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Victorians could hire 'professional mourners' to attend their loved one's funeral. These people would partake in the procession and were not allowed to speak, just look awfully sad! — Rune


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"The Prodigal Sister" for Ophelia Devine. Faked deaths, scandal, and schemes!
Kristoffer was going to be great at this, because he was great at everything. Also his memory was greater than everyone else's, because he bet no one else had ever lost their virginity somewhere exotic like Morocco. Hell, he bet no one else had even lost their virginity. Inexperienced losers.

Kristoffer Lestrange in Shining, Shimmering Splendour


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7 Deadly Sins

Complete seven threads, one where your character displays each of the Seven Deadly Sins — Pride, Lust, Sloth, Envy, Weath, Gluttony, and Greed. Each thread should be at least ten posts, with at least three being your own. Character accounts can be combined.

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Things That Go Bump In The Night
#1
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28 April, 1888 — Vampire Caverns

It had taken Lyra longer than she had anticipated to find the vampire caverns, but if she was being honest, a good deal of the delay was due to her own trepidation. It didn't make any sense, given that she had long since moved past the point where she need fear an attack by anything that lurked in the Forbidden Forest. She was more predator than prey now, and she could easily have defended herself if anything did try to stand in her way — not that that was likely. No beast would be coming after her; she didn't have the scent of a living thing and would have made a very poor meal on any account.

Still, she couldn't help the sense of rather childish dread she felt at the idea of actually finding the vampire caverns. This had been a place of horror stories when she was a child, a place that featured in those tales nannies made up to keep children from misbehaving. Be a good girl and don't wander too far, or you might find yourself whisked away to the vampire caverns. Well, Lyra had never been a good girl, and she had wandered too far, and she had still managed for years to avoid the place. Except in the briefest of passing moments, she hadn't had any interaction with her own kind at all since her transformation, which made the idea of seeking them out and trying to reason with them all the more terrifying. What sorts of people would she find there? Would they still be people, or would they be closer to the more monstrous depiction of vampires she'd been raised on as a child?

It was easier, for a time, to simply continue lurking on the edges of Muggle society, as she had been doing for years. She knew how to go undetected, and with regular access to the Ministry's blood bank there was never a crisis moment when she grew too hungry. But she hadn't come to England to continue doing the same thing she could have done in America. She had come to England for a purpose, and it was time she found her spine and started after it.

It was the middle of the night when she finally stumbled upon the place, and she glimpsed the light of a fire through the trees before anything else. She knew she was too far from town for this presence to be human (at least, no human who valued their life would wander this far out, at this time of night), but she still wasn't sure that she had really found the place. She didn't know at all what to expect. Were they actually just caves, like animals would live in? Or had they been transformed by decades of inhabitants into something more akin to the Muggle myths of dragons' lairs, filled with hoarded treasures from past conquests?

Well, this was the time to find out, she supposed. "Hello?" Lyra called tentatively as she pushed her way through the last layer of foliage separating her from them.

Ishmael — but I can flex the date to whatever you need if this doesn't work for you!


because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me — the Carriage held but just Ourselves — and Immortality.
#2
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Having hit up a few of his London contacts already this month - or at least, having attempted to; the murder that the Prophet had put down to a potential vampire attack had unsettled no shortage of people - Ishmael had returned to the caverns in Hogsmeade to try some of the slum folk instead.

Besides, he didn't like to live in Monty's pocket, didn't like to make out that he orbited him and wasn't capable of anything else. The caverns afforded him some space, some independence, some contact with his own kind (mixed bag that they were). Rolling his eyes, he parted ways from a bickering pair in one of the caverns - they'd be at it a while yet, they'd barely notice him slinking off - and picked his way back towards his own.

He flung a few more pieces of kindling on the fire he'd left burning - they were so isolated, this far in the forest, that trying to conceal their presence was hardly necessary; if anyone approached, it'd be a poor, desperately lost human, drawn like a moth to the (literal) flame - and Ishmael, though he possessed plenty of restraint, wasn't usually one to turn away snacks were they to wander right into his lap.

He'd just been about to pick up the Count of Monte Cristo again (he'd never been much of a reader before, but, then again, an afterlife stretching emptily out in front of you drove you to odder things than books), when he heard the rustle of branches and bushes - near, very near.

It had to be an animal, Ishmael had just thought, though most prey knew by now not to venture too close to the caverns, because they did very well at quenching some of the inhabitants' thirst. He stood, silent and listening, and then circled round the fire and headed towards the thicket line. And there, he saw her. He hadn't smelled blood at her approach - humans continued to reek of it, after all his years bridling his reaction to it - but he also didn't recognise her, which would be... rare.

He stepped up, better into her eyeline, wondering whether he had been mistaken. She'd called hello?, though, which begged conversation as first call. (Ishmael was more than happy to oblige. He was also exceptionally pleased to be first on the scene: the caverns so rarely had visitors; everyone else would quite jealous.)

"Well, well, well," Ishmael drawled, though there was a glint of actual interest in his eyes, an interest that was, for the moment, eclipsing instinctive wariness. He was on familiar terrain, at least, so he'd likely have the upper hand. "What do we have here?" Or who, rather.



#3
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A man emerged from the shadows, only emerged wasn't really the right word for it. That implied a clear distinguishing break, which hadn't been present in this case. It was more as though the figure of the man resolved itself from the shadows, like a body moving through water. In any case, he didn't appear to be much older than she did — but of course, appearances could be quite deceiving among people like them. He was a vampire; the scent of blood was absent and his skin had that same grey, sunken look hers always did. Not that she had been entertaining many ideas about encountering anything but another vampire, this far out in the woods.

"I'm looking for the caverns," she said, hoping her tone sounded certain and bold and didn't betray the bundle of nerves she was trying to push down to the pit of her stomach. It wasn't as though she was concerned that these people might try to hurt her, but she didn't really know what she was doing. It was entirely possible that there was some sort of established protocol for interactions between vampires that she was woefully ignorant of, and this was the only first impression she would have the chance to make with the English vampires. They were going to be here forever, so the stakes were fairly high if she managed to screw this up.

"It would appear I've found them," she continued, with a cursory glance at her surroundings. She couldn't see much with any distinction beyond the ring illuminated by the fire, which mostly just looked like another clearing in the Forbidden Forest. She'd passed a dozen like it already, and this one did not seem remarkable except for the company it contained. Would she be calling this home soon? The idea seemed unfathomable, but if the whole point was to ingrain herself in the social scene (such that it was) of undead England, this seemed the ideal place to begin. Of course, before she could get to that she'd have to establish with the current tenants that she was looking for a new living situation, and she had no idea how to start that conversation. Turning her attention back to the man, she offered a bit hesitantly, "My name is Lyra."


because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me — the Carriage held but just Ourselves — and Immortality.
#4
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It was her first time here, then. How exciting. (The very idea of novelty lost its shine, the older you got. Nothing was ever new anymore. It was a great shame.)

He nodded, if only to confirm she was in the right place, and beckoned her forwards in a gesture of welcome, something that wasn't technically needed here - this was perhaps the only place vampires were welcome enough that it went without saying - but once you'd experienced that sorry fact enough, you appreciated invitations in all the more.

His place was a little ways back from here, in shadow behind the fire but the entrance perhaps still visible from here, an arched opening in the rock. It was not the grandest cave around - he hadn't been here as long as some, and had never much considered anywhere a permanent home, to start with - but he did have a growing collection of possessions in the hollow tunnels and chambers he inhabited, things he needed and others he'd just picked up, here and there: some trunks full of clothes and valuables, some personal blood-stores at the back, a couple of magic carpets, some antique furniture - just a piece or two to spruce the place up - and a few odd vestiges of his past sprinkled amongst the rest.

"You're new, Lyra," Ishmael supposed, with another spark of interest. If he was wrong, she would no doubt contradict him; although new itself did not mean young, necessarily. Oh, she looked young - she'd been turned young - but she might have been a vampire a long while.

He had certainly never crossed paths with her before, and he was keen to find out more about her (and get to be the one to deal out the gossip later). "Welcome," he added authoritatively, as though he were the official greeting-party. He drew himself up in uncharacteristic uprightness, attempted his best serious expression and low, booming voice, and continued, dragging the words out: "I am Zulfiqar."  

He still wasn't any taller than her, nor much broader, and if he was not the only person she met at the caverns, the illusion he was attempting to build of someone imperturbable and impressive and all-knowing was going to crumble sooner rather than later. Probably best to see her on his side in a way he was better at, then. "Nah," he said, expelling a breath and a laugh after a prolonged pause, seriousness disintegrating into a grin. "Call me Ishmael. Come on then, where're you from?" He asked, this time trying to beckon forth some of her story.



#5
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The first name he gave her sounded exotic, and his skin did have something of a darker tint to it (particularly for a vampire), and she was both impressed and a bit intimidated. Not in the traditional sense, but rather in the social sense. Where had he come from? What was his story? How long had he been here? Were any of those questions she would ever find the courage to ask? It seemed horribly impolite to dig into his past if he made no offer to share it with her, and she didn't know the best way to even go about it. Investigating the personal lives of vampires who had lived for potentially hundreds of years already had never been covered by her etiquette teachers.

Then he laughed, and the illusion was broken — or rather, changed. He still seemed to have a certain mystique to him, but his body language now seemed more approachable and put her a little more at ease. She followed him in towards the caverns, and her response to his question came more easily than she would have expected it to, given how nervous she'd been just a moment before. "Britain, originally. But I've been in America the past several years." After a beat, she added in as conversational a tone as she could manage, "Where are you from?" And when, she wanted to know, but that still seemed a bit too personal to just ask upfront.


because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me — the Carriage held but just Ourselves — and Immortality.


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