Who’s Your Daddy?

Who’s Your Daddy?

A cheerleader in a perfectly-maintained Gotham University uniform bounces up to the front door of one Jason Blood’s manor. Her red-gold hair is bound up in pigtails and she carries a coffee can overflowing with crumpled dollar bills marked:
Honey-colored eyes are alight with enthusiasm toward her presumptive goal of raising funds, red, red lips wrapped around a Tootsie Pop. She bangs on the door with surprising force, knuckles rapping like she’s the police.
The longer weekend meant a few extra days spent to train. So far one of the positive sides to the intense training was that she was often too sore to get stir-crazy. If she wasn’t working with a blade, she was doing something else to keep fit and focused. There was also the bits that Becky did not research when she asked Jason Blood to teach her how to knight, all of the chores. It had been a different and humbling reality. 
A relatively quiet evening attempting to stretch out her sore limbs and indulge in some music had turned into answering the door of the old house. Both eyebrows rose before she leaned against the doorway, arms crossed over her chest and the thin tank top as the cold of the air seeped into the warm home. 
“Seriously?” she hissed, turning against the door frame to look behind her to make sure things were clear before turning back towards the Cheer Nurse. 
She was considering for a moment if it was even polite to invite her in. It wasn’t her home, it wasn’t like she told anyone where Blood’s house was either. The Nurse didn’t need anyone to tell her where she was though, she seemed amazingly skilled and well…Becky was very aware she gave her one potent tool to keep tabs on her. Blood, life essence, the very important element of the human body and also a very powerful one in the occult. 
“Fuck, just get inside before you freeze your ass off, if that’s even possible,” it was a rather perky posterior, there might have been a bit of a stolen glance. 
Maybe the shock and the surprise wore off once the Nurse was inside and the door was closed, or she remembered her manners about being kind to someone that was doing a lot to help her out without asking for much in return. 
“Would you like some tea? Coffee? Uh…welcome to Blood Manor. He’s going to know you’re here. Wards and stuff.”
Indeed the donation had played a part in things, allowed Asa to craft a deeper bond with Becky so as to keep better tabs on her; a blood connection was much easier than merely scrying, and allowed her to bypass most types of wards. That’s not to say she hadn’t also done as she’d said she would with it, though. There was just a bit of utilitarianism in the dual purposing of resources, and of course the cause of the request in the first place.
At the awkward greeting she beams around her sucker and rattles the coins around the bottom of the can before pulling the former from her mouth in a languid sort of way that would’ve made porn stars jealous. “We’re raising money for charity!” she calls out past Vesper, cupping a hand to her mouth to completely blow any pretense of secrecy here.
Laughing, she allows herself to be ushered inside. “For all you know it is!” the healer from Hell says, seeming to be in a chipper and upbeat mood. The skirt is an inch or two too short for regulation, but at the very least she’s wearing the right shorts beneath it. “Oh I know all that.” She waves off the notion of Jason knowing; it’s unimportant to her, for whatever reason.
“I’d take a bloody mary but I doubt your host has any saint’s blood handy.” She clears her throat, mostly for show. “You said to get in touch if I found anything ‘crazy’…”
“I don’t know what he keeps in the other pantry. Some things are off-limits.” 
Rebecca was okay with that, she was a guest in his home and it was a kindness already to allow her to stay during her weekend training. A young woman in workout gear and another in a cheer-leading uniform looked very out of place in what was a home of an odd collection of antiques and a mish-mosh of decorating styles that dated back, well, further back than she ever wanted to research. 
The kitchen at least had some modern amenities, a small breakfast table that was littered with books that Becky quickly got to shutting and placing in a careful pile. Some old classic literature and then some other more obscure works in various languages. If she wasn’t working out or doing chores, she was studying and sleeping. 
It was the Nurse’s words that caused her to slam a heavy book on the table a little harder than she had intended. She wasn’t even sure what measure ‘crazy’ would be at. She just wanted to be warned if it had turned up anything that she may need to be aware of immediately. 
“Yeah? I’m not active in that way so uh…nothing in that arena then. I’m not even sure what to expect, you’re a Nurse of a different kind.” 
With the space clear she busied whatever worry she had with making a drink. Maybe a regular bloody mary would do, she could at least manage to make that even if it was missing a crucial ingredient. Being in college since she was younger got her a head start on bartending basics. One glass quickly became two in the light of any heavy hitting news. She was trying to be cool about it. She asked for this, she didn’t ask for anything to be easy. It certainly wasn’t going to be from this point on so at least she better get used to a little crazy. 
Celery and a dash of pepper on top to finish off the glasses and she was bringing them back over, a bit hastily made and maybe a little heavy on the vodka. 
“I truly appreciate you doing this and I appreciate the time and energy you’ve put into it…and I really mean it, just wanted to get that out in case I react in a nasty fashion. I’m going to really try not to.”
Asa rolls her eyes at that, but maintains a pleasant enough smile, setting the coffee can on a random shelf alongside some antiques. Maybe she’ll remember it on her way out, though she really doesn’t have any need for the money within. And most charities are scams, anyways.
Moving through Etrigan’s lair as an uninvited guest carries its own kind of thrills, though. She folds her arms and glances around, smile turning to smirk as she sees how his other half lives. “Awfully ostentatious,” she observes, shaking her head. The whiplike ponytails lash at her cheeks with the gesture.
After Becky mixes her drink, she takes a glass and lifts it to her lips, eyes closed as she savors it. “Not quite the same, but I do appreciate a bartender that pours with a heavy hand.” She licks an errant droplet from her lips before taking a seat at the dinner table.
“Oh, you’re probably going to react in a nasty fashion,” the Nightmare Nurse confesses in a weary tone of voice. “I’ve run your blood and the news is a little disturbing. But! You can still opt out of hearing it, if you don’t think you’re ready.” The blonde waits, patient as a judge, for a response one way or another before pushing onward.
She shrugged as she looked around the room. Ostentatious was one word but the man had lifetimes to collect fortunes, memories, stuff. It kind of made sense in her mind when she put into perspective his age and experience. 
“I don’t know him well enough to really say what it is. The study’s nice though. Lots of good reading material, plenty delving into the more infernal realm.” 
That’s about all she could say about it. It would take her a lifetime to read everything and study every text that he had collected over the ages. The very thought that she could spend the rest of her life just trying to absorb it all in and still not even get close to reading everything was just daunting. 
Before she switched topics she reached for her own glass, fearlessly taking a few gulps to prepare herself. It was just easier to try and brace herself but at the same time she was trying to keep her posture loose and she was even swirling the liquid around with the celery before pulling it out to take a nibble. 
“Band-aid has to come off sometime,” it was the brave thing to say. Part of her didn’t want to even acknowledge there was even more to this mess she was dealt. 
At the same time, it has presented some really good opportunities to do good. It was just going to depend on how she handled it and what she decided to do with the information. 
As someone many times older than even Jason Blood, Asa has little to show for it beyond a head full of memories – a mixture of good and ill, most for the most part inconsequential. Just like many, if not the majority of, these relics. “Almost as if he were preparing for this day, when he had a student of his own,” she muses, “Or else his memory’s starting to go. Once you get past five hundred I suppose that’s one of the first things that does.”
She purses her lips and nods as Becky steels herself for the news. “I like your pluck, kiddo, but you’re gonna want to be sitting down for this,” She pulls her celery as well, biting it in half with a loud crunch before seeming to swallow it without chewing. The presumptive demoness waits for her directions to be followed, setting her glass down on the table.
“Your bloodline traces back to ancient Sumeria, which, congratulations, makes your devil daddy a fair bit older than your mentor.” Savvy as she is, she tends to avoid using his name during conversations like this. Especially in the Demon’s own home. “Well, ‘daddy’ is a… bad word to use, considering his proclivities” She shakes her head and sighs softly.
“He’s a real bad one, but as I said before, you don’t have to be. His name… is Nergal.”
“Fine,” she sat without any hesitation. As if sitting was going to make it any better if it was really horrible news. 
Again, she attempted to keep her senses distracted by nibbling at the celery. She was listening intently though, taking in the words very carefully, analyzing them as if they may be false. Did the nurse have any reason to lie to her? Not really. She had been truthful all this time, she had helped her and aided her without expecting anything in return. Unspoken to the blonde, Becky was willing to help her if she had ever needed it in the future. Alliances were good, even if it wasn’t quite a friendship, at least it was something. 
There was a hard swallow as she raised the glass to her lips to absolutely drain the glass. The hot sauce she mixed in was making her eyes water and making sweat bead on her forehead by the time she set the glass down. 
“So…my father isn’t my biological father…” 
Which also meant someone else had deceived her mother and taken advantage of her. 
“…why did I drink all of that? I’ve read some stuff. I’m familiar with the name. I just…why my family? Why me? Now all this fuckery too?” 
The questions were just leaking out but she brought a hand to her mouth to keep anything else from spilling out, including the contents of her stomach but even that was becoming a challenge. It felt like she was suddenly dipped in an ice-cold pool. 
Asa clasps her ungloved hands together, watching Becky’s response as carefully as she listens to it. “Something like that, yes.” She sighs and shakes her head. “I can’t really speculate as to motive, but I think that as far as your family goes it was largely incidental. It had to happen to someone, and where you’re concerned it’s not personal, just part of a greater plan.”
She shrugs a bare shoulder, her expression inscrutible. “Unfortunately for them, you managed to evade their trap. I’m not sure how that has affected things for them, if they have any contingencies or if they’ll try for you from another angle – they made quite an investment in the expectation that you’d turn, and not just the mystical kind.”
All of it had been working toward this one unfulfilled outcome. The clutch of demonic children, the reason that Becky alone had survived undetected. Nightmare Nurse lays it all out calmly, rationally, as if she’s not speaking of grand metaphysical crimes at all so much as discussing the ingredients of her world-famous birthday cake at her local branch of the Oprah Book of the Month Club.
“I’m sure taking it personal,” it was said between gritted teeth. 
Not even a second later she was taking deep breaths and whispering a count to ten before she could pull her words back together. She wanted to smash something. Logic in those deep breaths said that wouldn’t get anywhere except in a whole lot of trouble with her mentor. She could smash something during practice. She could hack and slash and destroy something to absolute utter tiny little pieces and nobody would be hurt because of it. 
“There’s another common denominator. The Demon,” a brow was raised. Was that coincidence? Jason admitted he had been keeping an eye on her, had seen her grow up and deal with all the challenges of having a father that was a demon of a different kind. The ripples it caused in her family, a family so desperate to stay together and try and patch together some semblance of normalcy. It was like living with the Munsters. 
“I don’t want my family knowing. It will open doors that can’t be closed. I’m not even sure how to tell this to my mentor.”
“Of course you are, you’re a person,” the immortal replies, her voice taking on a matronly, sympathetic tone as she reaches out to place a hand on Becky’s arm. Doing her best to keep the teenager calm, so as to avoid an unpleasant outburst. The compassion is more than utilitarian, though, genuine in ways that those with a better understanding of what Asa actually is might not understand. Or believe.
She frowns, nodding hesitantly at that assertion. “Yes, I think he’s a linchpin in all of this as well. I used the word ‘they’ earlier because it’s more than just Nergal operating alone. The earthbound resources required for this scheme are beyond his command.” Sucking in a breath through her teeth, she continues: “I understand that this is an awful lot to put upon your shoulders, but you’re not alone in this.”
For now, perhaps it’s best to leave something for Becky to work after. To withold information until she’s asked, rather than simply laying it out, so she waits on that. Waits until Vesper is prepared to hear it.
She still felt sick. Any kind of consolation at this point wasn’t doing a lot to soothe her nerves. The words mattered though, trying to discover the logic of this situation felt a little like disconnecting herself from it in a way, even if she was very much tied in. 
“I remember saying that it wouldn’t change how I was going to do what I want to do. I still stand by those words. This has just plopped down in the middle of it.” 
She quickly changed the subject, it wasn’t going to fix how she was feeling but it might distract her thoughts for a little while. 
“I asked Jason to train me like a knight. Just a badass lady knight that was raised Athiest. I thought it might help me set a good standard of values and honor for myself. It’s also exhausting. Which is a good thing for me. I guess hearing all of this makes me just want to be better than what was dealt to me even more. I’m not really that powerful yet, I don’t know enough. I feel like a stupid tiny pawn in it all right now. Maybe that’s how it is, for now. I have to trust in my mentor right now, and those trying to help me.”
Asa stops trying to press the issue, allowing Becky’s statement to stand on its own. At her age it’s important to be heard and understood, and that means it’s on the blonde to show that she hears and understands instead of trying to dismantle her statement and show her why it’s wrong. So she nods and allows the topic to shift, still wearing a look of beatific patience.
Smiling at the choice, she nods approvingly. “Just don’t let him talk you into a vow of chastity; you’ll definitely regret it,” she says with a wink, thinking on Lancelot and so many other knights whose libidos proved to be their undoing. And millenia further in the past, oftentimes it was at Nightmare Nurse’s own hands, though those days are long past.
Long, long past.
“Believe it or not, I was once a stupid tiny pawn too. Still am, I suppose – sometimes. But you’ll get to a point where you can control your destiny and make your own decisions. The hard part is getting there, escaping your nature and the machinations of your elders to become… your own woman.” There’s something wistful in her words, reflective almost.
“I’ve been reviewing the old rules of courtly love. Wasn’t published until a while after his time but it’s enough to make a modern day woman and feminist roll her eyes and spit in rage. No silly vows like that. Maybe I have a while to explore all of those carnal desires and romantic urges, maybe I don’t. They’re still there.” 
The way the Nurse said it made it seem like it would take a long time to achieve that end. It was something to work towards. It was better than being dragged down by the facts. There was going to be some shameful over indulgence of alcohol and destruction in the very near future, all the same. 
Rebecca reached out to take the Nurse’s hands in her own, giving them a squeeze. It was a ridiculous looking scene, holding the cheerleader’s hands over empty glasses of Bloody Marys. 
“You’re a good nurse demon lady. I’m very lucky and blessed that you care enough to help me and listen to me. Thank you.”
The Nightmare Nurse waves her hand dismissively. “Oh, that’s mostly bullshit. With a few unfortunate exceptions, anyways.” She smirks, the confidence in her assertion born of the fact that presumably she had lived through it. She blinks in surprise as Becky takes her hand, but squeezes back and smiles warmly at the gesture. “Magic always has a price,” she says, “but for you… your thanks are more than enough.”
There’s more to it than all that, of course. Her Oath, and the promise she’d made to Zatanna, but any noble action could be flensed if exposed to rigorous and methodical scrutiny. She’s trying to do the right thing here, regardless of any other circumstance, because: “This is the path I chose, to heal a sick world and give comfort to those that I can.
“But I was once in your same situation. And I was much, much worse, but even I was given the chance to change my ways, to become… my own person. You deserve the same, Becky. You deserve it far more than I ever did.”
“Yeah, you said something about complete annihilation or something like that. Glad you didn’t get to that point,” she offered a wink with those words. Apparently the Nurse WAS worse. 
She released those hands without holding them too awkwardly long, “Someday, when I can help you, I expect you to ask and I will be there to help. No arguing that. Knightly shit, remember?” 
There was also a frown and a bit of a whisper as she leaned in a bit closer, “Don’t tell the yellow guy I was mushy. He’ll call me Sissy Girl instead and I’m still plotting how best to get on his nerves. I was kind of thinking sweetness and kindness might tone him down a notch.”
“Something like that,” the cheerleader agrees, giggling girlishly. “And so am I – I’m not my father, and neither are you.” She leaves it at that, as it’s already more than she’s told most anybody about herself. But even if Becky were to dime her out, there are so many contradictory stories out there about the Nightmare Nurse for those who go looking that it’d just be white noise.
Even Zatanna doesn’t know.
She nods solemnly when the girl makes a demand of her own. It’s sensible, and shows that she’d been paying attention to her lessons. It’s also a little bit binding, though also beneficial to the demoness herself. “I don’t forget,” is all she has to say to that, reassuring and possibly also troubling.
Literally crossing her heart with her fingers, she swears a little vow of her own. “I won’t narc you out for having feelings, don’t worry. And it’s not as though I have much to say to him, anyways. Though he certainly wishes otherwise, or so I’m told.”
“He nearly had you executed…” it takes a moment before the facts of the situation dawn on her. She merely had to throw it into a different perspective to realize that the action may have meant something else. She rose a hand to cover her face and sighed deeply into her palm. 
“He only likes to fight, he’s not about much otherwise. I prefer it that way,” there was no denying that he was quite a sight to see in battle and recently she had to a chance to slow down enough to actually see how ferocious of a beast he was. 
“I’ll give you a ring if anything else concerning pops up. I’m going to destroy some dummies to avoid practice tomorrow.”
Throughout the dawning of Becky’s realization, the healer from Hell merely grins like the cat who caught the canary. She has little else to add to a discussion about Etrigan, other than, “If I had to choose, I’d rather deal with your mentor. But then again…” She lifts a shoulder, leaving the implication in the air. Something she’d said a while ago, that she isn’t quite convinced that Jason Blood has as much control over his alter-ego as he believes.
Maybe he would prove her wrong.
She finishes off her spicy beverage, then chomps another quarter of the celery, dropping the top of the stalk back into the filmy glass. “Take care of yourself, Rebecca. Nurse’s orders.” She winks as she heads for the exit, pointedly leaving the coffee can behind.
She hadn’t really placed her mentor into that line of thought. Well, that wasn’t true, she has but it was short lived and quickly dismissed. The responsibility to herself to learn and get better and get control of herself took priority over entertaining any wild thoughts that had crossed her mind. That was usually the case most of the time, her experience with men was very limited. The future wasn’t looking too much brighter so it was always easier to throw those romantic notions aside. She nearly choked on her own spit when Asa said those words. 
“He’s easy on the eyes but kind of like a bland onion. A lot of layers to dig through to find something interesting, I guess. I don’t know. Maybe he’s not. I’m not going to find out for you.” 
Those were her last words while narrowing her eyes at the nurse and gently clucking her tongue. She was already gone when she had noticed the Charity money was still sitting on the shelf. It was awfully tempting. 
Routine Checkup

Routine Checkup

For whatever events happened over the weekend, the week resumed its dull and mundane course of classes, homework, and studies. Rebecca had miraculously managed to catch up and was sinking back into the role of just another student at Gotham University. Despite the fact her studies here would get her no further than a piece of paper, her duty to her family’s wishes and a desire for some grip on the mundane kept her appearing and participating. 

There was only one blip during her Archeology class, a note brought to her by one of the student aides. When she opened it and read the official looking document she nearly thumped her knee against the bottom of the half desk so hard she nearly yelped. 
Miss Rebecca Langstrom, your STI. labs are in. Please report to the Student Health Center immediately. 
Never had she ever shoved a piece of paper so deep within her bag so quickly before, as if it were horribly incriminating evidence. 
“Excuse me…” 
She mumbled as she moved along the row of stadium seating to make her way towards the Health Center. Ir was probably a mixup, it was definitely a mixup. She’s never had to go to the nurses there. She never had need to. Anything she could treat herself, she did. Mundane life came with its mundane annoyances.
The student health center at Gotham University is the same as it is on any campus, but that’s not where Becky goes. Not really. Upon stepping through the door, it looks much as expected but it is strangely vacant, shelves full of obscure alchemical ingredients rather than medicine and bandages that look more akin to mummy-wrapping. A single figure in a somewhat risque, purple-black uniform sits faced away from the door, dimly lit by flourescents dangling precariously from the ceiling.
Nightmare Nurse, MD seems to perk up at her little desk as she senses the intrusion, spinning around on her stool and throwing her arms wide. “Becky with the good hair!” she announces in a sing-songy kind of voice. “I do hope you’ll excuse the skullduggery; I had to get your attention somehow, and we didn’t wanna turn this little appointment into a menage a trois.” She winkingly doesn’t quite mention The Demon by name.
Nor noted faculty member Jason Blood, of course.
She stands off of the stool and the scenery seems to shift in peripheral vision, like it’s always sort of been that way: scattered papers, creeping rust. A nurse’s office after the zombie outbreak, perhaps. “Did you have to eat the heart?” she chides, clucking her tongue.
Rebecca stood a bit stunned in the doorway, shifting the weight of her backpack onto her other shoulder. She was taking it all in, the whole change of scenery and the reality of the situation. Her facade of badassery was waning for a moment before she took a breath and dropped her bag onto the floor. 
“It’s fine. Not that this situation is fine but…whatever you’ve got to do,” she looked more annoyed than anything at the mention of her Mentor. 
It was the very reason she insisted on having some space, on at least having her weekdays free to just be a student. It’d slow her training, sure, but it created a much healthier balance for her. Becky didn’t hesitate to move around the room and get a closer look. The place looked like a bomb and a flood had gone through it. Just a bit worn and decayed, a haven for tetanus. 
“It wasn’t going to do anything and destroying every last bit of that woman pleased me. He offered, I don’t think he expected me to take him up on it.” 
Rebecca shrugged, it was disgusting but her body handled it just fine. Part of her maybe even enjoyed it. It was a small pleasure in an otherwise humiliating situation. Becky took her lessons from it though. 
“I was the picture of obedience in a realm I have no experience of, with beings I have little experience with. You were probably watching it all. How bored did you get?”
Asa glances around the ruins they find themselves in. Crumpled medical sheets swirl about her heeled boots. “Oh, I admit it’s less than ideal but we can’t be spied upon here. Or scryed upon.” The space in Between, neither reality nor Oblivion. Not Hell or Heaven but a transitory state that exists outside of time as a mortal or even an immortal might understand it. Someplace alien to all except for the ‘woman’ standing before Rebecca.
And even she would by all appearances rather be someplace else.
She rolls her eyes and steps past the girl to close the office door. Outside, rather than a hallway there is a swirling maelstrom, utter chaos and annihilation. The portal, as subtle as it had been, is gone now. At least there aren’t any windows in here. “It’s not the physical effects that have me worried, sweetie, so much as the transgression it represents. You know that’s still cannibalism, right?” Her tone is one of a concerned parent, or maybe a stern medical professional, as she turns to lean back against the door with her gloved arms crossed over her chest.
When asked about her boredom, however, something sparkles in her honey-colored eyes. “Luckily for you I’m not prone to boredom; living a few strange aeons’ll break anyone of that nasty little affliction, I’m sure.”
“Good, as to expected when dealing with medical professionals and patient doctor confidentiality…” 
The joke fell a little flat and dull. Was it a transgression? It didn’t feel like one at the time. A lot of what she felt and what she thought wasn’t right these days. It usually left her with a lot of regret later and too much time spent mulling over it before finally submitting to it being wrong. Maybe it was wrong. She was being told it was wrong. 
She tried not to look past the Nurse before, it didn’t look pleasant outside the door and it was easier not to think too much about where she was at exactly. That could lead to questions and maybe she didn’t want the answers. She did respect the Nurse’s knowledge though, having supposedly been around since before time was a fad. Becky was a spec in the perspective of things. 
Then there was the ‘Mom’ tone which immediately had her looking to the toes of her boots, “I’ll try not to do it again.”
Pursing her lips, the monster blows a stray lock of hair away from her face and pushes off from the door, stepping closer to Becky and reaching out to gently touch her on the chin. Urging her to look up but not forcing her to. Her sterile gloves have a vaguely antiseptic scent and feel somewhere between rubbery and leathery, a material that isn’t quite right but then neither is Asa.
“I’m not upset, you know,” she assures the young woman. “We’ve all had our growing pains. Just try to be a little less like the demons you’re hunting, hm? Sometimes, when Etrigan makes a suggestion it’s not coming out of your best interest.” She pauses, her hand falling away from Rebecca’s face, then amends: “Actually, safer to assume it never is.”
She turns away dramatically, stalking toward a shelf and rummaging through various phials and tinctures. “Why don’t you try to make some friends your own age?” she asks, changing the subject. “Self-sacrificial crusades are all well and good but I always figured the point was to be mourned afterwards.” Spinning on her heel, she holds a vial close to her chest and then extends it toward Becky in both hands.
“For that, you need mourners! Voila, a friendship potion.”
“That makes things complicated. This whole thing already is. I feel like I don’t even know myself, I mean I do…but I don’t. Closest thing I know to being even close to what I am and I can’t trust them. I don’t know his motives or his agenda and he’s not the talking sort.” 
The conversation took a wild turn in a different direction in a pretty dark way. A reminder or her mortality, a reminder of where this path goes. Everyone’s path ended somewhere though, didn’t it? 
“I appreciate the concern put into my mourners or lack there of but isn’t that cheating? I can try…but friends usually have things in common. I’m got very not common things going on with me, that’s kind of been my thing even when I was a kid. Couldn’t have friends over, can’t have a sleepover. I’m not trying to whine, just stating the facts.” 
She stood on her toes to peek at the vials, “Anything there with a sudden understanding on what’s going on with me so I know what I’m working with? Without the unpleasant side-effects of making my head explode or sudden death?”
“He’s really not, is he? And I don’t think Jason has as much control over him as he thiiinks~” The whole mentorship setup isn’t what she would’ve gone with in a perfect world but there aren’t a whole lot of people around that would take in a young demoness. And Asa isn’t going to tutor her. She’d promised Zatanna that she’d be hands off, in fact, and even this little checkup sort of skirts the edge of the line there. “Picking apart the useful from the detrimental’s something you’ll have to learn along with all the rest of it. That’s life, though; you should’ve seen me when I was your age.” She laughs, a bit mawkish, sounding both sweet and strangely malevolent.
Jiggling the vial, she holds it out insistently. Inside is a translucent purple liquid that has a similar consistency to water. “It’s not cheating, it’s medicinal! Everyone needs an edge sometimes, just take it and drink it when you want to try to engage someone in conversation.” The fact of the matter is, it’s grape Kool-Aid with traces of Xanax and Acetaminophen. But ‘friendship potion’ sounds a lot better when trying to hand it to a young adult. “Or pour it out as soon as you’re back on campus,” Asa pouts. “Trust me when I say there’s nobody like me, and I have friends. You’ll find them in the strangest of places.”
The containers on the shelves have all sorts of grotesqueries inside, like miniature eyeballs or pickled cockroaches or a worm with teeth that run down its entire length floating in a thick green syrup. There are also tins, one literally labelled Snake Oil and some in a language that isn’t of Earth at all and hurts to read. “You’re you – there’s no pill that’s gonna propel you into adulthood, I’m afraid,” the Nightmare Nurse says as she slips back onto her stool. “You’re a woman who owns herself and you’ve got to learn all the responsibilities that entails.” Just like I did, she doesn’t say.
She takes the vial, if only to get her to stop pouting. It doesn’t mean she’s going to drain the contents anytime soon. This fairy godmother might just be some vile thing plotting something else on the side. Then again, Rebecca was somewhere and nowhere in particular and couldn’t get her bearings and the Nurse has done nothing at all to hurt her. 
She slid the vial into her pocket to be done with it, something to explore another time, or something to just flush down the toiler. 
“That sounded a lot broader than I meant it. I’ve been trying to hit the books. I’ve been trying to figure how much of what I am is from my parent’s experiments and some pretty awful summoning magic. I spent a lot of time wishing and hoping I wouldn’t turn into the beast my father is and instead I’ve become something else entirely. Some similarities in abilities but not in others…and I haven’t really pushed myself to what could be my full potential. If you have anything that could point me in the right direction, at least I could get myself book smart about it. It’s really easy getting lost in the species and types and the bloodlines and everything weaving in and out of civilizations, cultures, and beliefs.” 
The rest would just have to come with time and experience, she knew that. There was no instant way to become an expert at something, or to fully understand the many potentials that lay in front of her. Even the concept of adulthood was just vague. Even thinking about it was enough to make her rub her temples in frustration. 
“I really hope there’s not a moment where I can’t learn something or adapt myself or do something differently. That’s not living.”
Asa smirks at the reply, having sort of guessed what the girl really meant though she’d been genuine as well. And she continues to be, saying, “Does it matter to you? The percentages, the minutia – what exactly you are? I’ve always found it best to not have a firm understanding of one’s limitations, so as to better exceed them.” She reaches out, pantomiming booping Rebecca’s snoot. “If you want my advice, figure out how to deal with the you that you understand now. If you don’t, then I’ll see about providing some literature.”
With a sigh, she comes up off of the bench, the rusty joints creaking at the shift of weight. The wheels must be jammed completely, as it doesn’t move at all. “Evolution happens between generations; you can be dynamic but being ever-changing is a drag. Even faeries draw a line somewhere.” Humming, she goes to a different table, procuring a sealed paper sleeve with a syringe inside, which she tears open with her teeth. “If you want the full nine-yards geneological report then I’m gonna need some blood,” she admits as she fastens the needle in place.
“I’m not bound by limits, words, or titles.” 
It was an annoyance she had been coming to terms with. Words being attached to her that held certain unspoken meanings. The best she could do was do her best to ignore them and rise above them. She was just challenged in that every step she took getting closer to understanding herself, she did something awful. 
“Let’s meet in the middle on this then. Could you hold off on passing the results until I have come to some sort of understanding with myself? Maybe it won’t matter as much then, or maybe it will answer some questions. Just uh…warn me if I’m going to sprout extra heads or if you see anything alarming.” 
She wrinkled her nose as she pulled up her sleeve. She hoped there wouldn’t be anything startling, if there was, someone would have sensed it by now. 
“I know I’ve got to take my lumps along the way, that it’s going to be hard and humiliating. I’ve got some big egos looming over me, sometimes it feels crushing and I just want to claw out from it.”
“Good,” is all she says to that, admiring the sentiment. It’s not exactly true but it’s a necessary bit of self-deception, and Asa’s hardly going to stand in the way of Rebecca’s journey of discovery. She gently holds the (much) younger woman’s arm as she sticks the needle in; as someone with tens of thousands of years of practice, she is probably the best at this. There is no sting, just the slight sensation of pressure and then the syringe is full. There’s not even a stray drop of blood after she’s done, no need for the Hello Kitty bandaid she carefully puts over it nor the green lollypop she produces from seemingly nowhere and sticks in Rebecca’s mouth.
“I’ll sit on them until you ask, unless I see ‘anything alarming’,” she promises afterward, unscrewing the needle and tossing it lazily over her shoulder. The vial of blood she tucks away for later. No stage magic but real magic, as it simply disappears. No need for the Between to get a taste for Vesper. “I know what you mean, it can be very stressful but sometimes it’s important to be instructed by someone that knows better. Even if they’re completely insufferable and hell-bent on stopping you from purging the earth of all life.” She wrinkles her nose and takes a step back. “You don’t have to pretend to be okay with it, though. Just understand why it’s helpful, and if you can’t see it then know it’s not there.”
For once she was glad it wasn’t some grand display done with a blade and leaking blood over her palm or anything silly like that. Just the slightest prick, a band-aid and a…lollipop. Her brows knit in confusion when the lollipop was shoved into her mouth. She listened for a moment before she pulled the candy from her mouth and gave the Nurse a tilt of her head. 
“It’s not…that bad. You’re right though, and maybe this is a challenge for them too. Okay, maybe at least one of them.” 
To be perfectly honest she didn’t think the demon really gave a damn one way or another but he was tolerant of her presence and at least tried to keep her out of harm’s way. 
“Thank you, Nurse.”
Asa nods, patting Vesper’s shoulder and gently steering her toward the door. “If it ever gets too bad, just whisper my name three times into a foggy mirror and you can talk to me about it.” She doesn’t expect that the girl will take her up on it, which is a big part of why she’s offering it so freely. And anyways there isn’t really a spell to summon her, though there are a few that will get her attention.
Once opened, instead of Annihilation the portal now leads back to school. Apparently there is some sort of glamour in effect as those folk who walk past don’t even stop to look at the eccentrically-dressed nurse and her young charge, or even the creepy office itself, full of many oddities and as disposable as anything by necessity is in that realm.

“My dear friend is fond of a little saying: the impossible isn’t a limitation, it’s an invitation. You can find a way to thrive, to be who you want to be. Just… be smart about it; I know you’re a clever one.”

Nurse’s Orders

Nurse’s Orders

When Zee arrives back at the house, a door off the main hall is conspicuously cracked open, a trickle of languid steam escaping from within. Inside is a small bathhouse of sorts, a single room featuring a shallow pool of heated water with benches built into the sides. Tucked into the far corner, the Nightmare Nurse enjoys a mimosa, dressed in a purple two-piece with her bright hair already plastered to her head by the heat and moisture. Behind an accordian-style room divider nearby is a selection of bathing suits, ranging from risque to ultra-conservative, and beside that a minibar stocked with primarily scotch. Asa lifts her glass to toast Zatanna as she enters. “Quite a show,” she offers. “But why wait ’til after work for your ‘stiff drink and a hot bath’?”

The house had a way of providing its occupants with whatever was needed at the time. Zee was thankful for that. The answer to Asa’s question wasn’t really addressed as she began removing the long coat and slipped behind the divider to change into something ‘more comfortable’ as it were.
“That’s how I roll, Asa. I’m glad you were entertained. It made up for your task, I hope?”
She stood on her bare toes to peek over, checking for the creature’s reaction before smirking and ducking back down to fit the suit with the cut-outs and straps that somehow miraculously held it together. When she strolled out with the black suit on she didn’t hesitate to pour herself the a rather oversized serving of Scotch.
There were no other words until she had a few deep gulps and she shuddered the sting away. No, Scotch was not supposed to be enjoyed like that. She didn’t really care at the moment.
“I hope the woman has shown a little remorse over what happened. Without conscience, my hopes aren’t going to float too high. John wouldn’t have handled this so delicately. You know how he feels.”
One toe slid into the water to test for its comfort before she carefully strode in, taking a seat beside Asa with a soft sigh. However frightening and potentially dangerous of a creature that Asa is, Zee was very comfortable around her. Maybe it was hope, a little trust and a lot of horribly bad taste that pulled her towards Asa’s situation.
Asa peers up at Zatanna as she peeks, waving a hand dismissively before looking away and sipping at her flute. “You didn’t have to do that for little old me, mon ami; consider that task pro-bono.” It’s unusual for a service like that to come with no strings attached, but nobody had asked her to do it. Well… gods had, thousands of years ago. And they hadn’t asked nicely.
Making no secret of looking the sorceress over after she leaves the privacy screen, Nightmare Nurse wears a broad, intoxicating grin. She’s hardly one to point out drinking etiquette, as everyone tends to approach hedonism in their own sort of way. The smile falters but doesn’t quite leave her lips at the mention of Johnny-boy; she rolls her eyes and says, “He would’ve made sure he came out of it ahead, at least.” With a shrug of her bare shoulders, she finishes off her drink and turns to face Zee.
“I’m a nurse, not a nursemaid; it’s not proper bedside manner to scold a patient. I think she’s feeling it, though.” With one arm up on the edge of the pool, she leans toward the human. “I might just stick around for a while to see how it all plays out. Could be fun… for both of us.” Her blue eyes take on a bit of a shine from the pale light filtering through the paper-covered windows.
“I didn’t do it for you. Somehow it went from playful to outright horrifying but what are you gonna do?”
There was going to be no further mention of his ‘message’ to Asa. Asa probably heard it and saw it. The Demon had no idea what exactly he was flirting with. Zee thought she was pretty delicate about letting him down about it but demons are an ambitious and greedy sort. Sometimes they don’t understand ‘No’ until the point if driven through their skull a few times.
“I wouldn’t have expected you to scold her at all. Staying here will give her some time to reflect. Meanwhile, I just need to relax and hope The Bat or other larger entities don’t make a big stink of this. I feel like I’ve done everything I could.”
She tilted her head towards the blonde, taking a sip from her glass as she did so.
“Any other thoughts? I feel like it’s one of those situations where we might have to wait and see what happens. I hope for the best but I also worry it may go horribly.”
The ‘healer from Hell’ reacts to that with a playful snicker. “I’ll never give him what he wants, but I doubt telling him that would do much good.” She doesn’t say ‘can’t’ or ‘won’t’ because it doesn’t matter which, or even if it’s both. That her true nature is easy to mistake (and difficult to understand) is generally a useful feature but it can be a double-edged sword at times, as well.
“Oh, I agree completely!” Asa announces. “Her little monster seems to come out during moments of stress, so I made sure she got something to eat then put her to bed early.” She reaches for Zatanna’s glass after setting her own aside, fingers resting on it in silent request rather than tugging the scotch away from the sorceress – truly a dangerous move, even for something like her.
Tilting her head when pressed for further analysis, she shrugs one shoulder then surreptitiously leans it against Zee. “It just might. Blood wants to turn her into some sort of archmage, Etrigan wants to make her royalty in Hell. Meanwhile, all Becky wants to do is hunt demons. “But what are you gonna do?” She mimics Zee’s cadence, winking. “Not like there are many safe alternatives.”
“It’s also very safe to assume anything coming from those demonic lips is just a play anyhow. A joke really truth. A play at you just a distraction and an irritation meant to garner attention. I wouldn’t want you to put yourself anywhere within hellfire’s reach of him.”
Though the same could be said for Asa’s words, only a leveled look given to the blonde as the drink is pulled away. Zee valued Asa’s thoughts on this, she’s been in existence far longer than anyone could even comprehend. She’s seen a lot and has a lot of experience and knowledge to pull from. Then again, it seemed she wasn’t at all bored with her human form and some of the perks it granted her. Zatanna entertained her by crawling her fingers across Asa’s shoulder and towards her neck for a gentle caress.
“He’ll get what he wants if she’s killed or banished. I really don’t want to see any harm come to her and I certainly wouldn’t wish for her to go to Hell either,” Zee’s knowledge was a bit limited on that realm. It wasn’t a good place for her or her magic. It was a force that worked against her and perhaps worked against her very nature of what she was. The Magician was completely content keeping her feet firmly planted in this realm.
“We let it play out? Intervene if needed?”
“Why Zatanna, I didn’t know you cared!” She giggles as she tugs at the glass, taking a delicate sip before handing it back. She winces a bit theatrically at the burn of the liquor as it slips down her borrowed throat. “I promise I won’t play into his little game,” she says, wording it in a way that would be dangerously close to binding if she were a demon. There’s no use aggravating the situation, and anyway he might prove useful. It isn’t as though he can be completely removed from the equation, so they might as well work with it.
She shivers at the touch of Zee’s fingers on her warm, damp skin. In truth her insatiable appetites are a diversion from her true hungers, something to numb pangs that have been left unattended for millennia. Cravings best unfulfilled, for the continuing (relative) safety of all of mankind. Her holy work, once an obligation and now a wilfull and happy task, is small penance for the atrocities she had committed so long ago that only the merest echos remain in the collective human unconscious.

“I knew you’d see things my way; that’s why I brought her here. I didn’t pull her out of Morgana’s clever little trap just to leave her for the proverbial wolves.” Pursing her lips, she nods at the summary. “Solid plan.” She scoots a little closer, resting a hand on the sorceress’s shoulder. “So, now that work’s done, I think it’s time you let yourself relax.”

Demons, Nurses and Knights OH MY!

Demons, Nurses and Knights OH MY!


Under the light of the moon, the disciples gathered for their grand ritual. The Giordano Botanical Gardens was a beautiful place frequently visited by many in the past, back when the rooftop gardens were a beautiful and lush place and it was well tended to. It has since turned to ruins, a former battleground for several foes that had occupied the space. Blood had spilled on that ground and over time the neglect and lack of care had made the space quite desolate. A few bits of plants and shrubs hung on, several rumored to be quite dangerous to touch or be near. Those dangers lurk thanks to the lovely green champion of nature that no longer occupied the space. Echoes of the battles remained, panes of glass shattered on the greenhouses. The lone large statue at the center had bits and pieces removed. The lovely visage of the angel remained vigilant, sword held high, shield on his other arm. His face was stained by rains, neglect, bits of moss that clung to his stony features.

The gathering took place under the light of the full moon. The Hunter’s Moon of October held a great spiritual significance to this ritual. In the quiet and the still of the evening they gathered, preparing and spreading their tools around the space in silence. The robed and hooded figures chanted in a whisper as they placed their candles, their crystals and carefully laid out the lines of black salt upon the dead earth.

One remained in the center of the star that began to form as the lines joined, the very tip pointing to the south, the reverse of a standard pentagram. There were twelve others, five assigned to creating the unholy symbol. Three stood at the odd points of the star, the southernmost and the North East and North West, focused on the chanting, sleeves rolled back as they held their palms outstretched to the side of them. They asked for blessings of the moon to protect the ritual, they called for the dark one to hear their words, to find them at this infernal site.

Four remained, patrolling the perimeter, blades in hand as they watched from the four cardinal direction of the rooftop for anyone that may attempt to disrupt the ritual. It seemed by their weapons that they were ready to use lethal force if necessary to halt anyone from interrupting until they had achieved their goal.

Rebecca and Jason had been preparing for this event. The more difficult part was tracking down where it was going to happen. Their evening hunts had gotten them closer and closer, clues laid for them to follow. At every moment they had thought they had caught up to the Cultists they were always too late. There were merely signs of them having been there, puddles of wax, smeared lines of salt and symbols on the ground made from blood. They roughly translated into single words ‘Demon’ ‘Rise’ ‘Great’ ‘Harvest’. Another symbol was sometimes found. To those familiar to the city, it was a very familiar one. The outstretched blackened wings of the bat. To others with more knowledge of demonology, it was coincidentally the symbol of an old god, a demon, a being that once roamed Gotham where buildings and streets have since covered up any remains of the destruction it had caused.

It took some old fashioned detective work, plotting the locations on the map to locate the final site. How did they know it was the final site? Their hunts had taken them to seemingly every corner of the city. Random locations, or seemingly random until they were marked on a map. The familiar star shape taking form if lines were connected. The very epicenter of the shape was the gardens.

Rebecca had come dressed for war. The street armor she had created seemed good enough to protect her. The important thing to her was that she wasn’t weighted down and unable to move. She didn’t have the resources or the tools to create much, most of it was stuck together out of bits and pieces she could scavenge from second-hand stores or junk she had come across. Her weapon she had commissioned from one of the art students in exchange for some tutoring. It wasn’t fine crafted by any means but it was balanced and sharp and light enough to work into the skills she had built up over her childhood. It was all she needed, that and a little warpaint.

“I hear nine,” she murmured softly, crouched behind the stonework that surrounded the gardens. She focused here sensitive sense on the voices, eyes closed, head tilting. They didn’t have a plan yet and she wasn’t going to jump into action. This was one point where she submitted to the skills of the immortal veteran warrior. Jason of the Blood would know what to do, how to approach. The most important thing was stopping this before they finished. Stop whatever impending doom they may summon and rain down upon the city.


Jason Blood


This wasn’t Jason’s first time taking down a cult, or battling cultists, or … anything they were doing right now. During the week and as the pair investigated, Jason could see how talented the young woman was and where her potential was. Hopefully if she continued to want to partner with him, she’ll listen to his advice and grow. As the pair ascended down onto the cultist ritual area, Jason would look around. Nodding to what she said, he’d kneel down and press his palm to the ground.

The ritual was growing stronger, he could feel the magical energy building up. It’s cascading crescendo threatening to explode. “Four are patrolling the outside. Then there are more on the inside, I cannot pinpoint them. I will draw two in here, then you take care of them from where you are.”

Jason wasn’t going to transform, not yet. Etrigan would be needed later, but Jason didn’t want any of the cultists killed. At least, not right now. Throwing some pebbles towards a couple of the guards, he waits to get their attention before darting into the alleyway where Rebecca would be able to take care of them easily enough. The last two were on the other side. Moving over to Rebecca, he, along with her slowly move up towards the main ritual area. The chanting was growing stronger, the very Earth seemed to heave with every verse of the incantation. Soon, they were going to need to stop them.

“If we stop them now, the energy could continue building and then detonate, destroying several of these buildings in the process. We must wait until they’re nearly complete. Then, I believe, i’ll be able to channel the energy somewhere else so that whatever they summoner, will be unable to come.”




His idea of drawing them was throwing a rock? The action earned a hard bit of side-eye from the young woman. Still, it was an effective and simple strategy. It had the effect of startling the armed men, they called out, alerting the others and the four started to descend upon the two warriors.

There was a lethality with how they moved in, blades drawn, moving quickly. They had some skill and perhaps beneath the robes were stronger than they had appeared. Rebecca took on her two with a snarl, raising her blade defensively.

Jason could hear the blades clash from his location as the young woman began to fight her two opponents. What had been a quiet a approach was quickly turning into a full-out brawl. The two remaining came at him with a similarly fierce approach. They needed to get close to strike and came at him with blades glinting in the moonlight. Whatever he may be able to deflect with his own blade, they countered back with more force.

“You will die for interfering! Your blood will only fuel our ritual!”


Jason Blood

Jason’s own blade came up to block whatever strikes these cultists tried on him. The cloaks they wore seemed to be heavier than normal cloaks. Able to take a beating and keep the cultists alive. They were awfully strong. These men weren’t your typical cultists. They were far stronger and much more durable. “Yes. It is nothing i’ve not heard of before.“ saying as they told he’d die, and then use his blood.

Deflecting a blow from one of the two men, he parry’s it off to the side, stepping out of the way as the man tried to recover. Sticking his foot out, Jason trips the robed man and followed up with a strong strike of his pommel against the back of the man’s neck. This left him open for the other, though Jason decided to wear his armor underneath his clothes so when the blade struck, it slide off the chainmail shirt. It’ll hurt later, but for now, Jason kept his arm.

“Rebecca. How are you fairing?” asking with a grunt as Jason came up quickly inside the man’s reach and slammed his shoulder into the other cultists body to knock him away so Jason could recover and start thinking how they were going to stop this ritual.

Rebecca Langstrom


Rebecca was faring decently well. She danced with the blade, kept out of reach of their jabs and swipes. Anything that did get too close was deflected by the clothing she wore leaving only cuts in leather in their wake and thankfully, no blood. She may have spent too long toying with them. It was a good test of her skill and she was watching their movements very carefully. It wasn’t a form of training she recognised. It felt like the kind of skills one might develop in the street, learned from experience.

The precious time she wasted came to a shocking end as one of them rushed at her with a mighty roar and she moved her blade to counter the attack. The attack never came.

The blade from the cultist fell to the ground, soon sprayed in the blood that ran down the length of his torso and dripped onto the ground.

The man had literally thrown himself into the path of the blade, impaling his body on the length of the rough steel. He made one last mockery of the action, a bloodied spit at Rebecca’s face before his eyes went dead and his body ceased to function.

It took a second to recover from the shock before she withdrew the blade quickly, the body tumbling to the floor as the sharp anchor was released. Something didn’t feel quite right, a chill traveled along her spine from the sudden action the cultist took. She hadn’t taken a life before, she had seen people die, she had witnessed a lot of violence in her life and she may have spilled blood.


Her voice was still rough but higher pitched than it typically was, surprised, shocked, unsure. The second man came at her before she could get her bearings, if he struck true it would have done some very horrible damage to her. She swung with the blade, throwing her weight behind the strike. It struck with deadly precision.

Two bodies now. She swallowed back the reflex that kept her from getting sick, moving past the two bodies now on the ground and towards the cultists with a quite focused look in her eyes. The hunt was on.



“Rebecca.” saying as he pulled her along a wall as they got closer. If she looked at him, he’d look back. Studying her eyes. “We’re close.” saying as he could see the glow of the pentagram. Jason could only hope that they weren’t too late. There was an idle wonder if he was going to run into any of his so called friends. Surely he wasn’t going to be the only one that felt what was going on here.

“The language is a type of Latin. More germanic in nature. The Vandili spoke it.” offering as he crept closer to where the other cultists were on the pentagram. “They were magically inclined, worshipped a select number of gods. Similar to whom the Vikings or Norse worshipped, though their rituals were based in blood and sacrificing the young. Believing their blood was the purist.” pressing his lips closer as he glanced around.

Jason was starting to sweat, feel uncomfortable.

“The magic is potent here, Step back, It’s forcing me to cha…change”

”Change! Change! O form of man!

Free the prince forever damned!

Free the might from fleshy mire!

Boil the blood in the heart for fire!

Gone! Gone! O form of man

And rise the demon Etrigan!!”

With an eruption of fire, Jason changed, horns pushing out of his skull, his skin turning. Soon, Etrigan was standing where Jason once stood. Skin hot from the fire that just consumed Jason. Bright red eyes looking around, taking in the scenery.

”What did Jason say before summoning me, little girl?”


As the battle had gotten underway a cloaked figure had come to settle atop a stone gargoyle on the corner of the adjacent buildings roof. The long cloak he wore moved with the wind flowing about him its erratic path the only discernible movement as the eyes behind his mask took in the unfolding chaos. As had been the case as long as he had dwelled upon the earth those who guided his hand had directed him where he needed be the most. A gauntleted moved from its place atop the gargoyles head and to the blade at his side he had seen more then enough.

Rising the figures muscles clenched as he prepared to leap the gap between buildings. Bringing his sword up and out before his face, where it nearly touched his nose both of his armored hands grasped the hilt as a short prayer was uttered a deep reverence to each of the words.

“Lord guide my hand, for I am your ser….”

As Etrigan appeared the figures final words would fade as this new development demanded his attention, he would beg his Lords forgiveness after the cleansing. Seeing the demon appear the knights eyes narrowed to slits and with an unseen flick his sword would ignite as he leaped through the air to land among the growing melee.

Aiming out the tip of his sword at Etrigan himself.

“Surely the Lord tests me with your presence beast. I shall not be found wanting!”


Rebecca Langstrom

She was compelled to stop them, Jason pulling her only served to frustrate her from her desire to move closer to them. If they had wanted to stay stealthy, it certainly wasn’t going to happen now. They were noticed and the cultist in the center brought raised his arm, pointing it in the direction of Rebecca.

“The maiden has arrived. The blood will bring our master forth.”

Jason seemed to be getting onto the right track about blood being the key. Two had bled out now, two were dead at Rebecca’s blade. The other two were unconscious and insignificant at the moment.

The chanting stopped suddenly, the 9 others remaining halting what they were doing. Had they reached their stopping point? Had they finished their chant? Three split off after the two that were unconscious, withdrawing their sacred blades from their belts. The others seemed a bit stunned at the arrival of the demon. This was not what they had anticipated.

Rebecca seemed unphased by the transformation, only raising a brow at the demon calling her a ‘little girl’.

“Something something Vandili and blood cults. Then O’ be gone. We <b>need</b> to stop them….”

Her focus was drawn away again, the cultists now splitting and reaching for their blades upon the arrival of a third. In the chaos of the change and a newcomer the three cultists that split off had achieved their goal. Their two comrades that were knocked unconscious earlier by the knight very quickly has a smile painted across their necks. Blood once again spilling to the ground.

Rebecca stepped towards the pentacle upon the ground, her voice soft, cracked yet still melodic.

“One…two…devil’s coming for you…three…four…better lock your door…”

She spun the blade, smirking at the leader of the cultists, daring him to come at her if she is to be their sacrifice.


Nightmare Nurse

When dealing with the chaotic, chaotic things tend to occur, and when summoning demons it’s possible one might well get more than they bargained for. A glowing portal opens, and a woman steps out, clad in purple and wearing a matching nurse’s cap. The blonde sniffs at the scent of freshly-spilled blood in the air, smirking. “Well, this is no good. Almost seems like someone else’s problem, exceeept…” She looks to either side of her, as if expecting to see Johnny or his fetching sidekick.

“Looks like this is all me, then.” She laces her gloved fingers together and pushes her hands palms-out. “Time for surgery.” Some of the cultists look to still be alive; with a flick of her wrist to summon a golden rod topped with ancient iconography and a quick read of the situation, she aims to keep them that way, if only to deny the purpose of this entire event. Let the monsters battle amongst themselves; she’s here to prevent a plague.



Etrigan looked around, first at Rebecca, then to Azrael with a grin as the flaming sword is leveled at him. “Bah! If you like fire so much, Burn on this!” Taking in a deep breath, Etrigan would a large swathe of hellfire at the cross wearing man. “I have fought against your kind before, Templar. I thought I had killed you all!” wings would then sprout from his back as he started taking to the air.

“Girl. Kill them all, they will unable to finish the ritual if they are all..” trailing off as he noticed they were killing … well, each other. Etrigan was hardly an expert in such affairs, Jason tried to teach him. But it was often lost on him. The Demon not caring, only wishing to kill and slaughter beings. Though, Jason focused the demons attention at things that really needed to be killed. Etrigan upon seeing Nightmare Nurse grins.

“Where’s John? I figured this would be right up his alley.”

“Last I heard, He was doing with a outbreak of faeries in Mexico.” laughing raucously as he started to burn the area inside the pentagram.


Azrael leapt back and to the side as Etrigan took in a large breath, his next move could not be clearer had the angels themselves shouted it from the heavens amidst a chorus of trumpets. Bringing round his cloak as he evaded the attack his hope being its fireproof properties would save him should his speed not.

“I am no Templar! The Order of St. Dumas shed those fools centuries ago Etrigan!”

He of course knew the demons name and had often been made to read of it’s exploits should he ever encounter him. Coming out of his roll the knight shook lingering hellfire from his cloak and moved his sword toward the now flying Etrigan.

“Wait…you seek to stop their efforts?”

Had he the time Azrael would surely seek the lords direct guidance but clearly now was not the time. Turning his attention to the scene as it grew ever more chaotic and confusing around him. He had his orders and so he would let them be his guiding hand.

“Very well demon, Fly if you must my sword was not meant for you!”

Taking a moment to find the closest cultist Azrael spins about the bring his flaming sword across their back, and so he would begin doing to any would dared come to close.


Rebecca Langstrom

In an interesting turn of events, the cultists were shocked when they attempted to make their next action. In an attempt to hasten the ritual, they were rendered completely ineffective even as knives plunged into their own flesh. Perplexed, some had even attempted to run their fellow cultists through with no effect. They roared in pain but their wounds healed almost instantly.

<i> “Attack the others!” </i>

The group split, four coming after Etrigan, the other four following the trail of hellfire after the holy knight. Blades drawn, they attacked with everything they had. A very small, mighty, and very invulnerable army.

Azrael would soon realize how invulnerable when the grievous wound across the cultist’s back healed right before his eyes.

Rebecca was left to the leader, a strike at him with her blade and it did nothing. She didn’t need the yellow demon to bark orders to do exactly what she already had in mind. The frustration began to build and the scene around her had become quite distracting. Two others had arrived on their ambush, the miraculous healing from every swipe of her blade became increasingly frustrating. She could only guess that someone was helping them, protecting them for some reason. Between strikes she attempted to search out who but the rise of the fire blocked her from getting a decent view of the blonde that had come to their aid.

The moment she spent searching distracted her enough to be hit, the blade cutting into her shoulder and nearly rendering her dominant arm useless. She screeched in pain, quickly grabbing her sword with her left hand and raising it to defend herself just as another rapid strike began to come at her.



“Your sword will never be meant for me, Crusader. I will flay your flesh before you can attempt to use that pig sticker you call a sword on me.” calling out to Azrael. The four cultists that were on him seemed to be unharmed. Even the one the Crusader was on seemed to be unharmed. This was troubling. Swooping down, he lands easily enough to side step their sword strikes. “They cannot be killed, perhaps they can be maimed into unconsciousness… “ Order of St Dumas, who were they? Pft, Who cares. The Crusader was nothing more than a human behind armor.

“Whatever Order you belong to, Crusader. Know that you have sinned just by being in battle with me!” laughing as he swiped away at the sword strikes, eventually bringing his own sword out. A long curved blade riddled with pot marks from centuries of battle. “You fools do not frighten me.” parrying strike after strike, he moves within the reach of one of the cultists, Etrigan makes a fist and delivers a solid right hook to the invincible, at the moment, cultist.

“Ah, yes. The Order of St. Dumas. Now I remember, I once slaughtered your leader! That was a great day! I flayed his flesh while he lived, then slowly baked his entrails and ate his heart. It was quite delicious!” laughing, Etrigan didn’t really, but he knew enough that he wanted to tease the holy man. “Did you know, he too, cried for his Lord. But he never came!” Etrigan shouted as he started making his way towards Rebecca. After she defends against another blow, the man’s sword would stop short of its target. A large, yellow clawed hand grabbed the wrist and simply pulled him back to throw at the other three cultists who chasing after him.

“Hahaha! This is like throwing pigs at the Arab’s during the Crusades!” it was obvious Etrigan was having a blast.


Stop them? Stop whom? It was difficult to pick out what the real problem was. Was it the demon? Was it the holy man? The sweet nurse had effectively not made herself a target, yet. All Becky knew at the moment was the searing pain of the wound she just received and the chaos that surrounded this moment. Men thrown, men sliced and yet they bounced back up without a single mark upon them only to have them attack again.

Etrigan made a mistake in coming after Rebecca’s target. Even the sweet dulcet tones of Asa’s voice couldn’t keep her calm.

“That was <font color=red><b>MINE</b></font>…”

The demon had made a mistake in taking her target, a growl emanated from her throat as she turned, chin defiantly held up as she glared at him. Perhaps she had enough of his mockery, of making light of the situation. He wanted a battle, he got one and he seemed to be enjoying it. He crossed a boundary that he was all too familiar with though. The ‘little girl’ was just as territorial as any other demon and perhaps it was a matter of honor for her to deal with the problem she had locked in on herself. Now…it was thrown aside, just as he had thrown aside the true potential of the young woman.

Shadows stretched beneath the moonlight, quivering for a moment before the sickening sounds of flesh rending and twisting could be heard. A fearsome and angry scream coming from the twisting form.

Perhaps if Etrigan was focused, if he wasn’t wasting his breath making foul jokes about wars long gone and ancient battles of good versus evil, he would have been better prepared for the attack.

Aided by wings, she leapt into the air, claws and the full force of the attack coming down onto the yellow demon. An angry maw of teeth aiming to chomp upon his skull. No words, no jokes, just pure rage attacking him.



Azrael slashed and then intended to immediately move to the next cultist only to find his efforts insufficient. He could see this day had been crafted to test him to his limits considering demon had become ally and his enemies would not die. Perhaps then he was meant to find another path toward salvation. If they would not die then perhaps they would accept being rendered harmless in another fashion.

“You lie as expected Etrigan, your foul presence has never encountered my order…not directly.”

As the cultist closed in Azrael taps a hidden mechanism on his sword causing its flames to erupt and burn hotter still. Spinning about his sword comes down intent on removing arm, leg and hopefully cauterizing the wound to greatly slow the lost limbs return.

In the midst of his spinning tornado of blood and fire Azrael catches sight of the girl he had thought to be his only other human and perhaps uncorrupted ally. Gone is the warrior of before her form replaced by what he could only assume to be another demon. He had faced many in the span of his time as the champion of St. Dumas, as had all the others before him and surely would those who came after. He would not give into fear despite the turning of the tide toward darkness.

He would end these cultist and then these demons, and if not he would give his life doing his duty.




This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. Etrigan thought for sure he was helping her not … you know, die. Then she transformed into… whatever this was and he was completely unprepared for this. Her strikes land,her teeth landing on his flesh. Though, not slicing through the hardened scaly skin as she may have thought. But, he was getting the feeling she was acting on instinct instead of a thought process. Reaching up, he grabs her maw and using his incredible strength, he pushes it open and off his skull.

“Perhaps you are in need of a punishment, girl.” growling as leaned back slightly to kick her away from him. “What do you suggest, Nightmare Nurse?” asking as he rubbed his head where she bit him, he could feel the wounds closing, though, slower than usual. “Shall I roast them? Make sure they cannot recover from such a wound? Maybe include this Holy Crusader? I wish to personally bake him in this armor of his. Feast on his entrails…” watching Rebecca though, he readies himself for another attack.

“Look to the holy man and focus your fury on him, He could use a challenge!” yelling at Rebecca, a grin on flimsy lips as he awaits for her next attack. Figuring she wasn’t going to attack Azrael, though, that’d delight him to no end.


Nightmare Nurse

“Well… that’s one way to go about it,” the healer from Hell mutters to herself. Azrael switches to nonlethal means at a very fortunate time, and she doesn’t bother repairing the cultists’ limbs because a simple bit of triage renders them a bit lower on the priority scale than her new ally. Able to switch focus, she instead keeps as close to the unleashed Vesper as she dares, weaving together spell after spell to keep her upright as she does battle with the more experienced Etrigan.

She laughs a bit maniacally at the demon as he calls her out. “What makes you think I’m on your side of this, Etrigan?!” Time to drop her colors and hope the right folk notice. She’s expecting him to come after her next, which is all the more reason to keep the halfbreed girl on her clawed feet. “The cultists want to die, it’s their life-force that’s powering the ritual you fucking yurodivy!” With her keen mystical senses, she’d picked it up pretty easily; in certain ways she’s a competent substitute for ol’ Johnny Brit, but as far as attitude, well…

Yeah, maybe, still.



Azrael’s strike lands true. There was no magical recovery from the damage he caused and he successful disarmed, maimed and rendered the cultist absolutely unable to cause harm to himself or anyone else, even if he was howling in pain from both the fire burning at his flesh and the fire of the hell blade licking at his soul.

Vesper found a mild bit of satisfaction as her teeth took hold, the demon’s blood coating her teeth. Even as he pried her maw from around his head that long tongue ran across his cheek. The force at which he pulled her off flipped her over in front of him but she was able to twist before she landed, avoiding the kicking blow and instead striking with her own with her claws. It was easy to tell she was still spitting angry with rage, she was lashing out, if a bit carelessly with the intent of doing harm to the larger demon. It was certainly keeping him busy and distracted and unable to move away from the young demon attacking him.

The cultists were getting their bearings again but they weren’t as quick to action as before. They were absolutely <b>stunned</b> by many things. They had gotten the demons they wanted, perhaps more than they had desired but they had just witnessed the other cultist get completely disabled by the Holy Knight Azrael.

There were no intelligible words coming from Vesper, only an angry hiss as she struck at the demon but there was one action she did take that the demon was familiar with, she was taking a deep breath…



“Bah! Crusader, cease your actions against the cultists, and strike your sword at the woman attempting to heal these men!” shouting at Azrael “If you do this, I promise not to feast upon your bones this night!” Etrigan was currently busy with Rebecca. “It seems I was incorrect and the Nightmare Nurse is *not* on our side” grappling with the angry demon that was formally Rebecca.

“Enough of this, girl. You are clearly not in control!” maybe a little hellfire would do her good. As she swipes at him, he’ll try and grab onto her. If this works, he’ll take a deep breath and then breathe hellfire out at her. Hoping to burn enough of the demon to render it, or her, or both, unconscious. Etrigan was doing what he could, now hopefully Azrael would listen to him. Though, honestly he couldn’t wait until later when he can tell the Order of St Dumas that Azrael took orders from a demon.

Granted, it was for the greater good.

But, it still would tickle him pink.


“I do not take orders from demons! Least of all you.”

Anyone else would see the humor in such a statement given Azrael had indeed been listening to a demon. So far he had appeared to ignore the Nightmare Nurse but he had heard her as she chastised Etrigan and took note of her methods perhaps because they annoyed the yellow skinned loudmouth so.

“Should I heed Etrigan though I would loathe to do so? Tell me what manner of demon plays nursemaid?”

Azrael asks as he steps and closer to Nightmare Nurse his flaming sword aimed at her as he circles careful of any remaining cultist and of course the raging demon girl behind the nurse.

“My Lord commands that I deal with this situation first and foremost. Guide my hand elsewhere and we have no quarrel”


Nightmare Nurse

Her blue eyes go wide open as demon pits paladin against her. An unexpected move, but a clever one. She can feel the heat from the Swords of Sin and Salvation at her back, though she doesn’t turn away from her task, keeping up the healing upon Rebecca through the worst that Etrigan is capable of. Unfortunately, the concentration from the effort renders her somewhat defenseless, but an oath’s an oath regardless of whether she’d taken it voluntarily.

At the very least, Azrael, ever the gentleman, offers her a way out. “Keep disabling the cultists, stop them from killing themselves; I can’t heal them and the girl!” she shouts desperately. “I’m not your enemy here, holy-man!” For what it’s worth, she’s very convincing, even when she lies, but in this rare instance she’s completely sincere. Her aura is one of hot black evil, however, something fundamentally tainted and wrong, though intrinsically that’s not so different from Etrigan’s.

She’s at his mercy, whatever his choice. Drawing in a breath through her nose and planting her thigh-high boots, she focuses her magic through the scepter that she’d conjured from nothing and continues her holy task.



That deep breath meant a scream, and her scream was quite unpleasant at full force. It was that unholy screech, fueled by the imprints of the bat that she had inherited and this time it was much stronger.

It was a grand exchange of the screech and the fires of hell that burst from Etrigan’s belly. While it seared and pained her it, it appeared she had a resistance to its more potent effects. Her long tongue ran over those sharp teeth as she backed away,  planting herself between the demon and the holy man and the mystical nurse woman. She swayed slowly from one foot to another, her head tilting as she waited for one of them to make a move either against her or the Nurse.

Maybe the pain of hellfire brought her to her senses, if only enough for her to understand and comprehend the plot that the yellow demon was now trying to hatch. That was not why they were there. The threat was still there as long as the cultists stood and they were completely unprotected and they were coming to their senses.

One of them got caught in the crossfire of the screech. Immediately the panic took hold, a great fear of bees sending him running and screaming until he unknowingly leapt from the edge of the building. At least his death is far away enough from the Sigil that it didn’t fuel the ritual.

<font color=red>”Kill them and fuel my anger. Kill them and make me stronger. Kill them so I can eat your unworthy <b>heart</b>.</font>” The words were hissed between sharp teeth. Rebecca had figured out what was happening, she felt it the moment the first had leapt onto her sword. It only made her want to cut them down all the more.



“Girl. You are being most unpleasant! Cease these actions! This is not a heart you are eating today!” telling her as she hissed at him. The scream had been unpleasant, but thankfully due to him using his hellfire breath, he was able to counter most of its effects on him. Leaving him with a ringing ear. They were hear to stop the cultists, to stop the ritual. But Nightmare Nurse and Azrael were fouling things up.

“Bah. Strike at her already, Crusader! Your dallyance is becoming quite the chore!” shouting at him. “If we are to live, you must take orders from this demon! I have no reason to lie.” Her trinket may be something to destroy. “If not her, then strike her trinket! Do -something- instead of prance around like some silly court jester!” Holy Men. What a pain in the ass they are to deal with! Jason certainly didn’t have a problem dealing with them. But he’s also not a demon…

“What would your God say if you died here on this spot due to your inaction? The very city is at stake, Knight. If not the world. Heed my word and strike at the Nurse or her trinket!” This. This is why he doesn’t deal with holy men. “If you do not, Holy Man. I shall make sure your Order is nothing but bones and ash when we are done with this.

But first, I must deal with this most dire of situations!” looking to Rebecca, as he works out a plan in his brain.

“Come, Girl. Attack me, and find out what it feels like fight a true demon.” he growls at Rebecca. Hopefully Azrael listens to him, because… damnit. If he doesn’t, Etrigan isn’t going to be too happy!



A knight of the Order did not hesitate to obey his god, and he did not stay his hand when dealing with demons. It was a simple incontrovertible fact of the life he had been called to, had been born to serve. It would bring the eyes of his most immediate higher power when his actions this night became known to his masters. Perhaps the rumblings that claimed he had grown to old to serve as champion were not without merit, not long ago he would have been appalled to even consider his inaction.

“I have been tested, and I have failed.”

At this his sword would be raised and swung for the neck of the Nightmare Nurse. His mind clouded as it might be knew he would not be faulted for removing a demon from the earthly plane, even one that healed.


Night Nurse

The Rod of Asclepius is a manisfestation of her healing magic, not a physical token that can be destroyed or taken away from her; she would’ve loved to have seen Azrael waste his attention upon attacking it. However, unfortunately for her, he doesn’t, instead going for the metaphorical throat of the situation. She really can’t afford to let herself die either, and as Etrigan had let up for a moment she’s no longer distracted from healing the halfbreed and fully able to sense and duck beneath the magical blades, which slice the top of her little nurse-hat off and cause the whole thing to flutter to the ground.

“Welp, it was a nice party, but I’d better be going!” she yells to Etrigan, stepping forward until she’s directly behind Vesper, the real cause of all this carnage and the very linchpin of the ritual itself. Dropping into a curtsey toward the folk trying to kill her, an orange portal opens beneath her, gravity carrying the two anti-heroines downward. The instant they’re through, it disappears into ether.

Meanwhile, at the House of Mystery…

SPLASH! Asa kicks her feet, rising to the surface of the olympic-sized swimming pool. Roman-style columns line the chamber, between them statues carved in the likenesses of the old gods. She swipes her wet blonde locks back from her face, calling out, “Oh Zataaaaannaaaaa,” she calls out. “Brought you a real live one!”



One moment she is being told to stop, the next she is told to bring her claws back to battle against the demon. It didn’t make sense and the confusion revealed itself as she tilted her head and looked him over. She wasn’t quite considering it. Every moment away from the deadly violence was a moment she could get her bearings again. There was a threat that still loomed but there wasn’t an immediate one that she needed to jump after. This wasn’t the time to test herself against him, and such tests could end in a deadly manner. Was she eager for death? Was she willing to risk it and maybe end whatever it was that was happening to her? Things she did not understand, desires and hungers that went against her very human nature.

She snapped her jaws at Etrigan, perhaps in mockery, perhaps to only tease him. However action and movement to the side caught her attention immediately, she sprung to action, one arm raising across to block the blade, another clawed hand in a fist rising up to strike true to the Knight’s chest.

There was no contact, no collision, no satisfying feeling of her claws tearing through armor and into the soft flesh of the human. Instead she fell into water, the force making her screech but it was soundless beneath the surface as she clawed through the liquid to bring herself to the surface.

Pulling her away from the site, away from the scent of blood and the mockery of the demon caused her to change. Or perhaps she just needed a chilly dip to cool off.

All the same, she sputtered as she frantically reached for the side of the pool, pulling herself to the edge and out onto the concrete surface. She didn’t know what happened but she was relieved to be away, to hear only the quiet of the water lapping at the sides of the pool.

“…thank you,” her voice was hoarse from the screaming, or she was just physically exhausted from the shift back to something more human. Either way, she was thankful to be away from that mess. Was she just thrust into another?



“Hmph.” Etrigan nearly snorted when the two were pulled into the orange energy portal. Looking from where they were, he levels his gaze at Azrael, then he grins. “Failed, huh? Sounds like you’ve got something coming to you when you get home.” slowly starting towards the crusader, his grin widening. “You know, if you come worship me…I can give you power that you’ve never imagined, Knight. You can do real good. Better than you can with this .. Order.”

The cultists are running away, and he doesn’t bother to stop them. Knowing that they’re not going to be anymore harmful than they were. They’re souls have already been damned to Hell.

“What do you say, Crusader? You want to bat for the other team?” grinning more. Etrigan is staring the knight down. The Demon doesn’t really want to tangle with the Knight, he’s hoping, if anything to drive the knight away. “We have the best kind of candy…” saying now with a bit of a sing song voice…

Well, as best of a sing song voice he could muster.


Nightmare Nurse

The avatar of annihilation slips from the water nimbly, dressed in a one-piece bathing suit instead of her earlier garb. She turns to sit on the edge, letting her feet dangle in the water a moment. “Just part of the job, sweetie,” she calls over toward the shifted Rebecca, presumably in her original form. Every hybrid tends to be unique, and Asa knows she can’t make any assumptions around her, though from all appearances she seems to have let her guard down. Worse, beneath her bouncy and pleasant demeanor, she’s actually a bit tired.

Being a hero is just exhausting.

“They call me Nightmare Nurse,” she offers, wondering what’s taking Zee so long. Unawares of the current owner of the House she now occupies, and probably for the better, else they might’ve wound up in a Chinese opium den or something instead. “Who’re you?” When she reaches back for a towel, she already knows it’ll be there because she wants it to be; she’s been here before. Hell, she used to own it herself. The House of Mystery has always needed a caretaker, and it hasn’t generally been choosy about it.



She lifted her head for a moment to get a good look at the woman. It was different from her normal set of eyes, the other form heavily relied on other senses it seemed. Pieces of the bat clinging on, even in a form that was demonic in nature. Jason Blood had warned of that, rather asked about it but she didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. Something about it didn’t surprise her or shock her. Her own father’s abilities were transformative, it depended on the situation. Another fearsome fact that just settled in as Rebecca took a deep breath and pushed herself up. Her armor was just ruined, shredded and burned and now sopping wet from the pool.


The name was a bit of a joke, a nickname she had gotten from her father when she was going through a very hard goth phase in her teens. It seemed to fit in this situation. She worried her real name may bring problems down on her family and she wanted to protect them, they didn’t need her issues added onto the pile of all of the other problems they faced.

“You really are a nurse? You stopped that fire from eating me up.”



Azrael turns gripping his blade tightly his eyes burning nearly literally as he looks up into the eyes of Etrigan. On any other day this would be the part where Azrael faced down the demon Etrigan and either added a chapter to his tale or saw it ended. But this would not be that day as fate had already made its choice and a different demon had landed a fata blow to the knight.


Azrael sways as his footing begins to fail him and his sword drops from his hand with a resounding clang, its flame sputtering out a moment later. Touching his now empty hand to his chest he slowly pulls it away to find blood dripping from between his fingers. Glancing down he now sees clearly the wound Rebecca had left in his chest. He could have sworn she had missed…


Night Nurse

Asa sees the lie for what it is, but doesn’t press on it. There’s little to be gained from it, aside from a pretty choice opportunity to set the girl off again and face the demoness one-on-one while she’s weakened from the jump here. And as far as great ideas go, that’s pretty far removed. “Well, don’t ask to see my license,” she laughs, toweling off her hair and then standing up. She hangs up the towel, pretty needlessly, and retrieves a terrycotton robe from the rack, slipping it on over her shoulders.

“I did do that, didn’t I? Come on, let’s go get something to eat.” She wanders from the pool area, and the door for whatever reason leads directly into a middle class-style kitchen/dining room combo. She pulls open the door for the refrigerator and extracts a jug of milk, then slams a few cupboards open and shut as she hunts down some bowls and a box of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal. After pouring some cinnamony bits into both bowls then drowning them in milk, she grabs a spoon and slips onto a cheap-looking wooden chair next to a cheaper-looking fold-out card table.



Rebecca still seemed bewildered. She was in auto-pilot while following the nurse. The very elaborate pool room led to a very modest kitchen. It didn’t make much sense but she was still reeling from the events. At the mention of food she ran her tongue over her teeth and made a grimace. That taste was still in her mouth. She wondered idly if there was a gallon of vodka hidden in a cabinet somewhere in there.

She almost protested, opening her mouth to say ‘no, thanks,’ but the cereal was already poured and drowned in milk. Two bowls, two spoons and she still didn’t even know where she was. Was this supposed to be normal? Just sit down, eat some cereal, talk about shopping and boys or something?

She carefully took a bowl in a shaky hand and plopped into an empty chair. For a long moment she was silent, poking at the cereal as it floated about in the liquid.

“I was trying to save you too. I can’t believe he listened to that tool.”



Etrigan sighed.


Waving a hand.

“You’re no fun…”

”Gone now, O Etrigan

And rise again (or rise once more) the form of man!”

A column of flame would wrap around the Demon as he stared Azrael down, when the flames dissipated, Jason Blood would be standing where Etrigan once stood.

“I’m afraid tonight isn’t the day you die, Knight.” offering as he kneeled down and looked the wounds over.

“I have a friend who can fix you up.” explaining as he pulled the knight back up to his feet, letting him lean against Jason. Casting an incantation, the two of them would vanish. Jason knew plenty of healers. This was not going to be the day that Azrael died.


Nightmare Nurse

The monster in human guise calmly eats cereal, stainless steel clinking softly against porcelain on occasion. If Rebecca cared to look, she would almost certainly find whatever she truly wanted here, though of course she does not, nor does she understand the nature of the strange domecile they are currently located in. Outside the window above the sink, it’s a beautiful sunny day out, a white picket fence bordering a mowed lawn and beyond that a working-class neighborhood where people almost certainly do not own Roman swimming pools. It’s a panorama, another thing concocted for their benefit, though if one were to crawl out that window to explore…

Well, the pleasant lie is Massive, and one could easily become lost in it.

She points with her spoon at ‘Vesper’. “Don’t think I didn’t notice that! I really appreciate the gesture,” she says, after swallowing a mouthful of Excellence. “Etrigan’s a tricky bastard, though. I mean, I’m not too shabby myself but I was kind of at a disadvantage, being late to the party and all.” She blinks, her eyes blue rather than the honey-color they were when she channeled the Rod. “So was that your first time?”



“He is what he is,” that was the long and short of it.

He was going to say and do whatever twisted a situation into his favor. Rebecca didn’t know much about demons but she did have a very good idea they were the tricky sort. If she had been on her toes, she might have suggested a similar ploy. It felt within her nature to do so.

“Yeah. I’ve been hunting them down a while. I hear….things. It was driving me nuts and I wanted to stop it before something horrible happened.”

She decided to try and take a bite of that irony with some cereal before she said much more. It became horrible, it was a blood bath. Two, maybe three fell by her own hand.

“It was something done to me when I was a newborn, I guess. Morgaine turned a bunch of babies into demons. I didn’t exactly get the cure because I didn’t show any signs, like something in my blood hid the signs of it. I don’t know. Jason Blood would but I don’t want to talk to him right now.”


Nightmare Nurse

Asa’s a liar herself, and a conniver; she understands the game and doesn’t hold it against the demon. Among the ancient and the immortal, the truly timeless, the truth is a bendy and inconvenient thing. Doesn’t mean she holds Azrael in any great esteem, but the religious tend to be pretty gullible, else there wouldn’t be any demons left, let alone useful idiots to summon them.

Crunching up some more cereal between her borrowed molars, she listens to the story. Not entirely unfamiliar, but it’s got its own twist. “Not to be a Debbie Downer but in trying to stop it, you almost made it happen,” she points out, no hint of judgement in her voice. It’s not really her place, and the loss of life doesn’t bother her much given that she’d still discharged her own duties to the best of her ability.

And there’s something unironically nice to be said for good intentions.

Smiling coyly, she says, “I could tell you, too; I’m the greatest mystic physician walking the earth today. But it won’t matter; you need to know what’s going on with you now, and how to control it. That’s why I’ve brought you here.”


There was so much sugar in the cereal it nearly made her teeth ache, but it did mask the other flavor that had been lingering.

Her eyes rose up when the Nurse mentioned that she nearly made it happen. She wasn’t wrong and the look she gave said that before she looked back at the less interesting cereal bowl.

“I think it was a trap. Every death just made me feel more…bitchy? I don’t know how to explain it. I just wanted to devour everything.”

A brow quirked at the mention of being the best physician. Wherever ‘here’ was, it was odd and she couldn’t quite place what it was or where it was. It didn’t feel normal.

“That would help. What’s the catch?”

She felt like there was something to it, there was always something to it. She was just naturally very cautious about these things.


Nightmare Nurse

Asa nods vehemently, clutching her bowl in both hands. “It was a trap, and it almost worked too, but fortunately for you I was the guest of honor at a bachelor party in Jersey Shore and… well, let’s just say it got my attention.” It was the reason she’d shown up and immediately began healing the cultists, something that had occupied her and prevented her from fully dishing about it until now.

When asked about the ‘catch’, the monster grins broadly. “Clever girl. With magic there’s always a price to be paid, but in this instance that price isn’t mine to give. My… associate will, I’m sure, make her own demands but she’s easy enough to get along with – and easy on the eyes, too.” The Nightmare Nurse winks for emphasis, trying to add a little levity into the rather unpleasant topic.

“Mostly, you seem like a good kid and I do hate to see that corrupted. And it was nice to play the hero, even if I’m only moonlighting.” She squints a bit, then sets aside her half-eaten cereal. “While we wait, we should probably find you something a little more comfortable to wear.”



“Probably got a lot of attention…” she trailed off into a mumble.

It wasn’t her intention, she was hoping to get in, mess things up and get out. There were entities in that city she did not want to get the attention of and some had a very close eye on her.

The news didn’t stir any hope for a fantastic resolution to this. She was trying to look at it in a good light. So she’d meet some more people in the community. She’d be able to control herself and maybe learn to control her temper.

“I’m trying to do the right thing. Even if that’s going to be a losing fight against what I am. There are worse things in that city than me though so, it’s whatever.”

She glanced down at her clothing again and sighed. A robe would have been nice, just something fluffy and soft and warm to curl up into. The fight had very much been taken out of her and she felt like she was waiting for some impending doom to come down and strike her. She was pretty sure she felt her claw stick in, she felt the throb of a heart wrenching in damage for only half a second. Even thinking about it had her push the bowl forward.

“Alright, let’s raid the closet.”


Nightmare Nurse

“Oh, all the right kinds,” Asa agrees dreamily.

She sighs wistfully at the girl’s admission, seeing the familiarity there. The thing that had really made her invested in the situation in the first place, and confirms her continuing interest. “You’re not the first person to be screwed from birth, Vesper. But anyone can change, anyone, and if you really want it then don’t let anyone tell you you’re too tainted, too broken to be fixed.” Smiling sympathetically, she’s more than willing to leave it at that, to not mention how much of herself she sees in that story.

The two of them stand and leave the room through a second door, stepping into a lavish bedroom with a heart-shaped bed and so many mirrors, some fogged and hard to distinguish shapes in, some convex or concave or tinted. An open accordian-style closet door reveals a rack of clothes and many shoes of grungy, functional style, all of which should be about Rebecca’s size. At the end of the rack, a luxurious-looking mink fur robe hangs invitingly.

Nightmare Nurse, meanwhile, flops back on the bed, pale legs hanging over the edge as she watches her own reflection with a smile. “Get changed, I won’t look,” she promises.



“I don’t and won’t,” that very subject hit very close to home.

She never believed her parents were beyond redemption. She was told they did such horrible things and caused so many problems and even at times were mentally unwell. It didn’t matter though, she believed in the good in them. All in all, they were great parents. They cared for her and her brother fiercely even if a bedtime hug was sometimes in the comfort of being enveloped in a huge leathery bat wing.

With a sigh she finally was willing to open up, she tried to distract herself by rifling through the clothes. Old shirts she thought were long gone, that her mother might have thrown out. She plucked up one that had been her favorite, it even still felt like her favorite.

“You can call me Becky. Rebecca Langstrom. If that puts anything into perspective. My father is a pretty well known ‘monster’ in his own right. Haven’t seen him in a long time though. He sends me stuff at school sometimes, says he’s really proud of me. My brother is so genetically messed up it’s not funny. So…I guess they thought I’d be the normal one to break the cycle.”

She snorted as she got undressed. She didn’t care if the woman looked or not. She was no curvy Zatanna, more lanky and slender with more of a dancer’s build than anything.

“I sure broke it. This look okay?”

She spread her arms out, the shirt was oversized and went down about mid-thigh but it seemed to work. She only bounced around awkwardly as she tried to pull on some shorts.

“Sorry, thought you’d get some confessions of secret boy crushes or something and you got my life’s story instead. I’ve been mucking around the occult since I was twelve, I guess I should have seen it coming.”


Nightmare Nurse

Asa had known many things about Vesper at a glance, maybe even things the girl herself didn’t know, though she hadn’t known her name. It does bring it a bit in perspective, but even the Langstrom family are newcomers. She might glance at a picture-box now and again as she steps past but she doesn’t know a whole lot about their problems. From what little she did know, well, it hadn’t seemed infernal.

True to her word, she doesn’t look, but more out of respect than anything else. The thing might be the master of the inappropriate but even she has a sense of decency at odd times like this, particularly when she’s uncomfortable enough. She’s a nurse, damnit, not a babysitter and where the hells is Zatanna?

She rises to a sitting position, nodding approvingly. “Very retro. Is that Marilyn Manson?” She squints at the graphic on the front before rising to her feet, waving a hand over herself to change her outfit back to thigh-high boots and long, long gloves covered in gauzy bandages. The robe remains, lending a somewhat comical air. “Oh, come on, I didn’t expect gossip – give me some credit! I’ve been mucking around the occult since time was popularly considered a passing fad.”

Something that Becky had not yet questioned was the nature of her ‘rescuer’, she who could weave magic fairly effortlessly and seemed unaffected by the most horrible of demonic entities. Naturally, Asa does very little to dispel her aura of mystery and intrigue.