Closed RP Dissonance

This RP is currently closed.


Staff member
Must've been weird for him. One minute, you're on your way home from work, and this weird LARPer in a cowboy hat and broken mask keeps trying to spark conversation, getting harder and harder to ignore; until the next minute, you're tied to a chair, and you realise you have no idea where you are, or how you got here, or what's going to happen to you. He was talking, that's all you know. You were listening, because that's all you could do, until it was all you could do.

Now, the poor bastard was sitting in a chair with his tendons slashed, and Lament was sitting opposite him with a microphone.



The warehouse was cold and dark, owing to the heavy tarpaulins that covered the overhead windows. Not that they'd let much in at this hour, anyway- a little past two on a night in fall, the sun was more a distant memory than anything else. Still, it meant that it hadn't heated up the inside during the day. These places trap heat like nothing on Earth- if Lament was going to be sitting here in his heavy leather jacket, he'd rather not be drenching it in sweat.

"Seven, repeating."

Hm. His current method was a little counter-intuitive, tending up instead of his usual down, but, fuck it, nothign else had worked. What if the thing he was listening for could actually be heard? He sounded bored, by now. At least the hostage had learned to shut up, at least- only speaking when asked to, likely owing to the taser Lament kept in his spare hand.




Lament scowled beneath the mask. What a fucking pain this was. Fucking bastard. Fucking fuck. He kicked his own chair out from under him, launching it halfway across the warehouse. It seemed to take him a few seconds to compose himself before he could try again.


"Alright, alright. Eight."


"Eight, repeating."


The warehouse district carried sound.

Not too many people realized that. The warehouses themselves might be fairly soundproof, but one little error in a door’s sealing, one broken window, and everything echoed between rows and rows of buildings and alleys, especially to someone with sensitive ears and a sensitivity to noises like that.

Needless to say, if you were trying to pinpoint a sound, it took a while.

Cryptid would know. He’d spent the better part of a while trying to figure out where the noises were coming from. They weren’t human noises, because they weren’t in a normal human frequency.

And because the last one, the closest yet, was twisting his stomach in knots. It was the sound like a dogwhistle. It didn’t hurt, necessarily, but it made him want to turn and be as far away from it as possible. Which fed into the temptation he’d been letting slide all night, and led him to round another corner to another warehouse and pause, like a bat waiting for echolocation.

He almost didn’t hear anything, but he was straining, staying still with his hands clenched to reveal the bagh nakh between the fingers.

He was rewarded by the sound of a loud clatter, like furniture – hard to tell whether it was metal or wood that struck the wall. His muscles relaxed, and he started to creep forward. That was here. He was at the right place.

“Alright, alright. Eight."

(A few heartbeats, silent nothing except Cryptid’s own soft footsteps.)

“Eight, repeating.”

(Stillness, but closer now. Cryptid stopped, and slowly swung us head around to pick up the next sound.)


The last fuck was barely audible as he came around the corner, an indication he was right where he needed to be. A glance up told him more – a quick skim of the warehouses showed him one with blackened windows, covered in tarps from the inside. He paused, just to breathe.

Blood. He smelled blood. Lots of blood. Not as much blood as his work, but enough to mean that something important had been allowed to bleed for a while. He swallowed gently as his mouth watered, and pressed his instincts down. Now wasn’t the time.

He crossed the alley to the door to the warehouse, and took a second to casually inspect it, clawed, gloved hands in his pockets. Then he leveraged himself, and taking the chance – and the hint – he leaned back on one foot, and slammed his other into the lock, full-force.

Most locks here in the warehouse district were rusted out. Even if this was one with a new padlock, the door itself had the same age to it. If the lock didn’t give, the door would.

And once it did, cool as a cucumber, Crypted would stroll in and take a look around, breathing in the mix of leather, gasoline – motorcycle, or a really fucked up muffler on any other car – and all that blood. Under the mask, Todd licked his lips, but his voice stayed calm and clear as a midwinter night as he tossed it casually into the empty space.

“Knock, knock, warehouse inspection. Hope I’m not interrupting anything illegal.”
Ah. They had an audience.

If Lament was bothered by this, then he didn't let it show; slowly turning his head towards the intruder in acknowledgement, without bothering to move from where he stood. He seemed far more frustrated at his own prior shortcomings than this potentially lethal interruption. In fact, if anything, this seemed to have calmed him down.

He gave a casual wave to the intruder.

"Sure ain't."

The stranger's outfit was strange, yet utilitarian- the only artistic flair coming from the design of that grinning mask he was wearing. It was the sort of outfit you only wore if you were a vigilante, killed vigilantes, or were embarrassingly obsessed with vigilantes. Given the balls it took to knock down the door on an active kidnapping, he had to assume it was one of the former. He reminded Lament of himself a little bit. He reminded Lament of certain rumours a lot more.

A guy in a cheap Halloween mask, taking down some poor bastards unlucky enough to find themselves at the bottom rung of a drug lord's ladder. Lament liked to think of himself as more dangerous prey than that, but he could've been wrong. The guy's efficiency seemed to point towards some sort of enhancement over a regular citizen- but whether that was a matter of training, or of something more innate was a datapoint nobody seemed able to glean. Regardless, common sense would tell Lament to be careful here. To be careful, and to wish he was mistaken.


"Y' here to listen?" He asked, "Or d'ya plan on standin' around by the door the whole time?"

Saying this, he stepped forwards towards the hostage, circling around him like a vulture, though his eyes were still trained on the intruder. Then, slowly, he brought the taser up to his neck. The hostage only flinched in response.

It seemed that, by now, he had learned not to cry for help.
Last edited:
“I was hopin’ to participate, actually,” Cryptid drawled, taking in the scene. He didn’t drawl in the same ridiculous Texan accent that the man in charge used; just the slow, lazy tones of someone who was disinterested or distracted.

Cryptid was neither of those things. The smell of blood was overwhelming in the close confines of the warehouse, drawing the dark, borrowed eyes to the source injuries. He couldn’t see them from here, but the cuts had to be clean. More ragged cuts would’ve bled less cleanly, in more of a spray than a stream. The man had been entirely still when he’d been cut, likely unconscious.

He wasn’t bleeding anymore. The ankles were probably shot – he’d need extensive therapy after this. Which led Cryptid’s eyes to dart back up to the taser, to the man holding it, taking in what features he could, memorable things like height and posture and clothing. Scent, under the blood and what he could under the gasoline. Sound, whatever tones might exist under that stupid fucking accent.

Casually, Cryptid added, in his same slow tone, “Can you dance as well as you conduct, pardner?”

Then he moved. Head-on, just faster than human. The taser could hurt the hostage, but given how often he’d apparently been zapped, he’d survive it. What Cryptid would focus on was preventing it from touching himself, and maybe breaking the damn wrist, while he was at it. If not that, then he’d settle for “good enough” if the sudden rush was enough to get the man to back away from his prisoner.
Lament gave a low chuckle, turrning the taser over in his hand and shoving the microphone into his pocket. Hoping to participate, hm? He'd heard that one before- though, when he did, it tended to be more tragic than sarcastic. There were a lot of people in Pittsburgh with a death wish, and Lament was seen as an omen, of sorts. It was no wonder they sought him out. It was no wonder he took advantage of that. This, however? This was refreshing- oh, this was fun. He'd participate, alright.

He'd make sure of it.

His run was uncanny; hard to judge from where he stood, but it seemed just quick enough to arouse suspicion that this man had earned the mask he wore. Oh dear, that would have to be dealt with, wouldn't it? It was a little too late to try the method used on his current hostage, but he had other means- and, unlike surgery, a gunshot didn't require an unaware target.

"Mm, you'll have to wait your turn."

Lament reached for his handgun, kept in a holster beneath his jacket, and pulled it on the oncoming stranger, firing three shots as soon as it was raised; low down, aiming for the thighs, in three different horizontal positions, in case he had the mind to evade.

Then, he turned it on the hostage.

"But, keep that up, and I'll let you cut in line."
Gun, his brain registered unhelpfully a second before the trigger was pulled. Normally he could tell when a guy had a gun on him, the smell of powder and metal unmistakable. However, this guy also stank like he bathed at a gas pump, so the mistake was excusable as long as the Cryptid didn’t die because of it. If he’d known, he would’ve started with an evasive pattern instead of a head-on attack. There wasn’t really enough space to put on the brakes or change direction, either.

His options were then limited to how do you want to be hit? The aim was low, nonlethal. He didn’t really have time to think, so he just acted on his gut, and leaned forward. He’d taken more damage in the last week than a single bullet to the leg. It’d hurt, maybe drill into the bone, but that wouldn’t last as long as he didn’t cause any more chipping or tearing.

It burned a little, when it hit, but it actually wasn’t as bad as Cryptid had expected. He’d still been hit, and he felt the warm rush of blood, but the bullet went through the muscle and meat and came out the other side. The acrid smell of his own blood filled the air. He’d have to go find that later. He couldn’t be leaving DNA evidence at crime scenes that weren’t even his.

The instinctive forward balance came in handy anyway, as he let his leg give out while the muscle figured out what was wrong with it and repaired itself. He turned it into a somersault, forward roll, then halfway through turned that into a forward spring with his feet pointed at the wannabe rockstar's chest.

The hit wasn’t going to be clean. It’d probably miss, honestly, but the ideal situation was that Cryptid would then be between Lament and the hostage, with his feet back on the ground. Even with the pain, his recent feeding should ensure that the internal damage was fixed enough to stand even in the span of a few short seconds, and he’d maybe be close enough to brandish the claws and push the maniac back further now that he’d given evidence bullets didn’t really bother him.

“I know patience is a virtue and all, but I do hate having to wait.”
Last edited:
"Alright, alright."

A stumble? Or something more intentional? The bullet hit, regardless--Lament could see that clearly--but, aside from giving him pause, it didn't seem to have caused much damage. Padding, then? No, the man had bled; bled like the bullet had hit skin. Manic determination? No, he seemed too casual for that; the type of person who could sprint through a bullet wound typically did so for reasons other than cocky boredom. High pain tolerance, perhaps? Or some sort of healing factor? Lament would have to get a closer look, once he got the chance- once the leg was...


He just barely got out of harms way, the stranger's kick clipping his shoulders and forcing him to step back- away from him, away from the hostage. Clever bastard. Lament pointed the gun at him, letting the arm holding the taser drop lazily by his side. He was more focused, now. More alert. Investigating the damage could wait until it couldn't be reciprocated.

"Meta?" He asked, "Can't say you're my target demographic, but... hm."

Saying this, Lament lowered the gun, backing up a few steady paces as he did so. Then, with his second hand, he switched out the items he was carrying- taser went in the pocket, microphone went in the hand. He brought it up to his face.


He actually landed, somewhat. The kick meant he landed on the leg wrong, but he played it off as a brace, filling the space between maniac and prisoner with his lean form. The man backed off, giving the Cryptid space to shift his weight back and let the leg actually rest enough to mend.

The gun was still pointed at him, but lowered. Cryptid couldn’t see the finger to see if it was on the trigger, but he didn’t need to. Always treat a maniac with a gun like a maniac with a gun.

A gun and a microphone. The fuck was this guy’s deal? He had a getup, chains dangling from a wide-brimmed hat that seemed designed more for the same fear-factor as the Cryptid mask than for anything practical. He had a mask himself that left half his face visible. Again, seemed to be more for show than for any practical use. Cryptid’s dark eyes – the old model of black; his last experience with the newer, prettier ones left him hesitant to use them again – met the stranger’s through the curtain of chains.

Overall, the costume gave an aura of arrogance. I’m scary, and I don’t need practical additions to my getup to make me more effective. Either flaunting power, or someone more used to scaring mundanes than actually fighting. The meta comment really settled it for Todd.

“Psycho wannabe rockstar isn’t my usual fare either, buddy.” The quip was to disguise the attention Cryptid was giving him, while also summing up what he’d noticed in the most offensive way possible.

Nine. What was he counting? Todd felt like he needed to figure that out. It was important. Something to do with the mic, maybe? A countdown? A detonator? The feedback was normal. It functioned like a mic.

Was it something in the word itself? Was it something in his voice?

Whatever it was had to be secondary, though. Or even lower on that list. Cryptid had a guy strapped to the chair without usable legs and an extra from Aerosmith waving around a deadly weapon. Gun first, hostage once the man was disarmed.

Cryptid moved again, this time faster, this time at an angle. The meta-cat was out of the bag, so there wasn’t any point in suppressing that right now. The goal was to grab his wrist to control where the gun got aimed, and then to break his arm. Or, you know, make him drop it, which was much more civil.

But now he listened, really listened, for whatever the man would say next, just to see if he could pick up anything off about it.
Psycho wannabe rockstar, hm? Well, two of those words were accurate- although, no doubt, his companion here didn't know which ones. Annoying as it was, Lament wasn't going to correct him. He wasn't going to respond- he couldn't, not until his sound tests were finished.

His eyes darted between the attacker and the hostage; one determined to move, the other to stay still. Should an effective tone be found, the way it presented itself would be different across both. Very different.

The hostage was still sitting uncomfortably. He hadn't tried to stand up or crawl away, hadn't started talking again, hadn't done anything besides sit there and stare. Was one of the earlier tones paralysing, then? No- no, he was moving, he just couldn't get very far. Even aside from the ankle wounds, being tased that much couldn't feel great on the muscles. Lament would have to play back the tapes when he left, just to make sure there wasn't anything he was missing, but he doubted there was anything there. He was looking for action, not inaction.

Inaction, if induced, would come from his newer subject. If Lament could make him stop, then that would mean it did something. Annoying as it was, he'd have to keep up the fight- taking little breaks to observe and record whilst balancing the odds. Lose too quick, and he wouldn't be able to speak. Win too quick, and he'd have two identically inert subjects. He'd have to be careful.

"Nine, repeating."


The man was aiming for his arm- the one with the gun, thank god. Lament didn't fancy letting him shatter his wrist, but he didn't fancy surrendering either; he fired one blind shot in the attacker's direction, then yanked his arm out of the way, 'accidentally' dropping the gun in the process. He stepped back again, reaching for the taser in his coat.
“Nine, repeating.”

Cryptid picked it up, that time, his ears strained for it now. There was a warped undertone beneath the phrase, like someone else speaking in a decibel impossible to hear without something unique, and even then only with effort. His head tilted like a dog’s as he tried to catch the sound again, then shook his head with a frown as the gun skidded onto the floor. The target took a few steps back.

“Okay, whatever that is? Yeah, stop doing that.”

He talked as he stepped forward, this time moving in a counterbalance that would swing one leg heel-down into the arm that had disappeared into the leather coat. If the blow hit and didn’t break the arm, it would bruise like hell, a nasty purple mark about the size of the combat boot’s sole. The trouble with that maneuver was that Todd had trouble following it up, as he had to shift his position visibly to throw any kind of punch. He did that, aiming the bar of his bagh nakh toward the man’s forehead, but braced for any kind of retaliation as well, just in case he hadn’t hit the coat-arm quite as hard as he really meant to.
Though Lament couldn't observe any useful effects, his attacker did seem to be having an odd reaction to his voice; straining to hear it, as if the sound was something he could just barely hear. That was odd. He was talking as loudly as he was before, making sure his open voice was understandable if just for the purpose of the tape. Unless the man had gone deaf in the time it took for him to launch an attack, there was no reason for him to be straining to hear it, unless...


He was distracted; attention split between reaction and target, attacker and hostage, the delicate balance of the fight as it had to play out. And, in that moment of weakness, he was attacked. Of course he was. What kind of idiot wouldn't take advantage of an opening like that?

The strike hit his arm before he could pull it away- the only reason the damn thing didn't snap in two was the padding on his jacket. He rolled with it last-second, pulling his arm down in the direction of impact, but it wasn't quick enough. It couldn't be quick enough. Lament hissed under his breath, now fully focused on the task in front of him. Another strike, aimed for his head- though, this one, he managed to evade. He ducked beneath it, stepping to the side as he did so, trying to put as much distance between himself and his opponent as he could.

Fuck, this guy was quick. Inhuman, for sure- dangerous, as well. Shrugging off a bullet wound, unnaturally fast movements, reacting strangely to even a neutral unheard tone... he'd keep an eye on this one.

Lament reached for his taser again, the motion a lot faster this time, despite his aching arm. If he was in pain, he wasn't showing it- his prior hiss seemed to be the only indication that anything was wrong. He kept the arm by his side, posture tense, coiled like a spring, ready to snap it forwards at the slightest provocation- but, first, he had to finish his test.



On cracked foundation, the hostage stood up. He took one brave, desperate step, biting through the pain until his weight shifted inevitably onto his feet and he lurched forwards and split the seams in tendons wide open. For the first time in all too long, there was a scream. The chair clattered to the floor, almost crushing the man who had fallen from it, but, for a moment, he was undeterred, trembling arms dragging his body forwards, sideways, away, away, away.

Then, he stopped.
There was a hiss as Cryptid’s foot made contact with the bad guy’s arm. Like his own coat, Aerosmith Extra’s provided enough padding to stop a break. The punch didn’t land, which he’d expected, but it had given Cryptid time to recenter. He almost made the mistake of stepping forward for a follow-through, but the movement toward the taser gave him enough pause to avoid doing anything rash. The man was fast, and he wouldn’t risk losing mobility if he could help it. And he still needed to figure out the…

The man moved the microphone closer to his mouth again.



Todd’s head reeled at that sound, like a dog at a high whistle. He didn’t back away, but his shoulders flinched, a hard cringe as his world was immediately engulfed in sound. Against his will, he snarled, a quiet sound that definitely wasn’t quite human. The noise cut right through him. He had to make it stop, he couldn’t–

It had stopped.

Cryptid opened his eyes less than a second after he closed them. The sound had lasted the span of the word, but in time with the end of the sound was a scream, and the smell of fresh blood washed over him from behind. He turned halfway, eyes darting to the maniac for just long enough to see what had happened to the hostage.

On the ground. Perfectly still. Bleeding out of the injuries that had clotted. He’d made a lunge for the door, maybe in the moment when the two monsters had been distracted by each other. Something inside him, the feral part, noticed the prey that was alive and unmoving, sprawled on the floor, and the trail of blood where the desperation had taken him. It’d be easy to…

Nope. Bad thought, worse than the sound. Cryptid shook it off with a huff of frustration, turning back to the man who’d put the hostage in that position, even as the cold light didn’t quite leave his borrowed black eyes.

“I tried to ask you nicely.” He couldn’t keep the irritated growl from the edge of his falsely gruff voice, and then he took a step forward, putting in a burst of speed.

This time, he went for the neck, which looked mostly unprotected. The blow was still meant to be nonlethal, but a metal bar hitting the throat in a quick punch should be enough to keep the bastard from making the distracting sound again. Distraction was the last thing Todd needed on top of the pain and the blood – he could handle it, he just didn’t like pushing his self-control like that. It felt too much like tempting fate.
He could hide his pain. He could easily hide his pain. What Lament struggled to hide, however, was his delight.

His posture immediately relaxed, no longer tense and evasive. His movements became more controlled, calmer and less reactive. His gaze stopped darting and instead slowed down to linger, moreso drifting between the pair than anything else, taking it all in, making sure he didn't miss a second. Though the mask covered his face well, a smile could still be visible in his exposed eye- watchful and leering.

But he was focused now. He was focused, and the attacker was not- at least, not as much as he should be. Lament saw the attack coming, but he didn't really need to. His instinct was often, quite literally, to protect his neck. He brought the taser up to meet the bar, though it wasn't yet active, and ducked his head, so that any damage would clip his hat (or even his head) instead of disarming his voice. He couldn't have that- not when things were starting to get fun.

He said, speaking a lot more slowly this time,
"Ten, repeating."

There was another scream as the hostage attempted to stand again; choosing to clutch his ears and limp, rather than using his hands to crawl away. He really didn't like that sound, did he?
Somehow, the bad guy had gotten what he wanted. The entire shape of his body language changed – no more frustration, no more fear. It felt like he’d figured something out, and Cryptid didn’t have time to figure out what he’d learned.

The taser caught on his claws and batted the arm aside, causing the bar to catch on the brim of his hat to knock it askew if not off entirely. Todd snarled again, this time more in genuine frustration that reflected in his dark eyes. Now would be a good time to back up, get some space, assess. He took two steps back –

And froze completely as the man started to talk again, his voice resonating under his voice and inside of Todd’s skull. Nausea and fury ran through him. Part of him wanted to run, but part of him was still a predator, and he wouldn’t turn his back on something this dangerous. Instead his back was to the man, who got to his feet and took painful, shuffling steps toward the exit. He was screaming, and that only compounded with the awful din inside his head.

He needed him to shut up shut up shut up

No, the hostage didn’t need to shut up, Todd forced himself to think. The shock had worn off, which was a good sign. Screaming was a good thing, even if it taunted his instincts. The awful noise wasn’t coming from the hostage, he hadn’t done anything wrong. It wasn’t his fault Todd’s instincts kept trying to drag his attention over to the prey; and it helped that he’d had a big meal very recently. He could control the hunger.

It was thatfuckingsound that was really grating on his nerves.

As the sentence ended, Cryptid’s own body posture shifted, from the calm care he’d worn to the tightness of the animal underneath. With the taser there, there wasn’t much of a chance to use the claws without risking the loss of one arm, however temporarily. Tense, he started to move, not in a direct line but in the beginning of a circle – a little bit of a bait, to see if the man would make for the hostage again given the chance, disguised as distraction.

No friendly banter, this time. He needed his head as clear as possible, to look for the opening and take his chance the second he had it. Next hit would be to the chest if he could help it. See if the bastard could ten, repeat without any fucking air.

Well. This was interesting.

That tone, that tenth fucking tone, it had done something to both of them. His hostage, both times, had attempted to flee; despite his wounds, despite his threats, despite his prior inability to do so much as scream for help under the grip of Lament. And his attacker, both times, had been thrown off; distracted, angry, the well-earned arrogance he showed prior having seemingly evaporated, leaving bitterness and confusion in its wake- but, and this was fascinating, it only seemed to make him more determined. Fight or flight, perhaps? No, it had to be something more than that. He'd have to run more tests. He'd have to get another hostage, another recording, he'd have to sit down without the distraction of a threat to his life and really dig for what it did. Finding a hostage would be easy, for someone like him.

But it would be harder to replicate this...

"Didn't like that, did did ya?"

The statement hung at a crossroads; betewen question and statement, at both attacker and victim, a grinning mockery and a simple observation of facts. His eye tracked the stranger as he moved around him, taking a wide arc rather than a direct line, but he made no attempt to move. Attacking him in this state, with that look in his eyes, would likely end poorly, and attacking the hostage... well, what was the point in that?

He hadn't managed to crawl much past his original position, which was understandable, given his physical condition. From what Lament could observe, it seemed that the pain of movement was worse than the fear of stillness; until that note came in, and then it could be overcome- had to be overcome. The man wasn't going to escape. He wasn't going to try unless Lament wanted him to, and even then he wouldn't be getting very far. Once the threat had been dealt with, once there wasn't a risk in picking up the gun again, then he'd put him out of his misery. Unless...

Well, unless he didn't have to be the one to do it.

"Y'all are done here." Lament shrugged, adjusting his hat, "I've got what I need- all that's left is cleanup."

The stranger seemed awfully bothered by the hostage, he noted. And the rumours- if this guy was who Lament thought he was, as nothing seemed to deny it, then his discomfort was for good reason. A man, a criminal, completely vanished aside from his clothes- eaten alive, they say, and cannibalism isn't something you do just once. He gestured to the limping husk with the taser, staring at his attacker as he did so.

"Go on. He's all yours."
Last edited:
Cryptid had a choice to make.

Although he’d braced himself, the man didn’t repeat the awful sound when he spoke again, beyond that stupid fucking accent. Apparently, he’d found what he wanted, and now he was done.

This man wasn’t a predator. He hadn’t brought the hostage here to satisfy some form of hunger, not a craving for violence or for blood, or even something as human as money. That made him different from the last few bad guys Todd had faced. Instead, like some kind of mad scientist, he was experimenting on him. Experimenting with sound. And now that he was done, he didn’t want or need him anymore, and he offered him to Todd.

It took him a minute.

Oh. Right. Jasper Torres and Mark Peters.

He supposed that made sense. Rumors went both ways, good and bad. The rumors that scared weak men like the Jackals could certainly be taken the wrong way by other parties. He’d been a little upset when he’d made the decision to send what was left of Mark Peters to the office of Leo Vasquez. He hadn’t thought through all the consequences, just thought of the message. He hadn’t thought of other potential messages, the other people who might start to accept that the Cryptid was the monster he wanted himself to look like. That was the price he had to pay, though. He was just glad they hadn’t gotten around to Phoenix yet. He had no idea how he’d try to explain it to her.

He did know that he wasn’t going to try to explain it to this guy.

“That’s mighty generous of you, mister.” His drawl was calm and cold, tinged with caution, filling empty space as he continued his circle. He needed space to think, and he might as well try to play up the predatory angle. That was the point, wasn’t it? Make him nervous. Make it seem like the monster was really considering the offer, while the Cryptid decided how much of a monster he really wanted to be.

He take the time to break the guy’s ribs so he couldn’t do any more harm, or he could get to the hostage, and remove him from the situation. It’d been a long week, one that tipped more toward bad than good. At first he’d thought he was just balancing against the good of the weeks before, the weeks with Sam, with Phoenix. But here was a situation where he could cause more direct harm… or take the chance and do some direct good. The other monster didn’t seem to be packing any more guns, and besides the taser he wasn’t actually a threat, anymore. If Cryptid collected the hostage, he’d be between the hostage-taker and the main exit, and the gun was already between him and the victim. It’d be easy to move it, or even pick it up and just shoot the perp in the knee so he couldn’t run before the police and EMTs could arrive.

“You don’t exactly look like you’d want to share the spotlight. Why, I don’t even think I caught your name.”

He kept talking, conversationally, miming gratitude underneath the caution as he reached the gun. It’d be so easy to…

Hostage. Focus on the hostage. Even in his own hands, the gun could be an unknown factor. He nosed his foot under the weapon, and slid it aside, not paying attention to the direction apart from away. Then he went back to walking, never quite putting his back to the other monster, the one who wasn’t a predator, the one who he hoped would say his name so he had something to call him besides Aerosmith copycat.

Without the mask, Todd was a good social chameleon. He was used to flowing with the conversation, finding his own rapport. He normally didn’t bother with bastards like this, but hostages weren’t on his normal list of non-social situations. He started to lean into this, and hoped he could get the man’s inner villain to monologue for him while he took care of business.

“I’ll admit I enjoyed the performance while it lasted. Shame it’s ending like this.”

Almost there. Two more steps, and he could drop down to a crouch next to the man, where he could subtly slip off the claws and start assessing the damage with strong but surprisingly gentle hands, checking the muscle spasms, the bloodied ankles, the cuts and bruises. If he’d been any weaker, he might’ve worried. But he wasn’t injured, and there was no immediate threat. He just had to listen for the bastard, just in case he decided to come up from behind with that taser, or in case he made that stupid sound again.
Last edited:
He didn't bite. Not immediately, at least, but a man with a history like that was probably quite skilled at hiding his intentions- or, perhaps, at denying them. Lament smiled at the little flinch brought on when he spoke. None so far knew that he was a metahuman, so he lacked the prior reputation that many of his peers had; which meant that the only way to get people to react like that was to show them what he was. To show them, and then have them killed for it.

The gun was kicked aside, out of Lament's easy reach- a pain in the ass, for sure, but there wasn't much point in pursuing it yet. He'd take note of its position and, just as slowly as his attacker, started to drift not quite towards it, but angled as such that it would be a straight shot if he needed to run for it. And, of course, the guy was talking- acting as if he was undisturbed by their prior conversation. Lament smiled, allowing him to get close to the hostage. Very close.

The man didn't know who he was.

"Y'ain't much used to the city here, are ya?"

He tossed the taser up in the air and caught it, tilting his head to the side to watch the man approach the hostage.

"Say, how long have you been here? A month? A couple?"

Empty words, empty words. He let him get close, not moving from where he stood, not acting in any way that could be read as a threat- as far as the attacker was concerned, he was monologuing, taking the bait, and so distracted by the attempt at conversation that he failed to realise how close he was getting to his hostage. In reality, Lament was simply waiting. Waiting and watching as he approached the hostage, leaning down to offer some pitiable form of help.

"You've already made quite the name for yourself, Cryptid."


"What use do you have for mine?"

Lament grinned, infecting those final words with a silent, infuriating tone. He stepped back, throwing and catching the taser once more. He stood. He watched.

The hostage reached up and punched his assistant square in the throat.
A handful of things happened all at once, all of them bad.

The bad guy started talking, and while he didn’t say anything useful, he gave Todd all the time he needed to finish his approach, to start searching wounds. There was no name in what he said. Hell, Malachite had been more helpful in his nonanswers. But at least he was talking, and he was smart enough to stay where he was while Todd skimmed over the bloodied ankles, already starting to scab over again, and made his way up to the neck, chest, and shoulders, the areas burned by repeated shock therapy.

There was another sound. Todd heard it, like a second voice speaking in low tones under the stranger’s voice. He tensed for a second, trying to identify it, trying to see if it was the same awful fucking tone as before. Just a fraction of a second, and his hand tightened on the man’s shoulder from checking the neck area, preemptive and unfounded anger controlling him as he braced for the noise again.

And in response, the man panicked, and rolled enough to punch Todd in the throat.

The Cryptid didn’t protect his throat as well as he should, but most of the time he didn’t need to. A high collar on his coat and turtleneck usually did the trick to protect the sensitive area from external cold and stray razor blades. It was not very effective against protecting him from blunt force trauma. And while he was fast, he’d been taken by surprise, so his slight lean back wasn’t enough to protect him from the sudden blow and momentary breathlessness.

I’m trying to help you, motherfucker. Irritation jolted through his mind, and at the same time, he made the unilateral decision that the man was obviously too traumatized to be trusted with his own safety. Todd’s hands moved faster than his mind, and he pressed his thumbs into the victim’s neck, putting just enough pressure on to cut off air.

It took a lot less time to strangle someone than the movies showed. It took even less time than usual, given the man’s condition and blood loss, and it was done as soon as the last word came out of the man’s mouth. Words, if the second voice counted as double.

It took that long for Todd to realize what he’d done.

Cryptid tore his hands away from the body like it had burned him. No, that wasn’t good. The man was still breathing – thank God, the man was still breathing. He knew he was on edge after the sound, he knew that. Coming up to prey before he’d calmed down completely hadn’t been his brightest move. Sure, the action had kept him from being punched again – and it definitely protected the hostage from hurting himself further.

Now he had an unconscious victim on his hands, though, and dead weight would be a lot harder to carry out of here. Stupid. That was rash and stupid. He needed to be more careful, keep himself from lashing out in the wrong direction again. The hostage hadn’t done anything wrong, he repeated to himself. It wasn’t his fault he was scared, and in this situation. Obviously he’d react badly to Todd making a sudden move – his hindbrain was in charge, and he’d been through a lot.

Cryptid rocked back on his heels for a second, closed his eyes, and breathed. He focused inward, on the hunger, on the cold, and focused on the aspects of those things that grounded him. He could smell the blood, but looked past that, picked out the stench of gasoline and leather. He trained his senses on that scent, focused on the target.

From the outside, he just sighed deeply, held it for a moment, then exhaled, before he turned the mask back to the villain, his voice a soft growl. “So you don’t have to die to me calling you ‘Aerosmith Copycat,’ asshole. Consider it a favor.”
He reacted rather predictably to the stimuli; violently retaliating when attacked, though the Cryptid's seemed to be a bit more serious. He wasn't thinking. He wasn't thinking about the hostage's state, about the consequences of his action, about anything but getting rid of that itch in the back of his mind- he acted on impulse, and the impulse he acted on was the most dangerous Lament had seen so far.

"Cruel bastard." He chuckled, "And, here I was, thinking you were here to help..."

Strangulation to the point of unconsciousness was always dangerous, even when the victim hadn't spent the past god knows how long bleeding out through his ankles. The blood loss, combined with the presumed carelessness with which the act was carried out, meant that the hostage was likely in far worse shape than he would've been before- and that he was unlikely to ever recover. Permanent brain damage would be the most optimistic outcome. Did Cryptid know that?

Did Cryptid know that now?

"He ain't wakin' up from that, even if he survives."

Lament continued to back up, slowly, towards the gun.

"But you knew that, right?"
Todd’s jaw worked under his mask while the still-unnamed monster talked. He liked the sound of his voice. It made Todd want to rip his throat out. With his teeth.

He needed to breathe, to calm down. He didn’t strangle enough people to know if the man was telling him the truth. The unconscious victim was breathing. For right now, he was alive, and Cryptid needed to walk away from the body.

So he stood up. Slowly, with a slight sway at the end, like he was confused. Dizzy. He didn’t feel dizzy, or confused. He felt the rage settle, turn into something colder. Whether the man lived or died, his circumstances weren’t Todd’s fault. If Cryptid hadn’t come, he’d be in a worse state altogether. Now he stood a chance, at least for a little while longer.

The Cryptid’s mask turned toward the sound of the maniac’s voice. His eyes held the man’s body in frame, took in movements and posture and body language. He’d relaxed, like the fight was forgotten, slouched like he was bored now, like he’d finished what he wanted to get done, and was ready to take his findings and leave.

But now there was a monster between him and the exit. A monster with blood rushing in his ears, and with a singular focus that wasn’t going to be distracted by something as trivial as a discarded gun.

“No. No, I didn’t.” He spoke slowly, honestly. His eyes might not be their natural ice blue, but the cold, the abrupt predation in them, sought to catch and hold the man’s gaze. He stepped over the unconscious form, and started to pace away, started to close the distance in a direct line, one step at a time.

Not realizing that his bagh nakh were still on the ground behind him, by the unconscious man.

“But you didn’t plan to let him leave anyway, so what do you care?”

The masked face tilted, and he brought himself to a stop despite the streak of raw fury that demanded he pounce.

“It shouldn’t matter to you, anyway, should it. Did you get what you wanted from him? From me? Are you entertained, rockstar? Has this been fun for you?”