Author Topic: Casual Politics  (Read 6125 times)

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Offline Saiketsu

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Casual Politics
« on: August 10, 2019, 08:13:12 AM »
When Zoheret left the Luminary building, the black Jaguar she had arrived in was parked in the closest parking space out front, waiting for her. Her driver stepped out of the front seat with the beginnings of sleep in his beautiful amber eyes and circled around the outside of the car obediently.

"Jesús, darling, I need a drink," she told him with the slightest twinge of exhaustion breaking into her voice, massaging her temples with one finger from each hand.

"Anywhere in particular, Madam?" She caught a glimmer of his concern for her as his professional expression wavered. Any other night it would have bothered her to see a falter in such decorum and she would have considered saying something nasty to him about it. He opened the back door to the car for her and extended his hand for her to use should she need it upon stepping in. Instead of meeting him with scorn, she placed her hand in his proffered one and cast a last annoyed glance back at the building, her thoughts on the conversation with Ben.

She turned her attention back to the human and smiled wanly at his care. "Somewhere these vampires won't bother me for the rest of the night." Zoheret tucked herself into the backseat of the car, putting her bag on the leather next to her. She pulled out her phone, turned the ringer back on and began flicking through emails and messages that had come in during the meeting.

Typically she scheduled work for herself right up until about ten or eleven in the evening, knowing that the creatures who slept the day away in the Northwest needed access to her as well. One of the perks of being the Dark Angel Oligarch had been that her kind was prone to sleeping like humans, and so she could keep business hours at a more approachable time. Now that her constituents were all of different species to herself, she attempted to make herself more available to them all while still maintaining something resembling a normal sleep schedule. When she looked at the time, she noted that only a couple of hours had passed since she had first arrived at the building, her meeting with Ben taking less than twenty minutes as she expected it to. At almost twenty to ten, she considered her job done for the night. No doubt the staff at Attica Villa would be preparing their bags and filing the last of their reports before she arrived, ready for the night to be done.

"Just drive for now," she bade Jesús, locking her phone and leaning against the tinted window, her elbow on the top of the moulded panel where it met the glass, supporting her hand against her temple. A tension headache pulsed dully beneath her fingers, the muscles needlessly knotted despite how she rubbed at them.

The city passed darkly before her, the street lamps of Central pooling yellowly upon ugly gray buildings, graffitied brick, crumbling concrete walkways. She closed her eyes and thought about both meetings that had taken place with a renewed sense of frustration.

Ben Samson had started that joke of a meeting barring his soul and expecting them, the District Leaders, to follow him like they had once followed Kerr Galvin as the Luminary. He was demanding, emotional, and hasty in the pursuit of his goals and had come into the room hot, instructing them of their jobs and the topics they needed to discuss. While Zoheret had been expecting the young vampire to bring up the election, she had not expected such a bombardment of demands and expectations as Ben had proposed. And as if it had effected the air in the room, Saraekiel made an absolute fool of himself in front of all the others while McCloud had actually played his hand decently well. Sabrina had been the only one to act even semi-predictably and that was mostly because she was so unfamiliar with the witch that she had no idea what to expect besides some distasteful peacekeeping. Charon had even proved that he was not immune to the ridiculousness of that meeting, snatching McCloud's phone and crushing it. The message had been clear to her anyway; that McCloud had burned yet another potential ally. The Oligarchy had been much easier and she regretted its dissolution immensely, which only added to her bitterness. And then she had to go and coddle Ben Samson's hurt feelings, fueled by the the thought of Jake McCloud retaining his position as Central District Leader. She rolled her eyes at the memory of it all.

Her shoulders were heavy but her mind raced. She was could feel her goals slipping through her fingers, a sensation that too resembled the fall of the Oligarchy and the scrabbling land grab in the whirlpool of chaos accompanied it. This election was going to be a nightmare.

She remembered sitting in Chtahzus'aak's office discussing this very occurrence with masked disdain. Now that it had come to pass, she wondered vaguely what he actually thought about the whole event. He had spoken three sentences, choosing the smartest option of sitting and watching them all. She had noted his silence next to her - and was thankful it was between McCloud and herself the entire night - and meant to inquire about it before the idea of meeting with Ben had occurred to her.

So instead she picked up her cell phone and dialed the number for the Block. Surely, a shadow demon could travel quicker than a car at night, and he was already back in his fortress surrounded by his demon army. After two rings, the receptionist that had scheduled her prior appointment picked up, offering a canned greeting on Zeus' behalf.

"I'd like to talk directly with Chtahzus'aak, please."

"And who may I ask is calling?"

She smiled. "Zoheret."

"Oh." At her name there was an audible change in the girl's voice as she said, "Just one moment, please. I'll see if he's in."

As she waited on hold, she looked down at her nail polish, noticing a minute chip in the aubergine pigment of her index finger on her left hand. She frowned and examined it closer. Just one more disappointment for the night.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Casual Politics
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2019, 09:20:31 AM »
Chtahzus'aak factually relayed the details of the meeting to Brael as they moved through the shadows of the city back into the West district at a casual pace.  He couldn't decide what he was more surprised about: McCloud's utter silence throughout the duration of the meeting, Samson's little tantrum, Saraekiel's posturing, or the shattering of the Brat Prince's phone.  It was an enlightening meeting leaving much to digest.  There were many things he wished to discuss with his companion in the shadows but decided the security of his compound to be the most private.  The inner-most workings of his mind were not to be exposed into the air of central.  Besides, he had yet to piece things together himself.

He did mention that Sabrina would be coming by tomorrow afternoon to research the Tess issue--and that perhaps Brael's assistance would be invaluable.

Flying over the city would've been a preferable way to release tension--but the moonlit sky forced him to stick to the shadows.  He found his mind wandering back to Lan Bao and Chinatown--and what she had to do with McCloud.  Well, it briefly lingered on that but strayed to the night they'd spent together during the Lantern Festival.  The memory of fucking her well into the evening produced a wicked smirk that remained, more or less, until they reached the entrance to the compound.  The demonic sigils responded to his approach and the way was open until they crossed through the threshold.  The comforting familiarity of being home began to creep into his tension.

Well, until the demon at the front desk looked up and motioned at the phone.  "District Leader Zoheret is on hold."  He sighed heavily and looked to Brael with a weary smile. 

"Patch it through to my office," he took a brisk pace to the elevator, going directly to the second floor. 

Shedding his jacket and undoing the first few buttons of his charcoal shirt, Zeus sat at his desk with an exhale and picked up the phone.

"Yes?"  There was a tired edge to his voice, but it was overall open and polite.
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: Casual Politics
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 04:11:37 AM »
"I have just had the most fascinating conversation with Ben Samson," she boasted, fixing her lipstick in a compact mirror that she kept in her handbag. Zoheret rolled her lips together, evenly distributing the color as she paused for effect. "Are there any demon bars where I can buy you a drink or a human soul and tell you all about it?" She smiled and wiped at the corners of her mouth before dabbing her lips delicately with a tissue to absorb the excess. Zoheret figured that such a bit of information would pique the shadow demon's paranoid interest.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Casual Politics
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2019, 04:45:43 AM »
With an eye-roll and a smirk, Chtahzus'aak leaned back in his chair and put his feet up on the desk.

"A politically-sensitive conversation out in public at a bar?"  He laughed, "Zoheret, I thought you were smarter than that."  Regardless of the fact that he'd explicitly warned McCloud against having any of his people in the West District, there wasn't anything stopping the citizens from traveling to other districts carrying with them whatever they overheard.  He wasn't exactly an unknown individual anymore.
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: Casual Politics
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2019, 05:30:43 AM »
She shrugged off the jest, finding it as amusing as it was annoying. "What, you don't have a cloak of secrecy over the entire West District yet? I thought you had everything under control over there." Zoheret smiled again as she threw a playful barb back. "I don't particularly care where we go, as long as I can get a drink and be as far away from Ben Samson and Jake McCloud as possible."

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Casual Politics
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2019, 05:46:28 AM »
Cloak of secrecy, he scoffed, biting back a more sarcastic return. 

"Well, lucky for you my schedule for the evening is clear--should you like to make an appointment."   
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: Casual Politics
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2019, 06:12:42 AM »
She openly scoffed at his comment about the schedule, remained smiling. "Make an appointment?" She said incredulously, not actually believing he was serious, though lacking the experience with his humor to know for sure. "To meet with you for drinks tonight? You're ridiculous." Her tone may have been hauty, but there was humor not far from the surface, inviting a similarly spirited response. It was the first time since she left Attica Villa that evening that she was actually rather enjoying herself. "Where am I meeting you?"

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Casual Politics
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2019, 06:26:39 AM »
His laugh was a low rumble and he was glad that she had the capacity for humor after the meeting. 

Ruffled feathers.

"You know where to find me."  Chtahzus'aak smiled widely and waited for her to begin to reply before hanging up the phone. 
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: Casual Politics
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2019, 08:18:44 AM »
She scoffed again, finding the idea of meeting him at his compound trite. Of course he wanted to meet at the Block, the paranoid fool. He never left the damn Block! Heaven forbid he leave the shelter of his cement cube and go out into the city that he was governing and actually relax for a damn minute...

"Are you actually sugges--" The line went dead and the phone beeped in her ear to indicate the end. Stunned, she closed her compact to look at the device to ensure that what she thought had happened had actually just happened. He had hung up on her! She couldn't remember the last time someone had actually hung up on her. No one hung up on her. Zoheret huffed again in her indignation and tossed her phone onto the seat next to her in resignation.

"Men," she muttered under her breath, massaging her temple again, trying to decide. "Jesús," she demanded after a minute or so, "drive to the Block, please." She spent the remainder of her ride staring angrily out the window and reading news articles about a world falling apart.

--

The demon that walked her from the car to the front of the Block was disconcertingly tall and in his natural form. Jesús looked at him with obvious discomfort but Zoheret played a better role at ignoring the oddity of the demon, too focused on chewing Chtahzus'aak's head off for being so rude. She didn't bother hiding her wings once she was inside, instead taking advantage of the spacious interior by stretching her wings to their fullest height once she was beyond the doorway. A few demons looked on in wonder as she closed them tightly against her back, but no one made eye contact with her.

Zoheret hardly waited to be invited anywhere, but took to the path down to Chtahzus'aak's office, allowing whatever escort he sent for her follow in her wake. Her stilettos echoed against the marble floors as she made her way towards the elevator, where another demon in human form stepped out of the way and let her into the cab without saying a word. She pressed the button for the second floor and hit the button to make the doors close, shutting the lobby out of view.

When the doors parted again, she saw him standing in his office doorway. He hadn't changed since the meeting, but had removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. There was something dashing about his casual lean against the doorframe, two glasses of amber liquor in his hands like some kind of offering. It almost made her smirk. Instead she pursed her lips and raised her eyebrow at him. She approached him with her shoulders back and a slight sway in her hips, her wings relaxing in a semi-unfolded position behind her, staining the hallway bloody as she sauntered annoyed down the brightly lit hallway.

"You're an ass, do you know that?" There was a strong air of annoyance as she approached him and seized the glass of whiskey from him, walking by the demon into his office without waiting for an invitation. "Heaven forbid you leave this wretched building," Zoheret murmured to herself as she looked around at the room again.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Casual Politics
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2019, 08:31:52 AM »
His eyes rolled once she went past him into the office.  "Make yourself comfortable," he muttered under his breath as the door closed with a soft click behind him.

"I do leave," his tone mirrored hers, though he hid a smirk behind a sip from his glass.  "It isn't exactly smart to talk politics now out in the open."  Chtahzus'aak crossed over to the couches and sat on the arm of one, facing her.  "But I won't lecture you."  He smiled pleasantly, swirling the amber liquid around in the glass.

"What was so fascinating about your conversation with Samson?"  He feigned casual interest, though in actuality it was more than that, examining the cling of liquid to the inside of the glass in his hand.
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Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: Casual Politics
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2019, 10:06:32 AM »
She ignored his comments, feeling well within her rights to disregard his insulting tone after he needlessly hung up on her. Instead, Zoheret wandered about his office at a slow pace, looking at the things he kept on surfaces, the hideous gargoyles that guarded his desk. She ran her fingers over the dark stained wood of his desk, noting the meticulous neatness of it. Everything had a place, a purpose. Tastefully minimal and macabre. It brought a smirk to her lips as she took a sample sip of the whiskey.

"You have a good taste in whiskey," she decided out loud without looking at him, still admiring the little plants on the bookshelves. She perused the titles of the books, many of the tomes decorated with markings she didn't know. She had been on Earth since just after the time of Jesus of Nazareth and had seen all manner of writing come to be, all sorts of scribbles and scratchings from the humans. Many of them she could read - or had read before, the languages long forgotten now - and yet he had a significant amount of writings that she couldn't even discern the titles. A curious thing. She stroked some of the spines with her delicate fingers, tempted to pull one out and glance through. What would he do if she decided to do so? Would he stop her? Scold her? Remove the book from her hands and tell her to leave?

"What is it?" Zoheret finally looked at the demon, amused again at his casual lounge on the arm of the couch. She was learning an awful lot about the District Leader already. She didn't bother to smile at him, but raised her glass and took another, larger sip, tasting vanilla, cinnamon, smoke of caramel but lacking all the traditional sweetness in favor of a deep wood flavor that grounded and based the drink. She felt no burn of alcohol, though the evaporation lingered savory on her tongue and lips as she held his dark gaze. "The whiskey."

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Casual Politics
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2019, 10:29:15 AM »
Chtahzus'aak watched her move about the office in silence, indifferent to the fact that she hadn't answered his question and intensely interested in what she was examining.  There was the suggestion of a raised eyebrow in the slightest wrinkle on his forehead as her back was to him.  Was this some sort of test?  What game was she playing?

Did she actually speak with Samson or was that a ruse to catch him unawares?

At the mention of his choice of drink, he sipped, gaze following her fingers on his collection of books.  Still quiet he waited, discontent growing marginally the longer she avoided answering what he'd asked.  Clearly, it was trivial enough to warrant a delay, and he was beginning to wonder if she'd come just to waste his time.  Zeus would not be baited into repeating himself only to have her ignore him again.  He had patience--to an extent.

After another sip, he set the glass down and crossed his arms over his chest.  "Blue Label."  His eyes remained steadily fixed on her, expression reading nothing but watchful. 
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: Casual Politics
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2019, 10:50:17 AM »
As soon as he answered her question she smirked and responded to his inquiry. "I went up to his penthouse directly after the meeting to determine why he felt so inclined to act like he was the next Luminary when his only claim to power was the man sleeping in his bed." Zoheret looked into the glass and took another sip. She would have to look into getting this whiskey.

"Did you know that Ben Samson is single-handedly funding the City Ward at the moment?" Chtahzus'aak was a smart man. Surely he had caught that little tidbit of information at the meeting. But just in case, she put the first piece down in front of him "He used them to send out those summons to collect us all like school children so we could learn about his election." She smirked. "That's a fine use of resources I would say, wouldn't you? Considering he is a private citizen still?" The second piece.

"I informed him that he had no jurisdiction nor authority to use the Ward for his own personal use." She put the glass to her lips and paused, adding "In private, of course." Zoheret took her next sip smiling.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Casual Politics
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2019, 11:13:51 AM »
If Chtahzus'aak was surprised by anything she said, he wouldn't have shown it.

Did you spank him, too?  With a dry smirk, he resisted this reflexive reply borne from a gnawing sense of impatience.  He wanted to ask what her point was, as he'd yet to hear anything fascinating and she was doing an excellent job at dragging the entire ordeal out as long as possible.

"And did he whine as much as he did in the meeting?"  Zeus' tone was playful, lips holding the same smirk.
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Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline Saiketsu

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Re: Casual Politics
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2019, 10:23:30 AM »
"Of course he did," Zoheret answered, turning her attention back to the bookcase, toying with one of the large succulents, with puffy sprouts fanning out in a circle the size of her fist. The leaves were plump and the soil seemed very slightly damp as if it had been freshly watered. The dark angel rolled her lips in to suppress a sneer directed at the shadow demon, the image of him watering this little plants himself too effeminate and humorous to compete with this image of gruffness he displayed.

"He still thinks that his honesty is going to be the thing that gets him elected over McCloud and doesn't understand why we were so hard on him." She looked back up at Zeus, the amusement settled on her features and added with an exaggerated pout, "After all, he's just trying to help people like him."

The dark angel sighed and twittered her wings, tossing back a mouthful of liquor and emptying the glass. The flavor almost overwhelmed her senses and she closed her eyes as she swallowed, crafted eyebrows arching upwards. The alcohol warmed her in the most delightful way, ebbing out from her center without much of a sting. She made her way over to where Chtahzus'aak sat on the arm of the cream colored sofa, seating herself comfortably on the opposite one, upright, her legs straight on the couch and ankles crossed so that both of her heels managed to remain off of the couch. The white dress that she wore still kept her modest, sliding up only to just over mid-thigh.

"He's at the very least not interested in dropping out of the election, though he did seem a bit reluctant to accept why we had voted with McCloud." She draped her arm over the back of the couch and kept the glass dangling from her hand closest to Zeus, content with it remaining empty for now, though she wouldn't refuse him if he should want to fill it again.