Author Topic: Tour Guide  (Read 247 times)

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Offline Satyr

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Tour Guide
« on: February 01, 2019, 07:12:10 AM »
Ben led Kerr and Ichabod through the foyer towards the basement level, which heralded them as conference rooms. On the way they passed spiffy looking offices with floor to ceiling glass walls fronting their area and etched signage declaring who they were. Ben pointed two of them out as they walked by.

"Wallasembe Tech handles our network security. The Academy has online classes too, and they host them for us. We've got more online students than offline, but not all classes are just theory so some classes need bodies on seats." He glanced at Ichabod and debated whether to tell him that all the classes were open to him if he'd just signed up... but decided not to mention it because it would probably come out sounding like a dig at him. Ben probably wouldn't be able to make it sound like anything other than a dig, in reality. Ben pointed to the glass door diagonally opposite. "And Artisan Design are the architects I hired for the building out at Meadowcrest. Because they're engineers and landscapers as well, they could do it all. I found it convenient."

He could hear the pride in his own voice as he explained how he'd got it all going. The money had helped, of course. Anybody could flash it and get things done, but not everybody would. He glanced at Ichabod again, curious to see if his fledge-brother was impressed or bored. He'd already judged him wrong, thinking Ichabod would have loved to be a part of this project.

They reached the basement stairs, plush and wide, and headed down so Ben could show his sire and brother how the conference and function rooms had been converted into a temporary lecture hall and classes.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2019, 07:56:21 AM »
Ichabod had known the route to the building and parking without needing direction. He’d stayed quite quiet during the journey, trying to distract from the tension of being near Ben again by savouring the joy which came from being near his sire. That warmth flowed through his body and he focused on that, letting it calm him.

He couldn’t help casting the odd glance towards Kerr, checking he was still there, that he wasn’t just going to disappear like a figment of his imagination at any moment. As they got out of the car he found himself reaching out to gently brush his hand against Kerr’s arm, craving that physical contact just to reassure himself he was truly there, before drawing back into himself, shoving his hands into the front pocket of his hoodie.

The last time he’d been here Ichabod had looked around, but to be honest he hadn’t really seen it. He’d been too worried about running into Ben to really take it all in, so he’d done a quick lap of the building, taken some brochures home, then spent hours online scouring which classes he would want to take. But he hadn’t wanted Ben to have the satisfaction of knowing he was taking them, as no doubt he’d find out, in addition to finding it difficult imagining anyone but Kerr teaching him.

This time he knew where Ben was, so that fear was gone. They’d had their sniping at each other, maybe that would be it for this evening, now they were out in public. Ichabod had grown more independent in the past year, but still hated confrontation or making a scene.

But even with that thought Ichabod could feel tension starting to rise again at the sound of pride in Ben’s voice. He felt a swell of jealously which he swallowed down. He was listening intently as Ben explained everything he’d done, wishing desperately that he could have been a part of this. Every time Ben glanced his way Ichabod felt like it was a little jab and he tried to avoid looking at his brother, not wanting Ben to see the upset in his eyes.

He wished he could make some comment, some suggestion on how he would have done something better, but in honesty Ben had done a lot of it exactly how Ichabod would have. His plans for the future and descriptions of why he’d chosen the options he had – it all made sense.

“You’ve done a really good job. How did you find the teachers?” he asked, finally glancing towards his brother as he spoke quietly, letting his fingers lightly trail down the hand rail as they descended.


Offline Satyr

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2019, 09:24:30 AM »
As they walked downstairs, Ben replied candidly.

"There were ads in the usual papers but I only managed to rope three vampire lecturers. One of them is Sam, I think you might know her?" Ben asked, unsure. They'd all been living at the Oligarchy Chambers together but that was a while back and he didn't know if Ichabod had had anything to do with the then vampire Oligarch Jake McCloud, Sam's sire. "Another just answered the ad, and I had to convince my, um, my..."

What was Vincent to him? He wasn't 'my' anything because he didn't belong to Ben. He looked at Kerr momentarily, having felt the jealousy thrum along the bloodline once before at the mention of his picking up another trainer. "Vincent took up training me when he found out my sire had died. He teaches the basics here, for fledglings. Too basic for us," Ben rushed, not wanting Ichabod to meet Vincent because he didn't want to share him. Again, his gaze swivelled from Ichabod to Kerr, to check what his sire thought about this other vampire who had taken Ben in. He had an inkling that Kerr would want to meet him, but he didn't want that to happen, either.

He led Kerr and Ichabod into the lecture hall, which was really just the largest conference room. Temporary flooring had been put in that raised the floor to three levels, the furthest back two rows being the highest, staggered so that nobody sat in front of one another. It had been Conner's insight to design it this way, for Ben had just placed the chairs into rows and columns. The lecturer's podium was at the front and behind them a large television had been installed on the wall, beside an old-fashioned whiteboard.

Ben watched as Kerr moved into the room, looking around and even stepping up onto the next level. As their sire investigated, Ben looked at Ichabod, his earlier annoyance and jealousy vanished.

"You're permanently enrolled," he said to his fledge brother, finally giving him the information he should've almost a year ago, when classes had begun. "Any class you want to take, you can. The receptionist has all your logins and stuff."

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2019, 08:09:02 AM »
“Maybe,” Ichabod said with a small shrug at the mention of Sam. The name sounded familiar but it wasn’t exactly uncommon and Ichabod had made little to no effort to have any sort of interaction with any vampires since Kerr had died (or disappeared, it still felt weird to think about).

He glanced sideways at Ben, raising an eyebrow slightly at the mention of Vincent. His Vincent? Wow, Ben did really manage to weasel his way in everywhere. Kerr was gone so Ben just went and found himself a mock sire, a new trainer, someone he would refer to as my.

Or maybe that was just more jealousy rearing it’s ugly head again. Ben had done all this and managed to keep going with his own training whilst Ichabod had stagnated. He’d taken his courses at the mortal university, but he’d been completely wasting the other gifts he should have been working on.

Ichabod wandered towards the podium, his mind wandering to the subjects would be taught from here as he cast an eye over the controls for the screen and shifted a stray pen into a tidier position at the end of the stand. When Ben spoke he glanced up, meeting his pale eyes.

He already knew he could have taken any classes. It had been mentioned to him when he came to look around, but he held back from a snappy ‘I know’. Ben was obviously making an effort here – Ichabod could hardly remember the last time they’d had a civil conversation.

I never didn’t want to be a part of this, he sent just to Ben, not wanting his brother to think he was saying it just for Kerr’s benefit. I would have loved to have helped, you knew that. It all just went wrong. They’d both been high strung in the solicitors’ office, it had been a bad time for it to be first brought up. Ichabod wondered what would have happened if Ben had mentioned his idea to him a couple of days earlier. Or even once they were out of there. Everything would have been different.

“Thanks, I’ll have a look into it. I’m a bit behind on all this, maybe back to basics would be best,” he said outloud, giving a wry smile.

Offline Satyr

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2019, 11:03:44 AM »
Ichabod's mental message surprised him, though he didn't know why. He'd imagined multiple different scenarios to how everything could've played out differently in the lawyer's offices. There'd been more than a few times he'd regretted shutting Ichabod out when decisions for the Academy had overwhelmed him and Conner was too busy to help. Now Conner was gone and Ben had to do it all himself, but now that he had construction going, decisions had to be made at the rate of a million miles an hour and he felt like he was losing control of it, like it was becoming something that other people were doing, not him.

Come on, Benny-boy, you can't drive the bulldozer yourself

Since he was paying attention, Ichabod would've noticed the way Ben stiffened at the news of him taking a basics class - the one Vincent taught. Ben mentally shook himself, pushed out a small smile and aimed it Ichabod's way.

"Kerr will have you back to advanced training in no time," he said, throwing their sire a quick look and smile. "I thought you'd be more interested in learning about other stuff. Vampire history, maybe. Or what other kind of supes are in our world. It's handy to know. There's even a class on witchcraft." Well, there wasn't yet, but it was on the syllabus for next semester.

We can fix things between us, if we respect each other's space. I would like your help with the new Academy.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2019, 06:36:41 AM »
Ichabod did notice Ben’s reaction to his mention of the basics class – the one with Vincent. He wondered if there was more going on there than Ben was admitting to, but what was the point in poking at it? Kerr had been gone for eighteen months, but he and Ben seemed to have slipped right back into how things had been. So if anything had happened between Vincent and Ben, maybe that was done with now Kerr was back.

“I’ve been doing a couple of history classes at the university, it would be good to expand on that here. There were a few classes which I’d be interested in,” Ichabod said. A few? All of them. He wanted to learn all of it, to be prepared for anything which might come. Maybe if he and Ben had had more knowledge, more experience, they could have worked together to find Kerr.

“Can we learn witchcraft? I mean, like actually learn magic? Or would it just be theory? I mean… I never knew if you actually had to have some magic in your already to be able to do things like that,” he added, his curiosity sparked by that. He had plenty of vampiric skills to learn first, but it would be amazing to do even more.

I’d like to help. Just let me know when you need it. He wasn’t sure how well they’d do working together, but they could try. It obviously wouldn’t be all flowers and rainbows, but it was something they would both care about so surely they could manage it?

Offline Satyr

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2019, 07:33:49 AM »
Ben responded positively to Ichabod's enthusiasm about the witchcraft class.

"There's theory but there's also practical application. I had to design a special room into the Academy for it, and there's land at the back for the bigger spells and stuff. I don't know if we can, being vampires, but there's a bloodline in the Clan vampires called Tremere and they do magic, which means we should be able to use it. I need to get myself a Tremere vampire to... uh... to teach a class."

Ben remembered that Conner was a Tremere. It only made it more pronounced that he'd vanished - much like Kerr, only without preamble. He still had his car parked downstairs. Still had half a report sitting on his desk. He hadn't packed. Something had happened to him. Or someone had. Ben hadn't known the first place to look.

Ichabod's mental communication cut into the second it took for Ben to recall all this. He thought Kerr might pick up on the Tremere thing or ask about Conner, if he was paying attention to their conversation.

I'll send you the back-end stuff and some managment level logins. You can have a look at what there is so far. Not a lot but we're about to expand.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2019, 10:32:33 PM »
Kerr had stepped up another level and settled into one of the seats, legs splayed and hands clasped in his lap. The room was interesting but it didn't compare to the interplay between his fledglings; he admired them silently, feeling the gentle thrum of their mental communication without the desire to investigate what they were saying. It was enough that the tension between them had dialled right down and that they were treating each other civilly. It was unlikely to last, so he was loathe to intervene but he had questions that needed to be asked.

"Isn't that Conner's clan?  Won't he do it for you?" he asked Ben.

Offline Satyr

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2019, 10:32:46 PM »
There was a long pause while Ben decided how best to say what he didn't actually know. He looked at Ichabod, but his brother couldn't help him, he knew even less. In a sombre tone, he finally replied.

"Conner's disappeared. Just vanished one night. He said he had people after him. I think maybe they got him. Nobody knows anything." And, because it was too painful to linger on his disappearance, Ben added: The Ward's been functioning without him on the old Oligarchy laws. They're spread thin though - nobody wants to sign up to be a supernatural cop, I guess."

It was too big a job for him to organise. Even the Sacramentum's extensive reach was stretched thin over two districts. It was easier (laughably) to focus on the Academy alone.

Connor's been gone almost as long as you have.

It was depressing standing here, like they were on some funeral ground. Ben looked from Kerr to Ichabod. "Do you want to see the construction site?"

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2019, 10:59:06 PM »
Kerr didn’t allow Ichabod to answer, he sprang to his feet and interrupted before his younger fledge could respond, scowling at Ben.

“Hang on. Last night, you said everybody had left. You made it sound like they’d scattered when it all got too hard. But you think it’s far more sinister than that for Conner? He might be... dead?”

Truthfully, they hadn’t gone into detail and Kerr hadn’t been able to fully process all the facets of how the city’s political structure had fallen apart in his absence - and then there’d been Charon’s interruption, followed by reacquainting themselves on an intimate level.

It had been a tumultuous reunion; now Kerr sought clarity.

Offline Satyr

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2019, 11:18:47 PM »
It was news he hadn't wanted to give, and he saw now his folly. Still, with a heavy heart he nodded, apologising with big eyes.

"It looks bad. I mean, everybody else did leave, and one or more of them took off with the Oligarchy funding. Maybe Conner had to leave quickly because there was an emergency or he left to save someone. I... I assumed the worst but I assumed the worst about you, so..."

He tried to smile but it failed miserably. One planar travel misunderstanding was a long shot. Two would be nothing short of miraculous.

He looked at the floor, sorry now that he hadn't mentioned it sooner. "He might come back."

He could hear the doubt in his words.

Offline pinkroses

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2019, 06:21:20 AM »
Ichabod had nodded at Ben’s offer to send him the details, feeling a tingle of excitement at the potential to be able to help with all this. It was exciting, but then the discussion took a darker turn.

He watched them discuss Connor, frowning as he leant gently against the podium. At Ben’s final words, Ichabod felt a stab as he remembered those twinges of hope. That maybe they’d been mistaken and Kerr would come back. Then it had happened.

Ichabod moved towards Ben and rested a hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently. He hadn’t liked Connor much from their meeting, but he’d helped Ben out and then left him to deal with all this alone. If he was dead, well, Ichabod didn’t want that for anyone.

“Well we’ve had one miracle, it might happen,” he said, giving his brother a small smile. “Why don’t you show us the construction site? Tell us what you had planned?”

Offline Satyr

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2019, 10:20:49 AM »
Ben found himself struck by Kerr's expression; how the sadness and dismay flitted in his eyes, how his brows knitted downward in a frown, how his lips also revealed his emotions.

Ben gave Ichabod a grateful look, surprising himself that he was pleased Ichabod had come along. He'd started out tonight wanting to rub Ichabod's nose in it, but now he just wanted to get along with him. Other than Murphy - who he hardly got to hang out with anymore because of their lives going in different directions - he had no friends. He couldn't count Vincent because he was a mentor AND an employee. He couldn't count Owen because he was only around when Vincent was around, being his partner and all. He couldn't count Charon because their relationship was founded on an agreement. It was...

pathetic

a lonely existence.

He nodded and looked at Kerr, wondering if he had more questions or if they could go.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Tour Guide
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2019, 10:39:21 PM »
Kerr’s expression didn’t abate but he also had no more questions - well, none that could be answered with anything but hypothesis and hope, anyway.

He was mildly annoyed that Ichabod had changed the subject but he supposed he should be grateful; what joy was there in an autopsy, after all? The city he’d known was dead and the people he’d circulated with were gone. Analysing it wouldn’t bring joy and it wouldn’t bring his friends back.

Gnawing ruminatively on his tongue stud, he tilted his head and made a gesture with his hand that silently invited Ben to guide them onward. He stepped back down to rejoin his fledglings, trying to ignore the sadness and confusion being eighteen months out of step with the world had dropped in his gut.