Description: During some downtime, Zabel Zarock checks out an underground metal club in Southtown to see if there are any bands worth keeping an eye on. He happens to catch a set by Killasaurus Orphanage and likes what he hears. And so he decides to give Alexis a little test.
Things are looking up for Killasaurus Orphanage - though when you're in the musical equivalent of the gutter, there's little elsewhere to look /but/ up. At the very least, the band has what could be their first big gig coming up - a charity event scheduled to take place at a Southtown opera house. They may not be looking to make any money off of the ticket sales, but more importantly, the event is - according to Father Walter, the priest who agreed to organize the concert - supposed to be televised.
Now, there's just one last arrangement left to make: the band's live show has to not suck.
That's how they ended up in the Pentagram, an underground metal club in Southtown. They managed to get the show booked on short notice, and the show has turned out well so far. Alexis is sober for once and the audience aren't, so her singing has been relatively well-received. Matt has been killing the drums, Kim's been on point on bass, and Benny's managed not to puke so far. Their set has included several Killasaurus originals, such as "So Long, F***er," "Who Gives a S*** About School Anyway?" and "F*** Off and Die," but they're closing out the show with a cover of the Cancer Bats' 'Hail Destroyer.'
Dressed in her usual schoolgirl-esque stage outfit, Alexis is covered in a faint sheen of sweat from all of the effort she's been putting into showmanship. With this being the last song of the show, she holds nothing back, voice straining as she stomps out the rhythm on the guitar and screams out the final lyrics of the song:
o/~ Hail Destroyer!
Our lives begin when we! Fall! Down!"
The song ends abruptly as the band hits a final chord, stopping short rather than letting it ring. In a fit of rock-fuelled fury, Alexis kicks over her microphone stand, leading to a feedback hum throughout the place before the sound guy mutes it.
"Thanks guys! Have a good night!" Kim says into her backing mic as Alexis leans down to grab a bottle of water.
When it comes to underground clubs, there's a few different levels of 'underground' that one might encounter. The Pentagram falls in the level where you probably won't get killed just for not fitting in, but it is definitely the kind of place that's not going to call the cops, so it suits certain types of clientele just fine. Plenty of people who are just looking for drinks and music in a place where they feel comfortable, of course, but there's a few folks off at side tables that are clearly dealing drugs, and various other folks who have a dangerous look about them.
And then, there's a small group of people at a table back in one shadowy corner. They're dressed mostly in black, though a few of them have dark purple as well, with varying amounts of leather and a few metal spikes. Most of them look to be in their late teens to early twenties, except for the man who appears to be at the center of the group, leaning back with his feet up on the table. Zabel Zarock is sitting far enough back in the shadows that he's not immediately recognizable, although his long black coat with flame colored trim, and the extremely unhealthy pallor of his bare chest might make people curious. His face is mostly obscured, though, except that, perhaps by a trick of the light, glowing red pinpricks can occasionally be seen where his eyes should be.
A grin reveals white teeth as he continues listening to Killasaurus Orphanage play, one hand idly tapping in time with the music. As they appear to be getting closer to the end of the set, he gestures to one of the people surrounding him, and the young man quickly hurries over so that Zabel can say something to him. He then slips off into the crowd, looking around and then homing in on some particularly drunk looking patrons who also don't seem to be enjoying themselves too much at the moment.
As the set wraps up, most of the crowd seems generally appreciative of the music, though there seem to be a fair few people who don't intend to do anything so uncool or attention grabbing as applauding or cheering, even if they liked the music. Zabel's follower, meanwhile, has been saying something to a few of the drunks, who appear to be getting pretty worked up. One, a not particularly intelligent looking individual, slams his fist down on the bar, then picks up a mostly empty beer bottle. "You suck!" Too drunk to consider that he's not getting much support from the crowd, he rears back and then hurls the bottle toward the stage. There's enough power for the distance, but nothing even approaching good aim.
It's been a relatively short set, but with all of the energy that she's been putting into each number, it's felt like hours to Alexis. Only a cursory nod is given to Benny and Matty on guitar and drums for the moment as she breathes in deep before taking a long drink from her water bottle.
As she does, Kim bounds up next to her, the girl's bass left in its stand. She's got cobalt blue hair and a black tuque on today, and appears to be positively glowing.
"Awesome job, Lexi! I think they really liked i-"
The bottle, intended for Alexis, instead collides with the bassist's head, bouncing off and rolling away. The blue-haired girl blinks a few times. "Ow," she says plainly before toppling over onto the stage.
"Oh my gosh!" Matt exclaims, having just been exchanging a fist-bump with Benny. Both of the male musicians are aghast, and express their horror in unison. "KIM!"
Alexis, for her part, stands agape for just a moment, before turning toward the bar. Both of her fists clench as fury fills her eyes, and she hops off the stage before storming toward the direction the bottle came from. She doesn't need a microphone for her voice to be heard over the sounds of the club and a hum that's starting to grow around her.
"Alright, fuckers! Whoever threw that bottle just earned themselves an encore! For the next number, I'm gonna play a drum solo on your face!"
"Oh, shit," Benny says flatly as the other members of Killasaurus Orphanage make their best attempt at supplying first aid to their downed bassist.
Back in the shadows, a grin briefly crosses Zabel's face. Somewhere, deep in his blackened soul, there's a twinge of guilt at the bassist actually getting hit, but he's long since learned to ignore that emotion. And hey, it helps the experiment. Meanwhile, the crowd has gone quiet, and most of them are spreading quickly out of Alexis' way. Including one or two that look positively dangerous in their own rights, but disconcerted by the sudden display of anger. And so a path opens up leading more or less to the bar, from which Zabel's follower has already slipped away. At the end of the path are a couple ashen-faced guys who are looking between Alexis and their companion, who seems mostly angry and drunkenly confused, swaying a bit on his feet.
One of the quickly sobering ones grabs the bottle thrower by the shoulder and starts trying to pull him away, but he's shrugged off. The drunk takes a step toward Alexis, sneering at her. "Fuck off, bitch." And with that the guy who was trying to drag him away takes two quick steps back. A lot of people are looking at Alexis nervously now, and several of them are rubbing at their ears, unable to figure out where that growing hum is coming from.
Alexis may not be the shortest girl around, but the guy in front of her probably has nearly a good foot on her. And rolling up the sleeves on her schoolgirl blouse probably isn't that intimidating of a gesture - it's not like she's all that built (in terms of muscle, anyway). The look of unrestrained anger in her eyes and the hum continuing to build around her fists like a feedback loop are the only things that really give a reason for concern. And for a lot of people, that might be enough. Apparently, for at least one disgruntled metalhead, it's not.
Alexis' expression suddenly melts into a far-too-sweet smile.
"Oh, so it was you who threw it, huh? Thanks for letting me know."
She cracks her knuckles in front of her, stretching her arms forward in a rather leisurely manner, as if preparing for a friendly spar -
And then with sudden violence, she drives the toe of her boot sharply into the clubgoer's midsection. A sharp trill sounds out with the impact and the anti-fan is doubled over, bringing him down to her level. With a quick twirl, Alexis puts her back against the man's front, shoving her hips against his middle to keep him off-balance and locking an arm around his head, pulling his jaw down against her collar. In the moment of closeness, she speaks in an even, sultry tone.
"To be honest, I think you're probably right."
Swinging her legs forward, she lets herself drop to her rear the floor - causing the man's stubble-covered jaw to bounce off of her shoulder hard enough to be lifted off of his feet as a concussive burst of sonic energy accompanies the solid impact. The sound released is akin to a dissonant, distorted chord from a guitar.
Picking herself up as the man crashes onto the bar behind her, Alexis smooths down her skirt, wiping whatever grime she might have picked up from the floor away with her gloved hands. Turning to look over her shoulder, she adds, "I am a bitch."
The space around Alexis and the drunk almost instantly increases in size as her foot slams into him with a sonic accompaniment, but then for the rest of the brief beating everybody stays very still. There's no sound from the crowd as the drunk goes crashing behind the bar. The tinkling sound of broken glass fades away... and then a couple people cheer, and a few people start laughing, and the crowd generally begins to lighten up. It's not like they aren't used to more or less this kind of thing, after all. It's just that nobody wants to be the target of it.
Meanwhile, back at his table, Zabel is grinning to himself, and watching Alexis. He waits a few moments to give her a chance to get back to the stage and check on Kim, counting off time with taps of his finger on the table. And then... "Stay here." He doesn't wait for a response from his hangers-on, just pushing back against his seat with his hands and easily vaulting over the table, landing lightly on his feet and immediately striding toward the stage.
He pushes past the first few people in his way with no apparent effort, and then the path starts clearing up for him as people turn to look. A few people's eyes widen and some murmuring starts in his wake as some people recognize him and begin telling others just who that is. He may not be the most famous musician in the world, but he's gotten himself pretty well known, especially among the people who go to this kind of club.
He casually leaps up onto the stage, giving all the band members a grin. While he may look human at the moment, he certainly doesn't look well, but he does at least look in a friendly mood. "Hey, nice show! Liked the music, too." The grin fades a bit, but doesn't completely go away. "Your friend okay?" While Zabel is not one to balk at people getting hurt, it's a bit different when it happens to a musician. They actually /matter/. A bit, anyway.
On the stage, all of the members of Killasaurus Orphanage have gathered around their fallen comrade-in-instruments. Steve the sound guy is sitting cross-legged and cradling the swooned girl in his arms, tears streaming down his face as he sobs quietly. Matt's expression is stoic, one hand placed on Steve's shoulder reassuringly. Benny has disappeared into the washroom, presumably to puke away the anxiety.
Alexis, for her part, is kneeling down and holding the bassist's hand when Zabel approaches. She gives a brief glance up, not quite seeming to take the rocker in through the curtain of her bangs before her eyes flit back to Kim's face.
"Thanks. She's... I'm... not sure..."
Suddenly, the blue-haired girl stirs, her eyes fluttering open. Her face twists into an expression of confusion as she looks between Alexis, Zabel, and finally up to Steve and Matt. After a moment, she utters, "My tongue tastes like turquoise."
"She's okay!" Matt cheers as Steve weeps openly. Alexis smiles warmly, giving the girl's hand a squeeze before releasing it and rising, turning to face Zabel. She squints. Then, her eyes go wide and her jaw drops. "Holy shit! Guys, it's Zabel fucking Zarock!"
She gives the legendary metal musician another slow once-over with her eyes, as if to confirm that what she's seeing is real. "I mean, shit, it's really you, right? I thought you were dead!"
Zabel's grin grows wider. Musical talent is a quick way to get on his good side, and appealing to his ego doesn't hurt either. "You're not the only one. But you can't kill metal, babe, and hell can't hold me." His grin takes on a slightly feral aspect for a moment, but then he's back to just friendly. "I think there's some folks back home who are really disappointed about that, though. Anyway," he waves a hand, "You guys did a great job out there tonight. And then kicked some ass." He glances back over toward the bar with another grin.
"Been too long since I've been out to listen to some live music. Can't just listen to my own, you know? And I think you guys have really got it. And you don't mess around when someone fucks with you. I like that." Of course, people who fuck with Zabel can consider themselves lucky if they just wind up getting thrown across a bar.
When Alexis was a younger girl, she had tried to convince her foster parents to get her tickets to see Zabel Zarock live in concert. They had balked - predictably - and at the time, she had been too young to buy the tickets herself. In the end, she had given up on the idea. It turned out to be the last chance she would ever have - or so it had seemed. A few months later, the fateful show in which Zabel Zarock and one hundred members of the audience met their end made international news.
'That would have been so awesome,' Alexis had thought of the news at the time.
Needless to say, when Zabel Zarock shows up at her show (!) alive (?) and is complimenting her band (!!), the girl is a little starstruck.
"Holy shit," she repeats, before hastily fussing with her clothes and brushing her hair out of her eyes. "This probably sounds stupid, but I'm a huge fan! I still have my copy of Fangorra!" The album had been recalled by the record company, making copies of it rare. Even in the band's financial straits, she had refused to consider auctioning it as a collector's item.
"I thought that video had to be fake. I mean, I didn't want to get my hopes up, especially when there weren't any dates. But - wow."
"Holy shit, is that Zabel Zarock?" Benny asks, freezing and staring as he emerges from the washroom.
"No, Benny, it's Zabel Fucking Zarock!" Alexis shoots back at him.
"Oh God," Benny replies before ducking back into the men's room in a fit of nerves.
"Who's Zabel Zarock?" asks a still-dazed Kim woozily.
"He is, Kim," Alexis replies with an eyeroll before indicating the rocker with a nod.
"Oh," the blue-haired girl replies quietly before brightening with a smile. "Hi!"
Matty, having donned a pair of sunglasses at some point during the conversation, remains silent in his admiration for the moment.
"Fangorra... ah, that was a good one. Good times, good times..." And the urban legends about Track 0 had more truth to them than many people realize. And being a dedicate fan gets Alexis even more points in Zabel's book... particularly since it means he probably already has some hooks in her. The mind control woven into his music isn't the strongest out there, and she doesn't exactly seem weak-willed, but still... it's nice to know. "And that video's real, and I was serious about it. It's time for Zabel Zarock to stage a comeback. The firm info on times and locations will get out to the people who need to know when the time comes. I'm gonna give the true fans what they want, but there's other people looking for me. Taxes, that kind of thing. No need to make their jobs easier." He laughs briefly. Yes, taxes. Well, and those pesky murder investigators...
"And that's why I'm here in Southtown now. There's going to be a show coming up soon. And, you know..." He gives the remaining band members an appraising look. "Organzing things like this is really giving my agent hell, and trying to get anybody else to schedule themselves around it, well..." He chuckles. "If you guys are free, though, I think I just might be able to use someone to open for me." He flicks his wrist and a business card with just a simple phone number printed on it slides out of his sleeve and into his hand, and is extended out toward Alexis.
It's almost too good to be true. A chance to play as the opening act for Zabel Zarock? A subtle, constant tremor runs through Alexis as an electric sensation floods her nerves. One of her gloved hands reaches out gingerly to take the card with the phone number on it. She stares at it in shock, incognisant of the fact that her mouth is hanging open. She turns it over in her hands mechanically before tucking it into her shirt pocket.
"I... I think we can make time in our schedule!" she manages to get out in an effort to not sound /too/ over-eager. Insofar as they /have/ a schedule, she'd happily throw any of it away to make room for something like this. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She turns to the other members of the band. "Guys! Zabel Fucking Zarock just said we might get a chance to open for him on the Back from Hell tour!" From the sound of her voice, she's desperately fighting off the urge to squeal girlishly. "This is the best night ever!"
"I think my head is bleeding," Kim remarks, her eyes turned upward and hands resting on top of her beanie gingerly.
"Please don't ruin this by dying on me," Alexis whines to the other girl, her expression pleading. By the time she whirls back to face Zabel, she has a cool smile on. "So, we've gotta finish packing up and maybe take our bassist to the hospital, but we're definitely interested! Like, super super interested! I'll make sure and call your people so we can work things out or whatever!"
Zabel nods a few times, looking pleased. "Great. You call that number, we'll get things worked out. Just watch who you tell about the show, right? Let your fans know, that's fine, just don't go shouting the details from the rooftops. This is just for the right kind of people to know about, until it's too late to stop it." He grins. And, despite being very much a monster, Zabel actually doesn't have an ulterior motive here. Murdered and madman he may be, but his love of music is sincere.
And with all that taken care of, Zabel turns and begins walking toward the edge of the stage. He makes a flippant gesture as he does so, slightly turning his head as he walks. "Oh, feel free to bring an album, if you want to get it signed." And without breaking his stride he steps off the stage, landing lightly on the floor below. As he makes his way across the floor the metalheads who were around him earlier make their way toward him, falling into formation behind him and following him toward the door.
Log created on 19:24:33 02/18/2015 by Zabel, and last modified on 14:18:16 02/22/2015.