[Some of the language has been toned down for these forums. Mods, If it needs to be toned down further or have a warning in the title, just let me know. These characters are vampires, so their "games" are much more violent than normal be forewarned.] Niko looked over the detailed instructions once more as he hammered an iron plate over one of the joints to add strength. Several books lay spread out on the floor near him. Their pages showed intricate diagrams, detailed instructions as well as small handwritten notes along the pages' edge. He grinned as he worked, remembering how he had personally aquired the materials and new books the evening before from the home of a minocian tinker. The tinker and his family were murdered in their sleep by the assassin... it had been child's play. "What -are- you doing?" Portia asked as the looked at the construct that bore an uncanny resemblence to a large, standing crossbow. It had two heavily reinforced front legs that were heavily weighted with stone blocks to help steady it. On the rear was an adjustable set of legs that allowed the weapon to be angled to achieve the desire distance and projectory of the loaded ammunition. Leaning against a nearby wall was the golden crown of the device. It was a long javelin nearly as thick as a man's arm with a iron multi-barbed tip that stone dully in the low light of the shadowed haven. Portia stepped gracefully over a small pile of wood planks, ropes and gears that lay in front of the door to the haven. Without turning to look at his sire, he responded with an underlying mischieviousness, "Playing tag with sis. " Portia smirked, but said nothing further as she made her way upstairs to attend to some private matters. Within the hour, he stood and took a careful step back to admire his hours worth of work. A rope ran from the front door to the triggering mechanism to the side. The javelin was nestled almost lovingly in the oiled slit and ****ed back to nearly the last iron-reinforced notch. He ran his hands over each part once again to make sure he hadn't missed anything crucial that would prevent it from firing when triggered. He stooped carefully under the rope and went to the living room to wait for the sound of success. He didn't have to wait too long. The faint click of the door caught his attention and he grinned with excitement of what noises the next few seconds would bring to his waiting ears. Tick. Tock. Tick. Toc-Schlock. The recoil of the ballista as it fired thundered throughout the haven as it seemed to reverberate to shake the foundation itself. An inhuman scream pierced the night air before it was abruptly silenced by the sound of flesh being ripped apart, bones shattering and then punctuated with the sound of wood splitting. Niko grinned and sprang to his feet, racing to the front door much as a child might race down the stairs on yuletide morning. The ballista lay cracked and in pieces from the strength of the recoil against the solid stone wall behind it. He didn't care in the slightest. From the sound he was sure it had done its job and that was all that mattered. He skitted to a halt and looked outside with expectant eyes before the excitement drained from his face. On the porch, stood Cirilia in perfect health. She smirked at him as he looked her up and down in disbelief. Her demeanor dripped with a tinge of annoyance; her arms crossed and one of her feet tapping in slow rhythm against the cobblestones. Dangling from her right hand was... someone else's severed arm still dripping blood from fleshless bone that had once held to some poor soul's shoulder. He looked from her to the tree just beyond the front clearing. There suspended against the trunk by the javelin was a man. A bloody hole where his left arm that Cirilia now held used to be attached. The barbed tip had dislodged completely from his back with the force of the impact against the tree and the man balanced lifeless on the thick wooden shaft. She uncrossed her arms and extended her right arm to Niko accusingly. The severed arm bounced dramatically as she used it almost casually as an extension of herself to emphasize her movements. "You -so- owe me dinner now, " she stated with the continuing smirk. Blood splattered in droplets as if to excentuate each syllabelle of her words in gorey clarity. Niko put his hand to the back of his head, scratching casually at the nape of his hair and then nodded once, "Yeah, I guess I do." "Damn right, you do. How the hell am I supposed to use that?" she asked as she flung the bloody arm to point to the tree and its previous owner. As if relieved of his mortal duties by her words, the body fell to the ground as the shaft finally cracked under the strain. The man's intestines spiraled up from the large hole in his back like a perverse ladder to the sharp, splintered end about six inches behind the iron barbs. Cirilia smirked even bigger as the man dropped and then looked back to Niko expectantly. "Fine. Let's go find some dinner, " he said. He kicked a few pieces of the ballista inside the haven and closed the door. Cirilia turned and moved to his side, casually discarding the arm into the nearby flowerbed. As they stepped onto the grass, behind them the door opened again and revealed their sire, Portia. She looked mildly irritated as they both turned around and almost in unison murmured the words "Uh oh" under their breath. Portia's eyes surveyed the scene and then turned to look at her childer with a raised eyebrow. "You are going to clean up this mess before your grandmother comes home, right?" The siblings looked at each and then turned their faces back to her with instant smiles of sweetness and innocence. "Of course, Mother." "Good." She looked at the smiles and rolled her eyes. She turned around and went back inside, accentuating her departure with a firm slam of the front door. Niko looked to Cirilia and said as they turned back around to leave, "Are you going to clean this up?" "Hell no. Are you? " Cirilia replied. "Nah. Its like all-natural, right? It'll decompose eventually, " Niko stated as he offered her the crook of his arm. "Good point, " she said with a grin as she slipped her arm into his. They walked out into the woods and towards town. Pausing only in their steps so the Niko could launch a firm kick at the man's head. "Idiot, "he growled at the corpse as the head rolled a few feet away to look back at him silently.