Author Topic: Defining Loyalties  (Read 9991 times)

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Offline The Cedar Witch

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Defining Loyalties
« on: May 30, 2010, 08:41:52 AM »
Reserved for SAIKETSU

At least three bloodless weeks had passed, filled with solitude and seas of thought.  Sonya hadn’t moved since she first had set foot back in her own home, and this was the second night since her awakening.  The house was void of any signs of life, dust clinging to every surface that had been open to the air since the servants had vacated the property.  Even the piano had gone untouched, despite the lady’s recent arrival.  Everything in the piano room existed as she had left it, her robe hanging loosely over the side of the cushioned bench, yellowed pages of sheet music scattered about the floor; everything covered in dust.  Nothing had moved and a sense of abandonment still clung to the house as though trapped in dust.  Even now the Byzantine Queen was as still as she had been since returning to this room.  Only her eyes moved, to flicker over the darkness of the water.  

Three weeks ago the ancient had immersed herself in the ocean, beyond the touch of the sun.  Her own way of putting off the creeping of insanity into her mind, her own way of coping, was to go into the earth.  It was here that a revival would take place, a rebirth.   It was a cycle that her servants expected, though absolutely none of them knew of the reason.   All of them, though, could tell when it was coming and would leave when the signs began to emerge.  The lady would begin to lock herself in her room and paint for days without sleep, come down and smash dishes, pull haunting melodies from the piano, and wander around the property like a ghost.  None could even guess what happened beneath the earth during these periods, and none dared to ask.  She was the ocean: the unquestioned ebbing and flowing of the waves.  When she emerged from the sea, naked, thirsty, and dripping with bitter water, Sonya spoke to no one.

Tonight the thirst filled her with a feeling of dark power and need.  Soon she would go out, but the lady still did not move.  Despite her usual feeding habits, the woman could go a month without blood, sometimes more if necessary.  The longest she had gone without blood had recently been a month and a week.  When she emerged from that slumber, she was possessed by the burning anger of her fangs.  Entire cities were slaughtered to sedate her need, and then some.  The last time her rampage had touched the territory of the Oligarchy, the woman had been sharply reprimanded, and that was before the leadership of the group had changed hands.  Despite the insult, Sonya cooperated and instead began to go to the lesser-populated cities outside of this one, where the Oligarch would have no say.  The fact that such behaviors on her part were considered “illegal” was, in her opinion, ridiculous. But so long as the mimic demons served the Luminary like dogs, Sonya was powerless to lash out.

The Queen had a bitter dislike for politics and still claimed that she was neutral when it came to such things.  The only reason that she ever felt a need to get involved with much of anything was when it personally affected her, or prevented her from doing what she desired to do.  There were several occasions where the Oligarchy encroached on matters pertaining to her personal life, and she was given a slap on the wrist.  The system seemed to completely ignore the rights of hierarchy, the only rule the woman felt was completely necessary within immortal life.  The fact that Kerr Galvin, not even four hundred years of age, had the position as the Vampire Oligarch, was an insult.  Not only had the man lacked any sort of spine or mind for rule, she doubted that he hadn’t the political experience to govern.  The rules that this man stood for, he could scarcely abide by himself.  The Luminary, though in her opinion old enough, was a reckless fuck with little mind in how to govern.  She couldn’t understand how he even came to power, much less why considering he didn’t seem to give much of a fuck about anyone who dwelt within the city so long as he had fresh meat to fornicate.  Another fool who refused to obey the rules that he enforced; rules which Sonya felt as though should not apply to her.  If she could not feed where she wanted, she would feed how she wanted and however frequently.  

Tonight, perhaps, she would go out into the night and warm her skin with life.  Before the woman began to formulate more solid plans for her evening, her cell phone began to vibrate.  She stared at it for a moment, plugged into the wall and covered in dust atop the piano.  A call from Damien was the last thing she was expecting on this night.  At a human’s pace her arm moved forward and grasped the phone in her hand.  She flipped it open at the last ring and lightly held it to her ear.

Her greeting was short and dry, old French, with a strained voice that clearly lacked blood but not the cool queenly confidence.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2010, 03:56:48 AM »
Odessa\'s greeting hadn\'t been exactly what he was expecting. Most certainly, there was her familiar accented use of his natural language in her greeting. There was the traditional queenly strength in her voice that over the centuries he had become accustomed to. But he could plainly hear the roughness of her voice, something he knew to be a sign of her Thirst. She hadn\'t been feeding as often as he knew she usually did and this alone made him frown, knowing that the news he carried would only propell her into another bad mood.

Purposefully Damien had kept the conversation short and vague, maintaining his sense of urgency to visit her that very night. This was something that he needed to explain to her himself, in person, because she deserved it so. He mentioned nothing about his purpose for driving over to her house, only that he had something that she should know. Damien needed to be the first one to tell her about the shift in power if he expected to get any plans moving.

Odessa was his oldest friend outside of his bloodline. They had met in Paris while they were both at their weakest points in life, and despite all of her shortcomings and odd behaviors, they had created an Old-World bond which time hadn\'t touched. While Damien had never agreed with many of the ways in which she ran her life and governed herself, she was a connection to the old way of things even as the centuries progressed and that wasn\'t something he was willing to give up, despite all his discomforts with her behaviors. She was a valuable friend, one of the only ones who understood his plight, his true emotional state of being -- for she had been in the same exact state when they had met. They had both lost a lover, lost the old world where things were simple.

The gates of Awelfor Manor opened readily as he pulled the car in up the long driveway that was Odessa\'s property. The lawns were tended, the gardens stunning and not a crack in any of the cement landings, walkways or stones around. The place was immaculately taken care of on the outside, except for the long grass which seemed not to have been mowed in a few weeks. It was a strange thought, but Damien thought nothing of it and parked the car near the garage. By the time he was at the front step, the front door had been opened seemingly by itself. It was something that Damien was completely used to after all this time of visiting Odessa at her own home.

Allowing himself in with the grace of a gentleman in a lady\'s house, Damien could feel her deep aura echoing off of the walls of the building, almost causing him a mental headache. Something was wrong, he knew. The house smelled of dust, rain, and ocean water. She could feel her pressing mind from the foyer, nearly suffocating him until she felt him walk in. He knew full well where she was and carefully and unobtrusively made his way to her piano room.

She stood at the side of the piano as he walked in, staring at him with eyes that reminded him too much of a person he once knew. Damien didn\'t back down from her stare, knowing her enough to tell that it wasn\'t because of him that she looked at him in that manner. He studied her expression, her stance, her aura before he made any attempt to move forward towards her. She was nearly naked, no surprise for Damien -- he nearly expected it now -- wearing a black transluscent robe which framed her perfect body beautifully. Her hair was messy and she smelled of salt and dirt from the bottom of the ocean. Her skin was as pale as he had ever seen it, her eyes almost glassy in appearance as if she were thinking something while staring straight at him. Politely he smiled and made his way over to her unobtrusively as possible. The younger vampire took her hand in his and place a respectful kiss upon the back of it, the common polite greeting of his time and raising.

"Good evening, Odessa," he said curteously in a Latin, a mutual language between the two of them. "Perhaps I should have brought blood with me for you?"

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2010, 04:55:49 AM »
The phone closed softly and she returned it to its former place atop the piano, disturbing the layer of dust that had accumulated on its surface.  Other than this, the Queen still did not move.  A longer duration of time than usual had passed since her last contact with the man, and that was through letters.  She assumed, that after four months without any word of him, that Damien would have had something of extreme importance to tell her.  Otherwise, his visit would have occurred much sooner.  He was her last connection to her old life since she fell out of contact with Nadia, and his company and friendly intercourse had been missed.  As a fellow immortal, he was the only man that the Queen respected at this point in her undead life.  If anyone were fit to govern this city, Sonya would have little issue with Damien replacing either of the current fools in power.

Sonya could feel Damien approach her property before his car even came to her front gates.  During that time, she made an effort to cover herself with her black robe that had been draped over the side of the piano bench.  Other than this, the woman made no effort to be modest.  She was one who felt virtually no shame, and Damien had experienced that before, under similar circumstances.  The fact that she made any effort to provide for the comfort of anyone else besides herself, was a sign of her respect.  

She willed the door to open, only slightly due to her thirst, as always when a servant was not present to open the door to a visitor.  When Damien crossed the threshold of her home, she turned and faced him with an expressionless face.  

"I had planned to go out and feed later this evening," she replied slowly in Latin with a tight-lipped smile when the younger one spoke of blood.  Damien was always the first to show concern or worry.  

"It has been quite some time," the ancient continued, speaking with a level tone of voice, "What have you been busying yourself with as of late?"  Her question was not an accusation, but rather an empty effort at small talk.  The expression on her face still read as though she were thinking about many other things outside of this conversation.  Old things.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2010, 05:24:11 AM »
He smiled again wryly before offering her his arm to take. "Enough, trust me. I have much to tell you." Her arm slipped over his forearm casually as was normal for the pair and Damien made his way through her house into the living room with the older vampire at his side, still distracted by her own thoughts.

"I appologize for the impromptu plans this evening but I have a bit of unfortunate news that I felt you needed to hear from me, before anyone else decided to give you a skewed story." Odessa\'s arm slipped off of his as she seated herself elegantly on the largest sofa in passing. Damien himself sat on the smaller loveseat nearly opposite of her and settled himself. He watched Odessa cross her legs with a grace that was uniquely attractive, his eyes lingering on her exposed skin with vague interest.

There had never really been a time when he had any sort of attraction to the Byzantine queen. His mind was always too distracted with thoughts of Lucretia, of the army, of something more pressing than any sort of physical desire he may have had. Certainly, Odessa was as attractive as his Sire, as elegant and powerful, but Damien had never wanted anything more than friendship with the immortal beauty who sat before him now. Perhaps it was the aching in his heart for something that was his. Or maybe it was the fact that Odessa was too vicious, too violent, too uncontrolled for Damien\'s own good. Their relationship, despite centuries of loneliness, had remained simply as friends.

When she didn\'t respond to his statement with much interest or even eye contact he frowned. "Odessa, is something the matter? You are very distracted tonight. You seem to be slightly less than when I saw you last." It was a statement carefully phrased out of concern rather than a bluntly stated fact. He was worried about her, knowing how easily she slipped in and out of madness, and how often. Damien wasn\'t willing to lose her to madness after so many centuries of maintaining contact with her.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2010, 05:35:54 AM »
After a moment of wandering, the woman\'s eyes settled on Damien\'s and she was silent for a moment.  "I am merely waiting for you to tell me this important piece of information," a mask of cool interest settled over her features as she spoke, though her eyes silently communicated to him that there was something she preferred not to discuss.  She never spoke directly of what thoughts she happened to be dwelling on.  The occasions that he would dare to prompt her to elaborate, she would merely provide another dead-end comment that deflected the question as much as it hinted at an answer.  There were rare instances that she revealed a little more than usual to him, but always cryptically.

But now, she was more quiet than maddened by sorrow, anger, or otherwise.  A typical state of mind for her to emerge from the earth in.  That, and she had not expected any company on this night.

"Come now, tell me this news." The Queen, resting her elbow atop the arm of the couch, leaned casually on her palm.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2010, 05:47:28 AM »
He took her prompting without further delay. She was private about everything and it was one of the things that he liked about her, though he did find himself often wishing that she would open up to him as he to her. There were instances, of course, where this happened, but which were never frequent enough for him. That was simply how she was. She, and every other woman in his life.

Damien sat leaning forward slightly with his hand on one knee. "I\'ll assume you haven\'t heard about the recent shift in the Oligarchy." She continued to stare with a mask of interest which he could see very plainly. He hesitated before continuing. "There\'s a new Oligarch for vampires. His name is Jacob McCloud. He\'s under three hundred years old and looks even younger than I do." The younger vampire looked to the elder for her reaction before continuing. "And Lazarus is no longer the Luminary. Kerr Galvin is." His face was set to set and unmoving, expecting her angry reaction.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2010, 07:27:00 AM »
Every word that Damien spoke seemed to breathe animation into the Queen.  Anger slowly seeped into her dry veins, flashing through her eyes and creeping into her face.  Kerr, of all people, now the Luminary?  Much worse, an even younger yelp as the Oligarch?  She hissed with indignation, lips parting to expose her fangs.

"What?" she seethed, eyes narrow and bearing down on the deliverer of the development.  Her anger was for the Oligarchy only, not for her old friend, though she funneled it in his general direction.  It was almost as though the ancient were back to her usual self; royal fury and all.  Sonya let out a string of curses, varying from Ukrainian to French to Italian and anything else she could think of.  A few seconds passed as she ranted aloud to herself before she finally turned to Damien.

"Kerr Galvin.  Are you positive that imbecile is now leading this fucking city?" She returned to Latin, glaring down in his direction.  Giving him little time to respond, the queen continued.

"What of Lazarus?  Surely someone of his age would not step aside for some spineless whelp without experience?  I would have preferred Lazarus to that boy any night."  The woman hissed again, feeling another wave of anger seize her gut.

Kerr--that fucking child would surely enforce a new set of idiotic rules to attempt to control her life, feeding habits and anything else the Queen felt it her right to do.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2010, 07:40:29 AM »
Her anger raked over him, though he knew it wasn\'t for him. He knew it very well. She was reacting very much how he thought she would have reacted to such news and he was glad to know that she was still there. Reflexively Damien raised up the defenses in his mind to block her thick aura\'s penetration as she venter her frustration through a string of cursing. He knew exactly how she felt.

"I\'m positive it\'s Kerr. Pierre told me a little while ago when I went to go visit him. The whole immortal city knows; it\'s printed in the papers too.

"What I\'m not sure of," Damien continued, "is why exactly Lazarus stepped down. It must mean that the mimic demons are now on Kerr\'s side. You know what that means." He looked at her seriously as she seethed with rage.

It meant that if the mimic demons were teamed with the Luminary, there\'d be no overthrowing him or seizing any sort of power without punishment. A rock and a hard place. It spelled out bad news for the both of them, Damien and Sonya, knowing that their fates were in the hands of two young vampires, neither of whom were half their age. And that wasn\'t comforting for either Damien or Odessa.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2010, 07:54:13 AM »
Another string of cursing.  She knew exactly what it meant.  If it wasn\'t for the fucking mimic demons she would tear through the city at her own discretion and not have to hide like an outcast.  The Queen took a moment to compose herself, glaring thoughtfully at the floor between the two of them before speaking.

"What do you intend on doing?"  Her voice was tight with hidden concern that she would never admit to.  She knew that this new development meant that Damien\'s plans on establishing a new rule were going to be delayed a great deal more than he surely expected.  But even more was her concern of how this was going to interfere with her own life.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2010, 08:35:22 AM »
Damien sighed and hung his head a bit. He was afraid that she\'d ask that question. He wanted to say that he\'d in ome manner of speaking protest the idea that Kerr should be given the position based on no better reason than because he was there. He wanted to say that he would convince someone to at least change something. He wanted to say that he would gather up his fledglings and lay upon the Oligarchy and take it by force. But his situation at the moment wouldn\'t let him honestly say anything of the sort.

"I can\'t do anything at the moment. I have to worry about several other things at the exact moment that have been plaguing me for months. Pierre\'s injured, Storm\'s with Jenella right now back at the house, and I have to deal with the fact that Kerr\'s becoming more powerful and the Oligarchy itself is becoming more insulting to those who actually know what it takes to govern. And have the experience," he said quickly, stumbling across three different languages as he did so, oblivious to the idea that Sonya knew next to nothing about what had happened over the past few months. The statement would have, no doubt, confused her greatly, he came to realize.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2010, 08:48:53 AM »
The woman\'s eyes narrowed further as he spoke, allowing him to finish despite the fact that she wasn\'t following him.  Yes, the situation with Kerr and the Oligarchy was troubling, but apparently there was a great deal more that Damien had neglected to explain to her.  How much could have possibly happened in four months?  

"Damien," she smiled politely, "It has been too long since we last spoke.  What exactly has been going on?  Pierre is injured?"  Concern flashed across her face for a fleeting moment before she retained her guarded expression.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2010, 09:15:20 AM »
Damien nodded slightly. "Yeah," he said in English before switching over to a strange mix of any language which came out first. "He was severely burned on his lower torso. He\'s doing better now. In fact I went to go visit him at his condominium and he was the one who told me that Kerr\'s in power.

"I suppose I should start at the beginning. I forget that it\'s been a while since we\'ve spoken last. Forgive me." And he proceeded as calmly as he could from the very beginning of the entire tale. How he found Storm and what he believed about her. Laurent\'s constant chasing. Nikolai\'s betrayal. Pierre\'s fight with Laurent and injury -- at which he felt her aura spike slightly. Moving with Storm out of the apartment. Buying the house. All the way to that exact night when he found out about Kerr and McCloud. All the while she remained relatively quiet, staring at him heatedly and interjecting a question now and then to better understand. By the time he finished with his tale, nearly a half hour had passed.

A moment or two passed between them with Sonya thinking over his words and Damien dwelling in the roughness of his own situation. "I can\'t do anything until this Laurent is eliminated. And I have no idea how to draw him out into the open, nor the time to do it. So the city, unfortunately has to wait. It can\'t be helped. I wish it were different but there\'s nothing I can do."

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2010, 09:25:40 AM »
After Damien finished his story, the woman sighed with irritation.  Her expression was still guarded as she mulled over the situation in her mind, lips pressed tightly together.  After a few moments she looked to him finally, a more serious expression on her face.

"No, there is nothing you can do.  It would be unwise to attempt anything against the Oligarchy--especially without Pierre,"  She said the name as a sigh, eyes flickering away from Damien\'s face as she thought quietly to herself again.  Not once did she offer to help him, in either the case of politics or the girl. "And as you know, I am neutral in this situation," she added coolly, as one states a well known fact.

"What of this girl?  Have you addressed the question of how to flush out this source of trouble?"  Her eyes held a thoughtful curiosity.  "Surely, if she knew the man, she must have some sort of an idea."  

To say that Sonya was deeply concerned for Damien\'s affairs would not be entirely correct.  Despite the fact that it would be a sorry thing to lose his friendship, the women would never go out of her way to assist anyone if it did not directly benefit her.  Not usually, anyway.  What the Queen was more fascinated by was figuring out puzzles and playing games.  It was another form of entertainment for her, or so she would claim.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2010, 09:35:17 AM »
"The subject of this Laurent character is rather... touchy. Storm tends to limit her answers whenever the subject comes up in conversation, another source of frustration. He is only a mortal, sort of. Though he can conjure things, she assures me that he is nearly human. She calls him a Zalmric, a race of beings I know little about. She seems to understand them well enough. But he can die, if only I had the opportunity.

"But as it seems right now," he continued frustratedly, "the only way to flush him out is to use Storm as bait. And if she is what I believe she is, or if there is some connection between Storm and Lucretia, I\'m not about to just throw her to the wolves, despite her mortality. Not to mention I\'m not heartless. She\'s become a sort of companion over these past few months." She\'s actually nice company and it\'s nice to have someone to talk to during the night, he almost said but shut his mouth before he uttered it, feeling foolish nonetheless.

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Re: Defining Loyalties
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2010, 09:41:40 AM »
Sonya raised her eyebrows in mild surprise.  A companion?  Now that was interesting.  She said nothing on the subject, though her slight and fleeting smirk could have been enough to reveal her surprise and curiosity on the topic.  The Queen did love gossip.

"Well," she began slowly, thinking very much like one who was locked in a game of chess, "theoretically speaking, you could use her to flush the man out, no?"  She paused enough to gauge is reaction, but not enough to offer him chance to respond.

"In a controlled environment, of course, using her as a sort of pawn while you remain within reach.  Surely a mortal cannot match your speed, hmm?"  Her eyes were questioning, watching his expression closely.

"It wouldn\'t necessarily be \'throwing her to the wolves\'."  Exactly like chess.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente