20140712-Someone Else's Demons

Summary:
July 12, 2014: In the aftermath of Paul's death, Sara pursues the demon who did it…and discovers something more.

New York City

The city that never sleeps. Though when it comes to Sara chasing demons, some of them may wonder what they're tripping on…


Characters

NPCs

  • Father Bennett

Mood Music:


Paul is dead. He's gone. Sara can't heal…what's left, even if she wanted to try. And that demon is out there. She braces herself, closing her eyes tightly for a moment, then pushes up form her crouch to run down to the car. "Officer down," she reports into the radio. "Two assailants, one down, one fled." There's a pause, her voice cracking as she adds, "No need for an ambulance." She should stay on the line. She should answer some questions. But she's not leaving the Spear out there. Time is short. The next step is finding where it landed.

Outside the night is alive with sirens, most headed this way, and there in the street, the middle of it in fact, is sticking the Spear of Destiny, where the Demon tossed it. It's pretty clear to see where it is because it passed clean through the engine block of the parked car Sara and Paul drove here, melting a hole the size of a fist through the steel until it's tip hit concrete and it found a place to rest. Oh goodie.

"You know," Sara informs the Spear through her windshield, "I'm a good person. I help people. I go the church. I go to confession. Any time you want to be helpful, I'm right here." But there's no time to have a philosophical discussion with this symbol of the crucifixion. Getting out of the car, she reaches over to try to pull it out. Where she thinks she's going to put it is another matter, but it can't stay there.

As the weapon is pulled free of the block, the Witchblade on her wrist SCREAMS and informs Sara in no uncertain terms that WE DONT TOUCH THE SPEAR!! though it can't make her release it either. Distracted with that mental battle, an old black oldsmobile land yacht pulls up to a halt with a squeel of tires right next to Sara's destroyed cop car, and the driver side window rolls down by hand crank, showing the hard soldierly visage of a familiar priest, "Get in!" he hisses at Sara, waving feverishly, "Quickly!"

Sara winces at the mental feedback, which takes some of the force out of the glare she levels on the priest when he pulls up next to her. She's short on options, though, at the moment. And she doesn't want to let go of the possibility of making this mean something. Nor does she have anywhere to put the spear. So despite her misgivings, into the car she goes, tossing the spear in the back seat with something akin to relief. "Start talking, Father."

The Father puts the pedal down as he leans his shoulder into cracking the window back up and the car chugs and belches smoke before taking off with the sort of power that modern cars don't usually throw under the hood anymore, "Are you serious?" the priest asks, eyeing her, "You still havn't figured out what's going on?!"

"Forgive me if I'm in a little bit of shock right now," Sara snaps back at the priest, wincing as soon as she sits down and lifting her shirt enough to get a glance at the nice, oozing stab wound the Magdalena left her. Side effect of arguing with the Witchblade, apparently. Irritably, she shrugs out of her jacket, wadding it up to press it against her hip. "Your girl's dead, if the fact that I just came back here with your spear isn't a tip. So's my partner."

Father Bennet looks regretful and his shoulder slump slightly at the news, "Yes, that is usually what happened when she was loosed in the world." his tone is weary. "I don't know where to begin," he admits after a second, and he takes a corner sharply, "things are starting to happen very quickly I fear for what that might mean." he chews his lip and he takes another corner. "There is to much uncertainty for me to explain everything to you, and not enough time." he shoots her a look, "CAn you trust me?"

"Can you help me stop whatever disaster is coming from that thing getting loose?" Sara counters. "If so, yes. What the hell else am I going to do at this point?"

Father Bennet blinks, "What thing?" now the Father seems pale.

"Your girl killed Jason's wife. Ex-wife. Whatever. He let loose some sort of demon. Real demon," Sara adds with a pointed look at the priest. "Not the imaginary kind that comes from people sleeping around. Big, ugly, mean demon. It tore her in half and ate her guts. And then, after I took a piece out of it and it killed Paul, it flew off, saying it needed to meet with a holy man."

Father Bennet looks confused, "Jason who?" he asks, then he pales considerably more, "jasonoftheblood?" the Father asks, his voice a bare whisper of sound, horror filling the tone. His driving becomes erratic and the Father, after two wild swerves attempting recovery, finds a more or less abandoned lot to 'park' the car in, by means of going through the chainlink fence to get there. With his hands shaking violently he throws the machine in park and presses his hands against his face. If Sara could smell fear, which she's never been able to before, she imagines it would smell like the inside of that car right then. He mutters to himself softly, one hand fondling the rosary around his neck, "…the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is t-"

Sara braces herself quickly when the driving gets awkward, letting out a breath once the car is in park. "That'd be the one," she agrees. "So maybe you want to stop panicking and read me in one whatever you can before things get ugly again."

Father Bennet lets the rosary drop to his chest and he takes a long slow breath, "This is so much worse then we thought. St. Mary's, you I imagine believed it was thus named for the virgin mother, you would be incorrect. St. Mary's of the Magdalen, it is the American based headquarters of a sect of the Church in charge of things we no longer admit are real. I was, for a time, a soldier among them, but I had doubts. Now I am trusted only to run the abby and look after a few relics. One of them is the Rapture, a sort of…" he waffles his hand uncertain how to explain it, "It is like your bracelet, only not. It has abilities, powers, and as soon as we had been hit by the Hell magic the other night, I had teh relics moved for safe keeping. The Magdalena recalled that one in particular because she said she would need it to… to follow someone to hell, to end them forever… Dear lord. She was going to try to kill Jason o' the Blood for good." his eyes widen, "Foolish girl." his tone is sad, almost fatherly. "She always was to eager to prove… it doesn't matter. The relic is on it's way here now, but it will be as a beacon to the Demon, and should he get his hands upon it it will free him from his bondage to Jason." he stares her full in the face, terror there, "The Church will have released Etrigan the Prince of Hell upon the Earth with no teather to return him to hell, no anchor to force him back. He will have free reign to come and go as he pleases, to appear and disappear at will. He could destroy things more important then people know, things like hope. In his hands, he could make a weapon of anyone, anything, and he would not be able to be stopped… Etrigan seeks his freedom, and the Rapture is how he could get it." by the end of the speech, his voice is a bare whisper.

"Yes, that sounds like the usual level of shit," Sara agrees, leaning back in her seat to readjust the jacket over her wound. "So we have to keep this Rapture from the demon. Your spear doesn't think much of me. My blade doesn't much care for anyone else. Any chance we could keep the demon from the Rapture by getting it to bond with someone else first?" She grimaces. "Not that these things can usually be coerced into anything they don't want to do on their own."

Father Bennet stares at her, "Yes, but the cost of such a thing…" he shakes his head, "It is a terrible relic, and it's price is formidable. No living man can weild it's power for any length of time, it is why demon's seek it out, they are not men, and why dark magicians seek it out, they use freshly slain sacrifices to command it's power. You would need a dead man, one of character and strength, and even then… they would be a target for however long they managed to keep it there after, all manner of darkness would seek them out."

Sara pauses for a moment, arching a brow. "I've got a dead man," she says slowly. "The demon killed my partner. He was a soldier. He's a cop. He stayed with me through all of this, through knowing what the Witchblade is and does. He's dead because he didn't run when I told him to. Because he stayed to face the demon." She pauses, eyeing the priest. "I'm not sure what left of him is habitable, though."

Father Bennet lets out a soft breath, "Things are rarely as they appear to be." says the priest heavily, "We have kept it safely hidden for many decades Detective, are you certain you would rather curse your friend with this burden then allow us to once more spirit it away from the eyes of demons and men alike? Assuming," he offers this with a wry smile, "we can get it before the Demon does of course."

Sara is quiet for a long moment, thinking it through. "Look, father," she finally says. "If it came down to picking it up, or letting the world end in flames, I know which one Paul would rather do, and it isn't letting the world end in flames. And frankly, neither would Jason. You don't fight that for a thousand years just to let it go. Not even for love. Besides, I owe him an ass-kicking."

Father Bennet stares at her for a long time, pity in his eyes, "My child, do not suppose you know Jason so well as you suspect. That man is more then he appears, darker, and lighter, then many give him credit for. His will is unimaginable, as is his control, but what greatness love can bring out in us, it's loss can unmake ten fold." The Father reaches out with a tenetive hand and settles it on Sara's shoulder lightly, offering a gentle but firm squeeze, "Be careful who you think the world of, to often do those examples fail us." and then he puts the car in drive and lets out a breath, "Alright then… Lets go find us an Artifact and a legendarily awful Demon Prince shall we?" and the oldsmobile roars back onto the road.

"Father," Sara shakes her head, "When you do what I do, you see a lot of darkness. You learn that sometimes you have to look for the light, and sometimes you have to make it. Because if you let yourself focus on the dark, you'll never make your way out of it." As he starts the car, she buckles up, using the seatbelt to hold the jacket in place. "If you've got some place with some first aid, it wouldn't go amiss. Witchblade's not real happy with me right now."

Father Bennet chuckles, "Your call, we patch you up or we try to beat a flying demon to a relic that will grant him unlimited power." he jerks a thumb at her seat, "Military first aid kit under the seat, I suggest a preassure bandage." and he flips open a phone he told her before he didn't have, it's ancient, but functional, and presses a button, "It's Bennet, change of plans. You're going to be intercepted by a Demon, find the nearest church, hole up there, he can't cross onto hol-" silence, then rage bubbles up in the old man, "Son, if you think I am fucking with you I assure you I am not. You will do as you are told, or you will never live long enough to see your excommunication, not because the demon will find you, but I will, and right now you need to fear /me/ more then any denizen of hell. Understood?" there's silence on the phone, then a single noise, "Good. Now do are you are fucking told and GET TO HOLY GROUND!" the phone snaps shut, "Kids these days." he mutters to no one.

Sara leans back to get the kit, wincing as she does. "With the rock and roll music and their weird hairstyles," she mutters after the priest, digging through the kit for what she needs to patch herself up. "For the record, the extent of what I know about this demon is that he's huge, he can apparently take a hit from the Witchblade, and rhyming is bad. If you know anything else or have any pointers, now might be a good time to pass them along."

Father Bennet sighs, "The Church is unclear, but we know this much, physically he is a match for nearly any of the superhumans running about in the world today. Reports of him leveling great city walls and whole castles with his bare hands exsist, and his command of Hellfire is renowned, he once dried the Nile by evaporating it." the Father shoots her a look at that. "What magic he knows is unknown, however it is known that he must rhyme to cast his spells, there is something about his ranking in Hell that explains this but it's unclear to us. He can be injured, but he heals quickly, and he is a masocist of some level, meaning wounds don't slow him, they only seem to egg him on until they become to much for his power to bear. The more you hurt him, the more dangerous he becomes. Cold iron and holy weapons," the Father nods his head at the spear in the back, "those will cause damage he cannot heal from, not without replenishing in the Fires Below. That is how we stop him." he pauses again, "And he is a Demon, and the only Prince recorded. It means he can see your thoughts, see your darkest desires, your sins, you can hide nothing form him. No shame you have is beyond his knowledge, no evil or even improper thing you have considered will he not know. He will know you in ways your mother, your lovers, yourself even, will not be able to match. He will use this against you… and… and Etrigan is unique…" The Father shudders, "It is said any who die at his hands are sent to Hell, regardless of their purity of spirit, or holiness of being. He can damn the most pious of men, the most saintly, to the Pit if he desires. This, more then any other power he possesses, is the reason he is the most feared denizen of Hell."

"Super," Sara mutters as she gets the bandage in place, tugging her shirt back down and tossing the kit into the backseat again before leaning her head back against the seat. "Good thing I've been facing down my personal demons for the last few years. Maybe we're finally on to something I'm actually prepared for. Mentally. Shut up, I'm psyching myself up to have a face-off with the apocalypse waiting to happen," she adds before the priest can cut in. "So if we cut him up enough, he goes back to hell? And what happens to Jason?"

Father Bennet shrugs, "I'm not sure… The Church tried to kill them both dozens of times in the past, most often Jason has fled when things heated up, according to legend anyway, and the few times the Magdalena could corner him it became clear that his skill with weapons was… adequate to hold her off until he could escape somehow. Etrigan has only been summoned a time or two in the presence of hte Church, always to disasterour consequence, most notably mass murder, slaughter, and fires so uncontrolable they spark off famines across a nation. Once the Industrial Revolution hit though and everyone became city bound, tracking him was almost impossible. No one's seen or heard from him in over a century and a half." meaning the Demon or Jason it's unclear, "But there are reports that the Demon has done battle with great forces in the past, those that have forced him to flee a battle so wounded he must return to replenish his strength, and always Jason returns when the Demon is gone. That is, as we understand it, how the curse works. While one is here, the other is in Hell."

Sara nods slightly, eyes still closed. She's clearly going to need to pull herself together a little bit before this goes too much further. "So basically, I just need to hold off the demon who could end the world if he really wanted to." She laughs, humorless. "Yeah. I guess that sounds about right."

Father Bennet shakes his head, "He's powerful, but he's not the Morning Star, he has limits, and he's been pushed to them before. Remember, he is a demon, he lies like he breathes, not with his mouth, but with his everything. You can't understand him, he isn't remotely close to human, but you can understand truth, it doesn't change because of who's speaking it. You'll do just fine." he pauses, reconsiders, "We'll do just fine." he clarifies, his jaw setting.

Before they reach the church Bennet's contact listed as his likely destination, they can tell things are not going to go well. For starters, there is a roar of rage powerful enough to shake the windows in the car and shatter a few of them further down the street, causing lights to flick on up and down the street as car alarms begin to chirp and beep and whoop.

Once they were on the way, Sara took the opportunity to gather her reserves, armoring up and focusing on the Witchblade. It was enough to stall the worst of the bleeding, at least, though she's likely to tear the wound open again once she's moving. Her eyes fly open at the roar, and she pushes up in the seat, bracing herself. "Any last words of advice?" she asks the priest, checking the revolver she usually keeps at her ankle.

The oldsmobile comes to a stop just up the block from the church, where a seven foot tall creature, heavily armored and muscled, is screaming his rage at the closed gates of the building. Father Bennet eyes her for a long moment, "Don't hold back." he offers helpfully as he nods to her door, "Go on. I'll be along to help in a minute."

"Wasn't planning on it," Sara assures, glancing at the spear in the back seat. "Try not to let him get that, yeah?" she says as she opens the door to step out into the street. She'll wait until the priest is gone before she starts toward the demon, fully armed and armored. Extra blades extend in curves from her forearms, spikes rise from her shoulders, and as the Witchblade lowers a visor across her features, her eyes glow with amber flames. "Hey!" she calls toward the demon. "We weren't finished!"

Etrigan's head glances the Witchblade's direction and dismisses her with a wave, "Begone little girl, you are no longer a concern of mine. PRIEST!!" his bellow shakes the street again, "You cower behind your Holy Ground thinking it makes you safe? Allow me to once more bring that most hated of enemies to the Church," he turns, grips a sedan and effortlessly lifts it over his head and then shotputs the entire car at the church without much visible sign of effort, "education!" he finishes as the Toyota goes airbourne.

Someday, maybe Sara will be reasonable enough to take those sorts of openings and run away with them. Right now, though? No, she's not going to just take the chance to leave. There's not much chance of playing catch with cars, either. It's less that she can't, and more that there are a whole lot of cars on the street, and unlike Etrigan, she can't throw cars around all day. So she takes the chance he presents when he's busy throwing cars at the church, and takes a running leap at his back, thrusting twin blades toward his neck.

Etrigan is ignoring her completely, and is intent instead on watching the car's impact demolish the entrance way of the church, ripping the heavy doors from their hinges and in their place planting a four door sedan. Hopfully no one was in the entranceway when it hit. "You would not believe the things I learned from the Engineer before his death, things about leverage and keystone and founda-GGAK!" the middle of the word is cut off as the blade slice through the thick muscle of his neck and exit out the otherside in a spray blood that's so red it's more black then not. But one to stand around and whine Etrigan is not. He reaches back with an arm that ignores simple things like how joints should be able to bend, and tries to get a grip on Sara as he gurgles and growls in a manner more annoyed and enraged then worried or pained.

Sara Pezzini is incredibly annoying. It's true. And as Etrigan reaches back for her, her armor grows more razor-sharp spikes to discourage that sort of thing. Wrenching the blades through his neck, Sara takes advantage of some of those parkour lessons she'd been taking with Paul to push back and off, trying to flip herself out of his reach. She's not an expert, so it ends in more of a tumbling roll than something more graceful, but it's not something she would have even tried before.

Etrigan spurts more blood and jerks his hand back from the armor as spikes and blades do their work. He presses a meaty hand to his throat and growls at her, his eyes staring her down. Wait. Didn't she remove one of those only a few minutes ago? The slicing cut that ran along his face from their earlier encounter is gone now, the flesh unmarred by even a scar, and as she watches the wounds in his throat begin to knit and heal…. and he grins at her, a flash of sharpened teeth before he blurs to motion. Two great handfuls of asphault sail through the air her direction as if they were shot from canons even as a two handed sword of charred blackened steel appears in his hand. He closes the distance at her in a charge that tears divots in the road Sara knows will mean that the entire street will be closed for a month.

Great. Of course it heals. Sara doesn't really have time to think about what else she's going to do, though. She has to keep the priest and the church safe until something else can be figured out, and that means keeping the demon occupied with her instead of figuring out ways to burn down the church without going inside. Since she knows he's not beyond that. Diving under the asphalt, she raises a blade against the demon's charge, bracing herself as much as anything else.

The Witchblade informs Sara that this is not likely the greatest of ideas as the force of the Demon's might comes down upon her blade with it's own. It's not unlike trying to stop a tractor trailer with a well held sword. Barbs on the demon's blade catch against her own and he forces it low before his head thrusts past Sara's guard and he attempts to casually bite her face off in a snarl of teeth.

Sara snarls back at the demon, biting back a cry as the force of his weight presses her shoulder into the street. "Sorry," she pants, bringing up her other arm to interpose one bladed forearm between her face and his teeth. "I'm really trying to cut back on the bad boy habit." Stubbornly, she slams a knee up as well, driving another barb of the Witchblade into the demon's flesh.

Etrigan's teeth clamp down on the barbs of the Witchblade, and then with a jerk of his head… he breaks them off. The barb from her knee sinks into his stomach and Etrigan spits the broken barbs out, though his intended course of spitting them like daggers into her face fails as the pain from her knee to his stomach cause them to simply clatter uselessly to the street. Then his eyes glow crimson and this time when he roars with rage, Sara loses the ability to see anything except white hot flame. Point blank Hellfire pummels into her, instantly turning the street beneath her molten, the toxic wreching odor of bubbling tar and chemicals fills the air as a pool of liquid forms around her, a pool that the Demon and his blade are forcing her down into.

And then the Demon's weight is gone and there's a sound of twisting steel and a crash.

The Witchblade is Darkness, but it's also Angelus, and while the Darkness may fade away in the light, the Angelus revels in it. As the Hellfire beats down on her, there's an answering white light from the Witchblade, bright as the sun and shining silver. It doesn't do much about the melting asphalt beneath her, though the armor provides some protection from that. It's getting pretty warm inside, though, when Father Bennett makes his move.

Sara can't see for a moment, the light too much even with the protection of the 'blade's visor, but when the glare fades, she can see it. That old Detroit relic of cold iron and steel. One last act of defiance. And the Spear in the street next to her. "All right, kids," Sara murmurs, eyeing the Spear. "Time to play nice for a minute, or I'll turn this thing around."

Peeling herself out of the asphalt, she reaches for the Spear, the Witchblade writhing over her body to shed the sticky tar before a pair of sharp, draconic wings burst from the back.

Etrigan is… not pleased with this turn of events. Especially because he's currently on fire. His screams of rage, now once more to their ordinary volume as his throat is healed up, echo along the street as his claws tear at the hood and engine of the Oldsmobile feverishly, trying to get free of the wreck. Pulling himself free, the Demon leaps from the church's lawn and back out onto the street, rolling across the street in a smoking smoldering heap. His fist pummels the road twice in frustration, great cracks and craters appearing from the blows as he tries to shrug off the touch of Holy Ground. It takes but a moment for him to clear his mind, but as he turns blazing eyes back to his privious foe, he finds her gone, the smoldering pool of asphault void of the Witchblade.

In the past, Sara has tried the wings once. Technically, Sara didn't even try the wings. She fell, and they showed up. She's been meaning to practice with them, but it's hard to find the right time and place for that sort of thing. At least when you're trying not to make a spectacle of yourself. But once you're in a street fight with a huge, literal demon, those things go out the window. By the time Etrigan's turned around, she's picked up the Spear in one, bare hand and pushed off the ground, taking to the air in a powerful leap.

She doesn't wait for Etrigan to realize he should look up, or for something to go horribly wrong with those wings. Instead, she goes directly into a dive, aiming the Spear for the demon's skull with every bit of force she can muster.

Etrigan is no fool, and one doesn't become soft or foolish fighting their way through the ranks in the Pit… But, even Demon's can be surprised. It's the shadow that clues him in first, the flicker of darkness as Sara passes between him and a street lamp or perhaps a window high up who's occupants have been woken by the combat outside. It's just enough time for the demon to snarl and look skyward, pulling it's sword in a block meant to stop a decending sword.

But Sara's not holding a sword. The spear slips under the demon's guard and due to his looking up, misses his head entirely and instead enters the very center of his chest, it's holy blade slicing through his armor like butter and both spear and creature explode in a fountain of rival flames. He would stumble back, but the spear sinks into the street behind him, pinning Etrigan in place like a butterfly in a display case, and for the first time since they first met, his screams are of actual pain, not the mocking jest of it. The sword falls from his hands and he reaches out instead for Sara, his clawed fingers wrapping around her neck and the majority of her head and pulling her in close. His grin is wide, the canines flashing, but blood bubbles in his mouth, "Well … done …" he manages before releasing her, and his laughter echoes as if something about this, even through the agony, was funny.

"Change change Etrigan
Cage the Prince forever Damned
Lock the might in fleshy mire
Blood replace stout Hellfire
Gone gone Etrigan,
Return-"

"-to form of Man!" Jason says as he appears in a sudden blast of Hellfire, his body falling down right next to the spear. He's a bit smaller then Etrigan, significantly so in fact, and so the spear is not pinning him to the ground as it did the Demon. Though as he falls his arm touches it and Jason rolls away quickly with a cry, his ribs instantly blistered with blackening flesh. "Bollocks!" he states emphatically. Oh yeah. And he's completely naked. So there's that.

The Spear does its job, and Sara busies herself with not getting her head ripped off next, slicing the Witchblade across the demon's wrist before he lets her go. She stumbles back, bracing herself for the next round, when things…take a turn. She can only stare as the demon returns to the wizard she's at least a little more familiar with - though not that kind of familiar. Clothes, man. Not that she hasn't been there.

"Jason. Great to see you again. Did you get your fill of flagellation in?" In the back of her mind, there's a flicker of something, the Witchblade trying to latch on to the rage that simmers beneath the surface.

Jason Blood is making a face that, quite frankly, is more at home on the visage of any of a dozen Arkham inmates more then on his so very controlled one. As he scrambles to his feet, his fingers curled into claws as if he were about to kill someone, and he stops, looking at her, then around again… "How di-" he stops as he eyes the Spear and quickly takes two more steps away from it, "Oh. Yeah, that makes sense." then he stands up straighter and with a deep breath tries to wrench his mind back to the here and now an-he stiffens, his eyes snapping to her, "There is an Artifact in play, the Demon was going to use it t-Nevermind, we'll get to that later! We have to get to the Church, I need the Rapture!"

"Not happening." Sara steps forward, leaving the Spear where it stands for the moment in favor of just reaching out with one gauntlet-clad fist for Jason's throat. "I just got my ass handed to me trying to keep it from your alter ego, so I'm really not thinking of giving it to you as a great idea right now. At least not until I know you're not going to go all emo, let the world burn on me again."

Jason Blood moves with a grace and suddeness the usually stalwart Englishman rarely shows. His arms circle in a perfect arcing motion, brushing Sara's hand to one side while the other backhands her across her armored cheek with a lazy sort of wave. It's not meant to hurt, not even if she was unarmored, just sting, get her attention. Frankly, it's a damned fine display of Tai Chi, damned fine. "We don't have time!" he says into her face, standing once more in his more normal manner, though you know, naked still. "Paul is trapped in Hell, the only way out is a Key, I built a wall to keep him safe from the imps and what have you, but there are Demon's powerful enough to rip through the enchantment." his eyes bore into her, "And you just sent one back to Hell right on top of where he's at. So, either you trust me or you don't, but you have about three minutes before an army of nightmare horrors the likes of which you /literally/ cannot understand or imagine pour over your partnener and Unmake him from the man you know into a thing I will be lucky to recognize when next I'm sent back there! The only reason we have that long is because He's wounded. So, trust me or don't, save him, or don't. Either way, you'd better know how to locate and get that damned Artifact because even if we can't save Paul, we can't leave it where it is, it's location is known now and it will draw things like Ertigan the way a candle draws moths."

Sara grimaces at the naked wizard, giving him a long look. "We are going to have so many words when this is finished," she finally says, before striding toward the church. "Father?" she calls inside, reaching out on the way to pull the Spear out of the asphalt of the street. "Father, we're coming inside, all right? I'm Detective Pezzini, I'm NYPD." Pausing, she looks down at herself. "Bearer of the Balance." Because that doesn't sound pretentious.

Jason Blood remains standing, naked, in the street, his baring and body language exuding dignity and a sense of urgency for the mission but to all appearences entirely uncaring for his level of undress. Or, he's just really good at hiding how uncomfortable he is, one or the other. He does /not/ start walking with her towards the church and no answer comes from inside the church in responce to her. It may be because the Church isn't a big fan of the Balance. Because they're not in the fight for balanceing. They're pretty solidly (in their minds anyway) on one of the two sides jumping up and down trying to tip the 'balance' their way. Balance isn't their friend and it's only questionably their ally on occasion.

"Yeah. Well." The lack of response isn't exactly thrilling Sara. "I've also got your spear, and I'd really like to give it back to someone who's responsible for it." A beat. "Please don't be squished in there," she sighs to herself, bracing as she jogs the last few steps toward the doorway Etrigan threw a car into earlier.

The doors are gone, so getting in takes some… creativity, but it's possible, and in doing so she does not find the Father dead, but she does find him unconscious on the floor. Next to him is a silence MP5 submachine gun, clearly knocked from his hands when the car came through the front of the church and tossed him like a ragdoll against the entrance way's other wall.

Step one: kick the machine gun out of the way. Step two: check for a pulse. "C'mon, Father," she murmurs, giving him a careful shake. "Hey!" she calls back out toward the street. "You wanna tell me what I'm looking for in here?" For starters, Sara starts patting down the priest, a quick check for anything that seems significant, hidden, or otherwise out of place.

Jason Blood's sigh is actually audible even as far away as Sara is. He's not a big fan of shouting at people descriptions of dangerously powerful magical Artifacts, "It will appear as a peice of jewelery, a bit like a rosary with a double cross design, a gem in the end of each of it's cross peices." he says, his voice reaching her inside. The Father, who is alive but thuroughly knocked out, doesn't seem intent on helping her at all. Her search avails her of a small black velvet box, roughly the size of the palm of her hand, with a small lock on it's front.

"Keep it up, see if I don't throw you in a cell for indecent exposure," Sara mutters under her breath at Jason's sigh, continuing her search until she finds the box. She could search for a key, or probably bust it open with enough force, but the Witchblade has a few useful tricks. Like picking locks. It takes just a moment, but a pair of tiny barbs snake into the mechanism of the lock, working at the pins and tumblers to open the case.

And inside is a rather inauspicious looking bit of bling, a gold double cross with a small black stone at each of it's extremeties, it hangs on a chain that's light, but strong, not a soft jewelers metal, something else. It's light, maybe titanium? Aluminum? Hard to say. The Witchblade wants her to touch it, to put it on. Very badly. Right fucking now. Five minutes ago. Because there's power here and Sara wants power right? To protect people? Paul's dead, he can't protect anyone now, but with this they could protect more. So many more. gimme. All the peoples could be saved! gimme. They could stop evil things with this. gimme. Things like Jason and his big yellow friend the asshat with the teeth and the wings and GIMMEGIMMEGIMMEGIMME

"Oh, so this you like?" Sara reaches for the Spear once more, bracing herself for the inevitable feedback as she uses the butt to push herself to her feet. "No. My hands are more than full already." With an effort of will, she snaps the case closed again, turning back toward the door - or what's left of it. "By my count, Blood, you've got about a minute left tell me how we're getting to Paul now, and how you're going to keep this from getting to your co-pilot."

Oh it likes the Spear now too, in fact, as she holds the Rapture in one hand and the Spear in the other, the Witchblade fairly purrs, and starts to grow it's armory self over the two, as if trying to swallow them or fuse them to Sara. It likes the power. The power is yummy. Tastes like happiness and the killing of things. Jason remains standing where he is, watching Sara as she approaches, "You shouldn't touch all of those at once." he says, nodding at them, "When one Bearer holds one Arifact, it sends a signal, drawing the strange and odd to them bit by bit, forceing them to use the Artifact, it is part of what they are. If a Bearer holds two, the signal increases by an order of magnitude, holding all three?" he shakes his head, "I can feel it from here like a pull upon my soul telling me to kill you and take them for my I own and I /know/ better." as he speaks what few lights weren't on on the street, begin flickering to life and while the sounds of battle kept people away from the street before, there's movement forming in the allies and the shadows now as people who enjoy the dark begin to congregate outside of hte light cast by street lamps. "You're a beacon summoning everything and everyone who's ever wanted a taste of power to you right now, and given the number of supervillains this city has seen in recent memory, I would suggest you get rid fo them as quickly as possible." While she was searching, he's drawn something on the asphualt in blood, though given the time of night it looks more like oil, a circle with a few glyphs and runes, crude, but functional, "Come along, we're in a hurry." he says, motioning for her to step inside the ring.

"No shit," Sara murmurs at Jason's warning, shuddering at the tug of power and whispered promises. For just a moment, there's an amber glow in her eyes as she moves toward the circle, eyeing the flicker of the lights. "The fact that I almost want them to try and take it is never a good sign." That's why Sara still holds the Witchblade, in all truth. She's not without her own dark places, knowing them well enough to know when the blade tries to push her one way or another. They're a matched pair.

Except they're not a matched pair anymore. Now the Witchblade is drawing on the power of 2 other Artifacts. It's no longer an equal fight, Sara is massively outgunned. The instant she crosses into the circle, Jason's eyes flash crimson, "Guard yourself, it's a bumpy ride." he warns before saying, "Ememth togual eptep.", and then Sara gets her first taste of what it's like to touch Hell.

Her mind is assaulted by the screams of the damned, an echo chamber of agony. Hate and rage and sadness hit her in the chest like a physical blow, and none of them are the motivating kind of emtoion. Not even the anger is righteous or can be turned into something like will power to feed a need to stand up, it's more like racism made pure. Then it's over, before anything can really cling to her, stick to her, it's gone. When it was there, it felt like it would never end, but now that it's past it is much like a dream, fading even as it's presence is remembered. By the time Sara realizes they're back in Gotham, in the Antiques shop, her memory of the transition just boils down to 'really really bad' without details or clear recall. "Put them down." he says firmly, pointing to a table. This is a room she's not seen before in the shop. In the center of the floor is a set in some twining metals and what looks like stone of various colors and makes. There are intricate and details runes and magical foo-foo set into an ever widening pattern so complex it's hard to stare are. Into this Jason steps and he turns to face Sara, holding out his hand, "We're running out of time," he says simply, eyeing her unforgivingly and not caring about how off balance the brush with hell or the holding of the Artifacts might make her, "so Choose Sara Pezzini. Now. What path do we take?"

Sara has known her share of rage and despair. Loss and pain. But this? This is too much. She clings to the feel of the Witchblade in her mind, to those last bits of hunger and temptation. Those, at least, are familiar. Those she knows. By the time they return to the shop, she's in a state she hasn't seen in quite some time, armor sharper and crueler, the sensible trousers beneath them starting to show rips and tears. For a moment, as she looks to Jason, he might see something remembering from past encounters with bearers more under the influence of the blade, hate and hunger.

And then, in a blink, Sara tosses the box containing the Rapture into the circle with one hand, leveling the spear at Jason in the same motion with the other. "We're getting my partner," she answers, voice hoarse with the effort of keeping everything under control.

Jason Blood snatches the box out of the air and he stares down at it, and for just a moment his hand trembles and his eyes glow. It may occur to Sara, perhaps now, perhaps at a later date when things are more fully explained, that this is the Moment. Right then. It would have been so easy for Jason to call the Demon and leave the Rapture there. Once in Etrigan's hands, the curse would be broken, Jason would be free. To die, sure, but death after all that time might be a price he's willing to pay. It lasts for a heartbeat, a single second, and it's not like she recognizes it for what it is when it happens, she doesn't know the whole story so how could she, but looking back one day… It was there. The End to everything for Jason, in his hand. Freedom.

He opens the box and pulls out the jewelery before tossing the box aside contemptuously. "This circle will hold him, even more that he's wounded. Depending on how badly you got him with that," he nods at the Spear, "he won't have had enough time to renew himself in the Fires, it will keep him weak." Jason's eyes snap to her, "That is when he's most dangerous. Whatever he says, don't listen to it. Not a word. He will lie and he will tell you awful truths at the same time, all of it is meant to undo who you are. Do. Not. Listen." he looks down at the Rapture with a sad expression, "The Crusades began because he was trapped in a circle on Holy Ground and a Bishop thought he could speak to a Demon and come away unscathed. You are not a Bishop only Holy Ground and there is a part of the Witchblade that will respond to him. Guard yourself Detective." And then he begins to speak the rhyme…

There is a flash and surge of Hellfire and sulfurous smoke and when it clears Etrigan sits in the circle alone, Jason is gone, and the Demon's wounds remain unhealed. It coughs once, phlemy blood splattering onto the concrete floor of his 'cage' before he lifts yellow glowing eyes and slooooooowly grins, "Hello Sara." the Demon croons, "What? No welcome back kiss?"

"What'd I tell you about kicking the bad boy habit?" Sara braces herself on the spear, eyes almost closing as she marshals her resources before the more alert part of her reminds her that she should probably be watching the nasty demon in the circle. Which she does, warily. "Sorry. You're in holding."

Etrigan adjusts his possition and takes up a spot in the middle of the circle, seemingly unconserned, and sits Indian style, legs crossed, "I have been in such places before, they do not last long by my memory…" then he perks up a bit, "Hey," he snaps his fingers as if just remembering, "would you like to know what's being done to your friend as we converse? I can describe it if you like. I can, after all, see what the Weakling sees." he reaches up to rub at his still blood covered chin with a pair of clawed fingertips in a mockery of a 'thinking' pose, "Or perhaps you would like to hear how I knew what the Worm would do before he did it, and so left a small surprise for him back Home for the inevitable exchange of our bodies?" then the smile grows even wider, "Or would you instead like to hear about my mother…." somehow that last one just sounds so much worse….


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