The bolt sinks into Benedetto’s back up to the fletching. He shrieks at the fiery pain shooting through him, and looses his hand and foot holds on the wall, falling to the ground with a heavy thump.
Poison, the dreaded Demon’s Breath, races through his system. As you shove the hand crossbow back into its loop and draw your sword and dagger, Benedetto stands and recoils into the wall. Gnashing his teeth, he flings himself into the wall again and again.
You pause. You can’t help but watch this bizarre reaction. It is more than it should be.
The next instant reveals what you’re witnessing. The poison, the pain, the stress of the moment has triggered the horrible disease he harbors in his system.
Agonized cries accompany each change: his back stoops; his feet elongate, ripping away from their shoes; his skin bristles and grows hair at an incredible rate, covering him in a slimy coat of fur in seconds; ears taper into pointed tips, and a hairless tail springs from the coccyx.
Benedetto the Wererat
The transformation complete, he hisses, pulling a knife and a flask of a strange glowing green liquid from his cloak. His red, demonic eyes hold you for a moment in their hateful glare.
* * * * *
Make a 3/IQ check. Pass and what you’ve witnessed causes you no pause---you have initiative. Fail and you will roll for initiative with Benedetto. State first round intentions and make all necessary rolls.
There were first times for everything, and this was the first time Dahlia had seen lycanthropy manifest itself in anyone. The change that came over Benedetto was startling, frightening. She couldn’t help but stand and stare, observing his transformation and the obvious pain that came with it.
A knife drawn brought the situation back to cold reality. Not a second’s pause. She lunged forward, slashing her rapier, targeting his left wrist. The brew in the flask was the unknown, and she wanted no part contending with it. At the same time, she stabbed downward with the dagger in her left hand.
09:58, Today: Black Dahlia rolled 10 using 3d6 with rolls of 2,3,5. 3/IQ roll. Initiative. 09:58, Today: Black Dahlia rolled 7 using 3d6 with rolls of 1,2,4. 3/DX-3 Disarm roll. 09:59, Today: Black Dahlia rolled 12 using 3d6 with rolls of 5,3,4. 3/DX-4 Dagger Strike.
Post by vladtaltos on Sept 5, 2014 10:32:31 GMT -5
Benedetto winces and hisses in anger and pain as your rapier comes down across his wrist. The flask falls from his hand, smashing against the road. A witchy green vapor rises from the spilled mixture but nothing else happens.
Instantly, you follow with a strike from your dagger, but his reflexes haven’t departed him; he ducks away from the blow and prepares for a riposte with his knife. With the poison from your bolt affecting him, his attacks won’t be nearly as effective, but does he still have enough to finish you off?
First indication is no; his swing is wild, the blade flashing across your face, but missing you by a wide margin.
* * * * *
11:22, Today: Benedetto rolled 16 using 3d6 with rolls of 5,6,5. Knife attack.
You’re getting some great rolls, and I like the chances you take. Keep it up, please!
Even as she disarmed Benedetto from his flask, Dahlia felt herself tiring. It had been a draining evening. The busted lip and nose, the running, jumping, and now her second fight was taking its toll on her stamina.
She’d been lucky up to this point and didn’t want to push it. She decided to conserve her energy, and play off the small ratman’s attacks. She’d riposte when necessary, or dodge his attack altogether, and let him wear himself out until an opening presented itself.
Bypassing initiative, and will either counter or dodge when I see his roll.
A soft squish accompanies blood fountaining from the wererat’s throat. His eyes widen, instantly bearing the horror of his situation. His death is imminent. You feel his body go limp on your sword, but before he sags to the ground, your dagger finds space between his chest and waist, a horrible strike that runs him straight through on the serrated edge of your knife’s blade.
He eases to the ground, blood spurting from his neck wound to the beat of his heart, and another puddle of blood forming on his tunic.
Still gripping your sword and dagger, you remove them only when his eyes loll to the top of his head and his tongue slides out of his mouth.
It’s done. Benedetto is dead. The contract is fulfilled. You wipe the gore from your weapons. Here, in The Maze, another murder has occurred. Medicini and the Captain of the City Watch will be most displeased.
You, on the other hand, must consider your options, your plan, which are as wide open as the sky high above; its stars, like the eyes of the gods, looking down on you and the vile bloodwork you’ve done this evening.
Dahlia was ordered in her thinking. The contract completed, she didn’t want to leave anything to chance, leave anything behind, as it were. She went through the pockets of Benedetto the wererat. More curious than interested in stealing, she wondered what the odd, small man kept on him. He harbored a secret, his disease of lycanthropy. There must be other secrets he kept in his pockets.
Post by vladtaltos on Sept 9, 2014 10:29:20 GMT -5
As you commence going through your victim’s pockets, another transformation takes place. The last.
Benedetto, in death, transforms back into his human form. Gone are the rat-face, the long feet, the tapered ears and stooped back. In their place, you find a swarthy-skinned human male of about thirty-five, dark hair graying at the temples, and dead staring eyes of brown with slight streaks of silver in them. You’ve read or heard somewhere that’s a telltale sign of the disease, these shreds of silver in the eyes.
You go through his effects before the pooling blood makes such a prospect more unpleasant than it should be.
First, tied to his tunic is a small bottle containing more of the liquid you saw in the flask he carried at the beginning of the encounter. The viscous green fluid churns and bubbles within its container.
Next, in a pouch at his side you find a rock. An ordinary rock by all appearances except this one has runes chiseled into it. Odd.
Last, in a pocket at his hip, is a compass. A compass? He didn’t know his way through and around The Maze? Wasn’t this place the turf he’d tried to lay claim to, despite the Azzuri’s warning? Well, this is a very confusing area. And you, Dahlia, have run through these streets chasing this man. You may need this tool to find your way out.
Interesting assortment of items. Well, he wouldn’t be needing these things anyway. Plus, if the Watch found the items they may be able to identify the victim. The inability to identify the mark was in the Assassin’s credo. So, it became a matter of business policy; she had to take his things.
She quickly gathered the bottle of green fluid, the rock, and the compass, and secreted them away in her own pockets.
There was one more vile act to perform, the proof that she had, indeed, fulfilled the contract and killed Benedetto. She unfolded the cloth sack she carried, and opened it, leaving it on the ground. She then took hold of her small saw, another important tool of her profession.
Wasting no time, she steeled her heart and laid the edge of the saw on Benedetto’s throat and began to shove it back and forth, giving it all the power she had, to remove his head. Once the saw had cut all the way through, she gripped him by the hair, ripped his head away from all the tendons and muscle holding it in place, and placed it in her sack.
Gross really, this part of the job. She hated it.
Tying the sack in a knot and then tying the other end to her belt, she hoped the sack was leak proof. She didn’t fancy the idea of blood running all over her clothes as she made her way out of the Maze.
But she wouldn’t leave the Maze just yet. She reloaded her hand crossbow and cast her eyes back down this run-down stretch of road.
She approached the alley quietly and eased a peek around the corner, where she’d glimpsed the large shadow engulfing the woman under the lamppost just moments before tracking down Benedetto at the wall. If all was clear down the alley, she would approach the scene.
Post by vladtaltos on Sept 10, 2014 9:14:37 GMT -5
All is quiet down that strange, little stretch of road. But even from where you stand, you can see a slumped form under the lamppost. Playing it safe, you stand and watch for a few moments, but nothing, neither person nor shadow remerges; you approach the scene cautiously.
The quiet is unnerving. You become acutely aware of odd things in times like this. You can hear your boots grinding against loose pebbles in the road, hear the magelight within the lamp sputter, hear the sweat rolling down your body.
What you see is a woman, human, in her late twenties from what you can tell of her face. It’s kind of hard to tell, there isn’t much of her face left. A deep gash from ear to ear has left it a disfigured ruin, with a morbid after-death smile. Her left foot points directly behind her. Her right hand is missing. Her dark hair has been colored blonde.
A grisly scene waits under the lamppost
There’s no blood anywhere. Not one drop. The victim wears the familiar raiments of a prostitute---a lowcut red dress, one side split all the way up to the hip; high black heels; fishnet stockings, and a lot of paint on the remains of her face and the fingernails of her left hand. You take a close look at those nails. They’re broken off on three of the fingers at the midway point. She put a fight at least.
You, Black Dahlia, were the last to see this young lady alive. Perhaps the only person to hear her scream of terror moments before tragedy struck. And now here you stand, under the lamppost, with the victim, light shining on the scene, and on you. You glance about at the unlighted windows high above in these slum buildings, and can only wonder how many faceless eyes are watching you now, identifying you as this lady’s killer.
Dahlia was used to death in all its ugliness, and this was as ugly as she’d seen. Appearances were the killer not only wished to murder the woman, but to mutilate her in such a manner that made her death seem comedic. This bothered her, made her angry.
She thought back on what she’d seen. A large shadow emerging from the ground, surrounding and engulfing the woman. Then, her scream came. Who was the killer? Her john? Some psychopathic wizard?
She had to be one of Benedetto’s girls. He was a pimp, and the Azzuri didn’t deal in prostitution, at least not yet.
Looking around and above her at the buildings, Dahlia realized she had to move, to get out of the area, but first she felt she had to do something for the woman whom she’d neglected to do something for previously.
Find out who she is, maybe she carried some form of identification. She takes a close look at her belongings, anything she carried with her, and goes through them. If she couldn’t find a name, maybe she’d find an address, or something that linked her to something or someone else.
Post by vladtaltos on Sept 11, 2014 9:47:39 GMT -5
The absence of blood makes going through the woman’s effects more palatable than when you went through Benedetto’s gear. Unfortunately, you find nothing that indicates the identity of this woman. She carried nothing whatsoever.
There is something here, though, that your closer look reveals. Rose petals. Yellow rose petals. There’s ten of them that form a ring slightly above her head, giving it a halo effect. Strange.
Dahlia noticed the rose petals. So you are a psychopath, she thought. The killer had left his sign.
There was nothing left to do now but get out of the area as quickly as possible. Using the compass if she had to, she left the Maze and reported back to her bosses that the night's mission had been accomplished. There would be time to investigate the matter of this woman's death later, but now definitely wasn't the time.
Post by vladtaltos on Sept 12, 2014 8:53:38 GMT -5
With the aid of the compass, you puzzle your way through the labyrinthine streets and alleys taken in the pursuit of Benedetto. Things begin to look familiar, and you know you are close to leaving this accursed armpit of Florence.
Here in the dark, the solitude, the quiet, you ponder things that have happened this night, lost in thought for the moment (Make a 4/IQ check). When you look up, you may be surprised to see a familiar face...
* * * * *
OOC: The dog has found you, and look at that face---he now thinks of you as a friend, and will follow you home, if you wish a companion. But there is no pressure, and shooing him away will accomplish the task of getting rid of him.