Each word added fuel to the punches thrown at the punching bag. The frustration from Khione was palpable as she bounced between her feet, breaths coming out in short exhales while she repeated the one, one, two, three combo as she circled the bag.
Obviously, the week was a long shot from being the worst out of all 1,147 weeks she’d been alive. Regardless of that, it was definitely getting up the ranks to be the most annoying. With her luck, the usually ample options of burning off that annoyance were limited to whooping the punching bags’ ass since her favorite people were nowhere to be fucking found.
They better both be dead.
The thought of being avoided, whether purposeful or not, combined with the sound of her phone ringing was enough fuel for her to roundhouse kick a hole in the bag all while releasing a war cry of her pent up sexual frustrations.
“Khione that was a bra-“ “Yeah, yeah, my bad. I’ll bring you the cash tonight after I’m off work.” The reply was as swift as her retreating form, the only other sound from her was a grunted ‘see you later’ to the owner before she pushed out of the glass doors. The phone rang again, this time the distinctive tone of a facetime call played and elicited a groan. why couldn’t she have a morning to herself to throw a fit? Taking a deep breath to extinguish the annoyance that lingered she declined the facetime and answered a second after the phone rang for a normal call,
“Hello Oni, I thought you were going to ignore my call again.” The familiar distortion feigned a hurt tone, but Khione knew better, even through the hard work of a program, she knew who was on the other end of the call.
“Yeah, I thought about it. What do you want?” Khione replied in a well practiced tone that held just enough contempt to make her displeasure clear without crossing any lines. She knew better than to cross those lines.
“Be cautious child… I’m simply just following up on our last discussion about those interesting people you keep in your company. Especially that human girl, oh what was her name, hmm… Natalia was it? The one who lost her family to the ‘Bonekeeper’?”
Khione’s brisk gait froze a moment receiving an irritated grunt from someone passing by her as their shoulder roughly hit her own. The mention of her roommates’ name usually wouldn’t have elicited this sort of response, but if the Order was inquiring about you, it rarely meant anything favorable. The last time she was brought up in the conversation it was for testing purposes, the Order wanted Khione to present the new recruit for their trials, but she wasn’t ready for that.
“I told you all last time that she’s not ready, we ha-“
“You have until July 8th to bring her to us or we issue a termination. That should be enough time for the best of Genesis, no?” There was a taunting quality to the distortion, they were testing her patience, and she wouldn’t feed into their games. Silence was her only answer, her feet moved against the cement again carrying her towards The Loft as the conversation changed from Natalia to the other hunters around the five boroughs.
Khione navigated the conversation cautiously wanting to avoid the topic of a certain hunter who had been causing problems for her and barely contained a sigh of relief as the conversation was reaching its end.
“We will be forwarding some assignments, make sure one makes its way to Set, we’ll be checking in again. All for glory.”
“Glory for all.” Khione’s reply was cut short as the line ended just as she faced the door to The Loft. For a moment she stood with her forehead pressed against the cool metal, the bustling of the street was relaxing for once, a welcomed distraction to the hot-headed girl. Slowly opening her eyes she glanced down at her phone going to her conversations, there was no way she was going to be able to keep the God of Destruction high and dry from the action any longer. Of course they knew her game.
To: Pyscho Envy tonight 9pm, Platinum Room, wear something hot.
The gym was not going to cut it anymore, and as much as she hated texting the Zeno’s lap dog first, somethings were more important than her pride. Sex was one of those things.
To: Asshole Did you finally go and die? Or are you avoiding me? We can’t be fuck ‘buddies’ without the fucking.
With that out of the way she slid her phone in the pocket of her shorts and entered into the only place she called home, making sure to announce her return to her loving family’, “DARLINGS IM HOMEEEE~“
RUN while you can! The L U N A T I C is coming to get you!
Ti m e ☠ 4:49-5:34am Lo c a t i o n ☠ New York City, NY — Central Park In t e r a c t i o n s ☠ Two Unlucky New Yorkers
Before sunrise, before the nightcrawlers would retreat under their rocks, Leone was stalking the would-be stalkers. They walked so casually, hand in hand as if they were actually normal human beings. It was embarrassing. How could they actually think this was okay? What gave them the right to enjoy this life without fear of being hunted?
As they walked, two of them, one a male that appeared to be white with red hair and another a little darker with auburn hair. The two of them matched the contract. Two vampires suspected of harassing humans. One male and another female. Lethal force is permitted, the last sentences of his contract, though not from The Order, read.
He smiled and licked his lips before he leaped forward. His body was meant to be far more agile than the average human. Even if they caught the sound of his boots pressing against the grass of Central Park, it would be too late. As soon as the female vampire turned around, her eyes shooting blood red and fangs brandishing as she hissed, it was too late for her. Leone threw a wooden stake that was attached to a lengthy cord and it stabbed her in her throat, the sharp end poking through the back of her neck, blood dripping from the tip.
“One down, one to go.”
Leone smirked at the male who was frozen where he stood. From where Leone stood, it seemed the monster was deciding whether to charge or flee. Not a smart move on his part because unlike the vampire, the one hunting him had made his decision long ago. Leo took to a charge and at that moment, the vampire chose to charge in the opposite direction.
“That’s fine. I enjoy a good chase.”
As he ran, Leo tugged at the cord and the wooden stake ripped off the vamp’s head and he once again held it in his hands. Just as the vamp took a sharp turn into the trees surrounding the central clearing the park, Leo kept going straight. He kept running until he cut off the vamp as they came across each other’s paths yet again. Leo gave the vampire a harsh roundhouse kick that sent the fleeing bloodsucker crashing through two trees and severely damaging the foundation of another.
Leo knew this was a successful kick when the screams of the vampire could be heard and that sent a rush of adrenaline more than any drug he occasionally bought from a street dealer in Harlem could ever give him. It filled him up so much that he took his sweet time walking past the carnage he created. Once the moment of admiring the work his powerful kick created, he was standing in front of the vampire and it was quite the unfortunate sight for the undead human-killer.
“What a nasty sight,” Leo feigned a concerned tone. He looked down at the lower left side of the vampire’s abdomen that had a piece of wood sticking out, blood slowly gushing out. “And to make matters worse, the sun is starting to rise.”
It was on that exact moment that the sounds of burning flesh and agonized screams filled the air. Leone could end it right now, but, as he thought about it, he decided he wouldn’t. And despite the pain, the vampire still tried to get as much shade as he could (of what remained).
As Leo proceeded to walk away, he felt a tug on his jacket. “Please, don’t leave me like this!” The vampire pleaded with him.
Whatever it was, whether the touch of a vampire set him off or whether it was the pathetic pleas for a swift death, but he turned back to the burning corpse of a vampire and smiled such a sinister smile. “Don’t worry. You’re not very strong. I’m sure you’ll be dead in less than three minutes.”
That was the last time Leone Deveraux would see that vampire. He calmly packed up his equipment, put it in his red and black 2019 Dodge Challenger and drove off back home. After such a fun night, he’s earned a couple of hours of rest.
Ti m e ☠ 9:00-9:45am Lo c a t i o n ☠ Brooklyn, New York City, NY State — Leone's Apartment In t e r a c t i o n s ☠ Two Latina Bitches @Hoekage
He was deep in his slumber, the cozy fabric of his bed making whatever dream Leo was having a memorable one. Unfortunately, there was a banging on his door that, after the twentieth knock, Leo had enough and jumped up to his feet, a series of curses being muttered under his breath as he grabbed the nearest pair of sweatpants and tanktop to open his door.
“Did you seriously need to knock so many times?” Leo asked, annoyed.
“I’ll knock as many times as I need to. You’re late on your rent, Leone!” Candice Garcia yelled to his face, her Bronx accent ever present in her voice.
He was unamused. Not because she was yelling at him. He couldn’t care less how loud she huffed and puffed. If he was being honest, watching her do that only increased the strange arousal he felt for the curvy landlord he paid monthly payments to. Even as she continued to blab her way through several unfriendly words directed at him, Leo kept smiling, though, after a while, he walked away and towards his kitchen.
“Where are you going!?” Candice yelled, making her way into his apartment and closing the door behind him. “Well, I’m waiting!” She demanded an answer as she stood in front of his countertop.
“I'm going to make a pot of coffee. Want some?”
“You’re not gonna be able to get your way out of paying your rent this time, Leo! It’s not going to be like last time!”
He chose not to respond. Instead, he poured some coffee beans into a spice grinder and grounded enough for two cups, and transferring it to his coffee brewer. As he ran water into the pot, he filled it up enough to make two cups and poured it into the water holder and started to brew it.
Turning around, Leo sighed. “So, how much do I supposedly owe you? I paid you three hundred just two weeks ago.”
“The noise complaints haven’t stopped, Leone.”
He laughed at her comment.
“It’s not funny!”
“Oh, of course, it isn’t. Nothing funny about it at all.” Despite his words, he was still chuckling.
“This is a joke to you, isn’t it?” She was livid and the fact that Candice wasn’t letting up wasn’t favorable. “You’re my only tenant that hasn’t been kicked out when they didn’t pay their rent on time.”
“Well, go on, Candice. If you want to kick me out of your building, then kick me out!” He dared her to call his bluff.
As silence took over, he laughed victoriously. “And that’s what I thought. Truth is, you know you love having me around. I’m the only one who has kept those nasty vampires out of this neighborhood. Or, perhaps, there’s another reason why you haven’t given me my eviction notice?” He asked, well more like assumed.
And for the first time since waking him from a deep slumber, Candice Gomez was silent like a mouse. But she quickly regained her composure and spat back at him in full. “You’re crazy! There’s no way you’re that good,” she rolled her eyes, turning away just to hide her blushing cheeks but it was too late: Leone saw them.
And now he was ready for the kill. But first coffee! “It’s done if you want a cup.”
“I guess I can’t turn it down.”
“Black with two creams, right?”
“You remembered?” She asked, seemingly surprised.
“There are some things worth remembering.”
And there was his charm. He handed her the black mug as he took his typical maroon one. When she took it, they exchanged a glance. For a moment, something was in the air. He knew what it was but Candice seemed unsure based off of how her lips were moving. If only it lasted a second longer, then maybe something else would’ve happened other than the interrupting beep from his phone bringing Candice out of the trance she was momentarily in.
“Y-you should probably get that..” Candice slowly backed away.
And there came the disappointed frown as a reaction to a text he received from Khione. Great timing as always, K.
To: Boss Lady
You have the worst timing, you know. But fine. I’ll be there. You better do the same. ;)
That short text resulted in a smiling Leo and he pocketed his phone. He would eventually bring himself to look at Candice yet again. "You never said how much I owe you."
“Six hundred for your rent and two-fifty to buy you a month of no problems from the complaints given towards you.”
Shit. That’s a lot. Leone sighed. “Fine, I’ll have it to you by the end of the week.”
“You better or I will evict you, asswipe!”
As she took a sip of her coffee, Candice walked towards his door and he followed, if not enjoying the view of her backside, which he knew she knew he was staring, yet she did little to stop him. She quickly turned around as she was in his doorway and gave him a quick kiss. “What was that for?” He asked though he wasn’t complaining.
“For the coffee.” She then walked away. “And stop staring at my ass!” She yelled out moments before Leone closed the door.
Now that he was finally free of the annoying and incredibly seductive Candice, he had a few things to decide. He had to figure out what he was going to wear to Club Platinum tonight, whether he was going to go back to sleep or power through the day, and how the fuck he was going to explain the mess he left in Central Park. Surely, there had to have been some within the Order who noticed the unsubtle slaying of two vampires.
Leone supposed he’d deal with that when it was brought to his attention. For now, he had to make himself something to eat and catch some more Z’s. And so he would. For an hour, he prepared an elaborate breakfast spread full of egg whites, potatoes, various peppers, and a couple of freshly made tortillas. A good end to a shitty morning.
With a thin paper cigarette between his lips — lips that were made for kissing — Emiliano Esposito strode to the left of Niklaus Tepes, while Octavius Zeno took to the right. A friend of young royals, it seemed. Any other day, his shirt would be pressed and tucked in. Any other day, his hair would be slicked and combed. Any other day, he wouldn’t look like walking death.
Today was not that day.
While his eyes were a well of jet black ink, showing little to no soul, his token jester smirk never faded. Last night was eventful in the sense that, yes, he did have a good fuck, but boring because — no one died. At least not on the island. It was unfortunate that the only real thing that brought him pleasure nowadays was violence and blood. Without it, what was the point of living such a long, tedious life? He hadn’t even hit one hundred and fifty yet, and here he was: bored out of his mind and giving zero fucks.
A small trail of smoke slithered out from the corner of his mouth as it coiled its way to the wood ceiling. He recalled a conversation with his father the day prior, before he got intoxicated with some random vampiress, whose name he purposely chose to forget. A conversation that led to a manila envelope filled with his new assignments being turned into ash in the music room fireplace. Jobs that surrounded a few faces that he needed to investigate. For the family, but truly? For the Mob. Always remember, burn after reading. That was neither here nor there. He was famished and he could imagine his friends were too. With a side glance, he silently observed their expressions, as they continued onward to the meeting hall.
At the center of the trio stood the youngest Tepes royal, looking much more like the prince of drunken regrets than one of a vampiric legacy. The gods only knew why his father had gathered them all on this island, might as well enjoy it before shit got boring. Or weird. Probably a little bit of both, knowing daddio’s crusty-ass traditions. While he might look like he just rolled out of bed from a one night stand, the clothes he wore were designer and cut slim in all the right places. If you asked him, the wrinkles and slightly dishevelled appearance added a certain amount of mysterious sex appeal.
His nose twitched at the scent of smoke as Niko turned his mismatched gaze to his left. “Filthy habit…” He said judgmentally, clearly feeling a bit grumpy from his hangover. “Makes you smell like ass, bro.” After adding insult to injury, he turned his eyes to Tavi and smirked. “Any bets on why my kingly father has gathered every vampire and their mother here?” Bets were a common theme among the three, as they were all gambling men. What better way to pass the endless time than to feign taking risks?
The oldest of the Trio of Perpetual Regrets could only supply a boyish smirk as he glanced over to the bitching prince on his left. A chuckle left Octavius’ lips as he slung a lazy arm over Niko’s shoulder, “Lighten up, pretty boy, it’s not our fault you can’t hold your liquor.” The tease was light and aimed at his obvious sour mood as a fat cheek was pinched and Tavi was dancing away to dodge any rich boy limbs thrown his way.
With stretched arms overhead, the disheveled designer shirt from last night lifted over the waistband of his equally wrinkled, and expensive, jeans. The party last night was everything the gluttons for all things sinful could have ever hoped for, that much was evident in the way all three of them trudged down the hallways in all their ‘hot-mess’ glory. The French doors to the dining room were before them, and Octavius found himself already searching through the glass panes for the princess he had snuck away with in the close of the wild night. Instead his green eyes found the unamused face of the missing part of the Tepes family disappointment duo.
“My bet is on our favorite little Princess knowing something.”
“That’s gay, dude. That bitch always knows something.” Milo scoffed at the vague, open-ended ‘guess’. Tavi, my man, you can do better. Blowing smoke enthusiastically, and on purpose, in front of Niko, just so he would walk right into it, the Italian Dog shrugged, “Watch. It’ll be something with becoming more cordial with humans, since, y’know, they’re our greatest resource.”
With a deadpan glare, he reached for the knobs to open the door for the princes (or well, throw it open), “How much you want to bet we’ll have to educate them and make them ‘less afraid’?” The most recent years Dmitri Tepes, also known as ‘The King’, and his council had revised the treaty, so it wasn’t unlikely that this meeting focused on the weaker race.
“Nah…” Niklaus dismissed the notion whilst shaking his head. He continued as Milo dramatically flew upon the doors. “He’d never want that.” Niko confirmed under his breath, as a subject matter expert on things that Dmitri Tepes did not want. Speaking of which, if looks could kill, Niko would have a spear between his eyes from his father’s disappointed gaze. Ah yes, just another day in paradise, disappointing daddy… business as usual. Klaus proudly made his way to the seat reserved for him beside the rest of his timely family and kissed his gorgeous looking sister on her cheek before sitting down.
The King’s eyes weren’t the only ones that settled on the rebel prince and his band of merry men. The whole damn room was watching the spectacle, and all of the combined centuries and millennia worth of vampiric judgement sitting around the table weighed down on the boys. Among these elders was a french ebony-haired femme fatale. Béatrix de la Croix sipped at a steaming mug of blood-spiked coffee — it’s the only way she could stomach the human beverage — her icy gaze watching Niklaus. It was bad enough that his insensitive father decided to have this particular meetup long after the sun had risen, but of course the prodigal son had to show up tardy as well. No consideration for the Turned, even if they could be twice the age and thrice the wisdom of Purebloods. The heavens only know why she was called here in the first place, surely Dmitri would move on now that the delinquents had arrived.
While the ice queen assessed the trios’ etiquette, beside her with crossed legs, a slim fit floral blazer jacket, that had a crisp pattern as well as the finest premium, polyester-cotton, Sebastian Tepes, one of two brothers to Dmitri, scrutinized their presentation and mien. Intentionally, he lifted his shades to look them up and down. Their physiques. Their walk. Their attire.
For those who did know Sebastian, he was the Madonna of the vampire world. He did what he wanted, he said what he needed to, and he looked good while doing both. He may be ancient, but he was fine as hell. Octavius looked like he was a frat boy on spring break, Emiliano looked like he was roadkill, and his nephew, well, at least he was wearing Chanel. Still, for two princes and their trusted, future consultant, they were: “Rubbish. Absolute trash.” Sebastian was never one to be quiet about his opinion. “Was it forgotten that as Royals, and as associates to the leading families, that their faces not only affect themselves?” He wasn’t asking anyone in particular.
Rolling his eyes in annoyance, while his sunglasses dropped and covered his eyes once more, he reached for his blood induced Mimosa and lifted it up toward a most respected Tepes princess, “Thank you, Kasania, for being the true beauty this morning.”
Kasania’s eyes hadn’t moved from the trio since they made their lesser-than-grand entrance, unfashionably late. Whether the three of them didn’t care, or were just idiots, she had her bets on both, they only added insult to injury in their unbecoming appearances. The warmth and playful island breeze of their location seemed to have inspired Octavius’ and her own fashion choices, though in very opposite ways. Octavius looked the part of a tourist, while she looked every bit the princess in a white chiffon dress that garnered the high praise from the King of Fashion beside her.
The judgemental gaze had finished its trip over the ‘Tourist’ and shifted to the last, and very much not the least, he’d remind you of that, to enter the dining room. The first thing she noticed was the cigarette in his mouth and exhaled an audible sigh, “Seeing as how you were already late, you didn’t think to perhaps take an extra few minutes to look more put together?” The question was aimed at the three of them but she couldn’t help the amusement that pulled at the corners of her mouth at how bad Milo looked, “You look like shit.” she mouthed out of sight of Dmitri’s clearly annoyed gaze. Milo chose to respond with a shrug. He was given a day off for once, of course he was going to look like shit the next morning.
“It’s more than faces that matter, Uncle.” Niklaus retorted to the sassy elder turncoat. Sebastian preferred the pretty as a picture ideals of the Artois enough to turn away his own family. Niko might be a rebel, but at least he wasn’t a blood traitor. What did the words of such a man mean anyway? Nothing… “But if they did, I think mine looks just fine.” Clearly it meant enough to inspire a salty response, though…
It did but Sebastian bit his tongue to refrain from disrupting the morning peace, or was incapable of opening his mouth. He immediately darted a glare toward his brother, Viktor. That bastard. Almost criminal with how powerful and cruel he looked, Viktor Tepes strode from the bar, holding a brandy, and with prominent steps, made his way to the podium, disregarding the three boys as he coldly passed them. With his back facing the crowd, he leaned in close to the King and whispered something inaudible to anyone else. The two men looked at each other knowingly and then Viktor proceeded to stand to the side of his brother, facing the others, composed and calm. A mysterious wind forced the doors closed, locking everyone inside. All those that couldn’t make it would be dealt with personally, later.
The unamused gaze of Dmitri lingered on the table where his youngest children and poor choice of friends sat before scanning over the rest of the room. There were vampires from all over New York City in attendance this morning. If the time and size of this particular private island had allowed, he would have called on a more expansive crowd. But for the sake of this experiment, the vampires of New York would do just fine.
A cleared throat precursored the deep booming voice of their King as he finally addressed them all.
“Good morning, I must first extend my gratitude to all of you for making time in your busy schedules to accept my humble invitation. From the way some of you look this morning I can assume the festivities last night were more than enjoyable.” Dmitri’s mouth pulled into a slight grin that did not reach his eyes, an expression Kasania was all too familiar with and knew she would hear all of his complaints later.
The King stepped around the podium and gestured to the room, ”As you all know, I ascended to the throne after successfully negotiating terms for peaceful coexistence with the humans. A change that was not won without long days and hard fights, and still faces some issues today, but has since greatly benefited our society. I am aware of the influence my family, and the other two royal families, have on the success of our children and the children of our loyalists. While no parent ever wants to see a child of theirs struggle, and definitely not in the case of an endless life, I see great potential in allowing one to learn from their failures. As such, I have gathered the blessings from the elders and current leaders of the houses to present you all with this challenge. Starting from the time you leave this island, whether it be tonight or sometime tomorrow, you will no longer reap the benefits of the luxury you were born into. Instead, you will be building your own houses as potential rulers, attracting your own followers and navigating through your failures and successes. I am not a man to ignore the achievements of another, as such, the house that hosts the most impressive achievements shall be recognized as a true household and have a place among the Royal Houses. The laws and traditions of our society have remained mostly unchanged for millennia, I was the first to enact a change, and now I extend the chance to you all. Create partnerships, teams, alliances amongst yourselves and with whomever you believe will help pave the way to success. I look forward to seeing all that you will come to accomplish. Now, please, enjoy your breakfasts and the rest of your time here. I have business I need to attend to, thank you.” The King gave a short bow to the silent room before making a brisk exit, leaving them all to digest the information. Viktor followed after.
“Waht.” Milo dropped his cigarette into a glass of water, trying to comprehend not the information that was given, but his personal dilemma. He was literally given a set of new assignments yesterday. Did they expect him to do this and that without a place to crash at?! His phone vibrated, as if someone was reading his thoughts but it was just his fuck buddy.
To: Whore Busy.
Soon after, he received another text, on his other phone, his business phone, from his father which indeed confirmed he was homeless, he still had to work for the Mob, getting a monthly allowance, and that this was his opportunity to make changes.
“Ah fuck me.”
Niklaus had been leaning back in his chair luxuriously as his father went about giving one of his token monologue-esque speeches. While he was doing a good job of giving off the air of not giving a fuck, he was very much so listening. Once King Dmitri got to the climax of his point, Niko’s back stiffened. His eyes shot wide in shock, meeting with his sister’s, giving away that in the grand scheme of things… he was just a child. A spoiled child. “Even… us?” He whispered, his tone cut with the pain of the abandonment he’d always feared. Did he just get cut off? Where was he going to LIVE?!
🗡️ May 16 9:30AM->9:50 AM The Loft Interacting with: Khione @Hoekage, Becky [NPC] 🗡️
It was too early. It had to be too early. There was no other reason for the crustiness in the eyes. The quick rollover to bury the head in the pillow. The taste of cigarettes and Baccardi 151 in the mouth. It all added up. It was a Saturday morning after all. There was absolutely no need to do anything. Just roll over and tell the day to fuck off and.... shit. Someone else was here in this bed.
That quick realization was enough to jostle Natalia Pereira out of her slumbering state. She did her best not to bolt up immediately, lest she alert the other person in the bed that there was activity. As she did her best to pry her eyes open to assess the situation, she tried to remember what had happened last night. All right, all right, what did I do again? It was an off-night. We weren't booked, so I decided to drink. Went to Envy, made sure no one getting any ideas with Mina, talked up... She looked down at the long-haired head still resting on the pillow next to her. Nat craned her neck to get a look but couldn't tell if she inadvertently broken her own loft rule or not. ...someone. Brought them home, and I'm gonna guess since there are clothes all over the floor we had some fun. Ugh. She gave her body a once over to make sure there weren't any bite marks or anything. From a cursory glance, there was nothing fresh. Just the scars from the nights accompanying Khione out when she was learning about the trade. All right, so I probably didn't do anything too stupid. Only one way to make sure though.
Nat slowly eased her way out of the bed, the cold floor offering another wake up call on her bare feet. She shook it off and moved over to the window, which currently had its blinds drawn to prevent as much sunlight as possible from getting into the main bedroom of the loft. That was going to change soon. Nat quickly shifted the blinds to arouse her unknown bedmate from their slumber, either via pain or ... well less pain.
The person in the bed groaned slightly before sitting up and rubbing her eyes. Well, the lack of screaming would indicate that I did not bed a vampire, so that's a plus. The lack of clothes indicated that Nat had not broken the loft's "No Guys" rule, which was a relief. Guess I would have remembered if a guy actually managed to talk his way into my pants, since that never happens. As the girl with the dyed purple hair shook her head, Nat looked down at her previous night's companion. "Hey you, sorry to offer the early wake-up service, but I got stuff to do, and I figure it's best I don't leave you alone in here to nick all my shit. So you gotta hit the road."
"Already?" The young woman looked around before grabbing her bra off the floor. "Shit, I figured you'd at least get me a coffee or something before you kicked me out."
Nat thought for a second. If her little sister wasn't up and about making noise at this time, it likely meant she was out during her usual Saturday morning café run. That meant she would have her usual tasty treats coming soon. But there would be nothing for this girl. "Hey look..." She was drawing a blank on this girl's name. Did it start with a B? Why would she be with a girl whose name started with a B? "...Britney."
"Really? OK. Well, whatever, Becky. Look, last night was great and all. And if you need the money for a cab, I got ya covered. But I have some important stuff to do. You know how music labels are, right? Of course you don't." Nat grabbed her own pair of jeans off the floor, sliding them on as she searched for a top. "But hey, you come to Envy enough, you'll probably see me there again at some point. We can hit things off again then." She punctuated this last notion with a wink. She didn't need to know how rare it was for her to be at Envy and not be working.
"OK sure. I have money for a cab. And... you have my number, right? I mean, we did exchange numbers?"
Nat subtly rolled her eyes. "Sure, doll. I'll be in there under Dagger. Look me up when you are back in New York." Odds were Becky was one of those commuter-type party girls. In from Babylon or Massapequa or something stupid on Long Island. Nat found Becky's pants on the floor and tossed them to the girl in order to hasten the expedition process.
"DARLINGS I'M HOMEEEE~"
That sound meant that the clock had run out on Becky's chance to leave without attracting attention. Nat sighed and slid a worn t-shirt over her body. "Well, sounds like you do get to meet a roommate on the way out. Consider yourself lucky, Bex."
"OK, well I think I have everything..."
"Well, if you don't, I'll mail it to you. Let's go."
Natalia quickly ushered the still groggy woman out of the master of the three-bedroom loft that was a steal at the price they were paying for. She had hoped Khione had ventured into the living room area, but nope. Still in the entry way. That meant she would see the results of last night's visit to Envy.
"Oh, hey Khi," Natalia said non-chalantly. "Don't mind the young lady here. She was just leaving. Isn't that right, doll? Becky made a move to answer, but Nat cut her off. "Yes. Yes she is. All right talk to you later, doll." Nat quickly pushed what she could only assume were Becky's shoes into her hands and sent her out the door, locking it behind the one-night stand. She grinned at the veteran vampire hunter. "So, uh, I think Mina is out getting the usual, so you know, I hope you're hungry and in the mood for a recharge after... I'm going to assume you were out beating something up? Something inanimate at this time in the morning?"
𝓣𝐢𝐦𝐞 ✿ Out of the house since 7 𝒜ℳ @ Comfort from 8:30 to 9:45 𝒜ℳ Seven minute walk back to her place, arriving @ 9:52 𝒜ℳ 𝓛𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 ✿ Streets of NYC, having left Comfort → The Loft 𝓘𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 ✿ The Sunset → Her roommates & Becky @Hoekage@NeoAC
Some people will leave a mark on this world. Some people stood out in a crowd of thousand. Some people were simply... beautiful. Mina Pereira couldn't put her finger on it, but she left Cafe Comfort thinking back at the stranger, now acquaintance, she had met. A young girl with the sunset in her hair. A smoldering hot teenager that seemed to be as passionate about photography as Mina was with music and dance. She made a new friend.
With a wide smile on her face and a bounce to her step, she pranced down the side walk, her hips swaying side to side. Her plastic shopping bag guarded a white box of pastries (double dipped chocolate donut, pumpkin scone with cinnamon butter, banana bread, and a blueberry muffin), all the while her french manicured hands held a tray of drinks. Large coffee with milk and two sugars for her sister, an Iced Americano with almond milk for Khione, a Mocha Frap for Becky, and an Iced Passion Fruit tea for herself.
She cherished her morning solitude. It was the main time she could be with herself, before she conquered her day. Having woken up later than usual, Mina was just happy she was able to get a stroll in. She would've went to the park, but it was blocked off by police. The moment she saw the flashing lights, she turned the other way. There was no time to get depressed. Whatever happened would break her heart. It would surely get on the tellybox within the next hour or two.
Focusing her thoughts on the young dreamer she met, keeping her energy levels at a blissful calm, Mina smiled to herself, incredibly intrigued. Her intuition told her this was someone she didn't want to forget. Someone worth knowing. Someone she could help. They had only met briefly and yet the bubbly musician, whose token feature was her golden and full of life locks, couldn't help but wonder the possibilities of their potential friendship. The possibility of her finding out the damage this girl hid so well with a smile. The possibility of them finding solace with each other because they shared kindred spirits. The possibility of her having a best friend that was outside her world within The Loft. How wonderful would that be?
She was over analyzing this girl already. She couldn't help it! This was how the well sheltered Mina coped when she knew socially she was missing something. Friends, lovers, enemies. Really, she only had Natalia and Khione, and even then, she couldn't fully understand them because of how much life they've lived in comparison to her. Her employers and coworkers from her various jobs didn't count. Neither did Mrs. Mitchell, their fellow landlord and owner to Spin City, count. Whether it was because Mina was weird and people had a hard time accepting odd personalities, or because her sister was threateningly over protective, she could only wonder about the what ifs...
"Pandora..." Mina softly whispered to herself.
This was incredibly strange – to be completely fascinated by a single person when their meeting didn't hold much significance besides a simple exchange:
As the sun peered into the shop window, hitting a perfect spot on the peach wall to give Mina a lovely vibrancy and radiance, she took in the smell of espresso, cinnamon rolls, and baking bread. The door was propped open so the scent of the baked goods could flood out and fill the outside area. There was a clean, sweet, and yeasty aroma that warmed even the coldest of hearts.
Before her roommates woke, she liked to spend some of her early morning here, reading a good book and listening to music on her MP3 player. Mina had been rehearsing sweet vibrations and poetic words in her head, only her left earbud in, when a whispering meadow broke her concentration.
"Can I take your picture?"
Mina, whose soft, thick blonde curls lightened at its tips, and blue gaze spoke nothing but soul, glowed when she looked up smiling, absentmindedly turning to the next page of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The teenager confidently standing before her didn't speak loudly. Even so, it was enough to grab the blonde's attention. The Firecracker's voice reminded her of a finely tuned acoustic guitar. Such a mesmerizing tune too. "'Cuse me?" There was a moment of bewilderment in Mina's face. Her lost gaze surveyed the stranger's disposition. She found herself immediately captivated.
"Oh... sorry. I should've introduced myself first. My name is Pandora–"That's different... and cute. I like it."–I'm building my portfolio for Parsons, and I can't help but think you'd be a perfect model."Come again? Mina, a model? Well, she was an upcoming musician and her and her sister were bound to have higher budget photo shoots sooner or later. Still, was she really that recognizably pretty? To where someone would just walk into a cafe and notice her? "I have a fashion blog, but my portfolio is more focused on capturing beauty in everyday life." Yes. Mina. People see you.
"That's kind of neat! Is photography... your dream? Sorry if that's a dumb question. I'm just..." Surprised. Surprised she was actually approached at one of her favorite spots, out of the countless times she's been here, by someone this eye-catching nonetheless.
"Mina." She closed her book and stood up, so that they were now talking on the same level. "It's really nice to meet you, Miss Pandora." Twiddling her thumbs, she wondered if this was the part where they shake hands. WHY WAS SHE SO AWKWARD?! ALSO, was she a lesbian and didn't know? Or was she just naturally drawn to this dynamite teen? Because Mina couldn't take her eyes off her. She had never seen someone so fascinatingly peculiar before.
The unnatural redhead raised an eyebrow at the warmth emitting from the bottle of Sunshine. Letting out a delightful chuckle, Pandora noted out loud, "Mina, like Wilhelmina Harker."Maybe? Isn't that from Bram Stoker's novel? Pandora nodded to herself, as if she could read Mina's mind (she couldn't, it was just good timing). Genuinely and passionately, she gave her response, as she held her camera that was hanging off her, by a strap, "And yeah, it is. My dream, I mean. It's my way of showing how rich the world is. I want people to see that I'm not afraid to fall in love with my subject. No matter the differences. I'm here to savor life intensely, y'know? Every second, minute, and hour of it." And she hoped that her pictures showed exactly that. A world where supernatural and humans could truly, and purely, coexist.
"Wow." Such profound words for a girl who looked like she had yet reached her twenties.
"...what? Am I talking too much?" Pandora anxiously moved up and down on her tiptoes. We do the same thing!"I get like that some–"
"Oh no, you're fine! I'm just in awe with how eloquent you talk. You know what? Of course you can take my picture and if you ever need a model again, here's my number." Pulling out a pen, out of her backpack purse, she scribbled with big, cutesy cursive her digits (she forgot her flip phone at home). "This is my way of showing my appreciation for you being so bold. It's refreshing and I'm flattered!"
"Really?" The girl that rocked orange and had an enchanting attitude gleamed, obviously proud of her success. Her hazel locked with Mina's blue. Seemingly, there were no ulterior motives.
"Mhm." Reaching out, with her number on a napkin in hand, the shining musician, The Scarlet in The Scarlet Dagger, innocently giggled, "Really. You made my day."
Walking up the stairs, from the record store to The Loft, wishing she didn't have so much to carry so she could enter through the fire escape, Mina announced her arrival, while nearing the entrance, "Natty! Kiki! I got goooooooodies!" Only to stop in her tracks. "Oh? Is Becky leaving already? I got her things!" Mina lifted up the tray of drinks and gestured with her eyes toward the plastic bag hooked on her arm.
Politely, she squeezed between the human barricade at the door, "Pardon me, I'm just going to... place these here." After resting the tray and bag on the side table, that usually held their keys, mail, and landline, she huffed in relief, "Home sweet home! I need to shower... I have to be at work by noon." By work, she was referring to her bridal sales job.
As per usual, Mina was in her own world, missing all the signs and social cues, "We still performing tonight?" There were times they got the unfortunate call of their gig getting cancelled or needing to be postponed because someone overbooked. Hopefully tonight wasn't that kind of night because Mina was itching to sing. "Oh, and something bad probably happened at Central Park. There were coppers everywhere! I was too scared to check it out."
The hallway echoed with footsteps as a lone figure walked along its path, each step more dignified than the last as though each foot were critiquing the other per pace. Alphaeus Alaric, glided down the halls to the conference chamber, just as he had many times before, his steely gaze facing forward, only for it to wander occasionally to his wrist watch, mindful of his timing. The night had indeed been long, but not for the same reasons as some of the other 'honored guests' among the estate. No, Alaric had been carefully minding the shipments of various 'products' just as he has always done, with a glass of Merlot in hand, his other hand writing meticulous notes, occasionally shifting to his keyboard to crunch numbers and balance the books. The work of an accountant, money handler, what have you, is never ending and simply cannot enjoy the pleasantries of the flesh and drink; though considering what was in his glass, he didn't really need any more excitement.
Regardless of the previous night's events, when the call was sounded for an immediate meeting, Alaric simply logged what he had done and begun making his way towards his Lord and family at the meeting hall. As he approached the doors, he adjusted the tie to his 3-Piece Suit pulled his leather gloves taut, not being one to dirty his hands or anything else that he potentially touched and with a firm push from his palms, opened the door. As he stepped inside he gazed around the room, noting anyone that was and wasn't present. While primarily most were of Tepes decent, there were still a few others that had yet to arrive, though having checked his watch earlier, it was clear that there was still time. As they say, to be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late...well was unacceptable and to Dmitri, even punishable.
As he strode into the room he was sure to give a brief greeting to those who were currently available "Ladies, Gentleman," before turning to Dmitri, right hand over his heart, the left extended out, Alaric bowed as was tradition, "My Lord." Before standing upright and taking his seat near the front, waiting patiently for the rest of the guests to file in so that the meeting could take place. As the minutes ticked by, more and more of the vampires came filing in and though some were pushing their luck as he kept a close eye on his watch, none was more insulting than Dmitri's own children filing in disheveled and ragged from the previous night of shenanigans. Alaric's brows furrowed in contempt at the Tepes children; audacious, belligerent and spoiled brats as they were. How it took Dmitri any resolve to not rip their spines from their disrespectful bodies was beyond Alaric, but he had to respect his Lord's patience if nothing else.
Once the children arrived the doors were shut, and without further ado the meeting began...or rather the announcement. What Alaric heard was both a surprise and a rather opportune moment. Based on the situation, the children were being thrown to the figurative wolves, they wouldn't have Daddy's income to sustain their rather extravagant lifestyle, they would be on their own. Had this happened centuries ago, they perhaps would have managed, but in the 21st century, with the economy at an all time high, and technology within it's bosom, how would these poor souls survive. He saw all hope fade from their eyes and color drain from their faces, as if that alone was hard enough to believe a thing. Alaric's mind was full of possibilities, himself having been a vampire lord only for his reputation to crumble due to Tepes rule, he himself couldn't rise back to power, but perhaps through his children, he could make a fierce and frozen revenge scheme. It would require time, assets, things he didn't fully possess but...he could make it happen, now however was not the time, he needed this new development to sink in to the princes. For now, there was one thing he could assist within their fall and rise to power; speaking directly to at least one Prince's father.
As soon as Dmitri stood and exited the room, Alaric followed and inquired, "My Lord, considering this recent...development, what would you have me do with your child's rather lackluster accounts and finances?"
❦ Time ❦Evening, May 15th❦ Location ❦The Bar❦ Interactions ❦Jack Graves (NPC), Octavius Zeno (@Hoekage)
To: Tavi Zeno Delivered: 4 hours ago Like everything else here, the drinks at the bar are free too. Come check it out!
To: Tavi Zeno Delivered: 2 Hours Ago Hey. Where've you been?
Two Bloody Marys (extra bloody, how she liked it) in, Andrie's phone chimed from her bag. Based on the ring tone, she could tell it was her work phone. Never a fan of letting her work life mix with her personal life, Andrie had two phones she fielded texts from. Her work phone only had generic ring tones for her clients, whereas her personal phone had ring tones by contact, so she could tell who was messaging or calling without even looking at her phone.
She almost missed it, as she was busy flirting with the bartender, a cute human with a sheepish smile and curly brown hair. Not that she expected it to go anywhere, but she was bored, and had yet to find anyone she recognized who wasn't already preoccupied. It had been two hours since she'd texted Octavius off of her personal phone. Of course, he had yet to respond, so now she was drinking alone, like a loser. Typical Tavi. What was so important that he hadn't checked his phone all night? He hadn't even unlocked his phone screen to take a picture? If he had her notifications muted she'd personally break that pretty face of his. She contemplated sending another text, but in the end her sense of dignity won out and she took the phone off the bar and put it back in her handbag. Maybe she'd be less tempted that way. She fished around in her bag and pulled out her work phone, protected by a sleek, professional black case.
Most of the contacts in her work phone were of Zeno blood or Zeno affiliates, seeing as they were the ones who gave her her assignments. There was the occasional unaligned person, but no Artois or Tepes blood or followers. Andrie imagined that her employers wouldn't love her working with their political competition, and after all it had taken to get her where she was today, she wasn't too keen on crossing them. At any second, her legs could be swept out from under her, and she knew that. Either way, there wasn't much reason to stray from the Zeno family. She had friends there, and her employers always made sure the money made its way into her bank account.
The drink in her hand was set back on the bar with a rough clink, a little bit sloshing over the sides. Stray drops ran down the glass and soaked into the napkin she'd put the drink on. Of course on the day she was invited to an all expenses paid trip to the Vampire king's own private island she was ditched, and then had to take an assignment. This was supposed to be fun, but right now it was anything but.
From: Robert Price Received: 1 minute ago 'There is a Jack Graves at your location. He needs some convincing to close a deal with one of my businesses. Show Mr. Graves some Zeno hospitality.' Attachment: 1 Image
Andrie couldn't help but mirthlessly snicker at that. It was a cold sound, not friendly in the slightest. The bartender turned around, a question on his face, but she waved him off. Hospitality. Her cold blue grey eyes narrowed at the phone screen as if it had personally offended. Calling what they were asking of her hospitality was an almost offending attempt at subtlety or modesty. Rarely did Andrie get a request for an advisory conversation over drinks, or a round or two in the boxing ring as opposed to in bed. It wasn't that she disliked her job, Andrie had no qualms about servicing her clients. She slept around easily, knowing each and every client was screened thoroughly before sent her way. How they got them to agree to that, she wasn't sure, and she wasn't concerned. There wasn't any danger to her job, but Andrie did feel she had more to offer than convincing pillow talk. It wasn't her place to say so, though. The offers were never demands, more firm requests, which made Andrie feel a little better about things. Nevertheless, she always did as she was asked, which made her one of the Zenos' most frequent employees.
It did help that Andrie was also very good at her job. To put it simply, it was hard to want to say no to what Andrie asked, especially with a bit of convincing. The Zenos definitely took notice of this, and eventually none of them were above calling in favors from her, whether with a repeating client or with a fresh face. Andrie had a way of keeping them coming back, for seconds, thirds, and so on.
As if sensing her hesitation, Andrie's phone chimed again. The notification was from a different app, the one she managed her transactions from. $800 had been transferred directly to her bank account from a user called 'Don't Make Me Ask Again'.
To: Robert Price Delivered: Now Classy. I'm on it.
❦ Time ❦May 16th, 7:00am → 9:40am❦ Location ❦Jack Graves' Lodging → The Grand Hall❦ Interactions ❦Jack Graves (NPC)
When she woke up, there was no confusion as to where she was, or what had happened last night. The 'day after confusion' was for rookies, and she was anything but. She normally didn't stay after, but she had been so exhausted, and he'd asked her to stay. It sounded like he would beg her if he had to, and Andrie really didn't want to deal with that. Besides, she was unemotional, not heartless.
Now, though, she was kind of regretting it. His arm was wrapped around her torso, and she was pulled up against his chest, her head tucked under his chin. It was surprisingly warm and comfortable. She almost wanted to stay like that a little bit longer, keep the fake feeling of intimacy and trust. But, she had little time to enjoy the moment. She needed a shower, and she wanted to be out of here before he woke up. She'd successfully convinced him to close the deal, so her job here was done. She gently disentangled himself from his limbs, rolling off the bed and grabbing the handbag and shoes she'd tucked out of the way under the bed.
A hot shower later, she pulled on last night's clothes and returned to her room. She needed to change before breakfast with the king this morning. She blow dried her hair, put on her makeup, and grabbed a blue dress she'd hung when she'd arrived. She made it to the Grand Hall just as people were beginning to sit down. She stationed herself at one of the Zeno tables near the sides of the room.
When Tavi arrived, late as Andrie expected, she made a point of not looking at him. Besides, Dmitri Tepes looked like he was getting ready to address the invitees. Maybe they'd figure out what they'd been called here for. She couldn't imagine it was just for pleasantries. With a short speech, he disappeared from the hall, tailed by one of his brothers.
As far as she was concerned, Andrie would land on her feet. She already had her own place, and as long as she could keep working for the Zenos, she had a pretty lucrative job. But, she wasn't quite sure she was the kind of person who would be the head of the a Royal House. She'd never even imagined she'd have this opportunity. Did she even want to be a Royal House ruler?
Andrie settled on figuring it out later. Part of her wanted to text Octavius about how crazy this whole idea was, but he had yet to text her back since last night. No way was she going to text him first. Was it too early to start drinking?
Now that she thought about it, though, this party would be a perfect opportunity to meet new people and potential allies. She scanned the room, trying to see if she recognized anyone besides the Zenos.
Twirling a well worn joker card between her well manicured fingers, Avyanna watched with curiousity as the others began to file into the room; all vampires apparently, some of them seemingly disheveled from the party from the night before, one she had chose not to partake in, for the sake of...learning. Information gathering to be more exact. Or just spying if one would want to be more blunt. Of course, no matter what it was called, Avy had a goal, one that made this trip much more exciting. Now, fate had always been a touchy subject to some, but if this invintation wasn't destiny, she didn't know what was. It had basically carved the path forward, and all that was left to was for her to walk down it and watch the world burn behind her. Though that was just a tad dramatic, even on her part.
Currently, she sat futher from the others, not wishing to draw attention to herself as she slowly peered across the room at each individual, her arms crossed, evaluating. She had learned about the houses some time ago, but to be honest, she couldn't care less about them nor their petty affairs with each other, but they happened to be important in the vampire hierarchy, and they had lasted some time throughout history, which happened to have bad reactions to those who were different. The history books proved it. Thus, she did owe them an ounce of respect; not to have any would just be rude at that point, but that didn't mean Avyanna had to bow down to them of course, the very thought of giving her freedom to a "King" or taking orders from someone at all (Ha! Ridiculous!) gave her chills, and a very strong feeling to kick something in anger. But she refrained. In some strange, twisted sense, she actually felt bad for those who belonged to a house; they were figuratively trapped. If they failed this task bestowed on them, great dishonor would follow, well, judging by this latest crew that had just entered the room, they didn't seem to care much about dishonor, let alone how they appeared, though she had to give them props for doing so.
There hadn't been a moments hesitation when accepting to come to the island, this place was extremely luxurious and wealth was definitely not on her side, a more tempting offer couldn't have come. This was her chance. Her chance to show them how much of a bitch she could truly be. She hadn't ever wanted to get caught up in this vampire bullshit; she couldn't have been happier being a mortal human with aging problems. That's what made it fun! The risk of doing everything you possibly can in the smallest amount of time was everything! Do you know how awfully boring it is when you're immortal? The stiffness becomes unbearable and you become stuck in a never ending loop as your mind wastes away in a dark room because god forbid if you even look at the sun you'll combust into ashes! But now-now everything has changed, and for the better too. There will be destruction. There will be chaos. Even if she died after all of it, that's even better. She'd have left her mark, bite mark if you will. And they have it all set up, it was basically hers for the taking.
Now, what was even more interesting was the fact that Daddy Dmitri was cutting everyone off, forcing them into independence and to fend for themself in this cold, cruel world. At this, a small smile began to spread across her lips in amusement, and luckily for her, Avy had always been on her own so this wasn't too bad, but the same couldn't necessarily be said for some of the others that crowded the room, especially the three men who'd walked in basically late, by the look of their faces. Though there were others that looked as if they already had it in the bag, such as Kasania, (Was that her name? Perhaps.) whose stature gave her a much more confident, if not a bit imposing, look. But who caught her attention the most was the gentlemen dressed in black. Now he seemed interesting.
As Dmitri finished his very "inspiring" speech, Avy leaned her head back, taking it all in. Given the circumstance, she could possibly try to create a house of her own, but her status in the vampire world was close to nothing, especially not belonging to a house of her own, but creating an alliance would be so much easier. Chuckling, she shook her head, now curious how the others would take it. All that was left was for her to play along as well. Might as well get involved, or everything would be pointless.
Standing up and letting the chair scratch against the ground, Avy walked over to where the group was, and clearing her throat. Ahem. So every man for himself now, yes? Avyanna, but I go by Avy," giving a smile, greeting them.
Irene woke up, her own silky straight hair knotted within her fist. Slowly untangling her legs from the constrictive duvet she swung herself out of bed and stretched, yawning in the sunlight that filtered in the semi opaque thin curtains. Turning back to the bed and fluffing out the pillows, she straightened out the duvet and sighed before her stomach rumbled in hunger. Irene chuckled at herself. She'd need a proper breakfast but she was too tired to go downstairs, opting instead to call for room service and shuffling over to the phone on the bedside table to do so, rubbing her face with her other hand as she dialled the front counter.
"Hello? Oh hi! Good morning...I'd like to order in room service...Yes, I'm calling from room 320...I'd like to order some pancakes please and a fruit salad?...Would you also mind bringing me an insubordinate amount of maple syrup?...You would? Thank you so much! Goodbye!" Irene hung up on the phone and went to the bathroom, quickly hopping into the icy cold shower and freshening herself up as she waited for the food to arrive. When it finally did she gave a small hurrah, wrapped in the hotel's comfy bathrobe before tucking into the fantastically fluffy pancakes which she doused in piles of syrup, occasionally dropping a fruit into the puddle of sugar she'd made on her plate. As she finished up with breakfast she went to apply makeup, a slick of pink lipstick finishing her look before she pulled on a simple but sweet white gown and diamond earrings. She straightened out her hair as she called her parents.
"Hello? The voice of her dad reached her ears and Irene smiled widely.
"Hi daddy! I was just going to tell you that I'll be entering the meeting soon."
"Ah, of course! I almost forgot!" Her dad laughed on the other line and Irene had to smile at the warmness of it, she'd missed it. Though of course, she knew what he said were all lies. He wouldn't forget. He had sent her instead of him and her mom, seemingly mysterious in the way he'd gone about it. It had seemed important so Irene hadn't wanted to go but at the insistence of her lovely parents she'd packed up her bags and gotten on the plan to this heavenly paradise, quite unaware of what was heading for her.
"Well, I guess that's all. I hope you and mom are doing well! As soon as I land back in New York I'll head over, okay?"
"Of course darling, we love you too." Her dad spoke softly and the phone clicked off as Irene gathered up her handbag and quickly exited her room, too excited to wait.
~ ❤ ~
Irene took a seat at the nearest table and raised her glass of water to her lips as she listened to the vampires speak, giving a tiny giggle at the entertainment that the boys had provided in arriving late and unruly. Also, gosh, did Kasania look beautiful. Irene wished she could look that regal and confident one day. Finally, the king started his speech and Irene leaned back in her chair to listen, all a bit in awe of what was going on.
As he went on, Irene started to fiddle with the pearl bracelet on her wrist. She was screwed, to put it lightly. Her whole life had been supported by her parents, she'd never really had to do anything and she also didn't have to step a foot into much of the vampire world. Unlike the other purebloods she'd been almost a complete unknown. Merely a name but not much of a face or story to attach it to. She'd heard people talking about her before but all they'd said was that she was a secretive person and apparently a great dancer, they hadn't known that she was removed from much of the vampire world because on some level she feared their evil. Some of them, you could just feel it radiating from. Like him, she glanced over to Emiliano quickly before she averted her eyes. There was no way that Irene could ever find an alliance or make a house of her own. She was simply too weak to do so. But she did have her ideals in mind and she did want those to be enacted. With her as the lead, well she wasn't too sure about that yet, but for now it seemed like she had to do at least something.
She heard the chair scraping from a table next to her and saw a girl get up, walking on over to the group of boys and Kasania who had entered earlier, and feeling somewhat not like herself she also followed her over to the group. She knew them of course, from past appearances and quick onceovers she'd done whenever she was in their presence on behalf of her parents but she was pretty sure that they may not recognise her. However, she had a feeling that in a few minutes they were about to know exactly who Irene Artois was.
Dominic hated everything right now. He hated being here. He hated that he was forced to attend a party on a private island among some of the worst people he had known in his long life. Whether it was through personal relationships or just the rumors, but he was absolutely livid about how, if he refused the invitation from the King of the Vampires, as Tavi adviced him, wouldn’t be in his best interest. But just because Dominic Zeno, the youngest of the Pureblooded Zeno children, was here didn’t mean he had to put on a smiling face for everyone else.
If Dominic wasn’t here, if he wasn’t surrounded by the glam and spectacular decor of those who were of the same species as he was, he might have been helping those who needed his help. Whether it was patching up someone who fell out of a tree, someone who was coming down with a cold or a vampire who was attacked by one of those hunters, he would be happier being in his clinic than he would be trying to pretend that he was enjoying himself. For the most obvious of reasons of being in the same area code as his wretched family (save for a few of them he didn’t entirely despise), Dominic was keeping his distance.
He stood by his lonesome against one of the walls, though not too far away so he couldn’t hear what his king had to say, Dominic nearly dropped his drink of thinned animal blood. He half-expected a speech about how the houses needed to become a lot more ruthless than they have been, but this-this wasn’t exactly what Dominic thought the king would say during his speech. And based on the reactions of those around him, he wasn’t the only one.
“That sure wasn’t expected,” Dominic mused to himself, scanning the room to see the others astonished at the news as well.
For his entire life, Dominic had spent his days avoiding his family because of a lot of things they dabbled in and took pride in doing. Whether it was human trafficking or generally being horrible people, he turned away from that for the majority of the past century. He never wavered in his ideals and always made sure he was never tempted. The only ones who he Dominic had any sort of connection with were Tavi and Tessa. The others either treated him like nothing or never really bothered to talk to the baby of the family. So his mind went to them initially because he knew they were both heavy in deep with the family.
Safe to say, Dominic had never felt the temptation to reach out to his family more since the time he first cut his ties with them.
Hating himself right now, as Dominic would pass a table, he contemplated the sight and, as his nose caught the whiff of it, the stench of human blood. He still remembered the days when he consumed that on a daily basis and it still haunted him like the Vietnam War haunted a Nam War Vet. The flashes of consuming the sustenance of the very humans he devoted his life to went through his mind as he resisted the momentary temptation. If only the temptation of caring about his family politics and problems presented with the recent announcement by the new king would go away too. Oh well, there was no turning back now.
Dominic approached the bar where he saw that his older brother, Tavi, was surrounded by a few people. The most notable person near him was Niklaus Tepes. There were a few others that Dominic saw as his legs slowly moved his body towards his brother. If he was going to successfully stomach what was about to happen, Dominic would have to ignore practically everyone who didn't share his familial bloodline. “Hey Tav," Came Dominic's most generic greeting. He quickly coughed a dry cough and tried it again. "Interesting developments, huh?” Dominic managed to say as he stood directly in front of his brother.
Why he was doing this to himself was practically unknown to him at this point but it was done so there was no turning back now.
Mel opened her eyes to the ceiling, glossing over it lazily. So she was at Pierre’s place again. With an expansive view of the upper east side, his flat was always a nice place to wake up in, though the man attached to it was a different story. Ever since she’d caught his eye at one of the soirees his wife held, he’d been smitten with her. Sure, she may have led him on a bit, but he was intelligent enough to understand what he was getting himself into the first night, especially when the fangs came out.
The man beside her on the bed flinched, opening his eyes with a peevish smile. “No fooling you, huh?”
“Not with a heart rate like that,” Mel said, turning onto her side. “Like what you see?”
“Yes,” Pierre breathed, pupils dilating.
Tugging at the edge of her lips, Mel rolled onto him, letting her weight sink down. As his breath hitched, her hair feathering over his chest, she kissed him, nipping and licking at his lip. She lapped up the slivers of blood she drew greedily, smirking as she avoided his attempts to deepen the kiss. Just as he leaned upwards, attempting to wrap his arms around her to get a better grasp of her, she pinned him down, grinding onto him.
“Stay,” she cautioned, drawing the word out playfully. Then, licking a trail down his jaw and onto his neck, Mel sank her fangs in, the salty skin giving easily to allow her to relish the warm essence of the life of the man moaning under her.
As she sucked away, she felt the tension drain out of Pierre, his strained muscles relaxing as the euphoria took over. While she’d be lying if she said she didn’t enjoy having complete power—complete dominion—over another person, she didn’t reap much satisfaction from biting human, especially one she’s bitten so many times. This utter lack of challenge was why she accepted the invitation. After all, when Dmitri fucking Tepes sent someone an invitation, refusal was hardly an option, or at least not for Mel when the guest list was brought into question.
After she’d had her fill, she unlatched herself, licking her fangs as she observed the blissed-out man below her, eyes glazed over as he smiled with half the correct muscles. Too easy, too simple, too predictable. But, a nice wallet and contact list.
“Perk up, big boy,” Mel said, sliding down over the developing layer of soft tissue around his abdomen.
Somewhere in New York || May 15th, Afternoon
Mel’s phone rang just as she was stepping out of Pierre’s car for the fourth time that day. New York was busy around her, a mixture of casual, business, and high fashion around her as the day went on. Ahead was her destination: another street of high-end boutiques made accessible with Pierre’s credit card. So she was manhandling him a little, but hey, he’d had a good morning. The only loser was Pierre’s chauffeur, who was forced to drive circles in search of a parking space, not knowing if he’d find one before Mel finished her tour, and even he was getting paid.
“Hi Daddy,” Mel said, her voice sing-song and dripping honey.
“Dochurka.” Her father’s exasperation was clear across the phone, expressed in the minute strains and spaces in his voice and words.
“Yes Otets,” Mel said, pouting. That too was communicated, if her father was actually paying attention to the call. There was a difference there, with her father—as there often was. For the monarch of a family that touted black-and-white views, Semyon Vasiliev had an awful lot of grey about him, making him both easier and harder for Mel to deal with. “You called?”
“I am checking in with my second-youngest.”
“And she is alive and well, without the family fortune. Tell that to mother.”
“Armelle, dochurka, do not be too cross with her. She means well.”
“She means to marry me off,” Mel said, her smile dropping. “Otets, tell me you didn’t put her up to it.”
“I did not.”
The silence that followed wasn’t what Mel was looking for, and she let it stretch on until her father spoke again.
“Dochurka, are you sure you will not return to Russia?”
“Yes, Otets.” Waving off the lady attending to her, Mel made for the exit, her mood spoiled. The light air conditioning created a breeze as she exited, blowing her hair forwards. “And don’t bother reactivating my card—I don’t need it.”
Her father sighed, both of them knowing that she still expected it to be reactivated. This was how the game went: she would detach herself from her family financially for one, two, then three months, but eventually she’d fall back on them again. In a way, it was how she stayed a part of the family, even overseas. She’d contributed her fair share of the fortune, though mostly in the past, and nothing would change the fact that she was and always would be a Vasiliev.
This, however, was exactly the problem. ‘Dilly-dallying the days away’ was what her mother had called her current lifestyle, and Mel supposed she was right. Yet, she wouldn’t go back. She couldn’t, whether or not she was living on borrowed time; her younger sister was now receiving suitors, and it reflected poorly on the family if a younger daughter married before an older one, but Mel wasn't quite ready to settle down.
So, postpone she would, and as much as possible—or at least until after this weekend of fun and games at the Tepes’ expense.
“Anything else, Otets?”
“Armelle,” Semyon said, this time with a depth to his voice that wasn’t immediately decipherable. “I wish you the best.”
“Otets?” Mel asked, but a beep signalled the end of the call, leaving her to stare at her phone. Though maintained her pace, her heart was pounding: She’d rarely heard her father so conflicted. Did he know something she didn’t? She doubted it, especially considering that the Tepes event was so soon; her family wouldn’t dare interfere with her on Tepes property, and she was headed to the party later today.
She tucked her phone away, putting it down to paranoia. Rather than fretting over possibilities and inevitabilities, Mel was going to do what she did best: live in the present, and presently, she had a party to attend.
Tepes Private Island: The Grand Hall || May 16th, Morning
Mel was among the earlier crowd to the hall, having woken up at the same time she did every morning: early. At this point, her internal alarm was more of an incurable nuisance than a choice, albeit being helpful once in a while. Today was one instance she got to be thankful for the habit pounded into her by her upbringing, but her happy mood hadn’t lasted for long: Her bedmate, bless their unaging soul, was already gone. Though she wouldn’t admit it, Mel took a certain amount of pride in being the light sleeper—the person who woke first—and she was both miffed and surprised by the fact that she woke neither before them nor when they left.
This bit of annoyance, though, was what carried through as she arrived at the grand hall, taking a seat and watching the latecomers mill in behind her. Silently waiting as people were seated, Mel kept her eyes on the elders, watching their reactions as some drama unfolded at the royal table. While she understood their disapproval, she personally didn’t mind how the princes looked: clothing aside, there was hardly a problem. Besides, her own dress, low-cut and gold as it was, likely wouldn’t have made the cut for ‘royalty’ either, so she could partially sympathize.
A smile danced on her lips as she watched. Having accepted the invitation because of the Tepes’ guest list, she was glad to see that the Tepes had delivered: The previous night’s party, with its chaotic nature, failed to provide a comprehensive gathering of everyone of import, but Dmitri Tepes had succeeded. With the variety of people and power in the room, Mel had little doubt she’d stay entertained this weekend.
A royal throat-clearing started the entire affair off, and Mel listened, her eyes still ghosting over the family heads. Her attention, however, quickly fell on Dmitri alone as he reached the pivotal point in his speech. Suddenly, her parent’s actions made sense: Unable to convince her to rejoin them in Russia, they’d chosen to cast her out—or set her free, depending on which parent she was considering. But, somehow, Mel hated them even more for it; rather than letting her go, they’d tied her down with responsibility, with goals they’d chosen for her. Maybe she did want this, or maybe she didn’t. All she knew was that she didn’t want to compete on someone else’s terms. Her faux financial need for her parents had been her pledge of loyalty to her family, and if they thought she'd be helpless without them, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. While she spent her fair share of time for play, she’d been raised to spend the rest of it on work, and that she did.
That said, Dmitri’s challenge meant a lot more than just being fine financially. Allies and enemies, truces and rivalries—that was how houses were built. Now was the time to play her cards strategically and decisively. Who would she approach first, the former royals or the unlikely usurpers?
Time 7:47 to 9:40 Location From a private jet to the Grand Hall Interaction with Beatrix de la Croix@GhostMami Seraphina was absentmindedly twirling red liquid in a crystal glass, sitting comfortably in the beige leather seat peering out into the night. She peered over the thick manila envelope, bearing the black wax seal of her father. It was of a peculiar design. For one it was square with lots of unmarked residue on all sides. It denoted a scroll at its vertical center. Flanked by a drop on its right and on the left, there was an intricate figure of a man holding a staff. This was Alexander’s personal seal. A seal that hasn’t been seen since 1902 when Alexander formally announced his retreat from the royal court and the vampiric world as a whole. A part of Seraphina wanted to tear open the envelope and spill out its content but her father’s orders were strict and he would not allow any deviation. A vampire of Seraphina’s age would’ve disregarded that command the second she was out of his sight but Seraphina knew better. No matter what she did, he would know. He always knew.
Instead, she was focusing on what knowledge her father did share with her. There was a meeting, a grand one. The king and queen had invited vampires from all families and some elders. He knew why though he preferred not to share it with her. It was a surprise after all. The only thing she had to worry about is the dossiers on all the vampires present. They were young but much older than her. She had to know them before she would land.
And know she did. She had begun with her own house: Tepes. There was Kasania, Niklaus and Valerian. Kasania was growing in her role as Tepes Princess. She was beautiful and successful. Like Seraphina, she worked with humans, though Kasania worked with police. To Sera, humans were humans. No matter if they wore blue or nothing at all. Sadly Kasania has been successful in stalling her marriage. Then there was Niklaus. An odd one out. While all children often have strained relationships with their parents, Niklaus had earned particular scorn from his mother. Finally, there was Valerian who, like his sister, had grown well into the role of Tepes Prince. The file lacked it but Seraphina remembered her father helping with a certain indiscretion. She wasn’t privy to many details: only that it concerned a woman.
Then there were the Artois girls. Both of them were exceptionally young. Younger than Sera even. Which meant they were easily manipulatable. Amelia, the heir, was as wild and free-thinking as an Artois ought to be. Though her continuing, public effort to make human and vampire-kind into equals was beginning to somewhat annoy the Tepes elder. The youngest of the two, Irene, was not a direct heir. Furthermore, she appeared to be quite a sheltered girl. Her dossier, compiled by a handful of quite capable PIs couldn’t find much on her.
Where Tepes and Artois had just a few flaws, Zeno was plagued by failure. Failure taking shape in Octavius, Tessa, and Dominic. Though it would appear there were vastly different reasons. Octavius was as charming as he was insufferable. A man that you could hate and love at the same time. Though there was a certain lack of grace in him. Tessa, for her part, wasn’t so bad. Greedy for knowledge but not much else. Seraphina despised her, even though she never met the woman. She despised the utter lack of hunger. Here was someone who always had what she wanted. Finally, there was Doctor Dominic Wells. Though the file made it quickly clear that he was very much a Zeno. While the first two were simply bored or graceless, he had utterly rejected everything Zeno stands for. Now he worked as a doctor of some clinic treating anything and anyone. Seraphina supposed it was meant to be honorable but she failed to see the point. Those that visited a clinic like his would wash up there again and again. Amounting to nothing at all. Why spend resources on them?
Now that she had memorized the dossiers by heart, she took her time to relax a little and see the stars as she flew through the night.
She arrived amid everyone else. Seraphina very much knew she wasn’t a vampire of note. Only her heritage might earn her some importance. That or her job. Outside she could hear the faint callings of her blackbirds. Enjoying the skies once more. The swirled around the grand hall. The walls were nigh non-existent, giving the birds a clear view inside it all. Eventually, they flew inside and settled high up in the rafters of the roof. Observing the gathering. Seraphina, for her part, took place far in a corner as she held the manila envelope close to her.
After the king’s speech, she felt stumped and surprised. To witness the creation of a new house, it felt like you could live a whole life, a vampiric one, without ever hearing of such a thing. Yet here she was. In watching it all unfold, standing on the sidelines. Hastily she opened the envelope of her father. Inside there was a long letter, explaining his intentions and her own powers. She was to represent him in this whole ordeal. Inside there was also a few letters. Yet, per his direct written orders, only one was to be sent as fast as possible. Seraphina took a particular letter and read the name: Mrs. Beatrix de la Croix. Written in gorgeous calligraphy with golden ink. Sealed by Alexander’s personal seal on jet black wax. Seraphina was shocked. She had seen the file of this vampire yet assumed her to be unimportant. A setback. Huginn came down from the rafters as Seraphina held the envelope up. The raven took it in his claws and flew upwards again until he neared Beatrix’s chair and came down quickly. Yet he gracefully landed right next to her plate and delivered the letter before he took towards the rafters again.
Dear Mrs. Beatrix de la Croix
First of all, I wish to offer my sincerest apologies for not attending the grand meeting myself. Humanity has grown at an ever rapid pace. Therefore I am forced to attending to certain urgent matters first. In my stead comes a most trusted emissary: Seraphina Aghrem. She speaks with my voice and has been informed and instructed with my wishes. I would ask you to refrain from making assumptions at this time. She might appear young but she is quite capable.
Now, for the matter at hand. You will have learned of our kind king’s plan to raise a new house. It is a most admirable goal. Though I suspect this does not weaken your role as guardian over the youngest Artois generation. It is concerning them that I would discuss certain subjects. I would invite you to tea with my envoy at 10:30 a.m. in the northernmost parlor of the main building. I have been assured that this location is well away from the main halls. You will be expected.
Once more I wish to offer my sincerest apologies for my nonappearance. Though I am sure that once you have returned to the city of New York we may meet in person once again.
Until then I simply offer my sincerest regards An Old Acquaintance
...and the Father
Time 7:04 to 8:32 Location New York City - Saint Paul's Churchyard to Central Park Interaction with Khione Crusch@Hoekage Central Manhatten was a busy place. People moved like blood in a body. Packed together and always in a hurry to be someplace. There were a few places where they calmed down enough. Saint Paul’s Churchyard was one such place. A place where even Americans grew solemn. Alexander was always amazed by that ability as he entered the little yard. Ancient gravestones filled place haphazardly. Most of the names were weathered off. Few people walked the small, winding path. Alexander slowly approached an unremarkable grave near one of the few trees. The roots had recently been cut, as per his request joining the rather substantial donation. All done anonymously of course. He didn’t carry flowers. Instead, he placed a single, pitch black pebble on top of it and touched the grave for a moment as he closed his eyes. It was good to be back.
Minutes later he stepped out of the graveyard. His pocket was empty. All his small, little pebbles spread across most of the state of New York, on top of weathered graves, remote mountain tops and large, green meadows. With his duty to the dead completed, he proceeded towards Central Park. Where a most unfortunate amount of business was awaiting him.
Central Park was extremely different from Saint Paul’s. It was sprawling but painfully artificial. It chaffed against Alexander, who watched the boulders with disgust. Humanity was a terrible architect of nature, he concluded rather quickly. He followed the painfully pronounced paths towards the scene of the crime he was tipped off from. He reached the police line just in time to see the corpses being put in bags. His vampiric sight gave him greater details from this distance no human could hope to level. No matter how keen their eyesight was. The girl had a rather ungraceful wound in her neck. The weapon certainly wasn’t a blade or anything thin. The scene a bit further was even more gruesome. Burned flesh holding what appeared to have been his guts. A gruesome death to be sure. Though while everyone around him was both disgusted and morbidly curious, he couldn’t care to show anything. Instead, he examined the broken trees and bark. A pity. Trees were so much more valuable than humans. Alexander felt more kinship with those immortal wooden beings than with the walking blood bags.
As Alexander was examining the bodies, some post arrived at The Loft. There was a registered letter for Miss Khione Lee Crusch. Her full name was written in gorgeous calligraphic font with golden ink. The letter itself was sealed with pitch black wax bearing the Tepes family seal.
Inside there was a letter made from expensive, thick parchment paper. It was once again written in gorgeous, time-consuming calligraphy but this time with scarlet red ink.
Dear miss Crusch
It is to my understanding that you are the New York Police Department’s liaison agent of the Order of Genesis. Since the revelation of my kind under our current King, I find it only polite that I introduce myself. As to prevent any future misunderstandings. Therefore I am inviting you for tea at a café named Comfort at 2 p.m. today. An associate assured me of their superb selection of pastries. I will be expecting you.
Sincerely Alexander of House Tepes
Below it was signed, not with a normal signature though. It was a deep red thumbprint. Unmistakingly made from blood.
Time: 9:40 Location: The Grand Hall Interactions: Ambrosia @Hoekage & Seraphina @Legion02
Béatrix observed the King’s speech with mild curiosity. Cold, porcelain white fingers gripped a steaming mug, which did little to thaw the frost within them. The vampiress sat with a posture echoing the noble upbringing of her human years, poise fit for a woman who was raised to attend events with kings and princes. Wouldn’t her mother and father be proud to see her now, attending such an event. The frenchwoman chuckled to herself. Hardly, they would roll in their graves to see the feminist undead head hunter that their perfect, subservient little girl had become.
She was subservient once, and it left a bad taste in her mouth. Bowing before authority, bowing before men on the basis of patriarchy alone just wasn’t in her blood. As such, her listening to the King’s speech was nothing more than the previously stated mild curiosity. She had no doubt that she was among the eldest of the vampires on this floating rock, and had at least double their body count under her belt. No one truly ruled over her, but perhaps what he had to say would provide some entertainment in the tedious monotony of eternity.
In the moments after Dmitri Tepes finished his speech, the detective death dealer did what she does best. Observe them, gauge their reactions, read the surface thoughts of the minds of the vampires weaker than she. This was entertaining, indeed. Her cool blue eyes went first to the young prince, who looked as though his father had just publicly gutted him. Then to the radiant princess, who attempted to discreetly remind the boy of his role to play. The other Tepes family members hardly reacted at all, no doubt they knew of these plans beforehand. Some of the more independent vampires appeared to be reacting positively to this turn of events. This was their shot at glory, after all.
Une tête couronnée ne trouve pas de repos.
This was nothing more than a game that Dmitri was playing. There was no real power to be gained here, a cocksure ruler such as himself, so young in his reign, would never relinquish any of his control. Disgusting, but unsurprising at the same time. She was not sure of Dmitri’s age, but once vampires reached a couple of centuries, they often grew… bored. And where would Dmitri’s boredom leave the city of New York? Decimated, like so many other historical towns in the aftermath of bored, old vampires playing their games?
To put it lightly, Trixy was annoyed. Not fearful, no, never. While she is firmly aligned with the Artois family, she is not of their bloodline. She has her own wealth, accrued over main centuries of bloodshed, and she has a job and a place to live and her many global connections. She had been playing this “game” for years. No, Trixy was annoyed because this would make her job — both of her jobs — much more difficult. How could she protect all of the Artois children when they were scattered in different homes? This game put the young visionaries especially at risk to their more battle-hardened, aged counterparts. Secondly, this little royal amusement would wreak havoc on humanity. This was going to cause chaos. There would be increased murders, crimes, and rogue vampires running around after failed Turnings. The head detective of NYPD’s supernatural crimes division was about to get a whole lot busier — she might even have to take day shifts.
T'es rien qu'un connard Tepes.
As if on cue, her work phone buzzed with an incoming text regarding a situation that had occurred at Central Park last night. Fantastic, so it begins. Trixy scanned the contents of the message and tucked the phone back away. The detectives on duty could handle the clean up and questioning, informing her was merely courtesy. Focusing back on the action in the room, the frenchwoman’s eyes fell upon the leader of her found family. She could not be sure if Ambrosia had any part or say in the decision that Dmitri made, but Béatrix would give her assurance just the same.
The ebony haired femme fatale stood up and gracefully made her way to the blonde artist. Placing a gentle hand on Ambrosia’s shoulder, she spoke quietly in french. “My protection of you and your family is not a luxury of your birth. I was never bought, it is a choice that I make gladly every day. I promise to do everything in my means to ensure the safety of your children during these… times of trial.” She said with a genuine smile that was surprisingly warm in comparison to the ice queen’s usual expressions.
Béatrix took her leave having said all that she had meant to. Her intentions were clear and unwavering. Now that all of the pomp and circumstance had concluded, she wished to retire in her room until sunset. As she passed by the table to retrieve her emptied mug, the most unexpected thing happened. A large black bird flew down from the rafters and fetched a letter from one of the female vampires in the room. Trixy didn’t recognize her. Some independent, young, unimportant vampire (unless she started stirring up trouble). But… sending ravens like that… that was an old practice, one that not many vampires did these days. So, who was she?
The raven then took flight for what Trixy assumed would be the nearest open window. Probably off to tell tale of the news that had just been announced. Instead of following that prediction, the large corvid flapped its wings in Trixy’s direction, deftly dropping the parchment in its talons on the table beside her place setting. Trixy squinted down at the letter curiously as the bird made its way back up to the rafters. The seal on the back looked familiar in a way that she couldn’t quite place. She’d seen it somewhere, stamped on some document or another… but… where? And when?
Trixy retrieved the parcel and flipped it over, as if she had to confirm that it was truly for her. It was addressed in elegant, decorative script. The ink was a shimmering gold color, but one word in particular sounded off red alerts in her mind. Mrs. Béatrix de la Croix. No one in this city knew that she had once been married. And no one would consider her married still. The vaguely familiar seal, the strange newcomer, the trick with the ravens, and the knowledge of her marriage... Who was this girl, and who did she think she was? Without opening the letter, Béatrix raised her icy gaze to the dark-haired woman with centuries worth of scrutinizing suspicion in her eyes.
The fingers of the pianist twitched as words of her father came to her in the sounds of “Liebesleid”, as it so often had. When Dmitri Tepes, King of Vampires, spoke the notes of Love’s Sorrow wove themselves in between his every word, and Kasania heard every baritone paired with the twinkling of every key, she felt the cool ivory of every note.
A lovely song, fitting for such a sad man wrapped in the grandeur of a King, the world was cruel.
Kasania observed the important figures in the room as her father boasted of his accomplishments and demanded the same from the bunch of them. Those cold eyes of hers showed not a hint of emotion as she observed her loyal Uncle and then a previous enemy who had become a dog to her father. Though as she expected, none of them so much as displayed a shift in their stoic expressions, but between them, they shared millennia of experience in maintaining facades and it was the hope of a fool to gain any information from them.
And the world grows crueler yet. Well, a game they demand, then a game they shall get.
The tension coming from her right was palpable, a slow extension of her arm to clasp Niklaus’ hand in her own was the only reassurance she paid him as her eyes followed the retreating form of her father and his counsel. Only once the doors had closed and the heavy silence was replaced with uncertain murmurings of lesser individuals did the princess cast those pools of blue on perhaps the only being in the world she truly loved. How the pangs in her heart grew as the wild insecurity became ablaze in his young eyes, the hand once holding his reached to his face with swiping gentle fingers and pushing hair behind his ears.
“Niklaus, look at me.” Kasania was a master of gentle commands her body leaned closer to him and her voice was low, meant only for his ears,“You remember the words I always said to you as a boy, yes? Live boldly, Niko. You are the son of a king and a keeper of loyal friends. Luck has it you were blessed with an amazing sister with many tricks up her sleeves. We will be just fine. Now, sit up, they are all watching how the children of their King react to the news, dogs smell fear and the Tepes fear no one.”
Niko’s biggest enemy was in own mind. In the painful moments of silence before Nia replied, his thoughts thrashed as violently as a caged animal. Were he to fully succumb to the mental battles he fought daily, he might end up muttering his thoughts like a madman. What is this really about? Have I finally pushed father too far? No, this is mother. That crazy, evil witch of a woman has always had it out for me. Cleaving me away from the comfort and protection of our home would make it all too easy to have me assassinated. Just like she has the rest of her enemies. I’ll show you a real enemy, you CUNT.
As if sensing his troubles, like one of those therapy animals who can smell cancer, Nia placed her hand on his cheek and dispersed the malignant formation of his mind. His sister was his rock, a healing balm, and the only one who could calm the storm. Kasania helped him keep grasp of his sanity, which seemed to be a fleeting thing, the more the years passed them by. The sobriety she brought to him at that moment reminded Niklaus of his part to play. The charming prince, rebellious and unshakeable. If his father wanted to shake some trees, it was Niko’s job to burn down the whole forest, if for nothing else than to make a statement. Klaus was not to be outdone, nor would he be undone.
The fair-haired Tepes heir smiled serenely at Kasania. “Of course, sister dearest. We will be more than fine. Together.” He finished his reply with an affectionate kiss on her forehead before standing up and offering his arm to have her join him. “Uncle was right about one thing, you do look lovely.” The troubled boy that had just previously resided in his soulful, mismatched eyes was gone entirely now, replaced by his usual charismatic self. She was right, after all — the Tepes had no one to fear. No one, except for themselves.
There was relief in her smile as she stood and took the arm he offered her. Duty was ringing its bell and it was time for the youngest of the Tepes to mingle and entertain. Maybe there was hidden value in the room and Kasania just had to find it, or it would find her. The princess had taken the arm her beloved brother offered her and they were just passing behind Milo when two newcomers approached their table. A polite, neutral expression washed away the small smile as she looked over the two, they were unfamiliar faces and stark contrasts to each other in the way they carried themselves.
“Ahem. So every man for himself now, yes? Avyanna, but I go by Avy,"
The more confident of the two supplied her name to the table of mostly Royals and gained a nod of acknowledgment from the princess who’s eyes flickered to the other girl, who seemed more occupied stealing nervous glances at the Hired Gun sitting at the table grumbling about his new circumstance. Kasasnia stepped forward, perhaps a bit peeved, blocking the unnamed girl’s line of sight and drawing attention to herself, “Kasania Tepes, it’s nice to meet you Avyanna. Hopefully, your friend here hasn’t forgotten her name after stealing those cute glances at Emiliano here.”
A chuckle sounded as the eldest of the four friends waved a lazy hand and pocketed his phone which had been the cause of his small interruption.
“Sorry, you’ll have to excuse me from this cute little gathering, I have some business needing my attention and I can hear a strong drink calling my name.” Octavius stood up from his seat and purposefully went around the long way to pass by the newly introduced Avy and the little lamb that had approached the table full of lions.
“Oh yeah, I’m Octavius Zeno, by the way, and just as terrible as all the rumors you’ve heard about me. Nice to meet you both, but just a tip agnellino, dogs can smell your fear, and Milo can be quite the aggressive one. Anyways, Good luck.” Octavius gave Kasania a quick kiss to the cheek and clapped Niko and Milo on the shoulders before making his leave to the bar.
“He’s not as terrible as he’d like to think.” Nik said, rolling his eyes as Tavi parted ways to no doubt head for the bar. An early morning cocktail sounded like the perfect idea, actually. “Niklaus Tepes, pleased to meet you both. Could I get you anything to drink? I would most love to hear the tales that brought you here today.” These could be potential allies, after all. Allies… or enemies, that was yet to be determined.