Location: Secluded Parlor
Collab between Seraphina & Béatrix@GhostMami
Seraphina had prepared the room down to the most insignificant details. All the windows to the outside were closed and covered, allowing no sunlight in. Except for one door behind where she would sit. She considered it a precaution. Still, the room was filled with artificial light so everyone could see everything quite clearly. On the central table stood two cups and a pot. Though they weren’t made from porcelain, instead they were made from clay. The pot itself had a dull glaze on it and mandarin signs carved into it. Her father’s orders were extremely stern when it came to using the pot. Only one kind of tea could be brewed in it, no metal was to touch it, and it had to be cleaned with water and left to air dry. Seraphina had followed these orders down to the letter. Now she could only wait, two minutes before 10:30.
She was anxious as hell. Princes and princesses she could handle. Most appeared to be either young or yet to outgrow their arrogance. She could level that arrogance. Béatrix offered another challenge, though. She was older and much, much colder. Her file was painfully short on any meaningful information. The only thing she had was the small footnote of her father: be cautious, be suspicious, and do not underestimate her. All of that would’ve been much easier with some bloodwine in her but her father insisted on tea. She hated tea. She hated waiting. She hated having to talk to Béatrix. Though none of it showed. She just wanted it to be over with so she could grab the bottle she hid in a drawer.
Seraphina Aghrem. It was an unfamiliar name to Béatrix, be it that she came from too small a family to matter, or that Aghrem was simply not a family at all. The letter explaining her reason for summoning Trixy for ‘tea’ was vague and signed by some nameless entity. Perhaps they were both nameless entities, or perhaps they were one in the same entity. Regardless of aliases or namelessness, this entire situation had Trixy on full alert. This reeked of a trap, but thankfully, she always came prepared to face those who wanted her dead. There was a long list, after all.
Béatrix rolled up the letter and stored it away in her bag. With the door to her room locked behind her, she changed out of her elegant breakfast outfit into something more appropriate for conducting business. Pulling a safe out from her suitcase, Trixy scanned her fingerprint and opened it to reveal two handguns, a cache of ammo, two daggers, and her badge. Working for the NYPD had its perks. With a badge, it was pretty much no questions asked when it came to getting your weapons through security. This saved her the effort of having to actually compel humans to let her by with weaponry. When it came to conducting her own personal business, however, the badge could stay behind. Trixy left it in the safe and proceeded to conceal all four weapons on her person. With a pair of tall boots and a leather jacket, she looked much like the average New Yorker, with no outward sign of the heat she was actually packing.
Promptly at the time specified in the letter, the staccato of Trixy’s boots hitting tile announced her arrival in the parlor. The air around her shifted to match to cold expression on the woman's face as she approached the table where this Seraphina sat. In addition to once again sizing up the stranger, Béatrix also scanned the room. The invitee had took caution to keep the sunlight out, either because she was Turned herself, or because she knew that Trixy was. There was also a clay teapot, steam curling up from the spout, keeping up the facade that this meeting was actually meant for them to share tea. If this turned out to be the rouse that Béatrix suspected, she would give the girl points for style before ending her life. Effort was very important.
Without any formal greetings, nor even a smile, Béatrix sat across from the woman and watched her reactions. After a few moments of silence, she moved her piercing gaze to the teapot and spoke. “If this mysterious author knows so much about me, you'd think they'd consider offering wine to a frenchwoman instead of tea.” Her icy blue eyes returned to Seraphina now. “I will not be drinking it. Leave that pisswater to the english and the orientals, and instead let’s discuss why I’m really here, shall we?”
Seraphina was braced for many things. Still, to hear the elder vampire talk in such a brazen, impatient way. She felt the same kind of meek fear she felt with her father. A fear that told her she was in the presence of something much bigger. Not many of her age would understand that what she was facing here was something that could kill her easily. It’s why she kept the door open and for now the reassurance that she could run into the sun kept the fear down low inside her.
Though when Béatrix spoke about the tea, Seraphina suddenly felt so relieved. In an instant she shot up and went towards her drawer. “Ah, then I might have something better.” She said as reassurance as she slowly opened it up. From it she pulled a glass bottle filled with a very dark liquid. At its core it looked black but the edges, where light could pass through, showed that it was in fact crimson. The bottle lacked any form of sticker. Instead the year, the name and line of blood it came from were formed in the glass. Seraphina brushed her hand over where the letters should be. A normal human couldn’t hope to discern the minute details within the glass shape but a vampire’s enhanced senses showed a complete image. She poured two glasses and placed one before Béatrix as she took a small sip herself to show that it wasn’t poisoned.
Trixy stared down at glass suspiciously. This was turning out to be a peculiar meeting. Mysterious unlabeled bottles of dark liquid in lieu of tea. Granted, whatever it was, was probably better than tea. When Seraphina took a sip from her own glass, poured from the same bottle, Trixy relaxed marginally. The woman appeared to be relieved to be able to reach for the bottle, and eagerly took a first sip, so the offering seemed to be genuine. Far more genuine than the fanciful tea pot was. With a small ghost of a smile, Trixy elegantly plucked up the glass and breathed in the aroma. Blood. She had just drank, but something about this scent beckoned her to indulge, awakening the predatory instincts she kept under lock and key. Fighting the bloodlust to down it all in one go, Béatrix instead took the daintiest of sips. She wanted to dislike it, to be snarky, but… “That’s…. That’s quite good, actually.” She admitted in earnest.
“Let’s get to business.” Her father would want her to go slow. To coax her prey. Though Seraphina made her own judgement of the situation. Béatrix did not seem too intent to be wooed. “My employer-” She hid it well, but she still hated that word. She hated it because it was a mask of what she truly was. Of what she wanted to be. “-fears that the young Artois girls are not up for the task they were given today. They are young, either brazen or shy and know next to nothing about the true world of Vampires. To put it bluntly: at best they will be puppets. At worst they will be killed.” That was a lie. The worst was the Crypt. Seraphina had only seen it once. She would rather die than be imprisoned in the Crypt. “So my employer offers them an alliance. One that would shield them from the worst of the contenders.”
As the woman began to speak, Trixy’s inner detective flourished. She watched her lips, her eyes, all of the subtle hints that one gives away in their body language when lying… or when telling the truth. Much to Trixy’s surprise, despite the stranger’s magical affinities — given the raven trick — she did not appear to be experienced enough to defend her mind. She must be young. Younger vampires tended to be easier to read for Trixy, their minds were open and they hadn’t learned to control their thoughts yet. When the woman spoke of this “employer”, her thoughts curled around the word like shadows and rejected it. A lie, or at the very least, half a truth. Trixy sensed her discomfort and tried to hone in on it. There was plenty else to address in what she was saying, but Trixy would first focus in on what had caught her attention before getting to the matter of the Artois girls.
“Your employer, was it?” Her french accent wrapped the question in a seductive taunt. Trixy smirked and tilted the glass to her lips once more. “If you wish to gain anything from this meeting, you should start with being truthful.” She set the glass down and folded her hands in her lap properly. “You don’t consider them an employer. Why? Are you being forced to be here, against your will?” There was a touch of genuine concern in the last question. Béatrix had special punishments in place for those who forced women to do things against their will.
Seraphina took a sharp breath. Of course the elder picked up on that. Why did it have to be that? In truth she wanted to tell Béatrix who her ‘employer’ was. On the surface just to show what kind of power the elder was dealing with. But deep down she just wanted to name herself daughter. Though sadly, her father has forbidden her from revealing his identity. Putting her in a particularly difficult bind right now. “Not forced.” There was annoyance in her answer. She didn’t have anyone to care for her when she was born. She wouldn’t need it now. “As for truth, none of what I said is a lie.” She took a quick sip, letting the oxygenated blood energize her. “And this meeting isn’t about me.” She continued, trying to steer the conversation back on track. “This is about the Artois girls. I am here so they won’t be forced to do anything they don’t want to do. So what do you say? Will you help us help them?”
The response was uncomfortable, that much was obvious to the observant vampiress. Sera might not be forced to be here, but she was forced to withhold information. Béatrix was a patient detective, she would get to the bottom of it. If not today, then the next. After Seraphina brought up the girls once more, it was Trixy’s turn to be annoyed. She leaned forward, her elbows digging into the flesh above her knees as she looked squarely into the other woman’s eyes. “The Artois are in perfectly capable hands.” Trixy opened her palms and displayed them proudly. “Mine.” She calmly inhaled and sat up straighter. “You were correct in stating that they are young… shy… but they are revolutionaries. They know nothing of the “true vampire world” because they are not part of it. They will turn it on its head, and the world will be better for it. They will not be puppets, and they will not be killed. And hear me now, if your employer wishes to do them any harm, I will kill him. And then I will kill you. And then I will kill anyone else involved.”
Trixy stood up now, a clear power play so that she could look down on Seraphina. “A word of advice: If you are going to make a point of meeting with elder vampires, you might want to work on guarding your thoughts. If your father truly wants to meet with me and discuss a possible alliance, he can do so in person. I won’t shoot the messenger, but I certainly don’t trust them.” It was a shot in the dark, guessing that the entity was the girl’s father. Béatrix would observe the girl’s reactions to gauge how close the guess was.
She speaks like father would. Those were the thoughts that floated up from Seraphina’s mind. Béatrix spoke with the same conviction as him. In a way that erased all doubts and made what they said simply facts. In the past she could simply revel in that certainty. Now she had to rise up against it. No, she didn’t get up. That would simply level the playing field. Seraphina remained seated yet utterly unintimidated as she slowly swirled the glass of blood in her hand. Though her eyes stared back with a wild flame behind them. She released a sharp breath and said: “When Amelia was in Milan and Irine in New York, in what side of the world were you? Where you watching Amelia partying in some house or looking over Irine taking a stroll through Central Park?” She never had to deal with a vampire like Béatrix before. The Elder managed to push all the right buttons.
Especially the one about her father. “As for my father.” She would put it to rest. No matter how influential, threatening or powerful she would not reveal him. “He is dead. I don’t even know where he is buried. So I’d ask you to refrain from the subject.” It was a complete lie. She simply switched parents. The only thing she knows about her mother is her last name: Aghrem. “And for the threats against me and my people. They are unnecessary. We bear the Artois’ no ill will. I simply offered our help. If you insist on declining, then I am afraid there is nothing we can do.” To hell there wasn’t. As if Seraphina would let it just be. This was simply the easy route. “As for your curiosity for my employer, I will relay it your wish and because you gave me such gracious advice, I will return in kind.” She got up. Now all diplomatic neutrality flowed out of her. These were no longer talks about alliances and help. It felt personal. “You’re underestimating him. Don’t.”
She stretched out her arm passed Béatrix and pointed with an open hand towards the door. “I’m afraid that concludes our little talk.”
Trixy watched the girl’s growing anger with proud amusement. She did not take the bait on her mention of the Artois girls, it was just a reactionary swing on the other woman’s part. Trixy had hit a soft spot, meaning that her guess was far more accurate than she could have hoped. “Darling, I don’t underestimate anyone.” Hence why she arrived to this meeting with enough firepower to challenge an entire family of vampires, instead of just one. “I don’t decline the offer… yet. Please do forward my request to meet eye to eye. I’ll expect your raven.” With a half smile, Trixy’s gaze followed Seraphina’s arm towards the door. She dipped in a quick curtsy and made her leave just as coldly as she had arrived.