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[August-November 1888, New York City/London]

12/12/2011 . Edited 8/9/2012 #1
Wrath of Carcosa

Down the street, in the cover of darkness, a man walked, keeping his head bowed down. A cane with a dragon's head and red eyes sat on the top of the cane held in his right hand.

6/5/2012 #2

Passing in the other direction, Dante passed the man with the cane and accidentally brushed his shoulder. Backing away, ready to apologize, he dipped his head-- and noticed the distinctive head of the cane.

The apologies died away. What came out instead, low and uncertain, was: "... Blackburn?"

6/5/2012 #3
Wrath of Carcosa

At this the man looked up. Loren Blackburn smiled, showing his teeth.

"Dante. It's been too long."

6/5/2012 #4

"I didn't know you were in this part of the world," Dante said quietly, glancing up for a moment. "I thought you'd be in France or England."

6/5/2012 #5
Wrath of Carcosa

"I was. But, I received a hint that an old...friend of mine, had come here from overseas. So, I decided it would be prudent to take a journey myself," Blackburn replied, drumming his fingers on the head of his cane. "And how have you been?"

6/5/2012 #6

"The same." His voice was barely above a whisper. One elegantly-gloved hand wrapped around another nervously, ill at ease as always. "I found an empty place to stay in. I've been here for a few months."

6/5/2012 #7
Wrath of Carcosa

"Oh? Nice place, you have?" There was something layered underneath his tone--a kind of dry mocking. But it was subtle, very subtle.

6/5/2012 #8

"I... it's all right," mumbled Dante, hoping there wouldn't be too many questions asked. He wasn't any good at explaining himself, never had been, and there was something about the way Blackburn spoke that seemed to suggest he found everything Dante said amusing. He couldn't understand it, and it made him uneasy.

6/5/2012 #9
Wrath of Carcosa

"Well," Blackburn said, faux jovially. "Since you have been here longer than I have, and it's my first visit, I daresay it would be gentlemanly to show me around. You know, for old times' sake."

6/5/2012 #10

"Ah... all right." Dante pulled at a lock of hair in his eyes self-consciously. "There's the... the harbor. I like it there. And there's... there are always people in Times Square. What would you like to do?"

6/5/2012 #11
Wrath of Carcosa

"I'm feeling a little...parched myself," Blackburn said, eyeing two women walking across the street with a hungry look in his eyes.

6/5/2012 #12

Dante flushed, although it wasn't immediately apparent in the moonlight with his pallor and hair in the way. "Go ahead. I'll wait."

6/5/2012 #13
Wrath of Carcosa

"Much obliged."

Blackburn turned and walked briskly across the street, whistling slightly to attract the attention of the women. They turned and smiled at him as he approached. Blackburn spoke again, and the women, looking slightly unsure but also intrigued, followed him around a corner and into an alleyway.

A moment later there were two cracking noises, indistinct to any human ears of the night, and then the sound of teeth tearing flesh.

Blackburn returned a few moments later, looking completely unruffled, not a hair out of place as he strode back to Dante.

6/8/2012 #14

Joan watched silently from an alleyway.

Oh, great, she thought. Another vampire.

6/9/2012 #15

"What if someone saw?" whispered Dante, looking around.

6/20/2012 #16
Wrath of Carcosa

"I would have killed them too, had they been human," Blackburn replied nonchalantly, albeit quietly. "And if they weren't human, what business is it of theirs?"

6/20/2012 #17

"You're... not afraid?" It almost wasn't a question.

6/20/2012 #18
Wrath of Carcosa

"Of course not," Blackburn said, with an airy wave of his hand before clasping both palms down on the dragon head of his cane. "I have nothing to fear from the humans. They are the prey, and I am the predator." His eyes glinted. "Not the other way around."

6/20/2012 #19

"That's the truth, isn't it," said Dante after a long and thoughtful pause.

For the first time his eyes flicked up to meet Blackburn's directly. "You fear nothing. That... I envy that."

6/20/2012 . Edited 8/9/2012 #20
Wrath of Carcosa

"One can only fear nothing if one is truly invincible," Blackburn said, narrowing his eyes and boring them into Dante's. "And despite what any sort of preconceived notions of invincibility you may have had, even becoming one of the Night Children is far from achieving omnipotence."

6/20/2012 #21

"Do you believe you're invincible, Blackburn?" asked Dante. It wasn't in an insolent or mocking way; his posture spoke of just as much smallness and humility as before, and the question was uttered in a tone just as shy.

6/23/2012 #22
Wrath of Carcosa

Blackburn thought.

"No. I do not believe anyone mortal is invincible. But I do believe that I am perhaps the closest thing to invincibility you will ever encounter."

6/23/2012 . Edited 6/23/2012 #23

"And why might that be?" asked Dante in the same meek tone. "That is, if you don't mind my asking such a question."

6/23/2012 #24
Wrath of Carcosa

"I think not." Blackburn didn't even look at him. "You may be a trusted...acquaintance, Dante, I must still have some secrets left, after all."

6/25/2012 #25

"Of course." Dante bowed his head and let Blackburn pass. The shadows hid the slight coloration that rose to his ashy cheeks. "I... shouldn't have presumed. Forgive me."

8/9/2012 #26
Wrath of Carcosa

"You are forgiven." He clapped his hands, rubbing them together. "I find myself growing less interested in the prospect of a tour. By no fault of your own, I assure you. Until I can have my reunion with the old friend visiting this country, I believe the best use of our time can be spent furthering my project." After a moment, Blackburn gave Dante a sly look. "And yes, my project is something you can ask about."

8/9/2012 #27

He's going to tell me something. He's taking me into his confidence.

Dante's eyes lit up at the prospect. "Then... if you would, might... might you share with me that project? I'd... I'd like to hear about it."

8/9/2012 #28
Wrath of Carcosa

"Of course. Come--we will walk while you listen."

They set off down the road. "How much do you know of demons and warlock magic?"

8/9/2012 #29

"Very little, L-- sir. I don't mix with other Downworlders much. I... I prefer to keep to myself."

8/9/2012 #30
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