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#26 Old 28th Jan 2008 at 9:14 PM
Amongst the dark buildings of Los Angeles there stands a warehouse, it is dark and cool, but nothing remarkable, it stocks, predominantly, antiques but is also a haven for plants, it's greenhouse is small, and holds a range of orchids which like at most 4 hours of light, automated shutters provide it with this. The room, whilst cool, is also very dry, antiques have a habit of responding badly to water and to light, as they damage polished services and crack paints not to mention fade colours.

From the locked up building attached to the back of the warehouse shifted the tall deep green eyed being, he strode from the rrom, he had never saw the point in laying in, he had been a morning person, and in truth he missed it, the glory of the colours of the world, the warmth of the air, it had been so long. One of these days perhaps it would become too much, the longing. But for now he could stand it, he had been for years... and years... and years.... He sighed, and picked up the docket, nothing noted for delivery tonight, there generally wasn't unless it was coming right across the country or from overseas.

He twisted the silver band on his finger, he moved the gap, bigger and smaller, bigger and smaller, the dolphins tiy silver face meeting it's tail, slipping away from it's tail he did it 17 times and set the spray for the orchids for 12 minutes, and 12 minutes only. The loss of most first orchids was via drowning, some people didn't even understand the needs of plants let alone beings. He stepped out into the cool air and slipped the bolt across, Dahlia would open up at nine the next morning as she always did and wonder, as she always did just what her boss was really doing.

Caraltian slid into the darkness and moved quietly amongst it, pausing only once he found a chip of concrete on the pavement, he glanced up it was from a statue on a pillar at the entry to a apark he didn't recognise, he shrugged and reached to touch the wing of the goargoyle, examining it and wondering which solvent would be best to repair it.

((Approachable, guess i'm trying to find my feet in this new dark Roleplay world.))
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#27 Old 29th Jan 2008 at 2:50 AM
(((ooc: Just an ooc to welcome our new players. Glad to have you, and I hope you'll have fun!)))

~ * ~ Volition ~ * ~
#28 Old 29th Jan 2008 at 8:12 AM
((Me too Atropa, dark isn't normally my style... I'm more of a bitch roleplayer... but I shall try))
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#29 Old 29th Jan 2008 at 4:29 PM
Default Valerian - The Haven -> Moira's hotel suite at The Ritz
Pale sapphire orbs lazily tracing an intricate pattern through heavy lids; thin lines and swirls, smooth edges and soft turns, shallow furrows and tiny protrusion, all irregularly blurred by sooty lashes descending from time to time. A pattern at first almost invisible to the naked, untrained eye, but an everlasting story woven to the current beholder.

Valerian had awoken from such a rare thing these nights, as a full day's rest. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been allowed a deep sleep so peaceful, not roused awake and chased out of bed by his sudden, sometimes almost suffocating need to create. He loved it dearly, in fact, he loved it above all else. But during the times when it never seemed to cease, when he was held captive in its relentless grip, eventually he would become exhausted. Never drained, but exhausted.

It seemed last night had given him peace. Moira's ability to understand him, and most of all her kindness to express it and not keep it to herself, seemed to have enveloped him with harmony, and left him with a much needed chance to breathe and gather his thoughts. His inspiration and creativity were still there, always his faithful companions, tugging at the string of his artistic soul. But they were no longer forcing him into submission, they were allowing him to reflect and and to ponder. To relax.
And the young Toreador was enjoying every moment of it.

He had been awake for nearly an hour now, just laying there, cherishing the sensation of just lounging about in his giant king-sized bed, and letting his mind wander lazily, from the secretive tale told by the ceiling tiles, to something that filled him with excitement and anticipation every time his toughts touched the subject; Moira's invitation for him to see what she had referred to as her greatest work. He was so very eager to see it, to be allowed such a generous glimpse of her own artistry, of her history, and who she was. There was no amount of words in this world that could tell him more about her inner being, her very essence, than even the briefest glimpse of her creation.

Glancing at the clock on his bedside table, he realized it was now time to finally get up and get ready, lest he'd end up being late. Accompanied by a slight yawn, ivory limbs languidly started to untangle from the gentle embrace of dark satin sheets, and moments later naked feet padded softly across the equally dark carpeting, towards the large walk-in closet. Soft, black leather pants and an untucked, black long-sleeved shirt with thin grey stripes soon encased the smooth marbled body, as Valerian finally exited his chambers to take his leave of The Haven through the club entrance. Even though he had his own private door outside, he couldn't resist the call of his beloved club. The atmosphere invigorated him, kissed his senses alive, and every single one of the warm smiles and appreciative glances sent his way as he gracefully manuevered himself through the club, felt like a soft caress in his chest and drew his usual, dazzling smile from his lips.

Once outside, he stood for a moment while adjusting as the thumping beat faded and gave way to the sounds of the L.A. night life; traffic, human voices, laughter, the clicking of heels against the pavement, even the faint music streaming out of other establishments nearby. Then, he stepped forward to hail a cab, having decided that tonight, he didn't feel like driving himself. He wanted to watch the people on the streets and the multitude of neon lights that passed by outside the car window, and he always welcomed company, even if it was 'just' a haggard cab driver making polite smalltalk.

Sliding into the worn, musty backseat of the car that was to be his ride, he gave his intended destination, and then sat back. Before long, they arrived outside Moira's hotel, The Ritz, and Valerian stepped out onto the pavement once again, leaving behind a more than generous tip for the cab driver, who had turned out to be a really nice old chap. Instead of going on and on about the usual tpocs such as the weather and the traffic, he had taken an interest in Valerian's profession, without being nosey. Valerian was grateful for that, as his profession left him in far higher spirits than the currently very rainy weather.

Minutes later, he was walking through one of the beautiful hallways of the hotel, taking it all in with his usual but often well hidden, almost childlike curiousity. If ever there was a walking contradiction, Valerian was the one.
Easily excited, enthusiastic, vivid, innocent, naive, and yet always suave, charming, sensual and confident. A child and an urbane gentleman, all at the same time. Which would explain his appeal, his ability to draw out the desire in almost anyone. Though it was only Kindred that realized what it was about him, as only Kindred could see both sides, and not even all of them did. To most, Valerian was simply the "hot" and strikingly sensual owner of The Haven. A description that, although simple and rather poor, Valerian himself found amusing, and flattering.

Watching the numbers of each door that he passed, he started counting down the seconds to when he would find the right door. Number 804... 806... 808... 810...
There. There it was. Suite #812. As Valerian came to a halt outside the door that looked just like all the rest, but was so very, very different to him, he could feel his body tingling with excitement, as though life was dancing over every inch of his skin, to a more frenzied melody than in a long time. It was a feeling he truly enjoyed, so much so that he even hesitated for a few moments, before reaching out and delivering a soft but firm knock.

~ * ~ Volition ~ * ~
#30 Old 29th Jan 2008 at 8:50 PM
Moira and Valerian - The Ritz, Suite #812

The ornate clock adorning the space above the fireplace slowly ticked time away, each minute bringing Moira closer to the moment the visit would commence. She had not been idle however; as she waited, the London Primogen added the final touches to this impersonal space she had no choice but to dwell in for the moment. In contrast with the way Valerian and The Haven were so closely connected in spirit and appearance, this luxurious hotel suite, despite being more than pleasant and comfortable, held little of Moira's personality, which she did her best to rectify, as well as time and resources permitted. Earlier that evening she had ordered flowers to be brought to her room: lilies and roses, both symbolic for the Toreador Clan, ranging from hues of deep, vibrant red to velvety black, among them the pure white of lily blossoms. Moira herself had placed them strategically around the three rooms, filling those unpleasant voids in the décor, and no matter where one moved to, a subtle hint of their sweet scent followed in their wake. Number two on the list was the nearly empty room which served as her studio in Los Angeles; since she permitted no maid to touch her drawing utensils and tubes of paint, Moira tidied the working table herself, leaving the better drawn sketches within reach should she require them.

Which left only Josephine's portrait; since she did not wish a theatrical introduction, Moira left it in its place upon the easel, the black lace cover hiding it from view. The chandelier light dimmed to a rich amber glow, the final touches were nearly in place: as with the flowers, a plethora of candles of various shapes and sizes were spread around the room, particularly the shelves, mantelpiece and coffee tables, adding their sensuous, flickering flames to the ensemble. Candles were one of the weaknesses Moira had carried with her since the times predating electricity; firm in the belief it was the perfect addition to a nocturne environment; sadly, electricity had all but replaced them.

Sweeping a critical glance across the room and finding it acceptable, Moira was ready for Valerian's arrival. The sweet, barely audible intonations of the Moonlight Sonata quivered in the air as she sat into one of the comfortable leather arm chairs, abandoning herself to her thoughts. The young club owner was on his way to the hotel, awaiting the promised unveiling of the painting Moira had dubbed her greatest work. Whatever he was expecting to see, she knew for a fact reality would come as a surprise, for what painter called an unfinished creation their masterpiece?

And yet, it was. Not only because of its artistic value which was visible despite it having never reached completion, but because it told such an intricate story, a story which had not ended with Josephine's death in 16th century Venice. Its tale had been woven through the ages as Moira carried it along, each new decade and century affecting the way she viewed and felt about it. At first, it had been a glorious creativity-driven project; later it became a shattering heartache, turning to frustration, disappointment, and finally a lasting sense of loss and sadness. At last, Moira felt she was ready to end this long chapter – but why was it that she wished to share it with another?

Loneliness, perhaps, the desire to share something genuine, and even the feeling that it would help her in the end, and perhaps offer something Valerian could use as well. Not truly a lesson, but an experience, and the foundations for friendship. Moira Sushill, Moira the Primogen, ever surrounded by her shield of professional, well guarded secrecy had lived many years without receiving, or offering trust. Politicians rarely genuinely trusted one another, and underlings were instinctively suspicious of their higher ups, which had made her life grow sallow and stale. She had never Embraced another after the debacle with Matthias, and both Renato Cristoval and Robert Falconbridge, two of her most beloved friends, had met their final deaths a long time ago, like her sire.

Her sire. Matthias Cornellus was another reason Moira kept her distance from others. Since his demise under her fangs, she had never allowed herself to partake in another Kindred's blood. Not because she feared the insight they might acquire from the exchange; the blood did not transfer memory, and too much time had passed since the incident for any sensory imprints to remain, but because she feared once she began drinking, she would not be able to stop. An almost human chill trickled down Moira's spine at the thought, remembering the night she had felt her sire's ancient, powerful life essence gurgling down her throat like liquid fire, like the moment of her Embrace only so much more potent, conjuring an explosion of feelings and sensations that surpassed anything she had ever experienced in the arms of a lover or feeding from mortals, particularly in that instant when her lips sucked out the final drop from the open vein. The Beast which Moira feared had worn her face then, brought to the surface by the Frenzy, and despite the sickening dread which had followed later, there was no denying the exquisite pleasure she had taken in the act.

That was a story no ears would ever hear, not even Valerian's, or perhaps especially not him. Diablerie was a crime among their kind, something considered vile and monstrous. That was her cross to bear and hers alone.

A firm knock on the door cleared the mists of ancient musings from Moira's mind, returning her firmly to the present. Valerian had arrived. In one fluid motion, she left her chair and paced the floor swiftly, greeting him with a soft smile:

“Good evening, Valerian. Thank you for coming. Please, come in” she motioned. She remained silent for a few moments while her guest got his bearings, taking full advantage of this time to observe him: the same boundless youthful enthusiasm and feline grace, laced with a powerful magnetism that must have turned the heads of many a woman (and probably men too). She could understand why, there was something ageless about him, too – Moira could have easily pictured him in a baroque court, or her long lost Renaissance era.

“I trust you are well tonight and I haven't whisked you away from any important business” she began, approaching Valerian with small, light footsteps, a sly smile accompanying the same words he had used the previous evening when inviting her to his chambers. “My rather humble studio is this way, if you wish to see the reason I invited you here tonight – unless... you prefer waiting, or seeing something else first?”

If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets
Field Researcher
#31 Old 30th Jan 2008 at 1:00 AM
Default Archon DeWinter - Archon's home, the Prince's office
#25 [Eighth Night]

Time and time again. Tossing and turning. Nothing gave him peace of mind. Archon awoke with eyes darker than the bottom of the deepest sea. Now and then he had nights that did not care for him at all. There were no nightmares, only an abysmal sense of horror. He could feel it, with every fiber of his being. Every time it occured he wondered why, and every time he had only one answer; The Tremere he killed when he was still so very, very young. It had taken a toll on him, he was sure of it. And no matter how hard these kind of nights were, they were nothing compared to the ones after the killing. Archon had even had a wish for death, in the darkest hour of despair. Of course, he did not mean it, but the agony did not seem to have an end at the time. Even though the pain has weakened, it still resides within the Ventrue Primogen. And some nights, like the present one, he would be held accountable by any energy the Tremere left behind. Still swirling in the world.

Archon got up, feeling like he must look the part of a filthy Gangrel, just risen from his dirtnap. Nothing improved this notion, when he took a look in the mirror. The long raven hair hanged in tangeled tresses, almost covering a ferocious face, filled with ill will. This was not the man he remembered from yesterday, the man in the mirror looked like the Ventrue avenger he once was. He rememberd that pale skin, tainted with blood.

Once in the shower, unlife returned to Archon's corpse, taking him back to the modern L.A. nights where a proud man like him had to hide in the shadows. Every now and then, the dark side of Archon visualized a world where the kine were only needed to water the earth with their blood. Of course, sanity always took him back, since he knew only mayhem would follow in such a dream. Without the kine, without the Masquerade, there would be nothing left but to conquer the world and then go mad when nothing was left to master. And madness, was not becoming of a Kindred. Mad vampires were taken down, like a rabid dog in the streets.

As soon as he felt like his very old self, Archon left his chambers and joined Roe on the first floor. Now that was a sight, after such an awakening. The one that really was a Gangrel, seemed more cultivated of the two, as he stood and studied one of Archon's grand paintings - while listening to classical music. Archon could not help but be amused, smiling a bit, as he made his presence known.

"I swear, you become more like a Ventrue each night. You have consorted with us far too much."

At this, Roe smirked, and greeted him with a nod. The vision did not tell the truth, not really. Although he had picked up a few of Archon's habits, Roe's own remained the same. He did not sleep in a bed, nor on a couch or something of that sort. Instead, Archon had built him a room suitable for a Gangrel. It had a deep hole in the middle of the floor, filled with glorious cold soil. That was where Roe slept, when he did sleep within these walls. He did have his solitary nights, and then he sought to sleep where ever the nature outside would let him find peace.

This night greeted Archon with a fullmoon, and a silent, humble rain. Roe brought with him a large rectangular wodden box. It was white, with beautiful carvings and gilded edges. It had a lock of pure gold, but it was more of a decoration than an actual safety precaution. The night had just been born, Archon could smell it in the air, and feel it in the chilling rain before he got in the car. A new night meant new possibilities; new ways to further Ventrue interests. The box in the seat next to Archon was going to get a new owner, the highest Kindred in their distinguished city; Prince Damian Alexander III. Above him laid only myths and legends.
They had much to talk about, Archon had things to tell from his journey, and he also wanted Damian's view on what had happened in the city in his absence.

The only Kindred that could walk into the Prince's penthouse without close scrutiny was the Ventrue. However, the Ventrue garding their most esteemed member would do a cardinal mistake if they would let anyone in with a parcel without inspecting it. Ventrue or not; Primogen or not. While Roe held the box, Archon took out a golden key on a golden chain and opened the lock, and then the lid. The Ventrue leaned forward, took out the content and gave it a thorough inspection, since they did not want the Primogen to complain to the Prince. When satisfied, the box was again closed and locked, and Archon was allowed to enter. Roe had to hand over the weapons he had on him. He would never be considered to be anything else but a simple Gangrel, by the Ventrue that did not know him very well.

The secretary, however, greeted them both with a smile. Archon had always appreciated her, since he knew Damian was in good hands. He took the time to exchange a few pleasantries, before he asked to see the Prince. The secretary gave him a slight nod, and then went to let Damian know of their presence. Unlike other Kindred, Archon was not made to wait. She came back a brief moment later, and showed him in at once. Roe followed with the box, the only Gangrel that could enter in such a manner, but he was not above the watchful eyes of the sheriff. No one was. Archon had never spoken with the sheriff, as he saw it as a way to steal precious time from the protection of the Prince. All he had ever done, was to trade a nod or a look. This was no exception, he gave the robust man a nod and in return he got a nod back that was so faint in its motion that you had to be undead to notice. This was done in an instant, as they locked eyes before Archon was close enough to the doors to see Damian himself. Otherwise, he would have greeted their imperial leader first.
Then, when he enter the grand room and saw his beloved Prince, a sincere smile graced his lips. Finally, there was no one else to interfere. He would have his full attention, and would be able to bestow the same in return.

"Damian", he said and laid his hand over his heart as he took a slight bow. "My Prince."
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#32 Old 30th Jan 2008 at 3:13 AM
Default Valerian & Moira - Moira's hotel suite
A hushed whisper of footsteps behind the door alerted Valerian that he was mere moments away from once again standing face to face with the fascinating goddess of a woman that with a few single words last night had made him feel forever grateful towards her. His Queen of Fire and Ice. No longer just the Queen, but now his Queen. Like no other, she had understood him, and granted him what only a true Queen could; the confirmation and acknowledgement that he had sought in others, but never truly found. She had given him peace, a delicate, fragile ray of light to vanquish the darkness of doubt that had been lurking within him for so long. And for this, she had gained his loyalty, as a fellow Kindred with no political strings. This was a loyalty that went far beyond the frame of society. Though Moira herself was most likely unaware of it, as it would seem to most only a fool would pledge allegiance based on something so fleeting and intangible. Even if it was a pledge taken in silence. Valerian knew that to others, there would've been little logic in his feelings towards her. But that was just it, they were feelings, and feelings only rarely had anything to do with logic. And in Valerian's case, what any common person felt, he tended to feel ten fold. He was ruled by his sensitive nature, and felt that the vast comprehension Moira had shown was a gift like no other, a gift of something that to him had felt vital.

He hadn't dared believe it at first, afraid that her keen-eyed observation of the painting that hung behind the bar at The Haven was just the kind of bull's-eye anyone could score in a mere fluke. But then she had seen the other one, his most recent work, and the evergrowing darkness that had started to become more and more apparent in his work lately. There had been dark creations born under his brushes before, but not like this, with one unsettling work after another, where death was coiling in the shadows, and doom seemed impending. However, to most, it could only be hinted, an unnerving feeling creeping up on them and perhaps sending a chill or to up and down their spine, but to Valerian himself... and to Moira... What had formed the beginning of a delicate thread, an embryonic bond between them, was not the art alone, but the darkness, the foreboding they had both sensed in it. Together, and apart. Despite the fact that their interpretations of it's causes differed, they both still felt it. And for all Valerian knew, it might be his own youth and inexperience that veiled his eyes to a truth that Moira saw clearly. Many Neonates may dismiss the worries of their Elders, but Valerian was not one of them. In life, he had been a firm believer of honoring your elders, and that was a sentiment that stuck with him in unlife as well. Especially in unlife, as Kindred Elders had seen and experienced far more than any elder kine ever would. Valerian had passed one human life time years ago, and he still often felt that he knew very little, and he was deeply humbled by those that had been around at the dawn of the Camarilla, at the dawn of the civilized world.
If this world could be called civilized... There were times when Valerian felt it was more barbaric than the Dark Ages.

All these thoughts had rushed through his head in the few moments it took for the footsteps to cease and the doorknob to turn, but they were instantly pushed aside by the soft click that announced that the door was about to open.

"Good evening, Valerian", Moira greeted him with a soft smile on her ruby lips, and motioned her invitation for him to enter. "Thank you for coming. Please, come in."

As always, Valerian returned the smile with one of his own, along with a soft "Thank you" as he stepped past her and into the room. In doing so, he was met with the view of a most luxurious suite where no expenses seemed to have been spared to ensure that it possessed the best possible comfort any guest could ask for. But it was not the lavish furniture and decorations that he noticed first. It was her presence. Despite it in essence being nothing but a sterile, albeit elegant suite, made to fit a wide range of personalities, her own touch was evident. The rich contrast of dark roses and white lilies, their scents filling the air around them with fresh sweetness, intermingling with the faint smell of candlewax. Secretive shadows cast by a myriad of flickering lights, dancing and whispering tales of spiritual seduction.

"I trust you are well tonight and I haven't whisked you away from any important business", Moira's voice came from behind him, and he turned to face her as she drew closer.

Her lips now donned a most endearing smile, curved by mischief and a playfulness he had just barely caught a glimspe of the night before.

"My rather humble studio is this way", she continued, "if you wish to see the reason I invited you here tonight – unless... you prefer waiting, or seeing something else first?"

A soft chuckle made its way past Valerian's lips, as he was certain that she was teasing him. His eagerness to be honored the sight of what she herself claimed was her masterpiece had been evident upon his face the previous night, and had to be even more so now. Though this offer, to see 'something else first', held a strong appeal as well. In fact, he doubted there was anything she could share with him that he would not love to see, no matter what it was; things that had been created by her hand, wisdom and knowledge that she held, her wide range of smiles, stories from her past, more sides of her personality, or even one he had already seen.
In this case, however, she was most likely talking about her art, but even though that narrowed down the field of options, they all still appealed to him.
Ah, the predicament she had presented him with!

"I'm afraid you're forcing me to confess one of my many flaws", Valerian said, with an amused and slightly sheepish grin playing on his lips. "I must advise you not to ask me such questions, as I have been known to be quite impossible when posed with having to make such decisions."

He couldn't help but to think of the many times Claudia had thrown a fit out of pure frustration with him, simply because he didn't make up his mind fast enough. Where she used her head to quickly weigh the pro's and con's of each option before making her decision, Valerian took the time to be introspective and feel his way, which, oh horror, usually took a few seconds longer.

"I will leave it up to you", he concluded, "as far be it from me to decide for a fellow artist what work to display first."

(((ooc: Sorry if it's rambly. A bit of a headache and alot of distractions. Also, sorry for not having him make up his mind, Ghanima, but I just couldn't picture him being able to pick one option over the other in this case. *lol*
And yeah, the whole loyalty thing is probably a touch much, but... Valerian speaks to me. Not my fault.)))

*edit* (((ooc2: Can't help but to notice that there are quite a few of you that have mentioned your characters being approachable. Perhaps if it takes the rest of the players some time to get started in this new thread, you could approach eachother? You don't have to, it's just a friendly suggestion in an attempt to prevent anyone getting bored.)))

~ * ~ Volition ~ * ~
Test Subject
#33 Old 30th Jan 2008 at 5:43 AM
Default Jessica approaches Aeode/"Annie" ~ The Haven
((Jessica's App (original) ))

Tired and somewhat mopey, Jessica climbed out of bed. Her thoughts tied to what she was going to do tonight. She most likely was going to The Haven, but things could change during a shower. The warm, not scalding hot, water dripped all throught her hair and over her body. Her thoughts now wandered to Annie. She was glad she saved her, but there was always the risk.

Now decided to go to The Haven, Jessica got dressed, quickly, and headed in that direction. Annie was there, but not at the bar. Completely accros the room form the bar. She navigated a path through the mass of people, eventually getting across the room to the halfway quiet spot hse was at. Annie looked like she'd seen a ghost, but she also looked pissed.

"Hi. Are you okay?"

((Ugh. Tired. Jessica sim nearly done! On a seperate note, I'm going to have to put Sarah on hiatus for a while. I might think of a new replacement character. I seem to have lost insperation. ))
#34 Old 30th Jan 2008 at 2:55 PM
Aeode and Jessica - The Haven

Aeode could have sworn time was conspiring against her, slowing down to a maddening crawl; it felt as though she was trapped in a bubble, while the rest of the world rushed by. She glanced at her wristwatch more and more frequently, clicking her tongue in annoyance each time she realized only seconds had elapsed. To make things worse, she did not even have the comfort of a quiet vantage point, bodies constantly pressing around her, intruding into her personal space. Tapping one foot idly into the floor, Aeode leaned stiffly against the railing which separated her from the main club dancefloor, squinting her eyes through the haze of smoke and strobe lights, well aware she was very likely to miss either Valerian or Jessica in that crowd of bobbing heads and gyrating shapes, even if they happened to be there.

Just when she was contemplating going straight for Valerian's office upstairs, her gaze fell upon a familiar figure making its way towards the exit: the man himself! A surge of adrenaline quickened Aeode's senses, guiding her movements as she abandoned her place near the railings, following in his wake as quickly as she could, not even bothering to excuse herself whenever she collided with someone else. Unfortunately, the crowd, thickening progressively as she found her way to the heart of the club, closed in around her like a web of living, shifting matter, barring her way. Aeode struggled for freedom, attracting quite a few irritated glances and even a few harsh words. Pushing a man firmly out of her way, the exit finally shifted into her view range, Valerian nowhere in sight. Her heart hammering wildly against her chest, the young woman sprinted down the corridor as fast as her feet could possibly carry her, staggering to a brusque halt on the edge of the pavement, cursing loudly: puffing out noxious smoke, a cab drove away into the night, the back of Valerian's head just visible through the rear window.

Cheeks flushed and bearing a deep frown, Aeode found her way back into The Haven, slowly beginning to doubt coming there had been such a good idea after all. It felt like such a waste of time, and yet it remained her best lead, the only place she knew Jessica frequented. If need be, she would stand there all night.

And then, just as she was approaching her previous vantage point, Aeode leveled her downcast gaze, all colour draining from her face: none other than Jessica was making her way towards her:

"Hi. Are you okay?" she greeted once they were face to face.

Aeode did not respond immediately, her mind full of words she was yet unable to link into sentences; part of her wanted to accuse, another urged her to wait, and allow Jessica to explain herself. She felt angry, frightened and intrigued at the same time, but above all was her overwhelming desire to know, to finally understand what had happened to her.

“Frankly, no I'm not.”

“I was looking for you,” she said coldly, drawing herself at her full height. She kept a perceptible distance from Jessica, pursing her lips tightly together. “Do you mind going somewhere a little more quiet? I have to talk to you.”

If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets
#35 Old 30th Jan 2008 at 6:41 PM
Moira and Valerian - Moira's suite at the Ritz

"I'm afraid you're forcing me to confess one of my many flaws.” Valerian said in reply to Moira's invitation. “I must advise you not to ask me such questions, as I have been known to be quite impossible when posed with having to make such decisions. I will leave it up to you, as far be it from me to decide for a fellow artist what work to display first."

Donning an empathetic smile, Moira inclined her head slightly; in all honesty, she did not mind being the one who decided the sequence of steps leading to the unveiling of Josephine's portrait, she enjoyed taking control of situations she was in, it was what made her feel most comfortable. That was a characteristic of the other side of her personality, one which for the moment remained subdued, hidden beneath the surface, but always there.

She had realized a while earlier that simply showing Valerian the painting, without some sort of insight into its creation and what impact it had had over her life would not suffice. If was more than just art she wished to share – it was a glimpse into her own personality, of who she truly was.

“Very well, then.” Moira said, one hand resting upon the ornate handle of the door leading into the studio. Giving it a light squeeze, she pushed it aside, revealing a room lit entirely by candles, tiny flickering flames surrounded by a diffuse amber glow. It created a pleasant, lulling feeling in Moira, but it was not enough for their needs, so she added electric light to the mix – not because they were unable to see, but because candlelight invited her senses to relax when she needed them fully awake.

“I also have a small confession to make,” she began, locking her fingers together as her eyes flickered like two tiny lavender-blue flames themselves. “The painting I have promised to show you comes with a tale of its own. Or better said, my own. A man much wiser than myself once said: “to gain insight into the present, one must first understand the past”. Before we can speak of the past however, I feel it necessary to show you a glimpse of the present. Last night I felt we have been honest with eachother and I wish to remain that way.”

Knowing that Valerian must have been realizing by then this wasn't going to be just a straightforward art discussion, Moira hastened her movements as she did not wish to exaggerate the suspense. Reaching for one of the cardboard tubes on her working table, she retrieved a sheet of paper from within, unrolling it carefully and placing it in Valerian's hands with just a simple explanation:

“The banquet sketch I spoke of yesterday”.

She then fell quiet, allowing the young Toreador time to look at it and form his opinion, all the while recalling the epitaph etched in her memory so clearly, stored along with the myriad of similar mental inscriptions given to everything she had ever created:

“ was a pencil drawn sketch of a wonderfully decorated ballroom, populated by elegant and graceful figures. The detail was impressive, and no effort had been spared in pouring as much life into it as possible: everything was in movement: the violinist's bow bouncing lively upon the string, the couples joined in dance shown in full motion, clothes and hair billowing around them...but even the standing silhouettes along the sides had not been excluded: each was positioned differently, each face retained a distinct, telltale expression, whether they were watching, walking, or talking. However the truly remarkable thing lay beyond the immediate vision; if one peered closer, they could notice something lurked beneath the gilded exterior: subtle yet chilling shadows obscured certain figures, smiles turned to snarls almost before one's eyes until one could not be certain of the difference; resplendent, inhuman faces stared through the paper and into the viewer's very heart and mind. Humanity did not live there, only an illusion of it. Once aware of it, one would notice it all throughout the room, in each of its inhabitants. It was the Beast which rattled the bars of its metaphorical cage, always present, the way Moira had experienced it at the Ventrue Primogen's banquet, stirred awake by the presence of a hunter...”

Before Valerian could answer, however, Moira had one more thing to add, something which pained her but was necessary to be brought to his attention:

“From a technical point of view, it's masterful,” she commented and a note of bitterness rang in her voice. “From an artistic one, it's rubbish. It brings no improvement, nothing innovative; the same piece I've drawn countless times, the setting being the only real difference.”

At long last, the unspoken sadness subtly expressed by Moira on several occasions, her silent fascination mingled with the sting of envy towards Valerian's bright spirit and boundless creativity had been put into words, revealed. One sketch alone was not enough for her guest to realize that vital difference; in fact, most kindred and kine alike passed right over it, unable to look past the obvious, the surface, however beautiful the images or flawless the technique. Moira herself had perpetuated that illusion for a long time before deciding not to display her art any longer, ashamed of her own inability to create from her soul and only from her hands, and afraid that someday, someone would discover her ruse and be disappointed.

Disappointment was a reaction she feared from Valerian as well, of seeing that eager light fade from his eyes when realizing all he had before him was a beautiful shell of a whithered soul drained of creativity, unable to offer him anything he did not already have, no ancient insight – he already possessed all he needed and five centuries of unlife could not replace that.

“This is my present” Moira concluded simply. “Perhaps this darkness we have both felt is nothing more and nothing less than the representation of our darkest, most intimate fears, the kind which are so deeply embedded in our consciousness we may not even be aware of their true source. A long time ago, when inspiration was still at my side, this is what I feared: stagnation. What is it that you fear, Valerian? Maybe your answer lies there."

A moment's silence later, she continued:

"Now I would like to show you the difference, my greatest achievement and the moment I lost it.”

That being said, Moira gestured towards the canvas positioned besides the windows several meters away, the long covers hiding what lay underneath. Before unveiling it however, she wanted to allow Valerian the time to process the information she had given him, curious what his reaction would be, faced with this side of her few indeed had ever glimpsed at, wondering if he realized what a rare occasion that was.

((ooc: Not rambly at all, Atropa, I love it and Valerian! Unlike Moira, I'm really inspired lately, heh heh))

If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets
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retired moderator
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#36 Old 31st Jan 2008 at 2:48 AM
Default Damian & Archon - Damian's penthouse office at "the V".
In accordance with his usual routine to rise early, Damian had been ready to take his place behind his robust desk just as the sun was setting. He was the kind of man that found sleeping a most burdensome necessity. There was always something that required his attention, something he needed or wanted to do, that made him feel the hours of the night were not enough. Especially this evening, since what he wanted to do had already been postponed once, when the previous night brought with it a sudden emergency regarding a deal that he was just reeling in. It had hardly been an important deal, but as Damian didn't tolerate to be on the loosing side, he hadn't hesitated to counter the bold, unexpected, and according to Damian downright foolish move made by his rival. The gloves had come off, and he'd been quite busy the entire night, making sure everything went according to plan.

Which was why he was now eager to get this night started, so that he might get on with what he would've preferred to do with his time the previous one. That, and the time difference seperating him and the people he wanted to talk to. The night had only begun in Los Angeles, but was already drawing to a close in London. Time was of the essence.
No sooner had he sat down behind his desk than he picked up the phone to his secure line, and dialed the number out of memory. He didn't use it very often, but always made sure he had important names, numbers and addresses memorized. Partly because you never knew when you would come to need them, and partly because he didn't want such things written down when there was even the tiniest chance of an outsider getting their grubby little hands on them.

He spent nearly an hour and a half on the phone, trying to locate the right people to speak to. Most of them were already difficult to get in touch with when night had just fallen over their city. Imagine the difficulty to get in touch with them when their dawn was rapidly approaching. Still, he did manage to get one of his preferred contacts on the line, and recieved the first taste of the information he had been looking for. Though it did little to satisfy him, as it merely confirmed what he himself had already observed. However, confirmation was important when sorting through what information to trust, and what information not to trust, so at least it hadn't been time totally wasted. He now knew what earlier he had only suspected, and before they hung up, he had requested of his contact to dig a little deeper. Not to snoop, exactly, as Damian's curiousity was by no means ill-intended, and it was bound to get back to the subject of this minor investigation sooner or later. He simply requested that his contact would find out a little more of what was considered common knowledge. At this point, his contact had hinted towards knowing more, but dismissed it from the conversation by saying that he wanted to look into it a bit more before he said something. One might think Damian would've been annoyed by such a comment, but really, he was quite the opposite. He appreciated that his contact did not share ill-founded, far-from-certain 'I've heard this' and 'I've heard that's. Facts, that was what he was after. Maybe a rumour or two. Gossip pure and simple, was rarely interesting, unless it dealt with something of importance. And the nature of gossip was that it rarely did.

Approximately ten minutes had passed since that particular call was over, and Damian had left a few messages for other people whom he was interested in speaking to, when there was a gentle rap on the door.

"Yes?" he answered, as he put the receiver back in its cradle.

His secretary rarely knocked instead of using the intercom, which told him it was either a matter of a very delicate nature, or he had a prominent guest, whose presence deserved more reverence than to be annouced by a simple buzzing noise.

"Lord DeWinter is here to see you", the sweet but correct young woman told him as she slipped inside.

"Ah, yes", Damian replied with a faint smile forming on his lips. "Please show him in."

He had expected a visit from his esteemed friend, and was pleased that he was taking the time to pay it so soon, considering he must be quite busy picking up where he had left off a couple of months ago. Damian had tended to his Primogen duties with an ability that left nothing to be desired, but there were many other matters that did not concern Archon as a Primogen, but merely Archon as a business man, and a friend. Those matters could be dealt with by no one but Archon himself.

Giving a curt nod of confirmation, his secretary retreated to the outer office, only to step back in a second later and hold the door open to Archon and the Gangrel that followed him like the sheriff followed Damian. Both were immediately targeted by the sheriff's scrutinizing eyes, as he trusted no one, regardless of gender, bloodline and status. Roe especially recieved a close inspection, since he was the one carrying the white box.
Damian, however, welcomed them both with a smile, although his attention was mainly focused on Archon. Naturally.

"Damian", the Ventrue Primogen said when he reached the desk, and gave a slight bow with his hand on his chest as a sign of respect. "My Prince."

While he had been approaching, Damian had stood from his chair, offering his own sign of respect without showing even the slightest hint of submission.

"Archon", he greeted his friend, and held out a hand for him to shake, before motioning towards the comfortable armchairs on the opposite side of the desk. "It's good to see you. Please, take a seat."

~ * ~ Volition ~ * ~
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#37 Old 1st Feb 2008 at 3:20 PM
Default Adrien - Museum -> streets -> The Dive
(((ooc: Sorry for the double post, but it's been more than 24 hours, and the previous post was kind of long, as is this one. Also, everyone, the site has now been moved to )))

Adrien had allowed himself to sleep. After two days of only moments of slumber here and there, he could no longer fend off his needs. He was mentally worn out, drained from always being on guard and from resisting the nocturnal instincts that beckoned him to go to sleep when the world around him was basking in sunlight. Soon he would pose more of a threat to himself than any Kindred could. He was vulnerable enough as it was, a mere whelp facing Ancillae and Elders who all felt he had wronged them. To say the least. If he didn't keep his mind and senses alert, he would be setting himself up to be taken down, soon.

So he slept. Not sitting in the armchair, dozing off every once in a while like before, but in the bed, embraced by the soft sheets and pillows.
At first.
To anyone else, they would've felt welcoming, and comforting. To Adrien, they were suffocating, entangling his limbs and trapping him. Within half an hour of going to bed, he had thrown it all off, and spent the rest of the daylit hours on his back, with one hand resting on the handle of the dagger he always kept protruding from under the mattress, or whatever else he might be sleeping on. He still didn't regard the Museum as a safe place for him. Far from it, with Mina and her subjects all around, along with their wretched ghouls.

But, what he knew about Mina, what he had learned so long ago when he had played her like a fiddle and earned her trust, told him that her revenge would not be as simple as having him attacked in his sleep, or even attacking him herself. She was far more cunning than that, and was likely to take pride in being as imaginative as possible, in pulling just the right string at just the right time, and watch as the trap she had set slowly closed on him. There would be nothing quick about the method she chose, of that he was certain. It would be slow and painful, every moment an agonizing torture. And he doubted it would be a physical one. At least until she, and everyone else, was done with him, and their only remaining desire was his Final Death.
First, however, it seemed they wanted to break him, force him to yield, to submit, and crawl before their feet like the reptile they all considered him to be. They all wanted the satisfaction of seeing him forced down on his knees, 'knowing' that their twisted sense of justice had been done.
Let them try. It would be a cold day in Hell before that ever happened.
He would never cower, and he would never show any fear. Over the years, he had learned to control his feelings. Or rather shed them. The only feelings that remained were those that fueled his mission, his purpose. At least that was what everyone was lead to believe. He was an exceptional actor, with such a talent for deception that no one had been able to see through him fully yet. Mina was the only one that had come even remotely close. During their... reunion the other night, some of the old feelings long forgotten had surfaced in him. And he had hated it. He had hated that he had allowed her to see that deep, deep down within him somewhere, there were feelings of something other than hatred, anger, and contempt. Feelings, or rather the innuendo of feelings, whose existance he refused to acknowledge, even to himself.

Not even in his sleep did they tend to appear, for indeed, he rarely did dream. Even before being Embraced, the times when he dreamed had been few and far apart, and it was an ability that had followed him from life into unlife. Something for which he was grateful, as when he really did dream, it was never a pleasant experience. It was as though his dreams would open up the gates to his mind, and allow the tormented souls of all those he had killed to reach him, to reach for him. Nightmares, in their purest form.

Many months had passed since last he had awoken with the feeling that someone was whispering memories of their last agonizing moments alive in his ear, and choking him with their cold, dead hands at the same time. He feared that time was now drawing near, that his next day of nightmares was just around the corner. But it wasn't the nightmare itself that he feared. It was what would come of it, the traces of it lingering on his features, even if just for an hour, for perceptive eyes to notice. Or that he might make a sound in his sleep and someone would be around to hear him. A groan, or a whimper was all it took for someone to possibly realize that there were things that got to him after all, if they were close enough to his door to hear him. With all the ghouls sneaking around, it didn't seem unlikely. In this Museum, his privacy felt non-existant.

This day, Lady Luck had been on his side, and his first time of actual rest since coming here had remained peaceful, leaving him to awake with his strength renewed.
Still reluctant to dwell within the walls of Mina's domain more than absolutely necessary, it wasn't long before he left his room and made his way towards the entrance. A few ghouls and even fewer Kindred lined his path, but as he strode past them with his firm, purposeful steps, he could feel the eyes of each and every one of them boring into his back like daggers, their fruitless attempts to burn his skin with eyes full of hatred.

It didn't bother him. Much. He would tolerate their hate, he would even revel in it, as long as they were afraid. Fear was his ally, part of what kept the Kindred on their toes around him. As long as their eyes spoke of the caprice, the unpredictability, the danger they saw in him, he would be in control. And when they started doubting that he would do something, when the fear subsided, that was when his tactics would change. Then he would use their doubts of his power to act to dull their suspicious minds.

Everything was a game, now more than ever, and Adrien played to win. Perhaps not the war, as there were far too many Kindred and only one Adrien de la Cour, but at least the battle. He would go down in Kindred history as the scourage of their beastly kind, and their numbers would've decreased considerably under his hand.

Seemingly unfazed he left them all behind once again, and stepped out into the cool evening air, welcoming the space, the noise, the hustle and bustle that allowed him to easily slip away along the sidewalk, and be on his way to take care of a little bit of business. Literally. He needed to spend some time looking over the affairs that still remained in the mortal realm; his finances. He probably no longer seemed like it, judging by his current clothes and over-all appearance, but he was still a wealthy man. His parents had left him with the family fortune, and even though hopping back and forth between countries and continents for over a century was hardly cheap, he had found ways to support himself. Some money had been invested in stock and bonds, some had been invested in art and estates that gained value over the years and brought a nice little profit once sold. And then there was the thing that he actually took pleasure in, the one thing that would resemble something he did for fun; gamble. Though Adrien being Adrien, he never did anything without a purpose. While he might find a good game of poker fun, he also made sure to make the most of it; not only did he earn money, but he also improved and polished his poker face and his acting skills. No matter what he did, it always seemed to be somehow connected to his main objective.

During his reconnaissance the previous night, he had passed by a casino that looked promising. An elegant and respectable establishment, and not some seedy little den with obscure characters around the table. 'The Dive' had been it's name, and tonight it was his second destination. His first; a phone booth from which he called his broker, instructing him to make some adjustments to the stock he currently owned. It was a short conversation, consisting of little more than a hello, the instructions, and a goodbye. If he was being followed, Adrien didn't want to give away too much information. The more he could keep to himself, the better.
With the phone call done and over with, he stepped out of the phone booth and continued down along the sidewalk without looking back.

Minutes later, he stopped outside the casino, and studied it much like he had studied the church the previous night, before entering. It was a beautiful building indeed, with arches and columns lit up in the dark night by soft spotlights, beckoning anyone that passed by on the street to step inside into the welcoming foyer, only to be lured further into the spacious ground floor by the seductive, intoxicating sound of money being made. It seemed none of the new arrivals ever heard the subtle, melancholic harmonies of fortunes lost.
Except, of course, Adrien. But unlike most of these other fools, he didn't put all his faith in luck. In fact, he put none of his faith in luck. To him, it was all about skill, plain and simple. Luck didn't tell you when to raise, and when to fold. Luck didn't see the manic twinkle in the eyes of the man with a full house, or the pearls of sweat forming on another's forehead as he realized he was about to loose everything he'd brought to the table.
Only skill did that. And only skill kept your eyes, face and body language from betraying you. Some experienced poker players tended to wear sunglasses during the game, as a way of keeping their opponents from reading the looks in their eyes. Some even called themselves professional gamblers. But to Adrien, such things were for amateurs. He prided himself not only with the ability to keep his eyes and facial expression devoid of all emotion, but also the ability to show signs of an emotion he wasn't feeling. Sometimes, it made all the difference. If there was enough tension in his eyes, his opponent would choose to go all in, when he should've folded. If there was a tiny crease forming at the corner of his mouth, the opponent would fold, when he could've won the hand.
Yes. Tiny, tiny details could make all the difference in the world.

Slowly, Adrien started making his way through the crowded casino, taking a moment to adjust to the intense atmosphere. Perhaps on a first impression, it was a little too noisy for his liking, but he knew that once he had gotten into the game, he'd hardly hear all the plinging, blipping and chiming of the numerous slot machines. Finally he reached one of the poker tables, and sat down to watch the remainder of the hand that was currently being played. When the next hand was being dealt, he was in.
Before long, the amount of chips infront of him had nearly doubled.

~ * ~ Volition ~ * ~
#38 Old 1st Feb 2008 at 7:25 PM
Default Falesyia Kermode - The Dive
Falesyia walked down the corridor between the meeting room and the security offices; the plush carpet cushioning her every step. She was bored tonight, something within her was pleading to have a little excitement, wanting to come out and play. As she pushed open the door to the camera room she felt the darkness welcome her. This room was always a hub of quiet activity. The right wall housed a little more than fifty monitors, the light they gave off being the only illumination in the room. Little figures on the screen pulled handles, placed bets, and lost money. All of it a testimony to the charm of The Dive.

As odd as it may sound, the building, the atmosphere, the life it seemed to breathe each night, it all held a certain charm for Falesyia. She managed her other establishments from a distance, only caring if the house didn’t come out on top. But this place, it was different. She knew the names of most of it’s employees, she knew it’s every nook and cranny. It was her home.

Not a single person looked away from the screens when she walked in. They were used to her presence, the privileged few that had seen glimpses of her softer, more human side. Though they may have seen her often, all but one still called her Ms. Kermode. At a large table behind all the personnel studying the monitors sat the one man who was not restricted to such formalities.

“Hey boss.” He addressed her, adding a wink as she got closer.

Falesyia’s lips turned up slightly as she returned his greeting with her own “Hey Niko.” He stood to welcome her and partake in their usual greeting of brief kisses on the cheek. “I’ve sent my little dwarves to bed”, she continued, “so I thought I’d see what’s going on here.”

She sat on the corner of the table, her eyes roaming the many images of the action below them. Nicholas stood beside her, his body leaned towards her as his palm was planted firmly on the table behind her. “Not much yet, but the night is still young.” He replied.

“Hmm… that’s disappointing, as I was hoping for some excitement.” Her gaze was still fixated on the screens two yards in front of her.

“Well, boss… if it’s excitement you want…” his voice was filled with innuendo until Falesyia turned her head to face him. Her eyes communicating that his point was taken, and denied. A playful smirk came across his face as he shoved off with his left hand, his body weight returning fully to rest upon his feet. “There is one table that seems to have been noticed tonight.” He gave instructions to one of the men in front of him to focus a camera upon a certain poker table.

Falesyia slid off the table, walking towards the monitor to get a closer look. The people surrounding it looked normal enough. “The man in three seems to have lady luck on his side tonight. We haven’t spotted anything fishy though.”

“Perhaps it’s not luck, maybe its skill.” Falesyia peered at the image on the screen. The man wasn’t the type that usually gathered her attention. There was no expensive suit, no impression of wealth about him. He was quite the opposite actually. Black hair that needed to be cut, his clothes a bit dark, not someone who seems to care that he stood out just a little. A faint smile hid behind her lips as she recalled the woman she had met the night before. Ada she had introduced herself as. Falesyia imagined the two of them could very well hold the same social circle.

While Falesyia had been studying the screen, Nicholas had continued talking. “Sorry to disappoint you boss, but that is about as interesting as it gets tonight.”

“Well, like you said”, she stood up straight and backed away from the monitors. Raising her brow she looked at him and continued, “The night is still young.”

She slowly began to walk towards the doors, Nicholas’ gaze followed her as she did. “Who’s pit boss tonight?” she asked without looking back.
“Dylan.” He answered quickly. “Inform Dylan that the table needs a new dealer in fifteen minutes.” She spoke, nearly to the door now.

“What are you up to?” his voice lingered in the air.

She turned to answer him, her hand resting on the door handle. “I am going to find out what our young patron has going for him. Is it lady luck, or is it skill?” A new expression crept onto her face, a smile and quirked brow to match. “And hopefully I’ll have a little fun.”


Once again she walked down the hall of the second floor, this time to her suite. She checked her reflection in the mirror, touched up her hair and makeup, and picked up what she had termed her dummy purse. The small black bag had a long thin strap, other than the cell phone and a couple hundred worth of chips, there really was nothing of value in it. It was simply a prop to keep up the appearance that she was just yet another customer.

Satisfied with her counterpart in the mirror she made her way down the stairs, completely unaffected by the lights and many sounds of the slot machines. She went around them so she would approach the table of her destination from the opposite side of the raven haired stranger. She wanted to see him from a distance, and perhaps he’d see her coming.

She walked between the tables, feigning curiosity in each table as she walked by, giving the impression she had no destination at all, and was trying to find something that interested her. When she came to her intended table, she chose to stand back beside a woman that sat opposite of the man of her curiosity. As the dealer called it was his last, she watched all the players at the table as the hand was played. It was another hand that provided more chips for his stack, and nothing but frustration for his opponents.

As the woman that had been in front of Falesyia threw her hands in the air in surrender, another man in a freshly pressed suit stood to leave as well. As the dealer gathered his things in preparation to be replaced, Falesyia took the seat that was now empty across from the dark haired stranger. He seemed to survey the shuffle of players at the table. Falesyia’s gut doubted it was simple observance, as most likely it was displeasure at the thought of having new people he’d have to learn to read. When his gaze came briefly across her form she simply greeted him with her eyes. She had yet to learn what type of man this was. Some men were weak to a beautiful woman’s flirtations, other to her seeming determination and challenge. It would take a few hands, but she was sure she’d be able to crack his code eventually.

As the new dealer called for bets to be placed Falesyia slid in her stack of chips. May the games begin.
#39 Old 1st Feb 2008 at 8:14 PM
Default Ada Von Vita approaching Caraltian Heresa
Ada strode silently down the moonlit street. She loved winter, it always got dark so much earlier. A quiet scrapping noise caused her to turn. Down a dimly lit sidestreet stood a dark haired man gazing curiously at a gargoyle statue. Ada placed one slim hand on her hip, staring at him for a second. She had never seen him before around here, was he new? Or had he appeared during her absence? Ada strode boldly towards him.
Field Researcher
#40 Old 1st Feb 2008 at 9:20 PM
Jayden grew weary of the club, wandering down the street, an Emily the Strange hoody now over her dress, she saw two people admiring a gargoyle.
She knew a bit about the gargoyle, made in 1733, the stone Hindhead sandstone and bleached white...
She began to stroll towards them, tucking a strand of hair behind her ruby adorned ear.
'Hi, it's lovely, isn't it?'

(( Approaching Ada and Caraltian ))

((P.S. Here's the hoody, I can't hyperlink for some reason :S
#41 Old 1st Feb 2008 at 9:53 PM
Default Caraltian encounters people
Caraltian sensed something, something cold. The havy concrete wing chip in his hand seemed to vanish from existance, he turned around to see a woman striding towards him, his urge was to fade away, from this person, but he could not, could not make himself. So he decided to be bold as well, false confidence was the only thing he could muster for the moment.

"Good Evening," his tilted his chin up and his eyes were deep, he could stand strong for the moment.

It was at that moment another woman appeared, she seemed friendly, and this caused Caraltian to stand back, "it is I suppose." He was blunt, friendly was strange, she clearly was kine, she could not be anything else to speak like this, unless she had not sensed he was kindred, or indeed she had just not realised he was Makalvian. Friendliness confused him.

((Oh dear encountered two Vampires, both of whom by their clans very nature should treat him badly, ah well I guess thats ok. maybe more fun this way.))
#42 Old 1st Feb 2008 at 11:42 PM
Ada strode closer to the mysterious darkhaired kine and the woman who had now joined him. They appeared to be admiring a chipped gargoyle statue. The man stiffened for a moment, turning to stare into Ada's eyes. "Good Evening." he said, before quickly turning back to the statue. "Good evening." Ada answered back, coming to a stop directly behind him. She couldn't fathom why these two would be so interested in a decaying gargoyle statue. To each there own, she supposed.
Ada stared at the statue for a moment. She had to admit, on further study if was somewhat facinating. Minute carvings covered its wings and body and the talented artist had made the eyes look as if they followed your every move with careful scrutiny.
Tearing her eyes away, Ada turned to the man. " I have'nt seen you around here before, have you been here long? I'm Ada, by the way."
#43 Old 1st Feb 2008 at 11:56 PM
"I have been here, for five minutes, sixth months or many many years depending on what you mean. I have stood exactly here for five minutes trying to work out how and whether to fix this gargoyle, I have been in Los Angeles for 6 months, but of course i have naturally been of this worlds for many years." Suprisingly Caraltian was actually trying to be wierd as he sometimes did he actually was not sure as to what the woman had been asking about, though he felt it was the second one, this woman had the distinct air of one of the two clans that put every self respecting Makalvian on edge, Tremere.

He suddenly worried about what he had already said, it was quite likely it would mark him as Makalvian, social retardation frequently did.... but maybe she wouldn't realise, or maybe she wasn't Tremere afterall.
Field Researcher
#44 Old 2nd Feb 2008 at 1:39 AM
Default Archon DeWinter & The Prince - the Prince's office
#26 [Eighth Night]

Ever so sovereign, the Prince stood before him with his head held high. Despite being the best of friends, they would never be equals when it came to ex officio. Archon had no desire for the royal throne within their society, nor did he find any weakness in Damian that defied the notion that he would always be the ruler of this city. The only thing that could change that, would be if Damian himself would have a change of heart. Eternity could be frustrating, and once in a while, some Kindred needed another set of scenery. However, if that was even a possibility, it would be in a time far away in the future. Right now, Damian was right at home. This city, and this seat of power, was as if it had been made with him in mind. Archon thrived in this era, the chess table was set to his liking, and the Prince would have everyone on their toes but him. Damian was a man after his own heart.

That was why he had put a great deal of effort acquiring the content within the white wodden box in Roe's arms. Too often, the Kindred settled with giving high praise with just words, as if they were still kine. Archon wanted to make sure the Prince knew he had a friend, and a supporter in his Ventrue Primogen. That knowledge needed to be reassured every now and then, both for traditional reasons, and because a great friendship and business contact deserved no less. The few selected ones that got close to Archon would learn, if they did not already know, that when it came to this, he spared no energy to make it perfect. And he did not only include his own taste for what was elegant and classy, but would always make sure the gift held something of the reciever. Since he did not want Kindred to get to comfortable, these gifts were not given in dozens, but now and then when it seemed appropriate.

Whether the Prince expected to be presented with anything or not, no one would know. Since he knew Archon, he could have suspected as much, but that would not take from his appreciation. The art of recieving was just as important, as the art of giving. The Ventrue knew this, if anyone. So, when Damian greeted his good friend and asked him to take a seat, Archon remained standing after he had shaken his hand. Damian did not assume the box was for him. Normally, Archon would have kissed the hand of his Prince. But since Damian himself took it upon him to make the greeting informal, Archon followed in his lead. This was a token of their friendship, a much appreciated one by the Primogen.

"Thank you, my friend", Archon said with another nod. "But may I first present you with this gift from my journey."

He held out his hand, motioning towards Roe, and at that moment the Gangrel took a few steps closer to the Ventrue men. The sheriff did not take his eyes off him, Roe could feel it to the bone and it made him uneasy. No matter how many times he had been in this situation, keeping close to Archon in the presence of the Prince and the sheriff, the sheriff did not trust him any more than he had done the very first time. Even if one had to be a madman beyond Malkavian insanity to have the slightest thought of attacking the Prince in the heart of this building, the sheriff never made an assumption to have faith in anyone besides Damian. Anyone could be bought, anyone could have a personal agenda. Anyone. It was upon this notion that the very safety of Damian rested, and the sheriff would have it no other way. Even if some were a safer bet than others. Roe knew this, and also Archon. But when it bothered Roe, it did not have much affect on Archon. He saw it as a sure thing; one could never penetrate the mind of the sheriff. Archon had no intention to do so, or need. And the sheriff did protect the most precious thing in the city, since the city would not be the same without Damian's firm ruling. It was the concern of everyone that the sheriff did his duty. However, he was not the last thing between Damian and Final Death. That would be pure madness to assume. If one managed to get pass the sheriff, one had to fight Damian. Archon would prefer to fight just about anyone before he would fight Damian. He had not become Prince by kindness alone. And to be on the gracious side of such a great man, was an honor.

Since Damian gave his silent approval of shifting the attention to the mysterious box, Archon took out the golden chain with the golden key. Everything laied in the details, as well as in the gift itself. He placed one hand on the lid, as the other put the key in the golden lock and opened it. The room was filled with silence to the brim, anticipation of the content concerned them all, as Archon slowly revealed it. On a bed of thick white satin, almost providing itself with light, laid a sword. The blade was made of the finest steal, and though it was rather thin, it looked as strong as any other. Regardless, there was none like it. One of a kind, just like the Prince himself. The handle was as white as snow. Experienced eyes could tell it was made from bone, and polished to get a smooth finish. Emerald gems had been embedded in the blade, close to the handle, as if it was made for ceremonial use and not warlike ones. The shimmering green stones invited every source of light in the room, just to reflect it at once; sending out an atmosphere of elegance. On the top of the handle, there was a carving of a lion head, and near the tip of the blade, there were chinese letters.

It had not been easy to come by. It did not matter how many contacts you had, or what your name was. Not everything was accessible. Now and then, you had to work for it. Archon had spent alot of time and effort to claim the sword. He had approached despicable members of the undead, talked his way through some stubborn Kindred minds and trusted his instinct when the surroundings communicated nothing. All this, because of a name on a piece of paper. He had asked the young Toreador, that made the mask for Valerian, where he could find a truly rare sword. Rare, in the pure definition of the word. The boy had written down a name on a piece of paper, and said a single word in the matter: "Singapore". Such an old Kindred, in such a young kine body, with a unsuspected mind of knowledge. When Archon later had returned, to collect the mask, the boy had smiled as if he knew of the trials and tribulations Archon had gone through in the search of the Kindred with the name he had given him.
Never the less, anything worth having, takes time and patience.

"The inscription says; 'My rightful owner hath no need for me' ", Archon said with a smile. "It is a token of my loyalty. You will always have it."


((( ooc: Atropa - I hope this works for you. )))

((( ooc: EDIT - I added a sentence to his line. Atropa knows this. )))
#45 Old 2nd Feb 2008 at 2:03 AM
Ada smirked. The man, who hadn't mentioned his name, had the quirks of a Malkavian. "Smart-ass" she muttered, teasingly. Being the Tremere she was, she should have been annoyed at his comments. But something about him fascinated her. "Six month's, eh? Apparently you aren't fond of the kine friendly clubs around here." Ada ran her fingers over the rough texture of the broken statue. "I like it the way it is." She murmured. " Flawed, imperfect. It's like me in a way."
#46 Old 2nd Feb 2008 at 9:08 AM
"No, I don't seem to be do I? Walking into a new place is somewhat, shiver-some to be honest. i suppose I just haven't had the guts, it's hard my clan seems to be non-existant around here. And whilst I have only just come to this part of Los Angeles I've been around quite a while, long enough indeed to be sure of that." He turned around abruptly, perhaps she had not realised his Makalvian roots yet, no Tremere were intelligent. She was presumably just humoring him.

The gargoyle chip felt heavy in his hand, but the woman was right. The gargoyle did look better and despite his overwhelming desire for perfect, whole things he handed her the chip. "You know, I think you are right." He was not sure what he expected her to do with it, perhaps merely dispose of it? "Oh and I suppose I should tell you, I am Caraltian Heresa." He continued togaze at thegargoyle in order to partially avoid making eye contact.
Test Subject
#47 Old 2nd Feb 2008 at 9:58 AM
Default Jessica and Annie
“Frankly, no I'm not.” Jessica took this as a suprise. She thought Annie would respond the way anybody else would. Yeah I'm fine...when they're really not.

“I was looking for you,” Her voice was solemn and dark. something really was wrong with her. “Do you mind going somewhere a little more quiet? I have to talk to you.”

"Sure, I don't mind." They started to walk torwards a door leading outside. The music and chaotic sounds drifted away as they approached the door and went outside. A breeze swept over her. Maybe the wind was actually warm, but felt cold compared to the heat of the club.

"What do you need to talk to me about?" Jessica's tone hinted at innocence and a sweet, caring soul (which she did have), but what was innocence and sweetness was replaced with anxiety and worry.

((I tried. No boldy button. I'll work on it... I hope you don't mind me having them go outside Ghanima.))
#48 Old 2nd Feb 2008 at 12:43 PM
Default Zillah - Casino
Zillah tapped his fingers upon the smooth polished surface of the bar. The short pale fingernails that had ben expertly manicured that morning provided a sharp contrast in their neatness to the fine gauze of ash-blonde stubble that now broke through the smoth line of his jaw. His jade eyes were just starting to suffer the glaze of alcohol but still this did not fully dim thrir intense green glare that pierced through the room as though tearing every item apart. He had taken care with his apperance that day. His usual jeans and t-shirt discarded in favour of atire designed to impress his client. A sharp black suit threaded with the finest red pinstripe skimed his slender muscular frame, accompanied by a black slightly sheer shirt and a tie the colour of freshly spilt blood.

As his arm moved drawing the glass of jack to his lips a flash of opulance was revealed. Stylish platinum cufflinks set with exquisite cut diamonds reflected the light of the room. Although a gift from his prestigious client, Zillah had earned them twice over. Not for arranging the serious of meetings which allowed the man to fulfil his unconventional desires although this was how he had initaly gained the attention and favour of the client whilst allowing Zillah to gain the snipets of information gleaned by carefully observing both the man and his company. There was also the issue of the infernal fire that had spread through the competitors warehouses like a plague from god. Ravaging through the stock, causing disruption and chaos on the ground and to the nubilous world of stocks and shares. A series of smaller contained fires in the residential areas of town diverted the fire engines until the warehouses were reduced to soot and rubble. The legal goods were covered by insurance but the real kick to the competetiors was the destruction of the stock that was never declared on any customs forms.

The cufflinks were his reward for a successful mission, meant to bind his loyalty, but Zillah had learned long ago that true loyalty was only for himself. Zillah had despised the job, prefering to work on his own as a solitary avenging angel, rather than being the brutal commader of a small army. Teamwork did not suit him, he could not muster the mutal respect necessary. So he had laid the plans, given out the necessary orders and then lounged in the back in his merc watching as a divsion of the city was transformed into his own lurid vision of Devil's Night.

Zillah turned his attention back to his client. The short man laid another heap of chips onto the table accompanied by a round of loud, rautus laughter that resonated with the gluttony which was often possessed by the ostentatiously rich. . Like Zillah he was dressed in a dark expensive suit but his stretched over the generous frame and heavy gold jewelry was gaudly displayed on his wrists and neck. His large pudgy hands squeezed a skiny blonde bombshell beside him. Her quiet demure manner and the wilingnes to submit and please were displayed in a returning coy smile. Her eyes hid the desperation to break into the world of fashion behind a champagne glaze. She had impressed Zillah enough for him to give her the chance on the job. He did not doubt she would fulfil her end of the contract and their obligation to the client. She would simply close her eyes and visulise the runway later that night.

A small smile brushed across Zillah's lips as he observed his client throw away chips on the table as though he was playing with matchsticks, carelessly disgarding his wealth into the casinos pocket, yielding an average persons annual salary to the spin on the roulette wheel with the ease of wishing upon a penny. He was in a good mood, pleased by Zillah's choice of relaxation and no doubt the good times would be remembered when it came time for him to sign a proportion of that cash over to Zillah. Sweeping up the bottle of champagne and his own glass Zillah strode back over to his clients side. Topping his glass back to the brim with the gently bubbling liquid, performing the waiter's duty with the grand gesture of a lavish host. His lips curled further with pleasure as his client took a large gurgling gulp of the champagne. Soon he would be free to slip away and pursue his own pleasures for the night.

((OOC Just a background post whilst I try to find Zillah again. ))
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#49 Old 2nd Feb 2008 at 3:32 PM
Default Valerian & Moira - Moira's suite at The Ritz
(((ooc: Everyone - Please try and remember the rules, guys. Posts should be no less than 8 lines. (No, 7 lines won't get your head chopped off, but please do try.) If you find it difficult to write 8 lines, try exploring your character a little further. What do they see, what are they thinking of, what are they feeling? And every so often, what are they wearing? You know, elaborate a little. It makes it easier for the rest of us to get a feel for them.

Penny - "Kine" is the Kindred word for "human". Caraltian is Kindred.

Ghanima - Sorry for taking so very long. When I went to post this early, early this morning (try 4 AM) I couldn't connect to the Internet. Meh.)))

Valerian had been unsure of what reaction to expect from Moira upon hearing him confess to being the indecisive type. While he felt a strong connection with her, the fact was they didn't know eachother very well yet, and so he couldn't be sure that what his instincts told him - that Moira wouldn't mind his inability to make a choice - was right. Maybe it was just a wish, so deep and dire that it seemed like a premonition. He was so used to Claudia's impatient sighs and the sharp glares that would often let him know that even though she cared for him, just then he was getting on her last nerve. She had never understood his need to go with what felt right, to take the time to taste each possibility mentally before he made his decision. Unlike her, he wouldn't focus as much on where he was going and more importantly how fast he could get there, but rather how he would get there. Which path offered the better view? Which path would better satisfy the needs of his soul? Was one option really better than the other, and if not, why pick one over the other?
Given Claudia's impatience with such musings, it would be no wonder if he really did harbor a wish to be allowed his hesitation by someone else, a wish so strong that it paved the way for what seemed like the most convincing of observations.

But, even if it was, it was a wish that, much to the young Toreador's relief, was granted.
He knew it the moment he saw the look on Moira's face. The smile on her lips, vague, but so full of understanding that it felt like a breath of warmth into his unbeating heart, a feeling that for just one moment, it was once again pulsating with life. She not only accepted, she understood. Again, she understood. In less than twentyfour hours, she had shown him more understanding, pure and genuine understanding, than he had felt in years. Or perhaps ever. And everytime it happened he felt a rush of joy, a hearfelt happiness unlike any other, that he knew would soon have him addicted to her company, for how could he possibly not keep seeking it, when it made him feel that finally, finally someone understood him, all of him. Not in the way that they were exactly alike, but in the way that they were different, but that the pieces of their individual puzzles, their personalities, fit together perfectly.
He hadn't wanted to take the lead, he had declined. And she had accepted, and even seemed quite content with remaining in charge.
A perfect match indeed.

"Very well", she said as she lead him to the door to an adjoining room, and opened it.

What spread out infront of Valerian's eyes as he followed her through was a spacious area, apparently a temporary art studio, basking in the soft, warm light of another sea of lit candles.
Valerian couldn't help but to smile, as this was very much the same way he preferred his own studio. His whole living quarters really, though it kind of went hand in hand, since it was all one big joint space. The seductive glow of a room lit only by candles appealed to him both as an artist, and as the sensual creature he was, despite the desires of the flesh having been purged from his loins by the Embrace. It beckoned him to relax, and see the surroundings the way they were meant to be seen. Artificial light could be a blessing at times, but it was just that; artificial. Things weren't really meant to have all their flaws exposed to the world around them by such unforgiving rays of light.
At least, that was Valerian's firm belief. It had its advantages, of course, as it allowed the viewer to better grasp the details in a painting, but it took away from the mystery. It was a kind of light that could no longer be used to blend with the colors and become a part of the painting itself, in the way that candle light or even sunlight could. But sunlight was no longer a part of Valerian's world. He now only had candle light, and the obscure, colored spotlight of The Haven. Granted, that too was artifical light, but at least it was artificial light at its best.
However, much like Valerian himself the previous night, Moira seemed to want to offer him a view of her artwork where no possible flaws were hidden, and no details easily overlooked, and so when they had both entered into the room, she flicked the light switch, immediately banishing the lure in the atmosphere, and with it the hushed whispers that beckoned Valerian to succumb to his own, always affection starved nature by attempting to work his charms on Moira, seduce her senses, and make her hunger for him.

"I also have a small confession to make", Moira continued while Valerian looked around the room curiously.

There seemed to be quite a few works in here, and even though he would love to see them all, there was one in particular that caught his attention. His gaze had instantly been drawn to the covered canvas in one corner of the room, his instincts telling him that was the one, that was the painting she had referred to as her masterpiece. It was the reason why he was here.
But as soon as she spoke, his eyes turned from it to lock with hers. A confession?

"The painting I have promised to show you comes with a tale of its own. Or better said, my own. A man much wiser than myself once said: "to gain insight into the present, one must first understand the past". Before we can speak of the past however, I feel it necessary to show you a glimpse of the present. Last night I felt we have been honest with eachother and I wish to continue that."

Valerian nodded slowly, with a growing twinkle in his eyes. She wished to share with him, to become even more personal. She wanted words to go along with her work. She wished for him to understand, like she had understood him. Oh, how he hoped that he would, that he wouldn't disappoint her, and leave her without what she had so graciously given him.

In silence he watched as she quickly reached for one of the cardboard tubes on table, and slid a rolled up sheet of paper from inside of it. With gentle fingers she unfurled it and then handed it to Valerian, who accepted it with the same care as though she had handed him a newborn baby.

"The banquet sketch I spoke of yesterday".

Words she didn't have to speak. Already at the first glance, Valerian had recognized her source of inspiration. Now his eyes were dancing across the sketch, taking in as many details as possible, lingering momentarily on every single face, and every single movement depicted with such skill it left him in complete awe. It was so full of life that it had ceased to be a just a sketch. Instead, it was as close to a moving picture as a drawing could possibly get. Never before had he seen anything like it.
But there was also something else, something that at first was intagible, a mere feeling, that grew into realisation the longer one viewed the sketch. When his eyes moved over the faces, he could've sworn there was something monstrous stirring underneath their pleasant, cordial exterior, something that twisted their features into predatory snarls. But as soon as his eyes locked one such a face, it looked just like the face of someone who was simply enjoying themselves at a Ball. It would seem Moira had the same talent as Valerian himself for making things appear out of the corner of ones eye, but be nothing more than a memory when the viewer tried to focus on it.
However, the movement... That was a skill he could not pride himself with. At least not yet. But maybe... just maybe... Moira would be willing to help him evolve. Not to copy her, but to evolve, to perfect his own talent, and make it grow.
Little did he know she was just about to say something that would make such a humble request feel like hitting her below the belt.

"From a technical point of view, it's masterful", she said, and he couldn't help but to note the hint of bitterness in her voice. "From an artistic one, it's rubbish. It brings no improvement, nothing innovative; the same piece I've drawn countless times, the setting being the only real difference."

The statement broke Valerian's gazing at the sketch, and turned his eyes to look at her once more. All of a sudden, the sadness in her eyes, the grief that faintly stained her voice made sense. The realization hit him full force, causing his baby blues to widen with surprise and disbelief, which then slowly morphed into pained compassion, when she continued to speak and her words sank in.

"This is my present. Perhaps this darkness we have both felt is nothing more and nothing less than the representation of our darkest, most intimate fears, the kind which are so deeply embedded in our consciousness we may not even be aware of their true source. A long time ago, when inspiration was still at my side, this is what I feared: stagnation. What is it that you fear, Valerian? Maybe your answer lies there."

As she spoke, Valerian's gaze returned to the sketch once more, as if to look at it with different eyes, to look at it in the light she had just shed on it. But despite her words, he still couldn't view it as anything but an amazing piece. The only difference to him now, if he looked closely, was that he could see a certain deftness about the strokes, as though it was indeed not the first time the feeling had been portrayed. Though he did realize that his opinion was based on seeing one sketch, and being told there were many others like it, and not actually seeing the same theme in one sketch after another, like Moira had been forced to do.
Stagnation... The thing she had feared the most. The draining of your inspiration, that left you empty and hollow, without even a sense of pain. For while pain was harsh and harrowing, twisting and squeezing your heart, at least it could be used. In fact, pain was as much a driving force to artitst around the world - the Kindred one as well as the mortal one - as love.
But to not even be inspired by pain... or having no pain to draw inspiration from...
Oh, how his heart ached for her. As he looked up at her sad, beautiful face once more, he found himself having to fight back the urge to pull her closer to him, to embrace her in an attempt to comfort her. An attempt that would most likely prove meaningless, and perhaps even invasive.
Instead, he forced himself to wrap his mind around her last words, her question. What did he fear? What was it that filled him with dread more than anything, by just thinking about it? He didn't need to ponder very long. He knew the answer well. Now more than ever, as meeting her had vanquished it, made it dissipate into thin air. For now.

Though before he could speak, Moira herself continued;

"Now I would like to show you the difference, my greatest achievement and the moment I lost it."

A soft motion by her hand brought his attention to the covered canvas. But she made no move towards revealing it just yet, giving him the impression that perhaps she was waiting for him to answer her question first. Or to simply react. Although his reaction was already visible on his face, in the fair features currently twisted by empathy, and mourning of her fate.

"I...", he started, but stopped, as though he found himself too overwhelmed to speak. "I have never thought of stagnation as a possibility... I've just assumed... I've just assumed inspiration would always be there..."

He paused, and glanced up at her with a sad, almost apologetic smile darting across his lips.

"You must think me terribly naive...", he said. "I've always felt my inspiration as a part of me. As tangible and real as my arms and legs. I can't imagine what it would be like to... I have never thought of it as something that could be lost."

Another few moments of silence passed, as he tried to focus on how to answer her question, wishing to show her the same sincerity and candor as she had shown him. It almost seemed he had forgotten how being open and trusting came natural to him.

"What I fear," he said finally, as his gaze found hers again, "is loneliness. Not necessarily being alone, but being lonely. To have no one to relate to, or to relate to me. I know there are many that enjoy my company, and while I take some comfort in that, I've come to realize that to many, it's simply because I'm different. I don't scheme, or avenge, or plot, or stab someone in the back. I'm "easy to be around". And so they relax. But they don't understand."

A final pause settled briefly between them, as he simply looked at her for a few moments, seeming to almost be searching her eyes to see that an indication of what had made him feel so at peace around her, was still there.

"You do."

With that, he put the sketch of the banquet down on the table, gently allowing it to re-curl, as a sign that he was now ready to see her masterpiece.

(((ooc: Sorry if it's... well... whatever. Like I said, 4 AM. )))

~ * ~ Volition ~ * ~
#50 Old 2nd Feb 2008 at 8:09 PM
Aeode and Jessica - Outside The Haven

The thumping cacophony of bass-heavy music and voices hammered its way into Aeode's mind, oddly in rhythm with the heavy, dull beatings of her heart as it circulated heated, adrenaline-laced blood throughout her body. Strangely disconnected from all the distractions around, her thoughts took shape clearly, hell bent on a single purpose: receiving the answers she so longed to find, regardless of method or consequences. Eight years' worth of memory loss frustration, of constant searching for answers and bitter disappointment culminated that night, with that vital encounter. At long last, the veils had been shattered and Aeode's ghost stood before her, in plain view, so near that she found herself fighting the urge to unleash a whole deluge of questions.

"Sure, I don't mind." Jessica nodded and both women found their way towards the exit. In contrast with the warmth inside the club, Aeode found the nighttime breeze chilly though reinvigorating, dispersing the haze of any remaining doubt: she felt absolutely certain this needed to be done if she were ever going to find peace, and move on with her life. She had to know.

"What do you need to talk to me about?"

Aeode's alert senses detected worry in Jessica's voice, although that could have been feigned, just like that touch of tenderness hinted at beneath the immediate surface. Empathy, and trust were emotions Aeode felt unable to offer this woman, this veritable ghost who had intruded in her life and left such a deep imprint, before vanishing without a word of explanation that would ease her turmoil. It didn't matter; vitriol or honey, Aeode was prepared for both, a small part of her even welcoming a conflict. At least then her frustration would find an outlet.

“There is no easy way to say this, so I'll just go ahead and say it,” she responded at last, crossing both arms on her chest, two restless, keen eyes scrutinizing Jessica's face. It dawned on her then just how young the woman looked, no more than 25 years at the most, younger than Aeode herself.

“She was a kid eight years ago” Aeode mused silently, unable to keep the thought from re-surfacing, as she remembered the footage from the security cameras: poor quality images or not, there had been no doubt that the flash recorded depicted the features of a fully grown woman, and not a teenage girl. Perhaps Jessica was one of those fortunate few who retained a youthful appearance in spite of their years, or maybe she had resorted to plastic surgery. Aeode knew she was grasping at straws with those theories, as flimsy as they were vital for her own sanity: she would deal with Jessica's apparent agelessness once her current thirst for answers was appeased.

“I know it was you, eight years ago”, the young woman continued after a prolonged silence. “I've seen the recordings, Jessica. From the party. Someone did a pretty good job of sweeping everything under the rug, but that's the beauty of cyberspace: some traces will always remain behind.”

A bitter, mirthless laugh shook her for an instant.

“Who are you people? Do you know anything about the attackers? Or am I supposed to believe you just happened to be there to save the day?”

“I want to know what you did to me.”

A deafening silence descended following those last, toneless words laden with utmost determination as uttered by Aeode who kept her feet firmly planted into the ground, legs slightly apart, each muscle tightened underneath her deceptively fragile-looking exterior.

((ooc: sorry, kinda crappy. I'm really tired and there's some tension IRL but I didn't want to leave you hanging, Elektra. Moira will follow tomorrow when I'm hopefully more inspired))

If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets
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