Puxley Manor is where the lord of the land conducts his business upstairs away from the unpleasantries of the slaves housed below.
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#17337
Teague straightened up in his chair and leaned forward so he could rest his elbows on his desk and prop his head up as the Lord gave the good doctor his undivided attention. Over the course of Reynolds monologue the tracker had been reorganizing the information he was receiving, keying in on what he figured were the important takeaways. Fischer for example. Teague recognized the name but for the life of him couldn't remember the man as being anything more than a slightly less useless guard than most. He'd been quiet, a yes man, some low little bug that wasn't even worth his time or effort as the Dark Lords tracker.

The tracker hardened his gaze at the next bit. What the hell did Reynolds mean by obliterated? That they couldn't approach White or Williams... but felt comfortable enough to approach him? Teague mulled over that for a moment or two and did not like where that train of thought led him. Was he weak in their eyes? Did they think he could be manipulated to their benefit. But if that was the case then why they let this bumbling idiot do the talking?

He took a slow breath and leaned back in his chair, opting to look at Reynolds in a new light as Dru posed her questions. If anyone wanted to make a play on him for being a softy this would be the way to do it. the doctor was unassuming, ticked all the right buttons to annoy an aloof tracker and force said tracker to simply give the man to take what he needed and to bugger off.

Teague's gaze shifted to each occupant of the room as they took their turn in the conversation. The Lord took the queue from Delilah when she dropped the name Hunt as being the man to sign off on all this bullshit. It certainly fit the man's M.O.... and even with said man conveniently "missing" it seemed he'd left a hell of a mess behind. The follow up questions from both women were along the same lines as the ones he wanted to ask himself for the moment he kept quiet as he fell back into old habits, quite interested in what the good doctor had to say.
#17340
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"The subjects. The prisoners."

The woman with the sword spoke up first. Reynolds half-expected the press secretary to jump the gun and give her two cents, but it was rightfully so, as there seemed to be gears turning along with each member of his small audience. He turned to her and nodded along as she spoke. So she was bothered that they were taking people from Azkaban? Why? Did Death Eaters have some compassion for their fellow man now, that they actually cared what happened to the wizards they tossed into that god-forsaken hole? Interesting. He mused, as if he were turning his own studies on the reactions and behavior of the panel.

"Someone has to have known, right?"

But before he could answer, Ms. Chase finally spoke. The name she brought up did ring a bell. Even though he reported directly to Fischer, there was a vague recollection of someone named Hunt being present. He nodded, this time pointedly at her as if to answer her question. Then again, before he could answer, his mouth clicked shut when she called him out on his wording from earlier. Obliterated. He used that term so casually, and now it felt as if he couldn't speak, he was wide-eyed and perspiring even worse than when he came in. "No!" He blurted out, in response to Delilah's question. "N-no...I...I don't think that, sir. I-I truly do not."

Ultimately, and reluctantly, Dr. Reynolds shifted his gaze to the Dark Lord, but he didn't look directly into his eyes. He simply couldn't. Reynolds wasn't above groveling, and he needed to dig himself out of this hole he'd fallen into. He expected--nay--wanted him to say something to add to this, even if it was an addition to the verbal onslaught of the two women at his sides, to give him a chance to bounce back and gather his thoughts to make sure they were in the proper order. He gulped, hard, like rocks or glass it was that intense. When the Dark Lord's voice never came, he took a deep breath and tried his best to recover from this, and it was only the beginning of the Questions and Answers portion...how the hell was he going to make it through this?

"With all due respect, Ms..."

Dru narrowed her eyes. "Windsor."

"Windsor. The prisoners of Azkaban were p-properly vetted. Records studied for their behavior, involvement with resistance, anyone who might have crossed the regime. F-Fischer found it more suitable to the cause than picking just anyone off the uh -- streets." It wasn't a solid answer, but one that he hoped would suffice, before turning to Delilah. "I'm familiar with that name, b-but pardon me as I'm lowly r-representative. I just work there, I'm cooped up in the lab and Mr. Fischer is the one who d-dealt with the partners and investors. I just do as I'm told and I was told to come here to present Chimaera to the Dark Lord, you your honor, to showcase what we've been working on, to gain approval of your grace and provide an example of our longest running t-test subjects."

His stomach was in knots, and it felt like blades were ripping apart his insides. "My Lord, I mean you no disrespect. I-I just meant that before when the p-project was in its infancy, there was no way could have had a successful presentation of our work as we didn't h-have a solid foundation to go off of. I do not wish to undermine you, sir, I uphold your authority as I would with any of the Dark Lords past or future..."

But was that the right thing to say? He gulped again.
#17341
It was a little more humane to pick on the criminals than it was to take people off the street, the doctor had a fair point, but there was something unsettling about that method of torture. Azkaban wasn't known for being a four-star joint, with the pits and the torture chambers armed with every little trick in the book, both old-world muggle to magical treatments.

When Delilah said her piece? Phew, that was a good one, she only wished she'd thought to bring that up first.

But oh lord, did she ever hate cringing idiots.

Dru's ears were wide open but all she heard was nonsense and babbling. Her hands were placed at each her sides on the rests of the chair and she crossed her legs as she leaned forward. She had to hand it to him, despite the stuttering, he seemed to have a sliver of courage to bounce back after what was thrown at him. Not to mention, the last time she'd seen Teague rendered silent was ages ago--and Merlin, it took a hell of a lot to do that. However, words like your grace, sir, your honor and all of that were impressive. The man was trying to get into Teague's good graces then. Ha! Well good luck. Even though she knew her friend so well, Dru was interested to see how he'd react to this since one might change a bit to adapt to a large role like this. The old Teague might have laughed in the man's face, roughed him up, called him names and kicked him out on his ass, but there was a certain poise one needed to sit in the hot seat he was in now. She prepared herself for quite the show.
#17483
This bloke was a riot. Easily intimidated, scared. Yet somehow ok with having been part of a secret project behind Teague's back and somehow ok with not only thinking Teague less capable than Trevor or even Derrin but also stating it and then had the gall to deny it in that scared fashion he had about him. She quirked a brow as she leaned back in her seat, her body angled toward the man, a leg tucked under her, and her arm resting on the back of the seat. Perhaps not super professional, but she had no problem showing she didn't take this bloke seriously. He was wasting their time for a project that should have been disbanded in its infancy. To even suggest someone of Teague's stature need a bodyguard was already an extremely daring proposition. To even believe Teague would affiliate himself with something of this... She glanced at the thing, caliber? Too daring.

"So, you're suggesting that Lord MacTail not only needs a bodyguard but also that he is incapable of providing it, and you expect him to openly associate with this project by use of someone who's been taken from the Azkaban cells and experimented on in public? Where our group's association with the government or even existence within it is not openly stated and advertised," Delilah stated incredulously, her eyes wide with hysterical amusement. "And beyond that, you expect him to associate willingly with something that he might have squashed in its infancy had anyone had the wherewithal to realize that he should be aware of this? But you didn't expect that from the former Lord Williams or the man who brought our ranks back together before Williams swept that power out from under him? Still, you claim don't mean you believe him less capable."

Delilah pursed her lips and nodded as though impressed, a slow clap accompanying it. Anyone who knew her to any extent would recognize the underlying sarcasm to the motion. "Well, doctor, I do believe you have some balls, balls that I'm quite keen on removing from you promptly and perhaps not so swiftly. Why don't you give us a little demonstration of your oh-so-wonderful little experiment here? Curse our lord here because I sure as hell won't do it nor will Dru here." She glanced at the other woman, a smirk on her lips, then looked back to Reynolds as she posed her question. "We both fancy our heads, but we wonder, will creation turn on creator to protect Lord MacTail?" The smirk still in place as she tilted her head, Delilah crossed her arms and waited.
#17646
There was definitely some satisfaction in watching the doctor squirm at Dru and Delilah's accusations of him thinking the tracker weak. Teague set his gaze on the man and felt a growing smirk tug at the corners of his mouth as he back peddled to give an explanation that would satisfy those in the room. The Lord didn't miss how Reynolds wouldn't meet his gaze. Spineless coward if there ever was one. Still the good doctor did give him a lot to mull over and seemed to be filling in enough of the blanks for Teague to start to get a true picture of what this "project" really was.

It made sense to use criminals in Azkaban. No one would ask questions if a rebel or fugitive went missing. It was a common enough thing under Voldemort and with the Death Eaters in charge currently there would be no reason to think things would change. The mention of investors raised some red flags though. Who else knew about this project? Or would want to see it funded? It had to be someone or a group of someones that held a lot of influence and money... and again the doctor went on about how magnificent this thing in the box was supposed to be.

When Delilah chose to rip into the man, Teague was barely able to suppress a bought of laughter. Hell hath no fury. And she brought up a hell of a lot of good points too, and that last bit? The trackers amused grin took on something more sinister and he sat up, his attention shifting from Delilah back to Reynolds.

"Aye, she's got a hell of a point. You come here to sell us on something but we've yet to see it. How do we know it's going to do what yer saying and not in fact try and assassinate me at some point?" The Lord leaned forward and his grin turned wicked. He could play off Delilah's line of thinking and he could take a hit if it was needed to see if whatever the hell was in the box was actually legit. Here he was aware and had back up if things took a downward turn. "I like the idea. Lets take a look in the box and give it a bit of a test run eh?"
#17677
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To say he was mortified was a complete understatement. Reynolds was put on the spot by not one, not two, but three people of the Regime court: The Dark Lord and his...ladies, for lack of better terminology, but to say they were ladies in waiting would surely cost him his head. So, ultimately, Richard kept that comment to himself. He had to keep his nerves under control, but with the piercing eyes of the Lord, the Secretary and the Swordswoman was intimidating. The nerves made his speech fall apart even worse than his normal presentation gave off, but he knew if he kept stumbling on his words, he would either lose their patience, interest or his own credibility (as rocky as that was already).

To his--albeit slight--relief, Reynolds noticed the Swordswoman had gone quiet, though that didn't set him at ease. Not one bit. That was the cue for Delilah Chase to pick up the ball and run with it, which didn't do anything for his nerves...no-siree, not at all. The perspiration on his brow caused Reynolds to use his handkerchief to pat himself down at his forehead, and he dragged the cloth down his jaw and neckline to catch anything he might have missed. Merlin, would this torture end anytime soon? Fischer said this was going to be a difficult task, he just underestimated the sort of gauntlet he had to run since he didn't anticipate more of an audience than the Lord himself. Before he could find the words to Delilah's first address, she was at him again with a back-handed compliment of sorts about having the 'balls' to present here today, but now she wanted a demonstration? Ahh, thank Merlin, that's all he wanted to get to, prior to all of the questions.

He was about to set his paperwork down and open the cage, when a roaring laughter came deep from the belly of the Dark Lord. Reynolds' eyes widened. MacTail was laughing? At his expense, of course, which made every muscle in his body tense. He'd gone from a semi-reputable scientist (before he'd arrived) to the laughingstock of the Dark Lord and his council? Taking a deep, frustrated breath, the wide-eyed doctor let the Dark Lord address him with the encouragement to open the cage door, but he paused a beat when he realized what the woman was suggesting. "C-curse you, my Lord?" His eyebrows pulled together with some concern, hesitating a second as he looked over the council again to confirm their request.

He was expected to curse...The Dark Lord? His heart was beating faster and faster, and no amount of handkerchiefs or towels would stop the perspiration that started now. They wanted to kill him right there and then, didn't they? Reynolds gulped.
#17678
Dru didn't let her eyes wander from the man, save a stolen glance at Teague after he and Delilah thought it a good idea to let the good doctor curse him to test his precious chimaera. So far she wasn't thrilled with how long it was taking Reynolds to spit out a full sentence, much less present his gift to them, and his stammering and stumbles? She found them to be completely annoying. She folded her arms and crossed the other leg over, her lips sealed for the moment as she wondered what he would do now to keep her interest.

As they confidently ordered him to take his shot at Teague, she watched him. Dru studied the doctor closer than she had before. He was such a peculiar man, cringy, cowering, the typical meek type that she didn't care for, but if there weren't types like him around, Dru figured that the world would be rather boring. Still, she briefly glanced up at the cage as she waited for him to open it up. And of course, because he was weak and lacked the true confidence to do what he was told without question. Of course.

She sighed, one that could be heard by everyone in the room because in these quarters, the acoustics were tight and precise. After rolling her eyes at the insolent man, she nodded. "Do it."

From all three of them, the Doctor had an order. He was to curse the man to see if his pet would do what he was told, or if he was a trap to do the man Fischer's bidding. She had her hand on the hilt of her sword, and knew the exact distance to reach for her wand, in case things went awry and she had to kill the chimaera and his keeper in one swipe. With Delilah here and Teague seemingly awake and aware, the the odds were looking terribly in Reynolds favor, in case this was indeed a trap.
#18168
Teague wasted no time in pushing his chair back and getting to his feet once both his fellow cohorts agreed that seeing the box monster in action was a good thing, even if it required him to be the test subject. The Lord walked unhurriedly toward the box to see if he could catch a glimpse of the creature inside before turning his attention back to Reynolds with a wicked grin. "So, what can I expect Reynolds? This thing supposed to step in right away? Or is there a delay? Or dose it depend on the severity of the attack?"

There was no hiding the curious tone of the questions. As repulsive as the idea of having some sort of mutated freak bodyguard was, there was no denying that some small part of the tracker wanted to know if this crazy scheme would work. The scare factor alone would be enough of a reason to keep the creature around and some childish part of him was gleefully entertained by the idea of sicking the man after Death Eaters that refused to fall in line.

Teague waited for Reynolds to fill him in, and as he did the Lord took his sweet time in rolling up the sleeves of his sweater. He also removed the forearm holster that currently held his wand and tossed it onto his desk. Once that was taken care of Teague let himself settle into a slouched, relaxed tilt, and slid his hands into his trouser pockets as if the fact that he'd just asked the good Doc to curse him was nothing but a minor inconvenience. The tracker figured if he needed to do anything special then Reynolds would direct him, though if he was going to get hit with something like an unforgivable then he'd make sure he was well and clear from any of the furniture. Honestly he probably should have been more concerned that he had offered himself up as the test subject considering he was the Lord and all but the trackers intuition was telling him things would work out, and he was reasonably sure both Del and Dru would obliterate the Dc and his pet if things got to sketchy.

"Well Doc I ain't got all day. Crack that box open eh?"
#18169
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He was sure he could hear his own heart beating in his ears when Lord MacTail walked closer. It was already nerve-racking just being in his presence, but to have him this close to him and this close to the chimaera's cage made him even more unsettled and the perspiration dripped from his forehead into his eyes. Taking a kerchief from his pocket, he dabbed his skin down and wiped the lenses of his glasses before putting them back on. This was real. This was something he couldn't turn around or ignore... he was given a command by the Lord's Press Secretary and the Swordswoman collectively to test the nature of this beast.

Reynolds had no doubts in his mind that Christophe would protect the Dark Lord at all costs since that was his conditioning, but that had yet to be proven to him and to the Regime since this was the first time he would come face to face with his new master.

Merlin...this was going to be the death of him, wasn't it? Was this what Felix wanted all along? Did Felix know that it would come to something like this? It seemed like something Fischer would do, coordinate some sort of trap that had no hope that the doctor would return. He could have chickened out and asked for someone else to come in and commit the heinous act of cursing against the Lord, but this was his prize, his legacy, to prove to the Regime that his work was effective. The more he lingered in his own thoughts, Reynolds was sure today would be the day he would meet his demise.

Pulling the latch, Reynolds unlocked the chain that wrapped around the cage. He carefully pulled his wand from its holster, and without showing just how shaky he was, raised it to the lock and whispered a soft incantation to completely unlock it, and with a white spark, the magical lock was undone. The door to the cage opened, and he braced himself for the beast that lie within to come charging out...
#18170
The muffled voices were closer now... the voice of the doctor... and someone else. The box he'd been transported in--which felt more and more like a coffin--was sealed pretty tight so he couldn't scent the air to pick out any of the unfamiliar aromas he was sure to sniff out once he was released. Had this been earlier in his days of confinement, Christophe might have thrashed and growled and punched at the surface with all his might, but it had been years since he'd seen the proper light of day that he had become patient enough to wait just a little bit longer before the door was opened.

The human part of his mind was sure they would just laugh at his presentation, wherever the hell they were, and when the cage was unlocked, he figured they'd be back in the facility which meant he would be back home in the cold, dank depths of his usual cell. The animal in him was starving, ready for whatever meal they'd throw through the small slat in the door to the cell. For the first time, he actually wanted to be back there because it was normal for him, it was familiar.

Christophe had been resting against the sturdy back wall of the cage, his eyes closed, his back relaxed, and his tree-trunks of his legs firmly planted in place to hold him up. It wasn't until he heard the chains rattling and the front door creaking open that his eyes shot awake, and he saw faint rays of light peeking through the crack. A sharp inhale burned his nose as he picked up that he wasn't at the facility at all... The sour, sterile smell of cleaners and the like were replaced by the hint of floral, musk and sweet perfumes of three people waiting outside. Four... The bitter stench of foul perspiration made him realize that Reynolds was among that company.

His upper lip twitched as he knew this was his time to emerge, his time to present himself before three strangers... A growl settled low in his chest, and with two careful steps forward, he reached out and pushed the metal door open. His eyes squinted as the light became brighter and was nearly blinding that he softly hissed to himself. He ran a hand through his tousled brown locks before taking two steps out of the cage and his bare feet were met with the cold, tile floor. Christophe was wearing a white tee-shirt, fresh for today's presentation, and loose linen pants, which were tied with a drawstring around his thin waist. He was over six-feet tall, towering above everyone here. His hazel eyes were still burning as he was met with the natural lighting, but he knew better than to bring his hands up to shade his eyes. This wasn't a hostile situation, and he didn't want to be seen as a threat. They told him that... they commanded him not to do anything that might make him prompt any action taken against him. They prodded him with electricity to break him of that habit. He didn't want to be shocked anymore...

The strange place slowly came into view. He spotted the two men first. Reynolds... and someone he had never met before. Their aura was familiar, however, and his instincts immediately recognized him. He spotted the two women, seated behind a desk just a few feet away in this large office. His face was closer in view now, as the man walked up to study him, and Christophe's cold eyes settled on the stranger. Then it struck him. Instantly. This was the Dark Lord. This was the man he was trained to protect.
#18922
Delilah preferred to stay calm, cool, and nonchalant on the outside, but despite her efforts, she still sat up just a bit straighter and her fingers lightly touched her wand, ready to draw it at a moment's notice as the doctor began to open the cage. She had no idea what to expect. This doctor's actions could be a front. He could actually be planning something. They were inviting a curse, but who needed a killing curse or anything similar when you had an altered human, a monster? For all she knew, this thing would charge for a kill and she and Dru would need to jump to the rescue. All it took was a millisecond of actual trust that how this bloke acted was his true nature.

Delilah's eyes narrowed as the door opened and the man--no, monster--came out. Tall, muscular. Pretty much the epitome of what one would want in a body guard. Only... not. It was hard to describe. Perhaps it was the way he was in a way non-assuming. Delilah wanted to sit back in relief, yet she remained with a glance to Teague. He probably couldn't see her where he was, yet she wanted to gauge his reaction. Yet just as much, she wanted to see the doctor's lips, to anticipate the curse before it was uttered, to take action where was needed.
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