setting
Index was once a small and close-knit community, but the town located on the western side of Washington state has grown in recent years beyond anyone's expectations. It is the ideal place for those who work in Seattle but can't afford the city's high real estate prices, and for others the natural beauty attracts them to the town. And Index truly is a beautiful place - surrounded by thick evergreen trees, tall mountains and glistening rivers and lakes. While weather is typically rainy with overcast skies even this does nothing to take away from the beauty of the town, and it is only highlighted further when the heavy snow graces the town and caps the mountains in winter. To many, Index would seem like a paradise. And yet lurking beneath this visual beauty there is more to this town than anyone might ever imagine...

Current Time in Index, Washington:
rules
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 [Private] Submerged

[Private] Submerged

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[Private] Submerged

Helios Tallon | Army of God; Chief

Posted on Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:18 am

Maybe it was foolish of me to not inform my allies of my plans for the evening. But the rules of this engagement were printed quite clearly on the invitation. No doubt there would be consequences for ignoring those rules, and while I knew there would consequences for following them, I had already made the tough decision to obey him. I would pay the price no matter what I chose, and as much as I would have preferred it that Lenny not be involved at all, he was his own person, he made his own decisions, and ultimately he was responsible for them, not me.

Sitting in the back of the cab I did not feel nervous. I was not frightened or tense. This was no declaration of my fearlessness, but simply a matter of fact that even struck me as odd, because alongside my calmness was not a feeling of defeat, but one of hopelessness. I did not feel sad, but rather acceptance of whatever might come my way on this night. In a way, that hopelessness and calm nature was relieving.

There was nothing to discuss, so I had opted to meet Lenny at the location of which we were invited. There was no plan, and that was another foolish mistake caused by my lack of fear. Then again I suppose one could argue that having a plan was foolish in itself as plans are rarely ever followed perfectly in the midst of chaos. My only plan was to end this, tonight. Even if it cost me my life. I suppose that also played a part in our lack of a plan, because had Lenny been aware of my intentions I had no doubt he would protest against it. It was not that I thought him ignorant, it was just the fact that there was no possible way he could fathom how desperately I wanted this to end. I had no doubt he himself was desperate for an end as well, but he still had fight left in him. He still possessed that human desire for air when submerged under water. That instinct was gone from me now. This did not make him common, it made me weak. But even thinking that brought me no sadness or discouragement. It, much like my lack of fear was just a simple fact absent of depth or poetry. It was no more meaningful than a wave in passing.

When I exited the cab I immediately realized we had traveled far beyond the residential streets of Index. While the home before me was large, the trees that surrounded it were even larger. I had not expected him to be foolish enough to plan this meeting among the citizens of Index, but this was the first moment I had truly felt an unpleasant feeling as it was intended. I felt isolated. While the home in general was beautiful, it was also hidden and cold. Or maybe that was just my anticipation of death.

The sun was setting, and as the cab drove off I took a seat at the lowest step and turned my eyes towards the road we drove in on.

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Re: [Private] Submerged

Lenny Tronconi | Army of God; Hunter

Posted on Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:03 am

An invitation. An invitation. It was sick. Of all the ways for the vampire to contact us, a fucking invitation had been the last on my mind. Was it really so much of a game to him, the way he played us, toyed with us? As much as I'd wanted to screw up the invite and ignore it, doing so felt like a lost chance. Maybe it was on his terms, by his rules... but it could also be an opportunity to cross his path and wipe the bastard off the earth for once and for all. Maybe he didn't even expect us to respond. Maybe he'd be the one caught off guard. Maybe...

I ignored the required attire on the invite for the 'dinner party', not only due to my dislike and issues with suits, but as an extra fuck you to him. I was confident the night wasn't going to end up like the last that he'd instructed me in what to wear, and I was going to do all I could to make it as different as possible, even if just for myself and my state of mind.

The further I drove from Index on the way there, the more my bad feeling amplified. What if it was just a trap? The problem was, going or not going - either option felt just as much of a trap and the gut-wrenching curiosity over what the words on the invitation even meant kept my foot on the gas pedal, throughout the roads away from residential Index and then all the way up the drive of the large, lone house.

I made out the figure on the steps in the light of the slowly setting sun, my mind playing tricks on me a second and my heart stopping in my chest before I saw who it really was. Helios. He'd made the decision to come too.

I pulled Annie up in front of the house, as conspicuously as possible, and took one long look at the place from inside my truck, taking a deep breath to steady myself. I grabbed the heavy, silver mace from the seat beside me and jumped out the truck.

Hey. I called out, walking the few steps over to where Helios was sitting, my mouth a tense line. I tried a smile to hide how nervous I was. My hands were practically shaking, though whether it was from trepidation or adrenaline or a mix of both, I wasn't sure. I glanced unsurely to the house again, then back to Helios, glad he'd made it there too. I managed a small but real smile. Fuck, this doesn't feel right, but I feel like none of the options we have here feel right. I confessed in a hushed voice. I glanced again towards the large house with its equally large door, wondering if it felt intimidating because of the structure, or because of who was behind the invitation. Maybe both. Are you.. okay? I asked Helios, wishing I felt as unaffected as he looked. I tried to copy, willing myself to at least be stoic, to be professional, to be just as good as any Army of God member might be, and realised they probably wouldn't have asked such a question. It felt weak. I mean.. uh, ready, are you ready? I steeled myself and moved my shoulders back, preparing mentally while we still had the precious sunlight left - while trying my best to appear like I didn't need to prepare at all.

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Re: [Private] Submerged

Helios Tallon | Army of God; Chief

Posted on Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:30 am

As I waited I ran my hands over the inside of my jacket to make sure everything was there. I sighed as I felt the last item and pulled my jacket tight around my body. Was it wrong to feel bored? I knew I was not here for entertainment, I knew nothing about this was entertaining, yet I still felt bored of the games. And it was this thought that made me wonder, had he grown bored of them too? I had never, in all the years I'd been chasing him, I had never received an invitation from him. I'd come close to him, I'd even been face to face, but never in a setting where I was expected to talk and listen. Not that I cared to hear anything he had to say, but it did make me wonder if maybe he was growing bored as well.

I heard the distant sound of an engine and I turned my head up as the sound grew louder. When the vehicle came into view I took one last deep breath. Now I was feeling nervous, it was not intense, but the feeling was there in the pit of my stomach. It was easy to feel calm when I was alone, but now that he was here a chill ran up my arms, and that instinct, that desire for air, that desire to live started to form. Old habits die hard I guess. I would always feel responsible for people.

I nodded, but quickly spoke a Hello. after. No, it does not. I pulled myself to my feet and observed him, and when I spoke, I spoke calmly. I had hope that if I did not appear or sound worried, then that feeling would be infectious. But we both know this is probably a trap, and as long as we think carefully and pay attention we cannot be trapped, yes? It was partially true, but something deep inside told me he was not that obvious. He thrived on the unexpected. Would he set a trap knowing his invitation read as one? I had a feeling he would not.

As ready as I will ever be. I placed my hand on his shoulder, gave him a reassuring look, and started towards the door. Did you get much sleep last night? I asked, feeling almost insulting as I tried to make small talk as I walked him and I to what could very well be our graves. It was not a lack of confidence in my own, or even his abilities, but rather an acknowledgement of the unknown. I mean, I do hope you were able to sleep. Though I understand if you were not.

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Re: [Private] Submerged

Lenny Tronconi | Army of God; Hunter

Posted on Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:56 am

I let my gaze lock with Helios' a second, then nodded. Yeah. But everything feels like a fucking trap with him, so... I paused, my mouth hanging open, then shook my head. Whatever this is, I dunno.. I just feel like... we have to do this? Invited or not, it was a chance to get the vampire. That was what we wanted.

Yeah... I uh... slept fine. Got loads of sleep. I lied. I hadn't slept at all, instead tossed and turned in bed imagining all the various scenarios of what could happen, the same scenarios that were still bouncing around in my mind, taking over my thoughts. Helios didn't need to hear that, though. I needed to try and be better than that. Did, uh, you? I asked almost robotically, my eyes set on the front door as we neared it. Our footsteps on the steps seemed to be the only sound in the otherwise still surroundings.

The door was wooden, with both a thick metal handle and door-knocker. There was also a doorbell to the side. I took them all in, my hand automatically going for the latter, but then I stopped. Fuck him, with invitations and trying to pretend shit, I'm not knocking like I'm some fucking guest. I spat, and went straight for the door handle instead.

To my surprise it turned easily and rather than being locked, the door actually opened. I pushed and it slowly swung inwards, letting out a low creak. I waited, tense, for something to appear, make a sound - anything. But only a hallway was visible and no-one appeared to be in it. I turned to Helios, suddenly mad that there was no-one there when being so prepared for a fight. Fuck, forget traps, this better not be some fucking.. waste of time and he's not even here-

"Do come in." A calm voice from within the house broke off my rant, a voice I knew too well. It sent a chill through my entire body and made everything I'd just said completely redundant. He was in there. He was in there. And he didn't even sound scared or threatened or bothered about anything at all.

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Re: [Private] Submerged

Helios Tallon | Army of God; Chief

Posted on Sun Jan 31, 2016 4:33 pm

Obligation comes with the job. I muttered, almost realizing it myself as I said it. I wanted to be here, I wanted the opportunity, but at the same time I would have given anything to be anywhere but here. And it was that feeling that I had felt the majority of my life, of which I had to wonder why I was only realizing it now. Having a love and hate relationship with something was a complex feeling.

I looked at him carefully, feeling quite confident he was not being entirely honest with me, but I chose to pretend I believed him anyway. Unfortunately, I was not so lucky. I shrugged my shoulders as I thought over the fact that at least ninety percent of me was running purely on coffee and coffee alone. Luckily I had a backup plan if I started to crash from my caffeine high.

I too stared at the door when we reached it. I was frozen, taking in a moment to mentally prepare myself, going over possible scenarios and how to handle them in my mind. I closed my eyes and those same thoughts began transferring from my mind to my lips, I was not speaking, but I knew there was a very faint whisper that probably could not even be deciphered coming from my mouth. I probably looked like I was saying a prayer, but for once, I was not.

My eyes shot open when Lenny spoke. He did not want to be here. I could sense the agitation in his voice, if he had been speaking another language I still would have sensed it. I placed my hand on his shoulder and looked him straight in his eyes, It's going to be fine. No games. It is time to end this. I said confidently, and turned my focus back to the house.

When the door opened, that switch inside of me clicked. I was no longer the person Lenny knew during our long conversations and casual meetings. I was almost an entirely new being, not entirely void of emotion, but so much more focused and careful that I may seem as such. My mind did not pause for a moment, there was no break in my thoughts as I mentally scrolled through my senses. I was listening more intently. I was looking more closely. I was paying more attention to my sixth sense, my gut, which had proved time and time again to be genuinely more perceptive and trustworthy than my own eyes and ears.

My own feet moved more cautiously as I took my first step inside, leading our little expedition into the unknown. My first mission was to find the hand that had opened the door, to find the body that belonged to the voice I had heard, but to my surprise there was not a soul to be found. It was dark, and the light that was beaming in from the front door and down the long hallway before us cast long sinister shadows along the walls from the seemingly normal portraits that clung to them. Physically, it looked and felt like a normal home, belonging to a family that was blessed with wealth. But emotionally, it felt cold and dark.

I took another step, moving slowly and hugging the wall to the right of me, looking back as frequently as I could to make sure Lenny was close. Every three steps my hand slid under the lip of the moulding that decorated the walls, and discreetly attached a small device. It emitted no sound, it emitted no light, and was smaller than a piece of chewed gum, but when detonated packed quite a punch. The shards of silver shrapnel inside would harm anyone and anything, that was true, but it was significantly more effective at slowing a vampire or wolf, which was what mattered most. Both Lenny and myself knew what we were in for the second we stepped foot inside this home, and I would be a fool to pretend either of us would be leaving unscathed.

My actions were so discreet I was fairly certain not even Lenny would be aware of what I was doing. But it was my duty to provide myself and anyone else involved in such a delicate occupation with a fail safe. And that was exactly what this was.

I nearly dropped one of the devices when I heard the door close, but managed to catch it between the tips of my index and middle finger as I looked back, again, seeing no one or no thing. In fact, it was pitch black until I heard a faint clicking sound, and all of a sudden the lights that lined the hallway slowly turned on, barely illuminating the space with a somber red hue.

I had managed to place my devices all along the right side of the hallway, and when we reached the archway at the end that seemed to lead into some sort of dark room, I planted my last one before taking a step inside. I didn't move, and tried to focus carefully on my hearing as my eyes were utterly useless in such darkness. The sound of footsteps began to echo across the linoleum floors, indicating this room was far larger than it seemed. My eyes immediately darted to the left as light began seeping under what I now knew was a doorway. I followed the light as it stretched across the floor, licking the edges of my boots, and finally, licking the edge of another pair of boots right in front of me. I knew there was a person, or a thing standing in front of me, but I could not see a face. It wasn't until a pair of shaking hands holding a tray reached forward into the light of the hallway when I was able to see more of this person or thing. I was fairly certain it was not him, only fear could cause the glasses on the tray to rattle so violently.

''Have a drink.'' That voice... I now knew it was not coming from the mysterious being in front of us. In fact, it sounded almost digital, as if it was coming through a recording device or a set of speakers.

I reached forward anyway, knowing immediately that the beer on the tray was for Lenny, and the glass holding a deep red liquid was for me. I slowly took the glass from the tray and brought it up to my nose, Sangria... I whispered, knowing immediately why that was the drink he had chosen for me.

I looked to Lenny again, desperately wishing we had worked more on our tells. I had no reason to believe the drinks had been poisoned, in fact, at this point in his little game it would almost seem an underwhelming choice for murder. However I still did not want Lenny to drink or eat anything that was provided. Just because I believed it was safe, did not mean it would be.

I looked at the drink in my hand again, trying to ignore the cruelty of such a choice. I was slipping, and I knew it, which was good because knowing it meant there was still time to put my mind back on track, which I did. I had only been distracted for a moment, but it was just enough time for the man in front of us to disappear, and the door on our left, the one I had seen light coming from before, opened. It was dimly lit now, but I could see a dining table inside. And on one of the plates was a small piece of folded paper with Lenny's name on it.

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