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 Mortal Combat (open)

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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:48 pm

"So disappointed," he muttered under his breath. "He would be so disappointed in me that I couldn't hold my shit together. Control. That's what is needed. Control. Control of the situation, control of your surroundings. Control of yourself, though, because control originates within oneself." He sounded a little bit insane, actually, parroting Joseph's words under his breath.

He turned to follow Victor, though, if only because he wanted to get out, get away from Griselda's presence. So she couldn't spread her lies anymore. He was almost starting to believe her again.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:53 pm

Victor went into the empty room and sat down.

"There is a time for control, and there is a time to understand it can break down and that it is ok to do that. In your case it is breaking down due to circumstances beyond your control. Blood bonds and domination are fading and that leaves your mind whirling. You know the problem with Tremere? You guys showed up, looked around and after ripping off the Tzmisce for their magic, you ripped off the Ventrue for their organization and culture. But you did it all wrong and backwards. Now Ventrue, we keep our control, but when we know we cannot keep it, we step away and let it go until we can manage ourselves again. There is no shame right now in you losing your cool, it is to be expected, and allowed because it is a healing process."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:10 pm

What Victor couldn't have known was that Angelo knew very little about Kindred. Tremere or Ventrue, Tzimisce or Toreador -- Joseph had not only done a very good job of isolating Angelo from Griselda, he had isolated him from all Kindred. So he stared at Victor blankly for a moment.

"Control is all there is," he said, once again parroting Joseph's words. "One cannot truly understand anything until they have control of themselves. Losing yourself, losing your cool, makes you do foolish things that can get you hurt or killed. I am not foolish and that's the problem. She raises emotions in me that I can't control and that makes her dangerous. I shouldn't be here, but I don't have a choice."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:13 pm

"Ordinarily, under ordinary circumstances you are probably right. Under duress yet with the capability of retaining focus you are also likely right. Under circumstances where you are having a temporary lapse of ability due to outward circumstances beyond your control as you are doing now, you are wrong. In fact, fighting it only makes it worse."

"Do you believe in God?"
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:14 pm

He stared at Victor again.

"No. Not as you might. If God does exist, he is one vengeful asshole."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:17 pm

Victor pursed his lips and smiled "Mmm... there is what I believe and what I have seen with my own two eyes. I might add for a while it was one eye, but Griselda restored it. There is peace and justice and mercy in the world. That too I learned again through Griselda's help."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:19 pm

He shook his head.

"I'm sure there are those things in the world. But she can show you these things because she hasn't gotten around to betraying you yet. She's not seen a benefit in doing so. Once she does, she will betray you, too. And then you will know a modicum of what I feel every time I think of her." He looked down at his hands, one of which was still bleeding from his encounter with the glass. "There can be no peace, no mercy and no justice so long as she walks the Earth."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:25 pm

"I was on that road, she showed me a few things I was missing that made it all click though. You should heal your hand too. "

"You know she used to steal children from death camps? Well so did I, seems it was a popular hobby for a while. In fact..." he laughed "Turns out we were both rescuing people at the same time we just never crossed paths. "

"Let me tell you about the Griselda I know. She's compassionate. She wants to love and to give love. She's the best friend of my adopted daughter, and when you can get past the protective shell she has that Joseph made her learn, she's quite the person. You need to understand Angelo that reality has been stolen from you. You've been robbed and turned into a weapon by a thief."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:15 am

His lips pressed into a grim line.

"I know what she said she did. But when you've been lied to by someone, you learn to never trust what they say. I can't trust anything she says, I know she lies."

That was a true statement for any Kindred, really. It's part of their nature to lie, since the number one rule of a Kindred is to lie. Lie about who you really are, humans can't know that you exist. He growled softly under his breath again, starting to fidget a little in his chair.

"I am not a weapon. I never was. I was lost until Joseph found me and saved me. Compassion is for the weak. And Griselda has never been weak."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:33 pm

"Open the box Angelo. And I'm telling you what I've seen myself, not what she's told me. If you wish to accuse me of lying, you can, but that will go poorly because while I lie when needed I tend to remain as honest as possible."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:02 pm

He pulled the box out from under his hoodie -- it was anyone's guess where he'd stashed it. He didn't open it right away, he ran his fingertips along the engraving on the top of the box almost reverently.

"This box was my mother's, you know. She has no business having it."

He still didn't open it. He was taking a few more moments to get his thoughts under control and having a very hard time doing so.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:03 pm

"She had no business having it, or Joseph has lead you to believe she had no business having it? She told me what's inside isn't what you think. "
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:09 pm

He shook his head.

"She has no business. And I'm not sure what she means by it not being what I think, since I didn't think anything. At first, I thought it might be blood, you know, since I am going to need blood soon. But it's not heavy enough for that and it makes too much noise."

He still refused to open the box.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:11 pm

"Open the box in good time, but I suspect it will be important if you open it now. "
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:17 pm

He looked up at Victor.

"I'm not sure I can stomach any more of her lies, honestly."

He said it through clenched teeth. He knew she was a liar and yet, he loved her. He hated her, wanted nothing more but to see her punished for her sins, but he still was drawn to her. He wanted to kill her, but he wanted to hold her. He never wanted to see her again but all he wanted to do was to touch her face and look into those blue eyes of hers. It was a war that he fought within himself every time he thought of her -- and she was almost always on his mind.

He opened the worn, old lid of the box, his jaw set as he continued to fight his inner war. And nearly dropped the box entirely.

In life, the box had contained his mother's jewelry, what pieces had been left to him. Those pieces were still inside -- she hadn't taken them and disposed of them, as Joseph had told her that she would do. But there was something else in the box, something more important to the situation at hand. There were stacks upon stacks of envelopes. Different addresses on each one, but all addressed to him -- written in Griselda's pretty, flowing script. And on each and every envelope was also written 'Return to Sender' -- in Angelo's own hand.

And he had no memory of ever writing such words on any envelope. There was also a letter in there, buried beneath the stacks of envelopes -- the letter he had been forced to write to her all those years ago, Joseph dictating his words, telling her that he loved her but he couldn't go through with it, that he had to leave.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:22 pm

Victor didn't attempt to look in the box, he just leaned back and sipped at his drink.

"She's not the liar you've been forced to believe she is. You've been manipulated by a master manipulator, and by a twisted, warped individual who was incapable of forming a healthy relationship. He had to force his ideas on you through pain and use of vampiric powers, because they were unnatural."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:28 pm

He was getting confused again. He could see his own handwriting easily enough and recognized it. But he had no memory of ever receiving a letter from Griselda, much less returning it to her. Not to mention that there were dozens of them. Dozens and dozens. It was a big box; there were at least eighty letters in there.

"She lied to me!" It was a shout, but really a whispered one. Full of loathing and conviction, because he knew she had lied to him. She even admitted that she had lied to him.

He actually dropped the box on the floor at his feet and picked up one of the letters. The envelope had never been opened and he was starting to become frustrated - which meant that, since the paper was very old and fragile, he was likely going to rip it. But he needed to prove a point to the man sitting across from him. Here, old man -- see her lies for yourself. He pulled the letter out of the envelope and handed it to Victor.

"She's not a liar? Read that. Just read that shit and you tell me again she's not lying." His rage was building and he was seething again, speaking through clenched teeth.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:37 pm

Victor picked up the letter and looked at Angelo and smiled softly. "Calm down. Artificial controls in your mind are breaking down and they are causing you distress. It's ok though."

He took out an expensive looking pen knife, good for little more than cutting open small things, and slit the top of the envelop open and started to read the letter.

"Angelo -- I'm so sorry, my love, for ever getting you mixed up in this mess. I understand your hesitation and change of heart; any sane man would likely have run away a long time ago. I wish I could take back all of this, the whole situation, the nasty mess that it's become. I never wanted you to feel as though you didn't have a choice - you've always had a choice. Part of me wishes that you had never met me. Part of me wishes that you didn't love me. This last few months has been hard on us both, especially with the way Joseph seemed to be getting worse and making it harder for us to be together. And, I suppose, that's a large part of what led you to the decision to leave. I don't blame you in the least - I really wish you had let me know where you were going, though. I'd have followed you anywhere you wished to go, Joseph be damned. Please try to be happy, wherever you are. Make a life for yourself without the chaos of Boston. I'll not interfere in your life, I just want to know that you're safe - and happy. If you let me know that, I won't write to you again - I will leave you in peace. I just need to know that you're all right. All my love, Griselda"

Victor looked Angelo square in the face after he finished reading.

"Well?"
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:42 pm

His hands were shaking. Not once did she call him weak or a fool. At least, not in the words that Victor said. But that didn't mean much, as far as he could tell. His hands were shaking again.

"She stopped coming," he finally said. "She used to come and see me three, four times a week. She stopped coming. She said he was starting to follow her, so she could only sneak away once a week, sometimes only once every two weeks. I didn't believe her. I thought there was someone else."

Even then, he'd thought that there was someone else. That she wasn't visiting him because there was someone better than him that she was seeing. He remembered seeing her with someone else, once, a smile on her face as she snuggled close for a kiss. The bad part was that he was starting to forget what that man's face had looked like. He used to be so clear. But his face was starting to slowly fade from Angelo's mind and he couldn't see the man anymore. Was it true? Was it all a lie? He had seen that man's face for decades and now, he couldn't even tell you what kind of build the man had. Had that man ever even existed?
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:44 pm

"That's because she was being controlled, stalked and tortured by him. You do know he tortured her, right? Tortured her for ever daring to want to leave him to be with you."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:10 am

He shook his head.

"He wouldn't do that. He loved her."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:13 am

"No he didn't. He owned her. He controlled her. And worse."

Victor reached into his briefcase and held out a flask. "Would you like some whiskey?"
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:17 am

Angelo reacted before thinking about it. He was actually looking through the box again, pulling out a second letter. So he moved without actually thinking, on instinct.

He smacked the hand that offered him the flask away, rather hard. Slapped it away from him.

"No!" he growled, his head jerking upward to stare at Victor with pure anger in his eyes.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:23 am

"That was rum actually" he smiled "Like you used to run aboard Visenda? Took me a little time to place you Angelo. I was in Boston then too. Only I had big ships, ocean going freighters, but everyone on the waterfront knew Visenda. Gorgeous vessel. I've always had a thing for fast cruisers. I know Joseph raped Griselda with a bottle because his shirt wasn't ironed, I know he broke her jaw and wrist and kept her from feeding for a month because she investigated a bomb blast... I know Joseph took you away to torment Griselda, and when he lost her, he focused on you. I know too she never stopped looking for you."

Victor paused and glanced at his phone. "I did some digging. She was even hiring people to search for you from beyond the grave, thinking you were dead. Until that night in Seattle of course... Pirate radio? That's so 1970. Did Joseph have a CB rig too?"
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:30 am

His breathing was starting to get more rapid, more shallow. His hands curling into fists, so tightly that his knuckles were white.

"Enough!" he shouted, bringing a fist down againstthe arm of the chair he sat in. "Joseph would never do such a thing! Not only did he love that lyinglittle bitch, he would consider it vulgar. She's lying to you."
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