2012 02 11 Hunter And Healer

Log Title:
Hunter and Healer

Morbius & Topaz

IC Date:

Greenwich Village

Brief log summary::
The Vampire and the Empathic Witch meet and come to a compromise over a mugging


There is no TS in this log::

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It has been a few months now that Topaz has been back in New York. Adventures — to put them in friendlier turn of phrase — spanning literally from the galaxies to hell have kept her busy, but once things finally, finally settled down, the sorceress needed a breather. New York, for all its superheroic hecticity, was where she felt safest, so she chose to reopen the Voodoo lounge. The physical work of preparing her place is nearly done now, so a grand re-opening gala will be in the offing before much longer. The restoration of the building has been exhausting, between mundane work and spellcasting on the building. It had been Topaz hope that exhausting herself might give her some respite from the nightmares, but this was not to be. She has long since trained herself to scream without sound, but sleep and her? Oh yes; done for the night.

Thus it is that Topaz is indulging herself in the strange luxury of a leisurely stroll, as if it were mid-afternoon instead of the smallest hours of the night. She makes her way out of the village at an unhurried pace, and glances into whimsical little shops without the hindrance of a crowd to impede her window shopping. That its nearly the middle of February seems to be no impediment to Topaz — she wears just a long, flowing skirt and a T-shirt. Her footfalls echo faintly against the buildings as she contact juggles a small crystal sphere on her fingers. Her hair is a gravity-defying cloud tossed by the wind, and her sole concession to the weather is a gold scarf knotted at her throat and flaring like a pennant behind her.

Her heart breaks over and over, as she senses this homeless person or that mentally ill drifter huddling in an alley here or shivering atop a steam grate there. Topaz reaches out almost without having to give it a thought, her empathy flowing from her outstretched hand, drawing into herself their pains and anguish, the faint furrow in her brow deepening and then smoothing away.

He barely feels the cold against his pallid skin.

The wind whips beneath deep violet fabric and across hard leather as a shadow skims across the night sky. The Living Vampire is out tonight, and he thirsts.

Again he has waited a few days to venture out, waiting until his serum ceased to work. He is pushing its boundaries, learning how long he can go before he -must- feed. Recently, he has met people, -good- people, and in his anger, hurt one of them. But is this any better? Riding the edge like this? It may make things worse.

All these thoughts occupy Michael Morbius's mind as his senses open. -Something- will draw him. He knows, he's developed a kanck for it. The scent of cordite or drugs or blood will draw him.

He dips down slowly, hovering for a moment before alighting softly on a rooftop. His eyes close and his head tilts upwards into the cold breeze. He thinks, for a moment, how he still takes no joy in flight - something so many might envy, and wonders if, even now, he should be concerned about that.

Tonight it's drugs. As the unsuspecting Topaz minces up the street, careful over icy sidewalks, a block away, a desperate young man going too long without his mundane chemical fix lunges out of an alley. His target is not the woman, though, but a young man stumbling drunkenly out of the bar toward his car.

The drunk man laughs, thinking someone's just horsing around with him, until the druggie jabs him in the kidneys, hard, with the dull edge of a butterfly knife that flips open, glinting in the sodium-vapor glare of streetlights.

Topaz is almost paying no attention — but the drunken man's emotions shift in a jumble, which makes her pause to look around like a deer trying to scent a predator.

Ah…the night seldom disappoints. Wafting on the air, the so-familiar, coppery, sweet scent that galvanizes his enhanced senses, Morbius's head turns, dark hair whipping about as the wind shifts, harder to pin down the direction, but that scent, that one above all else, is what he is optimized for. He turns slowly now - there.

Crimson-staned eyes flash open and he takes to the air again, soon…and the man, still controlling the monster, his brows furrow as he knows full well what that scent means, another life hangs in the balance or may have already slipped away. It is likely not the blood he smells that he will have tonight.

The drunken man stumbles, struggles, and it's a nick of that butterfly blade that brings the copper aroma of blood to the other predator even now seeking to descend on the scene.

The pain, though. That flash of shock and fear — they cut through the emotional miasma of the drowsy neighborhood, and Topaz breaks into a run. Someone is in trouble. Someone is hurt. She lets go of the crystal sphere she was playing with. It doesn't fall. It floats alongside her as she hurries to make her way to the source of the trouble. A shadow flits overhead, but she is too focused on finding the pained victim to notice.

Morbius's flight is far faster than any normal person could run, and he gets there first. A dark shape hugs the wall of a nearby building, and he lands on the second floor of a nearby fire escape, perching there like some terrible night-hunting bird. Eyes ideal for the dark shift across the street below, seeking the source of the scent. Slitting a touch at the harsh sodium light, those eyes find what he seeks. He allows a soft growl to escape his dry throat, just enough to make the hackles rise…he does this often, drawing his prey's attention to himself. Perhaps he does seek punishment for his sins, sometimes, and the occasional sting of a knife or gunshot is hardly enough as he is now.

The desperate, jonesing junkie glances around at the sound. But he's human, and in the throes of withdrawal. He has no shot at spotting what is making that noise. But it clearly freaks him out. Not enough to stop him from slamming his victim hard against the wall, rifling his pockets quickly, and backing away with a wallet. No additional blood spilled? Impossible!

Topaz arrives as the drunken man staggers away from the wall, though, and the knife blade slashes. The crystal sphere rushes forward as if shot from a gun.


The junkie screams, drops his blade, and backs away, even as the near-victim slumps to the bricks, unconscious. Topaz stops to investigate the would be victim, but then something else makes her raise her hands to her head, as if attacked. Pain. Rage. Self-Loathing. Ravenous hunger. She is momentarily driven to her knees, as she had not expected to defend against such an emotional onslaught.

Morbius's growl rises in pitch as his intended victim is struck…somehow. His rational mind, the part that delves into the oddities he has so often found himself confronting wishes to learn more. But the other part, the part that screams its hunger to him…it must first be quelled.

Fluidly, he pushes himself from his perch, and a ragged shape in black, violet, and white lands before the formerly-armed junkie like some macabre autumn leaf. In the shadows of his cape, terrible, red eyes gleam as a rasping voice softly speaks, "Your hands shake, I can see your yellowed eyes, your damaged teeth…I too, know something of…addiction." His lips part, and far from the current, popular image of two discreet, almost dainty fangs, twin sets of frankly huge ivory horrors catch the light.

The junkie drops the wallet, and makes a horrible little mewling noise at the sight of a genuine monster looking him in the face. "Oh God, man, no, don't kill me!" he pleads.

A softer voice echoes, simply, "No." Topaz is back on her feet and holding her hands up at shoulder height, in what appears to be a meditative or mystical gesture. The word is not spoken with the fierce authority of a command. Neither is it the sympathetic softness of a plea. It is a statement.

Curious…this woman, something about her sets off a sense he's developed for such things. Too calm, too confident. He knows delusional when he encounters it, and with what happened before…it can wait. That harsh voice sounds again, "I'll address you in a moment." he says to the woman, his voice stern, but not threatening.

He rises smoothly to his feet, a terrible sight, so very far from the romantic ideal of a vampire. He is a monstrous thing, and well aware of his terrible mein, "I have…business to finish with this one. He's harmed his last victim."

The crystal rises from where it fell on the sidewalk and rises again to hover just to her right, at her eye height. Topaz watches him. She is wary. And still. Her hands remain where they are, and a faint luminosity comes from her eyes. "I cannot allow that. I am sorry." Her fingers splay open, and the odd glow around her eyes brightens as she calls her ability into service, attempting to catch hold of the worst of the monstrous hunger coming from Morbius and pull it into herself.

The hapless junkie, held in a grip he cannot break or shake free from, is having a bladder difficulty and making worse a pair of filth-caked cargo pants. He's beginning to sob silently, too terrified to make another sound.

The mutated scientist pauses as, for a moment, he feels as if his terrible thirst abates…but it cannot last. This comes not from the soul, but from his terribly altered body. But his anger, another longtime companion, it abates somewhat, and he speaks again, while at the same time, he coldly reaches out with his mind to snare the weak-willed man before him, holding him in place.

"It isn't your choice, I'm afraid." he explains with uncharacteristic patience, "I have need, and no choice in the matter."

Topaz frowns. Her power did not grasp the hunger. He's a vampire, is he not? He — is — not. At least, not one of the sort she is most familiar with. Fine, then. Regret flickers across her expression. She did not come to fight, and she knows that he is not entirely his own man while his hunger screams from inside him. She takes a deep breath, and speaks again, still in that soft, even, slightly-accented voice. "You are in my neighborhood. I cannot permit it." The hands flash into motion again, and this time, having felt the rage abate, she seeks to abruptly tear it from him altogether.

The empathic sorceress's efforts begin to bear fruit, as the pseudo-vampire hesitates, his attention faltering, "I-" he pauses again, "Perhaps I can…" this is novel to him, he has -never- been without the echo of the thirst when like this, even when sated, the anticipation that it will come again is there. It is an awful, soul-crushing thing, this gnawing thirst that can destroy all vestiges of conscience and humanity. His will draws away, motivation lees…the junkie runs, instantly, instinctive terror of a predator filling his mind.

"Let him go," Topaz whispers, gliding forward smoothly toward vampire and junkie. The junkie has ceased his struggling and is just staring glassily up at Morbius, instinctive terror overwhelmed by the vampire's dominating stare. "And I shall offer you my blood in his place." Her hands are the only part of her that continue to whirl and gesture, keeping the empathic drain of the worst of his anger continuing as she approaches. "You may have need, but you do not need to kill." Her tone remains gentle, almost conversational.

Uncharacteristically calm, Morbius replies in an even, measured tone, "Too often…that is what -will- happen. And I have made a choice…a vow-" his eyes flick skyward, seeking something among the heavens for a moment, dark as they are, "I cannot escape this curse, try as I have, but…it -can- be controlled." he doesn't know -why- he is telling this mystic this thing. But the absence of the worst of his impulses has opened a tiny crack in the dark things swirling near-constantly in his soul.

"Without human blood, I will die. I have no ability to heal my prey, and to deny myself would be suicide." He pauses again, inhaling deeply, "I have sinned against God so, so many times. But I will not spit in His face and discard the life I've been given." A dichtotomy, to be sure, a man of science and faith.

Topaz has managed to close the distance between them. "To kill is a sin," she says quietly. "To take your own life, a sin."

She keeps one hand moving, still taking his rage into herself. She strokes gently the sense of astonishment and relief she senses growing in him even as she reaches up with the other to touch his cheek. "Release this one, and you may have enough of mine to sustain you this night." She leaves her hand near his ear, that he can likely hear the pulse of living blood just under her brown skin.

He is unlike a true vampire in this: his skin is warm, almost feverishly so, "I have no choice. One, or the other. I have chosen to take the lives of the guilty, of those who -deserve- death…" beneath that is an unstated phrase - 'like me'.

"I can…with great care, but it is still dangerous. You could be harmed. My fangs are weapons, imprecise, my strength…"

"You are not the arbiter of such things," Topaz says gently. "He could be helped, rehabilitated, perhaps. His family would grieve his loss." She does not strum across his heartstrings to punctuate this truth. She holds her magic where it is, content that he is rational enough, at least, to converse with her.

"Then take great care. You are being offered a gift. You would not mistreat it, would you …?" She trails off, allowing him to offer his name if he would like, or simply to sink his fangs into her wrist. "One night's respite from having to drench yourself in cruelties that bruise your very soul."

"Morbius." the Living Vampire finally states, "Dr. Michael Morbius." He remembered his title, his identity is no secret either, but after all this time, he still considers himself that man, that healer, somewhere deep down, "I- know that even the worst often have those who care for them…I did." But his determination is still there, "I made that decision after what seems like forever. I take responsibility for what I've done, for what I choose to do." He then asks, "But can you…withstand this?"

Topaz' eyes widen slightly. This tormented man is a doctor? All the better she offers him this sacrifice, then. Doctors are healers. No different than herself, really. She meets those blood-hued eyes, unflinching, and says, "I assure you, if you are willing to be careful, I can endure being your donor for the night." She has not removed the offered arm from where she raised it. Her other hand is making slow, lazy revolutions, holding the fiercest anger from resurging within him. "I am Topaz," she adds. "And it is only a small thing to restore myself."

Those scarlet eyes drift downwards, shame rising somewhat to the fore. He is so unused to being offered what he needs. The last woman who did so, he took from her to save her, a part of him saw it as a small repayment for all he had done to protect her from the Demon Fire cult. But this…he offers nothing, now.
But still…even with his anger abated, his body seethes with that need. He reaches out a bone-white, spidery hand, talons retracted as far as they will go. There is a fierce strength to his grip, held carefully in check.

White lips peel back from the fearsome fangs of an animal. This is -not- the near-sexual act of the movies (or many genuine such creatures), it is an affront, a theft. He feels no sensual pleasure as those terrible fangs breach the skin and a warm rush of blood enters his throat, just relief, relief from the thirst, relief from a physiology gone wild in its craving, relief from the awful subsidence of his rational mind - and that, perhaps, is the best of it, his head clears, the awful instincts withdraw, curling up in the recesses of his psyche for now.

Topaz does not resist. As the victim is released in favor of her, he falls boneless to the ground. She lets Morbius draw her in, and the only sound she makes is a gasp when those fangs pierce her flesh. The one hand that has been in constant motion slows slightly in response, but keeps moving. It is all the more vital now that he maintain control. She can sense the rage waning on its own, replaced by something akin to relief and gratitude. The shame is there too, but it she leaves alone, lending strength to the gentler emotions.

She lets him drink until she sees her vision beginning to grey at the edges. "A-Are you slaked?" she askes, voice quavering slightly.

It is so…so very hard…to stop. Normally he savagely tears his chosen victim open, blood spraying wildly until the heart ceases, and then he'll take still more as he can. But this…a quiver runs through his hand as his fingers uncurl, slowly…his mind, sharp again, calculates, two…maybe two-and-one-half pints. A bit much, but not excessively dangerous. His breath comes in a soft exhalation, still gravelly at the edges as his head rises, there is a wet sound as his tongue plays over his fangs, cleaning them utterly, not a drop or speck of red remains on that chilling whiteness. "For now." Morbius states quietly, the dreadful promise of more to come within that statement, "But -" these words never come easily for him, not ever, "Thank you."

Topaz must lean against him for a minute or two, trusting that he is more man than monster for a moment. Her hands finally stop moving, allowing his emotions to do as they will, though the rage may not rush back to him, since he has drunk from her. She steps away, pulling her scarf from her throat to wrap her wound. "You are welcome, Doctor Morbius," she tells him, with a tiny curl of her lips into a smile. "May your future nights be — less tormented." She cannot promise him the offer of her blood every night, but at least for now, she has done what she can to ease his pain. She turns to go, taking slow careful steps. The Voodoo Lounge is not far, and she will be able to meditate and heal herself. "I thank you as well," she says over her shoulder. "For heeding your better angels, this once."

"It isn't so easy." Morbius replies carefully, "My malady is less spiritual than physical - though it gnaws at my soul nonetheless. I have come to myself in the wake of terrible deeds more often than I care to remember. But as I said, my sins are my own. I am…often around here. I hope that we can avoid this night's events again, for your sake."

Topaz turns around and smiles gently at Morbius. "You are kind to worry so for someone you have just met. I sense a great compassion in you. But do not worry about me." She shrugs, and adds, expression growing a little more serious, a little more tentative. "I would prefer you move your hunting grounds elsewhere, if at all possible. I cannot permit you to freely slay as your needs require."

Morbius's pride is also a powerful thing, "I wouldn't wish to see you try and stop me." sardonic as well, "But I can range…further afield. It is…the least I can do in gratitude." He takes a step back, feeling a touch exposed out here, fully aware of how far he can push his luck.

Topaz is not making a display of female machismo. She has remained calm and poised throughout this entire encounter, despite being aware she is dealing with something monstrous. "Neither would I wish to engage in a fight with you. Our acquaintance is cordial, and for both our sakes, we should keep it that way." She tilts her head thoughtfully a moment as Morbius steps back. "However — I can make you this same offer again, in perhaps a week. No soul should bear a weight of pain like yours without surcease." She gestures, and that crystal that dropped away when he bit her rises back to her hand, where she begins letting it drift over her fingers. "I cannot always offer the blood, but I can offer that much." And once more she turns to go.

"I cannot guarantee I can accept. But I will…consider it." Morbius notes carefully, "I have little wish to trade one addiiction for another." No accusation there, but he has tangled with the supernatural long enough to know there is almost always a price, somewhere. The sky beckons, home…an injection, blessed humanity for another few days, his mood lightens, inasmuch as it can, as does his frame, drifting upwards like a piece of dark cloth caught in an updraft.

Topaz makes no reply as the doctor, the vampire, has already taken to the sky. She pulls a celphone from her cleavage and calls 911 for both drunken fool and near-fatality, then steps to the curb to hail a cab to bring her back to the relative peace of the Voodoo Lounge.

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