yet still inexplicably in each listener's native language. It seems to be coming from the left end of the attic level, the furthest room, as does the scent of cold, rich blood. As the group gets closer, Muse and Nikola sense no rival Beast to contend with; either it is well hidden or the occupant of that room is no Vampire.

Seth on the other hand.. he feels what seems to be something _old_ and _strong_, a rival Beast that rages, threatening the group - maybe even the city - with her bloodlust.

Nikola continues to creep along on the ceiling, claws and insect-hands gripping the wood as he goes. He is constantly seeking for that rival Beast, but finds nothing. Nothing to challenge, nothing to flee. There is so much oddness here -- the song can't be in Croatian, he's almost certain of that. He responds to Seven's question quietly. "A woman singing, Seven. Can't you hear it?" And then -- just because the man can never quite let a matter lie, "...What language do you hear it in?" He sniffs the air beneath his mask, a tiny smile playing across his features. Whatever they are about to find -- it is interesting.

There's an unaccustomed frown darkening Muse's features within the shadows that envelop her as the group draws nearer to the source of that singing. Given that she herself is on edge - and who wouldn't be, singing in creepy attics is rarely a good sign - her Beast, like Niko's, is pressing forward in search of a threat that never comes. Though.. vampires are not the only dangers that stalk the night in New Orleans, or anywhere else for that matter. 'Not Vampire' does not necessarily equate to 'safe'. And the scent of blood? Someone other than one of their own using blood is another 'opposite of good', in her opinion. Lifting her chin a touch, the brunette inhales again, drawing a deep lungful that's not required for trifles such as breathing. What is that.. something beneath the copper of the afore-thought-of blood. Closing her dark-lashed eyes briefly, the Savage in the shadows contemplates with greater concentration before her expressive features smooth.

Catching the similarly inquisitive 'sniff' from her companion above, the Mekhet unthinkingly turns her gaze up toward him when her eyes open again, venturing a soft-spoken few words. "Niko.. perfume." Muse is, by habit, generally more verbose. But succinct seems to be a wiser course, here and now.

There's no response on the matter of language. That singing is needling her and she's not going to linger on it overlong if she can help it. She merely falls silent and keeps pace with Seth, as before.

"...ah, merde!" Seth's smooth and practiced discipline in room clearing and leading the group abruptly comes to a halt as he senses /something/ ominous, horrifying to him, coming from deeper in the building. In the darkness, his pupils narrow down to pinpicks, and his hands tighten in their grip on the gun. His worst anticipation for the evening's operation abruptly occurs, as he senses a monstrous and overwhelming Beast coming from the source of the singing. He bites down on his teeth. "Form up. The thing up ahead... it's old and hungry," he mutters over the radio.

Seth is significantly more cautious in moving forwards now, following the twin scents of blood and perfume through the dusty attic. Occasionally he even glances over his shoulder, checking behind them, as his focus is somewhat rattled by the overwhelming oppression of the Beast and its bloodlust that he senses surrounding him. He continues on his progress through the attic... occasionally checking each of the rooms for anything else of note, seeming to be trying to find an excuse to go forward more slowly and not approach that horrifying thing at the end of the hallways. He's not exactly dragging his feet, but he's not hastening like he was.

Rafael's gaze flickers over towards Muse as she mentions the perfume. "This may be our perp, then," he says sotto voce in response to the comment, his attention drifting back to the end of the hallway and the song that's carrying through the attic in eerie melody. The tip of his tongue briefly moistens his lips, and he draws in a breath before continuing forward, jaw setting. Determined to discover just who and what has been killing people here...

Nikola points the singing out to her, Seven pauses for just a moment to listen. Her head cants to the side slightly, hearing it but it doesn't really mean anything significant to her. At the moment, it's just noise. But when people start mentioning that the voice belongs to the potential killer, she perks right up again. "Even if not thre creature responsible... at least answers we'll find," she notes, quietly, not speaking too loudly to draw attention to her.

o/' He then replies: Open your door! / For the God of Love! o/'

As these words are sung, the door that they're all gathered around opens. Seemingly of it's own accord.

There is light inside, albeit only that of a single candle in a holder to one side, but enough to reveal another room with slanted ceiling, part-full of boxes with dustcovers. However this one is occupied.

Standing at the far end, facing away of them and looking out of the window - the shutters are still closed but she's facing it nonetheless - is a caucasian woman, pale of skin and with dark brown hair, styled in curls and loops at the back of her head. She is wearing a cream-coloured blouse with a modest scooped neckline, and an ankle-length skirt cut from expensive dark green wool, cinched with a wide brown belt about her waist. Her shoes are sensible low heeled boots cut from brown leather. She turns to face the five interlopers, her expression mildly curious. Now facing them, they can see that she is quite young - late teens, possibly mid-twenties - and is wearing makeup. Pink on her cheeks, and rich red on her lips, a shade or two darker than fresh blood. And still, she is singing.

o/' By the light of the moon / One could barely see. o/' o/' The pen was looked for / The light was looked for. o/'

Everyone aside from Rafael can smell the blood now, coming from just to the right of the strange singing Frenchwoman. She has something bundled up in cloth there by her feet, about the size and shape of a bedroll.

"I smell it." Nikola's voice is gentle as he responds to Muse, perfectly composed. As though he is enjoying an evening out with his friends, rather than exploring a haunted Convent. The Ventrue seems to draw pleasure from the tension in Muse's voice, the distraction of Seven, even Rafael's discomfort at the idea of burning the whole place down. But there is something downright alarming about Seth's muttered instructions, something so contrary to his own sense of events that he hesitates uncharacteristically.

His voice somewhat cautious, Nikola says "I... I don't sense anything like that, Seth." Which doesn't mean it isn't true. And as Muse points out -- just because whatever waits is not a vampire does not mean it is not very, very, dangerous.

And then the door opens. Nikola drops his head down to gaze through at the woman within -- the apparent teenager -- with frank curiosity. Even through the mask, his flash of pleasure is evident. Here, at last, is something visible to come to grips with. He cautiously begins slithering forward to work his way around the doorframe, but Nikola isn't hurrying -- if the others fail to enter, he will stop as well.

It goes entirely against the grain for Muse to argue with Seth, particularly in front of 'outsiders'. But the look askance she affords him in response to his sudden overt caution is.. well, let's just say it's fortuitous that she's hidden from view. She perceives no obvious threat, either from the singer or anywhere else. In fact, she's begun to idly wonder if there's anyone here at all. But it's best to remain vigilant.. if not quite to the extent of her bristling coterie-mate. "I don't even sense one of our kind, darlin'.." The placation is a whisper, barely picked up by her mic. But the other Mekhet, with his sharpened senses, would hear her well enough.. and perhaps rein in his disquiet, as a result.

And then the door opens of its own accord.

One hand twitches unthinkingly, as if of a mind to grasp Seth's sleeve.. but she thinks better of it. Something potentially risky occurs to her, instead. Risky.. but maybe worth the chance. Still wrapped in darkness, the brunette slides a hand into a front pocket of her armored jacket, smoothly retrieving a sleek cellphone from within and raising it, calm as you like. One might not expect a recently awoken Elder to have any interest in such modern technology.. but this one, apparently, is an exception to that rule. Swiping her thumb across the screen, tapping softly in quick succession, Muse attempts to snap a few shots of.. whatever it is they're looking at. Snow White and the Bloody Bundle.

Mmmf. The scent of blood, even cold, is infuriatingly appealing. If it were a thing, her stomach would likely grumble. It doesn't.

"Enchantee, mademoiselle. I am Seth." Seth begins speaking in a practiced French, almost entirely by reflex as he walks in through the doorway. He's clearly trying to keep it together: the first rule of staying alive, after all, is 'don't freeze up'. And Seth has been surviving as a Vampire long enough to keep going in dangerous situations, purely by instinct. He's covering for the rest of them, continuing to speak in a tone that's only slightly uneven, unsettled under the surface. "Do you know anything about who's making a mess in town?" he continues in fluent French, masking his discomfort by establishing a conversation with the songstress sitting on her crate.

Seth doesn't quite point the assault rifle directly at her, that would be rude and he's certainly not escalated that far yet, but he's still got the suppressed cylinder point aimed in the air not too far away from her. He's got his eyes firmly trained on the woman, unable to keep his fangs from extending while he talks. He doesn't approach very far, enough for the rest of the group to enter the room without being cramped... but he's definitely not getting closer to the singing woman than necessary. Not that it matters, for supernatural creatures of their caliber in a cramped space this close, but it's a small and vain comfort.

The rolled up bedroll gets a glance from Seth, though it's not near the top of his list of priorities at this moment.

The door opens by itself as if in ghostly invitation, revealing the red-lipped woman garbed and coiffed in vintage style-- a flawless match to the words that the dead had used to describe their killer, when called up by the Constable's necromancy. The LED flashlight is clicked off in Rafael's hand, and in the darkness there's a pained hiss that works past his teeth as the infection within his muscle tissue and blood... moves.

The man's flesh writhes and bulges, roiling back from tumors that erupt from beneath his skin followed by hungry wire, a criss-cross mesh of metal over calcified hematomas, leaving him looking nothing like human any longer. One arm unspools from itself, fingers twisting free of his hand as it becomes a mass of biomechanical tendrils, flesh and muscle coiled around metallic tubing, shards of glass protruding from the pulsating meat like glistening teeth waiting to taste blood. The sharp wet sound of it briefly squelches through the attic before his cancerous form stabilizes.

Seven is veeeeery cautious as she slowly steps into the room. Rafael's transformation doesn't have her on edge, in fact she doesn't even bat an eye. It's the woman that has her focus and concern. There's an itch to move forward and explore the room, especially that bloody rolled up bedroll. But, she remains still for now, brows narrowing slightly. She keeps quiet, letting the more vocal and sociable of the bunch speak out for them. Hands rest at her side, fingers twitching with contained energy.

o/' With all that looking / I don't know what was found o/' o/' But I do know that the door / Shut itself on them. o/'

With that, the door closes behind them - again, of its own accord - and the song draws to an end. Genuinely the words of the nursary rhyme, but creepily appropriate to the situation.

The Frenchwoman looks at Seth when he approaches those few steps and addresses her, as if considering whether he is worth responding to. Then she looks to the ceiling-crawling Nikola, to the biomechanically tentacled and armored Rafael, to the cautious Seven.

And then to Muse - or where Muse might be visible if she weren't hidden - a slightly longer look, one brow raising slightly, lips pursing for a moment. There's a sense of something in the air, almost like a shift in air pressure, and then she smiles politely at the group. When she speaks, her voice again seems to reach each of them in their milk tongue. "I must ask you to leave, ladies and gentlemen. This part of the museum is not for guests." As if they'd just bought a ticket and wandered up, or something.

<OOC> Mingzhu - You paged Muse with 'The woman, she looks at you briefly. It's just a glance. But a glance that stirs your hungers. Your desire for blood has been turned up to eleven and the knob broken off. But you know what's even more tempting than cold blood in a blanket? Fresh, warm blood. And both of your mortal companions are lightly wounded from taking damage to activate abilities.

Seth is in the room, and so Nikola is with him, just above his left shoulder. When Muse pulls her phone out to snap photos, the Ventrue is already ahead of her. He couldn't have seen it anyway, but he likewise misses Rafael's transformation. He does, however, glance down at the formerly-nondescript man, eyes widening. The Ventrue stares at this transformation, a delighted smile evident beneath his bandana. No wonder the fellow scorned body armor.

Seven is still back near the door, playing it safe, when the Frenchwoman speaks. Nikola suddenly shunts to the side, scrabbling to flank the Frenchwoman on the right. He lets go with his hands, dangling from the ceiling by his feet alone, gazing at the room upside down. He tugs down -- up -- his bandana, to rest around his neck. "Apologies, madam. If you'd like to just open the door?" His tone is sardonic, cool and polite, playing it exactly as poised as the strange Frenchwoman seems to be. But he's answering in English, not Croatian. "We must have taken a wrong turn among the caskets."

From the darkness, specifically where the Frenchwoman's gaze lingers just that moment too long, there is indeed a ..shift. Barely perceptible. But the response? Less easily overlooked. Certainly for the other vampires in the confined space. There's a tangible surge of power and hunger from Muse's generally languid, leonine Beast; a voracious uprising of hunger that she herself had no way of anticipating. Seth and Niko both have witnessed what horros their diminutive little belle can unleash, under certain circumstances.. and that is the only comparison for the sudden onslaught of predatory intent now ringing soundless alarm bells in their minds.

Muse herself, caught entirely off-guard, literally contorts as that inner fury rages past the always tentative restraints of self-imposed control. She tries. She really does. She reaches out in a desperate attempt to regain hold of her ferocious nature. But her fingernails graze mostly empty air.

That's all there is, for those who can sense her. A violent uprising of hunger, a flicker of despair..

And then? Seven promptly vanishes into thin air.

Unseen by their companions, perceivable by Seven alone, Muse materialises at her back, wrapping her in a clinch with perhaps surprising savagery within the cover of her enforced darkness and shadow. A fraction of a second later and there's the sharp sting of elongated canines grazing that vulnerable spot where neck meets shoulder... but there's still time..

When Nikola begins moving and speaking, Seth has already leveled the gun at the French songstress and is taking aim at her, counting the breaths. He's moving slowly to the side to get a better shot, without overlapping his line of fire with his coterie-mate. And then Seven abruptly vanishes, and Seth clocks the sudden absence of her breathing with his supernaturally keen senses. "Hey, what're you lot doing?" His voice crackles over the radio.

Seven had been remaining as calm as a human possibly could amongst all the strangeness and danger going on around her. Which, some might consider impressive. She's poised, stoic, remaining vigilant in the room. That all changes when she's suddenly grabbed from behind. Although she doesn't quite panic, not yet at least, her instincts for battle kick in. Unaware that her attacker is actually Muse, because hey they were all on the same side here, her first reaction is to attack back. The mortal taps into her own monsterous side, striking before she's struck. Seven doesn't move much, other than struggling against the Mekhet that grabbed her, but Muse suddenly feels some of her own life force being stolen from her. Even worse, some of her will. "Let go," she growls, a warning for her attacker to back off. Not that such warnings are ever heeded.

"I am here under the authority of John Domingo."

The tone is raspy, harsh as it slides past Rafael's crusted maw; the twisted alterations of his body clearly having taken its toll on his vocal cords. There's a low, whining creak as his wired tendrils by his side twist back and forth as if hungry to reach out, glass shards clicking against one another in discordant rhythm. Unaware of the sudden disappearance of the other Constable, focused upon the woman instead, he steps forward.

"The dead have requested justice, and the price has been paid. You are wanted for suspected murder, illicit revelation of the supernatural to the mundane world, and failure to sign to the Shadow Accords while within the territory of the Wardens of New Orleans," he growls forth, "How do you plead?"

Nikola senses Muse's sudden surge of hunger, and he glances to the side in time to see Seven vanish completely from sight. There is little the Ventrue can do to help that situation -- not immediately, anyway. He hesitates, then speaks into his radio mic, very quietly. "Running out of options, Seth. Attack now?" He begins to move forward, closing the distance between himself and the Frenchwoman, his clawed hands raised like a boxer's.

.oO( Initiative Roster )Oo................................................o.

25) Frenchie (npc)

15) Seven

13) Muse

10) Seth

08) Rafael

07) Nikola

.o......................................................oO( initiatives )Oo.

There is a hair-trigger moment where the creepy French songstress seems to be about to make her escape, starting to rise up from her crate... but Seth's Vampire instincts kick in with a rush of blood, burning hot on his dead skin for a moment, and he shoots her cleanly in the head with a high-pitched noise from his suppressed assault rifle. The bullet blasts into the Frenchwoman's skull through her forehead, and on the other side, blood and bone and grey matter spray over the stack of crates and the convent wall evocatively and with a fury that would instantly kill any mortal being. But she's still moving... somehow.

There is a high-pitched keening sound from the French woman as Seth's gun fires, the bullet catching her in the side of the head. There is a splatter of disgusting things against the wall behind her - blood(ish), gore, grey matter, though not as much as might have been expected. Nor does she seem to be dead, which any regular human would almost certainly be after taking a shot like that.

With a low hiss, she seems to blur into motion, reaching down for her bundle and turning, flinging herself out through the sash window and shutters. There is the smashing sound of glass - and she presumably takes a little more damage - but then the Frenchwoman - French _creature?_ is moving incredibly quickly along the roof and down, out of sight.

The psychic manages to shake off her unseen assailant. There's a brief glance over her shoulder and she's surprised to see Muse! Perhaps even a hint of betrayal as she gives a very quick glance to the other vampires. Then there's a shot, then creature well... survives something that Seven would surely be splattered against the wall if it was her. A quick comment is made to Muse, "Calm yourself and I'll more than sate your hunger later." She's moving toward the window as she speaks, hoping her promise is enough to calm what she believes is a frenzying vampire. Once she's at the window, she peeks out and spots the woman. Hands reach out, fingers twisting as if she was grabbing something in front of her. Attemping to pull her arms back, there's a clear struggle before frowns as the creature escapes her telekinetic grasp.

There's an audible snarl as Seven wriggles free of that admittedly lacklustre hold.. and it heightens a touch further at the dawning realisation of the further toll taken. Muse shimmers back into existence, upper lip drawn back from her elongated canines as the shadows seep away from her enough to reveal the expression and, in increments, her silhouette; all dark clad and decidedly pissed off, judging by her posture. Wild-eyed, the Shadow casts her gaze over her companions, still afflicted with that horrific onslaught of hunger and as yet finding no outlet for the instinct that's driving her. The assurance from Seven - while certainly generous, under the circumstances - is... well, how much good does it ever do, telling an angry female to calm down? Let alone a Mekhet.

For a splitsecond, incensed by the suggestion, the brunette starts after the mortal.. only to catch herself, adjusting course as a simpler idea strikes her.

Seth is distracted. There's the rather Important Bidness (tm) of the repidly escaping creature. You know, the one he just shot in the head. But he's no doubt still aware of her approach, now that she's visible once more. Keeping out of his line of sight - he does have a gun, after all and she's already hurt - the Shadow draws to an abrupt halt at her coterie-mate's back, launching herself up onto his back in a not unfamiliar manner and with an unperturbed snake of her arms around him for balance, sinks her fangs deep into the vulnerable spot between shoulder and neck. She just.. needs.. something.

Whatever that French creature is .. was.. it's done something to the Savage. And she's not out of the woods.

As Muse jumps up onto him, Seth glances back with a briefly raised eyebrow before shrugging and grabbing one of her legs to more securely wrap onto him. "Get on nerd, we're going serial killer hunting," he mutters in her direction to the side, before sprinting towards the broken window with a supernatural burst of energy. He jumps up and over the broken glass, turning the barrel of the assault rifle towards the fleeting... monster, and depressing the trigger. There is a long cacophony of suppressed gunshots as the assault rifle scatters bullet casings all over the rooftop, blasting down in a storm of wrath upon the escaping murderer. Seth moves further up the roof, dark on dark in his shadowed clothes, except for the bullets coming from his gun. Muse in tow, he tries to find a vantage point to have a clear line of sight over the monster's escape routes, so he can continue shooting.

"...I'll take that as a guilty plea, I assume," Rafael grunts in irritation as the red-lipped woman moves with blinding speed, unfairly ignoring the fact that what passes for her brain is currently splattered cross the wall. The walking teratoma steps over to the window, starting to reach out to the irrational-seeming vampire upon Seth's back with uncoiling tendrils - but a glare from the man has him stop, withdrawing. Bloody-whited eyes narrow at the retreating figure, frustrated.

"I hate when they run."

"Ah, hell." Nikola watches the encounter unfold desperately, then begins to run straight for Rafael. "Come on!" He crouches to allow the other man to jump onto his shoulders, like it's a game of piggy-back, and then begins to sprint for the window. At some point, the Ventrue begins to move blurringly fast. He barrels straight past Seven, pausing only long enough to allow her the same opportunity, then leaps out the window with BOTH mortals on his spine, passing Seth and Muse as he hurtles through space, barely touching the roof tiles as he tries to close the distance.

Still bleeding, leaving bits of gore in her trail, the blurred form of the French woman continues down the side of the building and away, getting most of the way across the garden as she moves with inhuman speed, clutching her bundle to her chest and not looking back.

Seven easily allows herself to be grabbed by Nikola, positioning herself in a way as to not injure herself from Rafael's glassy tentacle mess. She needs to ask about that something... but not now! Once again, she focuses on the woman. Well, strange unkillable creature from possibly beyond. Again she reaches out and again she manages to get the wily creature in her grasp. Now she's getting irritated and angry. Both fellow Constable and vampire can hear an audible growl of frustration coming from Seven. "Bananasbananasbanaas," she says quickly and with obvious rage starting to build up. She eyes the woman, then her prized possession. "Get me close and I can take care of what's important to her!"

Either unaware or uncaring of her surroundings, utterly intent on feeding that unbidden and overwhelming craving, it's not until everyone is already down here that Muse raises her head, fangs and lips bloodstained. Wiping across her mouth dazedly with the back of one hand, the brunette drops lightly to the ground behind Seth. Those big eyes are all innocence as she glances about herself, and toward the blurring shapes of the trio that pass by in a rush of nightsbreeze. How.. did they all end up out here? What are those 'bits' scattered across the ground? Why does she feel the urge to focus her energy on healing? So many questions, so little time...

Seth gets up from his partial kneel on the roof of the Ursuline Convent, rapidly repositioning at a fast walk along the shingles of the building, before kneeling down again to stabilize his aim and taking the fleeing gore-splattered creature in his sights. He's able to hear Muse with his vampire hearing, so he doesn't go out of his way to focus on her as he's already assured of her well-being as she stops feeding. Instead, he's lining up his shot, and pulling the trigger again. Another medium burst echoes out, more bullets biting into the running Frenchwoman-creature-killer. It's not quite as many bullets as last time, but they still tinkle onto the shingles of the convent's roof like brass hailstones.

"If she keeps moving like this we're going to risk revealing ourselves," is Rafael's grumbling husk from where he clings to Nikola's back; tendrils of grotesquely stretched tendons around braided-steel cables wrapping around the vampire's form to secure his grasp, those red-stained eyes trying to fixate on the blur that is their quarry.

"Hang on," replies Nikola to Rafael. "I'm going to try to close the distance." And even as he speaks, the Ventrue is pumping his arms violently, his knees almost touching his chest as he sprints. There is no gasp of effort, no breathing whatsoever. No pretense at humanity. Nikola is giving it his all, but the burn is entirely internal. Wherever his Coterie-Mates are behind him, he knows that they will be bringing the firepower toward this creature. It's his role to simply tie it up, if he can.

It is almost unbelievable how fast the Frenchwoman is running. She is a blur, a flash of colour and motion under the faint moonlight, reaching the edge of the gardens and hopping over the low wall without any difficulty at all, making for the corner to head up the street and out of line-of-sight of these horrible creatures.

Seven is REALLY doing her best not to flip her shit. That anger of the killer getting away, her own failings in being able to pull her weight during the mission, it's all starting to rise to the surface. Even her two current companions can feel the literal heat starting to simmer around her. However, she's a (mostly) professional. The mortal channels that growing rage, narrowing in on the slippery creature once more. Her thighs clench tighter around whoever she's currently holding onto as she stretches her hands out. Pure focus is in her eyes, everything else fading around her for a moment. Fingers grasp and she feels that she's finally caught the creature. Strain appears on her face as does her best to hold onto Frenchie. "Can't hold her for long," she warns the others. "The bag... her... we need to destroy something now!"

Still gathering her wits, taking stock of the ongoing chaos, Muse follows unthinkingly after Seth as he lines up his next shot on the fleeing creature. The distance is too great now anyway.. if anyone's got a chance of catching that bitch it's Niko and his passengers. So the bemused Shadow merely.. drifts, apparently unaware of the smudge of crimson lingering at one corner of her lips.

Well, this went from 'potentially bad' to 'oh balls' really damn fast, huh?

Narrowing her eyes, even as her coterie-mate is taking aim, the brunette focuses on what's happening up ahead.

"Oh, fuck this," Seth mutters, tracking the fast-moving shape up the street through the scope of his AR with a mutter. The ridiculous sight of the supernatural clown-car chasing their prey doesn't seem to bother him much - though it ranks pretty high up there on the 'Weird Shit Hall of Fame' for his century plus of unlife - as he waits for an opportunity to take his next shot.

And then Seven's reaching out and grabbing their target telekinetically, seizing her up in an abrupt change from her lightning-quick flight, and Seth doesn't hestitate. He pulls the trigger again, raining bullets down the balmy New Orleans evening and absolutely splattering the creature with a spray of metal from the rooftop of the Ursuline Convent. When his gun clicks empty, he's still depressing the trigger, with a mutter of "Run away from that!" which crackles over the comms.

Bullets strike the immobilised Frenchwoman in a rapid torrent of heated metal, putting dozens of holes into her skin, that not-quite-right blood spilling out all over the place. And then as the last shot sinks in, she... dissolves? Yeah, let's go with dissolves, into a flood of water that splooshes out of Seven's telekinetic grip, puddling on the sidewalk. It isn't moving anywhere, doesn't appear to be reforming or having any sense of still being animate. The bundle she was carrying remains, slowly getting wetter as it rests in the sudden pool of water.

As the entity falls, Rafael slips off Nikola's back; the tumors receding into his flesh once again with a loathesome ripple of tissue, his tendrils re-winding themselves until fingers flex once more - although the glove and sleeve he was wearing is hopelessly shredded. Three fingernails are missing, replaced with unpleasantly jagged glass, an oddly patterned rash staining up the arm.

"So what was this, then," he murmurs, crouching beside the bundle and reaching to pull it from the water.

Seth isn't going to be able to grab /all/ of the bullet casings... but as long as nobody's called the cops on them, yet, he's definitely trying to grab as many as he can: including the one that he fired while inside of the convent. After ruffling Muse's hair affectionately on the way past her back across the roof, he's moving swiftly, clearing away traces of the significant amount of shooting that he's done with unnaturally keen vision. He knows he can't possibly get all of them, not to mention all of the /actual bullets/ scattered over the street, but... everything helps in cleaning up the scene so forensics has a harder time identifying where he was shooting from.

"Alright. Someone warm up the van, Muse and I will be down in a minute and then we'll be getting out of here." He's untying the rope that he'd left once Muse has climbed down, and then descending himself with the rope over his shoulder. "Good work, everyone. I've set up a point to ditch the van and change back into more regular vehicles outside the city, then we can debrief once we're out of town. I'll have the Regas pick us up a few towns down the Mississippi so we're not on traffic cams."

"I'm not sure," answers Nikola to Raphael. The Ventrue seems drained. Wan, if such a word could apply to a Vampire. He gazes at the mutated mortal distantly for awhile before remembering to reach up and touch his microphone radio. "I'll get the van," he murmurs softly. The Ventrue walks in that direction.

Ugh. Even for a vampire, some things are just grim. Curling her upper lip in distaste at the grisly end met by the Frenchwoman - and her subsequent descent into a state of puddle - Muse wraps her slender arms about herself and mulls things over for a moment. She calmly ignores the mussing of her perpetually tousled tresses. Though, after a moment more, she obligingly assists her coterie-mate in gathering up what she can of the casings, stuffing them into her pockets. Every pocket. All the pockets.

The obvious pressing question of 'what the fuck was that thing', along with the close second 'what the fuck just happened to me', is at the forefront of the Shadow's mind. But.. she manages to bite back on both of them for the moment. There'll be time enough later. With people who have a much better grasp on such things.. and in a safer place than the rooftop of a convent.

Muse remains pointedly silent as she follows suit, making the climb back down without incident, nodding numbly to convey her having heard Seth's instructions to the group. And this is how she'll spend the duration of the trip back to their floating Elysium. Not entirely here, not entirely gone. A dark-maned vision of mildly frowning bewilderment.

"There's something about this..." A low, thoughtful hum of Rafael's words as he regards the heavy, damp bundle in his arms, but he doesn't elaborate. Maybe he can't. Some things are like that. As Nikola says he's getting the van, he glances over with a nod, and then he starts to - carefully, carefully! - unwrap the bundle to see what's concealed within it. "I'm going to open it," he reports over the mic.

Just about to climb into the van himself, Seth looks aside towards where Rafael is unwrapping the bundle. "Mon dieu, can't we just take it with us?" He mutters, not on the mic, but instead looking up and down the street. And then he's reloading his assault rifle with a fresh magazine as Rafael begins to unwrap the bundle. He's leveled the weapon at the bundle, narrowing his eyes between his Ghostbusters-logo bandana and his black beanie as he approaches. "We shouldn't be here much longer."

Seven had crawled off of Nikola as soon as it was evident that the creature had been stopped. Although she isn't exactly shaken, she's a bit drained from trying to grab that woman... angel thing with her mind. Which she considers an impressive feat. Time to celebrate by setting things on fire elsewhere! She first looks over toward Rafael. "You okay?" she questions with concern for the fellow Constable. The look is turned toward Nikola now, a brow raising with similar concern. Then she follows the other mortal, letting him get his hands over the bundle. "Careful," she warns, though she's sure he doesn't need to hear it. "I'm unsure how connected that was to her but... it was important. Fetter."

When Seven looks over at him, Nikola raises an imaginary glass to his mouth and makes a drinking motion. "I'm thirsty as Hell," he murmurs to the Mortal, in a bland confession. "It took a lot to get you this far." He moves sluggishly off toward the van, pulling around to pick up the others. Sitting in the driver's seat of the van, Nikola glances back at Seth as the other Vampire mutters. He smiles weakly, settling back in the driver's seat and waiting for the rest of the crew to pile in. Despite his evident fatigue, he is a keenly attentive driver, gaze flicking instinctively to the rear-view and side mirrors as he waits.

The carefully-unfolded fabric reveals... something bluish, a glossy sheen shimmering over its surface as every movement makes it shudder like a flan whose plate has been disturbed. "It has... veins," Rafael breathes out as he stares down at it from close range, eyes wide with a lack of comprehension, "What in the name of-- everything-- is this?"

Shaken, he wraps it carefully back up. "I'm alright," he says with a tilt of his head to Seven, moving to push himself up to his feet, "You? Let's get this-- out of here so we can figure out what the hell it is and what we should do with it."