“Listen up newbie, there are several things you need to be aware of if you think you can handle this life. First, no one handles this life; you’re fucking lying to yourself. We are all barely getting by from hunt to hunt, dead cellmate to the next.” – Nikolas Marcellus
Los Angeles County is sick; the infested rotting flesh full of maggots that would be easier to dispose of it all than to try and extract the invaders one by one. However, the concentration of innocents in the density that is this godforsaken place is like an intricately woven living shield and the hunters of this city are forced to continue to fight a seemingly endless war.
Whatever brought you to Los Angeles, You were thrown into this mess, like the decades of hunters before you, and the older generation seems to not be entertaining new ideas for strategy. You are boxed in, surrounded in this cold war by enemies from without and traitors from within. Instead of focusing on the monsters in the night, you are focusing on hunters that hunt other hunters… hunters who sleep with the monsters doing their bidding, and infighting among the factions. There is no focused enemy, there is no one monster. There are shards of a community once united against the dark now barely holding it together. The defensive tactics of the older generations are standing just barely the atmosphere is tangible and volatile; just waiting for that single spark to set fire to it all. A fragile place to be, especially as a vulnerable new recruit.
The Hunters Council directs this war, and the compacts a part of it are the strongest in the city. The Union holds the most sway in the fight against the dark, with the largest network of hunter cells in the area. The Ashwood Abbey has all but been destroyed due to the actions of a singular cell, leaving the memory of what used to be. Network Zero has withdrawn from the unified council in all but in name, keeping their seat to keep their voice but rarely do they surface to participate in the largest hunts. The rest of the compacts are small in numbers, desperately failing to recruit any of the new bloods before the Union or Network Zero do. The conspiracies mostly driven underground and into hiding for fear of being judged to be too close to the monsters in the dark.
In the face of all of this darkness, what will your vigil look like?
Who is the Monster?
“You’ve seen them.”
“The monsters that haunt the night. The ancient terrors that steal innocence. The pale demon concealed behind a beautiful mask that drinks blood. You walk through the dark places so that no one else ever has to go through what you did; so that no other families are torn apart by something that wanted to sacrifice a fragile soul for power. You soak yourself in blood and death week after week, month after month, year after year. Maybe you’re lucky; maybe you’ve never had to slit the throat of some poor bastard who sold out humanity for lust, or power, or simply because he needed money to put food on the table and he’d fallen through the cracks of an indifferent daylight world.”
“Where do you draw the line? Is it simply enough that the prey you hunt be other, whether birth, choice, or fate have cast it into an ontology that is not human? What about when the humans are worse than the things we call monsters? Will you bring justice to them? How much heart’s claret can you paint the world with before it becomes too much? How many sins can your soul endure until you’re worse than the things you claim to be protecting the world from?”
~ Codename Z3rg, Network Zero
Hunter or Hunted?
“They call us hunters, but maybe that’s not an accurate term. Vigilantes maybe is a closer term in meaning to what we think we’re doing, and serial killers might be more appropriate from what the rest of the creatures lurking in the darkness see us as. Monster Serial Killers. In theory and philosophy depending on which group’s bullshit you bought into, we are hunting the boogeymen to protect the rest of the world. In practice, we are slicing the throat of the witch who is using their foster children in sacrificial rituals. We watch our allies and loved ones die in the fight of our lives, just to shut down one maniacal serial killer with superpowers… just the one. One in the Los Angeles sea of filth that is calling itself humanity. The monsters take everything, including our own humanity. In the end, we are risking our lives and offering ourselves up on a platter to some of the things that go bump in the night… most of which were expecting us.”
“We like to fancy ourselves as the hunters, but we turn into the hunted really fast. Those monsters that we’re so afraid are going to kill us, and if you’re thinking you’re not afraid you probably should give up now, those things are much better at killing than we are. We can’t change into rage monsters when we’re fighting for our lives, we don’t have super powers… not most of us anyways… and when some of these creatures can cause you to commit suicide with a command, or simply manipulate the timing of your heartbeats like it was nothing to cause a heart attack… are we REALLY the hunters? If you’re not questioning that then you’re not ready to join this vigil, maybe join the police force and deal with things that are normal. These supernaturals though, we’re ambitious to call ourselves hunters; especially when the only difference between the hunter and the hunted is who dies first.”
“Then you’ve got humans to think about. Some of us go after these serial killers in our neighborhood to protect our families from the less supernaturally enhanced things that go bump in the night. Some of us do it for revenge or thinking we have the right moral compass to be able to decide who lives and who dies. To tell you the honest truth though, most of us do it because we want to… not because we’re particularly good at it. The law doesn’t pay too much appreciation to our trail of bodies and those men in blue are usually right on our trail. So keep this in mind when you’re bleeding all over trying to kill that cannibalistic bat freak who killed your cellmate, that’s DNA. They are not nearly as stupid as they used to be in the police force, and we only have some of them paid off. Don’t be the next hunter labeled a serial killer because no one is going to be able to save you. Just. Don’t. Fuck. Up.”
“There is one more thing, that most of us don’t like to talk about much… some of us after so many kills and decades of being in this life just can’t take it anymore. Something has to give after surviving that long, and usually, it’s the mind. Not all hunters hunt monsters… some of those that have lost themselves find joy in hunting other hunters. Not even God can help you if you are noticed by them. Most of us keep low on their radar, so don’t do anything to draw their attention and you’ll be just fine.”
“So which are you going to end up being, kid? The Hunter or the Prey?”
~ Nikolas Marcellus, The Union.
Candle Light Service
“The romantics among us call it our Vigil and I’ve never wondered why they chose that language for it. A vigil is the memorial ceremony tradition of holding a candle in the darkness, in solidarity with others who have experienced a loss. It’s a symbol of unity, a symbol of hope, and perhaps most of all a symbol of the grief we all have the losses required to bring us all together like this. Like any vigil, we’ve had our share of loss and grief. Cell-mates and lovers who never come home again, leaving us behind to pick up the pieces of where they left off.”
“Our history in this area has always been a bloody one, but the number of unsung heroes who have died alone in the darkness to protect the rest of the people here is countless. Sure there are records, but far more people die in defense against the monsters that can be reliably tracked. Which of the suicides on the morning news was really a witch or leech who decided it was their right to take that life? How many of the gang-related shootings are simply mutts wanting to keep people from going where they shouldn’t? Regardless, death and loss are some things we know well. We expect it and we honor our fallen brethren. We grieve when we have the time… because grief is a shadow when our light is so dim to begin we. We can’t afford to.”
“With all this loss though, that desire to keep fighting is not stronger anywhere else where hunters operate. There is no place with more determination and while hope is frail it’s nearly unkillable when paired with purpose. We have a purpose here, that flickering flame of a candle in a seemingly endless black hole of darkness. Without us, the darkness would consume everything. We inspire the younger generation not to give up, and we keep those not in the know in their perpetual state of bliss. We will not be in any history books, but we make a difference. Just like a vigil, the pain and loss are there and it heals with time, but that unity and sense of camaraderie is why we keep fighting this endless war.”
~ Father Caine, The Long Night
Moods & Inspirations
Hunters have more to deal with than the monsters... but the monsters seem never ending.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Set and filmed in California, the original hunting the supernatural t.v. show.
Witch Hunter Robin
What happens when you are what you hunt? Being a supernatrual hunter makes you question who is really the monster?