Author Topic: Reconnection  (Read 13582 times)

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Offline Trillian

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #60 on: December 13, 2020, 07:21:14 AM »
When Kerr spoke about it being time to get over it, Ben shook his head and drew closer to him. "I don't think there are fixed deadlines on this. You feel how you feel. I don't want you to force it because you said you 'weren't compelled either way'. I'm the one who made us come."

Ben had expected discomfort but the emotion that twanged along their bloodline was much sharper. It had a kind of stinging unpleasantness to it. It confirmed to Ben why Kerr was so fixated that vampires were not living creatures, why he held the irritating opinion that their bodies had died. Ben thought the idea came from Kerr's mortal superstitions and religious belief. Perhaps some of it did, but now he believed it had more to do with the way Kerr was sired. He wanted to believe they'd killed him rather than transforming him into something else.

He didn't know what good visiting the cellar would do. Kerr would likely only see his memory while Ben would only see whatever conversion had happened - probably a place to store wines.

His movie-memories revealed a more comfortable Kerr showing him around a decaying building. It wasn't hard to figure out it was the reconstruction that bothered him.

"You called your tormentors 'long-dead', but this place has come back to life," he said, wanting Kerr to understand that he knew what the problem was. The people who lived here - two of them, by their scent - were human and obviously wealthy. They'd become the manor's new heart but the skeleton and skin were enough to return his sire to his darkest time.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #61 on: December 13, 2020, 09:15:18 PM »
Kerr's mouth opened slightly and he marvelled at Ben, unable to express quickly how his love's astute statements affected him. He felt seen and comforted and it amazed him how easily Ben could do that. It was like he could tap into Kerr's heart and understand his motives with zero effort. Like he was made for him. He was truly his other half.

Realising he was gawping, Kerr shook his head slightly and smiled, blinking away the stunned feeling. "Thank you," he said quietly, aware that it wasn't really an appropriate follow-on from whatever Ben had said last but it was more important for him to express his appreciation than it was to keep up a cohesive conversation. As he spoke, he wrapped Ben in a bear hug, squeezing him briefly before releasing him. The feeling of connection and being understood still thrummed around them as he took a step back and looked around, attempting once more to assess their surroundings objectively.

"They were the worst sires," he mused. "I felt so bad, for so long, about killing Angus - even though he molested Sawyl, imprisoned me and killed my mother. I didn't want to be a monster like him yet the first thing I did was murder him. For Sawyl but because of him! It was so fucked up. Ugh, I'm so fucked up because of them!" he exclaimed, rubbing a hand across his hair agitatedly before turning to smile at Ben once more. "Welcome to where I died and was made and thank you for putting up with my shit. I wish this place was rubble but I guess it proves a point anyway. Everything can be broken down but come back stronger, given enough time and attention. Unless it's put down properly the first time."

His last words were muttered and sarcastic but truthful. He hadn't enjoyed confronting the truth of this place when coming back tonight but it was just a place. He and Ben would move on. The problem was that he now realised he'd never fully move beyond this place and that really sucked but he was strong enough to adjust. With Ben by his side, guiding and supporting him, he'd do it. They'd be fine.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #62 on: December 13, 2020, 09:29:29 PM »
Ben grinned within the bear hug and continued to smile at Kerr once released. He was pleased that Kerr got what he was saying, evidenced by the way Ben was thanked. Was it so rare that they communicated that effectively? No, but usually that level of conversation was helped along with telepathically sent emotions. This time words were enough. It was nice.

"Yeah, they were," Ben mumbled his agreement. He didn't understand Kerr's guilt for killing the monster that Angus was (just like he didn't understand Kerr's anger for Digital killing the monsters Sawyl and his mothers were), but then again, he'd not killed anyone with his own hands yet and hoped he never needed to. Wanting and wishing death upon someone was vastly different than performing the deed himself. His fantasies had come very close to reality after the election; he'd thought about a particular plan of action he could take, but veered away from it.

Once something like that happened, it could never be undone.

He forced himself back to the present, because he needed to be here for Kerr instead of wallowing in his own darknesses.

"Everybody's fucked up. Just in different ways," he said.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #63 on: December 14, 2020, 02:31:33 PM »
Kerr chuckled, enjoying the crass stamp of approval Ben put on him. "Truer words had never been spoken," he murmured, grinning at his love as he nuzzled his temple lovingly. He pulled back to continue talking, one arm about Ben's waist. "Though they can't excuse all ills. Love accounts for the rest, I suppose," he offered, amused by his own words. He was probably a terrible person for whitewashing every tragedy he'd been part of but there came a time where he had to move on and being flippant was merely the manifestation of some heavy thought and internalised guilt.

"Shall we get out of here? This pretty veneer still gives me the creeps and I'd much rather spend my time walking and making new memories with you." He turned them towards the front door and strolled in that direction as he spoke. His telekinesis had unlocked it after Ben had disabled the electronics so he made sure to lock it again before he used his mind to pull it closed behind them. Not that his fingerprints would've been on file anywhere, even if he'd left any. "Not that I don't appreciate your efforts at consolation, but do you find revisiting my history interesting? I worry that a place so out of the way and steeped in history - that hasn't, honestly, moved on all that much - will bore you to death," he mused conversationally as they headed away from the manor.

Kerr found the tension coiled in his belly loosening with every step they took.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #64 on: December 14, 2020, 04:43:57 PM »
"I like history," Ben said needlessly because Kerr knew that about him already. "Especially vampire history. I feel a kind of detachment when reading about human history now until I hear about what vampires had to do to deal with what was going on in society around them. Charon told me a few stories about Ancient Rome that helped me to better imagine it. And when you tell me about your history about living here, it's obviously a lot more interesting than books."

A thought occurred to him once he spoke about books. He'd buried his nose into so many books at the Oligarchy library. Kerr might think it strange but he'd used his movie-memories to re-read those texts. It was better second time around because he could play it at triple speed in his head, which alerted him to the fact he was capable of reading faster. Was that a kind celerity?

"Is there an Oligarchy or anything similar in Ireland? Or are they only in the big cities?"

Austria had been amazing but they hadn't talked to or checked in with any supernatural councils while they were in any of the cities there. If they had, would they have been able to hold Themba accountable for murdering him (if he hadn't had that last-minute change of heart)?
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #65 on: December 14, 2020, 06:33:31 PM »
Kerr exhaled an appreciative breath when told Ben liked history. He supposed there was that impersonal label to be found here, though his focus was the 'my' part of things; this wasn't 'history' when it was his past they were reliving. Ben's perspective was one he needed to embrace, to compartmentalise himself away from the negativity. That said, he really liked the fact that his love found him interesting. It would keep him delving into the twisted places in his soul until that interest was gone. The things you did for love.

"Oh, man," he said when asked about an Irish Oligarchy. He'd contemplated introducing Ben to the world over here but the fact that he'd asked first still made Kerr feel a little panicky. It felt too soon. Ben was still vulnerable and he felt far too inadequate to the task. He had allies that were too few in number to make this task less daunting but... he was curious, too. He'd been gone twenty or so years but he'd been busy in that time and he highly doubted his run as Luminary had gone unnoticed, even this far away. Maybe he'd helped redeem himself, even if only marginally?

"The setup in Europe is pretty... er, bohemian I guess you'd say. It's the wild fucking west over here. There are pockets of power all over the place, it's not democratic like it is in the States. They're in the major cities, yes, but pretty much in every major city. There've been movements to create a single ruling council but none of them have succeeded, as far as I know. Most councils include representatives for whatever species is in the area but they're often ad hoc and if it's an itinerant species, the representatives fade in and out. Only the oldest councils remain set in stone, otherwise it's very messy. It's nothing for there to be multiple opposing councils vying for control of the one city, controlling all of Europe is a pipe dream. It would be a very powerful, extremely well-resourced and heavily-populated council that could take over."

Kerr laughed bitterly at his final statement, realising he'd gone off on a bit of a tangent and not properly answered Ben but it was the mindset he'd held when last he'd lived in Europe. All the convoluted power structures had just meant more headaches for him than he'd known what to do with, because every night Sawyl seemed to piss off a new bunch with new rules he'd have to make amends for. Sawyl had not been interested in mea culpa contrition, either.

"Halen could've done it. Maybe. Probably. I'd like to think so, anyway.  A dragon would certainly have had more sway than the rest. Maybe that's what he was doing in America - firming up his seat of power before conquering the European radicals and pulling them into line. Fucking Lazarus," Kerr spat the ancient's name then sighed his way out of that train of thought. What could've been would never be now, there was no point lamenting.

"There are Irish councils, yes. I try to steer clear of all of them because they were the first ones Sawyl pissed off and they have very long memories. He was nothing if not thorough. Wherever we went, he and the twins broke someone's rules. We had to keep travelling because of it. A friend on an English council advised me to take him to the U.S. when the same patterns began repeating in England. The councils there were even less forgiving and they had a reputation to uphold. They were gunning for his death. Ironic, really." Kerr shook his head and smiled, able to be amused by Sawyl's insane antics now that he was finally dead and Kerr was no longer being tarred by his brush. His sire was born too late, really; he'd have done so much better in the really early days where the term 'civilisation' was as loose as his morals were.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #66 on: December 14, 2020, 07:12:13 PM »
As Kerr spoke candidly about his interaction with the multiple councils, Ben was drawn in completely. His attention laser-focused on Kerr's every word. The tidbits about Sawyl was a fascinating aside that better presented the information package Kerr delivered to Ben's ears.

"That is so odd," Ben breathed once Kerr said it all. "In all the extra thousands of years that Europe had to get their shit together, they've remained isolated from one another. You know, when you were in the portal, Charon had made noises about sending me to London as an ambassador for Sacramentum to keep their influence there. It's... I..." Ben frowned, conflicting memories overlapping with one another. "He didn't tell me about any of the other ones, just the one he was sending me to. They were a council of ancients in London, they called themselves Sovereigns. They're allies for Sacramentum. He said they've been on the lookout for 'respectful younglings' because they wanted young vampires but didn't want to deal with fledgelings. He said I would be perfect." Ben grinned proudly at Kerr before he shrugged and looked away. "When you came back you stopped those plans because I was no longer sire-less. I'd rather have you than fill the hole you left with anything else," Ben said quietly to the path before them.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #67 on: December 14, 2020, 07:51:55 PM »
Kerr squeezed Ben closer to his side and kissed his temple reverently, the sound of their footfalls and an occasional sheep bleat the only noises around them while he processed Ben's words. They'd lost a significant chunk of time thanks to that fucking portal; enough so that by the time he'd re-emerged, he'd almost lost Ben for real. That close call was something he preferred not to think about but when the truth of it was plonked between them with such casual ferocity, he was given no choice. It always made him emotional.

Afraid his voice might be thick with it, he cleared his throat before he spoke, relaxing his hold on Ben's waist so that they could walk more steadily side by side again. "I know of the Sovereigns. Despite being ancient, they're one of the few with a normal-sounding name. Most of them are named in pretentious Latin," he remarked offhandedly. A sharp laugh soon followed as he thought of Sacramentum et Res. He wondered idly if his slur would offend or amuse Charon, it was always hard to tell with that man. Perhaps he'd opt for amusement for Ben's sake, rather than his own.

"I only know about them because I made a... friend in another London council called Crucibilum Hominis - I told you, lots of Latin," he chuckled, hoping his little joke helped Ben overlook his awkward use of the term 'friend'.

Sidra hadn't been a friend really, but she'd become an ally when Kerr had taken advantage of her attraction to him in order to have her influence the trial Sawyl wasn't able to weasel his way out of. He'd been flattered by her affections and ashamed of his behaviour to help his sire but he didn't regret their interactions - beyond feeling guilty for using her, of course. She'd known exactly what he was doing and she'd allowed it because she'd liked Kerr. He'd never suppose to call her 'friend' to her face (or in her mental vicinity), though.

"She taught me lots of things about the councils that a vampire as young as myself shouldn't know," he explained with a conspiratorial smile. "Most of it was gossip; useful only for blackmail purposes. But that was twenty years ago." He looked down at Ben rather than watching the road ahead of them. "Don't tell me you want to get into European supernatural politics now? You're at a disadvantage thanks to your grand-sire so I don't know that we should put our toes in that water," he warned, making light of it even though the sentiment was genuine.

He worried. Immortal beings were very good at holding grudges.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #68 on: December 14, 2020, 08:52:24 PM »
"Oh, no, but it's better to pay respects to one of the councils whose territory we'll be encroaching on for their permission and protection," Ben replied in a fashion that was almost reciting as he remembered lessons given him from Sacrament. He had an odd feelings of being at Venture when told that particular nugget. Who'd he been talking to? He suspected either Jeanne or Hugh. Either face was interchangeable for him in his memory. "I thought they were partitioned councils rather than overlapping. I wasn't getting a lot of detail because Charon was..."

He trailed off, not wanting to remind Kerr that he and Charon had been fooling around playing house with Charon masquerading as Kerr. He supposed the idea wasn't too far away but he didn't know how comfortable Kerr was talking about that.

"Um... there was more talk about my being groomed for Europe than my actually being groomed." He'd been anxious about living with ancient beings again (because of Themba's nest) but the political bent calmed him when he considered it was more like the Oligarchy. "It didn't go that far but Charon did let slip a name of the vampire who was to be my guardian." He waited for Kerr's expression to guide him whether or not he should say it. He thought Kerr was interested so he divulged it. "Namri. He was the founder of the Tibetan Empire around the year 600."

Ben had at first been anxious and then excited that Charon had considered sending him to someone so important. It had been a surprise to discover that Namri was the youngest ancient in the Sovereigns. He'd wondered soon after if the council was called 'Sovereigns' because they'd all been royal at some point. He'd never voiced his question.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #69 on: December 14, 2020, 09:10:41 PM »
Kerr's teeth tapped around his tongue stud as he thought about Ben's proposal of fealty. His experience with councils had been vastly different; he'd done his best to scout around them and avoid them at all costs, rather than acknowledge their existence and stroke huge, ancient egos. He snorted when Ben stumbled over describing Charon's interests, understanding exactly why there'd been more talk than action. He'd been stringing Ben along, fully aware of Ben's lust and attraction to power, dangling the ultimate prize in front of him to distract him while he fucked his brains out. The man knew his carrots, Kerr would give him that.

"The councils are partitioned," he assured distractedly, frowning and nibbling as he imagined what sort of reception they'd get from this Namri character. Thank Charon he was no longer at every ancient's mercy but still... Namri was fourteen hundred years old? What sort of impression could they hope to make, grovelling their way in, wielding only Charon's name? "They're just... competitive and like to test boundaries. So... are you saying you want to go to London and seek out this Namri? Are you sure you don't want to just... stay under the radar like the other times we were here?"

Now Ben would know he'd deliberately kept them to themselves on their prior visits, even though he'd had two fledgelings and a dead sire he could've announced, if he'd had the desire. After doing his best to dodge their attentions for a century, he hadn't been motivated to do the opposite. Would Ben think him a coward?

Offline Trillian

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #70 on: December 14, 2020, 09:34:46 PM »
"No, I... well, um, I mean..." Ben was uncharacteristically fumbling for his words. Kerr had challenged his idea for presenting themselves to one of the stronger councils. He remembered how Austria had been wonderful until that one terrible moment that Themba had made his presence known. Ben had stayed out of New York, out of his way. He had the understanding that should he cross paths with the African ancient again that he wouldn't be released. He might not even be taken in the first place, but it would be nice to fall back on someone powerful as a threat to Themba's good behaviour than Kerr, who Themba couldn't care less about.

They would have to have remarkably bad luck to run into the ancient vampire again on their second trip to Europe. Two for two? Surely not.

"If you think that's best, we can be discreet. My thinking was that we would introduce ourselves only because we're staying for a while rather than a short holiday. I was hoping to visit The Squire's Pipe in London. It was the Sacrament's first business. A safehouse for vampires to sleep, but they also had feeding rooms. Someone else owns it now but it's still a supernatural hotspot. I have a list of a few other places I'd like to see."

All vampire-related locations and he figured if they were going to be hanging around where vampires were going to be then word would get back to one of the councils about them.

"And I'd like to meet the vampire who Charon was going to send me to," he added like it was an afterthought but really it had been prevalent. "See what kind of person Charon was going to match me with." He would've trusted the ancient's judgment implicitly except he'd turned around and dropped Ben into Jake's lair as 'punishment'. Ben still wasn't sure if Charon had done it out of spite and jealousy or if he really had been mad at Ben's inability to be tactful and diplomatic. Ben never would be able to hold his tongue around Jake McCloud.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #71 on: December 14, 2020, 09:53:27 PM »
Kerr chuckled as Ben stumbled through an answer of 'no' but then essentially said 'yes'. Yes, he did want to meet Namri and present to some councils, he did want to dabble in the European supernatural political scene. Sure, it wouldn't be as boldly as trying to run a city but he couldn't help himself, Ben had to be annexed to power somehow. Kerr should be grateful it wasn't fucking Rae getting his attention but there were bound to be even bigger, stronger dicks in some of these councils. He shouldn't count his chickens.

Sighing heavily and allowing his laughter to die with the breath of air, Kerr shook his head as he marvelled at the irony of his life. "I had a sire that didn't give two shits about what any council said, ever, and only wanted to toy with humans night after night. And I've got a fledgeling that's the complete opposite, only dealing with a few, select humans when it suits him but wanting to get close to every council he can because he knows that's where the power's at. Hopefully Charon's name will be enough to get you through Namri's door, considering he didn't officially endorse you," Kerr warned, hoping Ben wouldn't be disappointed if they couldn't get an appointment.

"Your curiosity has provoked mine. I want to know what he's like now, too. When do you want to travel to London? Oh, but your friends are in our apartment, aren't they?" Kerr mused aloud, thinking the conundrum through. He was sure the pretty blond human and his boyfriend were staying indefinitely and Kerr had had some communication about them arriving from his caretaker so... should he and Ben buy somewhere new? Stick to a hotel? Share their own apartment?

Offline Trillian

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #72 on: December 14, 2020, 10:16:29 PM »
"Charon's name and your name," Ben said, not liking what Kerr had said about him being where the power was at but unable to deflect those words because they were true. He filled Kerr in on the headlines of his accomplishments because his sire's humbleness was getting in the way.

He stopped walking and tugged Kerr's hand so he would stop as well. Looking into Kerr's eyes and with his hand over Kerr's heart, Ben spoke.

"You were the Oligarch for a long time. Our city is famous for its leylines attracting huge supernatural numbers. After the trouble that Lazarus and Halwyn caused every supernatural political figure around the world looked our way. Halen and his Oligarchy cleaned it up because that's who Europe sent. By Romania, I think." He shook his head and shrugged, indicating that detail was unnecessary. He didn't know why he'd bothered to mention it. "Once our city got their attention they didn't look away just because the mess was cleaned up. Sacrament Et Res made a new home there as a backup. They were poised to take over at any sign of trouble but they kept their heads down because you were doing a good job. I doubt the current situation is looked at favourably, slicing the city up like it's fucking pizza."

In his absence he knew the Ward were ready to make big moves. He hoped they had momentum.
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #73 on: December 14, 2020, 10:35:09 PM »
Kerr blinked, amazed by how much more Ben knew than he did. It took him a moment to process it all. So much for him thinking Halen might've been able to rule Europe, even he'd been a lackey? A fucking dragon?!

"Damn. Charon's good for way more gossip than I gave him credit for," he marvelled, his hands finding their way into his jeans pockets as he was complimented by Ben. Although it wasn't possible, there was a warm feeling emanating into his heart from Ben's hand upon his chest but it embarrassed him, too - hence the awkward joke rather than properly acknowledging Ben's words.

At what he perceived to be a pointed look from his love, Kerr sighed and relented. "Okay, I certainly hope that I gained some favour over here in my time as Luminary but I don't know if it's enough. Sawyl did a lot of damage. And I can't imagine me being in power when the Oligarchy fell was all that favourable, especially if they think I went into hiding or something while it was happening, rather than into another dimension," Kerr pointed out, deliberately not mentioning Ben's role in the Oligarchy's destruction. The Mimic demons were probably specifically summoned by Romania to be at Halen's side, too.

They should definitely strike Romania off their travel itinerary, just in case.

"I guess there's only one way to find out, though," he conceded, smiling a little at Ben. He was nervous but willing to give it a try and touch base with some councils in London. And other cities, too, although he didn't really feel like deviating to Dublin on the way. The Irish council were so hectic they always gave him a headache. "Hopefully they dislike Jake as much as we do and everything you tried recently counts as well, if they're still looking."

Offline Trillian

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Re: Reconnection
« Reply #74 on: December 14, 2020, 10:51:25 PM »
Kerr's flippant remark about Charon gossiping earnt him a light frown. It seemed disrespectful to dismiss the political lessons Ben got from the ancient patriarch as 'gossip'. He missed the joke entirely.

He didn't know what to say about Kerr's reappearance because he didn't know if Charon had sent word back to his contacts about it. The Oligarchy had fallen because the Oligarchs had divided the city up between themselves while the Luminary had been away. It didn't bode well for Kerr's ability to control them but it certainly proved that without Kerr at the helm, the city had plunged into a cacophony of squabbling supernaturals. And apparently, judging by the city central vote, the supernatural denizens enjoyed the chaos.

His mute anger returned and he turned away from Kerr, removing his hand and resuming their walk. His hand naturally slipped into Kerr's again.

"When I was living with Jake he mentioned the ancients a few times. He hates them because they don't treat him the way he thinks he deserves to be." Ben rolled his eyes. "He literally jokes about calling himself the Brat-Prince and still doesn't get it."
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