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This post was last modified: 09-21-2017, 05:58 PM by Tisu Bagci Posted | 09-21-2017, 05:41 PM

Trigger Warning: Torture


Last week, Tisu had cracked a case that had been plaguing his docket and obsessing his mind for months. He had made the arrests on Monday, a whole seven operatives of Invidia going to the Panopticon, including a rumored captain, an entire money laundering operation effectively shut down.

Today, he was out on a blind date. It had been a bit of a surprise. She'd called him, said she'd gotten his number from a friend, said she'd lost her husband and that they could just talk.

A bit reluctantly, he said yes.

He saw her running up, a curly halo of red hair around her ears, wearing a simple blouse and a skirt that flapped and clung to her lean, lovely legs.

"Did you wait long?" she panted. She stuck her hand forward, blushing a fetching shade of red. "Name's Robin."

"Tisu," he said, standing up. He towered over her. He tried to smile, but it was like his lips didn't want to work.

Tisu Bagci was not a man who came out with his whole life story upon meeting someone. He was a good man. He was an honorable man. He was an honest man, when he did talk.

But he was not someone who spent large amounts of time chatting about himself, his past, or his opinions. He was a good listener, but not much of a talker, as his wife always laughed.

She had liked American musicals, and often sang 1776's He Plays the Violin when they went to the City and the song would be translated properly. If he closed his eyes, he could almost still hear her voice, serenading him with the song she always claimed reminded him of her big, quiet husband. He cocked his ear unconsciously, his eyes narrowing, as if she would sing again.

"Do you want to follow me over here?" she said. "There's a really pretty view of the harbor."

He'd said sure, and followed her.

The attacker used an invisibility dominion. Tisu hadn't known he was there until the syringe filled with anti-dominion drugs were jammed into his neck.

Tisu stumbled. The last image to hit his eyes as they closed was the redhead watching him impassively as he fell.

Tisu rolled his head, feeling drool on his lips. He twitched awake, his hands jerking to wipe his face, and couldn't move them. Pain jolted through his wrists when he tried.

He snapped awake, starring around wildly. His heart battered against his chest. His powerful muscles bunched and rolled against the bonds.

"There's a gun on you, Detective Bagci."

Tisu froze, panting. He looked up and saw the weapon, a browning machine gun that would turn him into mincemeat with one flick of the trigger. A man who wouldn't have looked at all amiss in a PTA meeting, wearing a ragged t-shirt and a pair of shorts and flipflops that all looked disposable, sat casually behind it. A table next to him held a great deal of things Tisu didn't want to look at. Metal briefcases of varying sizes were arrayed around him, some on the floor. A bead of sweat dripped off Tisu's nose. More trickled down his broad back, and chilled in the air without a shirt to wick them off his skin. He still wore his pants, but not his shoes. The floor was rough and cold. He looked down at it. It was concrete and had rusty stains that made Tisu wince, small eyes wide. The warehouse was neither dark nor bright. It was lit like most rooms you entered. A set of metal stairs led down into it.

The man stood. Tisu jumped against the zip ties that held him to a chair.

Tisu had been taught what to do if captured as a Legionnaire.

"I'm Tisu Bagci. Detective of the Legion. Badge 67833. My date of birth is April 3rd, 1983." He closed his lips. His voice had been hoarse, but steady.

The man smiled slow and wide. "You're very by the books, detective." He reached down and grabbed an unlabeled briefcase from the assortment of them. He came out with a syringe and a vial, which he began measuring out. "This is an antidominion drug that'll make it impossible for biomancers to help you," he informed Tisu. Tisu gulped. "Really, I shouldn't bother with this. You're a dead man anyway. You and any family you had. You know the Kairos drill. Three generations forward and three generations back."

Tisu's breath caught. The bonds rattled as he shook. Still, he said nothing.

He had cousins, in Samarkand. He didn't know them well, but he'd been to their weddings. They had families. Some had children.

The torturer put down the vial and reached beside him to pick up a cattle prod off the table. A flick and the buzz of electricity filled the room.

Tisu's mouth was completely dry, watching helplessly as the man approached. His eyes had this dumb look a cow gets before it's slaughtered.

The prod jabbed into his side and he convulsed. He didn't come back to himself for a few minutes. When he did, he was leaning forward in the chair, blood dripping from his ankles and down his wrists in warm red rivulets. Tears were dripping reflexively from his eyes.

He turned them up and saw the man placing the syringe down on the table, completely empty.

"Let's see." The man was pondering over implements. "What should I use on you first?"

Tisu couldn't stop crying. "Please," he said, a single desperate word.

The torturer turned and smiled at him. "Breaking already, Detective Bagci? A big fellow like you?"

Tisu stared, his big body shaking like a seizure. He tried to remember the tricks he'd used to handle pain as a boy—tried to find some strength in them, at least enough to keep silent.

The baton came first. Tisu felt his arm break, heard a sickening crack. The man must have had superior strength. Within minutes it was swelling to the size of a melon. Tisu felt the shards of his bone cutting into him, stabbing him inside.

The next one was on his stomach. Tisu vomited onto the floor from the force, vision blacking. He was nearly delirious with pain. Some of his ribs were now broken. He was having a devil of a time just drawing breath.

The torturer had a knife when next he was aware of him. Tisu's vision was blacking and hazy. But it fixated on that knife.

"Just got to get these pants off," the torturer assured him, and Tisu whined. He tried to bite him, and a length of metal lifted off the table, wafted over, and wrapped around his neck, holding it up. Straightening made him scream, the pain in his ribs insane.

The torturer cut open his pants and stopped, staring. "Damn," he chuckled. "Big boy, aren't you? This part's supposed to make you ashamed, not me."

He still cut them off, not being exactly precise whether he cut cloth or skin.

Vulnerable, wheezing around the metal, bathed in sweat, and skin mottled and sickly from bruising. The vomit lay on the concrete and began to stink. Tisu could smell it, but thanks to the metal around his neck, he could no longer see it.

The man walked over, picked up the cattle prod, and came waltzing back. Tisu was trying to fall unconscious: at least that way, he wouldn't feel.

The one comforting thought he could get in his mind was, maybe there really is a heaven, even though I've never believed in one. Maybe Gina would be waiting for him there. He wasn't crying anymore, just staring at the man with eyes wide with shellshock and horror.

He already knew no one would save him.

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Posted | 09-22-2017, 02:06 PM





Smile and we smile, the lords of many lands;
Frown and we smile, the lords of our own hands;
For man is man and master of his fate.


GABRIEL De La Croix
Vice Lord of INVIDIA




♥ ♣ ♦ ♣


He watches the monitor with sick fascination, barely remembering to breath as he watches that familiar form twist in pain as the torturer expertly takes him apart. He half wishes he hadn’t decided to check up on what was happening, at the Legionnaire who’d been a thorn in his side since he’d forced his way to the top. It was embarrassing how easily they’d managed to shut down such a senior figure in Invidia.


For a moment he hates himself for wishing he’d only realised exactly who was behind it after Tisu was dead and cold. There would have been no decision to make then, just a friend to mourn and bury and move on. Or, preferably, found out before things had escalated, so he could have avoided this whole horrific situation.


Now? Now he has to decide whether to watch his friend – one of his only friends, if he’s honest – be tortured and mutilated and eventually killed, all while Gabriel holds the key to his salvation, or to interfere and deny the standard revenge. He’d gone after Kairos and been caught. Fucking Tisu. He must have known what he was getting himself into, the risks he’d been taking, and he’d still been too damn honourable for his own good.


His fingernails cut into his palms, fists tightly balled, though his face is still flat and emotionless, as if the scene unfolding in front of him is an every day occurrence.


His position in Invidia is still tenuous. He’s killed a lot of people to get here, and that’s made a lot of people wary of him. Worse, he’s still trying to shore up his power and will make an attractive target until he manages to stabilise his new regime, and the last thing he needs to do is show any weakness. Saving Tisu, admitting the man is someone he cares about, and turning his back on Kairos tradition will cost him. But it’s Tisu, and maybe it will be worth it. Tisu’s death won’t benefit Invidia, after all. The damage is already done. He’ll have to make sure the detective never meddles in Invidia affairs again, which he suspects will be a surprisingly difficult task, and the cousins will still have to die, of course, but maybe he can at least save what’s left of his friend.


He’s not naïve. He knows Tisu will never forgive him, for none of it, once he knows the whole truth, and Gabriel can’t blame him. He tries to pretend that idea doesn’t hurt. Still, he can’t forget everything the man’s done for him, the countless times he’s saved Gabriel from Gabriel, and he cannot let this be just one more sacrifice on the altar of Gabriel’s desires. It’s only himself he hurts by acting, not Invidia, and so he is free to act on his selfish desires. Tisu might not thank him, but Gabriel cannot watch him die here.


It’s tempting to take the coward’s way out, to stop it remotely and have Tisu bundled off to some mundane doctor and cared for anonymously, but this is a problem he needs to deal with himself. He owes the penance. He does not want strange eyes watching and wondering, and if he’s going to do this then the best thing he can do is act with confidence. Let them comment all they like. He won’t show weakness here. What was the point in being in control if you couldn’t make the decisions?


He forces himself not to run, keeps control of himself as he moves through the corridors with determination, and doesn’t look at Tisu as he catches the torturer’s attention.


“Stop,” he tells him, though there’s no urgency in the word, just a command. “I need him alive. He could still be useful.”


He’s obeyed immediately, of course, though it’s hard to miss the surprise that skitters across the professional’s face as he sets about packing up and cleaning off. It leaves Gabriel and Tisu alone, but he’s got no idea what to say now and no desire to show his throat when he’s got no idea who else is watching. He needs to get Tisu out of here and somewhere private – his flat is the only possible place for now.


He slides his phone from his trouser pocket and dials his assistant. “I need a car,” he murmurs, softly, “and a doctor. I need the Legionnaire taken to my flat. Discreetly.”


He still can’t look at Tisu, doesn’t want to face the reality of what’s been done to his friend or face up to his guilt. He finds himself hoping the detective is too out of it to realise just what’s happening yet, or recognise Gabriel in this nightmare situation, as he’d rather have some privacy when he faces the inevitable accusations and more certainty that his friend is going to be alright. For now, that’s all that matters.


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Posted | 09-23-2017, 12:58 PM

Ascension Gift for Gabriel de la Croix



Something is unlocked within yourself. You've walked down the Devil path. You may choose not to walk this path, and forfeit the growth you've achieved. If you wish to follow it, you may choose only one of these roads to advance upon. Which will it be?


Ascension Choices

The Devil Tier 1. Ascension to "THE DJINNI"
The djinni is a malicious being of smoke and metal. Tempting others to make wishes and manipulating those wishes to be cruel are common threads of the djinni’s existence. Watch out for the paths the djinni walks.
You feel new possibilities within you. You can now more easily influence or manipulate others. The dominions shadow, duplicity, fire, and combustion are now augmented. Your character may show unusual command of those dominions for their mastery.

The Devil Tier 1. Ascension to "THE ONI"
The oni is a terrible creature, who lives in wickedness and stares with wild eyes. Unfettered by usual restrictions of their culture’s morality, the oni is a true ogre.
You feel new possibilities within you. You can now more easily influence or manipulate others. The dominions shadow, duplicity, fire, and combustion are now augmented. Your character may show unusual command of those dominions for their mastery.

The Devil Tier 1. Ascension to "THE MAMMON"
The mammon is a prince of hell. His command is over greed, and it is greed that leads the mammon to manipulate others. Temptation into avarice is one of his many sins.
You feel new possibilities within you. You can now more easily influence or manipulate others. The dominions shadow, duplicity, fire, and combustion are now augmented. Your character may show unusual command of those dominions for their mastery.

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Posted | 09-23-2017, 01:49 PM

Ascension Gift for Gabriel de la Croix



Something is unlocked within yourself. You've walked down the Judgment path. You may choose not to walk this path, and forfeit the growth you've achieved. If you wish to follow it, you may choose only one of these roads to advance upon. Which will it be?


Ascension Choices

Judgment Tier 1. Ascension to "THE COWARDLY LION"
The cowardly lion has changed their position. Once, they were the king of animals. Now, their own anxiety is sheathing their vicious teeth. The cowardly lion is an interesting renewal or outcome, based not on a being’s nature or natural instincts, but on their conscious choices.
You feel new possibilities within you. You can now influence people more easily into making right or wrong decisions. The dominions air, flight, pheromones, and gravity are now augmented. Your character may show unusual command of those dominions for their mastery.

Judgment Tier 1. Ascension to "THE SPRING LAMB"
The spring lamb’s meekness works against them. This is a path of cowardice and change. But, the spring lamb is also a sign of renewal: lambs born in lambing season are a continuation of the species, a sign of seasonal change.
You feel new possibilities within you. You can now influence people more easily into making right or wrong decisions. The dominions air, flight, pheromones, and gravity are now augmented. Your character may show unusual command of those dominions for their mastery.

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Posted | 09-25-2017, 11:22 AM

[ ok, let's go for the cowardly lion and the djinni, please! ]

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This post was last modified: 10-01-2017, 04:50 PM by Sekah Posted | 10-01-2017, 04:39 PM

Tisu's vision was blacking when the door to the room opened. He heard footsteps even through the ringing in his ears.

A familiar voice spoke then, one he could easily pick out of a crowd. Gabe? he tried to say, but the metal strip around his neck was choking him, and it comes out as a slurred, suffocated gurgle that sounded nothing like a name.

The metal unwound from his throat. The shifting on his broken rib made him fall unconscious for a time, hanging limp, drooling blood in long strings from his mouth. He vaguely realized what was happening when the zipties were cut.

When they moved him, he screamed, throaty and desperate. They kept moving him. He was out for the rest of the ride.

When he came to, he was in a bed—not a hospital bed. It was massive, much larger than the narrow, shabby queen in his apartment. The pain came in shuddering, sickening waves.

"I'm sorry, Vice Lord De La Croix," a man was telling someone. The name meant something to him, though he was delirious with pain. "He doesn't need surgery, at least—I can see the breaks with biomancy, but the wounds won't respond to it. I've splinted them. He'll have to heal naturally, until his body processes the drug and gets it out of his system—that usually takes about two weeks. The IV will keep the morphine and antibiotics going. He might—do better in a hospital," the man added, with an edge to his voice that made Tisu think of a peon reluctant to speak against his boss.

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Posted | 10-01-2017, 05:39 PM





Smile and we smile, the lords of many lands;
Frown and we smile, the lords of our own hands;
For man is man and master of his fate.


GABRIEL De La Croix
Vice Lord of INVIDIA




♥ ♣ ♦ ♣


They make it back to his flat without incident. Tisu’s still under, a blessing, letting Gabriel concentrate on what needs to be done.


He doesn’t even want to admit to himself how worried he is, chest tightening with each worried glance the doctor gives his assistant, doesn’t let himself breathe properly until he’s heard the diagnosis. It’s not as bad as he’d feared, though it could have been far better, but he still hates himself for allowing it to happen.


He takes that out on the poor doctor. “No hospitals,” he refuses, flatly, low anger simmering in his tone. “If he dies, so does your family. You’re supposed to be the best biomancer in the City. Prove it.”


The doctor wilts under the stare. “Sir, I swear, I’ve done all I can. The morphine should start working shortly, he should wake within the next few hours.”


It’s not a prospect he’s looking forward to. It feels like he’s spent hours thinking about what to say, how to explain, but his mind refuses to suggest anything that won’t just make the whole situation worse.


“Get the fuck out then, if you’re so fucking useless.” The doctor takes the opportunity to flee, leaving Gabriel alone with Tisu and his troubled thoughts. He’s so caught up in them he hasn’t noticed his friend has woken up, eyes closing as he scrubs a fist across his forehead in irritation.


“Fuck it, Tisu,” he swears, though he thinks he’s talking to himself. “Why do you always have to be the hero.”


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Posted | 10-04-2017, 09:33 PM

It penetrated Tisu's brain slowly, seeping in through the agony until things began to make sense. His eyes opened, but his throat felt like sandpaper, and his swollen midriff and arm were all he can see. The flesh was ballooned, dark puffy bruising above the cast.

Lines led up from his other arm, he discovered, forcing his eyes away and looking himself over with sick fascination. Multiple bags of saline and medications had been hung above his bed, with some difficulty—they were strung up on a coat rack. Not exactly a hospital gurney, now was it.

He tried to summon enough spit to speak, and it takes a few dry gulps and swallows.

"Vice Lord De La Croix," he managed at last, and it was too soft and raspy to have the height and breadth of anger in it that he wanted to put there.

"Better a hero than a crime lord, Gabe." He corrected himself, half to antagonize Gabe, half to wrap his damn mind around it. "Vice Lord De La Croix." His deep voice was weak with agony, lined with pain as much as his face, but this time some of the bite he wanted was in it. That expression of anger took the last of his strength out of him. I'm was weak as a kitten, he thought.

"What the actual fuck, Gabe," he managed, that bass that was usually clear as a bell barely a desiccated murmur, and then lapsed into labored breathing.

He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to escape the room spinning.

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Posted | 10-06-2017, 02:20 PM





Smile and we smile, the lords of many lands;
Frown and we smile, the lords of our own hands;
For man is man and master of his fate.


GABRIEL De La Croix
Vice Lord of INVIDIA




♥ ♣ ♦ ♣


Each accusatory usage of his title cut like a dagger. It surprised him how much it hurt, even though he’d expected it. It was never supposed to be like this, he thinks, desperately, but he cannot undo the past.


He can remove the memories. The temptation lingers, a seductive whisper in his mind. It will solve all of his problems; Tisu will still be injured, but maybe he can make up some story about an accident, concussion, something entirely unrelated to Kairos. He can wipe this under the rug and they can return to the equilibrium they’d found before.


Except...for once, he doesn’t want to. There are few people he cares about in the world, but Tisu has always been one of them, and it’s already his fault that Tisu had nearly died tonight. He doesn’t think he can live with any more guilt, the constant lies, and with Michael back he suspects the charade will not last anyway. His brother has nothing to lose by turning Tisu against Gabe. This way, he at least denies him the satisfaction.

“Fuck, Tisu,” he mutters again, scrubbing his hand against his forehead. Tisu’s body, broken and bloody on his bed, is a difficult thing to look at, but he forces himself to face up to it, admit his part in this tragedy. “I’m sorry.” It’s not enough, but the apology’s all he’s got to offer.


He doesn’t know where to start. How to explain who he was, what he was? He’s surprised Tisu has never been suspicious over his circumstances or the obscene wealth at his disposal. Never questioned his father’s violent murder. He’d always just trusted Gabe.


He can’t even excuse himself by protesting he’d only been in the role a handful of weeks. His hands have been dirty for far longer than that, and he knows it will make no difference to Tisu.


“It’s my fault. I should have realised what was going on sooner and stopped it. I never meant for you to get hurt, I didn’t realise you were the detective.” It’s the wrong thing to say – Tisu likely won’t appreciate the insinuation that Gabe would have been fine with it if it were anyone else – but for once his words are failing him, mask cracking as his fear tumbles out in ill-considered statements. “I’m sorry.”


As if repeated apologies are enough to breach this new gulf between them, enough to buy Tisu’s forgiveness.



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This post was last modified: 10-10-2017, 10:27 AM by Tisu Bagci Posted | 10-10-2017, 10:26 AM

Tisu wanted to forgive him.

He wanted to forgive him because he knew Gabe intimately, he knew how he operated and he knew his voice—he knew how hard apologies came to him. He knew Gabe was sincere.

He wanted it because Gabe was a dear friend, and he cared for him deeply. He'd been by his side through so many bad situations, many of Gabe's own making. When Gabe tried to detox from drugs, Tisu was the one who stayed with him and brought him water and took the punches and screamed curses and kept him focused.

Tisu had been Gabe's rock for so long, believing in him, helping him. When Gabe was suddenly Arielle's parent, Tisu had been over nearly every day, helping Gabe figure out how to be a legal guardian, persuading him to take some parenting classes, attending them with him—helping Gabe parse out the difficulties of suddenly having no childhood left.

For all those reasons, for the genuine love and affection he'd always had for Gabe, Tisu felt this strong, instant pull to say something to ease Gabe's mind, even if Tisu didn't mean it.

The fact that that was his first instinct made Tisu angry. Gabe was not a child anymore. Gabe had made choices now that no one could save him from—choices to not only slide into bed with Kairos, but to lead one of their dreaded families.

How many deaths had Gabe ordered? How many lives had he destroyed? Kairos was a bloody scourge on the City. Tisu worked homicide in Monai. Nearly all the truly savage cases had Kairos' fingerprints.

Silence stretched after Gabe's final I'm sorry, Tisu just looking at him. He remembered a family of five who'd been slaughtered in their own home. The mother's estranged brother had run afoul of Kairos. The children had never met their uncle, a close friend told Tisu as he was collecting the story.

They'd been hung up by their little entrails. The parents were arranged in chairs, facing their children. The autopsy revealed the children had died first.

Tisu's eyes were open. He was looking at Gabe's face like he'd never seen it before. It was so handsome and healthy, nothing like white waxen faces snuffed out at the ages of two, five and eight.

"I've had colleagues and friends slaughtered in three generations of revenge, Gabe." His voice creaked. "You would have let them die. The only reason you saved me was because you knew me. You think I can forgive that?"

"You're not a kid anymore, Vice Lord De La Croix. Don't expect anything from me, ever, ever again." There was a quiet tone of finality in his deep voice.

The speech had taken a lot out of him, and Tisu lay back in the pillows with a pitiful groan that ruined a bit of the somberness of the moment.

He hurt more than he could ever remember hurting before. It went far deeper than physical pain. He was trying to reconcile the future ahead of him: a future without Gabe, his dearest and one of his oldest friends.

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Posted | 10-12-2017, 12:00 PM





Smile and we smile, the lords of many lands;
Frown and we smile, the lords of our own hands;
For man is man and master of his fate.


GABRIEL De La Croix
Vice Lord of INVIDIA




♥ ♣ ♦ ♣


He’d known Tisu would probably hate him forever, that what he’d done – who he was - would have shattered any hope of reconciliation, but he still clings to the hope that it wouldn’t. That Tisu can forgive him even this monstrosity, be the pillar that Gabriel depended on.

Because Tisu was all he had. Michael is a stranger at best and an enemy at worst, and he refuses to put anything on Arielle’s delicate shoulders. For years, Tisu has been the only one he’s trusted enough to be himself around, to willingly show weakness to and ask for help. The only one there to pick Gabriel up when he stumbled, seduced, into the darker pleasures the City had to offer.

He hadn’t realised just how much he loved the other man until it was all being ripped away from him.

He can’t stop the betrayal that flashes across his face, the hurt and the surprise and the utter devastation, at Tisu’s declaration. Part of him hopes he doesn’t really mean it – it’s just shock and anger, it will fade – but part of him knows there’s no path he can take to find salvation. He is Kairos, and he will not abandon that. Even Tisu has a point he will not cross.

His face shutters as he forces himself not to think about it, to hide behind the walls he’s so used to projecting. It hurts even as he forces himself to pretend indifference, because he’s never had to do this with Tisu before. He’d always been the one person Gabriel could rely on.

Tisu’s done nothing wrong, yet Gabriel still feels betrayed.

“Fine,” he agrees eventually, tone clipped, emotion leeched out from the words. He doesn’t want to show Tisu just how deeply he’s hurt, and like a child he’s retreated into sulky silence. “You’re free to do as you please once you heal. Until then, you will remain here.”



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