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Company of Ghosts
September 1st, 1889 - The Vampire Caverns
Kieran wasn't a frequent smoker, but he wished he had a cigarette. He was holding his illuminated wand in hand, sort of just traipsing further into the forest in the hopes of running into a vampire. Not smart. Very not smart - if he had hackles, they'd be up, and this was his idea in the first place. He had his reporter's notebook, a quill, and - in his bag - copies of the front page of the Daily Prophet from the past few months. Daisy Jackson, Pumpkin Whitledge, even Miss Rawlinson.

If this worked out, his coworkers were going to wonder how he got the scoop.

If it didn't work out, he was going to end up in St. Mungo's or worse, but he was willing to take the gamble. He didn't taste good - if Ishmael's reaction could be extrapolated to all vampires, then Kieran was betting that they wouldn't go to the trouble of killing him. Not for blood, at least. Besides, they had too many bodies around here - a Daily Prophet reporter, even a poor one, going missing would not go over well. To Ishmael, it wouldn't be worth it, and although Kieran knew little of the inner-workings of the caverns he had a feeling that Ishmael had weight. This would probably be easier if he just ran into Ishmael.

When Jude found out about this, he was going to fly off the handle. Kieran could already hear the sound of it, and he imagined the blow-up as he navigated around a rather nasty-looking tree - there was going to be a lot of yelling. But this was the sort of article that could make a reporter's career; or, help him fly a bit under the radar as vampires got more heat than werewolves for a few more months. Maybe he'd get extra lucky and stumble upon a body on his journey.

Crack came the sound of a branch under someone's weight. Kieran stopped dead.

"I'm a reporter," he said, holding one hand up in the universal gesture for 'I come in peace' - a gesture perhaps lessened by the wand in his other hand.

[-] The following 1 user Likes Kieran Abernathy's post:
   Elias Grimstone
It was her own damn fault this was all happening. Why she hadn't listened to Ishmael was obvious, and a thought that still made the vampire gnash her teeth together with silent rage. He was right, of course, but that only made her teeth grind at an even more astronomical decibel. She'd stuck to the woods and the area near the caverns, forced to feed on any pathetic creature that crossed her path.

During the day, she took to lounging up in trees - all the better to see or hear any predator (or prey) that had come past. It still did not give her much delight. What an existence. Animals didn't even taste as good - sure they tasted delicious when cooked and tossed with herbs when she was a human, but now they just tasted....dirty, and stinky. They gave her strength though and that's what she needed most right now.

Another downside was the fact that animal blood did not give her as much relief as human blood did. Sure, it gave her sustenance, but she was used to the feeling of strength that human blood provided. Animal blood made her feel slightly more week and frankly a little cloudy in the head. It was after such a meal that she picked up another scent - one much less pleasant than a regular animal. One that was human, yet...there was something off about this one. The vampire flitted from tree to tree towards the scent. Now if they came to attack her, she surely was allowed to kill for purposes of "self-defense".

If she had a beating heart it would be practically singing with excitement. And then her foot came down too hard a branch and it cracked. Shit. But even with that sound, she still caught the words out of the man's mouth.

A reporter?

Azazel scowled from her perch and bared her teeth. Though her eyes could stand the wand light, she still narrowed them. "Reporter my ass." she spat, not willing to budge from the spot as she sniffed the air once more. "You may be a reporter but there's something more to you that you'd do well to tell me now." Curse that goddamn animal blood dampening her senses. This was not the right time for someone to come poking about the forest.

[Image: AzazelSig.png]
Supposed immunity or not, Kieran's heartbeat quickened when he heard her speak. He couldn't actually see the vampire - why was the forest always fucking dark? His grip on his wand was secure. And if the vampire tried to take a bite, then - well, she'd probably react like Ishmael had, and if she didn't then he was well and truly fucked.

"Death wish, probably," Kieran said flippantly. He swiveled around, trying to spot her - but without the vampire moving it wasn't easy, either. He might be in over his head - while he hadn't put much thought into this scheme, in Kieran's head this little adventure involved running into Ishmael, not some other creature.

"I have some questions for you," he said, mildly, hands still up. This could be... bad.

If he had had good hearing, he might have heard the vampire's teeth grinding in annoyance at his avoidance. There was something off about him and she was going to leave here knowing what it was. It did please her slightly that he didn't seem to be able to locate her, as he was currently facing the wrong way if he wanted to speak to her.

Despite this, she still smirked. Most people seemed to have a deathwish, who walked into these parts of the woods. She was tempted to keep walking, but she enjoyed the fact that he couldn't see her and so she settled on sitting down, cross-legged where she was. Her eyes narrowed - she didn't trust wizards, and the fact that this one had a wand wasn't reassuring.

"I do find this rather intriguing," she responded, her voice low and taunting. "that you think I'd willingly answer them instead of knocking your head clean off that body of yours." And he wasn't bad looking. She'd regret it, perhaps. And frankly, she was still contemplating eating him - self-defense, she'd tell Ishmael. What the poppet didn't know wouldn't hurt him.

[-] The following 1 user Likes Azazel's post:
   Elias Grimstone

[Image: AzazelSig.png]
Mm. That was a course of action he had not considered - it was technically possible for him to be killed but not eaten. Kieran tilted his head, considered - as long as she didn't move, he was fine. She hadn't moved yet - her voice sounded like it was coming from the same distance and direction still, and so he might be okay. Still, his grip on his wand was tight.

"I really don't think it's worth your time," Kieran said, going for 'annoyed' rather than 'afraid.' "Besides, the last headline you all need is Reporter Murdered in Forest, Presumably by Vampire."

Insolent little beastie. Back was the grinding of her teeth and Azazel raised her top lip in a snarl. She'd blackmailed a fair amount of people in her life, and this conversation was certainly leaning towards exactly that.

Damn Ishmael and his warning echoing in her head. His voice was so incredibly annoying sometimes, which only compounded her irritation when he was right in front of her.

Good for the human that Ishmael wasn't otherwise she might have just been pushed over the edge. Presently, the vampire found herself merely hovering at the edge. Whether she was pushed over it depended on how the human behaved.

It wasn't looking good for him so far.

What makes you think you'll be missed? was on the tip of her tongue, however, Ishmael's voice kept reverberating in the back of her mind. Azazel let out a growl of irritation, kicking out at the tree trunk with a thunk! Bark flew everywhere, showering over the reporter below. Ooops.

The vampire peered over the edge of the branch, a resigned look on her face. "Five minutes and don't you for a second think I'm not counting." she ground out, though frankly her interest was piqued enough to where she probably wouldn't bother counting in her head. The reporter would know when the interview was over...

"What the hell do you want?"

[Image: AzazelSig.png]
Bark landed in his hair. Kieran nearly jumped, and looked up. Oh, there she was - he could only really see the slight reflection of her eyes in the light, and the shape of her. She was closer than he liked, but not any closer than he'd expected. Breathe. He'd overcome the first hurdle - and now that he knew where she was, he didn't feel as jumpy. Just - unsettled. There was something predatory about a vampire in the dim light like this, something he'd never felt with Ishmael.

It was like she was something feral, whereas Ishmael, while still untamed, operated in a world of equivalent exchange that Kieran could understand.

"Five minutes," Kieran said. If he pissed her off enough, something bad would happen at the end of that five minutes. But he could work with that.

"The vampires who are talking to the press - they're all close enough to society. They're registered with the Ministry, they have bank accounts, they work in public businesses," Kieran said. "You're not. I want to know what you're thinking about all this."

She had to know about it; she might even be responsible for some of it.
Aaahhh, the other vampires. Yet another reminder that here, one was not like the other. Azazel chuckled to herself. She couldn't blame the reporter, it's not as if she tried to blend in. She sighed, settling into her place and kicking her feet up whilst laying down on the trunk. Might as well get cozy. She liked being dramatic, however having someone interview her felt so....human. She took care not to squirm too much; no use in letting him think that this was foreign territory to her, obvious as it was.

You're not.

A harsh laugh escaped the vampire's lips and she rolled halfway over to peer down again at the human. "Well spotted," she replied sardonically, her voice low as she surveyed him. What a thin frame to behold, Azazel mused. She genuinely thought if she didn't kill him on purpose, killing him on accident didn't seem entirely outside the realm of possibility. And now that she got a good look at him, he looked rather tired. She narrowed her eyes at him. "About all what?"

[Image: AzazelSig.png]
Fucking hell, she was like a raccoon up there, rolling around and looking at him. There wasn't much human about her behavior, other than that she was chatting with him - Kieran was willing to bet that she did not spend much time around the living at all. Ishmael could blend in when he wanted to, briefly and when he was well-fed - they could be in a brightly-lit bar and he would still know she wasn't human.

"Oh, you know, the murders," Kieran said, as casually as possible. "It's usually in the Ministry's best interest to let you all be, but with all these bodies turning up, people think that might change."

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