Waxing And Waning [Closed] Read 13476 times

Krystal Itzume

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« Reply #90 on: November 08, 2014, 06:49:29 am »
Tao stamped his foot at the word reputation, clearly wishing to vocalize just what it was. Alexia put a hand on his shoulder to calm him, but took into account. She had an idea already. She listened, and she observed the conversation.

Cain clearly knew a lot about Adrian, more than anyone in this room. That was useful, but she remained hesitant. There was something off-putting about the way he chose to withhold information. Gaston had only kept one thing from her when they spoke. She preferred the upfront approach.

Parker was the one that didn’t laugh.
‘Weak link.’ Not quite, but different. Potentially useful in understanding the secrets Cain hid.

Sky interrupted. Cain continued to hide.

She felt tired, too tired to really deal with this. She shivered again, feeling starting to return in its full, glorious power. Pain, pins and needles. The poison was all but bled out, and exhausted out.

Alexia took a deep breath before speaking, regaining her senses and centering herself.
  “Adrian is not a man without reason,” Alexia said to Cain’s assertion. “And you do not see us aligning with him, nor with Amon. Simply because you can think does not mean we are going to align. If you will not tell them, I will.” She looked to Sky, “This is the one Adrian refers to as a diablerist,” she motioned to him, “If it is true, he is a danger not only to us, but to the vampires who have joined our side. If it is a lie, then it shows Adrian has some reason to hate Cain.” And that was worrisome, too, considering the monster Adrian was.

And hate was not too strong a word. Accusation of diablerie was the highest sin, as she understood things.
“We have done things the hard way before, and we will do it the hard way again if necessary. You’ve confessed you have nothing to convince me of your loyalties, so I would make a request of you. You have introduced yourself, and we are aware of you. Now, please, leave us. Give us a moment to settle, and to consider what you've said. Go to the outskirts of Riverpasse and let us consider what your presence means to us. You may leave one of your allies here to seek you later. We will do you the honor of at least informing you if we have no use for you.” Rather than just attack him, or attempt to dispose of him.

His agreement or disagreement would help cement ideas about him. Who he chose to leave, if anyone, would also give some insight, but right then Alexia wanted him gone. Too much had happened. Gaston was tense. Tao was mute. They all needed to talk about the potential diablerist in their midst.

And she was sorely tempted to find out how Adrian would respond to that name. The phone seemed to burn at her side. 


Get on your laptop.

The order came through text, from Yu Ning. Though they did not contact each other much, when they did, it was always heeded. They considered themselves a group, even if Fenuku was not sired by Adrian. He was sired by Amon, and was often considered to speak for him when Amon couldn’t be bothered.
So, Fenuku went to his laptop and opened it, only to be immediately invited to a group video chat. He accepted it, and watched as his computer filled up with little videos of Adrian’s childes. If he had others, no one was aware of them. Heartless as Adrian was, he at least didn’t create a ridiculous amount of childes.
The ones he did create tended to hate him.
Yu Ning occupied the top left corner of his screen, a slender, small woman who was much older than him, turned around 2000 BCE for defying Adrian and hiding one of his enemies. Yu Ning told him before it was a man she had believed to be a god, though Adrian quickly proved how incorrect she was. She was the oldest surviving childe, besides Amon, and so held a position of leadership in these meetings. Her hatred for Adrian had lessened, too, rather unlike Amon.
Top right was Garvan Deforest, the blond wildman, one that Amon did get along with if only because they shared a love of cats, and lions, and all other species of felines. He was the youngest, too, and his hatred still burned strong. He had been turned for a similar reason as Alison—he was a rebel who was too annoying for his own good. Adrian gave him a choice: life or death. Garvan chose life.
Below him was Alison, pixie-haired woman who had staged a rebellion that had nearly succeeded in stopping the vampires before they took over. Adrian turned her as an example when her armies had been crushed. Needless to say, morale of other rebels died when that was seen and heard worldwide.
Besides her and below Yu Ning was Osono, who had managed to offend Adrian after a play when he was visiting Japan. Fenuku was not aware of what the offense had been to earn such a reaction—Osono didn’t speak of it. He seemed to have adjusted well, though. Age seemed to be a deciding factor in whether or not the childes truly tolerated Adrian or not.

“Why have you asked me here?”
Fenuku inquired, looking to the image of Yu Ning.
“We wanted to know what is going on there,”
Yu Ning answered him, “Adrian just sent us all e-mails about joining him.”
“Has something gone wrong?” Garvan sounded concerned and hopeful both.
Fenuku knew of nothing that would cause this.
“What did the e-mail say?”
Alison cleared her throat. She read off,
“Dear Alison,” she began, “I am requesting—as if he ever requests, he’s ordering—that you come to Gibbous. I have informed Yu, Osono, and Garvan as well. I will be looking for you soon.” It wasn’t like Adrian to be so curt, either. Fenuku knew this. He’d read Adrian’s letters to Amon over Amon’s shoulder before. “What is going on?”
Fenuku leaned back in his chair.
“All I know is that Gaston left—”
The name meant nothing to Yu Ning.
“Gaston Pianette,”
Alison filled in. “I did not realize he left. Why?”
“He is a rebel,” Fenuku answered. “He left with Alex.” Tensions at the name. Everyone knew it.
“Alex was in Gibbous?”

“Amon met her.”

“Her?! Alex is a woman?” Garvan sat upright. Alison smirked, as if pleased with this turn of events. She had guessed it. “She’s alive?”
Fenuku nodded.
“Yes. He had to retreat. Some complaint about not being able to use his fire. Gaston or Catherine must be able to nullify talents.”
“How convenient.”
Osono spoke under his breath, but it was still audible.
“So Gaston has left and joined with them, as well as Catherine Blanc and ah, Benjamin Porter,”
Fenuku informed, “More recently here in Gibbous, though, vampires have been falling ill. Amon is sick,” he couldn’t mask his worry. He was unaware of Amon’s scheme. “It’s been fatal….”
“Is Adrian?”

“He got better.”

Garvan cursed, slouched once more.
“I see what he is planning,” Alison said. The gaze of Yu Ning shifted, no doubt to look at Alison on her own screen. “If council members are dying, then he is planning his takeover at last. He wants us to secure his claim.”
Fenuku frowned.
“No one is going to accept this.”
“You weren’t around years ago,”
Alison sighed.
“They will,”
Osono echoed the sentiment. “He’ll make them. He’ll declare it a time of emergency and that the need for a dictator is here. Then, he’ll never give power back.”
“But he hates politics.”

“He hates councils.” Garvan corrected. “Ruling as dictator is just fine by him. He can delegate, rather than debate.” Garvan rose, stretched. “Well, guess I should go find us a plane. Hey, does Amon want his lions?”
Fenuku didn’t need to go ask.
“Yes, if you’d be so kind.”
“Sure,” Fenuku smiled, “I love Yali and Mios,” the pair that were Amon’s most prominent lions. He had others, of course, but Yali and Mios seemed the alpha pair. “Thanks, Fen.”
Farewells were given, and Fenuku waited until they were all gone to close his laptop. He let out a sigh.
‘I should tell Amon.’ He set the laptop on the desk and went to where his sire’s room was. He knocked. “Amon?”
No response.

“Amon, I need to speak with you.”

Something shattered against the door.
“Yali is coming.” Silence. Then, footsteps. Amon looked like death when he pulled the door open, his own blood staining his lips and clothing, his skin almost white and laced with sweat.
He was dying. Fenuku’s eyes widened in fright and he stepped in immediately, and shut the door behind him. One hand grasped Amon’s own,
“What is happening to you?”
“I am debating death,”
he pushed away from the door and turned away, allowing Fenuku to enter and shut the door behind him. “I could live, but if I live I know that I will be securing Adrian’s power,” he moved to the bay windows, and took a seat there, gazing out towards the night sky. “My plan has backfired.”


“The illness is my creation, Fenuku,”
he sighed, “It is why I insisted you only drink blood from back home.” He did not want Fenuku to get sick. Amon’s head fell against the glass pane. “Adrian survived….” He always failed to kill Adrian. “Turned it to his advantage. I know he has. That is why Yali is coming. Garvan and the others have been called.” The Pharaoh looked dead then, no light in his eyes, no fire rising. The heat coming from him was all fever, pulling precious liquid from his veins.

“Where there’s life, there’s hope.”

“You are quoting Cato. He lost, and committed suicide.”

“Perhaps if he hadn’t, he would have won.”
Fenuku knew who he quoted. Amon looked towards Fenuku, resolute, stubborn. He suspected that was the attitude which granted him his talent. Amon let out an unnecessary breath.

“Let me sleep,”
he said, closing his eyes. “I’ll decide when Yali and Mios are here.”
« Last Edit: December 03, 2014, 09:51:44 pm by Krystal Itzume »


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Re: Waxing And Waning [Closed]
« Reply #91 on: March 01, 2015, 09:42:54 pm »
It wouldn’t be accurate to say that Cain was furious, for he was amused above all else. He’d heard of Alex of course, as keeping an eye on the rebel forces was only natural when Gaston and Adrian were on his agenda. Despite what he knew he wanted, being called a Diablerist did him no favors – and such an accusation even brought a few scattered laughs from his posse. It was a repulsive thing to do, and Adrian had made sure that any accusations of it would be thrown his way, and not to the true culprit. With a look, Cain hushed the others.

Gaston’s expression visibly hardened at the word Diablerist, and it made him uneasy just to think about it. However, his history with Cain had shown no indication that he could be such a thing. Gaston would have noticed it, surely, especially with the acquaintances that he prided himself on. With a quick look he looked to Catherine, who didn’t seem to take the news any better than himself.

“I see Adrian’s slander has convinced at least a few people,” Cain could not help but allow some bitterness to his tone. “You have no inclination to believe me, but I can assure you that Adrian is the Diablerist, the feral animal that sees nothing wrong in the sin. I would never do such a thing…Morena…”

A click of the tongue brought on the next subject.

At Alexia’s offer, Cain was tempted to shake his head immediately, albeit with a smile. He didn’t, instead offering, “Please do not underestimate Adrian’s quick retaliation. Sending us away may simply mean your death, and that of the greatest forces of the rebellion. Do you not expect him to send a certain little pet of his to burn your lovely estate? Or the whole city, even?” At this, even Cain’s group also became serious.

“We can manage around that,” countered Gaston, though he knew that Cain had considered as much.

“On your own? With all the casualties and the injured? I don’t think it possible, Gaston. Allow me to linger closer than the outskirts of Riverpasse; I can be just far enough for you to contemplate freely and comfortably, but close enough to help in case Adrian decides to act. I understand your concern,” he spoke calmly, “but also consider the risks outside of myself. There is a legitimate danger not far away.”

Sky would never admit to it, but the leech had a point. If Adrian did indeed decide to attack, they were not yet in a position to defend Riverpasse. That would take time. Gaston himself seemed troubled by the options that were presented to them. His concern, still, was Alexia. She needed medical attention, and this meeting was taking way too much time.

“Allow me to leave my medic, Clovis, here,” he moved his hand and motioned for Clovis to step up. The handsome blond did just so, but he was weary as to not offend his hosts. “He can see to most wounds, and you’ll find that he is of great help.”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Waxing And Waning [Closed]
« Reply #92 on: March 01, 2015, 10:08:15 pm »
Adrian a diablerist?

It was strange how the thought had never even crossed Alexia’s mind, but it was hard to imagine considering Adrian was the epitome of poised whenever anyone spoke of him. She doubted Cain’s words on the matter, but decided Adrian and his rumors might also be worth doubting in regards to Cain, as well.

In the end, it hardly mattered who the diablerist was—rumors were quite sufficient to lower morale and make one paranoid.
“Of course I expect Amon to come,” Alexia said when it was mentioned. She was positive Amon would come, but she recalled the event at Gaston’s. Amon could be dealt with—he had been made to flee before. He would be killed the next time he showed up here.

He wanted to insist, and not heed what he was told. He was unwilling to exit Riverpasse. Despite his offer of a medic, Alexia remained tense and uncertain. She did not know this Clovis, and Cain she had reason enough to mistrust.
‘The enemy of my enemy….’ But in this case, the logic faltered. It always did, or else she would have contacted Amon once upon a time for his aid in destroying Adrian.

“Where do you intend to stay, to be far enough away that you do not bother myself and the others, but also close enough to be at hand if Amon shows up?”
Alexia decided to ask, ignoring the topic of Clovis for the moment.

If Cain didn’t wish to be on the outskirts of Riverpasse, he must have some idea of where he’d rather be. Riverpasse was a large city—she supposed somewhere near the edges of it might suffice, as Catherine’s residence was closer to the center.

‘Just get him out, and his medic.’
She didn’t want to trust Clovis with her own, despite a nagging thought that this medic might actually be able to save lives. Vampires had powers, didn’t they? If this one could heal as Amon threw fire…

No. The illness was getting to her. The pain. She couldn’t allow it.
‘Or is the pain making you stubborn?’ Accursed mind and its accursed logic.

If yelling at Cain to just get out would have worked, she would have gone that route. It was still a tempting option, since she understood already she was losing. She didn’t have the force to demand Cain go to the outskirts, so she was asking questions to try and make it seem ‘better’ that he stay near, when every fiber of her being was telling her it wasn’t a good idea. Tao wasn’t helping matters, either. His silence was standard, but his hard glare never once let up on Cain.


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Re: Waxing And Waning [Closed]
« Reply #93 on: March 01, 2015, 11:10:43 pm »
Cain did not want to be interrogated further, and still more questions came his way.

“One or two estates over, facing the direction from which Adrian must come in order to arrive at Riverpasse.” It wasn’t exactly what Cain had in mind when he decided to infiltrate Gaston and his goons, but he was willing to be flexible in light of the overarching goal. If distance they wanted, distance he would reasonably give. Adrian was first and foremost the most dangerous threat of all. “That way we can send word if Amon does come, even should you decide not to join forces against the real threat.”

It only took one more look at Alexia for Gaston to take matters into his own hands. It wasn’t like him, but he had decided that time was of the essence, and they had none to spare. “That is reasonable enough,” it might have been his concern for Alexia, but right then Gaston showed no sign of fear towards Cain. “We will contact you with our decision as soon as is possible.”

Cain looked to Gaston in surprise, having expected Alexia to have the last work. Despite it, he did not argue. “Choose wisely, Gaston,” Cain advised before turning to the three vampires that would follow him out of Catherine’s estate. “Clovis, tend to the wounded as Gaston sees fit. If they don’t need you, simply wait.”

Clovis nodded his head and gave a blinding crooked smile. He’d do as he was told. Raffi was the first to smirk to Clovis and turn away, allowing Cain to take the lead and make their way out. And so he did, Cain gave one last look to the rebel forces, making it a point to smile at Catherine, before turning away himself. Behind Raffi, Bastien and Parker followed, the latter being the last – distracted by turning back to the rebels he was leaving behind.

Once they were outside, considerably away from ear-shot, Cain spoke once more. “Come now, Parker,” it was almost mocking, “you do know we’re really, actually, going to help them, don’t you? You could say that we are also rebel forces, considering. It is not unlike your last life, when you think about it.”

“As you say,” said Parker, though he did not believe it for a second.

“You are too stubborn, my childe.” Cain said with a smile.

Back in Catherine’s estate, there was movement just as soon as Cain had made his way out. Both Gaston and Catherine were at Alexia’s side, while Sky’s gaze never left Clovis. People around them were still dying, and he wanted to go to the other room to help. His gut told him to remain, however, just in case this unwanted visitor decided to do something against them. He doubted it, but there was always a chance.

“I can help,” Clovis chimed matter-of-factly.

Gaston turned to him and then to Catherine.

“He’s definitely got something,” said she, having looked before. In fact, all who had come in with Cain had something special about them. “I don’t think he’s dangerous, it doesn’t seem like it’s like that. Not any more dangerous than the rest of us, anyway. What can you do, Clovis?”

“I can make this a whole lot easier if you’d just let me help.”

“I’m watching you,” said Catherine through gritted teeth, “so you best not try anything.”

“As are we all,” said Gaston, though his tone was not nearly as hostile as Catherine’s. They all deserved the benefit of the doubt, and it would frankly take him only an instant to kill the medic if he tried anything. Cain had been his biggest concern, and he wasn’t there anymore. “Bring out the injured,” he called for those who had been taken away, and then to Clovis, “help where you can.” 

Clovis, naturally, moved to Alexia first.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Waxing And Waning [Closed]
« Reply #94 on: March 01, 2015, 11:51:56 pm »
Alexia was also startled when Gaston spoke up. His words were in line with her thinking, but even so, it did not feel proper that he was the one to say it. She did not contest it, nor add to it, however.

Gaston’s authority in this endeavor also needed to be seen by the humans, as her authority needed to be known to the vampires. Letting Gaston’s words go unchallenged would be good. Cain left on a sour note. Had Clovis gone as well, she would have relaxed. As it was, she still had to play as if she were not as bad off as she was.

Except, she was pretty certain the colors of the room hadn’t been tinted red before.

Catherine and Gaston were over at her side immediately, and she looked between them both with some unsuppressed amusement. Conversation occurred to direct Clovis, Catherine noting that Clovis did, in fact, have some gift. Gaston seemed willing to let him tend to the wounded, and all eyes would be upon him.

It was enough for Alexia to allow it. She reached for the phone and rose to exit from the area where the wounded would be brought, though when she rose, Clovis approached.


Firm. “If you can help, you will help others,” and she’d decide later if she needed his brand of healing. “There are others in much worse states than me.” Maybe. The room was brightening. It hurt quite a bit to look at, and she had to shut her eyes. Another deep breath. “I just need to rest,” more to herself than Clovis.

Tao took a step to be between in case Clovis didn’t want to listen and he put a hand to Alexia’s arm when he noticed her eyes were shut. She opened them, and he motioned towards the stairs, though it was a question. A shake of her head confirmed that she didn’t think that was feasible, so he took a step another way, and Alexia followed. She didn’t know where, exactly, she could rest but she assumed there was some room on the ground floor that wouldn’t be flooded with people.
“Please keep an eye on him,” she spoke to both Catherine and Gaston, but Sky was included as well. She doubted they would all stay, but she wanted at least one of them to watch this new person at all times.

There was a noise from up above, but Alexia thought little of it. She’d never seen, nor heard, a plane before after all.


Fortunately, that plane had no plans nor orders to attack Riverpasse. It was not aware of what had occurred below, only that it had been called ‘home’, as it were. It hadn’t taken long to pick everyone up. The call had come about the other night for the pilot. The struggle had been with the lions, a last-minute stop ordered by Fenuku.

There was a place to land just outside of Gibbous, but there was no welcome party. None was expected, either. The group knew where to go, they had been here in the past. Most tried to avoid it.

The path to Adrian’s place was clear, and they were recognized—or rather, the lions were recognized, and so there was no trouble with the guards who let them through after Osono gave the appropriate introductions.

Fenuku was out to greet them first, and was all but affectionately mauled by the lions.
“I didn’t expect you here so soon!” Fenuku noted in surprise.

Alison shrugged,
“I was already with Garvan and Osono when I called you.” Yu Ning had been the one that needed picking up, and the lions. Alison had received Adrian’s summons first and decided to hesitate by going to visit Garvan. Garvan was already hosting Osono at that time.

“Where is Amon?” Garvan asked, looking around in concern. He wasn’t surprised that Adrian didn’t leave his study to greet them. That was his typical behavior. People went to Adrian, not the other way around. Amon surprised him. Even ill, he imagined Amon would come to greet them.

Yali and Mios seemed to recognize this when Garvan did, for they started to leave Fenuku. They began sniffing about, before Yali apparently caught the scent and took off up the stairs. Fenuku motioned,
“That way.”

It was Garvan who followed. Alison rolled her eyes,
“And where is Adrian?”

Fenuku got back to his feet, having been tackled by the lions, and he motioned,
“I’ll take you to him.” And he led the group up the stairs, but took a different path.


Amon was not quite asleep, but not awake. The fever gripped him, and he was starting to find it pleasant. It reminded him of the sun. His delusions even led him to believe it was the sun as he sweated out the necessary, life-giving, blood. He was almost certain he was in his old palace, actually relaxing on one of those hot summer days.

When one of the lions burst through, he quite believed it. It started licking his face and he laughed, reached over to wrap his arms around the neck of the beast,
“Kimbra,” the wrong name, of course. He was thinking of the past, and his old pet. He buried his face in the mane of Mios as Yali padded closer, visibly worried.

Garvan followed,
“God damn it, Amon!” He could tell immediately that the pharaoh was sicker than Fenuku had described. He rushed over and moved the lion from Amon, hoisted the pharaoh into a sitting position.

Garvan could, in no way, ever be a part of the past. Amon squinted at him, but it didn’t change. The blonde beastmaster couldn’t be anyone else.
“Garvan?” Reality started to come back. He looked down at Mios and realized that was not, in fact, Kimbra.

Mios looked quite worried, too, the lion’s equivalent of puppy dog eyes on his face. As much as Amon wanted to just die, that look reminded him there were still good things. His head hit the shoulder of Garvan. He’d known the lions would convince him to live.
“What did you do?” Garvan asked the pharaoh.

Amon just motioned to one of the drawers of a desk in the room. Garvan let him go, and Amon remained sitting, head bowed. Garvan opened the drawer and found a case. Within it were several vials.
“Suicide, Amon?”

Amon didn’t answer.
“Will these help you live or kill you faster?” Garvan wasn’t going to kill Amon.

Amon huffed. Smoke.
“Help me live.” He could have been lying, but Garvan trusted him. He brought the vial to Amon, with a syringe, and watched as Amon set it up, and injected it into himself via the vein in his neck.

“Do I even want to know?”
Garvan asked when Amon set the syringe aside, and Yali jumped up close, large paws resting in Amon’s lap as she demanded his attention. He scratched her behind one ear.

Amon shook his head. No, Garvan didn’t want to know that he had, once again, failed to kill Adrian.
“Adrian is going to be upset you are not with him.”

“Adrian can go fuck himself. I knew something was wrong with you when Mios went running like that.”

« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 12:03:51 am by Krystal Itzume »


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Re: Waxing And Waning [Closed]
« Reply #95 on: May 08, 2015, 04:14:03 pm »
Gaston heard Alexia deny any kind of help, at least any that would come from the strange healing vampire Clovis, and he was not very happy about it. ‘You’re so stubborn…’ He didn’t let it show across his face, albeit he was tempted to say something, he chose instead to direct his attention to the plane’s roaring up above. Whatever it was, Gaston was sure that it was bad news for them. From the direction the plane was heading, and the suspected size, he knew that Adrian was wasting no time.

Even with this, Gaston’s gaze still kept tabs on where Alexia was going.

“This is too fast,” he said, turning to Catherine who seemed more confused than anything else. “That’s a plane heading to Council,” he clarified, realizing in the moment that Catherine might not have remembered their sound. It had also never been necessary for them to fly, which made the situation all the more puzzling. “It likely carries passengers.”

This did not sound good to Sky at all. “More vampires?”

“I’d be willing to guarantee it,” said Gaston, once more seeking refuge in Catherine.

“What does that mean exactly?” Catherine turned to face Gaston more directly as Clovis went about the room.

“We would be foolish to think that this means anything other than the worst for us,”
and in his mind it was. “Enemies to the rebellion, I’d say,” he suggested. It wouldn’t take long for Adrian to realize what had happened, which made him want Benjamin and his posse to return. Gaston knew, however, that his hold on Benjamin applied only to him, and not to the others.

“I believe Cain said something like this would happen,” said Clovis mentioned matter-of-factly, pressing his cold hand upon a large gaping wound on a complaining human’s stomach. The very skin seemed to be healing itself at an inhuman speed, and it was only a couple of seconds before only a scar remained where he’d put his hand. “You’d be signing your death wish without our help.”

“Shut up,” said Catherine, a little distracted.

“Have you—,”

“I’ve got him,” said Catherine with a nod.

Gaston motioned to the others as he thought, with every intention to follow Alexia after some time. Clovis only inclined his head in obedience and tended to the injured one by one. It didn’t take long at all for the vampire to round on everyone at least once. Alexia would only be able to resist so much, and when she succumbed, Clovis would make sure that he’d be there in time. Cain had taken a particular interest in her, and it seemed like he wanted her alive.

“What are you thinking?”

Gaston’s expression hardened. “I’m thinking we may not have a choice,” he turned to look at the others, “but it is not my choice alone. We must all decide.”

Sky almost wanted to smile. A vampire in favor of a democracy seemed like a laughable idea a few days ago. How things changed. 

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Re: Waxing And Waning [Closed]
« Reply #96 on: May 08, 2015, 06:13:41 pm »
There was a room that wasn’t flooded with people, though Tao waved to a few and managed to get supplies to tend to Alexia’s wounds. The old ways suited them just fine right then, Tao unwilling to trust Cain and Alexia too shaken and too tired to be reasonable. When water was passed to her, she chugged the liquid as if it were ambrosia, despite some of her suspicions. She needed the water, and the chill it sent through her entire being, before she even tried to close her own wounds.

Tao took her injured hand, deciding that was the thing to work on first. He glanced to her, and when she gave a nod, he carefully moved it, and then bound it on a position with a plenty of cloth. He didn’t want to have to put it in a sling, since his fingers could feel it was just the wrist. If he could get it immobile, that would be enough.

“Do you know what Cain can do?”
Alexia asked Tao.

He gave a single nod.
“Any way you can express it?”

Tao paused, looked up, tapped his head. At Alexia’s frown, he frowned.
‘How do I explain mind reading?’ It had been why he’d wanted to remain unnoticed so desperately. Cain would see him without seeing him, react as soon as the thoughts registered. How did he explain that wasn’t even the worst of it? He tried to speak again, but then shook his head in frustration.

“I’m really going to have to teach you to read,”
Alex sighed. “I don’t suppose this is something you can draw?”

He shook his head, looking rather distraught as he realized how crucial his voice was to explaining this. Reading. He wasn’t even sure he could learn now. How could he truly express that he understood?
“You think he’s worse than Adrian?”

One, single nod, was all that was necessary.
“You know I don’t believe that, but,” she glanced to the door, “I’ll trust you enough to take you seriously.” Tao had no reason to lie on this matter. He could have said this about any vampire in the group, about Gaston for all those blood farms, but he wasn’t. He was focused on Cain.

Then, the phone rang. A look down showed the name Adrian Edom brightly on the screen. Tao and Alex exchanged a look.


Fenuku was the one bold enough to knock, and he expected to be shouted at. What he didn’t expect was for Adrian himself to get up and open the door for them all. His eyes skimmed them,
“Where’s Garvan?”

“With Amon,”
Osono answered. “He’ll be here soon,” he added swiftly.

Adrian didn’t seem to care all that much, but he motioned them into his office and went back to his desk. There weren’t enough chairs for all of them, but Alison took a seat anyway, crossing one leg over the other and leaning towards Adrian. She was the one to speak,
“So, do correct me if I am reading you wrong,” he would, of course, “but you have brought us here to reform the council, have you not?”

Adrian lifted his eyebrows, then smiled,
“You are good at reading my intentions,” it was why he’d turned her instead of just executing her, all those years ago. She was clever enough to realize what sort of torture this was, and suffer through it with her vain hope that she’d find a way to kill him one day. “You are correct. I tire of things as they are, and it is evident to me that vampires worldwide are not capable of dealing with rebels as they once were. They’ve let luxury soften them.”

It had not softened him in the least.
“I’m having a bit of a trouble here with some vampires that have jumped ship. I need them found.”

“You want me to find them?”
Garvan asked as he came into the room with Amon, the lions flanking Amon. Both Adrian and Fenuku were relieved to see Amon walking and looking much better already. “That’s usually what you ask me to do.”

“That is correct,” Garvan could track anyone with his animals.

“I’d bet they’re in a town not far from here, that was smoking.”

Adrian blinked,
“What?” He hadn’t heard of this.

“Riverpasse,” Amon clarified, more familiar with the area.

Adrian reached for his phone and dialed Inna immediately.