Lost and Thirsty (For water)

DumbCrow

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"Heuhhh"

Ortha groans under the heat of the beaming sun as they slog through the streets of downtown Santa Noche.

"Sssss"

They hissed as they slinked into a back alley between to towering buildings, undoing buttons from a green splotched trench coat to allow a hint of steam to rise from within. Their splotchy skin seeming slightly shriveled in the heat as they tuck down their fabric mask and pull off the large sun hat from their head, scruffling out their hair to hide their face again.

"W-water...Why is there no water in this forsaken metal jungle"

Spitting out the words while fanning their face with the brim of their hat, Ortha seemingly slips in and out of consciousness while trying their best to dodge the sun.
 

Gio Nera

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It hadn't taken all that long for Gio to find more permanent lodging in this forsaken city. An old Catholic chapel which had faded into disuse, per the majority Protestant population of northern California. The ones that came to pray were far and few between—old people, primarily, who couldn't be bothered to notice the new pastor had replaced all the True Faith symbols. Not like they knew the difference.

Gio had assumed the position as pastor, though not in any official capacity. All it did was allow him to move through the chapel and all its adjacent buildings without too much alarm. One of the side entrances led towards a long hallway along which abandoned offices were placed. They were dumps, but he'd clean them up sometime. Just not today.

No, today he'd finally fed after a several day dry-run. The old lady was near to death anyway. It wasn't his preferred mode of feeding, not in the slightest, but it was better than turning into a frenzied half-beast, mad with thirst. The long hallway led not only towards abandoned offices, but also a dark alleyway, a canopy of metal staircases and overhanging roofs providing shade from the sweltering sun. He didn't like going outside—his Lasombra Bane made it all the worse for him than any other vampire. Neither did he like to leave a body rotting in his house, however.

And so, he busied himself dragging the old lady's corpse outside, intent on dumping it into the garbage dumpsters outside, until he found a more permanent place for her. He nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw the repulsive thing that was Ortha Gren shambling into the alleyway. Hastily he pushed the old woman back into the hallway, peaking his head past the door.

Christ, it looks like the unholy coupling of a Nosferat and a swamp. That can't be human, that. He'd seen all sorts of things in his ninety-year long life, both human and otherwise, and yet he was still taken aback. He wasn't even sure what it was.

"Hey! What are you doing here?", he asked steadily, giving the old lady's corpse another good kick, sending it tumbling down the hallway, and away from Ortha's sight. "Are you alright?"

 

Ortha Gren

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Startled into a lucid state, Ortha's gaze lazily draws a beat onto Gio and an ugly frown rolls across their face. Settling down the wide brim sun hat atop their head again, they slowly sidle up the wall of the building back to their feet and do up the buttons to their trench coat, hiding away their green splotched skin. Hastily adjusting their matted hair to cover their face their lips dissappears before speaking.

"C-care to give away some water for an old crone?"

They response in kind toward the man gazing them up and down to get a good read on their figure almost in a hungry fashion
 

Gio Nera

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"Give away water?" A frown creased Gio's brow. What a strange way to ask for water. Surely, Gio thought, there would be plenty of water anywhere in this city, free to grab. Not only is this a hideous creature, it's senile too. Nevertheless, he nodded, his catlike curiosity peaked by the old crone.

"Just give me a moment," he announced, and quickly closed the door again. There was the matter of the old lady to take care of first. Fortunately, she'd barely made a mess despite being catapulted across the hallway by a well-placed kick, courtesy of there being no blood left to be spilled. With a very un-pastorlike care for the dead, he shoved the body into one of the abandoned offices, closed and locked the door, and made a mental note to clean it up later. It wouldn't be the first time he'd forget about such a thing.

A minute later he opened the door again, offering a faint, and entirely fake smile to Ortha, inviting her inside with a hand. "There's a small kitchen in the back of the chapel. If you don't fancy going through the side entrance, the main entrance is just around the block, that way," he pointed loosely towards the street. The main entrance was nothing chique, in truth; just a featureless white wall, some simple Gothic lettering indicating the nature of the chapel, and an old, ornate door which creaked worse than Ortha's joints. But he supposed it was more inviting than a back alley side entrance opened by a stranger.

Regardless of Ortha's choice, Gio led them towards the chapel, through a discreet door adjacent the altar, and into a small quarters for the priest. Here, a simple kitchen presented itself. "Here you go. Glasses are in the cabinet above the sink. I'm Gio, by the way. Local, ah... pastor, I suppose."

 

Ortha Gren

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Stepping forward with a terrible creak of their joints, they slowly shamble along the side of the wall toward the offered doorway of the chapel's side, carrying along their ragged form with little more grace than a club footed Neanderthal.

"S'hank you" they softly spit out from behind the matted hair covering their lips before slipping past the man and leaving behind a waft of oddly berry scented air as if there was and attempt to wash themselves previously and at most the scent stuck through all their adventures. Sidling slowly along the pale walls of the hall, Ortha happily follows the pastor's direction to the best of their abilities before stopping short of a turn and pulling away some hair from their nose, letting deep sniffle as if taking in the scents of the area and offering up a stifled cackle.

"Home smells pleasant of food, Ortha wishes home was good like this" Ortha says picking up a candle or two and carrying them along until finding a sink in which to fill with water.
 

Gio Nera

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The chapel was indeed rather dark, requiring candles to light the way. Only a few beams of dimmed light shone through a mosaic window high in the sky, depicting the Virgin Mary. Gio avoided them as best he could.

Fortunately, there was artificial lighting everywhere else, especially the kitchen. It didn't look like Gio particularly minded that Ortha pilfered a few candles for themselves. The comment about food, Gio found particularly odd. Like most vampires, he didn't (and couldn't) eat normal food, and so had nothing prepared for the night and day he'd been here. Perhaps someone had brought in food while praying, or while seeking solitude—that appeared to be the main reason people visited the chapel, really. That, or Ortha meant something completely different with food.

"So your name is Ortha? What's your home like then, if you can't afford a diminutive kitchen like this?" Perhaps the ugliness of the old hag did indeed have to do with the Nosferatu. Gio couldn't imagine a home more modest than the chapel's vestry. Perhaps a student's cot, or an attic apartment... but Ortha's demeanour immediately made Gio think they might be homeless.

"If you're in need of something more permanent, I could introduce you to some people." The hag might be a good way to introduce himself to the Nosferatu coteries, he imagined. "They've got some lodgings available, I'm sure."

 

DumbCrow

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Pivoting about their heels as spoken to, they reveal one of the candles they stole has gone missing and their cheeks seems to puff out past the matted mess of their hair. Many would guess the stolen good would have been pocketed if not for an audible swallow follow by a pleased sigh of content.

"Oh yes, Name is indeed Ortha, Ortha Gren! I think what I was called in the past was that, this steel jungle has grown since I last stumbled out for more to eat other than tadpoles and fish." Licking their lips they seem to unhinge their jaw past the covers of their hair and take it upon themselves to devour the second candle whole in a voracious display, a less than pleasant shiver running down their spine as they ginger pat at their stomach. "Mmm Content once more, Mayhaps this all I'll need today~ Though lying my body tends to be"
 

Gio Nera

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Gio blinked profusely as one of the candles disappeared.

"Did you just eat—" Before he could finish his question, the second candle was promptly shoved into Ortha's mouth, earning them a disgusted grimace from the vampire. He took a step back, a hand sliding into his jacket and grabbing the handle of his pistol. Not that he couldn't overpower Ortha, but he wanted to be certain.

Gio hadn't quite seen such a thing happen. He'd heard of it, sure. There were stories of all manner of mythical creatures roaming in the wilds of Europe, most of which were attributed to Spectres or Changelings. He imagined Ortha to be the latter. When Gio thought of Changelings, though, he usually pictured beautiful Sidhe, passionate Satyr, or mischievous Pooka. Ortha was something entirely more vile, reminding him of Scottish folktales.

Then a thought popped into his mind.

"What else do you eat?", he asked tentatively, still keeping his distance from the bog witch. "Humans?"

 

Ortha Gren

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Licking at their sharpen teeth with a long thin tongue, Ortha offers a puzzled look to their gaze before a sudden realization hits and they sidle over toward the sink to drink ginger from the tap its water. As they sip and lick from the faucet their skin will begin to pale into a stark white and eyes turn an pale blue, their mouth even shifting to more human façade as they seem to take on the appearance of more than lanky twenty year old with corner cut mouth. As the transformation finishes they stand before the pastor at the very least presentable to the general masses.

coughing softly to clear their throat the supposed bog witch will gingerly smile and pick from its now human teeth a small fleck of wax. "Yes~" They starkly last question proposed. "They are edible, not my favorite, I prefer inorganics if allowed~"
 

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Gio Nera

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And there it was. The Changeling... changelinging. Would that Gio knew the differences between each kith, he might've been able to guess as to which Ortha belonged to. Alas, he hadn't a clue.

That Gio had no particular reaction to Ortha's shifting—beyond his earlier thoughts being confirmed—no doubt gave away his own supernatural nature. His shoulders untensed a little, and he removed his hand from his holstered side-arm. Not that Changelings were harmless by any means, but he was confident he could overpower one with relative ease.

"I had an old lady die here if you're hungry. Spares me the cost of organizing a funeral. Poor thing had no family left. That said—", he gestured towards the kitchen in general. "Feel free to eat away if you'd like. I'd rather you go out looking presentable than getting yourself caught by the Inquisition. That'd make the lives of all of us a deal worse in this city. Don't eat all my candles, though; I do need those. And the clothes, too. And the pews—.... you know what, just don't eat anything that isn't food. Where is it you live anyway?"

 

Ortha Gren

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A quizzical look sprawls across Ortha's face as they visibly seems to process something only to fail the task and simply shrug it off "I'll eat it if you want" They bluntly state as they placed a finger to a tooth and itch at it. "I was hoping to go on small diet but, free food is never not good." Looking down toward her waist they gingerly rub the fabric of their trench coat at stomach height and sighs. Pivoting on their heels once more they quickly snatch up a unlit candle from a candelabra atop a desk. "Cheat day I guess"

Stopping short of taking a chunk out of the candle, as they were told not to eat anything that is not normal food, they simply drop the candle to a near table and sigh again. "I live in lake a small whiles out toward what people call the national park. I've lived there for a few years now but, I only really came this way cause I ran out of things to eat in my home waters."
 

Gio Nera

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Gio gestured for Ortha to follow him, as he weaved his way through the chapel, back towards the abandoned office space he'd unceremoniously dumped the old lady's corpse.

"Might I suggest the sewers?", he commented, opening the door to reveal the bloodless corpse rotting away on a flea-ridden rug. "You can eat the rug too if you want. Anyway—... there's quite a few things floating in the sewers which its denizens want cleaned up, I'm sure. God knows what ends up in there. Boots, trashbags, needles... Might even meet a few friends there." And maybe eat a few of my enemies too. "That said, I've plenty trash in these places too that I don't need. Just in case you ever get hungry."

Indeed, the other office spaces—five in total—were literal dumps of broken desks, filing cabinets, shattered glass, old computers... a veritable banquet for whatever Ortha was. It'd spare him the trouble of cleaning it all up.

 

Ortha Gren

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Gazing toward the trash riddled room a bit of spittle drip from Ortha mouth and a glimmer in their eye pings against the normally dead gaze. "Eeee~" they seem to chirp with happiness at the idea of place in this metal, sun forsaken jungle in which they could engorge theyselfs to their hearts contents and even meet friends along the way. wiping away the drool from their bottom lip, attention is given to the corpse and then back to the willing server of the meal. "So anything in here is mine to eat? So long at its broke yes?" Looking like a starved animal to Gio a side of their mouth curls back to reveal sharpened needle like teeth and a bit of the façade will fade to show a glimpse of their bright yellow eyes.
 

Gio Nera

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"Anything that's broken," he nodded. "If it's not broken, just lay it in the hallway and I'll give it a glance-over. If you can eat it, I'll break it and throw it back in. There's just one thing..."

Gio leaned against the doorway of the office room, looking over his shoulder towards the chapel. Empty, for now. It usually was.

"Don't let the humans see you eat, under any circumstance. I don't mind you sleeping here, or staying here, but that's my one rule. On top of the... no-candle-eating thing, of course." The Masquerade was a Vampire invention, but that didn't mean it shouldn't apply to everyone else. Gio didn't like that particular Tradition—in his eyes, humans are beneath supernaturals in every way, and his kind shouldn't have to hide—but at the same time he had to admit its practical use. Humans were powerful when they worked together; powerful, paranoid, and very afraid of 'monsters'. Unfortunately.

"As for the sewers, I believe there's a manhole in the alleyway. Only been down there once though. Can you see in the dark?"
 

Ortha Gren

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Nodding softly alongside each word Ortha tries their best to comprehend everything that is said past the offers for food. A bit delay to respond to each question they eventually are able to explain they understood what was spoken, relaying to the best of their ability like a parrot what was said between bites of various different broken or shattered items, by the time last question is asked the entirety of a desk has disappeared to the creature's maw.

Seemingly unfazed with the amount of their meal they offer up a happy smile of content and nod upon turning toward Gio's direction "I can see in the darkness! Or at least I believe so, It can't be harder than seeing in murky water yes?" Putting forth a quizzical gaze a soft blech escapes their lips which quickly cover by both hands and offering an embarrassed gaze.
 

Gio Nera

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Gio was astonished (and a little mortified) at how fast the broken desk disappeared into Ortha's maw. There were simply too many questions he had in his mind, and he knew none of them would be answered by the Changeling. Where did it all go? How on earth could that possibly sustain her? And the most important question of all: why? God, why?

But in the spirit of charity, he didn't vocalize his questions. Or his disgust, for that matter. This was a cheap and labour-efficient way of cleaning up all this mess. He could already imagine what he'd use the rooms for. Mostly murder-orgies, of course. Maybe Ortha ate coagulated blood too, that'd certainly be useful.

"Hah, well, I should think the sewers are mostly murky water. Once you know every manhole cover, you could navigate this city effortlessly!" Gio lifted himself up from the door's frame, intent on letting Ortha be on their own and cleaning up the room like a good janitor. "I can show you it at some point, though I'm not very keen on getting down there. I like my clothes not dirty."

 

Ortha Gren

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Nodding along, Ortha wait patiently for Gio departure from the room before truly taken it upon themselves to feast on the rubbage strew about. Tucking in without a moment notice taking on the inorganic materials first as they prove to be their personal favorites the creature would engorge themselves well past any human's capacity on things that could easily rip through a stomach not built as iron as theirs. In roughly under an hours time the room could variably be deemed clean, each corner taken upon in righteous voracity leaving nay a splinter of glass or wood behind. The silliness of the meal being the moment the corpse was to be tackled, fearing the flesh of man as toddler would a head of broccoli, Ortha took it upon themselves to roll up the body in the flea-bitten rug and enjoy themselves a simple burrito of some regard. When the hour did strike Ortha wobbles out of the room their stomach bulged like that of few trimesters passing but, to no discomfort for the creature aside from it façade struggling to hide the change.

"Urp...Woo...Ok...diet starts right now..." They grumbled under their breath before growing use to the change in weight and shifting their façade to resemble that of a woman in the midst of baring child. "Mayhaps this will hide the damages for now..." The grumble further doming the top of the gut in self disappointment. "Gio? Gio? I wish to find a home...I require...urp rest....A few hours will do..." they stammer out waddling themselves out to the chapel proper.
 

Gio Nera

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Gio was caught in the middle of cleaning and repairing his arsenal of weaponry, quirking a brow as Ortha stumbled into the vestry. He looked down at their 'pregnant' belly, and couldn't help but grimace, knowing there was an entire human in there.

"Are you done eating her?", he asked, but when Ortha explained the whole room had been devoured, he couldn't help but be amazed. Disgusted, yes, but also amazed. There wasn't a universe in which he expected this bog witch to be this useful, let alone wanting them to come back to clean up the other rooms.

He was so curious, in fact, that he went to explore the room, seeing it cleaned so efficiently. "Christ... How does that all fit in your belly. I can't imagine the kind of shits you take." He grimaced again as he inadvertently brought disgusting imagery to his mind. With a shake of his head he tried to dispel it, and was quick to move onto Ortha's query.

"Right, a home. Come along, then, I'll show you the sewers." With a gesture he made for Ortha to follow, peaked into the back-alley outside, and gestured towards the manhole. It was clear he didn't want to open it himself; even though the alley was shadowed, the sun still bounced off the walls, sizzling on his skin. "Right there. Just remove the lid, and crawl down the ladder. If you're ever hungry again, just knock on the door, eh? Preferably near dusk, that's when I'm awake and home. If you see any vampires, tell them Gio sent you."

 

Ortha Gren

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Sidling over to the manhole cover, Ortha will quizzically look over the disc and then slowly pull up the heavy thing to push it off to the side. Look over the hole it left, they will skitter over and mount up to the ladder and begin to climb down, grabbing the cover as they go down and sliding it over atop them, vanishing to sleep off their meal