1965-11-07 - Dealing with Blood Witchlings
Summary: Snaring a Jackal isn't as easy as it looks, but after the Monster shows up in aid, it gets more complicated yet — and apparently, Mama's going to be mad.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
adam ambrose halgrim 

Over the last couple of weeks, a few of the denizens of Monster Metropolis have found some strange…things…near the various entrances to the underground tunnels. They're not exactly traps; nothing which could hold any of them, and no one has been seriously injured by them. It would even be reasonable to wonder if some of the Morlocks are having a good laugh and pranking them. In one case, a can of paint sprayed all over the mummy girl; it took most of a day to get it out. In another, one of the alligator sisters found a series of strange plant-like, spikey seed pods clinging to her tail, which produced a horrible smell and were quite painful for anyone but her to touch (thanks to her leathery skin). They're all in this manner, leaving something annoying on the unfortunate victim.

However, when one of the resident witches had a look, she indicated there was much more to these nuisances than visible to the naked eye. She wasn't able to put her finger on it precisely, but they almost seemed like they were intended to tag something, maybe even 'trap' it, just none of those unlucky enough to stumble into them had the right traits to be caught. Whatever those might be, the witch wasn't sure of. The magic wasa bit too subtle for her; her speciality is alchemy, after all.

It takes no time at all for Adam to find the most recent one. It's nastier than those that have come before, maybe representing an escalation in the situation: this one is a more classic snare with a noose, and fine, thing needles of wood along the rope, made to trigger when a heavy steal grate is shut down inside the tunnel. It's set awfully large, though; whatever it's meant to catch, it would have to be Adam's size at a minimum. Maybe someone is trying to snag one of the minotaurs?

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 12

Curiosity might attempt to kill the cat, but surely satisfaction will bring it back? This particular metal grate is of interest to one Jackal, bored on a cold night and wandering about the city between takes. He's seen fascinating shadows enter and exit through it in the darkest hours, when the city is at its most still and the mist from the river creeps up over the concrete.

Right now, it's a bit more interesting than he expected. Upon shutting the grate after entry, even as quietly as he managed it, something is tripped. A whipping of fine rope that sings to his ears and he barely keeps the outcry from escaping his lips as his left leg is ripped out from underneath him! THUMP — onto his ass. Thank god for the thickness of his fatigue pants; he learns quickly that the line is covered in those fine barbs and his palms now itchy madly — in fact, his entire skin feels like its crawling with goosebumps. One long, continuous stream of Persian escapes him in a hissing tirade as he tries to find his trench knife. It's hard when your palms are sting-sweating and half-numb.

Adam has been prowling the tunnels in search of just such a nuisance. He almost got caught by one and hasn't forgiven himself for it—he's grown so used to coming and going as he pleases in the Metropolis that he got complacent. It will never do for a monster to be complacent.

The ruckus attracts him, just like it's said noise will attract creatures best avoided. He glides out of the deep gloom, as graceful and awful as a great white, but nowhere near as nice to look at.

"Hold still, I'll help," he murmurs, before realizing who it is. "Ah. Atherton." Amusement appears on that vast, terrible face.

For all the odd sensations the rope produces, it's not immune to mechanical damage. However it does seem determined to cling to anything it comes into contact with: clothing, the knife blade, skin. On skin it continues to be frustratingly painful, though doesn't draw blood. The snare is simple enough—set by someone who's aware of how to set them, but the practiced eye can pick out better ways to do…whatever this was trying to do.

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 19

Grunting as he works at cutting the line, Ambrose is moderately involved at the effort. The sudden voice is what brings him up from his work. His reaction is all visceral fright. The knife gets thrown in Adam's direction even as his last name is being spoken — lord only knows where that thing lands, glittering away towards the darkness of the under-tunnels. The rope does its job well. His scrambling comes to an undignified halt with a face-plant that knocks the wind from him. Rolling onto his back, he works furiously at trying to kick the rope free, but only manages to get his right ankle entangled as well. A series of panting yelps before he recognizes precisely who is speaking to him.

"Ohhhhhhhh…bloody hell," Ambrose emphasizes before letting his head drop back to the ground, hand on his heaving chest. "Goddammit, you — hello, yes, not a good time, I'm bloody stuck — wait." A lift of his face. "You'll help?"

The knife sticks into Adam's torso with a gross *thuk!*. He sighs. That will need stitching. He pulls it out - *shlok!* - and drops it with a clang to the concrete tunnel floor. "If you would refrain from throwing things at me, yes, I will help." He looms on up over Ambrose, filling most of the tunnel.

No sooner has Adam dropped the knife than they both hear two voices opposite the direction Adam came from. There's a strange, warped quality to them for a moment, like they're being heard through a tape recorder sped up too fast. Then, "Helloooooo?" It's a young woman's voice, coming from beyond a bend that's barely visible in the darkness. More softly, a young man says, "I bet it's just another one of those things," on a petulant huff.

"Yes but those things could lead us to it," the young woman replies. They're drawing close, and should be around the corner of the tunnel shortly.

Ambrose's throat bobbles in a marked swallow. That was one of his best knives - just dropped on the tunnel floor - like it was a toothpick pulled from a rump roast. He makes to reply but goes wide-eyed, craning his head to look beyond the bulk of Adam's tall and muscular form.

"I don't know them and I don't think I want to. No more throwing things at you, fine, here," and he gestures at his legs, scowling. "Do as you will. Be mindful, there are fine spines on it, like those of a thistle. They bloody itch." Pinked and irritated palms are shown to Adam even as he wriggles a little against the bonds about his ankle.

Adam is politely trying not to laugh at Ambrose tangled in the trap like a kitten wound up in a skein of yarn. Crouching, he's almost about to grab the rope, then—voices. He glances up. Monsters don't usually talk about themselves like that. "Mm." He rolls the sound in his chest, just an acknowledgement, and reaches one loooooong arm back for the knife. The blade is indeed very fine, if maybe slightly dulled from sinking into his tough flesh, and he cuts the rope.

The rope does its best to cling to the knife, but it's nowhere near as resilient as Adam's flesh; it cuts easily, if messily. An annoyed sigh drifts down the tunntel towards them. "It broke." The young woman's voice trails just after. "Two of them," she says. "One is…strange…" And then, they're in sight.

The two look remarkably alike; they're around the same height, with fine, straight, auburn hair streaked gray and white, hers in an intricate herringbone braid and his tied back in a queue. They have hawkish noses and bright gray green eyes in rounded faces, and are both slight and limber with the onset of adulthood. They can't be older than 20. Their clothes are somewhat average attire for college undergraduates, save for their necklaces; each is wearing a mongoose skull on a black, leather thong, adorned with a handful of wood and bone beads.

They stop several feet from Adam and Ambrose; a safe, healthy distance. The young man's eyes lock onto Ambrose and he glares. "*You're* not what we wanted," he says, his expression making it an accusation. He makes a complex gesture with one hand, and the spines vanish back into the rope. The crawling sensation ceases, and Ambrose finds himself among the cut remains of ordinary-seeming rope. The young man resumes his lecture. "Stop ruining our traps. We'll never catch it with all of your bumbling around. Just how many of you are there down here?"

The young woman is *staring* at Adam, eyes wide. "You'reyou're" She takes a half-step closer to him, stops. "You're *real*," she says. She sounds excited beyond imagining. She grabs the young man's arm. "Terrence—look! It's *Him*."

Terrance obliges her, but doesn't, apparently, see what she sees. He goes back to studying Ambrose. "Are you…possessed?" he asks, head tilted.

"Define possessed," the Jackal snarks even as he's risking touching the rope again. Oh good, just rope. He still throws it aside as if it were dead snakes. It slides free from about his ankles as normal twine and he then gets to his feet, beside Adam if not slightly behind him. God…he feels small beside the creature.

A literal shudder that quivers in his next exhale and he rubs at his upper arms briefly, wincing at phantom pain departing from his palms. "And who the ruddy hell are you, wandering down in here? Don't you have other things to do than dabble in bloody shite like this?" He gives the two young people a hard glare; it all stems from embarrassment, honestly. So rarely is he ever caught so off-guard as just recently.

|ROLL| Adam +rolls 1d20 for: 16

|ROLL| Halgrim +rolls 1d20 for: 5

|ROLL| Halgrim +rolls 1d20 for: 13

Adam rises. Slow. Horribly slow. His white eyes fix on the young man. "We. Are not here. For you." And then he moves in a blur, faster than any mortal thing, reaching for the boy. "To hunt!"

Terrence rolls his eyes at Ambrose, utterly bored with the lecture he receives in turn. Whatever he was going to respond with is cut off by Adam's sudden arrival in his personal space, and he yelps, stumbling back. The movement is nowhere near fast enough to put him out of Adam's reach, and he's grabbed easily. "Sofie!" he yells in a panic.

"Stop!" Sofie yells at the top of her lungs, and it's not *just* a word. It's an order that stabs at Adam's mind, trying to dig in claws and *make* him do it, but it loses its grip. Voice wavering, she adds, "Please!" No accompanying imperative on that word. It's a simple, honest request. Their voices echo up and down the tunnel in a cacophony of noise.

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 14

The master-thief takes a quick side-step away from the bulk of the creature. How something that large can move with such swiftness is enough to set his hindbrain to gibbering and the hairs on his nape rising. He watches with eyes wide and jaw dropped in momentary shock at the snatch. It's like watching a crocodile rise from the water to close jaws upon some hapless grazer.

The young woman's word is a mental slap. Ambrose winces and shakes it off, waving once before his face as he would at an insect, and then marks her with a solid stare. His pupils flash nightshine red. Nope — no one's using mental hijinkery around him. Mentalists must be put down and fast.

He draws his other trench knife and inverts it, pommel out, in his hand. While she's distracted by Adam's sudden attack, he makes to sprint wide around her in the confines of the tunnel. It'll be an attempt at an attack from behind and a solid knock to the back of the head to send her to unconsciousness.

|ROLL| Halgrim +rolls 1d20 for: 19

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 14

Adam snatches up the young man by the front of his bohemian shirt, plucking him up as if he weighs no more than a mouse. He gets his face, that awesome tool of crowd control, into the boy's face; lips pulled back from enormous teeth, scowling deep. "Who? Who is it you hunt?"

The girl's mental command bites him, finds him not to its taste, and slides off like melting ice. Adam snaps his head around to her, glaring in fury. He can be so composed and gentle, moving through the world like he'll break it. And then. He can be like this. "These tunnels are not yours to trap as if we are a warren of rabbits!"

|ROLL| Halgrim +rolls 1d20 for: 4

|ROLL| Adam +rolls 1d20 for: 3

Eyes huge with real terror, Terrance stammers, "W-we just want-t th-the one who killed Auntie! We d-don't, *care* about the rest of y-you!" He pries at Adam's hand, entirely ineffectually. He cranes his head, trying to see around Adam's bulk when Adam turns to face Sofie, but can't.

Sofie opens her mouth to try another order at Adam, catches movement out of the corner of her eye, flinches as Ambrose moves in. She yelps, "Woops!" And—he slips, one of his feet somehow finding a slippery spot on the floor, as if he'd been aiming for it unconsciously. His leg flies right out from under him; she hops aside several steps in the other direction, towards the wall. "Please put him down," she begs; her voice is a child's from a young woman's body, pleading, eyes filled with tears. Don't hurt my brother, Adam.

At the speed he's tacking, it's a hell of a biff. Classical banana peel on the pavement victim, this guy, and Ambrose has the wind knocked out of him yet again. How he manages to continue to hold the knife is a thing of mystery, but he comes to a rolling halt against the tunnel wall, making those odd croaking sounds only heard when your diaphragm is displeased with the impact your body has taken. With wide, dazed eyes, he looks up at Adam and his handful of young man and winces in a passing foreign wisp of sympathy for the siblings. He mouths a few words even as the reflexive sounds are coming to an end: Who is Auntie? The bloody hell?

His name! His actual, real name. His self-chosen name, the name that Frankenstein never saw fit to give him. Sofie doesn't call him the dreaded F-word. Adam is struck to his massive heart. He lets the lad down, despising himself for it; is it so easy, to pierce the Monster's shell? Yet the girl's plea works.

When Ambrose impacts the wall at full speed, Adam reaches out to steady him with an enormous hand, but doesn't look round at him. Let's just all pretend that didn't happen. "You are foolish children," he growls at the pair. "You toy with what you do not understand."

|ROLL| Halgrim +rolls 1d20 for: 9

|ROLL| Halgrim +rolls 1d20 for: 15

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 18

|ROLL| Halgrim +rolls 1d20 for: 17

|ROLL| Adam +rolls 1d20 for: 2

Terrence trembles when Adam releases him, looking uncertain that he's actually in the clear. He raises a hand, makes another of those complicated gestures, and scuttles backward a few feet—not enough distance that Adam couldn't lunge for him again, and that seems to frustrate him somehow. He curses under his breath. "What else were we supposed to do? Just, let it run around out there, eating people?"

"Thank you," Sofie says to Adam, her voice sweet and sincere. It's soothing, like a balm, urging calm and complacency. Everything is okay. Everything will be fine. Of course we love you, Adam.

She reaches into the pocket of her jacket, and takes out something that gleams, briefly, in a beam of light from the street above: a scalpel. She looks directly at Ambrose, and nothing of that thanks is in her eyes. They're hard as stone. "*Come*. *Here*." That stab again—this time, at Ambrose, trying to drag him to his feet and closer to her.

"No, don't - don't bloody — " His raspy words at Adam are interrupted by a cough and then an immediate wash of numbing mentalism. Like a slap of water against the bow of a boat, he's rocked, but centers himself quickly enough. Sofia gets another wide-eyed stare and he throws himself aside from the swing of that scalpel.

Scalpel. Aimed at him. Fast and leaving a flush in its wake, a horrible flashback of his own blood straining against his skin and a siren call of death.

A feral light enters his eyes now and as he gets to his feet, that's not a knife in his hand. That's a revolver, aimed dead at Sofie.

"You say one more word and you will be screaming instead of attempting your witchcraft," he grinds out even as he clicks the safety on the gun. Its aim drops towards her legs. She doesn't need a kneecap to continue functioning, after all.

Adam's gaze lands on the scalpel. He's too slow in considering doing something about it; the soothing compulsion weighs on him. So he doesn't move in the time it takes Ambrose to draw down on the girl.

"Are you attempting to force us to kill you?" he asks, very reasonably. Artificially calm. "We are within our rights. You trespass and hunt one of our own. Make no mistake, little one, I will kill you both. Explain who it is that you have come here to harm."

|ROLL| Halgrim +rolls 1d20 for: 18

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 1

|ROLL| Halgrim +rolls 1d20 for: 18

|ROLL| Adam +rolls 1d20 for: 5

As Ambrose has requested, Sofie says nothing, at least not at first. She glances down at his gun, studying it intently, then back up at him. Reverses her grip on the scalpel, sighs. "Oh no," she says, softly and with great feeling, and advances on him.

Behind Adam, Terrence makes another one of his over-done gestures, and a sense almost like drowsiness settles over him. He's not *actually* tired, yet his perception acts as though he is. He can hear his heart pounding in his ears, slow and steady like a drum, the pause between each strike growing longer. Sofie is moving on Ambrose at normal speed, and that feels ten times too fast. Terrence is walking around him to join his sister, and there seems to be no way to actually reach out and grab him before he'll be out of range.

A snarl shows on Ambrose's face and he pulls the trigger on the gun — little bitch doesn't need her kneecap anyways — WHAT. Click. Ominous silence from the revolver. He pulls the trigger harder and sports an expression of panicked confusion before taking another step back, but there's only the wall to bump into.

No — no, not like this!

As quick as he can manage, he slips the mysteriously (and unluckily) jammed gun back into its holster at his hip in order to pull out the serrated trench knife yet again.

"Blades it is, bedraggled ratbag, have at thee!" He lunges at Sofie in a move markedly suicidal by nature, very confident that he'll be able to open the back of her hand first and make her drop the scalpel.

Adam's eyes don't quite track the Jackal as he makes his lunge. The huge construct stands there, watching the conflict take place on fast-forward, unable to interfere. "Jackal," he says, a warning, but can do no more. Events will unfold without him.

A knife fighter Sofie is not. She's also, it turns out, not all that fast, and her brother has slowed one enemy at the risk of letting the other move freely. "Wait!" she says, suddenly scared, and another attempt at Ambrose's mind skitters wide, scrabbling and failing to take hold. She's not as nimble as her ill-fated Aunt was either, and when she tries to slash at Ambrose all she gets is a lot of his jacket. Her arms, on the other hand, are bare to the elbow—plenty to cut or grab.

"Sofie!" Terrance yells, running around Adam. In his sudden fear he forgets that he has to concentrate to keep that wall up. The heavy stifling sensation melts, leaving Adam entirely free once more. And, in easy reach of Terrence, who isn't, it turns out, very fast or coordinated when he's not altering the flow of time.

Nothing like a solid bluff tempered by actual contact. The trench knife skips precisely where he intends it to, across the back of her hand in a series of shallow cuts that barely miss severing the tendons beneath. See her continue to hold that scalpel after such a sally! He then makes to jink hard to one side, opposite her own momentum of rotation, and out of range of any further flailing on her part.

It puts him in passing range of Terrance and the young man is the recipient of a cold, red-pupil'd glare. On a dime, Ambrose changes direction again, heading for him with the blood-limned knife ready for another glancing blow.

Poor form, children, you've let the Monster loose. SLAM! Adam's fist rockets out, hitting Terrance in the chest and cracking a rib or three, pinning him to the curved tunnel wall. "When you've finished with that one, give this one a reminder to match his sister's." His voice is terrifyingly polite, only edged with a guttural double-bass growl, as he stares into Terrance's eyes.

Sofie *screams* when she's cut, and the scalpel falls to the tunnel's floor with a bright *clink*. She staggers away from Ambrose, sobbing, "My hand, mama my hand," to herself, cradling it against her body.

Terrence's breath rushes out of him in an audible 'oof', a strangled, half-spoken cry the only real sound he can make as Adam pins him to the wall. He turns his head, desperately trying not to look into those eyes, except now he's staring at *Ambrose's* eyes, which isn't precisely better.

"It's not fair," Sofie whimpers. Her plea is a fraction of its previous strength; it sounds more pitiable than sincerely hurt. "The wolf killed Auntie, we just wanted to kill it back."

The Jackal's boots throw off minute clouds of dust as he checks his dash at Terrance. The kid's no longer an immediate threat. He gives Adam a side-glance before turning his attention briefly to the young man.

"Don't move." Venomous, mocking, yes, both. He lazily tosses the knife in his hand end-over-end as he walks towards Sofie yet again. The scalpel is kicked violently away into the depths of the tunnel and he levels the knife at her face briefly, wrist bent at a ninety-degree angle.

"I've no idea what you're talking about, but you'd better scramble before he gets an idea to crumple you as a tin can as well," he growls at the young woman before leaving her where she stands.

Poor Terrance. The recipient of a nearly-identical glancing of the blade down the back of his hand as well. "And stop your squirming, you little bastard," he adds sharply. "It's either your hands or your throats and you'll be reminded that you made a bloody idiotic decision in your actions until the day that the reaper comes for you truly." The trench knife is slipped away and he stalks off a few steps, arms crossed, waiting for Adam to have his say.

"Wolf?" Adam frowns. "A feathered wolf, perchance?" He slams Terrance again just to make his point. "Stay away from it," he snarls, voice so low, it's more felt than heard. "Keep out of my tunnels. We have shown you mercy once. Don't gamble on it again." He lifts his fist away, letting the boy drop to the floor. "Out."

|ROLL| Halgrim +rolls 1d20 for: 5

|ROLL| Halgrim +rolls 1d20 for: 8

Terrence and Sofie cry out simultaneously first when Terrence is cut, and then when Adam slams him into the wall. Now they just sound like a pair of terrified kids who've bitten off more than they could chew in an attempt to show off.

Terrence collapses to the floor with a broken sob, curls up on himself. Sofie gets up and picks her way over to him, flinching away from Ambrose and Adam. "Come on," she whispers, urging him up. He tries to move his uncut hand to make one of his gestures, winces, stops. Sofie takes him by the elbow and guides him away from the two, her head ducked. She has to support her brother, who's not walking too well; his breath whistles in his lungs when he breathes.

They stop, about where they first came into view, and Ambrose and Adam can despite the distance hear Sofie whisper, "Mama's going to be so mad at you."

It takes Ambrose far too long to come up with a pithy response. He's busy staring at Adam. A number of seconds later, he throws a gimlet glare at the retreating siblings.

"Don't offer threat if you cannot follow through upon it, child. Begone!" The last word cracks like a gunshot in the tunnel, echoing upon itself. He's not got the stentorian projection of the creature, but there's the whip-snap of past military command within, brokering no argument. Once he's certain that they're truly gone, he looks back at Adam.

"Feathered wolf…?" A cold blanketing of incredulous goosebumps dances over his body. "Glowing yellow eyes? Silver teeth?" The master-thief watches his compatriot with those pupils still glinting red in slowly-melting battle-ire.

"Then let her come settle it with the Monster," Adam growls. Those creepy ice-white eyes of his stare holes in the backs of the pair as they make their way to the surface world. When finally they are gone, he turns to Ambrose with a sigh that is weary with the weight of the nonsense these mortals put on them. "Indeed, and ram's horns," he says, filling in a detail to show he knows who Ambrose is talking about. "One of us. Atherton, what are you doing down here?"

They bolt into the darkness, startled by Ambrose's shout and driven by Adam's stare.

"I…am…no, hold on." He lifts a hand briefly, closing his eyes as if unable to process what's flying through his mind. "Ram's horns. Scales. Large as a Clydesdale horse."

Then it hits him. Ambrose goes several shades paler and looks sickened, his gaze staring blankly through the creature for a number of heartbeats. "…«god preserve me,»" he whispers in Persian. "The witch. The witch…w-with the scalpel. Like she had." A weak gesture and stare towards where the young woman once stood. Who knows where that blade went, scuffed into the darkness.

A solid, audible gulp. "…I thought I could escape, but…they hunt her. And me." All said hollowly as he clenches fists at his sides in denial despite the truth of it.

Adam frowns, thunderclouds settling on that jutting brow. He reaches to settle Ambrose with a hand on his shoulder, but doesn't quite make contact. Out of the heat of battle, not many welcome his touch. "Yes. That is the Torn-Heart. Steady on, Atherton. You must tell me of this, for her sake and Halgrim's."

Torn-Heart? Ambrose's confusion is clear by how his brows gather. He gives the large hand not-quite touching his shoulder a dubious look and does shift away, but not terribly far. Despite the aptitude for destruction, he's still fairly certain that Adam means him no harm.

Oh, but how the expression shift over the master-thief's face. The confusion deepens to break to slack lack of comprehension followed by the curled nose of disbelief followed by a scoffed laugh and then the crumple yet again of misunderstanding. He then tries for one of those absolutely fake smiles. "No. No-ho-ho-ho, I must have misheard. You didn't say 'Halgrim', did you? You must have said something else entirely." But the look in his eyes is pleading for Adam to say anything but confirmation.

How is he ever going to steal properly from the campus again?!

Adam draws his hand back under his cloak, unsurprised, untroubled. Yet then he looks at Ambrose, and 'oh.' rings throughout his body language. "Ah." Now the wolf is out of the bag. "I have erred."

Adam's show of genuine surprise cements the veracity of what was said. Those mobile dark brows lift and then comes the first dry laugh. And then another. And then a crazed reel of laughter that has Ambrose nearly doubled upon himself. He manages to hold up a finger — one moment, please — while he finishes cackling like a hyena, the sounds redoubling upon themselves.

"Oh-ho, oh," and he wipes at an eye, suddenly looking rather dismayed. "And here I was thinking he was merely some man possessed. It cannot be. That creature is him? That is his collective?" He throws his hands up. "How in the bloody hell am I supposed to retrieve the other necklace now?! Not with that guarding it!" A groan from the depths of his chest from behind his hands briefly over his face. "Someone on high hates me," he mutters as he wipes his hand down his face, squinting up at the tunnel ceiling.

Adam awaits Ambrose to get to the end of his cackling, with a patience like an old cat with a rambunctious kitten. He sighs that weary sigh again. "Yes, very well, she dwells within him. I would not have thought…" he trails off, and doesn't say the rest of it. Wouldn't have thought Ambrose didn't know by now. "Perhaps," he suggests, ascerbic, "you might ask."

A sigh echoed by Ambrose. Then a tilt of his head, back and forth, apparently coming to a decision. "…mmm, yes. Yes, I will. Inasmuch as I'd like to shake him by his chalked lapels and rattle the answer from him as well as his teeth — rat bastard, being unclear like that!" He kicks a stray rock away. "Where did the days go where men were forthright about the dangers? You know, I once dueled a werewolf who told me, right off the bat, that he was cursed as such. It made the entire thing run so much more smoothly. Not just, 'I am cursed with multiple spirits'," he says, making mockery of the professor's accent to denote him in particular. "Puh. Yes, definitely a tete-a-tete. Mmm…over wine. We'll see what he has in his stores this next time."

A glance back to Adam and the Jackal seems to relax a touch, though not entirely. "Your assistance was appreciated, sir. If you ever need any, consider me your brother in arms. It appears we can trounce the best that the grasshoppers of this city have to offer." He doesn't offer a hand to shake, but does incline his head a respectful amount and for the appropriate length of time to hail his upbringing in polite society.

"Men are never forthright, Atherton, have you lived this long and not learned it?" Adam smiles faintly, despite that, and inclines his head, very proper. "Come, I will guide you out. You must not come into the tunnels. They are ours. We monsters. You are too pretty of face to be down here."

Ambrose falls into step beside the creature as they begin to travel. He's got a wry laugh for the last comment. "Pretty of face. Puh — surely there are monsters down here as fair as myself." A sly glance up at Adam, but he lets the rest of the pithy comment die on his tongue. Not the time or place. He continues in the same dry vein, "I should guard my blessings. Ergo, I shall endeavor to keep my pretty face out of these tunnels then, if they belong to the ghouls and the ghastly. I've no inclination to have further interest in myself, not after that bloody mess." He must mean the tale he owes Adam.

He scratches at the line of his jaw before speaking yet again. "My night began as it always does, in considering the next take…" As they walk, he expounds further as to how he crossed paths with Fjorskar and retroactively earned himself a truly terrifying enemy.

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