Cross x S[i]N
Co GM: *Jean Grey* and GoldenHouou
Chapter 1: Midnight Voyage into Black Lake
The reflection on the window could've been one of a genuine statue, motionless with deep blue eyes that stared into nothingness as the train sped its course and hair as dark as the night. Dante pressed his fingers against the chilled glass to match his own reflection, pressing deeper as his thoughts of a maiden, his once maiden, plagued his mind. The young adult's melancholic gaze troubled even the lady sitting across from him. The velvet red seats in the passenger compartments accommodated six passengers, three on each side. She gawked at his peculiar choice of clothes, the brazen unzipped coat that reached below his waist, the black muscle-shirt underneath that exposed the strength of his chest and the scratched, steel dog tags that dropped from his neck. The inquisitive woman peeped at the distinctive insignia on the dog tags but was interrupted when the young man caught sight and embraced the pieces with his right hand, preventing the woman from reading the inscription.
Dante looked at the blonde but only through the corner of his eyes, avoiding a full stare. The woman noticed, her cheeks reddened slightly as if reprimanded for doing something wrong. Still, the troubled look on his face warranted at least friendly conversation to make the trip less awkward, it was the least she could do for prying.
The lady hesitated but wholeheartedly tried small talk, "So, do you travel to Eternus often?"
After it seemed like forever of waiting for an answer, the woman sighed.
She didn't quite understand his mind was elsewhere but finally he spoke, raising an eyebrow as he did so, "Never been ... ma'm."
The woman wasn't surprised to hear a deep, masculine voice answer. She half expected him to sound like so yet the patience in his tone was different. Much to his annoyance, she candidly continued chatting.
"Oh, no need to call me ma'm! I'm only 28!" She said resentfully.
Still averting his gaze, Dante didn't much as nod at the comment.
Without causing him even a sympathetic chuckle, the 28 year old female herself turned slightly away, "My name is Merith."
" ... Dante," He replied as he turned to finally face her.
Merith smiled and extended him a hand but to her surprise didn't get one back.
"It's nothing personal Merith ... "
My father ... taught me only one way to greet ... "a weak hand is sign of a weak man," He recalled but offered her no explanation.
"Eternus ... what's it like?" He would eventually need to get some information of where he planned to spend the next few years, Dante figured he could start by interrogating Merith.
Merith's smile widened. "Eternus is wonderful. So many different cities - "
"The capital ... Columbus. ... Any places I should avoid?" Dante had no intention of avoiding anything. His question would lead him exactly where he needed to go. The lower the slums, the higher the pay, of course things tended to get dirty when dealing with the kind of people he dealt with.
"Places to avoid?" Merith asked, placing her finger over her lips as her eyes wandered while she thought of an answer.
"The Eastern Districts," She finally answered before breaking into another smile, "you definitely don't want to be alone there at night."
" ... Eastern Districts. I see."
Moments went by, Merith talked her head off, Dante simply listened and then the headaches started ... Again. He incredulously watched as the dame in front of him morphed into her. He could see her sitting right in front of him. Beatrice ...? He thought. Dante shook his head and abruptly got up from the passenger seat, half stumbling his way through the narrow corridor toward the wash room. He violently flung the door open, turned the sink knob and with both hands splashed water on his face. Dante looked up at the mirror and saw him again. The pale man with the silk, long hair of the night and red eyes.
He didn't speak. Never. Only stared, mocking Dante.
Narrowing his eyes, Dante balled up his fists as he slowly bowed his head. Tightening his grip, Dante looked up again at the deity in the reflection. Knowing no other way of ridding himself of his demon, Dante struck the mirror with a mighty blow, cutting his knuckles open as he impacted the glass. His entire body went numb, he could feel his hand tremble uncontrollably as the blood trickled down his arm.
He flung open several cabinets until he found a first aid kit, he pulled out a small iodine disinfectant and applied it to the open wound. He wrapped white tape around his fist to contain the bleeding and headed out. As he opened the door to exit the washroom he bumped into an older gentleman.
"Mirrors broken ... " He said as he walked out.
Merith sat there for quite sometime, her mind wandering what could've happened to Dante. He seemed almost startled for a split second and then just like that he reappeared, his hands in his coat pockets.
"Uh, everything okay?" She asked.
" ... Yeah ..."
Merith noticed he once again averted his gaze away from her.
Moments later, the train came to a stop and the speakers went on announcing the arrival. Bzzz ... Ladies and gentleman we've arrived at Eternus, please grab your belongings, in just seconds we will begin off boarding! Bzzz ...
"Well Dante, it was a pleasure! Good luck with everything."
"Luck and I aren't real close, Merith but um ... thanks ..." Dante picked up his black camo duffel bag, threw it over his shoulder and exited the train.
Dante walked alongside the outside curb and hailed a hover taxi. He threw his bag inside and got in the vehicle. "Where to my friend?" A cheerful man greeted.
"Eastern Districts ... I'm looking for work ... The kind that pays."
The taxi driver took a second before replying, he adjusted his rear mirror and looked Dante in the eye, "Eastern Districts is premium price for certain reasons ..."
"That's fine." Dante didn't hesitate.
The taxi pulled out of the curb and merged into the super highway. "Give me 45 minutes to an hour and I'll drop you off a block from where a mercenary can find work."
Dante looked out the tinted windows, he saw as the scenery slowly turned from massive skyscrapers and crowded areas with connecting bridges made of tangible energy and glass incorporated into the many structures to slum complexes. Super highways ran midair in different directions on different levels.
Sure enough, the taxi arrived at the Eastern Districts, the slums. "This is as far as I'm going son ... Walk around this corner and then straight, you'll see the building. Can't miss it, it's the only one still intact."
Dante paid the driver and stepped out of the hover car.
Cerberus, Dante read the half flashing sign before stepping inside. The whole place was filled with heavy cigar smoke. There were dozens of thugs and goons inside, either gambling or drinking. Dante walked up to the bartender and took a seat on a stool directly in front of the man with the eye patch.
"What does a guy need to drink around these parts to wake up the next morning with no memory about anything?" Dante asked.
"Gimme that then."
Seconds later, the bartender slid Dante a giant glass full of red liquid with white foam bubbling along the surface.
Dante sipped from the glass.
The bartender's smile widened. Rookie, he thought, he'll be completely drunk in just seconds this poor bastard.
"I'm looking for work ..."
"Whatever pays the bills."
"There's supposed to be an entire band of Blood Orcs hiding out somewhere in the Eastern Districts and we need one more person whose willing to join the search and destroy party ... that pays."
Dante pulled out a Gold coin and skillfully whirled it around the table with his fingers. " ... You have any other jobs ... preferably one that's been out long but no one's taken yet?" Again, Dante took a sip from the glass.
"There is one ... a simple receive and retrieve mission."
"What's the catch?" Dante asked, his interest sparked.
"The job is out in the Dark Realms."
"And the pay?"
"One million ****ing Gold."
"How do I get there?"
"Listen bud, if you really want this job, lets go around the back and I'll fill you in ... you understand right?"
Dante took his bags and followed the bartender to a room in the back, there were several other shady looking business people inside - suits and all.
"He's here for the job," the bartender said as he introduced Dante.
One of the business men stood up and spoke as he pulled a ticket from an inside pocket and gave it to Dante.
"Tonight at midnight you'll board a luxury ship currently docked at the Black Lake Port. The ship will carry thousands of wealthy types among other passengers across the Black Lake."
"People with too much money to give a ****, son. They pay handsomely for the next rush and crossing the Black Lake into the Dark Realms is at the top of that list."
Nobody was that stupid. Even Dante knew you didn't go into the Dark Realms, what motive could people with more Gold than common sense have to do something that stupid?
Didn't matter. One million Gold was enough to live comfortably or so Dante thought, maybe the real reason Dante took the job was because deep inside he wished the trip would kill him and he never had to think about Beatrice again or see him in the mirror.
" ... And once on the other side?" Dante asked cautiously.
"You don't worry about anything, a contact will find you and give you your next orders. You won't walk as much as one hundred yards into Dark Realm territory, I promise. This will be cake for you."
"Fair enough ..." Dante took the ticket with him and left but not before pausing at the door for a second and raising an eyebrow as he looked back off of the corner of his eye.
The bartender looked at the glass Dante left behind. The glass was completely full.
Dante waited patiently near the harbor. It was almost midnight, boarding would begin soon. Black Lake Port was highly restricted area, Dante couldn't imagine how luxury cruises were allowed to happen in an area as dangerous as Black Lake was. The damn water wasn't even water, it was a black sludge liquid that would kill you almost as soon as you fell into it. You wouldn't have a chance to drown because the heavy poison would kill you first. Then again, Dante didn't have excessive amount of Gold to understand how it could cloud your judgment. The ship was massive and the cannons on it even bigger. Of course the ship was loaded with weapons, there was no telling what sort of things could be found out on sea.
Hundreds of people gathered near the entrance, forming a line that grew exponentially by the second. For whatever reason, a young dame caught his attention, rather it was the distinct color of her red dress. It sparkled even through the thickening fog. He couldn't quite make out a face before she disappeared into the crowds.
Dante grabbed his belongings and leaped from where he sat. The night was so cold Dante's breath was visible but still he refused to button his coat. He simply made his was to the crowd and waited his turn to board.
((OOC: Your objective is to get into the cruise! Please don't do exactly what I did, it should be realistic for your character. Any questions, ask me before posting, I don't want to have to ask people to edit! Lets have fun ladies and gentlemen))