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About Inkslingers More. United States Deviant for 13 years. Posts See all. Oct 6, Inkslingers is a club here on deviantArt that specializes in the art of inking. All forms of inking are welcome to the group, including but NOT limited to pen and ink, brush and ink, colored inkwork, ink wash, ink wash off, airbrush with inkand tattoo inking.
This month's contest is "Horror! Maybe some zombies, chainsaw maniacs, vampires, lots of blood? In order to submit, send a note to the club titled "october contest" and include a link to the piece on your page. You might want to consider placing your tattoo where it can be easily covered up with normal clothing. Although you can get a tattoo any time of the year, your skin gets a lot more abuse during the summer with swimming, tanning and just being exposed to the elements more.
Winter time is really the best season to get a tattoo. You're going to need your strength and your white blood cells to heal your tattoo, something your body won't be able to do if it's already doing battle against virus and bacteria. Not to mention LP) fact that it's very inconsiderate to bring your illness into the tattoo studio and risk passing the germs onto others, particularly your artist.
If you have an appointment, call and reschedule for when you're feeling well again. Your friend could be putting both of your lives in danger by foolishly trying to learn this at home. Tell them they need to get a proper apprenticeship, and they can start practicing on you when their mentor master feels they are ready. Address: Gratiot Ave. Chesterfield MI Photo Gallery. What you have before you are the unedited laboratory reports, Norris said. Natu- rally, the records at the hospital have been appropriately purged of any data that would appear to contradict the offcial, public diagnosis.
Loki skipped past the hospital lab reports, which were in medicalese anyway, and skimmed over the personal information. Young, teens or twenty-somethings, otherwise healthy. Students or young working types. Four chicks, two guys. Three from the North Shore, that wasnt good news. One from the University of Chicago. One from Cicerohmm.
And the last one This last guy, hes not even from Chicago. Hes from Gary. An astute observation, Mr. Fischer, Norris said coolly. Whats en-encephasomething. What it says here. The Earths dark-gold brows beetled over the medical terminology. Under cause of death.
Encephalitis, Marek put in, is an infammation of the brain. Meningitis is an infammationa swelling, if you preferof the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
And before you even attempt to mangle it, meningoencephalitis is a com- bination of the two, and can result in high fever, convulsions, coma, paralysisand, if youre lucky, death. Or permanent brain damage. Fortunately, not something either of you needs to worry about. Yeah, yeah, Loki muttered. Fucking college boy, showing off with four-dollar words. Loki fipped through the names and the photographs. John Nathan Duncan. Jillian Sheridan.
Kimberly Jean McLaren. Damn, she was a babe. Young, too, only sixteen. Too bad. Something clicked in his mind just then, and he scanned the personal informa- tion again. Yes yes, possibly and yes. A bit young, butpossible, if they went to the right kinds of parties, or looked old enough to lie their way past the bouncers. They died sequentially. Marek clearly had picked up the same details.
Three days, maybe four at most, apart. And died within three days of their frst symptoms of being sick. Three days? A blister, Loki said it aloud, partly to ease the almost painful look of concentration on the Earths face, and partly just to beat Marek to the punch line. Its not the same virus. You think theres some Kindred out there spreading this nasty little bug around.
The evidence seems to indicate an unusually selective vector, Norris replied coolly. Most mortals affected by the so-called Muskegon virus have been elderly, or already in frail health.
These are young and healthy. They succumbed, as Mr. Kaminski points out, extremely swiftly, and four of them were hospitalized at the time and undergoing treatment. Their deaths form a regular, almost predictable pattern, that has continued over a period of the past two weeks. We cannot be certain their susceptibility was not simply a coincidence, or represents a new strain of a naturally evolving viral organism, or is the result of some supernatural vector.
But we cant yet rule it out. That is, naturally, where you come in. This was what the Hounds did, fnd things outthough Loki was not nave enough to assume the three of them were the only ones Norris or Maxwell had put on the trail. Someone had clearly compiled the dossiers, after all, and Loki wasnt even betting theyd been given the complete fles, either. Norris was very much of the need to know school, and he was the one who decided what you needed to know. Could be a nomad, passing through, Marek mused, looking through the fles.
Though if it is, hes poaching rather upscale. Indeed, Norris agreed. Im sure you can see the delicacy of the situation. Its one thing if virus fatalities are relatively uncommon and affect only the old and infrm. But what appears to be more of a serious epidemic might lead mortals to discover what else these victims have in commonand could have disastrous consequences for this city.
If we fnd its a blister doin this, Earth rumbled, what dya want us to do with the fucker? If a Kindred vector is involved, of course, the Prince will require uncontestable evidence of his guiltwhich, I will point out, Mr.
Baines, cannot be gained from ashes. It would also be most regrettable and inconvenient should the Prince fnd himself having to deal with this matter publicly in Elysium. We therefore have every confdence that you will proceed with the utmost discretion. So, by utmost discretion, Norris really meant total secrecy. That wasnt going to make their job any easier.
I got a question, Loki said. What, exactly, is uncontestable evidence? Does this new virus show up in blood tests or what? I mean from one of us, not them. Obviously, if we knew the answer to that, Mr. Fischer, we would not need your diligent powers of observation, Norris replied coolly. As for the nature of the evidencewell. We will leave that up to your ingenuity. The ultimate proof, of course, would be the cessation of reports like those you hold in your hands.
Death is many things, gentle- men: commonplace, pervasive, inevitablesometimes even tragic. But when it is also mysterious and creates a traceable pattern, it can also lead to unfortunate publicity.
I trust I have made myself clear? Crobar had bigger crowds, especially on weekends, and Metro pulled in bigger names to grace its stage.
But size wasnt everythingstyle counted, too, and Moyra had a sense of style that a Daeva might envy. She also had a keen sense of how to please a target audience, and keep them coming backwhich benefted both her bottom line and those Kindred she counted as clients and permitted to feed at her Inkslingers - Hangmans Alphabet - Unbend The Shape (Vinyl gothic crypt of a nightclub.
Loki considered himself lucky to be counted among those fortunate few. Tonight, the Skullery was packed, with a line of black-clad hopefuls standing on the sidewalk outside the clubs deceptively mundane brick warehouse exterior.
The bouncer at the door recognized him and waved him through, much to the petulant annoyance of the nearest line-standers. Loki grinned and blew them a kiss, and then slipped inside the door.
He could feel the throbbing beat of bass and percussion through the soles of his boots, reverberating in the concrete and steel of the steps, the fake stone blocks along the walls. A live bandsounded like Icarus Falling. Yes, it was. Damien always brought in a good crowd. Moyra would be in a good mood, and feeding would be easier. The dance foor was crammed with black-clad bodies, moving in rhythm to the electronic pulse of the music. Up on the stage, Damien hit a riff, fngers sliding down the neck of the guitar, evoking an aching wail from the strings, which was echoed by Rinas synthesizer, reverberating and fading into empty silence.
The band members froze in position. The lights went out for a second, then the beat kicked back in, the lights came back on, and the guitar and synthesizer picked the underlying rhythm again. Loki made his way around the clubs raised perimeter, between the tables set between the massive columns of the aisle and the candlelit alcoves along the outer wall. Some of the alcoves had bones and skulls embedded in their walls, some had glass-fronted crypts in which skeletal fgures dressed in rotting rags could be seen resting within.
Leering gargoyles and skulls of various human and inhuman creatures were carved into corners and archways. The pillars reached upward two stories high and supported gothic arches overhead.
The stairs to the balcony above were roped off, with a little sign in medieval cal- ligraphy MeMbers Only. The bouncer unhooked it for him and stood aside. Loki fipped him a salute and went on upstairs. Loki strode down the length of the balcony overlooking the dance foor to the back of the club.
Moyra came down the stairs on the far end to meet him, the long, trailing hem of her gown rippling along behind her, almost invisible against the black of the carpet.
Damien once said that half of Moyras haven was full of costumes, and Loki could well believe it. Moyra claimed that she got bored wearing the same old thingin fact, Loki couldnt remember her ever wearing the same thing twice, or at least not twice in a given year.
Tonight it was a strapless black sequined gown, fshnet opera gloves, and a red feather boa; her hair up in a sleek blonde chignon with a black hat with a little black veil that hung down over her eyes. Very chic, very vintageeven her lipstick was s red. Ah, good evening, she said, and gracefully extended a hand for him.
Youre sup- posed to kiss it, she added, when he failed to get the hint. I knew that, Loki said, and did so, with his best continental fair. Thats better, she said, and lightly brushed his cheek with one gloved palm. We have guests tonight, by the way.
Do try not to be rude. Moyra didnt answer. She turned instead and opened the door behind her to the dimly lit room beyond. Loki followed her. Here, hidden behind faux stone arches, heavy red velvet drapes, and strategically placed sound baffes, was the more exclusive and lavishly furnished Loft, a private lounge where Moyra and other Kindred she so favored could indulge themselves and their mortal guests.
Or in this case, Kindred guests. Loki recognized them immediately, and understood Moyras injunction. Although to be fair, Jed Holyoak wasnt a bad sort, if a bit too smooth and eager to please.
Jed had the dubious honor of playing Summer King in the Circles ritual cycle this yeara temporary reign destined for a ceremonial duel and sacrifcial defeat when the Horned King avatar was chosen in a few weeks, so Loki didnt blame him for enjoying the limelight while he could.
But as for Bella Dravnziewell, he hoped Moyra wasnt expecting any miracles tonight. Bella smiled and rose to her feet to come greet him, as if they were old friends. Its been so long since we had a nice chat.
He felt it still, the pull of her goddamned blood, even from six years back. Or maybe it was just that Daeva charisma trickhe could never be sure, Inkslingers - Hangmans Alphabet - Unbend The Shape (Vinyl, really.
Moyra laid her hand on his shoulder. Not quite possessive, but a quiet reminder to Bella, who had recruited him, of just whose coven he had fnally chosen to associate himself with. Her action gave him the excuse to look away, look up at the ivory features behind the little black veil. It helped. Bella returned to what was likely the original topic of conversation.
Birch is on one of his psychotic rampages again. So what else is new? Loki shrugged. What is it this time? Someone he ate disagree with him? Apparently more than one someone, if the rumors are true, Bella said.
It seems that the Bishops past victims are less than forgiving. And they converged on the Sanctifed cathedral en masse last week to tell him so. During the middle of Mass, no less. And ap- parently a number of the congregation were quite disturbed to fnd their former victims sitting beside them in the pews, wounds gaping open, nails still in their handssmelling rather ripe, too, as I understand it.
Loki managed to not laugh out loud. Is that what Birch said? Id have paid to see that. Dont tell me the Sanctifed are afraid of a few ghosts, Moyra said, amused. No, not Birch, of course not, Bella huffed, and leaned forward, her voice dropping to a conspiratorial whisper.
What I heard, of course, was told to me in strictest conf- denceas you know, I do have my sources inside the Palmer House. Loki wondered if Persephone knew that telling Bella anything of interest in strictest confdence only insured its getting spread as quickly as possible. Probably she did.
Persephone certainly wasnt dumb, and shed been burned by Bella before. What Birch is saying is what happened at his little Sanctifed circus was witchcraft. Heathen Circle witchcraft, to be precise, intended to disrupt and make mockery of the Sanctifeds holy rites. Cute, Moyra said, but I doubt even Rowen knows how to pull that offor would bother if she did. You and I may know that, of course, Bella agreed. But whether its true or not doesnt matter, if he persuades the Prince to ban our rites next week in retaliation.
Which is exactly what Birch is demanding, of course. And the next Elysium isnt for two weekswhich will be far too late to get it settled. He knows our rites are tied to the lunar calendar. Thats if Maxwell even listens to that bullshit, Loki pointed out. Hes not stupid. He knows what Birch is like. We all know what Birch is like, Jed added. But the Prince has favored him over us before. And Bella is right, its a perfect excuse for them.
Blame it on pagan witch- craftbecause who else could have done such a thing, the Carthians? You have to talk to him, Loki, Bella said, earnestly. You have to explain Explain what? Moyra asked, coolly, and Loki was grateful for her interruption. What explanation do we owe to Solomon Birch? If he cannot manage his ghosts, he should not create so many of them. What answer do we owe the Prince, when he has Inkslingers - Hangmans Alphabet - Unbend The Shape (Vinyl even asked a question?
Why play into Sanctifed hands by defending ourselves before an accusation is even made? And who is there for him to ask, even if he wanted to?
Bella countered. Who is there to counter Birchs ridiculous accusations? Who speaks for us outside of Elysium? She doesnt even have a cell phone! Ill do what I can, of course, but theres a limit to how much I can ask of Persephoneshes far too young to be taken seriously, and shes not one of us in any case. Well, technically speaking, Jed reminded her, right on cue, Lokis not fully one of us either. Ah, I knew it.
Here it comes. Loki reminded himself hed promised Moyra not to be rude. Not yet? Bella feigned surprise. Youre not still in the Chorus after all this time, are you? Loki, darling, what are you waiting for?
I would have initiated you years ago! It was jealousy, or so Loki told himself. The Chorus were the beginners, new to the covenant, still learning its philosophies, history, and rituals.
It was true, of course, that some never advanced beyond that point. But Moyra was known to have higher standards of her students. And Bella knew perfectly well why hed chosen Moyras guidance over her own, and it was Bellas own damned fault. Loki will face initiation when he is ready, Bella, Moyra said quietly. It is not for me or anyone else to choose that time for him.
But you believe hes ready, dont you? Bella asked. I have nothing more to teach him at this time, Moyra replied. What remains, he must learn on his ownfor some things cannot be taught, only experienced. Indeed, that is so true, Bella agreed, nodding wisely. Experience is always the best teacher, if the harshest. It is in our tribulations that we fnd true enlightenment. And learning from our mistakes means not repeating em. Loki could keep quiet no longer. Experience is useful that way, dontcha think?
Is that all youve learned from your mistakes, Loki? Bella purred. Then perhaps Moyra is mistakenyoure not ready for initiation after all. A pity, after all these years. She was trying her nasty little Daeva tricks on him again, trying to yank his chain. Loki clamped down hard on his anger, struggled to keep his fangs from coming out.
He didnt dare respond. To show how badly shed rattled him would only make it worse, and yet the insult demanded a response of some kind, if he could do so without losing what remained of his temper. Surprisingly, though, it was Jed who intervened. Bella, darling, youre not helping, you know. And we did want to get to talk to Justine this evening Oh, yes, of course, Bella said, and the feelingswell, most of them, some of the anger still remaineddropped away like a discarded shirt. He hated it when she did that.
Somehow Loki managed to hold on to civility for the few more minutes it took for Jed and Bella to say their goodbyes, and depart the loft.
Moyra walked out with them, as beftted her role as hostess. He didnt have to listen inin fact, he knew it was rude, and likely would only piss him off even further. But the band was on a break, and it was good practice, or so he told himself, to pick out one conversation out of the hundred-odd going on down below.
Norris had told him to practice whenever he could. You know people are wonderingnot that Im suggesting he has anything to hide, of course notjust where his loyalties truly lie. We all know how Norris runs his little opera- tion Bitch, Loki muttered, and forced himself to tune them out again, refusing to let Bella ruin his night.
Hed promised himself a sexy chick in black leather, and there were several dozen down there to choose from. He was just coming down out of the Loft to the balcony when he heard voices in the shadow of an archway just ahead, and spotted a tall, distinctive profle. About an hour ago, you remember.
Sharee said she wasnt feeling well. A really nasty headache, one of the migraines she gets sometimes. You remember hearing her tell you about it.
But she didnt want to spoil your evening. She said shed just take a cab home, take her meds, get some sleep. She said you should have a good time and call her later this weekend. Damien, doing his Ventrue mind-fuck thing on a tall girl, in the hallway. He wasnt aware of Loki yethe was focused on his subject, making sure she remembered only what she was supposed to remember. And the girl wouldnt see him either.
Damien commanded all her attention. Problem was, they were blocking the way out, so Loki slipped through the side door, into one of the private rooms. Ah, here was where Damien had stashed the girl with the headache, sprawled across the bed, one arm over her eyes to shield them from the light, even though it was only a dim table lamp on the other side. Maybe she really did have a headache, though that would be odd of Damien to hide her in here and send her apparently healthy friend away.
But then Loki smelled sweat, and sickness. She wasnt breathing. He couldnt hear her heartbeat. Oh, shit. What the fuck are you doing? Damien demanded, from the doorway. Dont you even Loki stepped back quickly, raising his hands. Didnt touch her, I swear. Fuck, shes dead, what the hell happened? Nothing happened! Damien sat on the bed, slid fngers up under the girls jaw, looking for a pulse. She said she had a headache, so I got her some aspirin and let her come up here to lie down.
She was fne when I left her! I thought you said she had a headache. She did! I thought it was just a touch of the fu or something A touch of the fu.
In September? Then why did you send her friend away like that? Loki shook his head. Come on, Damien. Dont fuck with me here. Dont give me this bullshit about a headache if you just got carried away Goddammit, Loki, I am not shitting you.
Thats what she said! I hadnt even touched her yet! All right, all rightchill out, dude. I believe you, okay? Loki assured him. He remembered the dossiers on the table, those young, smiling faces. Okay, then. Whos been doing her, besides you? I mean, in the last week. You give anybody freebies? Damien scowled. No, shes one of minewhy? I mean, I didshit, I dont remember when! Maybe Inkslingers - Hangmans Alphabet - Unbend The Shape (Vinyl week or two ago.
I dont keep a fucking appointment book! Well, that much was probably true, Loki had to admit. But this looked bad. Worse than bad. Not Damien, for chrissakes. Please God, dont make it be Damien. Somebodys poaching on him, gotta be. That was possible, he had to admit.
Damiens groupies were pretty easy, on all counts. They were one of the reasons he liked coming here himselfDamien was also pretty generous about sharing when he had a good crowd. Damien rubbed the heel of his palm against his forehead.
This is that fucking virus everyones talking about, isnt it? Moyra is gonna fucking kill me, man, if the cops come. Or worse, if the health inspectors come snooping around here again Well, Im not gonna call the cops. Loki thought for a second. Lemme see her wallet. Wheres her place?
Damien dug around in the purse until he found it. Here, he said, fipping it open. What, you think we should just take her home and dump her? Sure, why not? Loki tried to project a confdence he didnt entirely feel. Let some- one else fnd her and deal with it. Her friends think she got a headache and went home early, theyre not gonna call her until sometime tomorrow at the earliest. Damien looked at the address again. Lake Shore Drive? This is one of those high-rises.
No way we can do this without being seen. I think I can manage it. Hed never tried to conceal anything as large as a human body before, but what the hell. And if that doesnt work, you can make em remember her being alive, just sick or something.
Were just helping her get home. You still got the keys to Moyras car? Yeah, I got em. Ive got one more set coming up in about ffteen, after thats fne. So long as Moyra doesnt fnd out. She wont. Ill handle that. Thanks, man. I owe ya one, Loki. Loki fgured Moyra would want to talk to him anyway, once Bella and Jed were safely gone, and he was right. Fortunately, she waited until after hed had a chance to sequester one of the unattached dancers in a dark corner for a while.
A full belly improved his disposition immensely. You know the Litany, and you have the strength of spirit. What are you afraid of? Im not afraid, Loki retorted, stung. Ill do it, I promise, but only when Im ready. But not at next weeks rites, is that what youre saying?
I wouldnt want Solomon Birch to give up hope of luring me to the dark side. Solomon Birch knows nothing about the dark side, she said. We represent what they most fearthe darkness within their souls. They seek to chain the Beast Within, appease it with hollow rituals, buy its complacency with the blood of nameless sinners whose sacrifces are empty and meaningless to those who shed their blood.
We know the Beast is part of ourselves, and do not deny its nature or the blood it is due. Solomon Birch fears his ghosts. We sing their names and welcome them to dance around the Samhain fre. Fear only makes us stronger. I thought it was that which does not kill us makes us stronger.
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