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(Transcript and visual captions below}







        "Eugh these little shiny... metal... flake things are still stuck to me."
        "Yeah good luck getting those off any time this century buddy. I think glitter has been recognized as a terminal illness."
Allison shook the hem of her baggy shirt at Thierry, which sent out a plume of the rainbow dust.
        "Yeah learn to start loving it dude," Darren's near rat's nest of hair glimmered like a disco ball.
        "I don't get it, I guess. This is how people party now? Seems a bit childish. There was still the requisite sex and drugs if that
'bouncy castle' was any indication but it just didn't seem very rock and roll."
        "Yeah right, you loved it. You went straight for that ball pit."
        "I... thought I should attempt to fit in, that's all."

The sun had risen way too long before, and the three revelers dragged themselves through the swanky lobby like three exotic snails leaving a glittering trail.

In which the gang takes in the trash.



        "I don't know what you want me to say." They walked in an aimless path through the Casa's courtyard.
        "Hm, perhaps something like 'Sorry that I've been a reckless jackass.' That could be a start."
The hum of distant traffic did little to mute the clacking of Demetri's freshly polished brogues.
        "Tell me you had some obscure reasoning behind this, because I cannot fathom a justification."
        "What do you think of people who do bad things Demetri? Do you think 'those are my mates, those are my people?' Well, that's not me. Not any more."
        "What crime could a child commit against you to provoke such a draconian punishment? Didn't you oppose Tomasz's methods? Or do you only care when it suits you to be self-righteous?"
        "Ah there we go, Demetri the moral philosopher. Jack has an adult's ethics. He is a man, and he did something terrible."
        "You know that sort of treatment could have killed him permanently. Perhaps you didn't see him after the crows and the rats got to him, but it was an uglier state than any progenitor had ever left him. He is lucky to not be dead for good, thanks to the help of his friends. What kind of world is it when the likes of dour little Thierry are better allies than you? This is why people become cynical. For all appearances you are the gentle lamb of the family and then this."

Vitus ran his fingers along the back of an iron bench, and a cold wind rustled some long dead leaves loose to batter at the cobblestones.  Skeletons of neglected topiary formed twisted shadows under the porch light.
        "Family? I can see how that word would be bandied about in the Dragomir household. There's no family here. I'm just writing a eulogy I guess."
        "Yes, what better way to pay respects to a cherished loved one than child murder? If we are to put aside the moral debate as you are so wont to do, what you did was still completely senseless. What if a human found him? We'd be left with a vampire in public hands. And if he awoke, crazed for blood?"
        "That would be his problem..."
        "That would be our problem. Unless you plan on finding the cure any time soon, it's the bloody bare minimum to keep ourselves hidden from human eyes. You'd jeopardize everyone's safety over a petty grudge?"
Their wandering led them near the damaged part of the estate, and Vitus reflexively changed the course. He didn't feel like being insulted on the amateur renovations. He felt dark eyes locked on him.
        "Sorry we can't all be criminal geniuses."
        "You've never even said what this mortal crime was."

How could he even explain this? He could hardly hold the idea together himself, for all the twisting and turning this investigation had led him. He leaned against a stone balustrade and folded his arms. "Somehow, the power of a vampire can be taken at the expense of their life. That is as low as I can imagine, though I'm sure you could best that."
        Demetri was unflappable as ever. "And what power does he have? Anyone can see the results of your duel. Unless you're hiding some secret trauma under that microfleece."
        "...I don't imagine that this technique is perfect. Think of how much waste is produced when a natural animal eats. You'd-- obviously Theodore has had plenty over the years. It wouldn't happen overnight..."
        "Then what is your evidence, detective?"
        "This is how Theodore gained enough power to threaten the Circle. He offered it to me, and we'd just met. Think about it, the two of them are friends. I am certain Jack has accepted. Once, twice even?"
        "I trust the first part is true, but I've only ever heard this notion from you. And you have to admit your reasoning is vague. While Theodore certainly found some way of gaining unnatural abilities, I don't see what that has to do with Jack. You propose that Theodore offered you some kind of unspecified power, which you have surmised the means, and you assume the young man has accepted and therefore gained, or not gained, said unspecified power. Can you see how this is difficult to follow?"
        "You don't need to make it sound so foolish. How else can a vampire as young as Theodore do things like that? Don't play dumb."
        "Regardless, you've made a promise to be my ally. Whether or not you've decided to become judge, jury, and executioner, attacking my few other allies does not help me."
        "Interesting allies you have, with their strange relationships with your enemies."
        "You were his guardian, and look how you've treated him. What's that they say about 'with friends like these...?'" Demetri didn't bat an eye.

        "Well what have you been doing to catch Theodore? Some kind of grandiose caper involving false moustaches?"
        "Haha. I do wish that sense of humor wormed its way out more often. You ask what I've been doing but you should know firsthand how convoluted this whole mess is. Rest assured Francesca and I have something in the works. He's a tougher match than an infant when it comes to hand-to-hand so we're looking into a more... spiritual route if you will."
        "Yeah whatever."
        "Not to belabor the point but let's make this clear: are you going to stay your righteous blade?"
        "Yeah. It isn't really my style. But I need results. I need to get Theodore. Not in some nebulous future. Now."
        "It's interesting that you think you're in a position to demand anything."
        "I'm just sick of all this. I'll help you with whatever bullshit busy-work you want to give me, for now. But if I find out you had any part in this treachery..."
        "You'll what? What will you do Vitus?"

The night sky loomed overhead, oppressively black.
        "Forget it. Just tell me what you need of me and leave me alone."
        "Perfect, that's exactly what I want as well. Anyhow, I imagine you've got some difficult laundry to tend to. Arterial blood does stain the most. Ciao."
The wolf dashed through the winter-weakened gardens until its grey pelt melted into the shadows.





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     September 21st, 2014
     By:  Kelly

YES well that's it folks! Chapter 11 to commence shortly. It didn't seem that long ago I was beginning this chapter! Did I fall through a wormhole or did I slightly speed up my glacial pace? I'm testing out a new technique on this page, which I will continue to work on. So far it seemed a lot faster and hopefully didn't sacrifice too much polish in the process. If I keep this up, I may even be able to get back on a regular update schedule rather than the 'sorta kinda every week but more like ever 9-10 days' routine! Only 5-ish weeks until Kingfishermas, I hope you're all preparing your altars to Dorein. <3

            TRANSCRIPT: This is the text of the comic, for purposes such as translation and internet searches.


(Darren is opening the apartment door with a greeting to Jack. Thierry and Allison
    are with him and it is clear from the paper hats they have partied all night.

DARREN: Yo dogg, no clowns, yeah?


(Jack & Darren's apartment in the daylight, the door to the balcony open and the curtain flapping in the breeze. No Jack here.)


(Reverse shot, we see our heroes reacting to the scene. They are too dead for emotional displays, but Allison and Darren -at least- are vexed.)

DARREN: Umm. Well, shit.


(LATER, from behind Thierry and Allison we can see their view of Jack, still pinned to the wall of the alley, now being devoured by crows.)



(Allison looks at Jack's sad chewed up self, Thierry leans on some plastic trash cans and ponders, and Darren acts the muppet with leftover crows.)

ALLISON: Goddamn this clown is for real! But how are we gonna do with him?

DARREN: Urgh they got a taste of blood!

THIERRY: I have a notion.


(LATER, the three heroes are in the elevator with a slightly bloody trash bin. The human sharing this ride looks ill at ease. Darren explains,)

DARREN: It’s a... trash... thing...

THIERRY: Mind your own business.


(INSIDE the apartment, Jack's chewed up corpse slumps in a blood-streaked bathtub, while the others discuss the situation from off-panel.)

DARREN: Ugh what a mess. Why does this guy have such a hate hard-on for this poor sonuvabitch?

THIERRY: I looked around a bit. I don’t think it was your clown.

DARREN: Why not?

THIERRY: Did your clown usually go for high-caliber rifles?



(The city at night.)


(On a desolate plaza of the Sombreta estate, a wolf is giving Vitus a talking-to.)

WOLF: Vitus... you’ve been a bad boy.


(The wolf has become Demetri in his usual classy monochrome, an annoyed
  look on his face. Vitus seems impassive but doesn't look Demy in the eye.)

DEMETRI: I had to give up a freezer’s worth of stores due to your indiscretion. Care to explain yourself?


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