Springtide Rosalia 2021 - Podiebrad of Passion: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

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Description: Studly Baron of the House of Podiebrad, Bela von Podiebrad, has been betrothed to Rachel of the House Alucard, to take her hand in marriage when she is of age. But the future Patriarch of the House of Podiebrad finds temptations around ever corner. The dark and devilish Terumi has come to the manor grounds, eager to lure the handsome Podiebrad away into a life of leisure and pleasure. But the price may be too great even for the hedonistic Bela; for the green eyed demon invites Bela to defy his vows in the way only men can do, by giving himself up willingly into a Mind Break. To make matters worse, when his brother Matthias gets wind of the affair, Bela's father sweeps in to intervene between the two. Will Bela keep his vows with his family and his honor? Or will he be seduced into committing... dirty deeds done dirt cheap? (The cover shows the interior of a stable. It shows Bela stripped to the waist in leather pants, next to the pen where his black stallion is at. Terumi himself is also stripped to the waist, though he is wearing a yellow raincoat over his muscled, naked torso. Terumi has Bela pinned against the wall of the stable, pressed against him chest to chest. One arm is extended, palm out against the wall to corner him. Tee other is clutching a strange sack underhanded, the green eye of the god gleaming. Bela struggles to stare defiantly at man, clutching the neck of a pitchfork tightly as he struggles at the raw power of the god. Behind them, from the doorway to the stable, Matthias looks in wide-eyed, pointing with one hand, and escorting with the other the young Rachel Alucard. The young lady looks in, eyes watering in despair. A fat bat and black fat peer in beside her; the bat looks equally distressed, but the cat looks on the duo with an eager hunger.)

They were almost ready to go.

The forces of the Raven Guard was lined up, trucks refueled, soldiers armed and armored. There was hardly a single soldier that wasn't dressed in the shiny leather bodysuits of the Raven Guard uniform, burgandy suits of armor and brigadine highlighted with silver claws and raven-like gas masks. All were out at the gates and bulwarks of the manor, the walls and courtyard filled. All that waited was the arrival of their Patriarch.

Matthias, however, wanted to make sure he had every he needed.

"Lets see. I have my little shovel." The bald, ruddy-cheeked deacon stated to himself. He was dressed in his ceramonial Podiebrad robes. They were plain, brown robes, with a thick rope to keep it closed. The large man was busy at the work shed, located near the Chapel beside the hedge maze and the gardening grounds. There, he was collecting up his supplies for the journey. "I have my special scissors to trim and cut. And my gloves! And I have my special bag to keep the roses in." He heaves them up on his back, almost looking like he was going on a trip, and brushes his hands off of the dirt. "Now all that I need to do, is water the hedges and flowers, and then I will be ready to go to Castle Alucard!" Matthias sighs longingly, as he comes to the other side of the shed to the water pump, the watering can already waiting for him. He pumps the pump, as one does with a pump, as he remembers the last time he saw the castle. "I hope Miss Alucard still has Gii and Nago." He says to pleasant memories. "They were very polite, even when you were doing things you weren't supposed to. I hope I can see them again." He gives one last pump, and brings the watering can back to the flower garden.

Barely even aware of the growing outrage from the soldiers.

To a savant like Matthias, what takes place cannot be called stealth; one moment, he is content in his personal reverie. The next, it is like a cold shadow casts in a blanket around him; sizzling and distasteful, like the rattle of a viper. To most, the simple manifestation of Terumi sets people into combative mode. Aggression, hostility, hatred... this is like liquid fuel, a wash of air, that sets even the most dormant, tiny spark into existence.

He had been watching from the Boundary, after all. A place that mortals simply cannot assess; even the greatest technology of NOL can barely crack a window, and even that can end in the madness of men. He did not come here for this plain gardener... but finding a strange eye in the hurricane of the Podiebrad's estate draw his attention from his ultimate goal.

It is a level of peace and purity he rarely sees... and despises. He is the manifestation of annihilation; it is rare, however, to lay his divine eyes upon someone such an... antithesis.

"Ah... you know that shitty vampire...? What a surprise!!" Terumi's sneering voice proclaims. He stands upon the shed, yellow trenchcoat fluttering. Hands settled deep in the pockets, casting his gaze across the hedges and gardens with open distaste and disrespect. He is a difficult one to assess; after all, he is not truly 'here'. He is merely an extension of Terumi's soul, a creature still mostly anchored in the Boundary beyond the mortal realms, but... even through this tenuous tether, the magnitude of his presence implies a great level of danger.

"Plants... plants are such pointless things. They exist merely to exist. No ambition... no goals... only a blind tenacity to not die. How PATHETIC!! He leans forward, at the edge of the shed, to eyeball some particularly beautiful flowers nearby.

"The weak have no right to exist... wouldn't the Podiegrad legacy agree? Mmm... maybe not anymore? After all, if they STILL believe that after having fallen so far, every one of them deserves to die!! Hahahaha...!!"

Matthias can feel that hostility.

It raises his hackles, a fear coming to his heart. He grips his chest. The darkness that was coming to the Podiebrad Manor was more troubling than ever before. Izanami, the spirit within Tsinghua, and now this? Evil spirits were coming. He glances around, looking up to the top of the shed, stumbling. He looks upon the man, and he sees the long shadow. Like with Izanami. A profound mass held in check, the overwhelming spirit and power. For a moment, he is in awe. But as he watches, the sadness cleared from his heart, his strength resolves. The darkness was so profound, the whole of the grounds could feel it. He could sense the rising panic of the whole house. But he would not fear. Even as his heart was pounding at the sheer weight of the presence, he knew that the heart of god was in him. So to the figure of absolute danger, he hails him.

"Hello there, friend!"

He greets bringing his hands together in front of him, bowing his head. "I am Matthias von Podiebrad, the head caretaker of the House of Podiebrad. And I am sorry if I am slow. I do not understand everything you are saying. There are so many words..." He stumbles a bit, furrowing his brow. The anger of the man was distracting. Why was he angry? Pathetic? That the weak have no right to exist? And of the Podiebrad legacy... He mentioned the plants, right? That they are pointless? His eyes go wide.

"Oh, but the plants are good!"

"My father asked me about the flowers before too." He adds, nodding his head at something he understood. They cost time, water, food, and space. All very precious things, that are worth very much!" He smiles again at Terumi, nodding his head as he looks to the late season daffodil that Terumi was looking at. "But they bring happiness and joy to people. And peace too. It is the cycle of life and death, as plants will die, and will grow new plants later. It is good to give happiness and joy, and it is godly to appreciate the fruits of creation." He looks back up, adjusting his backpack as he does so. "Do you like that flower?"

"You can pick it if you like, mister...?"

For a few brief moments, Terumi looks confused by Matthias' initial response; then something of a dawning revelation creeps on his lean features, yellow hood rustling within the wind. Ah... this human is 'broken', at least to some degree. It is not something so prevalent or overt to cry out, but... he can sense the aberration, all the same. /Normal/ humans are not like this. So happy, so peaceful, so... simple.

Terumi finds that he hates it. It would bother him less if Matthias was some master of self-control, some quiet, solemn man. Those people are merely the master of a facade, after all. Certain instincts, impulses, *desires*, all the things that make Terumi hate humans... even Kokonoe, although she can /pretend/ to a degree to protect herself, in her innermost soul reviles Terumi more then most anyone alive...!

Yet... were it as simple as that, it might be fine. Someone too brain-damaged to be hateful is of no interest, after all. This personality, though. This tranquility... Mattias would have it, even if he were born complete. It is not a reflection of the damaged lense of his mind; it is the genuine soul of the Podiebrad, and that is what he finds -- distasteful.

Terumi then grins. It's broad, toothy, as he steps off the shed and drops to the ground in a loose crouch. He thinks he can see it, here. That thread, that crack, that failing which any proper-born mortal possesses. Everyone is capable of rage and hatred, after all... he is certain!

"Godly...?" Terumi asks, walking up to the plant and peering down at it. "Do you think you know what the Gods want...? Hahahaha...! They are not so righteous and divine as you THINK!" He speaks as if this is some manner of hidden joke. "But you are right about one thing... a God did institute the 'cycle of life'. This endless circle of existence, where even the burnt-out husks of a star billions of years ago propagates to the future... you're not WRONG...! Human religion is hilarious, but they did predict the existence of a soul. Do you think even this flower has one?"

Crouching down, Terumi gently digs his fingers into the soil, gathering up the roots of the flower and lifting it up, peering at it. "But what if someone existed... who could BREAK the cycle?" There is a tension within Terumi, before... something seems to change.

His presence ripples out. Eyes flash green, and a dark aura roars around him. The ground beneath him blackens for a meter around, with curls of green fire. It is like a shadow of something else, something greater, superimposed; a monster, a demon, a devil, hulking with a long tail and wicked claws, now curled around the fragile flower in his hands.

Then, there is a flash of black and green. To most, this might be a presentation of semantics. But Matthias might tell differently. The flower... is gone. This is not in the sense of a thorough destruction. It has been *erased*. Something, composed of this universe since the very first second, in trillions of iterations, is gone -- forever. And any soul that such a mixture of fleeting eternity has vanished along with it.

Terumi's presence has returned to normal, even if the pulse of his aura might be far more ominous to any alerted Podiebrads nearby. His fingers curl upwards, then turn around, to show that not even the smallest, most faint speck of dust is left.

"THIS... is the will of a 'God'. What do you think... do you still approve?! Hahahaha!!"

Matthias was frightened by this man.

His loudness, his anger. This was a man who had come here to the Manor, and he was looking to have a fight. He would not give his name. Only pain and anguish. There were Podiebrads like him. Cousins and brothers, angry men who justified their anguish and rage by lashing out at people. Making them hurt, was how they could feel happy. But this man, this stranger, was so much greater in his will, in his cruel sadism than even the worst of the Podiebrads. And to want to hurt him? Matthias didn't even understand why someone would want to hurt him. His father, Aurel von Podiebrad, tried to explain to him long ago. But it was a fruitless effort. As the man, the god, the creature explains, Matthias struggles to understand. Godly? There was a god? Matthias wondered if this was one of those Baptists that he was warned about. Discomfort tempers his fear, as finally, the raw absolution of Terumi's power is given but a glimpse. Matthias stumbles backwards, dropping his watering can as it floods his senses. For a moment, he is blind, unable to see as he leans against the shed. Even before his vision returns, he knows though. The dim shapes return, and he exclaims out from the bottom of his heart.

"Oh my goodness, my flower!"

There is a real sadness in Matthias, as he watches the flowers he worked so hard to grow, to be so absolutely... destroyed. The intricate fundamental aspects of it are harrowing, frightening. He had seen this before. The corpse of the cat man, that Bela had him draw up. Death without decay, except around the eye socket for some reason. The horrible, profound obliteration. He shuts his eyes, falling to his knees. The Raven Guard was scrambling now. An army of a hundred was surging at them. For their sakes. For Matthias's. But the deacon of the house of Podiebrad could only see the state of his heart, and of his soul. Despair. Grief. Sadness. He draws into prayer. And he mumbles. And as he speaks, as he prays, the weight on him lifts. Strength returns, as his words rise up. "But the humble will inherit the land. And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity." Matthias opens his eyes, smiling. The sadness is gone, flowing away for good. He breaths in, and exhales, as he rises. "If it makes you happy, then it has done what I have hoped." He smiles at Terumi.

"And I forgive you."

He nods his head knowingly. "I can see that the flower is all gone. And how. But do not feel bad for destroying. When I was little, I trampled on the flowers, which made the old caretaker very mad at me. It made me happy to stomp on them at the time. I grew out of it. Some people are made happy by creating. And some are made happy by destroying. And it is not my judgement on what makes you happy! It's how God created you. The flowers are here to be enjoyed. And that one flower... has been enjoyed in your way." Rifles begin to get trained on their position, as Matthias remains unaware, too engrossed with Terumi as he radiates love, acceptance, and even tolerance at the cruel sadism leveled at him. "I will not be sad at its loss. Another flower will grow in its place. It will not be the same as the old flower. But it will be a flower. Maybe one of those lovely Alucard Roses that grow so well here. No matter how strong you take away something, it does not stop the cycle. Only changes it. I hope the next flower I grow will be as nice as that one." He looks to Terumi, eyes soft at him, the smile fixed dully on his face. "And I hope you will enjoy it then, too." He suddenly changes the subject, as he realizes the Raven Guard army was beginning to set up a perimeter around them.

"Are you coming with us to Castle Alucard?"

This is... not bad, but not what Terumi had been hoping for. He just stands there, giving no heed at all to the group beginning to assemble around them. Glaring down towards Matthias, waiting for the crack in his shell, the flow of hatred and rage and condemnation that would open the door to Terumi's power... yet for all the fuel, the despair, there is no spark to ignite it. Eyes slowly slit, arms crossed, as Terumi merely stands there in the face of Matthias...

Yet it never comes.

There's a sheer, almost ridiculous lack of comprehension on Terumi's face. He would understand this, if he was aware Matthias /knew/ how Terumi worked; people can, and have, willfully suppressed their true emotions to deny him. This is... something else. Something even more infuriating. For he is being genuine, to a stranger clearly more powerful, one absolute in his attempted torment.

"Happy with destroying?!" The idea seems to clearly ignite rage in Terumi. For in a way, it's true. Such is literally his purpose. One he denies, actively, as he has since the long chain of events that ripped his soul from Susano'o into this long, lonesome journey. Does he have a goal? Is it anything but an eternal tantrum? "THIS would make me happy!!"

Twisting, Terumi holds up a hand before Matthias. A brief flash of an emerald snake of fire, before a point-blank explosion would ripple across the hapless caretaker. The ground rumbles, billows of force would wave into the preparing Podiebrads, a rain of dirt, rubble, chunks of grass and nearby flowers...

Yet Matthias would be unscathed within it, likely confused to no end; the only potential damage the tumble that resulted from the ground he was using being rudely displaced. At least the smoke is liable to make him cough. The last test, failed. Terumi, even now, is a ghost. His ability to affect the real world is... tenuous, at best. He needs an 'anchor' to affect another soul, and that anchor is 'hate'. For the God, as he is now, Matthias is wholely unable to be interacted with.

"Tch... it was worth a shot. Now I'm in a bad mood... at least I made you suffer..." A petty consolation prize, to say the least. "But I didn't come here to kill you."

"I think I might just kill Bela von Podiebrad... that might be nice... is he in...?!" Arms open, almost invitingly, as he turns in place to present himself to the masses. He not only invaded the estate, but by all visible intents, he just tried to murder a member of the family in cold blood. The attack, for any meaningful examination, was genuine. "Or has your family fallen so far that the Patriarch will no longer come to defend his people?! Come at me instead, if you like!! I can end your family line HERE and NOW!!"

Maybe some attack him, as he cackles; thrown weapons, spears, stabs, blasts of energy, as he stands there. Terumi would not move, nor react; just as he could not affect Matthias just now, /others/ being able to 'touch' the God is entirely elective... and right now, he is a nigh-literal phantom to any reprisal of these masses, visible, sensable, but completely out of phase with the realm of Earth!

When Terumi begins his threat, Matthias feels like he is going to die again.

He felt this before. When Izanami came, he felt like he would be killed. And now, when Terumi's hatred and fury pours out, he doesn't fully understand why. He knows that angry men would be angry. But Matthias cannot give him anything but love and understanding. It's what he deserved, it's what he needed. But he sees the vast ocean of power swell up, the incomprehensiable strength of truly divine strength. He has little else. He accepts it. Matthias closes his eyes, and clasps his hands in prayer. There is little else he has against the pure force of destruction, other than his faith.

But it is that faith that carries him through, in his mind.

As the blast zone clears out, and Terumi hisses his frustration, he opens his eyes again. "Oh dear!" He exclaims, as the -rest- of the garden is ripped up. Even the hedge maze... And the whole of the Raven Guard is left helter skelter, the formation and ranks hurtled in total disarray. Groans and outrage come, as someone tries to revive the commander. They can't even -muster- a counter attack, the blast being too much for them. A humilation, on top of everything else. Matthias lacked the contempt to power him, but the whole of the army seemed to have just enough for Matthias's sake. The deacon looks at the carnage, the chaos, and then, Terumi. In the face of his outrage, of his threats? He can only say three words as he lowers his head. He coughs. Was the dust and dirt even affecting him, or was it to help Terumi feel better? "I am sorry." He apologizes? But for what? Was he about to lash out? Was he about to do something? Was he actually -sorry- that he didn't let Terumi destroy him? The answer does not come, for another voice comes out.

"What in the name of god is that thing?"

The Patriarch of the House of Podiebrad steps over one of the collapsed guardsmen. He is a man with white hair, his face is cut sharp, long and stony with a distant, aloof facade. He wears a headdress of black feathers around his hair, and has hazel eyes that almost seem to change color in the light. His hair is stylized in bangs in the front, with a long ponytail behind him over his cloak. He is deathly pale, and is on the shorter and skinnier side. He walks upon a pair of stiletto heeled gold-plated purple boots, increasing his height by a number of inches. He is clad in the golden ceremonial armor of the Patriarch. It is similar to the armor of the standing soldier of the Raven Guards around him; feathered scale plates cover the vitals on the arms, legs, and abdomen, over a skin-tight body suit. For the Patriarch, his colors are purple and red in broad vertical stripes and sections. The armor over his forearms do not match the ceremonial armor; they are silver and much thicker than their ornamental counterparts. His silver gauntlets bear the shape of a raven's head, and they conceal his hands with each finger ending in a long talon. Purple and red striped pauldrons sit upon his shoulders, setting a mantle for his flowing purple cloak. In his right hand is the scepter of the Patriarch. Measuring 2 cubits long (about 3 feet), it is crafted out of solid gold. The head of the scepter is the sculpted likeness of a raven in repose, with its wings wrapped around its sides. Golden feathers are stylized across the shaft of the scepter, with the handle being slightly thicker than the shaft. The base is flanged, with a flat disk with vague feathering at the bottom. There are hollow inserts in the eyes, beak, and base of the scepter, which long ago held jewels since lost to time.

He looks rather disgusted, even as he chortles openly.

"What is that hideous thing you are wearing?" He calls out, hips swaying as he strides to the pair. "Not you, Matthias. You are lovely as usual. But I came here imagining I would be offended by the brute tearing apart my beloved garden. Did the Gong Estate retaliate? Or perhaps, Rachel Alucard decided to lash out before it was too late? But no." He glances up and down Terumi, sticking his tongue into his cheek. "Apparently, the technicolor vagrant has been exposing himself to my deacon and brother, to the misery and chaos of the whole estate." He stops a few meters away from them. It is a much more familiar feeling. Not just -one- mortal worth of hatred and contempt pouring into Terumi. But two, one being a much older and powerful one than the first. Matthias looks to Terumi, and then Bela. And then back to Terumi. His eyes go wide, as he realizes something. "Oh!" He says aloud. That's all he can muster, as Bela turns his nose up to the stranger. "Well, you've ruined my plants, bullied my brother, insulted my house, humiliated my army, threatened my life with the power to back it up, and dressed like you've come from a particularly terrible dance club from Prague? Do you want to explain what you are?" He swings the scepter idly, twirling it.

"Or will I need to start being quite serious with you?"

"So weak... so weak!! The Podiebrads were once such a name... and this is supposed to be one of the Twelve Families?! Even I have my PRIDE..." That comment is murmured beneath his breath, no longer giving any notice to Matthias nearby. Many of the household might find they are surprisingly unscathed; beyond the rumble of earth or potential debris, only those actually angry or enraged at his intrusion would bear marks or injury. Those fearful, wary, or confusedly neutral would slip between the proverbial cracks of his destructive force. Alas, Terumi is very poor at being a terrorist to the general masses...

"Ah...?" Terumi intones, turning to take in the approaching Bela. Some people, the very heads of the proudest families, have tales of certain dark, wicked secrets. Which include the strange man in the yellow coat... but to Bela, he likely has no recognition for the man before him. Certainly, Terumi's presence is considerable, but much of it is hidden, deceptive, shifting. Whatever flaws there might be to the Patriarch, if he is truly confident in his own skills, this invader would definitely not assess out of his league. ...an intentional draw, to the manipulator.

"Bela von Podiebrad, I assume!! I came here to see if your pathetic house might be possible to redeem, but... one glance at YOU, and it's clear my time is wasted!!" There is air of assured superiority and presumption to Terumi... in a way Bela might not have felt for many years. Like a noble in the presence of a commoner, someone literally beneath. But has anyone, especially in his own estate, dared to do such since his ascension? "Beyond that bauble of an artifact, it seems you've nothing to offer...! I suppose I should take it, once I finish!!"

Yet attention shifts beneath the verbal tirade of the approaching Bela, and something akin to a curious grin seems to flutter across his lips. Hands stuff back into his pockets, as Terumi stalks forward, approaching Bela without hesitation or concern. Skulking, hood settled to mostly obscure his features. Expression looking no less smug.

It seems that Terumi might speak, once near. Not so much to threaten attack. But with little warning, he suddenly goes 'ptooey!'... launching a lob of saliva to spatter against Bela's face and upper body.

"Ahhh... I changed my mind..." Terumi sighs, genuine expression rippling over his fce. "You're too weak to even have fun KILLING... I'd much rather enjoy seeing the last, pitiable embers of a Noble House burn out to asses. Being murdered by ME might be a memorable capstone, but..." He glances across the men, and destruction. Tone clearly making all of this easily heard by those nearby.

"...this house is already a putrid corpse, and in dire need of a casket!! You're lucky... Podiebrad... that you're not even worth my time..."

With that, Terumi twists around. Exposing his back. His posture, his stance, the way he moves... all betrays an utter lack of guard. He is not even trying to defend himself. Clearly... he does not even think Bela is a threat worth acknowledging, even at close range...

Bela's outward appearance is patient, as he endures the barrage of insults.

Inwardly, the depths of his insult and pride were growing into a hatred that would dim the very sun itself. Vision of torture fall away into every more horrific images. Hatred that moves well past the living, to being drawn forth from the thousands and thousands of long dead Podiebrads in the depths of the spiritual catacombs. Hatred, raw blazing hatred radiates behind the calm, almost careless watch of the Patriarch as he takes every insult to him and his house as he does nothing but wait for Terumi to make his approach. When the spit comes, he doesn't even lash out; The slime doesn't even touch him. Smoothly grazing it, a silver gauntlet comes together. Jewelry shift and flows, wrapping around his features. Even the scepter draws in, flowing across his arm as it encircles his body. Indigo light was building, as the army around them both starts to pull themselves together. Matthias stares in horror at Terumi. He tries to speak. He tries to explain to Bela. But the empathetic pulses fail to even get recognition from the Patriarch, as he makes his decision to the man turning his back on him.

"Such rude language from a nasty little specimen like yourself."

The Patriarch muses as he barely conceals the seething, righteous contempt. Every insult, every critique was latched out like a starving wolf upon a trapped lamb. If Terumi was finding Matthias lacking in his wrath, he would find it ten fold from the Patriarch. The jewelry was now taking the shape of armor, the clawed gauntlet fully forming on his fingers. Rolling them, he smears the gold across his face and chest, a mask like a raven dragging across it protective. "It will be my pleasure to tame you before my men." He stretches his legs down, spreading his stance apart as he crouching down, claws spread out.

He pounces.

There is a flicker of energy and motion, the shape of Bela spinning slightly before he flickers at Terumi. Indigo light blazes from his claws, as he attempts not to strike at him behind, no. But in a flash, he is just under the chin of the man, indigo light surging over his form. Long nails of spiritual energy stretch across the clawed tips of his gauntlets as he swipes upwards to tear through his form. Not simply his vessel, no. Tear past the veil into the spiritual essence, to claw and rend at the very divine spirit at his face. Should he make it that far, he would bring his other gauntleted hand around into a fist, aiming to drive it squarely at Terumi's sneering face from the other side, silver and gold scattering between the motes of indigo light. Matthias stumbles away, terror of the conflict. The other soldiers begin to take aim, as Matthias cries out to them. "No! Run away! Run away, please! You all must turn away from this man!"

"Flee for the safety of our souls!"

Ah. How refreshing. Terumi has no idea how two different souls can exist in the same house; yet were he to guess, it would be Matthias who is more worthy to inherit the ancient lineage's potential, that at one point made them a fitting member of the Noble Houses. A poker face means nothing -- the fire that simmers within Bela invigorates Terumi in a way he has not felt in months. It is almost blissful; religion has oft spoke of worshipping gods, and how it can empower them. That might not be inaccurate... even if for a God of Destruction, only violence, hatred, and contempt will suffice.

Indeed, the hapless Matthias, stuck a spectator, would clearly sense it. The provocations, the insults, all are making him stronger. Allowing him to manifest more potently! If everyone in the House were as peaceful and serene, he would have no power here at all... a shame, how people are unable to understand.

There is plenty of time for Bela to make all his preparations, to build up his pride and ego, for his men to recover and watch. Very few, if any, who were struck by that contemptuous blast would have been actually killed or seriously wounded. Although he speaks a great game, Terumi's presence here never was intended to genocide a family line. In fact, Izanami spoke of this pawn as someone who could get things done... why else would he deign to visit the lowest of the Families?

He's simply in need of some fresh sources of hatred, is all! The flash forward is met with a little grin, and Terumi's response at first is to playfully lean back, as if hardly threatened. But the moment those blades make contact with his face, that smirk vanishes, and he ducks downwards in a ripple of cloak and coat. Four black scratches run from chin to cheek. Not bleeding, but it seems that the first mark will go to Bela. "Oh...? You can touch me?! You should be thankful for the relics of your past, Podiebrad!!"

The fist is ducked to the side, striking the edge of his hood and yanking it fully away from the wild, swept-back green hair. His left eye is inhuman, a green orb with dark black cracks splintering out a few inches in all directions. A flutter, before a knife dances between Terumi's fingers. Aiming to circle behind and then to the side in a storm of flashing strikes. Each aiming to bite between armor, slip between protection. Shallow... yet painful and bloody.

It couldn't be said Terumi is in a 'stance' at that point. He's leaning back, one hand in his pocket, balanced on a single foot as he keeps spiraling the knife on his pinky. It's rife with openings, something that could not even be called a man using techniques... and to the countless people watching, they would doubtlessly recognize the same. Certainly, it should be complete suicide against the arts of the Podiebrad!

"If any of you will slit Mattias' throat..." Terumi casually calls to the assembled men. "...I will grant you power beyond your wildest dreams. I'll even let you take this man's spot as Patriarch...! Hahaha! Just food for thought!!"


The word impossible was a difficult one to mutter. Yes, The Patriarch tears into substance, he senses the pain, well, the damage. But even the backhanded complimented hardly dented the Podiebrad's hide. "An artist neither curses nor blesses his tools, bru- nrgh!" He was already leaping as Terumi flashes around. Bela actually flickers away, taking to the sky as a bolt before he lands in a tumble. He was bleeding. He was bleeding -bad-. Terumi was not only faster than him, but surgically precise with that speed. He can mask the pain. He can't mask the confusion as the slices slip through the nooks and cracks of his armor. The armor should be moving, and -was- moving, shifting and sliding. Were they -opening- gaps for him? Were they avoiding his touch? Confounding, disruptive thoughts. He wasn't allowing his composure to snap. "Though clearly, there are more tedious tools than other." Bela bemuses with a caustic edge to his words as he sweeps his arms.

"You wouldn't do that, would you?"

Matthias asks the trio of Raven Guardsmen who finally reach him, holding him. "You wouldn't do that, would you?" He asks again dimly, as the masked soldiers glance at each other. They begin to pull him away. "Who the hell- who the gosh darn is this guy, Matthias?" The guardsman quickly changes the subject. ANd why is he not defending himself? The Patriarch is going to fu- to mess him up like a Christmas Goose! It's not that sealed guy I heard about, right? Azrael or what not-" Matthias shakes his head, trying to pull away from them as he runs. "We need to- to the walls! He's bad! He's bad! He will kill all of you! The darkness in your hearts! It's not the angel of death that has come to us!" Matthias rambles, eyes wide. There is fear. Fear and understanding. He looks back, eyes wide.

"It's the morning star..."

Bela's eyes burn from behind his mask indigo energy crackling in the air between them. He straightens his back, his low stance shifting into a full height of, well, 5'4 with the heels. The style of the caretakers like Matthias, long learned and studied under the master of the House of Strolheim. Chest out, he draws back one of his arms, and sweeps it smoothly. As it passes along, indigo energy blazes into a bonfire as he hurls the flickering orb of soul flame forward. It comes out at an arc, moving slowly as it tries to track to Terumi's feet. Hitting the earth, it will explode up into a pillar of soul flames, as Bela starts to withdraw backwards with steady footwork. It seems that he was trying to carve some space between himself and Terumi now.

All while a conversation explodes unseen and unheard within.

The 'acting' might be the most infuriating aspect for a prideful man such as Bela. Especially to all those who watch the Patriarch in his fight, with this strange, yellow man. Terumi's energy does not read to simple, blind eyes as being a league above Bela. But the viper has a strange, predictive speed. His body is not working in a way physics should; he can apply his full force from any angle, any position, and twist around in defiance of how he should move. Bela would feel it, rippling in the back of his mind. Openings. Mistakes. Inefficiencies. Only each one does not result in the slow of form, the drop in accuracy, the lack of force... if anything, Terumi seems to lash out stronger and more vigorously in utter contrast. It's a defilement to everything fighting is supposed to be; like some playground bully, somehow cheating so it still works in the face of genuine mastery.

"Me? The Mad Dog? Hahaha... you WISH...!!" Terumi calls back towards the men, in a genuine manner. Not many who clearly recognize that name would dare claim to be a worse calamity, but... this situation is clearly unusual all the same. Whatever the state of the House, not many would conflict with it so directly when they are readied, prepared, to wage an assault of their own. Attention finally returns to Bela, while his assault is prepared.

"Oh...? Indeed, you can interact with souls! Yes, this would probably hurt me!!" Both of Terumi's arms ripple backwards, as he invokes amplifying spells; sigils ripple and reinforce, the same sort that NOL uses... if far, far more advanced, Thrusting forward, a great eruption of serpentine-shamed flame of black and green rushes out, parting it's hellfire maw to take in Bela's assault. The explosion thus takes place midway between Bela and Terumi; far greater and more impactful then the Patriarch's would have alone, the air dense with the vile, corruptive energy of Terumi, and the visual obscuring of green and purple fire.

"Over here...!" the hateful god says. He's behind Bela, now. How? It was not speed, nor agility, nor stealth. Such a thing would not work on him. Matthias, mayhaps, could offer some helpful comment. When the two soul-powered blasts met, the God... ceased to exist. He was gone. Only when he spoke again, did he manifest. Stepping outside the world, briefly... a trick not many can do.

He aims to grasp Bela by the back of the shoulder, and twist, to hurl him across the singed grounds towards the front of the chapel. Cackling madly, four small portals manifest; each lashes out with a long, green chain, housed with a snake-like spear. Each is aimed to slightly miss, to harass and play with the Scion... a fact that he would absolutely be aware of.

"I'm not even TRYING yet... do you want me to? Huh?" The quality and refinement of the God's attacks are certainly not optimal, but to say he's being casual isn't accurate. There's an air of threat to this, something almost ominous, instead. Terumi's left eye flashes bright green, as he grins to bare all of his teeth. "But if you ask me to... you can't take it back..."

Matthias could see it.

He could see the layers of reality peel away, and reform. Like shadow upon the wall. Each shape was only the shadow of the real form. You could make the illusion of form, a rabbit, a donkey, and even the face of a clown. But each would be only the deception and manipulations of the true form, only images of the actual essence twisted and folded to seem as something else. Matthias could see the shapes when everyone else could only see the shadow.

The shadow that was only as strong as what beyond the veil needed it to be.

The soldiers were withdrawing now, following Matthias's leadership to the bulwarks on the perimeter of the manor. Every mistake was becoming magnified ten fold by ten fold, the insidious, invisible performance of Terumi mingling with another. A choir of sadistic cruelty, mangling and manipulating him. Bela tries to keep his composure, tries to keep focused. Even as his own soul flames are consumed by the corrupted magic, blasting him back, he tumbles at the blast. The flames tear through his armor and protections. Perking back up, he turns, his eyes peering behind his mask to-

He was at his side.

He is actually moving when Terumi grabs him, which is the moment where Bela truly understands what Matthias was confused and terrified of. Because as he is merely a mote, a blur of indigo light and spirit, the man seizes him. Well, the thing in the shape of the man. Ripped out from between the veil, he is -hurled- into the steps of the chapel. Rolling at the sound of a shape crack, he hits the door at his own power, flipping off as he lands defty on both feet. He stumbles, -after- the serpentine chains lash out, barely missing him. Howling laughter, he could feel the sensation of howling laughter, of the mockery of the very paragon of the might of the HOuse of Podiebrad. The Patriarch stands at the chapel steps, finally able to see the shadow, the glimpse of how he is a plaything. And the shadow... invites him. Invite him to let him peel away the veil, to see the true shape. To see as Matthias sees. For a moment, there is real fear in Bela, as finally, he faces a demon well past his strength. This was no toothless vampire lord, stretched on an altar for his slaughter. And in this, the Patriarch draws in a bloodied breath, and exhales.

"What a drama queen."

The Patriarch manages to coo, taking the verbal opening as he sweeps his arm to the side. "You are practically begging for recognition from me. Are you really that much of a slave to the whims of the House of Podiebrad?" The retort seems to embolden him, reinforcing his spirit. And yet, he looks to his hand, as the gold on his body rolls, and recedes. A pulse of spiritual energy fills from around, the strongest coming from the chapel behind him. The tall cathedral's stained glass window gleam, the doors almost radiate with power. He sweeps his arm again, growing frustration as the gold once more slides up on the arm, and then, at the fingertips, slides right back. The Patriarch tosses his hair back. "It must be a suppression of the power of the artifact; and yet my gauntlets obey." The silver dances across his body, glittering like fish in a stream as he cocks his head. "What trouble are you really bringing to my house, foul creature?" ANd his lip curls in disgust.

"And who... let... you... in?"

That chapel... the feel of it is unlike anything else within this grand estate. Terumi keeps forgetting the /roots/ of the Podiebrad name... at a time, they were of sufficient power, nobility, and potential to join hands with certain great powers. And this is not the annoyance of some distant event; Terumi, quite literally, was the one who oversaw the alliance first hand. Who was the Patriarch so long ago...? He remembers liking something about him. And to a human, what he likes is rarely flattering.

No matter. For the moment Terumi simply stands opposite, hands back within his pockets. Indeed, whatever flaws Bela has, he's almost certainly understood how the spirit works now. He presents himself as being open and vulnerable, but when he attacks, dodges, his physical attributes shoot up to surpass the Podiebrad, beyond his ability to casually defy many tenants of physics that have likely been honed for hundreds, or thousands, of hours. The more of a master one is, the more difficult it can be to adapt to Terumi's own malignations...

"Let me in...? Why, I've been linked to your family far longer then you have been around. The seals and protections here wouldn't WORK on me... why, as far as they are concerned, I am an honored GUEST!" Fingers curl around a green manifestation, another of those strange snake-tipped chains. "And what I decide to do with your family... whether the Library will forsake it, strip it of it's titles, confiscate all the artifacts and relics it holds, or not... depends entirely on 'you'."

The way he stated that might be strange. As if it was a general statement, not Bela precisely. Before he flicks out his hand, and the spear flashes out with blinding speed. But not so much that it could not be evaded or deflected; as that is Terumi's actual goal. Once it latches upon the wall of the castle, Terumi retracts it violently, launching himself with greatly amplified speed directly towards Bela...!

Both heels come together, curl with green and black fire, before he drives them in a dropkick at the Patriarch. Hard enough to slam upon those chapel walls, and with any luck burst him through it into the sacred ground within. Most likely, no matter the alliance, any demon, devil, dark force, or malign entity would be barred, purged, or assaulted... yet Terumi could walk through the threshold with no reaction.

After all, he is a God. The very sort of being this building stands to level worship towards. For all the foulness of his essence, at the root and core, his presence is justly divine.

"Now... I think our playtime is over. I'll be nice -- I'll not humiliate you in the open, before your men! But don't bother to pray, even here..." Terumi thrusts up his closed fist, a warble of force slamming both of the chapel doors shut behind him.

"Gods can be fickle things, and rarely care about the plight of worshippers, I find...!"

It wasn't Bela who joined that alliance, after all.

As the Patriarch makes his stand, it is short lived. The Patriarch of the House of Podiebrad could not only master one art. It had to master the four arts of the House, as part of the rites and rituals to become it's leader. And by guidance and direction, he had mastered them, to secure his leadership at the helm. And yet, the expertise was not his own; borrowed and drawn from the web of souls that connected each one. He was cursed between the worst of both worlds: He lacked the martial genius of Szabolc, the spiritual purity of Matthias, the monomanical focus of Zsa Zsa, and the heart and fleeting spirit of the Guardsmen. The weaknesses of the Patriarch was well before him.

But he had one more trick beyond those four.

"Impossible." Bela dismisses. "You are no welcomed guest here. You are a brute and a barbarian, a hellion of the lowest character. I will not be insulted, when our family has done more for the Novus Orbis Librarium than any rogue like yourself. And we have favor from the Imperator that is the envy of all. I would so much to have a Mutsuki rutting around my grounds to let you make demands like-" Bela's arrogance is interrupted as the spear comes out. He is still moving, as Terumi latches on to the wall, and comes hurling at the Podiebrad. The duo is sent smashing through the brass doors, and into the chapel.

The interior carries the high vaulted arcs within, and is arranged in a cross-style. The entrance holds an open vaulted antechamber for the narthex, where the blood-stained baptismal font lingers, one of the few original artifacts of the Manor grounds. Bela smashes into the baptismal font, the artifact resounding with a soul-penetrating ringing. There is a threshold, and it is sounding. There is a veil. There is a great chasm, stone terraces holding the crypts, and in the center there is a seat, and upon that seat, is him. Bela coughs, blooding bursting from under his mask. The internal injuries were stacking up. He was so frail, with his armor refusing to cooperate. But within the chapel, the power of the souls builds even in the antechamber. The gold threads swirl around his gauntlet as he stands up, easing on the basin.

And now, the scepter comes to its full form.

The golden scepter reaches it's full length, the eagle headed weapon fully erect as the brass doors slam shut. The Patriarch twirls it, the golden tool shimmering as indigo energy sparks through it. He sways it, the metal stretching and swaying, an extension of his own will. "I think you underestimate the strength of the House of Podiebrad." He states coldly, gripping the scepter in both hands, one on each end. And then, he raises it up above his eyes.


the energy crackles along the golden scepter. the boundaries blur, and break. The shape of the energy forces through, forces into this realm. He is dressed in nearly the same ceramonial wear as Bela; only twisted and warped. Even the spirit is short and lean like him, but too exaggerated. The wiry limbs, gnarled claws, and hunched-over back amongst nearly jester-like outfits. And more, it was fully of indigo energy, the light flashing and flickering around him with unnatural hostility. It was consuming, destroying life and existence around it with a fundemental hatred of this world. And where the raven-tipped mask of the Patriarch is, there is only a single skull, wreathed in blazing flames of purple. The skeletal figure grips the other side of the scepter, pulling and peeling away in half, stretching it like taffy as he twirls it away. When it finally snaps free, it shapes itself into a bat, the spectre gripping it with both hands. Bela himself spins the gold, the weapon getting longer and thinner as it takes the shape of a whip. Snapping it at his feet, the Patriarch finally looks with arrogance. "The souls of a thousand and more Podiebrads lay in this ossurary, this altar of life and death. And with the strength of god, we will drag you into our crypts. Drag you into the tombs, and bury you for a hundred years, you worthless, needy beast. And you will. Be made. Humble." The spiritual flames erupt around him, as the souls from the bones begin to flow within him, the power growing and growing well beyond his limits. The spectre, drifts behind Bela, beginning to nod eagerly as it looks towards Terumi.

"Any last words, before begin the final humilation?"

"...Done more for the Librarium than me...?! Ahaha!!" Terumi grasps his forehead, leaning back to let out something of a mad cackle that rings profane within the solemn halls of the chapel. "Favor from the Imperator, you say...? Yes...! Izanami's 'favor' is why I am even here! You've no CLUE what I am, or what I represent... no, you've not even the interest in finding out! Nothing is more reckless then a dash of confidence and a scrap of knowledge, I've found..."

Terumi begins to whirl around a length of his summoned ouroboros chain, building up an ominous whooshing sound. Still lingering near the door, seeming in no more haste now than he did at the onset. "Do you think your men pray for your success? Or do you think in their hearts, they hope this slow, degrading disgrace to your house will end here and now...?" Terumi wonders, glancing back towards the shut doors. "Mmm... this place has a nice feel to it. Good artifacts... a good estate... so much has been SQUANDERED..."

There's something of a perk from Terumi when the scepter is brought forth, expression almost reading 'finally!'. Although certainly a sadist, his play with Bela has not particularly been for mercy...

Eyes shift to the new arrival, cloaked head shifting sideways in curiosity. "Strength of god...? I do not sense any divine presence here that might aide you... although you are right. Properly wielded, and by a strong enough Patriarch, your house and weapons could certainly seal me for a time..." Based on his lazy tone, Terumi does not seem to think that is an actual threat to him for the moment.

"But, yes, yes... let's end this charade, wouldn't you say?" Terumi grips the end of his chain, drawing the infernal green coils taught between his hands with a snap, grinning towards the pair opposite him. Once more, his tone seems odd; as if it's not entirely clear who he was just speaking to...

This was his stand.

Bela was not going to allow this stranger ruin his revenge. He spoke of the Imperator; why? So many clues, but the Patriarch was hardly a critical thinker. Yes, he was curious in finding up, but he wasn't going to allow this brute indulge his curiosity on his terms. No, Bela was going to pull him apart like a roast chicken. Hatred, raw stinging hatred oozes and pours behind that facade. The intruder would be punished for his impudence. He was injured, yes, but he was most dangerous now than ever. With the spirit out, with the whole sea of the power of the House of Podiebrad around him, all was going to descend upon Terumi. Bela twists his feet, as the spirit behind him draws back. In a second, he was going to surge at Terumi, in tandem with his spirit. "Yes-"

There is a sickening crack, as the spirit smashes the hammer into the back of Bela's skull.

The skulled spectre hangs over him, blood oozing from the tip of his hammer. Bending over as he hovers, he looks down at the Patriarch, covering his face in pantomime of shock. "Oh, the little inheritor took a little fall." The apparition raises his hand up, and the gold from Bela's hand flows from his fingers, back to the hammer in his own hand. "No... How..." Bela sputters, as giggling comes from the spectre. The hammer in the ghost's hands shifts into the shape of the scepter, and he smashes again, and again, and again. The moans of pain become grunts, and soon, there is only the dull thumps of the blows upon broken ribs and bones. The spectre pauses, hanging over him, and sweeps a palm upwards to himself, as if taking in the rich aroma of a particularly fine bowl of stew.

"Do you feel that, Terumi?"

A hideous giggle comes out once more, the high-pitched voice echoing in the cathedral. "The mind is gone, the sprit is broken, and the body is shattered. But the pain is so real. The anguish! The HATRED! Oh, you stupid child, you impotent she-thing, I will not let you die, when you exist to suffer!" He mimes a kick at the figure, the spectre's leg passing through Bela as he drifts past it harmlessly. Striking the wall, it hisses with violent hostility as the energy very nearly cleaves into the wall. Steadying himself out, the spirit turns back to Terumi There, he gestures the scepter in invitation for Terumi at the Patriarch's broken body. "It certainly took long enough for have our privacy, but now! Drink deep of the agony and loathing. Indulge in the sorrow of my brood, Terumi!"

"Let us feast over business... and PLEASURE!"

There's finally a look of proper ferocity and interest upon Terumi. He leans forward, grinning wildly, his left eye pulsing green. The aura of the monster pulses out, and although it certainly feels twisted and dark, Bela might find it to be distressingly compatible with the chapel overall. As if a similar source, if bent for taint and destruction... and, more notably, very distracting.

"Ah... that's almost disappointing." Terumi admits, beginning to stalk forward and allowing his chain to dematerialize. Hands stuff into his pockets, glowering heavily. "Both of you at once, and him amplified... that could have been a fun fight. Ah, but frivolous pursuits shouldn't be unduly indulged, I've found! Heheheh... so you're the hatred I felt inside him. Although not directed at me..."

A heel drops down to press atop Bela's head, and give a slow, steady grind. "So you were a true inheritor of Podiebrad, eh...? No wonder you know who I am. All of the 12 Noble Houses should pass down to those in line that I am a Messenger of the Gods. The Guiding Light of the Library. Et cetera, et cetera... this little worm questions what I've done, not even knowing he spoke to the very founder of NOL! Hilariously ignorant, wouldn't you say?! Ah... let me help."

Given that the specter can't manage, Terumi aims a kick upon Bela's ribs in his stead, before tilting his head to the side. "Hmm... that can't quite be as good. Here..." Hands clasp together, as a surge of mana and spellcraft begins. Sigils ripple into being, reinforcing and guiding the principals one of the legendary Heroes begins. "SPIRIT MADE MANIFEST!" he intones, before a great surge of power that seems to thrum in the halls.

And then the skeletal figure would feel a rush of sensation. He is no longer an observer in the world... but able to interact with it, at least while Terumi's incantation is in effect. "Go on. Get your pent-up frustration out... how desperate you must have been, to make this guy the Patriarch. Someone not even worthy of the most secret knowledge yet... the old blood has faded to a trickle. Yet don't kill him... I've use for him... and a potential offer."

"After all... his body is passable. And his soul a decent host. Why... I almost wonder if it might not be better if one of the Legendary Podiebrads of Old took roost instead. With a proper leader, those who scattered of strong blood might be regained, and this terrible descent could be abated. Your House might not yet be completely beyond hope... Heh. He hoped to end the dark days, when he doesn't even realize he is the ghoulish, animated corpse of it's final, dying sigh..."

There is just a hideous giggling at the sound of the bones crunching.

Bending over, he sips heavy of the sheer agony that Terumi was pouring into Bela. He was hungry for it, he was always hungry for it. It was the deepest form of pleasure and sustenance he experienced, that never waned no matter how much he indulged in it. And then, with the kind of kindness only shared by inhuman monstrosities, the incarnation turns the very magic of the chapel upon itself. The figure feels his existence return, material and real. Lifting his hand up, it wasn't quite real, it was close enough. Gripping the scepter, he twirls it, letting it become a pair of gaudy bracelets on his wrists. "Really, you SPOIL me." He pulls and tugs at his outfit, and then, the walls. Touching, drinking deep of sensation. He looks down at Bela, a sadistic hunger building over him. "You only deserve the most magnificent fight for your eager gifts. And don't worry about the hows, the whys, the wheres of how these secrets come about. Unlike this little carbuncle, I MAKE SURE!" A swift kick to the rib flips him over. "TO UNDERSTAND THE DANGERS TO MY POSITION! IN MY HOUSE! But NO, this little FRUITCAKE spends his time groping and musing and moaning about his pathetic artwork." The crunch and snap of bones come, as he starts to pull and tear, starting with little joints, working up to big ones as he rants. "I wish you stopped by his gallery. How I LOATH you didn't stop at his gallery, and DESTROYED EVERYONE ONE OF THOSE WASTES OF TIME! He SQUANDERS his TALENTS, the gifts I blessed him with! Now he is having a TANTRUM because Little Miss Alucard gave the most obvious insult to draw his ire. Now he is taking the whole army off to indulge his EGO, where that SMUG BRAT is going to easily arrange his humiliation. If only he understood how -far- a Podiebrad can go in her domain, how quick they can slip sight, and how they can pierce even the inner sanctums... But if he did, he would do something IDIOTIC like SCRIBBLE ON PAINTINGS!" Having finished curling Bela's entire arm backwards, joint by joint, he pulls away, his gnarled fingers clutching the scepter. "Oh how I hate you, Bela von Podiebrad."

"The plague of my loins."

He skips side to side, strutting as he explains. "You've already met his better. Matthias. Dear, sweet Matthias. Perfect in every way. But... too perfect. Too innocent. And so painfully stupid. Can you imagine someone as pure as him being able to lay an assault against that wretched lolita leech? The NOL would have him assassinated out of the principle of it." He continues to circle, throwing his shoulders and hand as explains. "How about his brother Szabolc? A good soldier, a worthy commander. He'd be marching all of us into honored graves and memorials, heroes in whatever war the NOL needs cannon fodder for. An idiot too, but I sired so many idiots. I've burned out so many of my children, Terumi; there were so many -STRONGER- children amongst my bastards. Strong, darkstalker blood mingled so well with the Podiebrad. But no, my house would tear itself apart. And a little candied treat like Zsa Zsa has been used up. Bela was supposed to be the closest. And in a way, he was. He was close." The old father seizes Bela by the collar, smashing him into a brazier in a clean, smooth motion.

"I should have gone to the bastards anyways, the hell with the others."

The spectre manifested is back at his son, and begins to wrench Bela up, shaking him. "Now you've gotten me in a HORRIBLE mood, you with your sweet suggestions and promises of ambitions. You -devil-. You Samael! You know all too well how much I would enjoy hollowing out this shell, ripping away that USELESS PIECE of him and fill my INDULGENCES with life immortal." And for a moment, it looks like he would do just that, his skull like visage blazing with indigo energy. But the fires die down, as he shakes the Podiebrad, bringing him back over to the lone, bloodstained basin. "But there are so many small, nasty details. Where the bloodlines begin, where they end, rites and rituals. It's all so boring, and so intertwined... our souls are too close. I can bend and twist the rules, Terumi, but I can't BREAK them when they MATTER without EVERYTHING FALLING APART!" The skeletal figure drives the Patriarch's head into the basin. He touches on the man's neck, clawing at it, squeezing it, bangles jangling. He shakes his head. "And they shouldn't be broken either. Everything is so frail when gods are involved. But. I can bend and twist the rules, and so can you, can't you? You haven't talked about why you've really come, and I would love to help with whatever schemes you've come up with. Destruction can have so much appeal... before we begin." He lifts Bela up by his collar, holding it over towards Terumi.

"Can you open a vein for me, Terumi?"

"..." Terumi just watches, arms loosely crossed, expression fairly neutral. He does nothing to aide in Bela's unconscious beating, not that such is remotely required. This specter is similar to himself; a manifestation of sheer denial. Of course, the end result is rather more amplified for one of divine origins, but... certainly, a creation of rage and violence all the same. "I resent this boy since all he will do is amuse that shitty vampire... seeing how far the houses I built have fallen, she'd merely use it to rub it in. But... in that, there might be some value. She'd never EXPECT him to do something actually dangerous. I've heard whispers of your bloodline's odd attunement with Castle Alucard... which, more then anything, is why I'm here. After all, cooperation is utterly not required...!"

Crouching down, a finger poke-pokes towards Bela's cheek, assessing his damage. Ah, he's not going to be able to do anything in the near future as he is now. Likely, the army beyond the sealed chapel must be wondering what is going on, when no massive sound of a final conflict is coming out. "Matthias...? Tch. He is utterly useless to me." There's a bit of scathing to that. He'll keep to himself the joy he would have in snuffing out his spark, for sure. "But you were right. That he is the best option is why your house is nearly at an end, eheheh... yet although you might lack the means to fix that, /I/ do not."

Shifting to stand, hands still in his pockets, Terumi waits; allows the other to simmer, think, rage. "Rules...? Rules are merely the DEFAULT. The standard. The will of the Gods, if you wish to be philosophical! Is it not the essence of man to *fuck with that?* I've no spell, artifact or trinket to scoop out everything this useless boy is to let you, or another of your choice, within... but it's possible. Ah, I'm CERTAIN it's possible..."

Reaching out to grasp Bela's forearm, Terumi hefts the limb, twists it, and flashes out the steel of his blade to tear open the desired wound. "I'm here to fuck with that damn vampire. That is it. Literally it." The more Rachel despises him, the stronger he is; she is his progenitor in this iteration of the universe, the reason he is here and not a mere voyeur in the Boundary. "The first step towards my own manner of revenge. I've had four artifacts prepared and enchanted... I've two people working towards doing such. One of them might fail, but that will not ruin things... I'll take one personally, of course, but. The deepest, most vulnerable HEART of the castle... even I cannot get to unseen. That is where dear, sweet Bela will come in. He will intrude within it, and activate it when I am ready. Even that Alucard brat shouldn't be able to sense the relics on them... of course, he won't cooperate. But of course, he doesn't need to."

Then Terumi holds up his hand. "Still... as cathartic as your manifestation is..." His blade impales his own palm. Blackness seeps out. Grasping his skin, it's torn away, leaving only odd, liquid shadow down to the forearm. "It's best if Bela still thinks you're an ally, is it not?"

He then moves to *thrust* his forearm into the front of Bela's face. It would pass through, settling Terumi's open, phantom hand in the midst of his brain. "Devouring memories is a specialty of mine. He'll merely think you were summoned, but still lost the battle... you can 'fill in the blanks' for him however you like... ah." His fist clenches. Before yanking it out, tethered by strange, light blue aura. "Here it is... he'll remember almost nothing since you appeared. Heheheh... if you'd like, you can even tell him you both valiantly repelled me..."

Then he lifts up his shadowy hand, head leaning back and mouth lolling open. The essence is dropped, falling into Terumi's mouth. He chew-chews, before making a face as he swallows. "Eugh. An artist's memories taste... esoteric. Even his thoughts are pretentious. No matter... let's get to the MEAT and BONES of our exchange!!"

The ghost is oddly quiet, on the statement of the House of Podiebrad's relationship with the Castle Alucard.

He listens of course, but he falls silent then. He just gives a nod as the cut is made, and almost as quickly, the spirit drives Bela facedown into the basin. He hangs the wrist into it, like a piece of meat, to let it fill with his blood as he is trapped there. As it begins to fill, the ghost purrs. "It's incredible, to feel a man drowning. Raw instincts of mortal survival, a primal fear of death." The ghost giggles, as he keeps Bela's head down. The Patriarch actually starts to resist, lifting his head from the basin. He was blind, unable to even open his eyes as he gasps. The palm reaches him, as the mind pulls it away. The ghost watches Terumi devour the memory. "If you enjoy it, there are a few more awful memories I could offer... maybe another time. There are some things only worth enjoying a first time, after all. But it's horrible, isn't it?" He continues, as he returns Bela into the basin, face down in his own blood. "Yes, yes, The mind is your plaything."

"But we need to settle the matter of the SOULS!"

The ghost's presence shifts from sadistic into ritualistic, a kind of focus coming over him as he works the blood out of Bela into the basin. "The meat and bones, the flesh and substance, the body of your vision." He summarizes quickly. "Heart of the Castle Alucard, artifact in place, Bela is uniquely capable of reaching it. But the trouble is -direction!-" The ghost admits, as an indigo light builds over him. The blood continues to come up, deeper and deeper. "Castle Alucard is a hideous maze; empathetically shifts and changes at the whims of that festering leech. I've been lost there countless times before, as a young man as well as old. It's almost like a game! A hideous, almost-random game, where the props change every time you play it. To a lesser mind, it might seem like your fate is determined by chance instead of skill. But with preparation, it can be solvable and beatable, with skill alone! I can ensure Bela has nearly everything he needs to reach it, but he will lack one thing." He looks up, as the last of the life blood begins to finish drawing out of Bela. The Patriarch is not dead; as a matter of fact, he seems more lively now than after the savage beating; an effect of the ritual unfolding now. The spirit leers at Terumi.

"An almost a divine sense of direction..."

"Instincts I am not familiar with... you, at least, were once alive. I'm something a little different! Death...? Hahaha, not a concern for me in the SLIGHTEST." He simply watches Bela's preparations, sensing the shift in the dense, powerful atmosphere of the chapel as he goes through what to some might be simple sadism. Blood is a powerful focus in many rituals, and there is no doubt that this basin is key to more than one. "Mmm, it is not a matter of the subject, but the person... I'll never forget the tastiest souls I've consumed. Maybe because we were linked decades back..." He casts an affectionate thought back to Jin Kisaragi, and that entire event... well, no time for nostalgia!

"Of course! That castle has a SOUL, after all. A will of it's own. Not only the powerful drive of the person, but their INTENT is all drawn from meticulously... there have been stories where even the person who owned it were caught in difficult, circuitous mazes as it tried to protect the worlds from it's owner's madness, eheheh..."

Digging into a pocket, Terumi comes up with what seems an insignificant crumb of stone. It certainly seems to be nothing of note. But... "This is a fragment of the castle. With a bit of my own spell..." He then compresses his palms together, as magic surges. Although he rarely practices it in the traditional sense, Terumi is amongst the most powerful sorcerers alive; he may not be to the level of Nine, but he is peer to the likes of Quan Chi and Shang Tsung, two of the most powerful to exist across multiple realms...!

Then he leans forward, before a single drop of green essence seeps from the blackened scar of his left eye. Holding his palm up, filled now with dust, it falls within it. The spell then completes with a flash, before he holds out his hand and allows the oddly shimmering green dust to fall within the blood... causing it to take on an almost sinister air. "Bind this to him, and the castle may never know he is here... as the method of using it will not be me, but a simple human. A subtle compass, indeed, but it should more then suffice...!"

"That does leave one last matter, of course. Bela will not cooperate... even if we beat and tortured him, there's no TRUSTING it... so what do you say we remove annoying things like free will from the equation, to finish our little mutual vengeance?"

"How gauche!"

The spectre gives the fakest huff he could muster, watching the droplet of emerald energy fall into the pool. It certainly helped beyond measure that Terumi was as well-versed in rites and rituals as he was. It would take a normal sorcerer years to be properly trained in the blood magic of the House of Podiebrads. To say the least the lifetime that Matthias had struggled with. Yet, as the droplet comes, he pulls the hair of the Patriarch, and he digs away at the silver mask of Bela. Unlike the gold, it seemed that the silver gauntlet wasn't so well attuned to him. "You rogue! Have you been plumbing -my- depths while I was busy?" The spectre teases, almost flirting with the abomination of destruction. Wrenching the mask with just a bit of leverage, he holds up the raven facade, staring into it nodding. "Yes, yes, of COURSE you can have your way with him! Dive deep into him, though we have to share of course. Can't hog the little brat all for yourself." He halts a moment, a thought breaking his levity as the drop finishes. "Normally, this ritual involves total exsanguination before the consummation, but we're not looking for a wedding here, are we?" A giggle comes from the spirit. "Your essence makes this much simpler as well; your genius well and worthy! As you can see and sense, the whole of the Podiebrads is well equipped to resist even the strongest forms of mind control. Listen to the cacophony, the howling presence. Each soul within our family is tied to the Patriarch, alive and dead. The riff-raff of my brood imagine it's the all-power of the Patriarch that protects them. In reality, it's them that provide the power of the Patriarch, as well as each other. It's like finding a fish in a school, a fly in a swarm. As well as other, smaller traits and features. For a vampire, even the most powerful, possessing a single Podiebrad would require the strength and power to possess not only over a hundred of the living, but thousands and thousands of the dead. To say the least over a dozen of former Patriarchs. Impossible for even the strongest vampire. But a god, well."

"I'm not certain many, living or dead, would -survive- that invocation of divine will."

He dips the mask in, as the substance bubbles and hisses. Transfixing back on his face, the blood begins to draw back within Bela, the tide receding. "And now, you are an honorary member of the House of Podiebrad! Don't let such a GRAND HONOR go to your head!" The spirit scoffs ruefully, shaking his hips. "This will allow you to have the command you need of the Patriarch, without worrying about crushing the rest of the House of Podiebrad. Oh, I can already -tell- he's so... muted. It's not quite perfect, sadly." He murmurs, sighing wistfully as the Podiebrad's heart begins to beat. "You can blame a former Patriarch who was far more concerned about the tampering of divine entities in the wake of... certain other figures from the nobility of Makai. You divine corruption will eventually be forced out, be in days. Weeks. Months. YEARS... but between your tampering with his memories, the stress of the ordeal, and the -horrors- of the castle..." The spirit sniggers wickedly. "Oh, you'll be haunting his nightmares well into the grave. Oh Terumi, do you ever get tired of it?" The spirit coos, stroking the cheek of the Patriarch so tenderly as it begins to turn red; the tainted blood returning. "I can't even imagine how many lives you've destroyed, how much suffering you've wrought, how much misery you've sown to see it bloom and flourish into rich crops of hatred and anguish for generations to come. I can only taste a shadow of the endless satisfaction; I cannot even imagine it on a global and timeless scale. But tell me, tell me~!"

"Does it ever get -boring?-"

"Please... who do you think TAUGHT your original Patriarch these rituals? Where do you think the very magic of the Noble Houses and NOL COMES from...?!" Terumi scolds, as if insulted by the idea he might need to do anything unsurly in order to cooperate with Aurel's efforts. "Your artifacts, techniques, places of power... I carefully made sure these seeds were planted centuries ago. Why do you think I take it so PERSONALLY, the current state of your house? I was not lying when I said it might be better if Podiebrad was to vanish, and what items of worth they had redistributed... your posthumous efforts will be ever so important to contributing to the Library even now..."

Terumi almost casually begins to build up the seals and sigils of what is clearly a much higher-end spell. It's the first time his eyes narrow and body grows tense in concentration. One he has bitter memories of... all the more given he's borrowing it from one of the few magicians who stands above him. "But this spell requires you to cooperate... it has no effect on any additional souls. I know this flaw well, after all... which means you can break the control, if you find our puppet to be doing things you do not agree. I can monitor and nudge him with effort, of course..." Before he extends his arms, settling splayed fingers to either side of the unconscious Bela's head.


There's a great bolt of green lightning that flashes between his palms. Likely causing the mute flesh of Bela to spasm, leaving sparks to run through hair and mask. The mental binding is now in place; Aurel could feel it, as if everything unneeded was suppressed, and a near mindless, simple drive is done. To infiltrate, and to activate the orb. By any means necessary. Ah, Aurel might even like it... as if the straightforward purity of Matthias now lived in the Patriarch.

Energy is flicked away from his hands as if dirty. "Ah, I can't watch every moment of every house... I'm sure there are safeguards, capabilities, and more... yet all that matters is this task. I revel in winging it, where the future is concerned."

Terumi then kicks away from the basin, floating into the air as his head tilts to the side. "Boring...?" he says, as if surprised. "You overestimate the thrill in general, I believe... does a young man get tired of his hand? Does a junkie get tired of the needle? Does a glutton get tired of donuts? At a certain point, you no longer remember or even consider the individual action... only the driving, consuming force of elation perpetuated on and on. I crave proper highs, but they are rare... your sweet Bela's cruel, straightforward hate born of pride and arrogance..."

Terumi tugs forward his hood, smirking lazily. "It's so banal and boring, it won't reside in my memories long at all. ...but all this has a purpose. All of this has a goal. I'm not some parasite, bent on simple sadism ad infinitum..." There's an air of personal rejection to this. A stark denial, in the face of countless history otherwise.

"All Gods are driven by purpose. Draw power from it. I think you'd be surprised to discover my relation to my function, heheheh..." Although many tales, whispers, and rumors have indicated this yellow figure is strongly linked to the divine, none were sure what it is he did. Most believe Terumi a god of Corruption, of Torture, the ideal form of sadism. That he is the God of Annihilation... who would ever guess, when his every act and manipulation is contrary to the simple absolution of destruction?

"Well, then. I trust you can fix him in time for the Rosalia... when it's time to act, when the waning moon will trigger the castle to return to Makai, I'll activate him to perform his task... you won't regret your cooperation in this revenge, I assure you. It's only the first step in what plans I have for that damn vampire...!!"

The spectre falls silent, as he focuses his coordination with Terumi.

Certainly, he does not totally appreciate the meddling of the god. And the resentment of so much being in the shadow in his legacy... but it's not enough to sabotage the common goal. As the bolt of energy surges through Bela, he pats and grooms down the spasming Patriarch. The rituals and rites were complete, the plans were made, and soon, as the Podiebrads had through history, were going to undertake a nasty business. He was not surprised at Terumi's own nastiness on the past and magic.

But he actually quite surprised at Terumi's response on 'boredom.'

The spectre does not abandon the wisdom as it comes. Even he had begun to run out the limits of hedonism in the end of his life... and where the only meaning was as it was now, coming to a purpose. He doesn't pry it too much; as he inspects the Mind Break's effect on Bela. "Perhaps a House full of Matthias is much more satisfactory than a House full of Aurel." The spectre sighs. "But if horses were wishes, we'd all be hussars!" He slaps the Patriarch's hindquarters, steadying him into a seat. "He'll be tanned, rested, and ready!" The spectre looks to Terumi. A skull-like visage is unable to betray any reactions. "Really, the only regret so far is your arrival, and Matthias's poor garden." A tut tut comes, as he throws an arm over Bela, shaking his head.

"Did you have to be such a -ham- about it?"

"Matthias..." Terumi growls a little, left eye flashing a brighter green briefly. "He's a far more memorable existence..." Although the angry spirit does not elucidate further on the matter, it's pretty clear that such is not due to anything beneficial. "But all I care is for a house that gets results... I did not literally create House Podiebrad, don't forget. I may have been the one who chose them in ancient times, the one who gifted them knowledge, the one who united them with Novus Orbis... but that was it. All the centuries after, all the centuries before, everything within these noble walls were crafted and advanced by your own blood and will!" Terumi opens his arms to gesture around the shrine. "And that also means the current state is entirely your own..."

When it comes to his own unsubtle introduction though, there's a bit of a laugh. "Believe it or not, I didn't come here with any initial intention of making a scene..." He had been slipping through the Boundary intent on meeting Bela in private, after all. But the strange allure of Matthias caught his curiosity, and one thing lead to another... for although he may deny his true purpose, Terumi finds nothing so abjectly frustrating as an entity he cannot destroy. It might be warped and twisted, but he desires the ABILITY to end something, so he can refuse spitefully... that damn Matthias stood outside the cycle, and... even ancient beings can throw a bit of a temper tantrum...

"Well, then. If all goes well in Alucard, we might have the start of a beautiful relationship. I owe you one, and my favors are pretty valuable... don't squander it... Bela should function just fine, but people might notice the sudden lobotomy... maybe hit him in the head with the sceptre a few times until the mindset shift is convincing -- assuming anyone would care!! Hahahaha!! HERE!"

Terumi flicks a bag of rune-covered cloth; an artifact is within, about the size of a baseball. "This is the lynchpin of it all. Make sure to keep it within the sack in the castle, or she might sniff it out. I'll tune you in on the rest of the scheme once I finish setting things in order... see ya!"

Suddenly Terumi's eye glows bright green. The air around it whirls like a vortex; the God's frame distorts like paint going down a drain, cloth rippling and skin rupturing to spill inky blackness. A few seconds later, the light winks out, and with it all presence of the schemer...

Really, the spirit couldn't -blame- Terumi for his fascination with Matthias.

Even when he was alive, the boy had proven himself a man, and had even defeated the spirit in the only conflict that matters. Still, when the god gives his response, the spirit is coy about his feelings. Gods -do- get mad after all. Go mad. And their tantrums were legendary and horrifying. As the artifact is tossed out, the spirit catches it. The sack concealed it, but... well. He knew of a place to keep that sack, that nobody would ever suspect to find it. The spirit looks down, as the divine force leaves... and with it, his own material essence begins to fade. Alas, all good things must end.

And he had to deal with the aftermath already.

"Tch! Well, I -never-!" He scoffs. Soon, Matthias would be coming, with the Raven Guard. There would have to be answers; answers that the spectre couldn't provide. The boys and girls and nieces and nephews will believe anything given to them. But Matthias... he would suspect something. He wouldn't understand, but he would know. Hiding things from the boy was always impossible; he might not understand what it meant, but there would be no way to hide it. Oh well. Let them all fall within mysteries. Terumi made a good recommendation, after all, the spirit considers as he levels the sceptre. He had little time to prepare the sack, prepare his son, and prepare the excuses. He would be a ghost once again, and gone from the eyes. He hovers over the dazed, dominated Bela, holding the sack in one hand, the scepter in the other.

And there, he begins to get to work.

Log created on 22:54:16 06/10/2021 by Crock, and last modified on 16:38:26 06/30/2021.