Claude Shountawl, an almost stereotypical gentleman from the minor noble family of the same name as his last. It was a silly sound, pronounced a bit like show and tell, although the man obviously didn't seem to realize such as he tended to emphasize each syllable everytime he introduced himself. His self-importance was of little matter in the end, however, only a minor hinderance in the grand scheme of things. Gentlemen who dipped their hands in the underworld were more often than not pains to deal with, especially when everything didn't play out the way they had planned, or when then created a larger issue than the one they had tried to solve.
The small village of Zinnia was an excellent example of investment gone wrong, once home to a slightly illegimate magical research facility owned by the Shountawl lineage, one that had been led astray into the madness of cult worship and the like. So called radiation had spread across the town, turning those previously established with no power into raving mad mages, hell bent on summoning some sort of demonic entity, and those had a magic aptitude seemingly unaffected, although their power had been increased substantially while within the area, not without the drawback of being subject to human sacrifice in a way to appease a so called god. Or, at least, that was what the dear Mr. Claude had written.
The family had pushed the threat to society under the rug as soon as they had heard of it, obviously fearing public opinion and the chance that their riches could be stripped from them due to some obscure law. So, instead of calling the knights, who couldn't be trusted, or the guilds, who also couldn't be trusted, they had reached out to those loosely, or not at all, affiliated with such. Other noble families who were known to waltz with crime, mages whose absence wouldn't be noted from the world and didn't spill secrets easily, mercenaries whose mouths could be shut simply by putting on a bonus rate. Few had responded, however, and even less bothered to interact once details had been established.
All of that was probably why Leonidas had been contacted, in the end. A friend of a friend of one of his associates, he guessed, or something like that, was how the Shountawl family had managed to come up with his name. Clearly desperate, they had offered a lot of money, but it wasn't as though that was what had drawn him to the case. No, the situation itself was what had led him to his current location, a forested area between Belladonna, Dandelion, and the Mazahar Basin. The agreed meeting spot, were anyone else to show, and where Claude himself would supposedly be briefing them. Leonidas doubted such, certainly the environment would not agree with a fancy suit and shined shoes, although the blonde himself was wearing a navy blue dress shirt and tie compared to his usual attire, but nonetheless he waited, plucking flowers from a rose bush in almost complete oblivion of the thorns digging into his flesh. With about five or so, he arranged them in a bouquet, before pulling the petals off each bud in a bored fashion, scattering them to the wind.
Twin shoes of black and white swayed playfully from under the bottom of their owner; the small girl remained seated on a bench of luscious cream-colored velvet, accented with golden rope trimming, and as she sat there, she appeared to be anxious and nervous, constantly checking the enormous doors of mahogany for any signs of her Lady’s exit. She had been waiting for over an hour by now but patience was supposed to be a virtue and while thinking of virtues, she giggled unto herself, thinking virtues were something none of them had acquired during any of their lifetimes. Happy to think of one of her immediate relations having virtues, being all righteous, and for the good of mankind, made the time pass by a bit quicker, just not fast enough. It wasn’t but a few moments later that she heard yelling, though she couldn’t quite make out what was being shouted, she drew herself closer to the double doors to listen, nearly falling over in order to spy on the conversation at hand. Finally, as the voices quieted, she took it upon herself to slip into the marbled floor and knelt at the bottom of the doors, pressing her ear against the minute crack to further eavesdrop.
“Pardon me, miss?” a monotone voice coughed behind her.
Turning to look at the servant, she frowned and placed a finger over her lips, signifying for their silence. Just then, a series of scratches echoed from behind the doors, along with an inhuman amount of shouting, and suddenly, the sounds of glass shattering and wood breaking made the girl get up from her position and back onto the bench as if she was desperately trying not to get caught. The servant, however, stared at her with a look of bewilderment until wooden shrapnel impaled his head and chest as the doors were literally ripped apart, apparently from an implosion that caused the mahogany to burst. With wide eyes glossed over from the shock, she blinked slowly until a girl smaller than herself stepped over pieces of jagged wood and carefully avoided the blood pooling in the otherwise pristine floor. She carried a small doll like looked eerily like herself, kind of creepy-like, but the girl was known to be quite a narcissist. The two never made eye contact as she took the opposite direction, leaving behind the mess for someone else to clean up, but stopped for a second which caused the maiden to hold her breath.
”Please don’t talk to me, please don’t talk to me, please don’t talk to me.”
The tiny girl continued forward without speaking, allowing the other to exhale heavily and slouch against the back of the bench, thanking the heavens that she didn’t have to carry on a conversation with that wicked little brat. Soon after, her Lady made her exit and followed the same routine the girl had – stepping over the broken shards and tip-toeing over spilt sanguine – but didn’t stop and continued on without so much as looking at her maiden. Quickly running after her, she started to ask what the hell had happened but before she could, Kanna slammed a neatly procured folder of paperwork against her under-developed chest.
“I have been given an assignment,” she mumbled.
“An assignment? What kind of bullshittery is this?” the maiden replied as she flipped through the paperwork and chuckled hysterically, “Demons and the Occult! You know absolutely nothing about those things and furthermore, shouldn’t that one boy… I’unno, what’s his face… shouldn’t he be dealing with that sort?”
Kanna sighed, “Investments.”
Narrowing her crimson orbs, the girl pursed her lips and squinted, “Now’s not the time for your shenanigans, milady. What investments? Like, is the family invested in this place? Or are… we… ARE WE INVESTED IN DEMONS NOW?!” Quietly, she grumbled, “I knew that tiny bitch was a demon all along…”
“Have my things ready in an hour,” she spoke in a defeated tone of voice.
And so, somewhere in middle of… you know, Kanna wasn’t entirely sure where she was. Never being adapt with directions, barely knowing her cardinal directions without getting East and West confused was a success, she kind of just, followed her instincts and the poorly drawn map that stated, “If you pass the rock with markings, you’ve gone too far.” Not really, but it might as well of said it. Anyways, she sauntered through the wooded thicket, attempting to find where she was supposed to meet whomever else was involved, the Lady could feel beads of sweat forming upon her brow. To say she was unhappy, would have definitely been an understatement as she felt barbs sticking to the dark grey pants she wore and every so often, she’d have to stop to pick them off lest she appear unappealing. Her jacket matched the pants which was going to have to be removed sooner than later because, Jesus Fucking Christ, it was hotter than Hell and the sun was beating down on her dark clothes, making her feel even sweatier. This was most definitely the worst thing she’d ever done and by no means, was she enjoying any minute of it.
Not far away, the Ashur found a little-bitty clearing where she could finally stop all this trekking and calm her hot-headedness. Literally and figuratively. The closer she got, the more she felt a false cooling sensation but no, that’s not all she was about to find. Bursting out of the woods like a psychotic lumberjack, Kanna’s left eye twitched uncontrollably as she pointed at the little boy playing with flowers.
“YOU! Of all the people I should meet here, it had to be YOU,” she growled and carried on like an unpleasant child.
Hurrying herself, she sat down on a nearby rock and removed her jacket, allowing the breeze to caress her flesh that was marked with obsidian cracks, then drank water from a bottle that had been stored in a pocket on her pants. The tank top she donned was fashioned out of a white gossamer and shimmered ever so slightly as the sun began to set which offered an even cooler breeze. It also calmed her a bit more, not enough for her apologize or anything, but enough to keep her from attempting to dismember him for what he did the last time they were around each other.
“Why are you here, Herr Leo?” she spat with intentional sarcasm and drank more water, waiting for his response.