Date: March 21st, 1939
Location: Manhattan, New York City
It had taken a few days of frenzied work, but as the young painter wearily set down his brushes and looked over the canvas he couldn't help but feel proud of what he had accomplished. A proper magnum opus, something that would blow the doors wide open and get his name up there with the greats. He moved from the high-backed chair positioned in front of the canvas, collecting his brushes and other tools and shuffled off towards the washroom to clean everything up, himself included. Once the paint was dry he would be off to all of the local galleries; someone would want this on their walls, no question about that...
The door to the washroom closed, but the painter's studio was not as empty as the young man thought. His work had been observed by the one that had laced his dreams with the fires of inspiration, watching as the coals stoking the young man's creativity went from black to red to the most brilliant of whites. The figure moved slowly, both to preserve the Veil wrapped around it and from the protestations of aged muscles, approaching the painting with a sense of purpose in its stride.
In better circumstances, this wouldn't have had to have happened at all. A so-called shortcut through the Dreaming that should have taken three days turned into a six-month odyssey thanks to a wild storm that had driven the caravan far off of the Silver Path; only sheer luck and a firm grasp of the Dán had enabled a safe return to the ironbound world. The time away from mortal dreamers had left their mark, however, reducing the hale and hearty sidhe to a mere shadow, and it was this degeneration that had led to this unfortunate moment. It was a shame, really...the young artist had promise, and could have been a fitting protege if the opportunity had arose.
The figure looked over the canvas and gave an approving nod, a smile adding creases to an already-wrinkled face at the tendrils of wine-dark Glamour that radiated off of the painting in luxurious waves. “Well done, dear boy...” was quietly whispered, a hand going into the pocket of the jacket to find what was needed for the next step of this whole endeavor. “Well done indeed.”
The first scream came from within the studio, the sound of utter anguish heart-breaking to any who heard it, slowly tapering off into sobs and whimpers that quietly drifted out the still-open windows to the street below. The passersby on the sidewalk looked up at the noise but continued on, having their own business to handle; within moments, however, the loud echoing bang of a pistol shot had everyone scurrying for relative safety. When the police officer called to the building made his way into the studio soon after, he found the young artist slumped against the wall, a pistol having fallen out of his hand after being used upon its wielder. Nearby laid the canvas that had been so lovingly labored over, torn to shreds by a keen blade.
In all of the hustle and bustle, no one noticed the man that had stumbled out of the building's back door, hitting the wall of the building that formed the other side of the alleyway and sliding down into a heap. The heap soon became a tight ball as muscles twitched and shrieked with their displeasure as the surge of Glamour roared through them, brutally shredding away the decades that had been so unfairly draped across his shoulders. The dark epiphany ran its course like a wildfire through a rain-starved field, its recipient sinking back into a disjointed heap and gasping for air as the last wisps of stolen creativity were spent.
He laid there for some time – hours, minutes, he honestly couldn't say – before he slowly shifted his arms under him, getting himself upright and on his feet enough that he could lean against the brick wall beside him. After letting out a low, slow breath he looked across the alleyway at the small window in the door that he had stumbled though, a weary smile forming as he saw his reflection returned to what it should have been rather than what this fool's errand had turned it into, albeit one worn down from the months of scraping by to survive. He took a moment to straighten out his clothes – even in his current state, a sidhe had to be presentable – and exited the alleyway, the Veil allowing him to pass by the gathered crowd watching the gurney hauling off the young artist into a waiting ambulance without anyone being the wiser.
Some might have looked at that young artist and felt regret for what had been done, but there was barely a twinge in the man's heart as he continued on his way from the gristly scene. Sometimes, sacrifices had to be made to do what it takes to survive...and sometimes, the sacrifice was made by someone else.
For scenes that take place in the past, whether far-flung or not too long before the start of the game
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