Brandon - The Artifact That The Scholar Refused

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Description: A recently acquired dagger is the cause of many complications. In order for a scholar to archive it, he has to get around the nasty spirit willing to possess the user and the fact that it is wanted as the murder weapon in recent crime. In order for the police to test the dagger they not only have to get around the previously mentioned spirit and the fact that it's wanted for archival. And what role will that mysterious woman play in how things will turn out?

Black's operations have been going well in Metro City, the trickle of money already going back to the coffers of the consortium of oil and power monopolies in the Slavic East that hired Black to form Skull Cross in the first place. As Metro City rises from the ashes of the invasion of Darkstalkers and the contact with the magick of Jedah Dohma's realm, Stray continues to play chess with the unsuspecting denizens of Metro City. Mad Gear has always run the streets here, acting as a font of Belger's personal power. And Retsu's concept of smuggling out of his own nihilistic desire to perpetuate his own legacy continues in Mad Gear's international voice. But Skull Cross has actual goals to build an empire, albeit they are hired to do so. They are not conquering Metro City, however, they are merely parasites, loading immigrants into the recovering city to prey upon in a consortium of criminal families from their home countries, working in an alliance with Mad Gear with various treaty provisions and payoffs and assistances. But one thing Belger and Retsu weren't counting on? Stray's recruitment of Dr. Burghardt Brandt, the descendent of generations of German occult theologian and expert on the supernatural mysteries. Were Stray not an honest minion, which he is occasionally not, he would ponder using such findings for his own game. But Stray is a computer and technology expert, where variables can be factored in boolean logic, albeit murderously complex with such an operation as a tunnel back to Russia for money laundered Western cash to bribe officials. He does not know something so wild as to defy physics.

Beneath Metro University, in a special room built by the United Nations team Burghardt is heading to store dangerous relics, Dr. Brandt and his now elite team of crypto-archaeologists are analyzing a find. The walls are soundproofed and lined with obscure glyphs and runes in several different languages, ranging from Hebrew shibboleth to Korean hangul, to seal this room from whatever may come here, and the team is dressed in black sackcloth flown in from high north Scotland. Banshee's blood, they call it, the special resin used to coat it, to prevent possession from the ghostly. On a raised dais, made of mere oak wood and nothing else special, is an Arabic guriya, a curved dagger made for honor rituals or hand to hand self-defense. This particular one has an emerald in the pewter hilt between where one's middle and ring finger would be, in the impossible carved shape of a skull's face. The rest of the team is behind Burghardt, taking notes and quietly talking, while Brandt lurks over the dagger, hearing whispers in his mind that call to him. He watches the dagger through his glasses, hearing a laughing woman call to him. Were he not an apt student, he would not recognize it as the laugh of a ghoul, and he would perhaps take the knife's offer. He quietly listens to it, the sackcloth keeping his willpower strong and the demon inside the knife at bay. He stands up lean and tall, and hoods the sackcloth over his head and shoulders, the voice banished. He turns about and moves back to his team.

"There's a murderer in that knife. A Darkstalker plucked it from the hand of a sorcerer and brought it to Majigen to keep the Arabs safe from it, and it found its way here. Explains why three murders were committed with it, before we recovered it." He pushes his glasses up on the brim of his nose, picking up a lamb skin case from a nearby table. "Nobody holds the handle, the succor is in the gem."

After Metro City got pulled into Majigen during the events of Unholy Genesis, the Metro City police force was forced to acknowledge the supernatural and could no longer afford to stick their fingers in their ears and pretend that it didn't exist.

Brandon Malone was a Private Detective who advertised his specialization in the unusual(a euphemism for supernatural). He had a good record for not only handling the supernatural but presenting it in a way that it could be handled in the courts of the mundane world.

The Metro Police hired him as a consultant on this matter in the hopes that they could get their hands on the murder weapon. That same guriya. The process that brought the PI the University was first scrying for the weapon's location based on a blood sample of last victim of the dagger. He knew that particular process would not be enough for a warrant so he gathered eye witness testimony, and took advantage of access to camera footage to find out that it was brought to this area and considering it was historically a type of knife used for rituals, it gave enough evidence for a search warrant.

The fedora wearing private eye steps into the room and lays eyes upon the dagger on the dais that matched the pictures and description of the guriya. He says nothing at the moment, waiting to see what they are doing and whether or not they even notice him.
and are line break and tab, respectively."

Wearing a trenchcoat herself, Chun-li is in this little area too. It's not hard to look inconspicuous with you're wearing a black trenchcoat, but she also has a ratty looking hat on, so she LOOKS like a bum. While Interpol got a bit of a lead about a dangerous sydicate in Metro City, and it seemed Chun-li hit the jackpot in the gang here. It was a bit strange though. Sacrificial dagger on a Dais. But, for all she knew, this might lead her to something bigger, in her mind.

She tugged on the front of the hat and just watched the ritual, of sorts....unaware that anyone else was the moment.

Dr. Brandt briefly looks up across the room at Brandon Malone, his eyes spotting the private detective from behind his horn-rimmed glasses. There's a brief look of recognition in his eyes, Brandt no purveyor of mysticism himself to avoid contamination or curses with the items and entities he works with, but he knows one isn't drawn to a place like this, with an item like this here, by chance. His expression is neutral, but his mouth draws into a tight lipped line, clearly displeased in a mild, bothered sense. His eyes drift behind Brandon, signalling with a quaint turn of his face, to regard the individual in the drab clothing on the stairs behind Malone. A mere warning to Malone, that he seems to have allowed himself to be tailed here.

Dr. Brandt looks to a Xhosa (a South African shaman tribe) woman, lambskin sleeve laid flat across his upturned palms. "We'll need to contain the blade. This is too dangerous for a field study, or even display." The woman nods quietly, and turns to remove a slim, smooth matte black wooden box from a shelf beneath a desktop. She lays it out on the desk, and flicks a lamp on before adjusting it.

"You may both come in, this is an open university laboratory, but I recommend you be careful about what you wish for," he says with an amplified voice of warning as his assistant opens the box, pride alpha lion's fur lining the inside of the box. He turns about and begins walking towards the dais again with the sleeve, with some trepidation, knowing he'll have to come dangerously close to handling the weapon.

A pair of the other assistants turn to greet Brandon and Chun-Li, also dressed in the resin-lined black sackcloth robes. "Hello to both of you. We apologize for the manner of dress, we have some unusual containment procedures necessary at this stage of our archaelogical survey."

For his part, Brandon was pretty sure he wasn't tailed. But then again, he didn't really use any scrying rituals to inform him as to whether he was or not. Why would he? He was just there to issue a search warrant for the object that was in plain sight... Or rather the police officer he was standing with. Both Brandon and the Metro City officer both turn around and see the woman in the trenchcoat. Brandon for his part ends up raising his eyebrow slightly before turning back to the professor.

"Unfortunately, that blade is needed as evidence as part of murder investigation."

The police officer steps towards Brandt and hands over the particular search warrant.

Yes...the woman is standing right behind the two officers, and tries to be as inconspicuous as possible, even when she's pointed out. She shrugs and tips her hat as Brandon looks at her. Just a normal woman in a trenchcoat......that's also a police officer.



Doctor Brandt pauses as if he's heard something dangerous, his toe up midstep with the heel of his polished shoe down on the ground. He breathes slowly and turns about, looking at the warrant. He shifts the sleeve to his left hand and takes the warrant gingerly in his right, looking it over, with an eye that indicates far more legal intuition than your average academic, or even one sent by the United Nations as part of a study-team on a world shattering incident. There is a dark frown on his face, as he looks up. "Officer, I may be able to assist you, but it will take trust on your part. The suspect that used this knife may not have been aware of their actions, or even capable of resisting. I can offer testimony, but I am unsure of how it will work with precedence. Sufficed to say..." He looks over his shoulder at the dais where the knife rests. "That object is extremely dangerous." He looks from the officer to Brandon. "I can assist in the hunt of the killer, but it may be a situation where commitment is necessary in a special psychiatric facility. As you are aware..." He looks behind them, at the gathered assistants, watching quietly, before handing the search warrant back to the officer.

"Darkstalkers are defining points of laws that exist for each particular incident."

"Would you like an explanation, before you make the same error the poor fool that handled that blade previously did, to provoke this search warrant?"

While Doctor Brandt speaks, Brandon is focusing his particular senses on the bladed weapon. He actually cringes when he feels the malignant energy pulsing from it. He shudders before returning to his attention to Doctor Brandt. As for the officer, he seems like he's about to approach the doctor when Brandon raises his hand to stop the officer's movement.

Brandon softly whispers to the officer, "No. He's right."

He glances back once again at trenchcoat wearing woman before he faces Dr. Brandt and speaks directly to him. "I'm pretty sure I can come to my own conclusion about the danger of the object. But I am willing to listen to your explanation to see if it matches my theory."

"So the dagger took control of their actions and had them kill someone. I'm guessing it took direct contact to do that." The woman says towards the doctor as Brandon comes to his own conclusion. "Unless the power goes through, even a cloth?"

The woman's voice sounds familiar though....

Brandt lifts his eyelids slowly as he looks up to Chun-Li, responding to her after carefully judging Brandon. "That would be correct. There is a soul trapped inside a jealous emerald that sits between the middle and ring finger, the gate of matrimony and control. This knife was used in an honor ritual devised by a fey and omnious sorceror, and then the fallen was trapped inside it. It seduces one as a woman, but it is merely the image of the man who killed her. The tragedy of the trick created by the magician is what keeps the soul in torment." He looks to Brandon. "This knife, the guriya, is used in many forms of fights from Arabia. Honor tests from an elder, for example, or within a family, or between lovers, or even between the jealous. This ritual was in vain. The knife was a great boon to whatever evil man held it as a monkey's paw, until it eventually fell from his hand, as such relics often do."

Brandt smooths out the lambskin with his right hand. "This is naturally prepared lambskin, anointed in water soaked in marble. It is the proper prison for a weapon of evil. The lambskin prevents the demon from speaking, the marbled water prevents the weapon from drawing temptation from another." He turns about and moves towards the knife again. "I will turn over the weapon to the man who knows his occult, but be warned. The ghul takes the shape of a hyena to lure children out into the desert to eat them. A child is not always a child in the literal sense, merely to those who are not trusted with the proper knowledge."

Dr. Brandt takes a deep breath, before he slides the sheath around the blade, starting from the stabbing tip and ending with the pommel. He slowly ties it shut with a drawstring. "A child plays with what he or she does not understand."

Brandon nods understanding before speaking once more.

"I have to admit you know your stuff. But it definitely makes my job complicated. I would assume that the lab would want to do blood work and attempt to lift fingerprints from it and judging from how gingerly you're treating it, your prints won't be on there anyway. And that being said it's entirely possible it's hopelessly contaminated."

Brandon reaches for the leather pouch on his hip and pulls out a deck of cards and begins to shuffle. It's become one of his nervous tics as he feels the sting of pushing his energy from his finger tips into the deck itself. And then as quickly as the deck appeared it goes right back into the pouch

"I suppose I might be able to devise a ritual to contain the spirit long enough that lab techs can get their evidence before it goes back into its prison."

"it also sounds like it'd be a good idea to conduct forensics in a locked room. Plus they'd have to take the proper precautions as well." the woman says before looking towards Brandon. "Of course, the ritual would have to be the right one to contain it....then scrape the dried blood off."

Dr. Brandt turns towards the African woman with the knife laying across his palms gingerly, just on his fingertips, his face burning with intensity in pure fear of the object, perhaps knowing that a man with his knowledge and personality could easily be taken in a far more deadly way than mere murderous impulse by this object. The woman picks up the box with due ceremony and walks it over to Burghardt, slowly, and Brandt slides it into the lion's fur case, before quietly closing it. "Lion's mane, pride leader. That's an ancient trick to prevent scrying of an object or treasure or secret. A sadly forgotten practice, although happily for activists." He sighs, turning to offer the mute wooden box to Brandon. "Men are more an animal than a beast, for they despoil useful resources for pleasure instead of penance."

Chun-Li is given a moment of regard from Brandt, his face hard to discern in the darkness of the hood besides the glint off the lenses of his glasses. The posture's stiffness, from what little is visible amidst his robe, is hardly pleased at the presence of an apparent crime scene detective. Nobody else appears to be bothered by here, however. In fact, they find the odd woman fascinating, from the way they talk and murmur while watching her.

Lion fur and leather used to prevent scrying. That was something that was new to him. The methods he was more familiar with to prevent scrying were through a combination of crystals imbued with energy. That being said, he knew that belief could also imbue something with power. If anyone needed proof of that, one just needed to look at the use of placebos in medical studies.

When the box is offered the private investigator takes it into his hands and nods in appreciation, both to Brandt for handing over the piece of evidence and to Chun Li for the suggestion of performing the forensics in a locked room which would make for a good safeguard in case his ritual failed. But he believed in his arcane abilities and as he noted before, belief has a power of its own.

When he leaves, he performs a quick ritual on the box itself with an unpleasant surprise for anyone who touches the box besides himself or anyone he gives permission to touch the box.

The woman walks out along with Brandon, and mostly keeps her head down. "At least it didn't resort to violence. I'm glad about that." She says as she follows behind Brandon and his partner.

She does watch the ritual Brandon uses and tilts her head. "Your own magic to counteract the magic already on the box. That's not what I expected.....but it seems normal for this little venture."

Dr. Brandt slowly follows after Chun-Li and Brandon, closing the double doors behind him. He turns about and nods at his colleagues, pulling his hood off. "It appears we've been compromised by a pocket sorceror. Diamonds and clubs together, appears." There's an awkward silence from his team mates at the sly but telling reference to Burghardt's family line, as he moves into an annex of the analysis room to make a phone call.


"We've been compromised, Stray. Metro Police has a sorceror."

"What is the loss?"

"Not something you want, sir."

"Not for you to decide. Thank you." *click*

Dr. Brandt hangs the phone up, sighing and rubbing the bridge of his nose.

Log created on 20:20:17 01/22/2017 by Brandon, and last modified on 08:55:58 01/23/2017.