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Game System

World of Darkness

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Active

Full Description

The World of Darkness resembles the contemporary world, but it is darker, more devious and more conspiratorial. The dichotomy between rich and poor, influential and weak, powerful and powerless, is much more pronounced than in the real world. Decadence, cynicism and corruption are common. Humans are unwitting victims or pawns of vast secret organizations of supernatural creatures. Vampires, werewolves and wraith —among others— struggle with internal factionalism and against other species in secret wars of intrigue for control of reality. The battles in these wars may last centuries, beyond the realization or comprehension of ordinary humans. This status quo is recently threatened by the rise of a global Technocratic cabal (and/or an animistic spirit of stasis and control) intent on monopolizing the power of belief and destroying all traditional supernatural societies.

*This is not a 'by the book' World of Darkness game.  While a lot of themes and events may be recognized by players, anything and everything can and will be changed to best suit the need of the story.

  1. What's new in this game
  2. Her fingers found the light switch as they entered the room, their footfalls muffled by the thick carpeting, and Sienna was acutely aware of Ravi’s hand in hers as the dim golden lamps illuminated the bed and furnishings, casting reflections on the glass of the wall-length window which, as in the lounge, overlooked the Park. Despite her decision of moments ago, she was assailed by a seemingly nonsensical feeling of nervousness at the sight of the bed. Her bed. The bed she’d been sleeping alone in for months waiting for the divorce to finalise as lawyers dickered over portions of her life as though such things could be broken up into commodities. A moment of clarity struck her, and Sienna recognised that she’d been alone in that bed longer even than that, in hindsight. Sure, Tom would come home late and slip between the sheets and give her a peck on the cheek, only to turn over and fall asleep while she lay awake, desperately wanting more than perfunctory touches, resenting the long hours she thought he was working even as she felt guilty and ashamed at her own selfishness. After all, Tom was working for them, for her and their daughter, to provide a comfortable life. How could she resent him for that? How could she bemoan that they only made love a scant handful of times a month when he was always so busy? Of course, in the brutal ripping away of the deceit she now knew the reason he’d so often come home late, but curiously clean and freshly showered. Now she knew why he hadn’t been interested in sex, and even on the few occasions they did do the deed he had been… curiously absent, as though performing a necessary chore, devoid of real fire or creativity. And not for want of her trying, either. She’d bought lingerie, toys, tried to seduce and distract him, tried to kindle some spark of carnal craving in her husband that had been present before the birth of their daughter and absent afterward. But every time Tom had told her that he didn’t want her to act like that, that his wife and the mother of his child shouldn’t behave like a horny sorority girl. All the while boffing some actual horny sorority girl - well, one of a number of interchangeable interns fresh out of college anyway, so near as made no difference. That fucking hypocrite, playing the Puritan at home with her whilst playing rock star with some girl barely older than their daughter, Sienna fumed. It wasn’t the first time she’d had that thought, but now, with Ravi there as a warm presence behind her as she stared at the bed, the thought had less sorrow and more of a savage disdain to it. She looked over her shoulder at Ravi, seeing the warm glimmer of his golden eyes watching her steadily, and took a breath before speaking. “Get comfortable.” she told him, letting his hand slip from her fingers and stepping away from him, moving toward the window. Bright points of light from outside pierced the veil of night as the City That Never Sleeps went about its business, the lights in those other buildings uncaring, impersonal eyes that stared sightlessly at her. She reached for the cord that would draw the blinds closed, shutting out their cold gaze, only for a strong hand to close over hers, stilling its movement. “Leave them open.” Warm breath against her neck, just below her ear. His voice a purr with a hint of growl - husky with his own need as lips caressed her skin - set off a molten cascade that made her draw breath in a small, shaky gasp as her eyes stared out of the window. A hand slid around over her hip to her abdomen, pulling her gently yet firmly against the solid presence behind her even as the fingers of his other hand kept hold of her still outstretched wrist. Sienna could see the outline of his sleekly handsome head over her shoulder in the reflection of the glass, twin sparks of golden wickedness gazing back at her as he trailed his lips along her bare shoulder, igniting a further rush of heat that unfurled like a night-blooming flower under his hand where it rested on her belly. And now the lights of the buildings took on a different context. No longer were they cold, impersonal, vacantly staring in at her. Now the cityscape beyond the glass pane took on an almost feral context: an urban jungle, breathing and living around her, and the points of light the eyes of night-creatures as they watched with a hunger that matched the edge of a growl in Ravi’s voice as he nestled his cheek against hers, meeting her eyes once more in the window’s reflection. “Leave them open.” he repeated in that low, compelling tone. “And rest your hands on the glass.” She leaned forward, feeling him lean forward with her, one hand guiding hers to the glass whilst his other kept her from stepping forward, forcing her to bend at the waist. Sienna was hyper-aware of how this posture pressed her against him, feeling his hardness stirring against her rear like a hot coal on her skin. She placed her other hand up as well, looking out at the city light as Ravi let his hands roam up her torso, across her shoulders, down her back in slow, unhurried motions as though he were a cop, searching a suspect. She shivered slightly at the possessive caress of his hands as they reached her ass, her eyes half-closing as she bit her lip to prevent a breathy sigh from becoming a needy moan. By the time he found the side zipper to her dress, her insides were virtually liquid and her body was quivering. The zipper sounded like something predatory, its voice a low snarl as the nimble fingers of her chosen paramour slowly tugged it down, his hand following the contours of her body closely on the other side matching the progress of the unfastening. Strong, gentle hands guided the dress in its descent over the arch of Sienna’s hips, Ravi keeping up the firm caress of his touch until finally releasing his grasp and letting the cloth fall into a pool around her ankles. Then he stepped back a pace, admiring the view, aware that she could see what he was doing in the reflection of the glass. Sienna didn’t move, her breathing and heartbeat loud in her own ears, painfully aware of her vulnerability and yet unable to deny the attendant arousal such a condition caused as she watched him. She’d worn black lacy strapless bra and panties in anticipation of them perhaps being seen, but had shied away from wearing the full garter belt and stockings that went with the set, instead electing to use stay-ups. Fears and insecurities tempted her to drop her hands and turn around - what if he didn’t find her sexy? What if he simply performed his paid-for task, without caring much one way or the other? Then he stepped back in close, his hands smoothing over her hips then exploring her body without reserve as he leaned over her, and she felt that hardness against her flesh once more, unmistakable in its pure uncomplicated insistence. A soft gasp escaped the woman’s lips as Ravi’s hands separated in their meandering, one heading upwards to glide over the lace fringe of her bra whilst the other dipped lower, toying with the waistband of her panties for only a moment before sliding under that waistband. Sienna’s abdomen tightened as she gulped in a hasty breath, and then his fingers were trailing over her mound, going even lower and this time she really did moan, a soft low sound of pleasure and wanting. His other hand dipped below the lace of her bra, his fingers gentle on her sensitive flesh, caressing the stiffness of her nipple attentively. It almost tickled, but such was Sienna’s arousal that it was just another tantalising sensation that stoked her flames that much higher. His lips brushed the nape of her neck, first one, then a second finger slipping between the now-soaking folds of her pussy with sudden insistence that caused a second, louder moan to turn into a gasp as the sensations overloaded her body. Her legs shook, her hands almost dropping from their position of wanton surrender on the window pane, but some sensibility kept her upright as the impossibly handsome young man behind her played her body like a musician with an instrument. She looked at her own wide eyes and parted lips in the mirror of the glass, superimposed as they were on the lights from outside. Though the chance was slight, it still existed: that someone out there might see this flush-faced, panting woman arching her back and moving her hips alternately against the groin of the man behind him and against his probing, teasing fingers. The thought of it sent a fresh wave of liquid heat coursing through her veins, a small ripple of her impending climax that caused her next moan to take on a throaty note of longing. “Let’s get these out of the way.” Ravi murmured against her ear before smoothly sliding her panties down to mid-thigh, his hands moving up and deftly unfastening the strapless bra. It fell to the floor, the last vestige of Sienna’s modesty. “Normally I’d draw this out more.” the Englishman’s purring tones caressed her, right before he kissed her earlobe. “But I can’t wait another moment.” She stared at herself as his declaration of open unrestrained desire sent a fresh shiver through her form. She didn’t recognise the woman in the reflection any more. The hairstyle was the same elaborate coiffure, the face was familiar… but who was this wanton imposter? Who was she, so vulnerable and yet feeling such power in the act as she offered herself in almost animal fashion to the man behind her. There was a faint awareness of him moving - the sound of a belt unfastening, the whisper of cloth, the crinkle of a foil packet- “No.” she murmured, looking over her shoulder at him for the first time since she’d faced the window. “Pills.” she insisted, nodding towards the nightstand. “Plan B. You don’t need to-” She saw him hesitate. “It’s not a good idea.” Ravi said warningly, his voice heavy with lust and reflecting his own conflicting urges. “It’s not just about pregnancy.” “Are you clean?” she asked him bluntly, her grey eyes luminous as they fixed on his gaze. Slowly, he nodded. “I’ve been with no-one since Tom. I got a checkup after the divorce to make sure. I’m clean too.” She held his gaze, seeing him hesitate, then her eyes dropped to his exposed proud arousal and her voice dropped to a whisper. “Please. I need it - to feel you, I mean. Please.” For a moment more he hesitated, then shrugged and dropped the packet next to his discarded pants. “Alright.” She cried out as he entered her - not from pain, but from a sense of primal triumph and fulfillment as she felt herself enfold the heated steel of his cock. This. Yes. This was what she wanted - the sensation she’d all but forgotten, that almost-violence of male desire. His breath hissed in her ear, his length hilted itself in her welcoming body, and Sienna arched her back further and pushed against the window pane, forcing herself upon back upon him as he moved inside her. The force of Ravi’s thrusts moved her, her breasts swinging slightly from the swaying of their bodies. Let the damn city see! She imagined Tom’s reaction if he could see the real her, that ‘the wife and mother of his children’ could also be so desirable that a man just over half her age couldn’t restrain himself from fucking her like this in full view of whoever walked by. And then thoughts of the city, of Tom, of what the neighbours would think whirled away like leaves before a storm. Ravi’s hands were on her hips, his breath coming in soft grunts against the skin of her shoulder as he thrust in her with increasing speed and force. Sienna’s gasps became moans, her moans became cries, each one almost guttural as she felt him open her, over and over again, each time seeming to plumb yet another layer of her pleasure. She was his client, but in that moment he was using her, satiating his desires on her with little in the way of tenderness or restraint. And this was what she had wanted - to be wanted, to have a man unable to hold back. She felt his teeth grip the skin of her shoulder and wailed, feeling his cock stiffen even further inside the spasming walls of her sex as her orgasm overtook her in a sudden tidal rush. “God fuck you fucking bastard don’t you fucking stooooop!” Frustration, sadness, anger all mingled in the screamed invocation as she rolled her hips back against him insistently. His identity was washed away in her delirium - she wasn’t screaming at Ravi. She was screaming her release, screaming at the specter of Tom’s indifference and betrayal, screaming at her own fears that had held her back from this pleasure. Lips that might, on a bad day, have previously muttered a restrained ‘Well, fuck’ now urged the faceless man gripping her hips with bruising force to fuck her harder, to fill her up, to never, ever, ever stop. She heard him groan,a deep primal sound, and then a flood of warmth filled her and her head fell forward, her legs losing their strength, only Ravi’s hands keeping her upright as she quivered and shook through an earth-shattering climax. She leaned on her hands against the cold glass, gasping softly in time with the pulsing of his cock as each tremor set off more aftershocks. There was a sense of mournfulness in the moment for her as the ecstasy receded and her mind became her own again. He was a gigolo, she reminded herself as she felt him slip from inside her. He would leave now, and she would be alone in the apartment with only the memory of him to- She felt his hands move on her, pulling her upright and back against his body, fingers gently grasping her chin and turning her head towards him as he kissed her deeply, then stroked the damp ends of her hair back where tendrils had escaped to plaster themselves to her sex-flushed face. The kiss broke, and Sienna searched the glimmering golden eyes so close to hers questioningly, unresisting as Ravi bent and carefully picked her up in his arms, her hands going up and around his neck as she tried to process this unexpected development. “You thought we were done?” White teeth flashed in a wicked grin as Ravi started towards the bed with her. “Lovely, that was just the business part of the evening.” He laid her gently down, leaning over her, a bronzed statue gleaming with a sheen of perspiration. “Just the business part.” he repeated, lowered himself to lay beside her. “Now I’m off the clock.” His lips found hers again, his hands gently stroking down her neck and body and Sienna sighed into the kiss, her own hands coming up to grasp his shoulders as beyond the window the eyes of the city glowered and flickered in the New York night.
  3. Mel regarded Kestrel, whom was quasi-panicking as she went on, and Maya, who very gingerly sipped her overheated chai, watching Kestrel while she talked. Given her initial reaction, Maya wasn't believing it still, and Kestrel desperately leaking her romantic history wasn't going to help, Mel figured. A moment passed, while he took a small sip of his black coffee, and thought. Mourne had gone down in his estimation, skipping off while giving the inexperienced - by her own description - Kestrel with naught by a nursery rhyme and a very difficult task. Sure, military intelligence was an oxymoron, but at these those things gave you something to start with, if only to be prepared for the complete opposite. And it did zilch to persuade Maya. So that begged the question, should he share his story? Obviously, Mel was not exactly comfortable doing so. Furthermore, Kestrel didn't know his story, beyond the carefully chosen (pun unintended, now that he considered it) words he'd given her. Mourne's 'Person' figured him to be closer to her end of the spectrum, rather than Maya's. Telling might well create an extra SNAFU. Fuck it, he'd rolled the dice enough times going into combat, he could do so once more. "Here's my story, Ms. Flynn. Not long ago, my wife died, and I haven't dealt well with it. Then one night, I had this dream or... vision of my wife." Mel grimaced, before deciding he didn't really want to go into the specifics. "Suffice to say, I didn't tell anyone about it. Then, I met D'Sombra at one of the security gigs. She wanted me to work for her. I was reluctant, until she described my 'dream' in detail. I changed my mind, if only to get answers." Which happened the same night as Maya meeting D'Sombra, but Kestrel didn't need to know that. "Now, after that event where we crossed paths, I was contacted in my dreams. By a hoodie-wearing rabbit-man with a Jersey accent named Jack, and a big guy with horns and teeth like tusks named Seth. They told me you were in danger and you needed my help. After that, I started investigating, I crossed paths with Kestrel, started talking with her and she pointed out one of those goblins - then it saw her and ran." "That's the sitrep, take it as you will." Mel raised his mug and sipped more coffee.
  4. "Funny." Ravi commented dryly, taking a breath and relaxing back into the examination table's padded surface as Sable cut the remains of his shirt away. He fixed his gaze on Sable's face as she worked, now and then tempted to glance down from some morbid fascination at what she was doing, but all things considered her face, even focused in concentration, was a better sight. "I'm going to have to reopen the wound to get at the bullet." Sable told him, her professional demeanour broken only by the swift glance to his face. Her gaze warmed for a second as she noticed his golden eyes were on her, then the professionalism was back, and Sable's attention was once more wholly on what she was doing. Ravi heard the metallic scrape of her picking up implements and then... Well, nothing much. Some tugging - vaguely disturbing but not painful. Sable's expression was intent, yet calm, and Ravi watched the mild changes in the shape of her lips, the exotic shape of her eyes as they tightened or curved while she worked. He felt something cool - not cold, but cooler than his skin, running down the outside of his chest to pool under his back. My blood, he supposed, trying not to fidget, or even to breath deeply. The uncomfortable tugging grew in intensity, becoming almost painful, and he was aware of a scraping sensation in his chest. Talking would probably be a bad idea. So instead he focused on musing. What was he? What was Amelia? What was Sable doing later? What would a woman pick up in terms of carnal knowledge over three centuries of extended life? Or eight, for that matter: what did Ravenna want with him - and why did the remembrance of her licking his blood from her finger send prickles of heat through his skin? He tried to get his mind to focus on something other than his favorite past-time and instead pondered other matters. Who was Mourne? Were there other 'chosen' going through the same weirdness right now? Was Amelia going to do something stupid and annoy their hostess? Did the crazy extend into the bedroom? What was Amelia doing la- Dammit. It's said that men think about sex once every five minutes. Ravi wondered how they managed it so little. Thank whatever gods watched over him that he could multi-task. Sort of. More scraping in his chest, and a steady pulling sensation that was over the line of discomfort and into pain. Ravi let out a low hiss and closed his eyes. "Almost done." he heard Sable murmur, her voice reassuring, a balm on his nerves. More tugging, more liquid pooling against his skin, and then - *clink* "Got it." Sable didn't sound triumphant so much as satisfied as she dropped the bullet into a small dish and then began to swab and clean the wound. "Hmm. A couple of stitches and a bandage should be all you need, given what we've seen of how you heal- Oop!" She caught him as he half-rolled, coughing, blood flecking his lips as the fluid in his lung decided it was time to come up and out. Heedless of the blood on her own dark clothing, Sable held a shallow bowl under his face with one hand as her other arm effortlessly supported his spasming form. The paroxysms ceased, and Ravi sank back onto the bed with a weak groan as Sable took the bowl away. Eyes closed, he was aware of her dabbing a cloth on his face and mouth, then going back to sewing him up. He must have drifted off, because it seemed like he'd barely closed his eyes before she was nudging him awake. One of the two huge men was present, and helped Ravi into a wheelchair before stepping aside, letting Sable wheel him out of the infirmary. "Clean up." she told the... guard? Servant? as she left, nodding to the examination bed. They emerged into the hallway, Sable wheeling him to a guest room similar to Amelia's. "Let's get the blood washed off before you start feeling pain again." she suggested, nodding towards the bathroom. As being bathed by Sable went, it was a considerably less erotic experience than Ravi had imagined - she was gentle enough, but businesslike, having him sit on the edge of a bathtub as she wiped him down. "There's a robe and pajamas on the bed." she told him as she helped him up and through into the bedroom - tastefully decorated in dark reds and golds and, yes, black. She seated him on the edge of the bed, hesitating and stepping back as she considered him. "Do you need help?" she asked almost caringly, then corrected "And more to the point, if I do help, will you behave?" "No, thank you to the first question. Hell no to the second." Ravi managed a smile, causing Sable's lips to quirk in a grin and her head to shake momentarily. "Good. Because I'd have one of the bodyguards do it." she teased, turning to leave. She stopped in the doorway, looking back at the half-naked aristocrat as though she had more to say, but instead left in silence. Slowly, and with care to not pull at the stitches under the bandage around his chest, Ravi stripped off his by now ruined pants and socks and shoes. Turning, he found there were indeed a soft cotton set of pajamas and a warm-looking robe on the bed, which he donned before laying back on the bed itself, staring up at the decorative canopy. There was a sense, only a sense, that he was in danger here, but he'd been in dangerous situations before. Panicking wouldn't help matters, and he was certainly in no shape for a heroic escape. Besides, the danger wasn't so much one of intent on his hostess's part so much as just... part of her being what she was. In his opinion, anyway. Given her remarks about his taste, he did feel somewhat like a prepared side of veal. And would that necessarily be so bad, to have her drink his blood? What was it like? Did she have to kill to gain nourishment, or could she just tap him like a maple tree? Did it hurt? These and all his other questions chased him down into slumber as he closed his eyes. He'd completed what she asked of him. He was wounded. Surely some rest was in ord- Reclining on a luxurious bed, in a room of dark red and black, Ravi slept.
  5. Amelia held her hands up, palms out, "Hey, I'm on good behavior. I didn't try to pull any of her teeth, or shine my phone light into her eyes to see if she flinches and hisses...see? Good behavior." The two beefsteaks moved in on her then and she sighed and was...not quite pushed out, but was guided out. They weren't mean about it or anything, but she was under no illusions that they wouldn't become as mean as necessary to get the job done. You didn't work for a woman who tore throats and/or tongues out without developing a knack for 'job done, any means necessary.' Which brought to mind a thought. Mutilating workers might have flown back in the day, but in modern times? It wasn't like guys like that couldn't get other jobs. Maybe it was fear of retribution, but fear wasn't loyalty. Ravenna didn't seem dumb enough to let these guys have the run of the place unsupervised if their loyalty wasn't assured. Mind control? Maybe some kind of addiction that she managed? Or did they owe her so big that even losing body parts wasn't enough to shake it? How? Why? As her ghoul, I have inherited some of her power, but never have I been able to master shadows. Amelia found herself wondering what D'Sombra had taken from Sable. Not her tongue, clearly...but something else? She reviewed what she'd learned of this lady in her head, and it wasn't a big list. Sable had dropped something interesting though. Ravenna didn't cast a reflection. How that worked in terms of physics, Amelia couldn't even begin to work out. Light was light. Vision was vision. But maybe not? What if a vampire was more like a ghost, and could be seen through some kind of mental projection? Their solidity a manipulation of forces rather than anything 'real' there. Ugh...no, step away from that. The Sable thing. The fact that she didn't cast a reflection was something she was sensitive about...but then she filled her space with reflective surfaces. Why? Maybe to entrap people into that terrible realization, as an excuse to lash out at them? But...it almost had a feeling of masochism, didn't it? Was she punishing herself for something? Surrounding herself with mirrors she couldn't see herself in, and paintings that she could only see what other people saw. But computers could see her. That was interesting. A digital camera worked, when apparently film didn't. Very interesting. Someone like D'Sombra liked to pull the strings, Amelia guessed. Sable's, these two guys'...her own and Ravi's too. But something was pulling her string. This whole 'chosen' thing. To resolve it she needed someone named Mourne. Someone she didn't want to need, though she hadn't seemed upset so much as resigned. Someone she was having trouble finding. That didn't happen often, Amelia had a feeling. "So who's this Mourne guy?" she tried asking the palookas as they offloaded her at the guest room. The two glanced at each other, then with the slightly overgentle movements of someone who could break things but didn't want to, one reached over and closed the door. Well shit. It was a five star, maybe six star room of course...might as well enjoy it. Amelia threw her clothes on the bed...raided from her apartment probably...and went to go 'freshen up,' which in this case was code for 'lie in a bathtub for too long.' Then she took a shower, because baths...while comfy...always felt a little gross at the end. Like an Amelia stew. Then she went and got dressed in some clean clothes. Just another set of jeans and another T shirt. It wasn't like she had a fancy gown or anything, and frankly wouldn't have felt safe wearing one anyway, between vampire fangs and Ravi's eyefucking. Finally she cautiously poked her head out the door and looked up and down the hallway, to see if the palookas were there. If not...perhaps she'd have a chance to nose around a bit...
  6. It wasn't hard to locate a coffee shop in Manhattan but it didn't make the silent walk any less awkward. Kestrel could have said something several times along the way but felt as if she was already on thin ice with Maya as it was and didn't want to press her luck. Maya noticed the way her two guest tag-alongs seemed obsessed with consistently looking up at the tall building that lined the streets of the concrete jungle they lived in. They were obviously looking for something they either one, could not find, or two, no one could see but them and that didn't make this entire situation seem any less crazy. None of them had ever been in the little hole-in-the-wall shop before, but Maya sighed when she realized the prices matched the neighborhood, and wondered why (why!) anyone would ever pay eleven bucks for a cup of coffee, but appreciate Kestrel's logic of it being a business meeting, so there was no reason her boss shouldn't be paying for it, and offered the barista her company card. It wasn't a very popular spot though, at least not at this times of day so, thankfully, it was relatively empty, save for the random hipster guy on the opposite side with his laptop open, trying to be inspired to start/finish/edit the novel that was going to make him famous. They sat at a table while they waited for their beverages, and Kestrel opened with a sigh as she steepled her and muzzled her face between her hands as she thought of where to begin. "About a year a go I discovered I was different. Lengthily origin stories aside," She started while she leaned back in the booth and looked out the window to kindle the memories she'd archived. "Horatio helped me discover who I was and what I could do and how I could help other people like me. Ms. Flynn, the world you thought you knew is an illusion. There is so much going on under the streets of this city, in it's alleys, among the shadows... it would take more cups to describe than this place has available." "Long and the short of it, guys is that magic is real. From acupuncture, to chakras to psychics, all of it is real, but most people are either complete hacks or they're doing it without realizing they have the potential for something greater. Alchemy, curses, spells, cantrips... it's all real and the reason you didn't know about it this morning when you woke up is because it is the most carefully guarded secret in the world." She looked at both Mel, who was sitting next to her, and Maya, who was sitting across from her, and continued. "Supernatural things exist, always have, and I wish I could teach you all I know but lets focus on the problem at hand and that is, Ms. Flynn, that you've been cursed." She took a deep breath and decided to just rip the band aid off. "By goblins. Dark fae who are mischievous and cruel, and I've been asked to try and protect you and hopefully stop it. Problem is, our only lead, one of the goblins, I kind of scared off." Maya had already heard enough and it shown in her eyes. Before she could get up, Kestrel hail Mary'd a quick, "One cup, remember? One cup of coffee, that was the deal." "Ordered scalding hot, I take?" Maya narrowed her eyes at Kestrel who smiled wryly. She didn't seem like a bad person, and it didn't take a PhD in psych to see she really wanted Maya to listen to her. "Clever." "Look, it sounds batshit crazy, I know. How do you think I feel? My boss asked me to follow a complete stranger with nothing more to go on than 'goblins have struck this woman with Oranges and Lemons, you have to get to her before Stepney. Be careful Kes, she's too important to loose.' I mean seriously, that's what he said," she swiped her phone and turned the screen to show them both. There was a text from Mourne with some of Maya's personal info a picture (not a flattering one, either which Maya grumbled internally at) and the bit about Oranges and Lemons. "Fae are weird, wasn't hard to figure out the old nursery rhyme, and it mentions Stepney... but I don't know what it means, and I can't reach my boss, he's away on business." She sighed, heavily, as their coffee arrived at the table, as the server left she blew gently into her mug. "I've been training for this for almost a year, Ms. Flynn. This is my first gig, and I'm pretty sure I'm blowing it. Whatever I need to do to convince the two of you that I'm not making this up, I will tell you. First guy I kissed? Matt Carter, we were madly in love for three months until Stacy Schantz made out with him at a party. Worst date? Shelly Baker, would not get off social media the entire date, it was horrible. I'm not a lunatic, I swear, I just sound like one Monday thru Friday during normal business hours." "Process." She said simply as she reached for ripped open a few sugar packets. "While I add cream and sugar."
  7. "Ever the gentleman," Sable's silky accent lured their attention as she walked into the small infirmary. They could hear her footsteps echoing on the marble floors (seriously, who marbled their entire penthouse these days...) and it grew more and more obvious that D'Sombra kept everything running like a successful business, twenty-four-seven. Her security were always in suits, with polishes dress shoes, and in the great deal of time Ravi have been in Sable's company she was never in anything that he would consider not 'business wear' with that hint of 'vampires make everything look sexier'. It had occured to him that he'd yet to see her in jeans or sweats, or workout leggings, or pajamas... like she had no life outside her service to D'Sombra, and never in anything but black. Now she'd settled on a pair of leggings that shimmered like satin and a form-fitting long sleeved top. "Lie back and relax please, Mr. FitzCoventry." She was holding folded clothes in her hand and offered them to Amelia, who quickly noticed they were actually her own clothes. The two massive mountains in suits followed her in. The fact that they had to duck to enter the doorway didn't make Amelia feel any safer. "Ms. Parsons, these gentlemen will show you to the guest room down the hall. There you may freshen up. Feel free to use anything you need, it's fully stocked. If you wish to return, be mindful I'll be in here wrenching a bullet from his lung, so should you be the squeamish sort, consider that your warning." "Why black?" Asked Amelia. "Everything here is black, except this one room." "Blood, dear," Sable answered honestly as she slowly peeled away the bandage. "Doesn't show up on black as well as on other colors. Also, and I'll use layman's terms, 'vampires' all possess different powers, some like what you've seen in the movies. In the Marquesa's case, her bloodline, or 'Clan' as they call themselves, are masters of shadows. The darkness is her home. As her ghoul, I have inherited some of her power, but never have I been able to master shadows. To see it is truly fascinating." She collected a few implements from the drawers and begun setting them out on a finely-polished medical tray. "Everything supernatural, however, comes with a price. Often several. In my Mistresses case you may have noticed by now that she casts no reflection, yes? Finely polished floors, gold, silver, mirrors... she surrounds herself with all the things that no longer cast her reflection." "So, the portraits..." Ravi quietly added. "They obsess over portraiture. When you go a millennia without seeing yourself it takes a toll, I would imagine." Her heels tapped softly as she turned to set the tray next to Ravi and turned back to the counter to collect a few more things. "Thankfully, it's been easier in the last few years. For some reason digital photography is not affected and thanks to 3D printing and scanning technology she has been able to see herself for the first time in centuries. Dare I say, you've caught her at a good time and in a fine mood." She turned her head to look at Amelia. "A word of advice though, dear. Once you notice her lack of a reflection, don't gawk. Her kind consider it impolite, and never speak about it unless she does first. It's a grave insult." Sable turned and looked to the two huge men and nodded. They both opened their mouths, and revealed that they were missing their tongues before slowly closing them again. "Supernatural society is not human society." She shadowy clad assistant slid the cap off a syringe and inserted it into the bung of a vial. "The laws and customs are quite different. Mouthing off to a person on the street might get you into a shouting match, among these people it could get your throat ripped out. I mean that for the both of you, but in fairness and no disrespect, Ms. Parsons, you seem to have a more direct personality. I'm asking you to be mindful, is all. However, she does have a use for you, so, at least your throats are safe, for the time being." The two men stepped aside and waved their arms towards the door, ushering Amelia out. "Now, this will hurt you a lot more than it hurts me," on Sable, a mischievous and sociopathic grin never looked so good. "I'll try to be gentle, I swear, but I promise nothing." Ravenna was right, she had the hands of an angel. As she spoke she'd already injected him twice with the local anesthetic and he's not even felt it while lost in her full lips and the exotic almond shape of her eyes.
  8. "Well..." Ravi shifted slightly on the medical bed. "Considering that I took a bullet in the left lung and I haven't drowned in my own blood and-" he peeled back the bandage a little to check "-the wound doesn't seem to be leaking much, something is definitely up." He re-covered the wound and winced as he let his arm drop to his side. "It still hurts, though. Sort of an itchy burning ache." The handsome young man still seemed to be finding breathing difficult, and his tanned features - which were the same light golden-bronze as his chest, Amelia noted without meaning to - were drawn and pale. "Yeah. What's with that anyway?" Amelia peered at him, then at the location of the bandage. She wasn't an expert: most of her medical knowledge came from hospital depictions in movies, but most people who'd been shot there should probably be ventilated - or was that intubated? Fibrillated? - by now. "Does De Sombra really think you'll be fine once her Girl-Friday digs a bullet out of you?" "Buggered if I know." Ravi wheezed a little, smiling. "I'd imagine, though, that she at least believes that whatever I am, I'm more resilient than I look." He made a face and glanced around for a mirror. Finding none, he shrugged, wincing again. "If I look as bad as I feel, I'd have to be." There were a few moments of silence as he gazed at her, his golden eyes gleaming under the overhead lights of the infirmary. When he opened his mouth, Amelia half expected another witticism, or perhaps some flirtation as he tried to distract himself, but instead his tone and expression were ones of earnest curiousity. "Who do you think this Mourne fellow is? I seem to remember his name being bandied around at some art gallery thing not long ago - the same one I met Ravenna at, come to think of it." He frowned slightly. "Some irate woman was storming up to Ravenna, demanding answers, then storming away again in a worse mood. Mourne's name came up then." He sighed, looking up at the ceiling. "I remember her because she had spectacular breasts and seemed batshit crazy." He winked one golden eye at her. "Always remember the crazy ones." "Lovely." Amelia rolled her eyes at him, trying not to smile. "Just what I need on my obituary - 'Ravi remembered her because she was crazy'." "No, you got upgraded to 'quirky'. And 'looks good in a tight dress'. And 'let me rest my head on her lap after I'd been shot'." He added in a slightly chiding manner, one corner of his mouth twitching as he fought the urge to smile. "Don't sell yourself so short. I don't take bullets for just anyone."
  9. "Right. Well. Frau Ackula did say Sable had the 'touch of an angel' so that scans," Amelia said. She folded her arms, then muttered something under her breath and got her phone out. Then she started up a speech-to-text app, repeated what the guy had said as best she could imitate it, and fed THAT into a German-to-English translator. And scowled. "Not German. Or my pronunciation sucks. Or both. Probably both. What did you say? African?" "Afrikaans," Ravi corrected, a little bemused. "But..." "I know," snapped Amelia as she swiped a finger on the phone's screen. "I just...it's going to bug me. Oh. Hey, look at that. Afrikaans. Who knew." Immediately she turned and pointed at Ravi, "And don't say 'me.' I'm onto you." With a chuckle Ravi held his hands up, palms out, jokingly signaling surrender. "Not yet, but give me a little time to heal up and you could be." Amelia scowled again and stuffed her phone away. "So. I am not a hundred percent sure this whole thing isn't just her playing with her food, you should know. Sending you after me, staging an attack that she then rescues us from...manipulating our feelings, making us feel grateful, dependent...it's exactly the kind of thing I'd expect. And this whole 'you've been chosen' thing is simultaneously too vague to be plausible, and too specific to be plausible. Like...she knows it's US who's been chosen, but not by who or for what? Uh huuuh..." She paced away, then back. "Okay. My head's exploding. I need a shower, apparently. I just." For a second Amelia looked at her hands, then shook them as if they were wet, then looked back at Ravi. "Is it weird I'm not freaking out more about this? I feel like it's weird. I mean...maybe it's just shock. Maybe it hasn't sunk in yet. There's definitely some...like...furniture being rearranged upstairs... This could explain a LOT, you know? Assuming it's not some kind of incredibly elaborate disinformation scheme."
  10. Their hostess listened to her guests, poised elegantly with her blood red lips concealed behind her curled fingers in a standing ''thinkers' pose. "For now, Ms. Parsons," she pointed a digit upwards and took a few steps towards Amelia, her shoes echoing on the hard marble floor. "We'll do nothing. It's not uncommon for your kind to have to hide in the shadows and skulk about in plain sight of the kine." "Kine?" Amelia asked with an inquisitive eyebrow in her hosts direction. "A word we kindred use for your people. Mortals. Humans." The derisive tone in her accent reappeared briefly as she explained. "Our little shadow has gone on for millennia, those agents won't make a second attempt any time soon, but I've taken the liberty of relocating your apartment, you're welcome. You job, honestly, is probably quite safe. My people are working against them now so a direct assault on you again is not wise." Ravenna offered Amelia a matronly glare before turning her attention to Ravi. "But let's not tempt Fate, shall we?" "Let my people do their jobs, besides," her eyes locked on Ravi and he'd seen the expression of hunger in a woman's eyes numerous times, but nothing like what he saw in D'Sombra's. "Mr. FitzCoventry is not yet in any condition to be galivanting about the city, sleeping with it's estranged female populace while simultaneously completing a journey of self-discovery, now are you?" She leaned down and traced her finger gently up his abdomen with centuries of careful, practiced and erotic precision. A touch from her was like nothing he'd experienced and in the back of his mind he wondered if it was her, or just the nature of her 'condition'. She stopped at his wound, her finger tip smeared in half dried blood and withdrew it, rubbing it gently on her lips before indulging in a slow taste as her tongue traced the blood and cleaned her finger tip with a soft kissing sound. "My," she smiled. "You are a rare breed. Delicious." She had no need to, but the deep breath assisted her regaining control and restoring her poise. They could both a certain unease coming from her, like they were suddenly trapped in a room with a vicious animal and a brief moment later that moment had passed. "I hate to admit it," she said to them, turning once more to address them both. "But we need Mourne. My people are searching for him. He's not answering his phone, so chances are he's... conducting business. For now, Ms. Parsons, collect your thoughts, get cleaned up," Amelia noticed the way her arrogant gaze absorbed Amelia's appearance and she certainly caught the 'for the love of God', her hostess added a bit more quietly. "And enjoy my hospitality for the evening. Mr. FitzCoventry, these two gentlemen," she motioned to the ebony mountains that stood at the doors leading into the larger penthouse. "Will take you someplace more comfortable and we'll see about getting that bullet removed, save you some pain in the long run. Sable has an angel's touch, you'll be fine. I'll join you two shortly, after all, I owe you payment, Ravi. Do I not?" The two men left their post at a gesture from their mistress and proceeded to carry out her order. One gestured for Amelia to join them as the other assisted Ravi in standing and helping him along. The penthouse was a like a maze, consuming the entirety of the floor it was a combination of office and living space divided into dozens of large and small rooms. It was almost painful on the eyes how the color theme was so monochromatic, blacks and silvers everywhere with the only color being in the thousands of portraits that hung on the walls. Every ten feet was a painting, old and dated and in one instance, Ravi swore he saw 'Madame Monet and her Son' brightly lighting up the dreary décor of a meeting room as they passed by. The only white room they was a small infirmary, muted with grays and white, it didn't really surprise either of them that this room existed up here. In truth, Amelia was half expecting a Wal-Mart tucked into one corners of her 'how the rich live' experience. The man helped Ravi get situated on the table, lying him back and resting his head on a cylindrical pillow so he could see the room and still talk with Amelia. Despite their size and gruff exterior, bot men seemed gentle and professional, not manhandling their charge any more than was necessary. "Juffrou Sable sal binnekort by u aansluit." One said in a deep baritone as he and his partner left the room. "What?" Amelia asked. She shrugged looking at Ravi confused. "We- we don't understa-" The door closed, but it didn't seem locked. "Something about Sable joining us, I'm assuming," Ravi said calmly, winching and grunting slightly at the pain of not having quite settled in comfortably yet onto his new table. "Hints of Germanic... Afrikaans, possibly?" "You understood that?" she chuckled. "I am from Europe, Amelia. I know German when I hear it, not too hard to assume the rest. As for what they said? Not a clue." He smiled, reassuring her that he was just in the dark as she was.
  11. Roughly three months before the Gala... The Male Room existed within that curious niche between classy nightspot and sleazy den of iniquity. The woman who owned it, a thrice-married Tennessee heiress who, in her own words, wanted to end her days ‘like a female Hugh Hefner’ had spared no expense renovating, decorating and staffing the place. Adapted from a disused post office, as the name suggested, the establishment boasted a conspicuously official aesthetic: the bartenders and drinks servers were dressed in a tight pseudo-postal service uniform of short-sleeved shirt and shorts, the bar itself looked like an old-fashioned post-office counter, with each tender having their own ‘window’ through which they would take orders and serve customers, and the MC frequently made post related jokes when introducing the acts. The place was clean, the service was good, the clientele was loud and enthusiastic but also up-market, and the drinks were amazing. What gave it the air of iniquity was that the aforementioned acts were male strippers - or ‘exotic dancers’ if one preferred the euphemism. Which perhaps explained the sometimes raucous reaction of the customers, predominantly female, ranging from college girls out on a lark to more mature women looking for an opportunity to escape the tedium of their everyday lives, projecting their fantasies onto the various well-built, handsome and athletic men who were wholly unlike their surly, work-and-sports-obsessed husbands (or in some cases, ex-husbands). The waiters, also selected for their attractiveness and easy smiles, caught their fair share of tips and attention as well, now and then having to gently remind the more ardent customers that hands were for tipping, not for grabbing. Private dances could also be booked for single women or small groups, offering interested clientele the option of greater discretion and more personal attention. The rules were the same, of course: groping was kept to a minimum, hands off meant hands off, full nudity was out, and the men were dancers, not prostitutes. The Male Room’s management was very conscious of New York’s laws about such things. However… Certain women, and more rarely men, who were in the know, who were rich and discreet and vetted by the owner herself, might learn that certain of the dancers could be... amenable to other arrangements. Nothing to do with the club. What passed between consenting individuals off club premises was none of the management’s business, to be sure. The ‘First Class’ membership was only offered to a select few, and those few never told a soul without first clearing it with the owner, whereupon said soul might likewise be offered such a membership. Ravi strutted off the stage to the accompaniment of screams and calls for him to come back, a wide grin on his perspiration-drenched features as he caught a towel tossed to him by the MC, who clapped him on the shoulder. “Good job, kiddo. They’re gonna need mops and buckets out there. Best Friday crowd we’ve had in awhile. Keep it up, and I’ll talk to the boss about getting you a headline slot.” He grinned, showing several gold teeth, and headed past Ravi up the steps back onto the stage, lifting the mic to his mouth and straining to be heard over the crowd. “Now did Ravi deliver, or did he dee-liiiv-errrr?” his voice boomed as Ravi moved back towards the dressing rooms, passing the next dancer with a smile and a nod. Headline slot meant more pay, better cut of the tips, and more exposure. Sure, the spot would probably be on a slower night of the week, at least to start with, but the disgraced scion of English nobility found that he enjoyed the job. He liked the hunger he evoked, and the admiration, and the women… yes, indeed, the women. He just generally liked women, always had- and they liked him, or at the very worst hated the fact that they liked him, which was always amusing in itself. One of the staff was waiting for him as he entered the dressing rooms, a middle-aged man named Karl who acted as maitre-de for the club, and as such got to wear a more formal jacket and pants rather than the tight shorts and shirt of the others. As Ravi headed for the shower, the older man barred his path. “Hey, Ravi. Good show tonight.” he said conversationally, eyes flicking round to ensure nobody was listening. “Thanks.” Ravi stopped, realising why Karl was there, and felt a smile growing on his lips. This would either be a private dance request… or a First Class request. Either meant money, and in the latter case, sex. Satisfied they were alone, Karl leaned closer. “Money wants a First Class.” The maitre-de informed him conspiratorially. “How’s she look?” Ravi asked casually, grabbing a fresh towel and tossing the sweat-soaked one into the hamper. “Rich. Hot. Divorced or cheated on, if I’m any judge. First timer.” Karl said with the authority of a man who’d been doing this job for a while. “Could be a golden ticket if you play it right, m’man.” “Tell her I’ll be right there.” Ravi nodded, starting past him. “Said she wanted to meet you before you shower.” Karl’s voice stopped him. Ravi looked back, quizzically. Sure, it could be said possessed a certain... primitive allure as he was, with his hair hanging lank, skin glistening with perspiration, but it was nothing compared to when he’d cleaned up. Karl shrugged, and Ravi did likewise. “Fine, then.” he said, tossing the towel back on the pile. “Which room?” “Sorting Room.” Karl replied, referring to the sign above the door of the space in question. When Ravi entered the Sorting Room a couple of minutes later and closed the door quietly behind him, the booming bustle of the club dropped away and all that remained was a muted, muffled thump from the bass beats of the next act’s music. Inside, the walls and ceiling were mirrored, a low circular stage in the center of the room surrounded by comfortable couch seating that, with the soft lighting and the distant throb of the music, lent the room an atmosphere of sensual intimacy. The ‘Joan’ sat across from the door, a flute of champagne in one manicured hand and an open bottle in an ice bucket next to her. Stepping more fully into the room so she could see him, Ravi studied her, noting the stylishly done-up red hair, the short leaf-green dress with its plunging neckline and matching heels and purse. Her makeup was flawless, her skin naturally pale and needing little in the way of enhancement, her grey eyes luminous in the dim lights. He judged her to be perhaps thirty, though she could be a well-preserved forty; if so the years had been kind to her, for she was still beautiful. It was around the clear grey of her eyes that the first cracks appeared in her veneer of classy calm. The whites were slightly reddened, the mascara faintly smudged, as if she had ruined it with crying, wiped away the mess, then reapplied it over damp skin. Ravi stepped closer still, looking down at her as she let her gaze travel up his body, lingering for a moment at waist level before moving upwards, taking in the long dark hair hanging lank around his chiselled features before, finally, meeting his eyes. She drew in a breath that quivered softly as their eyes met, the glass in her hand trembling faintly as she drank from it, still looking into the green-gold pools of his gaze. Her tongue moistened her lips before she spoke. “Your eyes… are they real?” quavered a soft voice hesitantly, educated, composed despite the tremor it carried. “As real as yours.” Ravi replied softly, noting the almost timid way she looked at him, her eyes darting away from his before being drawn inevitably back into his gaze. She was nervous, that much was obvious. This was not something she had done before. He sat down on the edge of the low stage, facing her, and waited. “I… I saw you dance.” she said in a rush. “Two nights ago, I mean. Not tonight. And I asked if you were available for… for…” “First Class service?” Ravi supplied, smiling a little as a flush rose in the pale cheeks and her eyes dipped demurely. He let his own gaze wander down the faint blush of her throat and the pale cream of her bosom, noting the gold crucifix on a chain around her neck. Idly, he wondered how religious she was, and whether that was behind her reticence as much as anything else. “I need… My friends say I need a... To…” She paused as he raised a hand, then slipped from his seat and went down on one knee before her, leaning forward to look her in the eye as he took her free hand in both of his. “You don’t need to explain yourself to me.” he said softly, his voice smooth and low. “Not if you don’t want to. Just tell me where you would like to meet me.” He gently caressed the back of her hand with his fingertips. “My apartment.” she answered, her eyes shining as they met his, her expression somewhere between grateful, excited and fearful. “It’s downtown. Here.” Reluctantly disentangling her hand from his, she reached into her purse and produced a card. It was floral patterned, a name, number and street address embossed on the card. “Sienna Walker.” Ravi read from the card, looking up to meet her eyes as she shook her head. “No, it’s Hall, now. Uh… My husband - ex husband’s name was Walker. I need to get more cards made.” she was babbling now, and Ravi once more took her hand in his. “Hall is better.” he said with another soft smile. “May I call you Sienna, though?” “Oh, yes.” she breathed, then blushed as she realised her tone of longing. “I mean, it seems fine, given you… I mean I… We will..” “Be spending an evening in each other’s company, with no expectations of anything other than enjoyment.” Ravi finished for her, seeing her relax a little at his words as she looked into his eyes once more. “Whether that is a glass of wine and some conversation, or… other things is entirely up to you, Sienna.” She blushed just the tiniest bit at the mention of other things, but nodded. Ravi smiled, then brought her hand to his lips and gently kissed her knuckles before letting it slide from his fingers as he stood. “Finish your glass of champagne. It is very good here.” he told her as though he were not mostly naked before her, as though they were dining together in a fine restaurant rather than he being a gigolo she had just solicited. He gave her another dazzling smile. “I will see you later, Sienna.” She was watching him as he left, he could tell. He could feel her eyes, full of that mixture of timidity and hunger, scoring the lines of his form. He wondered if she would go through with the full transaction, or whether she would back out. Either way, she was beautiful and plainly in need of some manner of positive male company. Humming to himself, he went to shower and change. = = = = = = “This was a mistake.” Sienna said, as much to herself as to the handsome young man at the window. Ravi turned from the view over Central Park, studying the woman intently with one eyebrow raised. She still wore her coat, hands clasped as she stood by the lounge’s built-in bar, fingers twining nervously around each other. She wasn’t looking at him - hadn’t looked at him the whole taxi ride here, in fact. Nor had she said more than two words to him, despite him trying to draw her into conversation. They had hurried through the lobby of her expensive apartment building almost as though she was frightened to be seen, and the elevator ride up had been silent and tense - at least on her part. She’d ushered him into the apartment with a murmured “Come in.” - so make that four words - and then turned on some dim overhead lights and headed straight for the small bar in one corner. Whereupon she’d just… frozen as he admired the view - incidentally also watching her reflection in the glass. “Why?” he asked bluntly, wandering away from the floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall window that offered such a spectacular view and approaching her. “I don’t… I’m not this kind of person.” she said finally, glancing at him fleetingly as he came to lean against the bar, just out of arm's reach. “What kind of person?” Ravi asked in the same straightforward manner, his voice soft, watching rose suffuse her pale cheeks. “The kind that…” she hesitated, anguish twisting her pretty mouth. “Likes men?” Ravi supplied, smiling slightly at the shock that replaced her nervous anguish as she stared at him. “No! I meant-” “So you don’t like sex?” Now the flush turned angry-embarrassed rather than mortified, her grey eyes sharpening as they stared at him. “I mean, we can always play Scrabble.” he went on with an insouciant grin. “It’s your dime, as they say over here.” “I mean I’m not the type of woman who solicits fucking gigolos!” she snapped, eyes flashing now as anger overtook her nervousness. Ravi took a moment to savor the change in her manner, noting how she’d stopped wringing her hands and was straightening up, glaring at him almost imperiously. A formidable woman, when she wasn’t doubting herself. He nodded as though considering something. “So… What other kinds of gigolos are there?” he asked, still leaning casually against the bar. For a moment, she just stared. Then she started to laugh helplessly, her emotions whipsawing from shame to anger to mirth. She rested her hands on the bar, head lowered as she laughed, until her shoulders shook from more than laughter, and sobs mingled with her giggles. At that Ravi stepped forward, sliding his arms around her and pulling her into a hug, feeling her stiffen at first, then relax against him, burying her face against his shirt as she wept for what, he surmised, was likely not the first or even the second time tonight. Her hands clung to his shoulders, trembling a little with her sobbing, as whatever poison was in Sienna’s soul was flushed out with the salt of her tears. “I’m sorry.” she murmured into his shirt, sniffling as her composure started to return. She straightened, futilely attempting to smooth the tear and makeup streaked cotton before looking up to meet his amber gaze. “Don’t be.” he replied, smiling slightly. “It looked like you needed that.” “I did.” she confessed with a small laugh, then another sniff. “And now I need a drink.” she said, mindful of the fact he was still holding her close, and that she had just embarrassed herself. He let his arms slip from around her as she stepped away, nodding as he took a step back himself, resuming leaning against the counter and watching her. She removed her coat, feeling his gaze but not looking at him as she dumped it on one of the stools, before moving around behind the bar’s counter. “I’m having bourbon.” she told him, grabbing the bottle and a glass. “You?” “I shall be guided by the lady.” Ravi replied, causing her to smile as she got another tumbler, pouring a generous measure into each before sliding one towards him. Lifting her own glass, she clinked it against his and wordlessly tossed back half of the contents as Ravi sipped, both of them feeling the warmth of the liquor move through them. Sienna topped up her drink, then relaxed somewhat, leaning against the other side of the counter from Ravi, watching him watch her. “What?” she asked, feeling heat in her cheeks at his stare and hiding it with another sip from her glass. “How long?” At her blank look, he held up the ring finger on his left hand and waggled it, nodding towards her own hand holding the tumbler. Sienna glanced down at the band of pale skin marking where, some might say, the best years of her life had been wasted. She wasn’t so sure. Marriage to Tom Walker hadn’t been terrible - indeed, if it had she’d likely not be so distraught. She’d met him right out of college whilst interning at a merchant bank where he was a junior accounts manager, just a few years older than herself. They’d become work-friends, then friend-friends, then he’d asked her out, and for the first few years everything had been great. His rise in the office hierarchy had been meteoric, his keen head for figures and ability to shake the right hands and close the right deals contributing to that, and when they’d decided to have their first child he’d been very firm that whilst Sienna absolutely could keep working, his preference was for her to look after herself, the baby and the home. After some thought and discussion, she’d agreed, and hadn’t really regretted it. “How long married, or how long divorced?” she asked bluntly, her voice feeling raw in her throat, fingers tightening on the glass in her hand. “Yes.” Ravi shrugged, still watching her. She gave out a snort of laughter. Together, her and Tom had had a lovely daughter, who went to the best schools and was currently at Stanford… and then, almost twenty two years after marrying Tom, Sienna had found out about the affair. Affairs, plural. And after confronting her husband, she discovered that the affairs had started about the time she became a mother. And the why… the why burned in her soul. “Twenty one years, and four months.” She said, refilling her glass and taking another swallow of the fiery liquor. “He cheated.” It wasn’t a question. Sienna nodded, and Ravi echoed the nod more slowly. “I’m sorry.” “Yeah. So am I.” She propped herself against the counter, leaning closer to him, watching the play of light in his yellow-green eyes. “What about you?” “What about me?” he asked, changing the inflection and emphasis of the question slightly. She smiled a little. “Is your name really Ravi?” “Absolutely.” A smile, a sip of his drink. She watched his lips as he tasted the bourbon. “Is the accent real?” She asked challengingly. Focus on him. Focus on something that didn’t hurt. The warmth from the bourbon in her stomach was mingling with a different warmth. He was beautiful without being effeminate. His voice was soft, but resonated with some manner of purring subharmonic. He was watching her, but not dispassionately. Showered and dressed in well-fitting, classy clothes, he looked nothing like a stripper. He looked elegant, but the memory of him covered in perspiration, his hair lank with sweat following the sinuous, stretching dance he’d performed was seared in her mind’s eye. That, she felt intuitively, was the real man. The elegance, the urbanity, was an overlay atop something primal and raw. Something dangerous. “As real as my eyes, and the rest of me.” he answered with a flash of a grin. “You don’t look English. I mean-” she flushed a little but continued. “You look…” she gestured with her fingertips. “Exotic?” Ravi suggested. As she nodded, he shrugged. “I come from a mixed bag.” “You sound educated. Why do you work as a- Well, why do you do this work?” “You sound educated too. Why did you solicit me?” He answered calmly. “I asked first.” she riposted. “Because I like to show off, I like women, and it would utterly shock and disgrace my family if they knew - or cared.” Ravi replied, smirking slightly. “Now you.” She hadn’t been expecting an answer, at least not a real one, and it threw her off balance for a moment. She took a sip of her bourbon, grey eyes watching him over the rim of the glass, then as the glass lowered she shrugged. “All my male friends are Tom’s friends too. And… I don’t want a relationship, not yet. But I do want… or need… to feel-” she hesitated under that gaze, feeling her cheeks crimsoning. “Desired.” she said through suddenly dry lips. He didn’t answer for a moment, and then slowly put down his tumbler. Sienna’s eyes followed it, then flicked back up to his face as he straightened from his repose. She felt her heart thudding against her ribcage like the flutter of a trapped bird under the weight of his gaze. There was gentleness there for sure in his expression, but there was also hunger lurking in the golden pools of his eyes, something entirely carnal. She found herself straightening up also from where she was leaning over the bar counter, very aware of herself, her body, in that moment. Ravi half-turned, holding his hand out towards her as he took a step away from the bar. He said nothing, simply watching her expectantly, patiently. Sienna’s glass made a soft click-clack sound as she set it down with a hand that trembled, and she took a breath before stepping around the counter, smoothing her dress nervously with her palms, before reaching out and taking his hand. He drew her close, and she half-closed her eyes, face tilted upwards in expectation of a kiss, only to look down again as he guided her hand to his shoulder, then took her other hand in his before resting his free hand above her hip. “Are we dancing?” She blinked, looking up at his face. “We are.” he smiled, moving closer so their bodies were nearly touching and swaying gently. She could faintly smell his cologne, something woody, expensive if she was any judge, and could feel the heat of his body as an almost physical force pressing against her. “There’s no music.” she protested, laughing softly, a little drunk on bourbon and him as she met his eyes again, but her feet and waist picked up the rhythm of his swaying as she spoke. "Is there not?” came the reply as the hand on her waist slid around to the small of her back, drawing her even closer. She sighed, breathing out and trying to calm that fluttering in her heart and relax against him. Sienna rested her head against his collarbone and closed her eyes, feeling a steady drumbeat in her ears, and realised that her feet and his were moving in time with that steady cadence. She wasn’t sure how much time was passing, only aware of how her heart was settling down - beating faster but not the panicky tremors of before. She felt… safe? Safe to be herself. Opening her eyes once more, she glanced at the reflection of the two of them in the glass of the mirrored wall behind the bar. Who was that woman, dancing with the tall elegant young man? She didn’t look like a mature woman of over forty years, a mother and a jilted wife. She didn’t look like the woman who, grim-faced and resolute, had gotten ready to go out tonight as though preparing for battle. This woman had natural colour in her cheeks, her eyes sparkled in the dim lighting of the lounge. She looked younger, less careworn somehow. She looked... Desirable. A rush of heat accompanied that realisation, the nervousness of earlier replaced by an entirely different tension as she turned her face back up to regard Ravi. The shame of earlier was gone. She didn’t note his youth relative to her own in that moment. She didn’t feel old at all. She felt alive, eager… a hunger of her own rising to complement the glimmer of carnality in his own gaze. She stopped swaying to the unheard music, her hands sliding up and over his shoulders, feeling the tumble of his long dark hair over her fingers as they traced up the back of his neck, pulling him down slightly. Rising on her toes a fraction in her heels, her lips sought his. The kiss was gentle at the outset, despite being underlaid with that same eager hunger each partner felt. Lips moved against one another, tongues gently teased, and Sienna was deliciously aware of the hardness of the body under the clothes, of his hands roaming down the slice of bare back exposed by her dress, the fingertips toying up and down her spine, going lower each time. With a muffled murmur she pressed herself even closer, mouth asking - no, demanding more from his, her small white teeth nibbling at his lip before she opened her lips wide against his in mute invitation. His answering kiss drew the breath from her lungs and ignited fresh heat in her belly, something long dormant inside her uncoiling like lazy feline energy, becoming taut and predatory as it awakened. With a gasp she broke the kiss almost roughly, her hands locked in his hair as she stared up at him, catching her breath. Her mind spun, and she knew that this was her moment of decision. Was it enough? Was the interest, and the conversation, and the kindness of the handsome man enough? Was the kiss that still tingled on her reddened lips enough? Again she caught sight of her reflection. No. No it was not. Not even nearly enough. She stepped away, taking his hands in hers and tugging him along with her. He resisted, just a little, forcing her to stop and look at him, to answer the question in his gaze. “Yes.” she murmured, nodding. “Yes, I’m sure.” Holding her gaze a moment longer, Ravi inclined his head and let her lead him to the bedroom.
  12. "Works for me." Mel agreed simply. "Since I forgot to introduce myself, I'm Mel Grimson." He offered his hand out to shake... but Maya didn't go for it. Between her not-touchy-feely New Yorker spirit, plain distrust for the man, and simply being at the utmost strained limit for the week, she just didn't want to. End of story. Mel withdrew his arm back without comment. He'd take what he'd gotten. "For what it's worth, Ms. Flynn, I'm going through it too." He gave her a nod. "Two-thirds of this stuff she's going to tell you, I don't really understand any better." More like nearly all, but he wasn't going to disrupt the image Kestrel had of him in her mind. "But I've seen enough to convince me this isn't just crazy nonsense."
  13. "Seconded." Ravi raised his glass in a salute, then sipped his drink, appreciating the taste that masked the taste of his own blood in his mouth. He took a labored breath, then set the glass aside and regarded Ravenna D'Sombra soberly. "I've taken a lot on faith, which so far I do not regret." He paused, considering his chest. "Which I realise may sound strange considering I am sitting here with a bullet in my vitals." Looking back up at both women, the one barely out of girlhood and the other one... well, much older by far, he continued. "But I'd really like to know what to do now, what is expected of me for being 'chosen', and what the benefit package is. There's got to be something to counterbalance getting shot at, after all. If all this is true, and I've certainly seen some amazing things to suggest it is, how do we discover what we are?"
  14. "Look, Maya, Ms. Flynn," Kestral seemed completely unsure what to actually call Maya, but pressed on, fearing they were losing her. "I get it, I do. Frankly, were our roles reversed I'd be throwing hands right about now, so thank you for not doing that." She chuckled with a bit of levity. "You said worst week, ever, right?" Kestral looked around on the street, trying to keep the conversation between them. "Let me guess, lost your keys? Spilled your coffee, flat tires, broken bike chains, dead car batter, if you own a car, I-I don't know. Split pants? Ruined outfits for work, and every son of a bitch you meet is either screwing you over, or its a once-in-a-lifetime chance meeting with that one person you don't want to talk too? Co-works acting double douchey to you lately? Nothing going right? At. All." "I don't blame you for not trusting us, believe me, I wouldn't either," she pleaded as well as she was able, but it was obvious that Kestrel wasn't all that good being comforting. "Been seeing things? Weird people in your dreams, lucid, quasi waking nightmares with all kinds of weird people? Mr. Mourne, that's who I work for, he said the emissaries were looking for you. A-an animal. Something about a Mason. He thinks he's found Mason and asked me to come and help you. Please, Ms. Flynn. A cup of coffee. That's all I'm asking for from you. Join us for a cup of coffee and give me time to try and help you understand what the hell is happening lately, because... I've been through it too." No more parties, no more days off, Maya swore silently to herself, even as she got the sense that it likely wouldn't matter. In the past week, she hadn't met or spoken with any of the people she'd come to associate with the strangeness slipping between the city alleyways and wafting up from the streets like vapour, and yet here she was. Here they were, specifically, and she had to admit that this Kestrel woman had guessed more accurately than chance alone should permit. So... Okay. "Okay," she conceded. "One cup of coffee. One. As long as it's not at The Full Pot."
  15. "I'm sorry, did you say 'mutual acquaintances'?" If Maya's eyebrows rose any higher, they were in danger of vanishing into the thick black curls swept over her forehead. "Listen, mister, 'skeptical' doesn't begin to cover it right now. You introduced her." A slim finger jabbed in Kestrel's direction. "I still don't know who the hell you are, except for the stiff-necked asshole at the party I was invited to. Yes. Invited," she repeated, dark eyes glaring daggers at the stoic former Ranger. "I don't care who you work for. I don't care what they're paying you. I don't even care who you think these 'mutual acquaintances' are that'd tell you to stalk me," the tall woman all but hissed, her earlier anger at the seeming unfairness of the entirety of life bubbling back up to the surface. "I've just had the worst week of my life after running into you and your, your client, or whatever, and those crazy people who were at that godforsaken party." She stood there for a moment, seething quietly as memories of the dreams she'd had- the woman, the monster, and the fall, and then D'Sombra- and the strangeness at the library permeated her thoughts, coloring the simple, straightforward experience of anger with more ominous shades. "He said your name is Kestrel. You said I'm cursed," she managed finally, one hand gripping the handlebar of her bicycle as she turned to the woman who hadn't yet sparked her ire directly. "Fine. Assuming I'm willing to hear you out, I hope this isn't the part where you tell me to follow you somewhere, because..." She laughed quietly, shaking her head at the audacity of the pair. "Hell no. You already know where I work if you followed me all the way out here, so you can just meet me there. Tomorrow. After 5," she added, not counting on Lorraine staying one minute past her appointed time.
  16. Amelia was excited on hearing it, and wouldn't deny it. This was exciting. Too exciting? Like, was it a little glib? Why send only two assassins? Why would they only shoot the people who wouldn't die from getting shot if they were super-engineered mega-assassins? They were, however, the reason that Amelia was now basically at D'Sombra's mercy. No matter what, they represented a threat she couldn't deal with alone. Their existence made Ravenna indispensable to her, so it could be thought of as convenient they'd shown up at the nightclub, and not just sniped her through her apartment window. That went on the back burner. Asking that might close off more questions. She wasn't ready for that yet. There were a lot more questions. ALL the questions. The 'Watcher' thing for example. Was that weird? Did D'Sombra just arise one night from her slumber of death and find that she'd been stamped for re-entry to Disneyland and then realized she was a Watcher now? Or was there another Watcher who swooped down and gave her the spiel and did some kind of Masonic ritual and then stamped her wrist? And...if she was supposed to Watch, how did that work with 'guiding' the Chosen? Wasn't there usually a non-interference clause for this kind of thing? That was about the point where Amelia imagined she could actually smell the burning rubber scent being emitted by her brain. She was veering around, out of control, bouncing from topic to topic. She needed to focus. What was the next most important question? What would keep the spigot open? "All right," Amelia said slowly, "so...that is a lot to unpack...but if you brought me here to guide me then I'll bite. I have super-assassins hunting for me and I don't know who they are or why they want me. I can't go back to my apartment, apparently, and I'm guessing my job's basically out too. So yeah, guide me. There's a quintillion shit-tons more I want to find out about all this, but I have to survive the night first. What the hell do I do next?"
  17. Sable Loyal but Troubled Retainer Quote: “What’s worse than knowing you want something? Knowing you can never have it.” Background: Sable was born in America when ‘America’ was nothing more than a small colony in Jamestown, Virginia. For over three centuries she has been in the service of Ravenna D’Sombra as her ghoul. She introduced the Marquesa to life within the newly founded colonies and in return Marquesa D’Sombra showered her with wealth and status. Now, having long outlived her natural lifespan, she remains as Ravenna’s most loyal and trusted ghoul with more freedom and privilege than any of her other servants. Description: Like her mistress, Sable possesses raven-black hair. Her soft brown eyes and impeccable cheekbones are usually enough to most she meets off balance when dealing with her socially. She possesses an accent that seems a conglomeration of British, Italian and Spanish that’s she’s perfected over the years into something that’s wholly unique and exotic which she uses as just another tool in the service to her Marquesa. Storytelling Hints: The first hundred years or so were amazing! The money, power, prestige and respect were all way more than you could ever have asked for. Men desired you and the Marquesa showed you how falling from God’s grace was the most pleasurable and intoxicating thing a human soul could ever accomplish. Hell? Hell was for those souls who passed from this world, and if you were immortal then damnation could never come for you. However, centuries of servitude and endless, painful body sculpting at the hands of Devils to change your identity have left you with a life of hedonism, money, power... but absolutely nothing to show for it but pain and emptiness. You're damned of a different sort, but you’re not ready to die although you want it more than anything, it’s just… have you given anything to this world, that if taken away, would be missed?
  18. "Well," she seemed taken aback a bit by Amelia's choice of words. "An informed query and directly to the heart of the matter. I like that," she cooed and took a few steps towards Amelia who instinctively took a step back. She didn't consciously mean to and realized that something deep within her was screaming like all get out about how 'wrong' and 'unsafe' Ms. D'Sombra was. "You know that last fool who was here prattled on for an hour begging me to tell him what world leaders, if any, we Kindred, that's what we call ourselves, dear, 'vampire' is so gauche so do be polite, had assassinated over the years. Can you believe it?" "Whaaat?" Amelia chuckled nervously. "No way. Wow. That's like... man, who would open with that?" "I know." She smirked. "Such an awkward icebreaker. Anyway, dear," she waved away the present topic and dove into the matter at hand. "Full disclosure, as I told Mr. FitzCoventry before he started trying to seduce my retainer," she cleared her throat and looked in the direction of the chaise. Sable didn't look at her, like a daughter being both scolded and embarrassed by her mother at the same time. "I'll, um, get something to at least clean this with properly," Sable said to Ravi as she stood and dismissed herself towards the giant onyx guards. It was the first time Ravi heard her words not flow with confidence. "I'm not a hundred percent sure." Ravenna continued. "You've been Chosen for something spectacular, unfortunately we in the Shadows don't know what, yet. I am a Watcher," she gestured to herself then exposed a small pinkish mark on the inside of her right wrist. It looked like a rune or diagram in some diamond pattern. "This mark says as much among my people. I am the only undead Watcher ever, normally, since we stand outside the natural cycle, we are not privy to the games played by the beings of the other worlds, yet, here I am. Tales tell of us Watchers finding people like yourself and Mr. FitzCoventry, and you go on to do great things, with our guidance. The snag at the moment, sweetie, is we Watchers don't know what that thing is, or better yet, why I have been made a Watcher. We are, as you say, in a pickle." Amelia looked down at the perfectly polished black floor as Ms. D'Sombra's heels echoed ominously in the spacious room. "As for your predicament, Ms. Parsons, there are people out there who would desire to keep our secrets, secret. People like yourself, those who yearn to expose the truth, while noble, generally do not think of those you are hurting or could possibly hurt while on your personal crusades. There are mortals, like yourself, who rely on people like you to feed them the weird, the unexplained, the boogie men and the front page 'bat boys'. Because unlike you, they know the truth: that we exist and they hunt us and they destroy us, because they don't understand us." Their kindred hostess turned and faced her guests, holding up crystal decanter. "Drink?" She poured drinks for Amelia and Ravi, her heels offering that dramatically ominous clack on the hard floor. She offered it to Amelia. "Go on," she urged the teenager to accept it and smiled when she did. "It might taste strange, dear. That's because it's not from a box." D'Sombra leaned over the small sofa and handed Ravi his drink. "Now, when people like yourself get 'to close' to the truth, there is an order of people who show up and make them disappear. When people, like yourself, who possess a particularly powerful destiny, well, they send the Men in Black." Amelia snorted. "Like, flashy thingie and all?" "No," Ravenna's suddenly serious tone lassoed Amelia's undivided attention. "Augmented, genetically modified and sometimes cybernetically enhanced, vat grown clones designed for one purpose: to eliminate anyone who sees through the lies and is capable of brining truth to the masses. That person, in this case, Ms. Parsons, is you. Something about who or what you are caught their attention, not your internet projects or saucy 'the truth is out there' blog. Yet, the problem here seems to be the same as Mr. FitzCoventry, and that is I don't know the what behind the who."
  19. Ravi had blinked at the sudden disappearance and reappearance of D'Sombra, even coming as it did on top of an evening that was best described as 'interesting'. He settled back on the admittedly fancy looking knock-off chaise, with Sable helping him get comfortable. "She loves doing that to people." the lovely - what was the word? Ghoul? She didn't look particularly ghoulish - murmured as she placed a cushion behind the young man's head. He smiled slightly through his pain at her. "Always fun to keep people off-balance now and then." The handsome Englishman murmured back before coughing spasmodically for a few beats. Sable patiently held his shoulders as he coughed, preventing him from moving around too much, and as the fit passed and he took a ragged breath she poured him a glass of water. He took few swallows as she held it for him, then the dark haired woman set the glass aside and reached for the front of Ravi's shirt. "We should take a look at it." Sable kept her voice low, plainly not wanting to interrupt Amelia and D'Sombra's conversation. Quickly and efficiently, she unfasted the buttons and peeled back the blood-soaked shirt, her gaze finding his as he watched her. "If you say anything about me not wasting time getting you out of your clothes, I'm going to poke the bullet hole." she warned him, eyes narrowing even though her lips curved in the faintest of smiles. "Perish the thought." Ravi replied, giving her a charmingly lopsided smile, then gritting his teeth and hissing in pain as Sable gently probed around the wound. "Jesus! That hurts." he groaned. "Bleeding has stopped." she informed him, tearing a clean scrap of his shirt off and dipping it in the water before wiping away the worst of the blood around the hole. She watched his face. "How are you feeling? Other than in pain." "I can feel the damn thing inside me." he muttered, acutely aware despite the pain of how gentle her touch was. He studied her expression, golden eyes half-lidded as he tried to relax. "My, my. Is that concern I see there?" he asked teasingly. "Concern that I don't get any more of your blood on me." Sable retorted, but she smiled a little as she dipped another clean scrap of Louis Vuitton shirt into the glass of water and swabbed away more of the blood on his chest. He smiled back, letting his eyes close as he just listened to the conversation happening not too far away.
  20. Dying to ask something. Leave it to a vampire to have that sense of humor. She wasn't wrong though. Everything from 'who was the highest ranked vampire in the country,' to 'had vampires assassinated any world leaders' to whether or not they used chemtrails to keep the humans pliable... Vampires were a game-changer. All kinds of things that would have been impossible suddenly weren't. The sudden realignment of belief and disbelief made her head spin like a stiff drink. And more, because Sable had implied 'shifters' too. Were vampires and shifters allies? Or did they war endlessly for control of the world? Were there other factions? But no...there was no telling how long D'Sombra would indulge a Q&A. Start with the most pressing. What would she regret not having asked the most? "Vampires," Amelia said, nodding at Ravenna. Then she glanced over at the couch. "Ghouls. Shifters?" Her eyes returned to the looming vampiress. "And me. Where do I fit into this, and why does it involve guys attacking me in nightclubs?"
  21. "Just so happens," Sable said in that sultry accent of hers. The black sedan pulled into the garage of the massive NYX Imaging building and Amelia took note of how they were going in through a private entrance, one that bypassed all the public parking spaces and elevator accesses into the towering dark skyscraper that dominated the smaller businesses in the immediate area. Thankfully Ravi could walk, although he was in a great deal of pain and could feet the bullet in his body moving around, like organs were constricting it and and pushing it around. With her secret out, Sable assisted Ravi as best she could and he found the attractive, albeit averagely built, woman to be surprisingly stringer than she originally let on, supporting him easily, if not awkwardly to the elevator. "Ms. Parsons, I must warn you: Ms. D'Sombra is capricious." The aide to the undead mogul pulled aside Ravi's shirt and took her first real look at his injury, speaking to Amelia while she conducted her examination. "What passes for wit in the streets will not avail you to her good graces. I urge you to remain, at the very least, as polite as possible. She was born to the aristocracy and even now belongs to the aristocracy of the night. Please, keep the shenanigans to a minimum. Speak, please, and of course, be yourself, just do it with the understanding that everything from the moment you leave this elevator, to if you leave here tonight, is a test." "If I leave here?" Amelia looked to Sable her eyebrow raised inquisitively. *boop* Amelia walked out into the huge open office and museum of what Ravi had put together as the keystones of D'Sombra's unlife. Was such a thing possible, or were they just participating in some rich woman's weird fantasies? She noticed the two broad shouldered obsidian hued men standing by the double doors that appeared o be the only exit from this large chamber. It was dimly lit with low wattage white light, but well enough to see fine if she wasn't trying to make out any real details. All along the walls were the displays and portraiture that qualified as relics in this day and age. "Ah!" Ravenna D'Sombra stepped out from behind her desk, taking care on the few steps that led to the landing to it, and approached Sable and her guests. She stopped and craned her head back at the sight of Ravi and Sable covered in blood with holes in their clothes. "Oh... well... do mind the rug, please. Go around." She twirled her finger in an 'around the sofa and rug, please' gesture. "Sable place him on the vanilla one, with the flowered filigree, it's a knock-off." "Miss Parsons!" Her host smiled wide. No fangs... maybe this was just rich weird people doing rich weird people shit. "Welcome! I've snooped so much about you!" "Marqueasa," Sable interrupted with a lowered head. "I have told her what was needed to pacify her panicking." "No matter," the raven haired woman nodded once and swept a hand to dismiss Sable's words. "You have served me astonishingly well, I will take it from here. Hope Sable wasn't too hard on you, she sometimes has to get her hands dirty." Predatory eyes settled back into Amelia's field of view. "You want to know things. You thirst for the truth. Amelia Parson's I," Amelia jumped as D'Sombra suddenly whispered almost seductively in her ear. "Am the truth." How did she? Amelia just blinked, or did she? How did she move nearly thirty feet and get behind her in the span of a single eye blink? Where did the time go? The curl of D'Sombra's playful smile as her guest leapt away from her and turned to face the woman in a business suit hued to total darkness, Amelia could feel a sudden measure of worry and fear settle into heart. Sable quietly cared for Ravi on the small sofa, making sure no more harm had been done or another bullet didn't sneak it's way past the shock. "Oh," Ravenna pouted. "You're no fun." Her lips curled up again playfully. "I have something to share with you, the both of you. However, to digest it, you must first hear the truth. In good faith I offer you answers. Let us get to know each other, hmm? I know you're dying to ask something, Ms. Parsons. Please, as they say amongst the Rabble, 'have at it'." She swept her arms out, inviting Amelia to take her best shot, verbally or physically... she didn't think D'Sombra really cared either way.
  22. "Apartment isn't a... good plan." Ravi's voice contained an audible wheeze, rendered breathless as he was by both pain and a collapsed lung. "If they're hunting you, it's the first place they'd look." He coughed. "Hell, they might even have friends there watching the place." Sable's eyes sought him out in the read mirror. "How're you holding up, Ravi?" "Fan-bloody-tastic. I'll be dancing a jig in no time." he replied hoarsely, the taste of his own blood coppery in his mouth. He wasn't feeling very good, despite Sable's assurances that he wasn't in immediate mortal danger from his wound. She didn't even know what he was, the young Englishman grumped silently, how could she know how much danger he was in, for crying out loud?! He reached up and tapped Amelia's arm where it rested next to his head on her lap. "D'Sombra implied to me that what you think you know isn't important." he told the scared woman, then coughed again before adding. "I rather get the impression... that it's you who is important, not whatever you're working on. We should go to D'Sombra."
  23. "I'm not drunk enough for this," Amelia complained weakly. "Things don't usually get this fucked up until I've had least three shots." And while it was true that she'd sobered up an upsettingly large amount since the Terminators (disinformation; showing us the truth in ways that make us dismiss it as fiction) had shown up, her thoughts were still slippery enough not to clump together in perfectly coherent ways. Underworld (vampires and werewolves but she didn't say werewolf she said shifter...more than one kind?) reference...lots of pop culture references too, for a 300 year old. And now a vampire wanted to 'have a word' with her. A vampire named D'Sombra. Because obviously a vampire would be named Of Shadows (they hide in plain sight, secure in our disbelief). This had all started when she'd started digging around that bootleg footage. It couldn't be a coincidence. That's when Ravi had first started sniffing around. And when she'd started augering in to try to breach, that's when Arnie and Dolph showed up with their Phase Plasma Rifles In The 40 Watt Ranges. Or...maybe just regular guns. She didn't really know how guns worked. If 'Miss D'Sombra' had wanted, she could have plucked Amelia off the street anytime...maybe even out of her apartment. Instead she'd waited for the other side to show their hand. That was the tipoff...that's how she knew Amelia had hit some dirt. "Those guys at the club," she said, "the ones that came after me...is it just ME they're after, or...fuck..." Amelia looked up at the car's ceiling. There was a scuff on it. Maybe someone tall had bonked their head on a bump. That brought a little chuckle to her. "...exactly how suicidal would stopping off at my apartment be, is what I'm asking. I left something cooking. I'm pretty sure it's what your boss is after."
  24. Mel exhaled out briskly. Now he remembered that night, Mourne intimating to Maya that she didn't belong at the gallery, and Mel had been ready to escort her out, only for D'Sombra to intervene. Mel admitted to himself that in Maya's place, he'd be pissed too. No point in pussyfooting around, the Ranger had to handle this straight, honest and clean. "I recognize how it looks and sounds, Ms. Flynn, I'd be skeptical in your position too. But please, let me clarify something. I don't work for Mourne. He was just the client for the night, nothing more." "Now," the grizzled man met the eyes of the much younger woman levelly, "I was warned you were in danger, by another pair of mutual acquaintances. A rather rabbity fellow named Jack, and his trollish friend Seth. I apologize for following you, but they were short on details, so I had to investigate. In the process, I ran into Kestrel, and figured we should introduce ourselves to you. That is why I'm here."
  25. "Ms. Parsons," Sable said calmly while shifting her gaze from the mirror to the road as much as she was able. "The key thing here is to remain calm. You are out of danger, and I, nor Mr. FitzCoventry have any desire to place you in further jeopardy. In truth, we were asked to rescue you from those Agents. With us, you are safe. My employer, Miss. D'Sombra wishes to have a word with you." "That answers none of my questions." Amelia's sarcasm was evident as she huffed at the reflection in the mirror. "Agents from where? Of what? CIA, FBI, DIA?" "True. Very well," Sable closed her eyes and politely nodded in acknowledgement. "The short answer is 'yes'. The long answer is: they are the product of an organization known as The New World Order. Illuminati? Bilderbergs? The Free Masons? Sweetheart, to some extent it's all true. Except aliens. Sorry." She let that sink in for a moment, took a careful left and proceeded on towards their destination. "Have you ever seen the movie Underworld? Remember Michael? One day he's just an ordinary nurse getting off work from a double shift and then all of a sudden he's a key player in a war between vampires and werewolves." Amelia's glare at her allowed Sable to notice the gears turning and all the bolts sliding free to the more locked portions of her already rather open mind. "No." Sable said softly before Amelia had a chance to ask. "I'm not a vampire. I'm a ghoul. A mortal who has ingested vampire blood, and I've done so for nearly three centuries ever since Miss D'Sombra first arrived in 'The New World'. It keeps me eternal, but my immortality has limits. As for Ravi, frankly, dear, I've nary a clue. If he was a shifter he would have changed by now, I'm almost sure of it. They can't heal as swiftly in their human forms. You, love, I have no clue about either. All I know is the cosmos either really likes you, or really hates you... depending." She shrugged. "For now, take some measure of solace in the fact that you're still alive and... let's face it, this is all pretty damn cool. Am I right?" The raven haired beauty smirked and winked at thoroughly confused young woman.
  26. On seeing Sable's feat of regeneration, Amelia's blood went cold. She sat back in her seat, trying to work out what the smart move was. The doors were unlocked, and the car was moving at city speeds. Wait for a red light and bolt? And hope that whoever had come after them was either after Ravi, not her, or that they'd lost them by now? But then, best case scenario, she'd never know what the hell this was all about. Best case! She'd have another near-miss, a moment where she'd brushed up against something hidden, something more, and then flinched back. Maybe this wasn't the time for smart. Maybe this was the time for crazy. Amelia could do crazy. "Okay," she said, breathing hard as she reacted to the succession of shocks, "Okay. I'm alive, you're alive, everyone's alive. I have so many questions! Like...who are YOU? Alien? Lizard person? ...some kind of government experiment? And who were those guys coming after us?! Because that was not Big Pharma at work there! I mean, I figured maybe someone gets into my place, breaks my decoy computer...maybe a thug or something tries to mess me up... Not two guys with guns shooting up a CLUB! Were they after Ravi?? Because that might make sense, if you're an alien or a supersolider and he's like...junior grade alien or supersoldier...and..." Even as she went on, Amelia accepted Ravi's head onto her lap, because he'd been shot and she wasn't a monster. "I just want to know what's going on," she finished, trying to meet Sable's eyes in the rearview mirror. "Is this a...you'd have to kill me if you told me thing? Because honestly right now...I think I could live with that."
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