A Touch of Shadows
Roleplaying Log: A Touch of Shadows
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

THe shadows come alive at a coffee shop that Raven and Jim Craddock are near.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: September 03, 2019
IC Location:
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 04 Sep 2019 14:08
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits: Dani
Associated Plots

Summer has started to fade and the evening hours seem to come faster now.

As such, dusk has truly enveloped the city and with the lowering of the sun those once shortened shadows now lengthen.

Their greedy gloomy fingers reach across sidewalks and streets, stretching to touch all those that pass nearby.

That encroaching darkness doesn't seem to bother most folk who can be found out and about tonight. In fact, the city block is quite busy as the pedestrian traffic scurries this way and that. Some people go to bars, some to eateries, while others simply walk the sidewalks with the pleasant weather that can still be found.

Almost no one notices when those shadows turn sharp edged, nor do those average Joes and Josephines feel the sharp bite of winter that begins to flow from those shadows.


Summer doesn't seem to be going fast enough. Where the weather still claims warmth upon the city, calendar dates and commercialism pushes the fact that Autumn (and temperate relief) is right around the corner.

Despite all of this, Raven still goes out wearing mostly black. The light jacket adds a layer of security as well as subtle fashion; the evening just makes it all work out. Especially when she decides there and then to hit up one tea and coffee shop for their seasonal drink specialties. She's allowed to have special drinks once in a while. Besides, she also considers if any of the other Titans might want something as well. She's not quite sure if they all like pumpkin-flavored things, but if they don't, then Bart Allen gets more to drink.

This, of course, is one of several things to help keep her mind off of lingering thoughts that have yet to leave her alone. If not through sleep, then through activities within or outside of the Titans group. And as she waits in the long line, a pale hand quietly closes around the collar of her jacket. As if to shield herself from the cold.

Odd. The air-conditioning unit is running and it's crowded, but it shouldn't be this chilly. It's enough to let her violet gaze shift with some wariness the longer she notices it.


Seasons have long become a thing that no longer concern him. The passing of time simply doesn't hold much of anything for one unchanging, a relic of the past dwelling in what otherwise would have been an inperceivable future.

The living devote themselves to the most frivolous of tasks these days, spending their time wasting much of it, just as much as they waste their hard earned income on overpriced beverages. Unseen, his nose however wrinkles at the thought as he watches a few people trickle out of a coffee shop, bustling past him or through him like the coarse-mannered individuals they are, so wrapped up in their own world. It's only fair, he supposes. He's only partially in this one, after all.

But there are things that do draw his attention because of that fact, a curse to be considered constantly over a blessing for his state of being, and yet that changes nothing and so it isn't something he's inclined to waste time thinking about. An ephemeral gloved hand tightens over the orb of his walking staff, monocle tilting with the slight movement of his head in likewise fashion. He turns, his white cloak billowing across the path of passersby, unnoticed, but he pays them no attention either as his senses are elsewhere, attracted to the creeping darkness.


It's definitely getting colder by the minute. Not that many people seem to notice in that coffee shop. Too many bodies, to little awareness, and too many have their attention fixated on their phones.

Outside the coffee shop the foot traffic continues to flow in a steady pace. Some enter the shop, some exit, all flow around (sometimes through) the unseen Craddock.

Only he won't be unseen for long. Above the coffee shop, people and the ghost, comes a familiar sight to the city. Crows. Two descend from the sky and settle upon a street light nearby. They look at one another and then stare downward to the ground, specifically at Craddock. It doesn't matter if he's invisible to the average eye, those crows see him.

Then their beaks open -

'CA-aw!'

'CA-aw!'

Their call is a herald, or rather a signal, for as soon as that sound leaves those dented beaks the shadows within the coffee shop react.

Within each corner, under each table, the darkness moves. It's almost reminiscent of a movie - a horror movie - as the shadows stretch across floors and walls. To those who can sense such things the energy from these now alive shadows is bad. Very very bad.

Demonic in nature. Specifically soul-eating.

And while those shadows move it *still* takes the people within the shop precious seconds to react. Social media is truly evil in its own right and tonight it'll be the death for some.

For as those shadows reach one another and weave their edges together a pathway opens and from the depths of the shadows something walks out.

It was once a wolf as well as a man, but tonight it looks more werewolf in nature. If that werewolf was on steriods.

Its yellowed eyes turn to the crowd and seeing the crowd of people nearby it raises its muzzle and *HOWLS*.

It a call to hunt.


That feeling sharpens beneath the hum of ordinary human activity, rising over the impatience and eagerness of each name called across the counter. Raven is fully aware of it to the point where she wishes she wasn't, her posture dropping slightly as she bears the weight of the emotions coming to the forefront.

Because the sudden shift in emotional scenery due to demonic and occult-related problems is never a great time.

Immediately yanking her hood over her face, the Empath takes a few unsteady steps back as the shadows move on their own accord, silently calling forth her own brand of shadows with the flinch of her free hand and a twitch of her fingers. They sweep surfaces, aiming to intertwine and interrupt. She does this to keep the people safe, to give them time to get out of the shop until—

Howling.

Under her hood, her eyes dart up to see the huge bulk of wolfman that's too close for comfort.

"Great," she says under her breath, maintaining her calm as she tries to stay under the radar in the surrounding panic.


He has a less than pleasant feeling about this.

His eyes are drawn to the black avians, instantly distrustful. He hates that his instinct proves correct when they appear to look right at him. While he's not sure what their cries entail, he knows it can't possibly be good.

Not being inside the unfortunate shop he however can feel the difference, the occurrence of something as veils thin and powers shift. He's used to feeling cold, but all the same he at that moment feels a chill down his spine. The look he casts towards the coffee shop is fleeting but alarmed, and it's not long before the reaction of the living finally coalesces. "Fools," he mutters as it seems all too long before the doors open and people begin to flee.

Through the door he catches a glimpse of it, the unnatural darkness, an otherworldly portal. His teeth clench in a grimace at the sight, at the sound. No, this doesn't bode well, but he has a bit of time.

Dual flintlocks appear, one in each hand as he whirls, arms lifted as he takes aim at the pair of accursed birds. He's still not sure what's going on but he'll not leave these heralds to spectate. Light flares and both guns crack as he fires at the crows.


You know, it might take a minute for the people to react, but when they do.

They sure do.

Such dramatic screaming. Loud too. Then comes the stampede. Most try to run for the front doors, being the logical place to go to when danger appears.

There's a few who simply stand there, maybe dumbfounded, or possibly just dumb as two young men lift their phones upward and tap the record function of their phone.

Mostly though people scream and run.

Which only adds to the chaos that's already in place thanks to those shadows and then, what's this?! Shadows fighting against shadows!!

This pulls at the atttention of the creature that exited the original sets of shadows and it raises its snout and sniffs the air. It may take a few seconds, maybe a minute, but eventually its yellowed eyes falls upon Raven. Seeing the hooded girl the Beast offers a nearly silent growl. A growl of 'I'm going to get you', but first the creature must get to the Titan first and there's a dozen of people between them.

Some might see this as a difficult thing, but not our werewolf. It just throws its head back for one more brief howl and then jumps at the nearest person. Its blighted ivory claws flash high before they swing low and bury themselves in the chest of the nearest young man and with an almost audible *POP* the man's soul disappears.

Just like that.

Craddock's pistols fire and their spectral ammunition zips straight for the birds, but those birds are smart and they know weapons when they see them. With two squawks of anger the crows take wing -

Which could have been the end of it for Craddock, if that first wolf hadn't called for the pack to join it.

Several shadows outside the coffee shop slam together and a doorway opens. From the depth another half wolf and half human creature rises upward. It's first holds a fine frost of icey crystals and its bright (albeit crazed) gaze flicks quickly around. Taking it all in, until it reaches Craddock and there the wolves eyes stop. Then its tongue lolls in something infinitely feral and lupine before it LEAPS at the ghost-man. Equally blighted claws stretch outward in front of the beast and those claws sing with the song of lost souls. Stolen souls.


Too many things happening at once. Different reactions and choices are made, all of it buffeting Raven's senses as she makes a point to pull together her usual disguise amid the chaos in a blur of blackness. It's here she makes eye contact with the werewolf, knowing it was too late to keep her distance from the thing as he moves forward.

Her own actions are delayed between rounding up shadows and trying to toss up dark barriers to keep the dumb patrons who are (or were) standing around from harm. "No," she mouths, watching them vanish in a blip, existing no more.

There's just something wrong about it. Experiencing many different emotions at once, and then having a few of them drop out in the space of a moment.

Her jaw clenches as she draws in a sharp breath, this time guiding the barrier in the werewolf's direction as hard as she can. With everything affecting her, it may not be as forceful a shove as she wants it to be.


"Bollocks," huffs the Gentleman Ghost, but he wastes no more of his ammunition on the winged fiends for he has more pressing concerns. Those come in the form of another shadowy gateway and a werewolf-looking beast to match. The well-dressed Ghost turns, pistols still gripped in front of him, primed for another shot.

It's at the same moment that the creature leaps that he fires, ready to leap back but for the moment standing his ground as he squeezes each trigger repeatedly. "

Not t'day, beastie," he warns, his stern tone betraying just a slight tremor of fear for his being. He can sense it, the danger in those claws.


With each soul the Wolf collects the shadows within the coffee shop seem to swell with power. The wintery bite within the coffee shop is enough to finally cause the water vapor in the air to freeze and from that snow begins to fall.

It'd be a pretty scene if it weren't for all the screaming and shouting and running.

So much running.

The Wolf grabs two more souls, then a fourth, but before it can get a fifth soul it finds its way blocked by shadowed barriers. Shadow walls that slam into it and toss it back, but wolves are agile creatures and this mishmash of man and wolf lands upon feet and claw-tipped hands. Only after it arrests that backwards momentum does it turn its gaze back to the barriers that block its path.

Warily it eyes those barriers and with a cautiousness that belays its animalistic look it approaches the blockades, then it touches one. With that touch the Beast's muzzle crinkles again into an animalistic smile and with a look over at Raven the creature stabs those soul-stealing claws into the shadow-constructed barricade.

Craddock raises his gun and fires (repeatedly) at the leaping wolf. The bullets hit home and tear through the Wolfen body; both physically and spiritually. It causes the creature to throw its head back to howl, and it's likely those bullets which save Craddock from becoming a crunchy soul-treat.

The wolf falls short of reaching Craddock and when its body lands hard upon the ground its clear it's dying.

Before it can quite kick the bucket, however, a shadow opens beneath it and the whining beast is swallowed whole.

Craddock gets a breather, but other-worldly senses light up again as another gateway opens within the shadows. Once more in the coffee shop.

A wolf-friend is going to join and help that first one and the pathway is going to open in a set of shadows *behind* Raven.


Raven should really learn not to spread herself too thin. Normally this would be a cinch to handle on her own, multitasking where others cannot on a makeshift battleground. This time, however, proves to be more of a challenge when the werewolf delves a clawed hand into dark matter.

Claws pierce, and a part of her feels like she's being plunged into ice cold water. Breathing escapes her, leaving her to gasp and reel back, heels scraping against the linoleum in semi-floating retreat the more they dig and tear up whatever's left. Voluntarily letting go of the remaining barriers, she tries to maintain her center, maintain focus and shift gears —

— Until she almost runs straight into a second werewolf appearing out of nowhere.

Her senses catch onto that one all too soon, telling her to WATCH OUT in the subtlest way possible. The Titan's less-than-graceful turn is an attempt to keep away from the creature, pushing off the ground to gain some distance between her and her current enemies.

The only problem is that there are still walls. But it doesn't remain a problem for long.

With some concentration, she phases through the shop's walls and windows, recomposing as best as she can with the time spent. Eyes glow white the more she 'feels' out everything going on, sensing other supernatural disturbances as she conjures up her dark magics. "Azarath…"


When the wolf falls before him, Craddock trains his pistols upon it, ready to finish it off. The insidious shadows intervene before he can do so, drawing from the Ghost another curse as he whips about to look in the direction of where he next senses another gateway.

In two steps he vanishes, but a simple slip between the fine curtains that separate the living from the plane of the spiritual. In a way he's still there, the city surroundings unchanged, but it's the things normally unseen that he seeks. These shadows, these things, where are they coming from? He can see the opening much clearer here, as though the walls of the coffee shop did not exist. He can see the unnatural forms of the wolves and even of the strange girl who has taken it upon herself to defend the mortals within.

He recognizes her. A chance encounter that may have been decades ago if not a year, an interrupted heist of antiquities. She's not completely of this world or the other either. But she's distinctly Other.

The Gentleman Ghost is in the shop then, still in that space between. Absently he notices that the usual presence of lost souls is scarce here and just beyond, either sufficiently startled off or fallen to worse a fate. At the moment he does not think about it. Nor does he cringe in sympathy as he sees the wolf's claws strike the girl. His focus however does not mean he ignores it all. Again he raises his flintlocks, again they fire off blazing green shots, trying to intercept the second werewolf before it can gang up on Raven.

"We're not finished," he proclaims, not about to back down until it does so first, permanently as he can hope. The shiver of fresh magic in the atmosphere has him gasp, a wary look turned towards the Daughter of Darkness.


The barriers fall and the first Wolf in the coffee shops howl with triumph! With glee!

It turns its gaze back to Raven and it offers a lupine grin to the young woman. A very unfriendly grin. It's clear it thinks it has Raven cornered and trapped!

Only does it?

The world around Craddock opens up when he shifts to that different plane. Where magic, spirit and all else converge together. The coffee shop is a definite hub of supernatural energies; darker and darkest. The wolves are a black smudge against the brigthness of the souls within, but the shadow portals take it to a whole other level. Those tunnels are like black holes, they suck in all the warmth and the light and absorb it. Those passages of bleakness stretch outward for as long as the eye can see, up until it disappears against the darkening horizon. Wherever they end it's no where nearby, that's for certain.

Back inside the coffee shop the first Wolf howls a greeting to the second one, as the second Wolf steps through the gateway. Only before it can reach out to grab Raven several things happen -

Craddock materalizes within the Coffee Shop and fires those bullets. Along with that Raven herself phases through the walls and /outside/.

And while that second Wolf goes down admist the spectral-laced bullets, the first wolf turns its gaze over to Craddock and with a snarl, it leaps - though not for the man. Instead it dives into a shadow and disappears. One supposes it could be over?

But magical senses will tell a different tale. A shadow that lines the ceiling of the coffee shop twists and from the depths of it the first wolf drops down, intending to drop upon Craddock.

Outside those two crows return, a small shadow nearby disgorging their feathered forms and both turn beady red-eyes upon Raven as she speaks that word of power.

'Ca-aw!' 'Ca-aw!'

Their calls are possibly a song of warning, or perhaps of attack, for now all the shadows seem to jump and become alive!

It won't be long before those portals open with reinforcements.


It isn't her imagination after all. Among all other things, she and Craddock have switched places, one otherworldly being entering while the other exits. Raven doesn't register the recognition right away, but something sticks, bothering her until she catches a glimpse of the look the gentleman ghost turns her way. Blank eyes meet nearly nothing, perhaps even seeing an actual face of a man before it all fades again.

She reminds herself to get back to business. He's not here to help her. That much she knows.

Her clawlike fingers curl, summoning the shadows as her gaze lifts at the crying of the crows. And her skin prickles. More shadows — not hers — leap upward, stretching, widening, calling forth an unseen danger no human should have to face.

Magic flows through her, urging her to finish the chant. And she exhales.

"…Mentrion. ZINTHOS!"

The whisper seems to shudder and resonate through the air as her hands and arms raise, the jagged hem of her cloak stirring as more lines of black energy fly toward each and every available shadow to counter its effects, weaving, threading, sweeping across the openings with haste. Much like the time she closed the barriers in Hell's Kitchen, she does the very same, stitching and sewing them shut with all of her might.


What terror is this? What is the true nature of these wolf creatures, the hold they have on those souls? It seems to him something to be of genuine concern for there are few things that can so directly affect him. He not at all likes the look of the gaping blackness that mars the plane like a rot.

One of the beasts down, the strange girl has fled outside, and in that brief moment their eyes meet, of that he's dead certain of. She'd see him, the face he's taken to hiding. He doesn't care.

That's only because he's got more immediate problems. The other werewolf vanishes before he can fire off another shot, and he stands tensed, his white cloak aflutter, the energies fluctuating around them making it difficult to discern anything until the last possible moment. With a shout he turns, a flicker of his unseen visage visible in but a heartbeat just as the beast bears down upon him.

Down he'll fall, hitting the ground as though he himself were not but a spirit. It will be a very near thing and hopefully his being can sustain itself against whatever the wolf is armed with, but the beast in turn will find both pistols jammed into its mouth, fingers curling in upon each trigger.


Those crows see Raven and they hear her words of power and each offer harsh clacks of their beaks.

Like drumbeats of war.

Clack clack clack.

But they offer little in true resistance.

They just watch as Raven's power swells and then rises up. The nearest shadows find themselves stitched closed and whatever might have found their way through now finds their way blocked.

Within the Coffee Shop Craddock finds himself pounced upon and this causes the Wolf to grin again. Long ropes of drool drop from those blighted ivory teeth, but before it can quite raise its claw tipped hand to plunge into Craddock's chest, the Ghost makes his play.

There's the vaguest hint of a surprised whine as the pistols are jammed into its mouth and when the triggers are depressed, well -

*BLAM*

The Beast may be magical in nature, but there is bone and blood beneath the fur and skin. It splatters outward and whatever the Beast once was, it's now no more as it slumps to the side, dead.

It's definitely a race against time for Raven's needle and thread of power. As quick as she sews more shadows come to life, but slowly, surely, she can sense the tide turning as one by one bye one, the gateways disappear from senses.

The crows slant another baleful look to the young woman and with a rustle of black feathers they take flight once again.

Their caws take on a more peculiar tone now, an almost sing-song quality, and within their harsh cackles one might find some words.

'We see you, sssisterr. We'll find you ssssoon'.


Raven has a will. Raven makes a way. As she continues to close the existing portals, she never once notices the beads of sweat running down her face. Arms draw inward, the inky blackness engulfing her clawed hands wafting with every motion, holding their position until the very last gateway vanishes from both her sight and her senses.

The noise dies down and her breathing is heavier than she thought it would be, taking up the space where the ambiance of city life usually is. She casts her gaze upward once more at the sound of the crows taking flight, their cawing reaching her ears with the eerily familiar phrase.

'Sister.'

She feels faint, letting her head drop as the knot between her shoulders slowly comes undone. "…Don't mix me up in this."

After a few beats, there is one last look given toward the coffee shop. The shadowy figure wonders if the ghost is still present, but she knows it's time to clear out.

One more portal — this one, her own. Her lips press into a thin line, turning her gaze away as she drifts through, leaving no trace of her escape behind.


Disgust crosses his unseen features as blood and goo scatter. The Gentleman Ghost sits up, shoving the limp leg of the beast off of him distastefully before replacing his monocle and casting a searching look for his displaced hat.

He kneels beside the deadly claws of the thing, wondering if whatever threat they posed yet remained or if whatever soul syphoning ability they possessed faded away with the creature's passing. If the former, then he might perform a bit of surgery with his cane-sword.

Craddock feels more than sees Raven's departure. It's an extra heaviness in the atmosphere that fades, and with the shadowy gateways sealed, it feels like the space can breathe once again. He picks up his hat, dusting it off with a hand before he sets it into position atop his head again. Unlike Raven he is in no hurry to leave, not if there is some understanding to be gleaned of whatever had just happened.


The crows caw again, this time in something akin to laughter. A mocking sound include in that noise of amusement, but then Raven is gone and the crows likewise disappear from the city.

They go back to their masters to report.

For Craddock, he'll find those claws have lost whatever power gave them that soul siphoning ability. They are inert, if still quite sharp and lethal looking. Those everyday regular people who were clawed by the Wolves lay unmoving upon the ground, alive, but also dead. Their souls are gone and so is what makes them themselves, all that keeps them alive is their autonomic brain responses.

The heart beats, the blood pumps, the lung breathe.

In the distance the wail of sirens can be heard, a soon-to-be herald of sadness to come for the families of the victims within.

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