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 Mortal Combat (open)

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Victor Steele
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:33 am

"Is it love to rape somebody with a whiskey bottle? Is it love to beat and torment them for acting independently? Open another letter Angelo. She was worried for you, she wanted to know you were safe. And when she thought you were dead, she had the afterlife scoured for your spirit."

"Let me tell you something, me sitting here right now? That's expensive. Or it would be if I wanted it to be. I'm probably the only man in town who can bring you back to reality and help you see the truth. And I'm doing it because I want to save you. To save your sanity, to save Angelo the man, to save your soul. And that's not all. I've got God's agent on earth interceding for you right now. An awful lot of time and power is being invested into this little chat, because Griselda still cares for you. Deeply."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:39 am

"Then why did she let him do this to me?!"

The root was starting to show itself. Just a glimpse. But there.
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Victor Steele
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:44 am

"She didn't. She escaped. Then she started trying to find you. Everyone said you were dead. So she started looking where dead people go. Then she found you in Seattle and went to save you. But Joseph was there and you weren't. They fought. She won, but you were gone. Joseph was an evil, powerful man and kept you hidden away very well. But she never stopped looking."

Victor smiled softly. "She still cares Angelo. She said the truth is still in your mind, and each time you hear the truth it will come out and fight with the lies. Joseph was a monster. He raped, murdered and tortured anyone who angered him. He lied to you, destroyed your face and tried to shatter your mind. I can fix your mind, Griselda can fix your face. But you have to take that first step."

The Ventrue stood up and walked over to Joseph, and laid in as much of his considerable natural charm and leadership ability that he could bring to bear before holding out his hand. "We can make you whole again if you will but take the chance. Come with me."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:34 am

Angelo actually took both of his fists, hitting himself in the temples on both sides of his head. It wasn't Victor's fault. His life had turned topsy-turvy the moment that his blood bond to Joseph shattered, then seeing Griselda again made it worse...and now....

He looked up at Victor, so very wary. "Where are we going?"
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Victor Steele
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 4:00 am

"To get your blood if you understand the reality of your situation now. And to bring you back to the real world. "
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:32 am

"The reality of my situation never changed," he said through clenched teeth. That was true. He was starting to remember different things, though. That made everything so much more difficult for him to understand. It didn't change anything -- it just served to tear him up inside.

He was starting to remember. He remembered waking up that morning, making coffee for himself. Staring at the long, wooden stake that Griselda had given him, along with the book on his nightstand. He wasn't entirely sure of the point of giving him both, except that one did, in fact, have to do with the other. He remembered his mouth setting into a grim line as he dressed himself, remembered putting on his boots and finally sliding the stake into his back pocket. Under his jacket, where no one would see it. The address she had written for him was in another pocket and he'd glanced at it, to make sure he knew where to go. And he'd stood up, ready to leave to make sure that the deed was done. The front door had opened.

He remembered the man standing there. He'd not bothered to knock, opting to wait for Angelo to just open the door. "Hello, Angelo," the man had said -- though Angelo had never seen him before, never in his life. He had never seen him, but he knew him immediately. From the black, shaggy hair to the cane that the man leaned against, Griselda's description of Joseph had been perfect. He remembered the flash of rage he'd felt when he saw, for the first time, the man who had taken the greatest love of his life and turned her into a terrified, bruised mess. He remembered reaching for the stake in his pocket and he remembered just how easily Joseph had disarmed him. Angelo was a fighter and the other man had taken his weapon away as if he were a child.

He remembered sitting at the desk in his bedroom, the candlelight flickering as Joseph held the sword to his throat -- reciting words that he'd been forced to write. He remembered feeling so helpless and he even remembered feeling how Griselda had been right; Joseph was probably the most evil man in the world. He'd started off refusing to write the words Joseph dictated -- and Joseph had countered that Angelo would never be able to help Griselda if he were dead. Angelo knew that, too, which was why he wrote the words Joseph told him to. He still held hope that he would be able to help her, save her, from this monster.

He remembered hanging from the ceiling by his wrists. He remembered the pain each time more of the hateful fluid had been injected into his face. He remembered his vision going blurry as Joseph put the needle directly into his eye, full of the acid that was tearing his face apart. He remembered wishing she had been there -- and he remembered being thankful that she wasn't. And by the time Joseph had finished with him, he remembered feeling so very angry that Griselda wasn't there. Joseph had sent for Griselda to save him, but she hadn't come. That stuck with him, too. She could have saved him if she had only come to fulfill Joseph's request. She'd refused and Angelo had suffered.

It reminded him that she hadn't cared for him at all. But if she hadn't cared, what was this box full of letters? Why had she kept the box, full of his own keepsakes? Why had she kept the gifts that he had given her? Why is he now finding out that she looked for him, searched for him, for decades? These were answers he didn't have and that made it worse. He put his hand into Victor's and hung his head, defeated.

"I'm tired of fighting," he growled softly.
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Victor Steele
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:14 am

Victor took Angelo's hand and smiled softly.

"We'll make you whole again Angelo. "
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:36 am

He shook his head.

"I'm whole. I'm just not myself." There was a huge difference there. Riding on hatred for so long meant that he was still a whole man, just that the things that made him who he was happened to be changing now.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:38 am

"We can fix that " he smiled "The hatred is a lie. You've seen the truth, and now you can start to embrace it"
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:38 am

There was a gentle knock at the door and she stepped inside, a large tray in her left hand.

"Gnocchi in Fontina sauce," she said softly, looking at both Victor and Angelo. "Salad and bread, with another Tom Collins."

She didn't really want to interrupt them. They were having a moment.

"And your request as well, Victor." The bottle of blood for the Kindred came from a young violinist.

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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:40 am

"Thank you." he smiled while helping Griselda with what she was carrying.

"Angelo, tell her what you told me. How you are tired of fighting."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:43 am

He actually kind-of couldn't.

He looked up and stared at Griselda, almost like seeing her for the very first time. She was beyond beautiful now and that worried him quite a bit -- with a pretty face comes the prettiest lies. But she held a tray in her hand and his nose could tell that she was telling the truth about what was under the silver dome that covered the plate to keep the heat inside.

He didn't rise from his seat, he was just busy staring. "You remembered," he said, almost in disbelief. "I haven't had gnocchi with Fontina in decades." He hadn't. He hadn't been able to stomach it, because the dish always reminded him of her. It's what he would order from his favorite Italian restaurant when he would take her there for dinner.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:47 am

"She cares about you Angelo. That's why she remembered your favorite food, your favorite drink..."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:50 am

She turned to sit the tray down on a nearby table. And much like she had done decades before, she moved to place the bowl of gnocchi and the drink in front of him. She glanced up at Victor and paused, licking her lips before she said anything, taking the moment to try to figure out what she wanted to say.

"I remember everything, Angelo. I remember everything about you. Please look at me," she said quietly, crouching a bit so that he wouldn't have to look up very far to see her. "I've missed you," she said it softly, not wanting to risk him being angry again.

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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:53 am

He had stared at her, but it was mostly him staring through her. Seeing into the past, into things that were sometimes real, sometimes not. He heard Victor but it didn't necessarily register with him. His whole world had gone sideways.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, he looked up at her, into her face as she requested. He fought the urge that caused the bile to rise in his throat. She was pretty and he knew her to be a manipulative bitch. But he could hear the sincerity in her voice and he was remembering other things now, too. Other things that made him hate himself as much as he sometimes hated her. He even surprised himself.

"I've missed you too," he finally said. But he didn't attempt to move at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:00 pm

Victor smiled and sipped at his blood. Progress.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:10 pm

There was some progress, but it wasn't quite enough. She hung her head a little bit and closed her eyes - then leaned forward and pressed her lips to his forehead.

"Eat," she said softly. "You look like you haven't had a decent meal in an age."

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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:12 pm

"Are these the actions of a liar Angelo?"
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:14 pm

He shied away from her touch. He didn't want her to touch him. But he couldn't move quite fast enough, so she kissed his forehead, even though he didn't want her to. His hands curled into fists again.

He hated that she was right. He hated that she could see him and know he hadn't eaten well. He hated that he hadn't eaten well in several decades. He could afford to. But he was running on a diet of rage and hatred for quite some time, so he hadn't eaten well in a very long time. He reached for the bowl of food she'd put on the table in front of him silently. And in silence, he started to eat, his eyes mostly closed, since the memories were flooding him again and he really had a difficult time with that.

"Anyone can act, if they have the right motivation," he said to Victor finally -- though it was clear that his resolve was weakening on that point.
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:19 pm

"What if it isn't acting?" he said gently "What if it's genuine? You probably don't know this, but there is no love lost between my clan and hers, and more specifically in my house Tremere is a dirty word. Yet I am helping her with this. I gain nothing, nothing at all. In fact I'm sacrificing an evening with my family to be here with you. Would this be the stuff of lies and acting?"
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:23 pm

She sometimes couldn't help herself.

"Bitch, please," she said to Victor with a smile. "You love me and you know it."

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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:27 pm

"You, yes" he chuckled. "Probably Orrie too. Outlier Tremere are outlier"
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:27 pm

He actually snorted a quiet laugh into his food. He wasn't used to Griselda sounding confident about anything. But even he could tell when she was making a joke. He continued to eat, but he was somewhat amused.

"And if it is genuine?" he was amused, but there were things Victor wasn't taking into account. "Then what? I'm supposed to apologize, get down on my knees, beg her forgiveness, go back to the way things were? There's no real moving forward from here."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:29 pm

"What do you have to apologize for? You are as much a victim here as anyone else. You've done no wrong, committed no crime. Your mind was not your own, you are free of responsibility for actions done under the forced influence of another. What matters is how you go forward from the time your memories are your own and you are aware of acting on your own free will without the forced influence of others."
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PostSubject: Re: Mortal Combat (open)   Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:35 pm

He shook his head and sat the bowl of food aside. It was empty. He'd eaten the entire plate in the time space of about three minutes. He hadn't realized how hungry he'd been.

"Everyone has a choice," he argued. "It doesn't matter what I believed. It doesn't matter what is true and what wasn't. I held that girl by the throat and I raised my hand to her." In his eyes, probably due to her size and all, she was a 'girl' and not a 'woman'. It happens when someone is small. "It doesn't matter what assumptions I was operating under. What matters is that I had the choice to either speak to her in a civil fashion, even raise my voice in an argument and I chose to do neither of those. I chose to raise my hand to her, to become the very thing that I despise. How, exactly, am I absolved of my actions when I have, just a week past, done the very deed that started me down this road to begin with? How do I move forward, knowing that the thing that I wanted to protect her from is now within me?"
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