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Garreth Vilhei Frost

"How amusing, I wasn't the least bit intrigued by that nonsense that just escaped your mouth. Doesn't seem like you'll be needing that tongue, now does it?"

0 · 434 views · located in USA

a character in “Paranormal Dilemmas”, as played by Igari

Description

The Lykae King
Image




Name
Garreth Vilhei Frost

Nickname
He insists his nickname is Greg (though very rarely enjoys being referred to by this name), though where its' origins come from...

Age
29 (Just shy of four millennia really)

Gender
Male

Appearance
Garreth is of more lithe, firm build as opposed to the more bulkier appearance of his kind. The first feature that stands out are his stunning gray eyes that are prone to appearing more silver when he becomes more feral or enraged. He has sleek, black hair which he combs it back slightly but mostly lets fall in an elegantly messy fashion. He prefers the appearance of someone who has just awoken, finding casual grace in this without an overwhelming amount of pampering that goes into appearance. He always keeps a light graze of a stubble upon his face, hey, can't be overly-masculine if you don't at least have some facial hair. He falls into the category of a smart dresser, preferring to wear suits or expensive jackets. He is always wearing a scarf or a muffler, since such clothing reminds him of home. He stands at a somewhat imposing height of around 6'3", giving more to the statement "looking down upon others".

Occupation
The most badass king ever

Skills/Equipment
Garreth adores the thrill of battle, the rush of his claws tearing into the flesh of his victims. All social refinement that he displays is lost amidst such, as he turns cold and cunning--quite literally (and ruthlessly) planning how he is going to kill each of his opponents and what the best way to maim them would be. He prefers hand-to-hand, as his strength and animalistic nature allow him to over-power most, if not all, opponents. Factoring in how he can also control his transformation, this adds a huge benefit to his offensive, since his hands can become razor-sharp claws--among other things. This is not to say he doesn't know how to use any weapons. In fact, he is quite skilled with lances and polearms. He will state it was the temptation of the strength it requires to effectively wield these weapons that attracted him. In addition, he is finely attuned to the world and has heightened senses that can be applied to tracking. Due to his age and experience, he has developed a spirit sense that allows him to be aware of the soul that resides within a person--which makes him an excellent judge of character.

Personality
If one were to assume Garreth were a man of ill manners and crude speech, then surprise would await such a vastly wrong judgement. Despite the very nature of his race, he is a man who is well-versed in communicating. Mind, this does not mean he tolerates any back-talk . He will most certainly silence any who dare to step out of their proper place. He does not have tolerance for idle games and if a conversation does not prove to be worth his time, he will drop it without a moments' notice. He is good at brushing people off and making them feel insignificant, perhaps because very few hold opinions to him that actually matter.

However, honor is a very huge thing for this man. As are a placement of values. Even a man such as he will admit his fault and work to make amends if he feels as if he has somehow slighted the honor of another. Likewise, if his honor is brought into question, he will defend it to his last breath. He does not believe in any under-handedness or deeds done with ill intent. Though blunt to the point of being near brutal, he is truthful and (strangely enough) incredibly loyal. He always sticks to his value system and if someone has proven their worth to him, he will always be by their side, no matter what the cost.

Call it behavior born out of boredom (being alive for that many millennia is bound to make anyone restless) but he enjoys causing pandemonium among his small group of trusted companions. Particularly his personal servant. Garreth finds it amusing and a great source of entertainment to run the boy ragged, often disappearing for long spans of time. He is vague to the point of frustration and has formed a habit of turning up later and after many hours have passed. The king will never detail precisely what he did but needless to say, it will always be a large amount of work for his servant to fix everything up in proper. He has a devious playfulness, perhaps a more boyish quality of his.

If this attribute is turned towards the sexual end of things, then it could be noted that he enjoys toying with his bed decorations (for what else would these women be?). He's practiced when it comes to this art, in some circles, it could be regarded as shamefully so, but he bears his knowledge with a bit of pride. He absolutely knows what he's doing and has developed a smooth prowess; at this point, taking his time to get every single sweet reaction and plea out of the woman in his arms at the time. However, this doesn't mean he can't be rough. To be frank, he prefers it that way since he can be all the more feral--biting into flesh easily to mark what is his. Needless to say, you fall into his bed and you're in for a morning with legs like jello and a raw throat. If he is truly enticed and feeling more interested, he'll open up to the more... kinkier side of things.

When it comes to women, the significance of their word means very little to him. They are trinkets, dolls, objects, possessions--not creatures that possess thought or keen judgement. They are meant to be ruled over and ordered, and protected should they fall into harm. Though he may not seem like it, Garreth abhors abuse of female creatures--they are weak and need to be guided, not tossed to the side and harmed. This is perhaps the only redeeming feature when it comes to his views of women and it would take quite a bit to have him alter this perception. Though strangely enough, he does believe in lifemates--predestined partners. Quite strongly at that. This belief does not alter his behavior towards women, though, if anything, it only strengthens his deep-rooted conviction to protect females from the world they clearly do not understand.


History
In a society where one must fight to survive and prove one's worth through battle, it should not come as a surprise that Garreth fought quite a bit to acquire the position that is now his. In his younger years, he had a brother that he now rarely speaks of. Even the murmur of the name does not escape his lips, but perhaps that is the reason for his odd nickname choice. He had not always been at the top rung of the social ladder, in fact, the joke that he loves to make is that he rose from poverty. He had always had the will to rise above such circumstances and knew better than to think those of more "prized bloodline" would equate to better rulers.

His virtuous standing regarding battle did not allow him to take any other route besides a direct one. He was smart enough to train himself to be a warrior to be acquired into the previous king's army--but this did little to sate his need to be at the top. Soon, he began to challenge his superiors and to the shock of onlookers, he won each of these battles. Due to the ruthlessness of his world, he was forced to take the life of such officials as he began earning ranks, titles, and positions. As one can imagine, this earned him quite a few enemies but he thought little of it. He could easily take them out if he wished it but his mentality as to what made a fierce leader was not one who used his power at all instances--but one who knew the precise moment to exert it.

He is self-taught, his place in life due to birth did not expose him to higher learning or vocabulary. He picked up those things when he observed royals and those of meaningful social standing. The details regarding how he took the king's life can be said to be a very fierce battle, one that made him feared among his peers and earned him respect among his kin. He does not have any children and does not seek to have any. He's got a nice, long life ahead of time--that can wait.


Other
He never seems to take off his gloves. Rumor has it this is due to a large scar located upon his right hand but none can say for certain. As such, while his claws have ripped into countless others, he directly doesn't seem to touch anyone.

Post
It was that odd hour between extremely late at night and very early in the morning, yet the bar still had quite a few occupants. The activity was rowdy, voices merging with one another in the volume of the noise. The barkeep ran back and forth between the counter and the back room, the demands of the guests somewhat overwhelming at times. All of this was of menial interest to the man that sat at the counter, nonchalantly holding a glass in his right hand. The hum of activity was all just jargon to him and he did not seem to want to bother paying attention to his surroundings. He raised the glass to his lips, taking a large gulp of the remainder of his drink and placing the glass back upon the table. Something about this movement immediately caught the barkeep's attention, who hurried over to refill it immediately.

Garreth was used to commanding respect, even from strangers who had never laid eyes upon him. There was something about him that always put others on edge, yet he was perfectly content with this. Before the drink was even completely full, he was already tilting the cup back to his mouth, liquor spilling over on to the counter as the barkeep had still been pouring it into the glass. Perhaps once, the man would've felt pity for the servant that was attempting to please the demands of so many in such a short span of time. But he grown cold to such concepts. This was the place the server was meant to be in--there was a strong sense of subservience that radiated from the lesser. Clearly not someone meant to lead or stand out in any sort of way.

In his casual indifference, the man stood up, dabbing the corner of his mouth with a napkin and turning to leave. He heard a stuttering from over his shoulder and he turned, settling gray eyes upon the interruption. The barkeep looked nervous and apprehensive in regarding the taller man and swallowed, visibly rattled. "S-Sir, you didn't pay," Was all the servant managed to squeak out. Normally, Garreth would've paid him no heed but tonight, he was feeling somewhat bored and perhaps a bit of entertainment would be in order. Straightening up, he turned back around, eying the pitiful human with authority flashing in his gaze.

"And?" The simple prompt was enough to make the barkeep antsy, who looked back down at the counter, as if hoping somehow the money would materialize suddenly on the surface. The man smirked, honestly, creatures like that were best served groveling, barely even fit to carry out small tasks like serving others. It didn't seem to matter where he went, apparently, there would always be weak, insignificant beings. At least at home, however, his kin were all fierce, no matter their station. Here, it seemed humans thrived on striving for attention when they had so little backing behind such desires. Such frail things.

Garreth made no attempt to disguise his distaste for the lesser no longer met his gaze, as if ashamed at even asking the question. Still, he would give a small amount of praise to the barkeep, for speaking up to the man was no easy feat. He turned towards the door and without so much as a look behind him, he reached in his pocket and threw the money over his shoulder. As always, his aim was spot on. Even in the activity, even in the chaos of noise, he could still hear very clearly the noise the currency made when it rattled on to the table. He slid both of his gloved hands back into his jacket pockets, walking out the door and into the night. He glanced up at the sky, scant few clouds scattered about. Instantly, he focused on the moon, which was just beginning to wane. A devious smile lit upon his lips. Oh, he had time, alright--the night was still young. With this thought, he left the bar completely behind him, scarf billowing in the wind.

So begins...

Garreth Vilhei Frost's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Rhaun Dreamspeaker
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Rhaun Dreamspeaker

The old Lykae sat on the grass in the courtyard outside the main building of the manor that His Majesty King Garreth had purchased a bit over a year following his arrival in this world. His eyes were closed, an expression of somewhat weary calm on his face. Even in this world it seemed the man found ways to replicate his minimalistic, near ascetic attire from the medieval environment he was used to. He was wearing an unbuttoned shirt of white linen and fairly simple dark jeans, his feet bare. And dressed in this fashion the Lykae, who to onlookers would be a well-built man in his thirties, sat meditating with a wooden staff on his knees.

The building behind his back was certainly a strange comfort to possess for the Lykae. After all, more often than not, to them the proper functionality of an estate was defined not so much by it being properly maintained and well-built, but by the presence of Lykae on site in general. The twofold impressions left by his initial arrival here were slowly dying down over the years, though following millennia in his species native world, less than a decade here wasn’t nearly enough to overpower the call of his land.

There was no war here and it almost seemed that unbeknownst to one another all three sides had come to a similar decision – that the unending feud that continued to rage on in their world would not be carried over here. Granted, few could predict what would happen if a vampire met a demon, or if a Lykae crossed paths with either of them. Nor could anyone imagine what would occur should one side discover the hideout of the other. But for the time being, this world was distanced from their conflict and had only the concerns and deeds of its human populace governing its history.

On the other hand, the humans chose a path so much different from either three of their races. Perhaps the vampires or demons would have little trouble mingling with the natives of this world. But Rhaun could see from the plane of the spirits that this realm was troubled in its own way, though not as readily apparent as in the case of a millennia-old war. The spirits here became strange, distant, near spiteful. They had whispered curses upon him and questioned his presence with a strange sort of paranoia that couldn’t come simply from the fact he was a stranger in an alien world. In the concrete jungle strange, orderly spirits worked on maintaining the man-made tapestry, more often than not strangling their kin born of nature in their tight webs of steel and power lines that fed the many devices that humans created for their comfort. And so, even if humans weren’t caught in their war, this world wasn’t without conflict, and Rhaun could see it somewhat better than others.

It was no wonder there was still reason for some concern. Their presence here, the form in which the humans had reshaped their world – it was food for thought that was sometimes hard to swallow. There weren’t many, but some heard of a world without war. Particularly fresh in his mind was a memory of a female Lykae that came to him once. It was not unprecedented – the females had few to turn to in their society and so many would come either to him or to the three priestesses at his disposal. More often the latter than the former, but the distressed female that came to him with a toddler in her arms thought only him fit to assist her.
“Lord Rhaun, my child is sickly and weak. He would not survive if he were to become a warrior. But that world… that other world… Is it true there is no war there? Please, please take my child with you. Let him live there. Let him live! Please!”
She looked upon him with tear-filled eyes. She knew tradition and so did he. The weak had no place among the Lykae and were cut out efficiently by their life itself if not lynched by their brethren. And having listened to her he looked back at the mother with that eerie calm ever present in him.
“Pray to the spirits,” He told her in a tone that was soft, yet firm, “for I cannot help your child…”
From then their conversation went no further. Now he sat on the grass in a world that knew none of their unending war. Even with his eyes closed the images of his kind's plight would still re-emerge before him every now and then.

Finally, his eyes opened. Dark pupils encompassed in a soft amber hue peered forward, still seeming glazed over for now. The spirits around here became “tame” for lack of a better term. The presence of someone who could clearly see them and heed them was comforting to those ethereal beings, and they would frequently flock to Rhaun, some with useful tidbits of information, others merely there to utter their words for sake of being heard and nothing else. The need to filter out some of their murmur was always clear – that which is important to a blade of grass is not always something important to a Lykae. That is why, when he heard a voice not from the spirit-plane, but from that of the living, it was as though he was brought back to a different state.

“… Rhaun… Master… Master Rhaun?” The voice of the speaker gradually grew clearer and eventually caused him to completely return from his meditative state. The overly talkative spirits stepped aside for now, and Rhaun was freed from their ceaseless chatter. His hand grasped his staff, a slightly loose string of carved beads wrapping twice around his wrist rattling gently against its wooden surface as he used it to stand up.
“Speak.” The advisor permitted whilst looking at the servant that approached him over his shoulder. It was one of the young half-lykae serving at the manor. Full-blood members of their kind would be far more difficult to control, so the half-bloods were in service here instead.
“As you requested, I am here to inform you that His Majesty has yet to return…” He reported politely.
“I see… You may go.” Came a short response from Rhaun.

At the end of the short exchange Rhaun gestured the servant to approach and handed him the staff. The simple shaft of wood was taken from him by the servant with nothing short of reverence. Such was the distinction he had in the manor. However, Rhaun had to admit that he would have preferred somewhat more interaction with a living being. The capricious spirits of the human world made his trances a far less relaxing exercise than he would have preferred. Perhaps later he would set out towards the city. The intentional vagueness of Garreth's orders certainly allowed for great freedom of movements. Though whether it was more so for the King himself or for his servants remained open to question... Most likely more so for the King, with his advisor coming in a close second. His Majesty hardly required anyone to look after him of course, but the manor wasn’t in dire need of Rhaun’s watchful eye either. And so, having surrendered his staff, the man headed towards the guest-house, perhaps to trace the last traces of His Majesty’s movements.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker
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#, as written by Igari
Garreth Vilhei Frost

As had long since become the usual, the lykae king had departed from the comforts of his secondary home without so much as a word to anyone else. It would be inaccurate to claim he did not know the frustration this caused--on the contrary, he was more than aware of it. And he did relish it, no doubt of it. A devious grin was playing on his lips as he contemplated the vague tasks he had assigned before slipping out. In fact, vague would be a rather generous statement, since he had left no such orders at all. He'd simply left a female laying in his bed and strategically hidden all of her clothes in the most ludicrous of places before leaving the room. Hmm, perhaps the chandelier hadn't been the best spot for her stockings. Oh well, it was a bit too late to lament on that now. He enjoyed this game of hide and seek that he played with his servant boy, though James seemed to be catching on so he had tried all the harder this time to make the task of cleaning up that much more impossible.

Though privately, he would have to commend the small boy who had risen the ranks to become his private servant. Very few lykae were ever up to the task and none had lasted as long as the halfling. Indeed, many had given up after a mere week, claiming he was far too difficult to please. Oh no no, it wasn't that. It was just that they didn't play well enough and he became bored of the pranks when the recipient of them wasn't smart enough to figure them out in an entertaining manner. James was quite good at that, to a fault he might add, and he was certain that the boy hated it. Still, this did not stop the king from finding ever-new ways to torment the boy--many of which were perhaps deplorable but quite amusing. If the mental image of finding that consort in his bed sheets was anything to go by, he was going to have a nice laugh when he finally arrived home.

Garreth made his way down a city street, his wanderings having brought him to a modest city within a place the humans called "California". Honestly, how un-creative and un-majestic sounding. They really needed to learn a thing or two about imagination--well, when it came to naming things. Sex-wise, these human creatures were always coming up with new things, many of which were downright ridiculous. He would have to mention the story of the ballet dancers involved in some weird prancing effect of sex to James some time. Yes, that was going on his to-do list. He paused in his musings, his acute senses picking up the faint familiar tinge of like-kin. Though he used "like" lightly--whatever the case, he could make out the presences of the other kings and their private courts. This may have been one of the few times they did not war with one another, for Earth was something of a neutral ground. Still, it would be wise not to test his luck. His previous escapades to Earth had been taken alone, now he had other kingdoms to content with. Though he could be brutal if he had o be, even the King of Lykae enjoyed a break every once in awhile. (A break from brutality, you think he'd take a break from pranking? As if.)

It was a bit too early to entertain the idea of a drink, instead, he walked past an odd-looking restaurant and decided to enter the library that was just across the street. As he walked across the road, he couldn't help but faintly recall the events of two years' previous that had taken place at the busy intersection. Admittedly, not much of the encounter was resh in his mind, only bits and pieces remained. Even so, Garreth could just about remember the color of her hair, and the scent that she carried. That scent... It was difficult to forget yet it was the only detail that had truly imprinted upon him. The king shook his head as if to rid his mind of such thoughts. He had never been one to linger on a female, particularly a human.

Garreth pushed open the doors to the library, the person behind the reception desk looking up and giving him a questioning stare. Observing that the man was elderly and more than likely wiser than most of the younger humans, he only nodded. No need to waste his efforts on a cold stare when there wasn't a reasoning. Despite the perception most had of him, the lykae king did enjoy a well-written story in his free time. It did not take him long to locate the classic literature section, gloved fingers expertly perusing through the books upon the shelves. He selected one with a navy blue binding, ah, Franz Kafka, always a good choice. Adjusting the weight comfortably in his hands, he went to prop open the book in full when an mildly annoying detail flashed in his mind.

Ah, that was right. That female, she had mentioned something of a legal standing during their last encounter. What types of books would fall under that field? Human law had never interested him, for it had never played any sort of effect in his life. He shrugged it off--he might as well pretend it did, for the sake of curing his boredom. That seemed to come at him a lot, this sense of having nothing to do. Heading back towards the main lobby, Garreth yawned as he walked up the stairs, eyes glazing over the according signs and shelves. Hmm, legal documents, legal documents... It took him a few minutes to make it up to the third floor (not because he was that slow, you dim-witted twat, there can be something said for someone that pays attention to where they are walking), the book falling comfortably underneath his arm.

The section was small, barely a whisper of anyone at all. A pile of books was ungraciously sitting upon a table in the far back, a small hand reaching out for the one at the very top of the pile and dragging it into the center of the mess. Curious, he could've sworn that the female from his previous encounter had hands like that. This was becoming annoying, why was he recalling details like this? Garreth had never been one to wait around for answers and there were very few that could intimidate him enough where he did not want to approach them. His adviser was... one of them. He got shivers just thinking about it. He shook it off, Rhaun was another case entirely. He wrinkled his nose as a familiar scent caught his attention, quietly, unobtrusively. Yes, it was her, as he had suspected. He sighed, shrugging his shoulders--must've been a divine prank of sorts to get back at him for all the antics he put James through. Might as well live with it. Adjusting his features so that a comfortable smile fell upon his lips, he took the chair at the opposite end of the desk. Just his presence alone should've been enough to garner her attention but to play his part perfectly, he took one of the books off of a nearby stack and held it at arm's length.

"I see your interests haven't changed," He spoke smoothly, though kept his voice at a light level so as not to cause her alarm. "I'm curious, do you expect to get through all these books in the course of a single night?" There was a bite of sarcasm in his voice, a barely tangible playful note. He flipped through the pages with mild intrigue, regarding her out of the corner of his eye. Still the same--amazing how little humans changed.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Lena of Anguaren Character Portrait: Sydney Parker Character Portrait: Balthazar Cross
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#, as written by Ion
Image



Sydney sighed, frowning when the upward exhale blew a few strands of hair loose from her impeccable bun. They were a smidge too short to fit behind her ear, and part of her immediately wanted to reach into her bag for a bobby pin, but she shook her head to herself. She was in the library. It wasn’t like anybody important was going to walk up and see her in this state, was it? Shaking her head at herself, she went back to her transcriptions, pen scratching furiously across paper, both of which had also been magicked from the messenger-style tote that often seemed to contain all the most important nonhuman elements of her entire life, minus the violin. Pens, notebooks, whatever fiction she happened to be reading then, sheet music, cell phone, business cards, a comb, hairpins, her purse and keys, a taser (and the license she had to carry it), and usually a spare pair of stockings, in case hers wound up with a run in them.

Okay, maybe she was a little overprepared, but it had to be better than needing something and not having it, right?

Perhaps thirty minutes later, all thought of keeping herself in proper order had rather vanished, and she was crosslegged on the chair, at least two pens stuck in her bun and another four or so marking various places in the references she was working on. She was chewing rather ardently at her lip, a habit she’d picked up who knew how long ago, but aside from the occasional thump as a book was shoved aside or taken from atop the stack at the corner of the desk, she was also completely silent.

Distantly, Syd registered the sound of someone moving, which wasn’t hard in the library, but she paid it no mind. Granted, there were hardly ever other people around here, and perhaps had she been thinking about it, she would have remembered her present state and tried frantically to straighten… something (no amount of time under ten minutes would see everything here set to rights), but she didn’t, and remained blissfully unconcerned about any of it, reaching to the side automatically to retrieve another book, one she’d already marked. It needed to be cross-referenced with…

Someone slid into the chair opposite her, and Syd’s eyebrows furrowed just slightly. There was no shortage of seating around here, who would be so obnoxious as to choose the only chair that would inconvenience her at all? That was rather rude, wasn’t it? She ignored the person, however, having no desire to make awkward eye contact with a stranger, and reached for another book, only for her hand to meet empty air. Startled, Syd blinked and glanced at the stack, to find that it was indeed one book short.

A masculine voice solved the mystery, however, and her field of vision snapped to encompass a very well-dressed, devastatingly-handsome person that, frankly, she wished she’d never met. Clearing her throat lightly, Syd held out a hand for the book, fixing him with a look of mild disapproval, though it was only evident from the slight downturn to the curve of her mouth.

“They are reference materials, Mr. Frost, not novels. I need not read the whole of them all,” she replied flatly, very deliberately steering her mind away from the last time she’d been in his company. Her business face was a façade with much strength, indeed, and much worse people than Garreth Frost had tried to get under it before.

They definitely didn’t try the same way, though, did they? That was an unwelcome intrusion on her mental serenity, and she batted it violently to the side. The book was, predictably, not immediately forthcoming, but she did not lower her hand, nor remove her eyes from his, merely raising one eyebrow, just slightly, as if to ask if he really wished to play more games with her. The answer was kind of obvious, if her previous encounters with the man were anything to go by, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t hope.

“The legal section would not be the place I’d have expected to find you,” she observed dryly. If it had been, they’d probably have never met at all, actually. “If you require another consultation or wish to retain the services of a public defender for some reason,” she paused here, and the eyebrow reached just a little higher, as if she would not at all be surprised to find out that he needed a lawyer, ”then regular office hours are from nine to five on weekdays.”

It struck her that his eyes were too familiar a color, though she could not place the reason for the thought. Actually, they could have last seen each other yesterday, for all he’d changed in two years. Then again, given the kind of person he was, she was rather glad she had not seen him yesterday. Honestly, the sooner he went away today, the better. Syd didn’t hate people, and she didn’t hate him. It was just that he was incredibly irritating and offensive to her more politically forward sensitivities, if you could even call gender equality politically forward anymore.

And his face was too pretty. It wasn’t fair. Other people (like her) had to work to even look somewhat presentable. He looked like he’d just rolled out of bed, and it still worked. Jerk.



Image



After perhaps an hour spent in the library, shifting restlessly through the shelves and looking for something new, Balthazar had left as soon as he’d felt the distant temptation to set one on fire, just to see if anyone ever noticed it missing. He had been eyeballing a genealogical history of the second age of the realm at the time, and the thought had been so unlike him (burn a book? What was he, some kind of human cretin?) that it had immediately informed him that he’d best be elsewhere.

With nothing else to occupy himself, he’d wandered the mansion like a ghost thereafter, and his treads were only just now taking him towards the kitchen, a place which he usually left alone due to a modicum of respect for the servants who worked therein. It took more ingenuity than the average noble fop possessed to rotate a menu such that immortal beings did not tire of it. How a vampire could live on one substance forever was entirely beyond him. How pedestrian their palates must be, refined for only a single thing. He wondered if there might be a way to ensorcell a mortal so that the stuff tasted like chili powder. That would be entertaining.

An idea for later, perhaps, when he had access to proper materials.

For now, his cat’s-paw tread carried him into the expansive kitchen, presently empty save for Lena, who appeared to be searching for something… slowly. She appeared not to have yet noticed his presence, which was normal enough. He hadn’t made any noise, after all, and it looked like whatever she sought was of some importance to her. For a few moments, Balthazar simply observed, concluding that the lack of celerity in her movement was probably due to discomfort of some kind. His eyes narrowed slightly; now what could cause a daemon enough pain for it to linger so? He was curious.

”Miss Anguaren. Do you require some form of assistance?” The question was cool, detached, sliding off his lips and tongue like dark silk. His hands, he folded neatly behind his back, his face a perfect mask of inscrutability. Nevertheless, his form of address was polite, and there seemed to be nothing outright hostile in his demeanor, just the same faint hint of menace that was always there. That, by now, was something he would have had to exert effort to remove; it had served him well in the past, so well that it had become unconscious habit, almost.

Mayhap it was a little irregular, for the king’s advisor to be offering a servant some form of assistance, but Balthazar was nothing if not logical, and though he played the orders of birth and status to his advantage when the occasion called for it, he had no real regard for them. The situation, plainly, was that she was below her usual threshold of efficiency, and he was without anything productive to do. It only made sense that he lend his efforts to whatever she was hoping to obtain (which, if she were behaving logically, would be something to recover her normal range of movement). In doing so, they would both be making the greatest use of themselves. He was not above his own utilitarian calculi, after all. In this sense, the offer was entirely genuine, though whether she would interpret it as such was another matter all together.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker
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Garreth Vilhei Frost

He could not help but allow amusement to flow into the smile that was gradually widening on his features. There it was, that controlled spark in her eyes, the level tone in her voice. The arch her eyebrow made when it was raised just slightly and the way she pitched her voice accordingly with her words. Indeed, he had nearly forgotten the fight this woman possessed, though it was all formulated, much like her words. Careful, planned. He did not allow her words to faze him in the slightest, however--why should they? She still did not grasp that he had chosen to be arrested due to sheer boredom, he had not needed her assistance and most certainly would not require the attentions of a lawyer. An idea that she seemed to think to hold on to. He would have to be careful, she wasn't dim-witted and their previous interactions told him she had a mind for details.

Garreth chuckled lightly, oh, he would play with her alright. And she'd be foolish to hope otherwise. "Expectations are a liberty, Miss Parker," He put emphasis on her name, just as she had stated his--he could pretend they were on a level playing field, for now. "Does it come as such a surprise for me to have diverse interests?" She held his stare well, he would have to give her credit for that. Most shied away from the intensity of his gaze, perhaps because it made them feel like less than nothing. Regardless, this particular female wasn't backing down that easily. Adorable. Her saw her jaw tighten ever so slightly as she looked at him, as if holding back a thought.

He leaned forwards barely an inch, a whisper of a motion, but he knew that her keen sense would take it in immediately. "It is touching you would be concerned enough to bring such details to my attention." He narrowed his eyes in a quick flash on the word "concerned", she was stepping on thin ice here. To think he would require assistance from any sort of human was an appalling thought, and he did not put in an effort to hide the tint of annoyance on his face. He had been playing this game quite some time, and it always produced the best results to make the other party think they were gaining some sort of ground. So he would grant her the notion that she was winning this little battle of wits. Females were such easy little creatures without much complexity to them whatsoever. He finally regarded the hand that she had outstretched for her book, the one still held loosely in his grip

"I will not keep you from your reading for long, I imagine you are eager to get back to it. Though answer me this, are you still just as desperate for knowledge to hide behind as you were two years ago?" He smirked at his words, knowing full well this was a sensitive question. What she didn't know was that he was perfectly aware that this whole distant act was just a front she was putting up. He had seen the warmth in her eyes right before they had parted, the rosiness that had coated her cheeks in a rare moment of femininity. She was an amusing little thing, trying so hard to pretend as if men, people in general, did not effect her and she was strong enough to brush them off. Oh, but she had faltered in that little charade the instant she had not drawn back immediately from him. A childish mistake.

Garreth had been about to lay the book in her hand anyway, for he was not entirely all bad and the sight of displeasure upon a woman's face in his presence for overly long wasn't the preferred route. However, he was interrupted by an odd sound--one that was being emitted from the device near the girl. He did not need to pause to evaluate this one, his unwilling companion would surely make a grab for her phone to halt their interactions. And he could not have that, now could he? Before she could reach for her cell, he swiped it off the table. A name flashed on the screen, Simone, though it meant little to him. Yet as soon as he had the device in his hand, the ringing stopped, leaving them once again in the silence of the library. All these interruptions.

He slid the phone into his pocket, disregarding the probable objection that would follow this action. He doubted knowing who the caller was would provide him much ground, but humans seemed to place great importance on these objects for some reason. He shrugged it off, he always had other tactics to deploy. He adjusted his features into a calming smile, a smile he knew was going to anger her. She wasn't going to slip away that easily not without answering. She was enjoyable to rile, and it was laughable that she actually believed she could hold a candle to him. He would be shattering that little thought very shortly. Might as well let her have her fun, just a bit longer.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker
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The gods must be insane. Sydney had no idea just what she’d done to earn the ire of whatever force or principle ran the universe, but apparently it had been pretty awful, because there was really no other way to explain the sudden reappearance of her thesis project in her life, apparently since he was also of the opinion that he could just mock her for absolutely no reason. Okay, if she was being completely fair (and she did try), she might have actually started the mocking, but she was finding it hard to blame herself for her defense mechanisms when it was becoming increasingly clear by the moment that she definitely needed them.

His laughter was light, quiet, but it pricked the hairs on the back of her neck, her subconscious informing her that she was to be careful here, like she were walking through a room covered in shards of broken glass. The feeling was only further intensified when he drew closer—still not so close that she had a real excuse to draw back without looking like a mouse, of course. Oh no, everything this man did right now was just within the bounds of the socially acceptable, if only barely. It didn’t stop her from brushing the memory of a time when they most decidedly had not been, and that was probably the point, wasn’t it? There was something in his careful emphasis, a veiled threat, maybe, or simply something dangerous.

Her eyes narrowed in reply, and she matched his forward motion (just an inch, just a little!), mostly to prove that she could. There was a retort in there, definitely, but she wasn’t sure she presently trusted herself to give voice to it. If she was yet afraid of anything, it was only looking the fool, and she knew from experience that if she was not very careful, this man could easily push her to it, insufferable as he was. In fact, for a moment, she’d almost been sure that he was going to, though thankfully, that now seemed not to be the case.

The taunt, though, that deserved recompense, and he would have it. The comment had struck home, and she knew it was quite true, but she was surprised to find that he did, too. “I prefer to think of it as arming myself,” she replied with false levity. “Not all of us have the luxury of knights in shining armor to run off the nasty bar patrons. Some of us have to win our own battles.” It was a reference, naturally, and he’d understand it: that, she did not doubt. It appeared to amuse her, if the slightest softening to her hard stare was anything to go by. It wasn’t actually intended as an insult, not really, but a riposte all the same. Not everyone could be toyed with without repercussions, and Sydney fell firmly into the category of those that would scoff at the very idea of needing someone else to rescue them. And look where those so-called knightly inclinations had landed him, after all—she’d helped him avoid prison time, and it was her knowledge that did it.

At that very moment, her phone buzzed on the desk, and she broke eye contact with him to look down at it, only to spot his hand withdrawing from the spot, her phone in a firm grasp. “What-” she started, but by then he had looked at the device, apparently unimpressed by whatever he saw, and slipped it into his pocket. Sydney sighed. There was a bad sign. It would not be a simple matter of asking for him to give it back, of that she was certain. Maybe, on some other day, her patience would have been able to handle that with equanimity, but she was aware of two very pressing facts at present: one, it looked like the caller had hung up or been disconnected before the thing even rang a second time, and two, she had sent a text to her sisters explicitly requesting that they call her if they needed anything. Those facts, coupled with the bizarre happenings earlier in the day, left her very concerned, and she forgot to hide that much, biting her lip nervously and shaking her head slightly to herself. It was probably nothing; she had a tendency to worry far too much.

But what if it wasn’t?

The thought was enough to move her. Carefully, Sydney began to place her things back in her bag, rearranging the stack of books so that she could put them on one of the library carts in the proper order. Normally, she’d take the time to reshelf them herself, but… “Would you please at least tell me who called?” she inquired coolly, unflappable façade back neatly in place. If he didn’t, she was just going to have to go use the library phone and try both Simone and Saph, and see if they picked up. At this point, she was fairly certain she wasn’t going to be getting any more work done until she heard from them anyway.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Nebellia de Rozeriem Character Portrait: Sydney Parker Character Portrait: Brigitte Lebelle
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Nebellia de Rozeriem

Pale, something pale and thin was speaking to her. What a pallid color arrangement, so lifeless, so dull. Nebellia currently had her fangs nestled comfortably into a human male's neck, testing the blood flow, if one would. The man was already long lost in the throes of her bite, a dazed look on his features and his mouth gaping open slightly. Blegh! She relinquished her bite, the man sliding on to the floor with blood still flowing openly from her neck. A few droplets coated her lips and she licked them slowly. Tart, this one had a tart after-taste. She'd have to look into that. Always prepared, the scientist pulled out a test-tube that had been stowed away in the folds of her dress and she raised the tip against her fang-point. A bit of the remnant blood she had drank trickled down into the glass and she corked it, satisfied. Oh! That was right, there was that little interference to deal with.

She blinked, her wide eyes on the girl that had spoken to her. The rather dull hair color and drained appearance it gave the girl who had it--such a palette could only belong to little Bree-Bear. That cute thing had spoken in the softest of tones, yet had put such cool firmness in her words. Nebellia released a squeal, laughing at a higher pitch. How cute! The servant girl really thought she was in a position to give orders? Leave? Now? She hadn't gotten her samples yet--she had planned it all so perfectly. No matter how insane she acted, everything was always under control, her predictions were not wrong. And this pale wisp was sorely out of line to try her hand at directing the scientist. A girl who was not even aware of her own identity, to say the least.

Nebellia straightened oddly, the grin that had unfurled on her face splashed with droplets of blood, the substance dripping down her chin slightly. There was an odd sort of beauty in the visage, a feat she always seemed to accomplish, no matter the circumstances. "Did you come here to play~?" She purred, a dangerous lilt in her voice. She had gone off the deep-end, officially. And yet was in the utmost control of herself, how wonderful. She easily jumped over the bartender who was on the ground and pounced the servant girl, pushing the other to the floor. The humans around them continued to dance, a few gave some silly cheers at the motion. Oh they wanted a show, did they? She would give them a show. With a sneaky, devious edge to her golden eyes, she grabbed a handful of Bree-Bear's hair and pulled the girl's head up roughly with delicate fingers.

"Aren't you the cutest... little... thing~" She spoke with a lilting edge to her vocals. "Sadly, I don't have the time to indulge your fickle whims of returning right now... But we will! Just as soon as I procure my samples, huhuhu... So stay right h-e-r-e~" She enunciated the last word very clearly before releasing Bree-Bear from her grip and promptly stepping up off her. Now! Where was she? Tapping her blood-stained chin with a single digit, the woman turned to regard the humans intoxicated off their own vibes. Mmm, perfect, so ripe for the picking... She couldn't pick just one, she wanted them all! Sadly, there wasn't enough room in the car for all of the test subjects here... She lightly stepped on her feet, much akin to a ballerina, as she flounced over towards the dance floor. Her chin was tilted upwards as she sniffed the air, she had trained her senses to be able to detect the best blood to experiment on. She was able to pick out precisely four targets, ah, perfect! Just as she had anticipated, there would be enough room for this exact number. A sly glint in her eye flashed as the woman bent over, easily balancing on her hands and propelling herself off of them to jump into the crowd.

Exactly nine and a half minutes later, the floor was littered with unconscious bodies, those that had gotten in her way had to be dealt with of course. At her feet were the four she had chosen, all knocked out for the moment. Nebellia hummed, quite content with her catch this evening. The little servant girl had done precisely as she asked, still laying on the floor. The scientist skipped over, happily bending down slightly and winking down at Bree-Bear.

"Now we can leave~ Oh and don't worry about erasing their memories, I already took care of that~" If the girl could express surprise on her facial features, Nebellia was certain it would've been there. She was always many steps ahead, hadn't it been clear by now? "Those bodies aren't going to drag themselves and besides, I've gotten what I came for. No reason to linger, heh!" She giggled and straightened up. Yes, she was satisfied with her work tonight, though it had turned . Now, time to see if her next deduction was going to come true~

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Garreth Vilhei Frost

This human girl, she appeared to have an endless supply of that inner-fire. It was intriguing, really, how she still fought back despite his statements. She was not an easy one to crack, then again, he did not have any intentions of playing this game so harshly as to shatter the image she had built up. Not immediately; that was a process best taken with care and precise planning. He did not move to stop her, merely watching the shuffle of objects into her bag, the stacking of books upon the table in numerical order. She seemed to be almost too conscious of being in control of things, the meticulous way in which she was organizing her things a sure sign. Sadly for her, with him, there wouldn't be much of a modicum of control that would work in her favor.

The pattern they had fallen into so easily was mimicry of what had happened two years ago. Oh, certainly, she had been friendly at first, when she was under her misconception of 'equality'. He had been quick to dispel it, much to her chagrin, and thus had thrown up these ridiculous barriers. The same ones she was relying on in the present. It could be regarded as almost comical to someone like Garreth, the way she hid behind her facts and practiced distant behavior. Yet, as with all performances, there was a flaw--a chink in the armor she had tried so hard to build up. And he was going to have fun exploiting it, even if she didn't realize he was aware of it quite yet. He was a bit more dangerous than she was giving him credit for being.

She regarded him coolly, mouth set in a firm line as she quietly asked after who had contacted her. He merely chuckled again at her question, moving his hand back towards his pocket almost as if he was going to give the phone back to her. "No one important," He said, halting his motions and instead settling his hand on the desk. Did she think it was going to be that easy? Not when he was this entertained. She would be allowed her phone back when he saw fit, and now was not the proper time for interruptions.

He would not admit it to her out loud, but perhaps a part of him (a very small part, mind) had wanted to have these interactions once more. Everything in the lykae society was settled so nicely into place, and no one dared to challenge his authority if they did not have the bite to go behind the words. Quite literally speaking, of course. Yet, it wasn't really the banter that interested him as much as it was the way in which she controlled her actions and chose her words. She was a thinker and that in itself was an intriguing concept, for lykae women barely if ever had words worth listening to. This human, who was so thoroughly entranced by this idea that males and females were equals, heartily believed her opinion was worth it and this fact fascinated him. How misguided could she be to have such flawed perceptions? It really would be fun to strip her of those notions.

He leaned back in his chair, crossing his legs and simply giving her an intent silver-eyed stare. An effective player did not always antagonize. Just as he would let her have a bit of fun, he would let her choose her own actions, for a time. There was no way she was going to slip out of his grasp so easily and he was aware of all her movements. There was no way she would be able to move fast enough to elude him so he had no reason to worry. He could take the time out to relax and observe, besides, she always seemed to get unsettled when he sent her a piecing stare. He kept his casual smirk on his face, raising his eyebrows, not deigning to issue any further dialogue for the time being.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Lena of Anguaren Character Portrait: Sydney Parker Character Portrait: Balthazar Cross
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#, as written by Ion
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Balthazar waited with the utmost patience and careful attention while the girl spoke, and it would seem that it was, in fact, entirely undivided. Such was never truly the case for a wary daemon, of course, but one did endeavor to observe whilst still keeping the requisite danger-sense active and roaming the surroundings. Indeed, he was most interested as to what she would do with the nettle-brush pile of words he’d strewn about her. Everything he said was said with purpose, but it was not always only the purpose it appeared to have. In this case, for example, he really had no intention of giving anything she told him away to anyone else, but nevertheless it was a promise she was going to have to earn.

He seemed rather amused when she pointed out his discrepancy, and even more so when she attempted to extract terms from him (terms, how charming! As though he were not the one who held all the cards in this arrangement; as though there were no other problems over which he might work his considerable intellect if this one did not pan out!) but held his tongue until she had fallen silent. He felt like indulging this whimsy of his, and so he did. That was really the long and short of what was happening here. Everything else was ripples on the surface of a pond: perhaps of some cursory interest, but ultimately meaningless.

“Mistake not a description of my character for a qualification on my word,” he said, though it was hardly an admonishment. In fact, his tone was rather light. “But, if you wish my idioms cut away from your bargain, I do not disapprove in the slightest. Here, then, a rephrasing: barring direct inquiry or order from the king himself, your answers, whatever they may be, will be divulged from myself to no one. You’ll have to forgive the escape clause there; I am ever his majesty’s loyal vassal. I think, however, that the likelihood of his inquiring is quite slim.”

And that was simple fact. While Sabine was himself a very astute man, he tended to be rather… oblivious to certain facets of the world around him, and were Balthazar a betting man (he was not), he would be willing to bet that this generally included the well-being of his young servant. Of course, when he did notice something awry, the results had been most… unpleasant for a certain member of the guard, and though Balthazar did not know the exact details of the situation, rumors did tend to circulate.

Now, there was the matter of his question. The wording was explicitly designed to be absolutely horrible, the kind of thing he would never ask if he actually wanted an answer. However, he was interested as to what exactly he’d get for it. There were a number of conceivable ways to get around it, some more astute than others, and of course to come out optimally advantaged in this scenario, she would want to give him as little information as possible, possibly under the hypothesis that boring him was the best way to get rid of him (it was). Sadly for her, Balthazar, though easily bored, was also capable of finding interest in what others considered mundane. It was how he’d earned his position, actually.

So the question was a trap, of sorts, or at the very least, a test. He was more interested in what variety of nonanswer he’d be receiving than in what she’d say if he’d pinned her a little more closely into saying anything at all. Already, his schemer’s psyche was running itself in mad little circles, eddies and ripples of thought that did run deeply, but invisibly, for that was the mark of a master of the craft: may no one ever know just how much you do.




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Sydney’s lips pursed, an outward sign of her growing displeasure with the situation. To anyone else, the tiniest of little things. To her, to them, really, evidence that the upper hand was his. Clearly, it was time to change the rules. “That’s impossible,” she replied shortly, “because nobody is unimportant.” She was pretty sure that chauvinism of his bled right into elitism simpliciter, and she was not fond of the trait in anyone. It seemed most annoying in him, whatever the reason. Still, she knew when she was staring down a stubbornness immovable, and for once, she opted not to try and hit it with a force unstoppable, but to opt instead for the path of least resistance.

She smiled then, but it was cool and far from genuine, and that stare still unnerved her so, when the full force of it was directed at her. It was not a fear so much as an awareness, one that she did not usually have. A knowledge of her location, her orientation in space, and presently, of the sorry state of her hair, among other things. It was like… he looked at you, and you almost believed him when he said those ridiculous things, like that whoever had called was “no one important.” You didn’t even have to know who they were, because just right then, everyone seemed much less important than him, yourself especially.

She reviled it. More than that, she was afraid of it. So no, he didn’t inspire fear, but what did happen was something to be feared. Of course, that didn’t stop her from meeting it, at least until the motion of standing and walking past him made that impossible, in which case, she was honestly glad to be rid of it, however temporarily. Best case scenario, she’d get that phone back sometime this evening. Worst case, well… she’d file a report with the police on Monday morning. It wasn’t like she had no idea who took it, after all, and maybe she’d add a no-contact order, just because she certainly didn’t have time to be dealing with more of this.

Syd reached the library’s phone shortly thereafter, dialing Simone first. There was no particular reason for it, other than perhaps that the redhead was her oldest sister. What she heard was most unsettling, the mechanical operator’s voice chirping at her over the line: “We’re sorry, but the number you are calling has been disconnected or is out of service. Please hang up and try again, or press pound for more options.”

Well, she certainly wasn’t doing that. Sydney knew most of the numbers in her contact list by heart, part of the same paranoia that had her memorizing bus routes and so on in her area. Never be without another option. Her fingers picked up a frenetic rhythm on the side of her leg, and she thought over it for just a second before dialing her sister’s work number. If she’d had to leave for an emergency, there were only so many things it could have been, and work was usually the best guess.

Nobody there had heard from her since she left to go meet her sisters, and Syd hung up the phone with an air of palpable dejection. She knew of one other thing to try, but no buses ran that way for an hour, at least. Simone had once told a funny anecdote about a friend of hers, who ran a bar in the city, who’d called her in to remove a raccoon. She remembered it mostly because she’d been confused over the name of the establishment. Blues Pub. Was it called that because they played the blues or because the owner was named Blue, for some odd reason? That had gotten her a laugh, but apparently the answer was neither. She still didn’t know why it was called that, but she did have the address, and maybe the owner would know the contact information for some of Simone’s other friends, which Sydney was without.

It was a place to start, anyway.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker
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Garreth Vilhei Frost

He watched her with that same casual expression, the two once again locked in the same staring match that they seemed to fall into quite often. There was a flash of annoyance upon her features, as if internally she seemed to be reprimanding his actions. Even when her value was so flippantly disregarded, she still fought against the statement--as if her menial views would rise to some purpose if she did so. Faintly he wondered if this was a trait specific to her, as most of the humans he came in contact with were weak and passive creatures. Garreth did not relinquish his stare as he merely widened his smile at her silently, the woman returning it, albeit with a tinge of dishonesty and irritation. She stood up with care, turning her back on him and wandering to the back corner to access the library phone.

He took the time to observe her closer, the pace of her breathing and the way her frame shifted slightly with each intake. Why was he so intrigued by her? Ordinarily, he would not have permitted such insolence in his presence and would've silenced her far long ago. Preferably by removing her tongue, he did not favor taking a life unless it was necessary and killing a woman rarely was. Yet somehow, he did not feel the overwhelming need to overpower her. There was something to be said for doing it subtly, and judging by her reactions, this seemed to be doing the trick. Perhaps that would be the route to go... He would make a note of it for now, never for a moment ever portraying his thoughts. The smile did not twitch, in fact, it just seemed to widen as she turned from the phone with furrowed eyebrows. The frown upon her lips and the worried glint to her eyes--whoever that Simone girl was must've been important enough to distract her from her anger towards him.

Perhaps he would entertain this little notion just a bit longer. Staying out so late had a tendency to cause James worry anyway.

He adjusted himself in his seat, straightening himself with almost uncanny grace. He ran a few gloved fingers through his hair, regarding her through silver eyes. Yes, she was quite nervous, wasn't she? He could see her pondering over the issue, probably trying to find a solution to the problem. This was much the same look she had two years ago when confronted with his case, an expression that usually produced results. So focused was she that he was sure she was not aware of his approach as he sauntered over to her. Faintly, he wondered how she would react to close proximity. The last time had left her quite speechless... He smirked a bit, that was an amusing behavior compared to her usual, cool facade.

With nonchalance, he placed a single digit underneath her chin to tilt her gaze back to him. Perhaps there was a glimmer of surprise, for despite the harshness of his words at times, his movements were always with practiced gentleness. He was a proper gentleman first and foremost, after all. "Perhaps," He began in a lilting tone. "You may try not to take this on by yourself, Sydney." Her name was said softly. To his recall, this was the first time he actually said her name. But it seemed to be the proper choice of words, for it was sure to make her pause and consider his next ones. "If you need any help, you need only ask. Perhaps I'm in a generous mood," Mischievous was more like it. "And I'll entertain your point of view of having assisted me two years ago." He kept his tone even, far practiced in adding that smooth tint to his words.

Garreth allowed his eyes to search hers, as if genuinely interested in her thoughts on the matter. This whole situation was shaping up to be a rather sound remedy for his boredom and he did intend to make use of it properly.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Lena of Anguaren Character Portrait: Sydney Parker Character Portrait: Balthazar Cross
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Balthazar smiled a catlike smile, the glint in his eyes pure mischief. ”Oh, good. I’d thought you were intelligent. This will be fun.” He certainly had no qualms about revealing that much of his purpose to her; it was a little unfair if he didn’t. Not that fairness was particularly important to him, but he was ever a logical fellow, and he knew that, in certain circumstances, leveling the field a bit could make things much more interesting in the long run. Give a little, gain much; it was practically the guiding principle of politics.

”Ah, but I have kept you for much too long, haven’t I? You should feel free to mention such things, Miss Anguaren—logic and practicality are never the kinds of things that can offend me, and I care not from whence they issue.” Her status was, to him anyway, entirely irrelevant for the purposes of this exercise: being born a certain way was no merit, but a sharp mind certainly was, and he rather looked forward to testing the edge of hers. Actually… a ghost of a thought flitted over his mind, but for the moment, he let it be. That, he would chase down later.

“The supplies you require are in my office, the cabinet to the left. You are free to enter and use whatever happens to be necessary. Please do not remove them, however, as we would not want them to disappear as yours seem to have done, hm?” He didn’t bother with the usual warnings about touching nothing else in the place, as he was both quite certain that at this point she wouldn’t dare and also in possession of a number of little magical warding tricks that would inform him if she or anyone else did. Next to that, a mere verbal entreaty was paltry and unnecessary both.

He inclined his head then, just slightly, a measure of politeness that served as his farewell, for he ducked back out the door to the kitchen immediately afterward, allowing her to proceed as she pleased. The pieces had been set, the game was afoot, and Balthazar was quite pleased with himself, actually.

He was in such a good mood that, when he made good on his earlier intentions to rearrange the furniture in the guards’ rooms, he spelled the walls a bright, sunshine yellow, and set the furniture on the ceiling to return to its proper place after only an hour of useless attempts by the soldiers to move it, rather than the five he’d originally been thinking.

As usual, he didn’t stay to watch the aftermath of his work, returning instead to his personal quarters to answer a few of the more boring missives he tended to receive—presently mostly offers for advantageous marriages. Advantageous to whom was what he always found himself inclined to ask. He had all the status he’d ever want, and it hadn’t taken him imposing a lifetime’s worth of dull coexistence on anyone. He was… disinclined to allow anyone to similarly inconvenience him. He found, for the most part, that spousal relations seemed to impose a tedium of obligation upon both parties, and furthermore he seldom found persistent company all that worthwhile. He was, as a rule, largely uninterested in the other benefits of domestic arrangements (though not always), and the idea of children was somewhat repugnant to say the least.



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Anyone who knew Sydney could say with certainty that while among the most intelligent of people they knew, she was incredibly prone to becoming lost in thought, and during such occasions, relinquished much of her perceptiveness and tended to stare into the middle distance or down at whatever was immediately in front of her. Such was the case then, and she was no more aware of Garreth’s presence than she was of the weather outside or the present state of the stock market.

At least, not until she was made aware of it, and she jerked slightly, realizing what was going on in enough time to prevent her from jumping away from him, if only just. She found the nature of the contact a little pedantic and paternalistic of him, which honestly didn’t explain why she swallowed thickly, throat suddenly dry. Of course, anyone who knew Sydney could also say that she was first and foremost a logical, goal-directed woman with little time for frivolities such as emotion, and as such, she was able to shove her discomfort away and pretend quite effectively that it was not there.

She was expecting amusement on his part, and the kind of callus disregard for others that she’d come to associate with him, as though the world around him should just hurry up and kiss the ground he tread on already. She was still seeing shades of that, but then perhaps this was her own natural suspicion setting in, for the words themselves were not at all as she’d thought they’d be.

Oh. His use of her given name was not lost on her, and in fact, she dwelled on it for longer than she should have or would have liked to. Sydney was not exactly certain if she should be mildly offended at his unlicensed breach of their formality (not the first one, and definitely not the worst), or… well, she wasn’t precisely sure what the other options were, but somehow she wasn’t offended. So.

She regained some of her balance at the word generous—that was most certainly laying it on a little thick. Still, whatever ridiculous humor he found in yanking her around like this might play to her advantage, and there was very little if anything she wasn’t willing to do for the sake of family. She had no doubt Simone would indulge some bigot for exactly as long as it took to find her in a similar situation, and though stubbornness and pride had their place, this was not it. This was the place to be logical and do what was necessary to achieve her end. If he was going to use her for… whatever he got out of this, then she wasn’t going to say no to the opportunity to reciprocate.

A muted exhale relaxed her shoulders a little; the tiniest of sighs, the smallest of concessions. She didn’t like using people, but, well… there wouldn’t be another choice for an hour at least, and if the worst were to be the real, Simone might not have that long. ”My sister, Simone, carries a phone in an otterbox, which means it should be protected from just about anything. It’s always with her. Except apparently right now, because it’s disconnected, which means that either she forgot to pay her bill—which she wouldn’t-- or it was intentionally broken, say run over by a car or something. She left for some sort of emergency earlier today, so… I need to find her.” A pause. She didn’t really know why she was telling him all this; maybe she just wanted to make the methodical nature of her thoughts obvious, though whether to her audience or just herself, she didn’t know.

”The only place I can think to look is on Ninth and Lex, which is too far to walk in any reasonable amount of time. The next bus going that way doesn’t come for at least an hour. I… you…” she fumbled over the sentence a bit, before shaking her head and forcing it to come out right. ”I need to get there, somehow. If you can help me, I would appreciate it very much.” She was more than capable of politeness when it was called for, and she was quite aware that the request was an imposition of sorts. She’d have just called and asked one of her friends, but she had exactly five: Simone, Saph, Jack, Liz, and Norman, the elderly gentleman who played first chair violin in the symphony. Simone was the issue, Saph was probably still busy, Jack and Liz were on vacation, and she wouldn’t feel any more comfortable asking Norman for a favor of that sort, leaving her options sorely limited.

Sydney hoped she wouldn’t regret this, but she couldn’t believe that it was possible to regret something done for her present reasons.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Nebellia de Rozeriem Character Portrait: Sydney Parker Character Portrait: Alexander II Chartes Character Portrait: Daniel Bowman Character Portrait: Brigitte Lebelle
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Nebellia de Rozeriem

So firm, so utterly firm and commanding! Just as she'd expect from Danny Pants~ He was being curt with her tonight as he led her to the car, not relinquishing his iron grip upon her as he pulled her there. Nebellia didn't put up much of a fight, there was little point to her lingering around in some alleyway when she already had what she came for! The little Bree Bear was already sliding into the backseat, the reddish hue of her cheeks indicating some irritation. The scientist was pushed into the front seat and he went around, sliding into his. He spoke in a flatter tone than before as he offhandedly told her how honored she should feel. Oh! He was so cute when he was annoyed, wasn't he? She chuckled lightly into her fingers but didn't comment much as she turned her attentions out the window.

There was a scream from behind them and several more yells as the car reared into a few humans on their humming scooter bike things. Danny Pants wasn't paying much heed as he just shifted gears, raising the speed to what she would perceive to be a mildly unsafe level. (To normal people, this exceeded speed limits to very dangerous degrees) The car swerved a lot, nearly hitting many pedestrians and coming very close to hitting other vehicles. He knew how to give her a thrill, that was for sure! Nebellia lowered the window, poking her head out and grinning wildly in the night, violet hair ruffling in the wind. Ahhhh, this feeling, it was so refreshing! She leaned out of the window more, propping her hands against the bottom edges of the window frame. Some passerby in the cars looked shocked to see her and she only waved at them, energetically. Okay, maybe she also let her fangs show a bit, only to scare them!

This only worked to terrify them so much that one of the cars veered off the road and collided with another in a deafening screech of metal. Nebellia laughed happily, ohhh, this night was just so wonderful! Ah, but she didn't want to get on Danny Pants' super bad side since he'd be reporting back to Lexi-Pop. Dearest Sweetie Pea was probably all tense and worried and being overall silly. And probably being all "cooooool"" about it and "smoooooth". She giggled at her mental image of the man (which will not be included to spare us from potentially mind-scarring images with puffy shorts and overly dramatic capes) and drew herself back inside of the vehicle as she caught sight of the familiar mansion. There were a few more guards stationed on the outside than usual, all of whom tensed as the car drew to a halt. Was this her greeting party? Excellent~

Without waiting for Danny Pants to get out of the car or even for Bree Bear to unload her experiments, Nebellia was already jumping out the window to land on top of a screaming guard. She bounced a bit on top of him, the man making funny wheezing noises each time her weight descended on his chest before she cartwheeled off of him. The other guards were a little too scared to make moves at her and she pushed open the doors without much hindrance at all. She heard a terrified gasp and a squeak as nearby servants fled from the vicinity. That was no fun! She had already gotten her toys... for the night... Ahem~ Ah, wasn't she supposed to be going to the King or something? She was pretty sure he had summoned her.

Twirling a little with childish joy, she lightly made her way down the hall, rounding the corner. Her gold eyes spotted one of the maids from the kitchen and in a flourish of lace, Nebellia had the woman in a choke hold. "Why hello there~" She murmured faintly, the maid nearly fainting on the spot. "I heard the king summoned me~?" The maid trembled, trying to breathe but failing partially at the act.

"Y... y... yes, Mi..ss... Nebel... lia...!" She gasped out, fighting against the hold. Nebellia paid her no heed and shrugged her shoulders.

"Well, what are you waiting for? You don't see him meandering the halls like a dolt, do you?" The maid nodded tensely and the scientist let the woman go. She sputtered and fell to the floor gasping and panting, taking a few minutes to catch her breath. The maid knew better than to try to run from the infamous insane vampire and resigned herself to the task of leading the woman towards the faint commotion. The poor maid already knew that she was going to get in trouble for even involving herself in such matters but she couldn't disobey a direct order. Sometimes, life in the vampiric mansion was very difficult indeed for the working staff.







Garreth Vilhei Frost

There were rare moments when even Garreth could be surprised, and this moment just happened to be one of them. Slowly his eyebrows raised just a fraction of an inch as the woman before him gave a concession to his words. The tiniest concession she could possibly bear, mind, but the way in which her body relented it's offensive stance spoke volumes to him. Her voice was just a tad smaller than it had been as she explained to him precisely who this Simone girl was to her. She rambled a little as she spoke of her sister, voice hitching just slightly with that touch of nervousness. There was a pause, ah, questioning herself. He only smiled perhaps a little more warmly at her as he waited for her to finish. Whether she took some sort of comfort from this or not, she continued on.

Ninth and Lex, yes, he knew the place. Blue's Pub, he believed it was called. He had never specifically gone in, per se, but he knew the area. Her eyebrows knitted together, there was a short fumble before she forced out a request. ”I need to get there, somehow. If you can help me, I would appreciate it very much.””I need to get there, somehow. If you can help me, I would appreciate it very much.” She eyed him warily as she finished, as if expecting him to laugh at her or merely walk out on her. But Garreth was a man of his word and he did have every intention of providing assistance. It wasn't like him to leave a lady in a plight after all.

Very carefully, he reached over and delicately took her hand in his. Before there could be any objection, he lifted her hand to his lips and gently kissed the back of her palm. He held her gaze throughout, silver eyes piercing into hers before lowering her hand from his grip. "As you wish, Miss Parker." This was an interesting mood he was in but he was the type to merely flow with it instead of trying to fight against it. Giving her a once over to make sure she had all her belongings, he proceeded down the stairs at a relaxed pace to give her time to follow him properly. He couldn't help but wonder, however, if she truly did not have any other options besides him. She had always struck him as so proud and someone who didn't exactly enjoy asking for help in the first place, let alone from someone she barely knew. Still, circumstances had allowed just that and he wasn't about to question them.

They reached the bottom floor and he walked ahead of her a bit, opening the library doors for her. "After you," He said, a kind glint in his eyes for once. He was a gentleman first and there was not a soul who could say he did not know how to treat a lady when he was inclined to do so. Making sure she was through the door safely, he shut it behind him and gestured to her. "This way, I parked down the street." He said smoothly as he walked down the sidewalk. They reached his car within a minute or so, Garreth sliding his hand into his pocket to retrieve the keys to his Ferrari. He unlocked the doors, walking first over to the passenger side to open her door for her. It wasn't as if he thought her incapable, this was just his way of showing chivalry. After helping her into the car, he went around, sliding into the driver's side.

He flashed her one of his warmer smiles and without a word, shifted gears and headed towards the club.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker
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Syd’s breath hitched uncomfortably in the back of her throat, an unwelcome staccato interruption in the mellifluous flow of the labor of her lungs. She was not accustomed to touch, having always been the private sort of person that avoided or discouraged contact with anyone outside the range of her family and two best friends. Even then, she was always the reserved one, the withdrawn one, the studious dweller of secret, untouched places who walked usually with only her own company for what might as well have been miles, so distant was she when she found it her wish.

But as before—frustratingly, she reminded herself, and most unwelcome—he saw fit to remind her that she moved not through smooth waters leagues from anyone else, but at a pace too slow in a world too fast, and too obsessed with proximity, closeness. She was not as distant physically as she was mentally, and that sometimes annoyed her.

A strange kind of annoyance, that manifested as a rose-tinted paintbrush swiped across porcelain complexion, two spots of color rising high on her cheeks with the feather-light brush of his lips over her hand. It was nothing, a trifle, something that might have made a more savvy woman chuckle or shake her head or roll her eyes, even. But Sydney was not jaded, not in this way, and if any traces of her awkward adolescence remained, it was still in that: people did not touch her, and certainly not in ways like this.

But he had broken the rule before, hadn’t he? She was more the fool for allowing herself to forget that.

And in denial if she was still pretending she had forgotten. How pathetic. She trailed after him, quite nonplussed but hardly the type to withdraw even still. This was something they had agreed on, now, in whatever strange way they had of ever agreeing on anything. Mostly, she suspected it was her setting up the terms, crisp and clear and simple, and he ostensibly agreeing, only to exact whatever price he actually saw fit, or play her like she moved a bow over string. Her victory in this was that he had, as yet, drawn only notes of protest from herself, or else stifling silence.

She was not an instrument one could simply pick up and master so easily, and deft a musician as he might have been (could one wring chords from heartstrings), Sydney, for all her inexperience in games like this, was not going to make it an easy one to win. It was not that her heart was stubborn, really; she was certain that if it was all she had to stake in this nonsensical wager, she’d have long lost herself to the swooning folly of women who didn’t know their worth. But she was much more than that, and she knew her vulnerability, as well or better than he did. That silly, emotional, fluttering part of herself was to be locked up, hidden, and ignored for as long as absolutely possible. Her battles were fought with the razor’s edge of wit, sharpened on the whetstone of lesser intellects until of such keen point that even she had to be careful with it. ‘Twas sword and shield both, and she a battle-maiden in her own right for having learned its use.

She’d never admit the futility of it, nor stand down when it mattered. And right now, it mattered, because Simone mattered, and keeping her wits about her was necessary. She could not be drawn in by something that wouldn’t even have fazed one of her indomitable siblings in the slightest, oh no. She slid past him and into the vehicle, leaving as much space as possible between their bodies when she passed, and suppressed the mixture of incredulity and minor irritation that flared up when her suspicions about him were confirmed: the man had money. Likely old money; she found it difficult to imagine him being responsible enough to earn it himself, though she’d grant him the cunning, certainly. Why on earth would someone with that much to spend need or want a public defender? She might have guessed he’d simply desired to waste her time, only he’d known nothing about her, back then. He still knew little, though maybe more than she wanted him to.

She also suppressed the thanks. That was for when she got there as she’d requested—she had to admit that part of her didn’t trust him to make good on his word in the slightest. If that part was humbled today, then all the better, but she wasn’t going to assume it would be. She was almost too absorbed in her own thoughts to notice the smile he shot her, but she did, and turned from it, staring out the window and reflecting on the veritable Molotov cocktail of anxieties she was experiencing. For Simone first, obviously, but Sapphire was yet on her mind as well. And then, of course, there was her own minor predicament to consider. She really needed that phone back, and she wasn’t naïve enough to suppose that being in a near-stranger’s car was the best of ideas, especially not when said stranger had a history of disregarding her thoughts on certain matters whenever it suited his whimsy to do so.

She sighed, barely resisting the urge to lean to the side and press her forehead against the cool glass to suppress the migraine that was threatening. Just what had she managed to get herself into?

The sleek vehicle pulled up at the bar a few minutes later, and this time, Syd opened her own door and stepped out, closing it gently behind her. She did, however, do him the courtesy of waiting for him to join her before she strode into the building, head high and the click of her heels reassuring. Confidence. She had to have confidence. It was the only way she could rightly deal with such places as these.

There was nothing extraordinary in the bar at all, and Syd grimaced as she spied the patrons on the floor, doing… whatever it was that passed for dancing. She’d never understood it, honestly. What was so wrong with waltzes? Tangoes, even? She could do that sort of thing, but this… well, it was beyond her ken, anyway. A few of the more wallflower-like customers kept to the bar, nursing their drinks or half-shouted conversations with one another. Presently, the man she knew as the owner was nowhere to be found. ”I think he might be in the back,” she said, then wondered if maybe she should have added more volume to be heard. It was so loud in here…

There was no way that migraine wasn’t happening. She just hoped she’d be able to locate Simone-- then it would all be worth it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Nebellia de Rozeriem Character Portrait: Sydney Parker Character Portrait: Alexander II Chartes Character Portrait: Daniel Bowman Character Portrait: Brigitte Lebelle
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Nebellia de Rozeriem

The maid was so very eager to drop Nebellia off in the presence of the King before literally running away as fast as she could do so while still being polite. Whatever was about to go down, the maid did not want to be one of the casualties. The scientist watched her scamper off blankly, for once not giving way to her whims of pursuit. And scalpels. Those were very very nice too. Brigitte had already dropped to her knee, not daring to look into the eyes of the man they called their King. Her whisper of Master reminded Nebellia of another instance that word had been used in... But now was not the time for musings. She could sense the displeasure of Alexander very clearly. It was a difficult aura to miss and he had the tendency to radiate it outwards. Sadly, she would have to do away with her fun for the night. He was a man who disliked rules being broken, and she had taken many liberties and broken quite a few tonight. It was going to be a bit of work talking her way out of this one...

Still, she followed suit, knowing better than to push her luck and curtsied quite elegantly. Even with her blood stained dress and mild tears in her stockings, it was obvious she was a proper lady... at least when she took out the time to show it. She lowered her lashes over her golden eyes, not risking direct eye contact for a full minute or so in order to show her proper respect to him. She released her breath out slowly and the woman that came to regard Alexander was dramatically different from the woman that had been terrorizing the humans just an hour earlier. She kept her stare very even and spoke in an unfaltering voice, devoid of the musical, whimsical nature she usually portrayed.

"Allow me this small imposition to take the time to apologize to you, my King," She began, pursing her lips slightly and wrinkling her nose. He carried a very strong scent with him, one that most certainly belonged to a human. Obviously not one that she had brought with her tonight, no, it was older than that and possessed a feminine tang. Alexander wasn't the type to just flat out reveal things right off the bat so she'd have to dance around this one carefully. "As you are no doubt aware, I've acted... a tad out of term," She managed a light chuckle. They both knew there was no such thing as a "tad" with her. She either went the whole way or didn't go at all but Nebellia wasn't a woman to stop halfway through anything. In some circles, perhaps this could be regarded as going too "far" but she had long since disregarded such statements.

"I assure you none of the staff has been harmed beyond repair, though perhaps I could've gone about it in a less zealous manner to retrieve test subjects." It may be a bit safer, in this situation, to admit she had been in slight wrong than to try to find reasons for it. Alexander hated excuses. "If you feel that I was out of term for leaving without your behest, you are welcome to do as you will. I will draw to your attention, however," She took a brief pause as she heard approaching footsteps, no doubt the Captain coming to make his presence known as well. Best to wrap this up quickly. "Your Majesty, that I did not have any samples about and that is a tricky situation to be in with a mansion full of vampires. Unless you have found a way to satiate your hunger, then can I be faulted for naturally thinking to restock?" She curtsied again but did not remove her stare from his this time. Nebellia could never be marked as one afraid of Alexander's decisions and she was always prepared to meet them head-on if necessary.




Garreth Vilhei Frost

Hmm, the blush that coated her cheeks was a very welcome sight indeed. Even while she sat in stubborn silence in the seat next to him, lost in her own thoughts. Well, almost. She had noticed his smile, for she turned from it with a sigh, forehead nearly leaning against the window. She was evidently growing strained from her this nightly escapade, a faint realization that could only make him chuckle. The night was still so young and already she was this tired? A shame but nothing he couldn't take care of in the manner he did most things. He pulled up slowly in front of the club, the music already audible even from inside of the car. The young woman stepped out of the vehicle quickly, making it clear that she did not want or acquire assistance. He had to stifle another light laugh at her behavior, so proud, such a need to prove she was independent. He noticed she did, however, choose to wait until he had walked over to her side of the car before proceeding into the club.

However, he paused at the entrance briefly, immediately tensing as a very... familiar type of scent washed over his senses. His jaw tightened and the amusement faded just a portion. Perhaps it was a bit too early to be making such snap judgements, perhaps they had only wandered nearby... Garreth knew this was a bit of a long shot and this suspicion was only proved true the instant he entered into the building. Agh, that stench. He pinched the bridge of his nose with two of his fingers as a glimmer of disgust flitted across his face for an instant. His eyebrow furrowed a bit as he watched her make her way through the crowd, oblivious to what had been here just moments ago. The mere smell was going to leave a sour taste in his mouth, ugh. The human woman called faintly over her shoulder, though at such a volume that would've normally been audible, given the atmosphere. However, his keen hearing picked up right on it and he did not hesitate in moving closer to her, grabbing her arm somewhat firmly.

"Then let's not waste time out here in the middle of this... primal mating," He said curtly as he led her through the throng of people. He wrinkled his nose, how was it that everyone here had that scent with them? Leave it to the parasites to lay their fingers on everything. Was their anything they wouldn't sink their fangs into? Still, if he was picking up this irritating scent and Sydney had told him something of her sister being in this very vicinity... Still, assuming was not always the smartest choice and it was never a good idea to merely throw ideas together to feed his own personal bias. (Though privately, he was apt to do just that) The humans continued to dance, oblivious to what was transpiring and, more importantly, what had transpired. If the vampires really had been here earlier, then it would be lucky to find one human that remembered the events that had occurred. That stupid thralling ability really grated on his nerves at intervals.

As they approached the back, he let go of her gently, though he did not make any efforts to hide how tense he felt in this atmosphere. As far as he could tell, they were here no longer so she would be safe enough going to see the owner by herself. "Go on," He said somewhat distantly. He slid his hands into his pockets as he observed the mindless humans in the club closely, no longer paying her any attention. He stared out at them, mind circulating with faint deductions. He glanced at the dance floor, noticing a few flecks of blood here and there. Well covered up, for the most part, and no one was paying it any mind. But the scuff marks indicated that there had been some sort of rowdy activity that took place, and the odd lighting he had witnessed with the sign on the outside brought up another line of thinking. The way it was positioned was almost as if pointing to the alleyway on the outside...

He looked behind him--she didn't seem as if she'd be coming out anytime soon. There should be enough time. He turned on his heel, walking around the crowded areas, this time headed towards the side door. As soon as he stepped out, the smell only increased and he narrowed his eyes in distaste. It didn't matter how many years went by, the smell of vampires was still utterly revolting. He slid his silver eyes first to the ground, which was streaked with now dried blood, not much, but it was evident something had been dragged along roughly. There wasn't a lot of detail to go by, the parasites had a tendency to clean up after themselves well enough. He sighed out. He had been looking for entertainment, true, and he'd be misleading if he said he was bored by all of this. But by no means had Garreth expected... hm. It wouldn't do good to linger out here for long, Sydney would wonder where he had gone off to.

He edged back inside, shutting the door behind him but choosing instead to walk out to the entrance. If anything, it would make sense to greet her there instead of trying to find her in that club. Besides, the fresh air would do his sinuses some good. That bloody stench wouldn't be going away any time soon.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Sapphire Parker Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker
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On an ordinary day, perhaps, the viselike grip that closed around her arm would have been enough to earn a strenuous protest from Sydney, but honestly, she seemed to be agreeing with the sentiment he expressed, and she wasn’t terribly good with crowd navigation herself, so she backed off, recognizing that for the moment at least, he was only trying to help. The journey through the writhing mass of people was easier for his presence; he parted the crowd in a way she was envious of, though she admittedly still found herself notably uncomfortable a few times, as a hand from the crowd brushed somewhere it shouldn’t. It was surely just an accident anyway, no need to be bothered about it.

Emerging on the other side of the throng, she nodded, not really trusting her voice to reach the necessary volume. He seemed… uncomfortable, as though something problematic were happening that she couldn’t see. Whether it was truly bad or just unpleasant, she couldn’t tell, but he’d lost the easy smiles and the lilt to his tone, becoming at once more somber and more… something. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it.

Shrugging to herself, she decided that no matter what it was, it was less important than finding Simone, so she advanced to the bar, waving down the current attendant, a female. “I’m looking for Nate,” she said, leaning over the wooden bar to be heard. ”It’s about Simone Parker.” The young woman, maybe just a few years Sydney’s senior, looked a bit confused for a moment, but seemed to disregard whatever thought she’d had and jerked her thumb back over her shoulder.

“Should be in the breakroom.” Sydney thanked her and turned down the hallway the woman had indicated. She’d not often known bars to have breakrooms, but then if it was this busy all the time, she suspected that it was entirely necessary. Poking her head through the doorway, she knocked tentatively on the wooden doorjamb, provoking a movement from the man seated at the table, apparently reading something. He took a second to place her, but he must have remembered the few occasions they’d met, like when Syd had done a college visit to Berkeley, where he and Simone had both studied.

“Well, look who it is! Long time, no see, Syd. You know, I was just thinking of calling your sister earlier today.” He grinned, propping an elbow on the table and his chin in his hand. If he was at all confused by her presence here, he hid it well, but she suspected it probably just didn’t seem that weird. Stranger things had certainly happened in bars.

Syd’s face fell, and his eyebrows puckered in confusion as though in response. ”Actually,” the youngest Parker confessed, “I’m looking for Simone right now. I thought she might have come by…”

Nate shook his head. “Nope, not recently. Poor thing’s working herself way too hard, if you ask me. She needs to come by more often.” He quirked a brow at Sydney, doubtless taking in her slightly disheveled appearance, and the fact that she wasn’t really dressed for an establishment like his. “Looks like you do, too.”

Syd grimaced. “Um. Well, maybe. Look, I know this probably sounds weird, but can I ask you for some phone numbers? I’d like to call around to some of her other friends if possible.” She wasn’t really sure she wanted to worry him unnecessarily or go into details, so she added something else. “I’m planning on throwing her a surprise party, but I can’t get that stuff from her without it looking suspicious.” True, technically, though Simone’s birthday was a while off, yet, and she’d only started considering the idea a few days ago.

He fixed her with a speculative look, like he wasn’t quite buying it, but in the end he shrugged. “As long as I get an invitation, sure.” Syd flashed a smile, more relieved than anything, but agreed and tried not to make it obvious how worried she was. Honestly, all this running around was probably making it worse than it would have been if she’d had a moment to think about this rationally, but right now it was all she could do to keep herself from looking half as concerned as she was feeling. Sometimes, all that effort was almost more than she could take, but at least she’d had practice.

Reaching behind him, Nate scrawled a few numbers on a piece of paper and handed it to her. Scanning it quickly, Syd tucked it away into a pocket. Good, this was good. It gave her a real place to start. Now, there was only one thing she had left to do. “Thanks a lot, Nate. Can I ask one last thing? I need to borrow a phone…”

The bar owner obligingly pointed her in the direction of a landline, and she made her awkward goodbyes, which had him chuckling at her more than anything else, and headed for the right spot, tucked away behind the kitchen. Dialing Sapphire’s number, Sydney bit her lip for the first two rings and nearly slumped in relief when her sister picked up on the third.

“Hello? Saph? It's Syd. Hey listen, sorry if I'm interrupting something, but have you seen Simone at all since she left?"

The music on the other end of the line was almost deafening, and she suspected that her sibling had found her way into another club. Apparently, things with that odd blonde fellow hadn’t gone irrevocably badly, as she sounded unhurt. “What? Syd? Simone? Oh no... nope, haven't seen her. Was just about to call her, actually. Why're you asking?"

Well, that was the hard question, wasn’t it? Sydney knew she was the worrywart of the family, but she also knew that she tended to be right when it counted… though maybe not now. Shoving the reservation to the side for a moment, she tried to think of how to phrase it. “ Shoot, um... okay. Don't freak out or anything, but I think something might have happened to her. I'm inside Blue's, you know, that place her friend works, and her car's parked outside, but she's not here and nobody remembers seeing her at all. Plus, she called me a little while ago but then it disconnected. I tried calling her back, but it won't work. I think her phone is broken or out of range or something."

The noise on the other end grew quieter, as apparently Saph moved to get somewhere she could hear properly. Her tone was about as incredulous as her younger sister had been expecting, and Sydney flinched slightly. "Syd, really?" There was an audible sigh. "Are you certain you're not just overreacting? I'm sure Simone's perfectly fine; she's a big girl." Sapphire paused there, but the interval was too brief for Sydney to fill it. "Okay, fine, since you're so worried, baby sis - probably needlessly, I should add - what do you want me to do?"

Syd took a deep breath, letting her worry ease out of her tone a bit as she attempted the transition to businesslike and in-control. It worked… sort of. “ "The owner gave me a few names and places she might be. I'm going to try checking them out, but if you could call the police, I think that would be great. Give them my name if they try some bureaucratic crap about her not being gone long enough or something. I have a bad feeling about this, Saph." Okay, she was definitely still rambling, but that sounded reasonable, right?

Or maybe not. “Jesus, you’re blowing things way out of proportion.”

It was Sydney’s turn to sigh. Honestly? Sapphire was probably right, but… she couldn’t ignore this uncomfortable feeling in her gut, and so she switched tactics instead. “ I know. But what if I'm right? I swear, if we find her and she's fine you can laugh at me as much as you want, but if we don't, I don't want to be the person that just assumed everything was okay when it wasn't, you know?"

“ "I'm not going to call the cops and make a fool of myself, Syd. Because she's fine. But I will call around a bit. Just... don't do anything drastic, please?" Syd found herself nodding. Right. Obviously Sapphire was right. There was no need to panic. Calling the police was probably premature right now, no matter how she felt about the whole thing. Still, part of her wasn’t so sure.

Just in case, she decided to leave her plans with Saph. “ Okay. Uh, also. Saph, I'm with a former client of mine right now. He's driving me around and helping, but... he also took my phone, so... I'm just going to give you everything I know... in case. Don't worry, I'm probably just freaking out because of Simone. Anyway, his name is Garreth Frost. Drives a really nice Ferrari, license plate 842 PQX. Tall, late twenties or early thirties, dark hair, grey eyes. I think I’m going to ask him to drive me home, and then make some calls myself. Um... so yeah. I gotta go. But Saph? Be safe, okay? Love you." Syd drew the receiver away from her ear, the noise in the area ensuring that Sapphire’s reply never made it to her ears.

“Whoa, whoa, girly! Where are you? Blue’s, right? I'll be right there. No sister of mine is going to be driving around alone with some guy who steals her phone for whatever creepy reason, if I can help it… Even if he does drive a nice car."

The phone clicked back into its cradle, and Syd’s shoulders sagged just a little. Maybe it really was time to call it a night. Shaking her head at herself, though she wasn’t precisely sure why, the young woman headed back outside, taking a blessed lungful of fresh air in an attempt to drive the migraine into submission. Predictably, it failed. Still, she had a plan, and a place to start, and an assurance that things would be much less horrible than she was imagining them. Surely, she was only paranoid. Probably her job speaking, since she dealt with so much crime every day.

She found Garreth already waiting, and figured now was as good a time as any do the right thing. “Hey. Thanks for all that; I know there are much more exciting ways to spend a weekend evening.” Of course, maybe not for him if he was bothering her in the library, but she was trying to be nice, so she wouldn’t mention that little bit. “I think I’m just going to head home now, make some calls-” Oh, right. He still had her cell and she had never bothered with a landline. She was going to ignore that for now. “And hope this whole thing blows over tomorrow morning, so everyone can laugh at me and get on with things. So.” She stopped, quite unsure as to where she was supposed to go with that.

Seriously. She could write and deliver the best legal arguments of anyone she knew, but tended to talk herself into a corner in ordinary conversation. She must be some kind of freak. Of course, she knew as well as anyone that she really didn’t say much until she was nervous, and then, well, her mouth was off to all kinds of places, whether her brain liked it or not.

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Character Portrait: James Dylor Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Rhaun Dreamspeaker
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Rhaun Dreamspeaker

The front hall welcomed Rhaun with the gleam of clean floors, the tradeoff being a faint chemical odor of the cleaning solution used. Were his senses the same as a human it would’ve been the average smell of a clean luxurious room. But to the Lykae it was an overlapping olfactory mixture of a trail of “artificial” substances and the familiar traces of his kindred wafting through the air. A strange combination that wouldn’t be felt in their home world, but here it has become commonplace. He stepped upon the carpet running across the middle of the room, having spent enough time here to no longer look around. One way or other, if anything was worth noticing here it was an individual who could provide Rhaun with the small token of interaction that he felt an inclination towards. And he was in plain sight, though somewhat startled by the Adviser’s arrival.

James was this boy’s name. A half-breed, like so many servants in the Lykae estates, albeit singled out by his station as personal servant to the Lykae King. Still, it was not likely to be a particularly glorified station. Rhaun approached, the young servant bowing to him deeply. As the old Lykae stepped forth he beckoned the young man to rise from the bow with a hand-motion that held both strength and grace. Man and beast were unified in him in any form and his aura retained a sort of animalistic charm that permeated most of his being. The exchange between them was for now wordless, yet already the animal-like senses of the Adviser gave him a few ideas of the state of the one in front of him. A lingering tension about his gesture and his glance, a hint in his scent speaking of a form of frustration – they were not entirely uncommon things about this particular young man.

Suffice to say, Rhaun made no intrusions upon the conduct between his King and the servants in his employ. Still nothing was there to limit his powers of observation whether fuelled by the supernatural features of his kind or not. And truly James’ life was, in a way, an ordeal. Yet the young man’s hardiness and devotion were something to admire. But to expect James to have no doubts in his heart and mind would be too much to ask of him for now. Even young full-blooded Lykae experienced such feelings. After giving James permission to stand in his presence, liberating him of the subservient posture with his gesture, the Lykae Adviser regarded him with a calm studious glance. Its duration was relatively short though it seemed to stretch to some significant length. To an extent it was to see the servant’s reaction, but it had to be said that, unlike Garreth’s constant trying of his servant’s nerves and patience, Rhaun’s was more a test of will conducted in the same dignified serenity as most of the old Lykae’s actions.

Still James clearly looked tired and tense. Rhaun didn’t maintain the fixation of his gaze on him for too long, his eyelids lowering over his eyes breaking the sort of non-verbal connection that was being formed. Still, perhaps when words were finally spoken it would be enough to make James exhibit some sort of physical reaction or be startled, despite the typically soft tone in which the Lykae uttered his words.

“Seeking refuge in labor…” Rhaun spoke with his eyes still closed, his words forming more of a thoughtful statement, rather than a question or an assumption that would have room for much doubt.

Once more the eyes opened, clearly directed at the young man before him. He examined the reaction, the posture, the way the sound of his breathing changed and the way his scent might have changed in response to his thoughtful words. It’s not that he expected his words to have any overwhelming sort of influence, but taking in the reactions of your partner in conversation in this way wasn’t something unusual for a Lykae. In part his statement was born from the previous things noted about James… And then, in part, it was the fact that it wasn’t even this servant’s job to be cleaning the hall he was on in the first place.

“Hm. I suppose it is not the worst option… Do you find this world…” - He began, but paused, soon choosing to narrow down the area in question - “… This place… Do you find this place comfortable?”

The question that was on Rhaun’s own mind found its way into the strange conversation that was beginning between the two of them. It was too early to judge the degree of success about their exchange, but what harm would there be in wishing to know the opinion of this boy? If one had yet to be formed, then perhaps it would spur the young one to ask himself this question. At times such a thing would guide one towards a path of discovering something important about their identity… Yes, perhaps self-discovery was indeed something many of their kind in the human world had to avoid disregarding. Young and old alike, but mostly those yet to truly get in touch with their dual nature and find the one in-between that would lead to harmony.

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Character Portrait: James Dylor Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker
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#, as written by Igari


Garreth Vilhei Frost




He hadn't quite been able to get rid of the scent that still lingered around, wrinkling his nose at the strong scent of chemicals. It overpowered any other scent that possibly could've been traced and was wrecking havoc with his sense of smell. Garreth was more than eager to return home at this point, at least to be rid of this smell once and for all. He shifted only slightly, looking up as he heard approaching footsteps. His timing couldn't have been better, for it was only several or so minutes after he had begun waiting that Sydney came out of the club. She wore an interesting expression, but what drew his attentions the most was the delicate way in which she now spoke to him. It was obvious that she was a bit tired, more than likely worn out by the night's escapades. To be fair, Garreth wasn't the easiest man to converse with by any means, but he supposed that compounding this fact with her worry for her sister would be legitimate reason for her exhaustion.

She came to an abnormal halt in her sentence, Garreth raising an eyebrow as she abruptly stopped talking on an awkward note. There was a silence that passed between them for a few seconds or so before he lightly shrugged, taking out his keys to unlock the doors. "Blows over, hm?" He didn't bother to expand his question as he opened the door politely for her once more, waiting for her to get inside before he walked around to the other side. This trip to the club had bothered him slightly and he did not bother to say anything to feed his own amusement as he slid into the driver's seat. He started up the car and pulled out of his parking spot, not uttering a word. The silence of their drive was only pierced by directions from Sydney as she gave him directions to her home. The ride didn't seem overly long, maybe because he wasn't paying attention as closely as he would've?

He turned the car onto her block, bringing the vehicle to a halt. This silence between them felt almost unnatural. Normally, he would've pursued playful banter, a sarcastic statement or two, and left her on a frustrating note before she departed. But it seemed like neither was in the mood to pick up where they had left off in the library. Admittedly, there was a little too much on his mind to play the game as properly as he normally did. Well, that didn't mean he couldn't do a small gesture or two. He managed a grin as he looked over at her, choosing to break the silence by addressing something she had sad back at the club.

"You mentioned the need to make some calls, didn't you, Miss Parker?" The question was rhetorical, of course he didn't expect a response. "You can't do that without a phone, now can you?" He slid his hand into his pocket, retrieving the device and holding it out for her to take. It didn't take much perception to see that she was wary to accept the item, as it also didn't take long for one to figure out Garreth was a bit of a prankster. He didn't retract his offer, however, and after a few minutes, she did take the device--albeit with some hesitation. He reached out just an inch more, very slowly so that she would not start away from him as she was prone to do. His fingers brushed against her cheek carefully and for the briefest of moments, his smile turned just a tad warmer.

"I'm sure we'll be in touch," And with that statement, the moment was over and Garreth resumed his usual assumptive nature. His grin widened as he gestured to the door. "Try not to miss me too much, Sydney." He waited until she had gotten out of the car and he could see her approach her own door before starting up the car again and pulling away. Hm, that was odd. He hadn't realized it until she left but the scent of those parasites was gone. The only scent that lingered now was... hers. He didn't allow his mind to remain on the realization for overly long--he had other things to be preoccupied with. The human woman wasn't someone he needed to be pondering over. Something was evidently out of place. She had mentioned that she believed her sister to be at that very club, a place that just so happened to carry the scent of parasites? It didn't sit well with him at all and if they had been there, that also meant... He narrowed his eyes vaguely; he was going to get a headache at this rate.

Garreth was a bit lost in his thoughts as he, at last, arrived on more familiar turf. Instead of parking in the front, which would've been the polite thing to do, he decided to position his car in the most lazily, obnoxious place that would be a pain to re-park later. (That side of him really wasn't going away any time soon) Stepping out of the vehicle, he closed the door very quietly, not wanting to alert others to his presence. It was still quite late and he doubted that any of the staff knew he had snuck out. As usual. He partially wondered if all the articles of clothing he had hidden had been located yet. (He had put more effort into it this time) The prospect of seeing James' expression was always enough to push troubling thoughts to the back of his mind, if but for awhile. He debated walking in the front entrance, ah, that wouldn't be very smart, considering he was trying to remain under-the-radar about his escapades.

He decided to go in through the back entrance that led through the servants' quarters, knowing full well most would be asleep at this hour. There was nothing to prepare in the kitchens and most of the cleaning had already been completed. He quietly walked through the halls, sliding his hands into his pockets comfortably. As he approached his chambers, he noticed the door slightly ajar. That could only mean one very amusing thing. A smirk slid on to his face as he let himself into his private quarters, automatically spotting James trying to finish up last-minute cleaning, it seemed. Before the boy could step away from the bed, Garreth was already pulling at the corner of the sheets, undoing all the work that had been done just moments before.

"Well, this certainly isn't the set that I had here earlier this morning." He said before discarding the sheets on the ground. "So tell me, did you enjoy the treasure hunt?" He quipped. Yes, this would keep his mind off the issues at hand... for now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: James Dylor Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker Character Portrait: Rhaun Dreamspeaker
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#, as written by Igari


Garreth Vilhei Frost




Tonight was certainly a change of pace for the Lykae King, who, for the rare once in awhile, was actually not sneaking off the premises. It wasn't as if he wouldn't have preferred to--taking the absurdly (albeit hilarious) alternate route had always been in his mindset. However, after the tongue lashing he received from Rhaun regarding his behavior, he wasn't too quick to try anything overly out of bounds. He may not have had much respect for many others but even he had to concede when spoken to by that man. He sighed a little as he pinched his nose. He didn't like someone else knowing what exactly he would be doing to entertain himself but the matter couldn't be helped. This probably also meant sneaking in later wouldn't exactly be an option. Irksome.

In the end, he had decided to go to an art exhibit--opening nights were always the busiest and the display always helped him relax. Surprisingly. The rare few that knew him well enough probably wouldn't be taken aback by this but, even he would admit it, it was easy to write him off as a shallow individual. As he got out of his car, his mind skimmed over the past few weeks--as it had been prone to do as of late. He had not quite been able to shake off that scent or the implications that came with it. Of course, the reason came without saying--parasites were always bad news. And the more he thought of how suffocating that scent was, the more it had begun to bother him. It had been a bit too strong, laid on too thick--but he couldn't think of much of a reason as to why. There was the chance he was over-thinking it, he did have the tendency to sometimes look into things a bit too much. But if they were here, then there was also the chance the sun-lovers had followed. And if that was the case....

Ah, no. He had left to get his mind off of all that nonsense for the night, not dwell on it. This was supposed to be relaxation. Even he would consent--being a King could get a bit exhausting at times. Fortunately, he always knew how to keep himself entertained nicely. As he strode through the double doors, the calming sight of art greeted him. There was faint clatter from the far side of the large entrance hall, a few musicians seemed to be getting set up. Ah, he probably arrived a tad too/ early. He had just been so anxious to get some fresh air, done things more rushed than usual. He was a planner, but lately it seemed as if something was lacking. Pranking James wasn't bringing as much satisfaction as it had and he had been putting less effort into it as the days dragged on. The servant boy had certainly sensed something was wrong but as usual, had kept these matters to himself. It was well known that he did not like to be questioned and the last person that had, well, they wouldn't be talking any time soon. In fact, they wouldn't be talking at all in the foreseeable future.

His eyes only skated over the paintings, nothing was really grabbing his attention here. He would rather not think this was a waste of his time too but as far as he could tell, he was going to get bored pretty fast. No sooner had he thought this that something caught his eye--a flash of black satin. He slid his eyes over towards the motion, but it wasn't the dress that caught his attention. The disinterested thoughts that had filtered through his mind seemed to fade in the several seconds or so it took to process the woman at the far end of the room. Hm, so she was here, but what was she doing carrying a violin case? Unless...

A devious realization came to him and already, his lips were forming into a smirk. He watched her quietly, safely from a distance so that she would not be able to catch sight of him, at least not yet. He decided to turn his gaze partially towards one of the closest paintings, though he kept track of her out of the corner of her eye. Perhaps this night wasn't going to be so futile after all.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker
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#, as written by Ion
Image



Sydney stared listlessly at the painting in front of her, her eyes unfocused so that all she could see where splotches of deep red blurred into what might have been black or grey and blue. Even then, she wasn’t really seeing any of it, though she appeared to be looking. The area under usually-bright aquamarine eyes was mottled a sinister wisteria, covered over as well as she knew how with pale powder, blended into the skin of her cheekbones. She hid the freckles, anyway, might as well hide the evidence of sleepless nights as well.

The first night, she’d just been unable to sleep, and had lain awake staring at her ceiling long enough to spring from bed with purpose and take up the instrument now in her hand and play until she was unable to think too much about anything else. Then her neighbors had complained to the landlord, and that had been denied her. The second night, after lots of phone calls to people she barely knew and a visit to Simone’s place (empty), she’d finally called the police, directed them to Blue’s and the Jeep, and hoped for the best. She’d spent that whole day with Sapphire and her parents.

The third night, she’d wept. Curled into herself, covers pulled over her head like she had when she was a child, she’d hugged her knees all the way up to her chin and sobbed bitter, wracking sobs until she could cry no more and sleep mercifully claimed her.

By day four, she was insinuating herself into the missing persons case as well as she could, back at the office and calling in every favor any police officer, forensic investigator, or detective had ever owed her. She’d obtained copies of all the reports, given her blood and hair for comparison samples in the even that DNA testing was needed, and attacked her work with fervor rare even for her. She was trying to distract herself, she knew, but it was all she could do. She could see in the tenseness in Saph’s posture that she was trying to contain her own grief and sadness for Sydney’s sake, and she resolved not to let that effort go to waste. She was not weak, she was not helpless, and she would do everything within her limited power to find her sister.

She hadn’t caught more than three hours’ sleep in a row for a week and a half, at least. But she was still going, still pushing on, because she couldn’t just cease to function. Which was how she found herself here, at an art opening, staring at the same rather uninteresting painting for what had to have been ten full minutes at least. Her friends, now back from their vacation, had insisted that it would be good for her. It wasn’t a full orchestra, just the quartet, and a small gathering of people, enough for an audience but not so many that she’d feel unduly stifled. An opportunity to do what she loved and stop worrying, for just a little while.

She hadn’t wanted to come, not really. But then the violinist previously slated had backed out, and suddenly, she was really necessary. So she’d donned the modestly-tailored satin and lace dress, thrown on her coat (and because she’d never be able to let it go for long, the messenger bag with the police case files in it), taken up her instrument case, and taken a cab to the gallery.

The muted sounds of strings being tuned was what eventually brought her back to herself, and Sydney headed over to where the others were, exchanging courteous nods with the violist, the cellist, and the bassist, all of whom she’d played with before. Slinging off her coat, she handed it and her bag off to a gallery attendant who’d been doing the same thing for everyone else, and tucked a loose strand of black hair up into her bun with a bobby pin.

Within a few minutes, the entire group was set to begin, and Syd rolled her shoulders experimentally. She hadn’t gone to yoga class in two weeks, either; she was feeling a bit stiff. Or maybe that was just the stress. Something caught her eye from the periphery, familiar in a way she could not place, and she turned her head, but it wasn’t there any longer. Odd… maybe she wasn’t staving off delirium quite as well as she’d thought. There was no more time for contemplation, though, as the violist counted them in, and she lifted bow to string. The piece, the third movement of Borodrin’s string quartet no. 2, was one she’d played many times before at similar events, and followed by several others like it.

Fortunately, to her each song was as one played afresh, and Jack and Liz had been right: she did forget, for just a little while. She forgot that Simone was missing and not just a few blocks or a phone call away, forgot the sight of her mother’s wretched sobbing, forgot the strain subtly evident in Sapphire’s eyes. Forgot that there wasn’t much she could do, that the investigation was going nowhere, that forensics had turned up the strangest results she’d ever seen. She simply stopped thinking altogether and felt instead, letting her eyes drift closed and imagining that the sound was bearing her away on some beautiful, inexorable tide.

In time, though, the set was done, and Syd’s thin shoulders slumped a bit as she lowered her violin and everything came back and dragged at her like an insidious undertow. Replacing the violin in its case, the young woman took this to hand again and grabbed her cell from her bag, just in case someone called with news. Maybe she could get a little more distraction out of the other pieces on display. The gallery would close soon, perhaps, but even a few minutes would be nice.

It was somewhere between a ceramic sculpture of what looked to be the seventh circle of hell and a freestanding triangular canvas depicting she knew not what that she suddenly understood the reason for her moment of uncertainty earlier. Stopping dead in her tracks, she processed exactly what—or rather, who—she was seeing, and her eyes went comically wide.

Did the universe not hate her enough? Was she to be constantly harassed and confused as well as miserable? No. There’s just no way it’s him. I mean, really? Did he seem like the type to go to obscure art openings? Didn’t think so. Still, there was a niggling doubt that the back she was looking at belonged to Mr. Frost, and her logic wasn’t driving it away. An idea struck her then, and Syd ducked between the artworks, both of which were taller than she was, and unlocked the screen of her phone.

At some point during their last meeting, Garreth Frost had oh-so-helpfully programmed his mobile phone number into her device, and while she’d gone into her contacts list with the intent of deleting it several times, it was somehow still there. She wasn’t about to just waltz up to some stranger and ask if he could turn around, so she figured this was a much more surreptitious way of testing her hypothesis. Tapping the name with her thumb, she held the phone to her ear and leaned out from behind the statue, just enough to see what the person did. Unfortunately for her, a tone that sounded suspiciously like classical music (Rachmaninoff) issued from his general direction, and her mortification only grew when he withdrew a phone from his pocket and checked the caller ID before answering.

When the greeting in her ear and from the few feet to the man were one and the same, Sydney was shocked into silence for about three seconds before she recovered. “Um,” she started intelligently, and it only got worse from there. In a move that would forever shame her and do her considerable intellect a horrible disservice, her tired brain and disbelieving inclinations produced quite the gem of a sentence. ”Don’t look behind you!”

Immediately realizing what she’d done, Sydney quickly hung up and darted out from behind the statue, turning in the opposite direction from him and walking as quickly as could still be considered gallery-appropriate, trying to reach the coat room, ostensibly to get her coat and leave but really more because she desired to hide in shame and mortification. Her face already felt like it might be on fire, and she was sure the shade was impressive enough to match.

This was really just not her day, was it?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Nebellia de Rozeriem Character Portrait: Sydney Parker Character Portrait: Alexander II Chartes Character Portrait: Brigitte Lebelle
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#, as written by Igari


Garreth Vilhei Frost




"Um... Don't look behind you!" He had barely murmured a smooth greeting when the frantic cry greeted him as he put his phone to his ear, sounding nervous with a hint of disbelief. Well, this was certainly unexpected, wasn't it? He had not thought she would fall this easily into the trap he had set up a few weeks ago. Then again, this was a quirk he had noted before. Sydney was not as much of a complex woman as she liked to pride herself for being. Certainly, her intelligence was enough for him to tread carefully, which made her an interesting playmate in turn. But he had started suspecting her weakness to social situations given the blank way in which she had regarded him during their first meeting. And this reaction was merely the confirmation he had been awaiting. It didn't take much effort to guess what she would do next and in seconds, the phone call ended.

He couldn't help but chuckle at her behavior and turned his head slightly as he picked up movement several feet from himself. He turned just in time to catch the hem of her dress, her retreating figure trying desperately to put as much distance between them as possible. Honestly, if she wasn't confronting him in her quiet, analytical manner, she was always trying to run from him. Unfortunately for her, no one yet had been able to outrun him--not those that he had set his mind on catching.

He slid his phone back into his pocket and easily weaved through the crowd after her. He needn't endeavor to speed up his pace overly--she wasn't going to escape his grasp that easily. He didn't call out for her, keeping a calmly amused smile on his face as he progressed through the gallery. Didn't she know better than to try tempting a predator? Ha. That got another laugh to escape his lips. Of course she didn't--she had absolutely no idea who she was dealing with. Or what, as others would undoubtedly debate.

There weren't many people around the closer they got to the coat room, given that the reception had literally just begun not an hour or so ago. With casualness, he reached out to catch her arm just moments before she was able to grab her coat. He enjoyed giving the illusion of freedom before snatching up his prey, somehow made it made the reactions more entertaining to witness. He was careful with the amount of firmness he put into his grip, not wanting to overly exert his strength. Sometimes it was easy to forget how frail human beings were.

"Ah, leaving so soon?" He said, pitching his voice in the exact tone he knew would grate on her nerves. Sydney had made it plain she did not much care for the arrogance or playfulness he usually exuded. "I am almost hurt. You were the one that called me, after all." He said with a growing smirk as he looked down at her. Her face was tinted with red, cheeks flushed and eyebrows furrowed. So embarrassed. She was making this almost too easy for him. Perhaps at a much earlier time in his life, he would've felt a modicum of guilt for mocking her so. As it stood, he viewed this as a delicious amount of fun and an excellent way to keep himself preoccupied for the evening.

"No need to be so nervous, Sydney--it's not as if we're complete strangers." He decided to let go of her arm, trusting her enough not to try running away the instant she got her chance. If she did try, he could just catch her again. It wouldn't be hard. "Though while we are conversing, perhaps now would be a marvelous time to compliment you on your performance. You play quite well." On occasion, Garreth would actually mix the truth in with his games. It was not that he was perpetually lying, per se, but it always did good never to reveal all the cards at once. For one as sensitive as himself and as aware to the senses, the compliment was not said in any light-hearted manner. He genuinely smiled at her as he said it, watching her closely to see any shift in her composure.

"Though I am curious," He began slowly, raising his eyebrows as he did so. "Why the frantic call? I wasn't aware I was that off-putting." He feigned offense but the devious smile on his face told otherwise. He was sure she was aware of his rising advantage in this situation, else she would not be blushing so profusely. It was a nice change from the stony facade she liked to put up around him. For now, he kept his taunts at a minimum--there would be time enough for games.




Nebellia de Rozeriem




It had been a very difficult two weeks. Whereupon difficult was replaced by absolutely torturous and perhaps add in a scattering of a few more words. Boring was a good one, and long, yes, it had been far too long since she had been able to have any fun. Nebellia had anticipated the cool anger from the King when she had left his presence somewhat abruptly some weeks previously but sometimes even she made the slightest of errors. As opposed to the week she had been anticipating, he had upped her punishment to two and it was finally as all of this had come to a close that she was able to feel free at last. Lexi-Pop always knew how to dish out the punishments and she had made no effort in hiding her poutiness whenever they crossed path. She had puffed up her cheeks, crossed her arms, and tilted her chin up but, of course, this had only made him smirk at her. It was a rather futile thing to try and get her things back before he saw fit to return them to her.

Absolutely horrid.

But at long last, her sweet, adorable dissecting materials were back in their proper shelves and her many assorted materials and ingredients were in their bottles. All was as it should be. Except for one grating detail that was now staring her in the face. Quite literally. When Nebellia had gotten her samples back, the first thing she had done was check to see if she could somehow salvage anything from them. But obviously, without her care, they had spoiled and now here she was with rotting humans. She was undisturbed by the decapitated head that was blankly regarding her from the center of the lab table (she had been a little too excited to get her saw back...). Hmm. This wouldn't do, not in the slightest! She doubted Lexi-Pop would let her out, he waaaas just a tad touchy at the moment. And distracted by something--she was going to get to the bottom of that sooner or later. Though she had a faint idea, but assumptions were never a good factor when there was science to be conducted.

With a frown, she abruptly pushed her heel into the table and kicked it over, causing a few chemicals to spill over and the head to roll on the floor. Some spatters of blood hit the bottom ruffles of her dress, one of many she adopted when she was in the middle of her work. She took her goggles off and slid them down to her neck with a deep sigh. This was immensely saddening. She was officially out of fresh samples and this was not a revelation she enjoyed coming to in the slightest. It was a depressing turn of events when she had no new playthings. Without a second glance and not even bothering to take off her gloves, she pushed open her door and let herself out of the lab.

She gave Brigitte a short stare as she waltzed out, the servant girl looking back at her with the same monotone expression as usual. Glad to see some things wouldn't be changing anytime soon in this milliennia. With a shrug and a quick flash of a grin, she walked leisurely down the halls. Her gold eyes only skimmed over her surroundings with vague interest, her mind more preoccupied with what she would be procuring soon enough! The kitchens seemed like the logical place to start, there was always some sort of supply hanging about. Heck, she'd evne do without the bodies if she could just get some blood to dabble with for the night! Her finges were antsy to begin her experiments again--it had been far too long. With a lopsided smile unfurling on her face, the woman continued along her way to the kitchens, already humming to herself in anticipation of what she would be getting.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker
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A large hand caught her arm with easy grace, and she didn’t need to follow it up the arm it was attached to in order to know that it was him. Not many people in the world had a presence like his; tall enough already, he seemed even moreso up close, like his presence expanded to fill any space he occupied. Or maybe just his ego, it was hard to tell. And just who did he think he was, touching her without her permission? She wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer, honestly. Absently, she noted that his hands were unexpectedly gloved, as though he were cold or something like that.

It sit so ill with the rest of her impressions of him that she was momentarily startled, and stared at the spot where he gripped her wrist even after he’d started speaking. Cold wasn’t right, or at least she didn’t think so, but what else would cause someone to wear leather gloves inside a building?

The point was promptly forgotten as soon as she cottoned on to the tone he was using, but she supposed that in a way, she should be a bit grateful. Arrogance and entitlement were just about the fastest ways to raise Sydney’s hackles, and she slid back into the role of bereaved and irritated interlocutor with more ease than she’d have expected. Her face was still a bit red, but her eyes flashed with her annoyance, and she looked up at his smug face through her eyelashes, frowning. He let go of her arm, and she sniffed, lifting her chin in a show of pride or defiance or just more irksome thoughts, it was hard to say for sure.

“I’m not nervous,” she lied smoothly, lifting an eyebrow as if daring him to say otherwise. “Just surprised to see you, here of all places.” Though it might have been a bit uncharitable of her to presume he did not enjoy art or culture, it was fair in that she was often at similar events and had never before seen him. If indeed he lived in San Diego at all, and had half as much wealth to his name as he seemed to act like he did, she’d surely have encountered him before now. Or at least that was what she was telling herself.

The compliment caught her off-guard, though at this point, she really shouldn’t let it. He seemed to do that a lot, switch from mocking to what at least seemed like genuine flattery at the drop of a hat. She paused a moment, as though waiting for the other shoe to fall, for him to turn it into a joke or barb, and frankly, she wasn’t sure she could handle that right now.

Everything that had happened recently had sent her life into a tailspin, and she wasn’t exactly in the most sure-footed of positions relative to the rest of the universe right now. Music had always helped her center herself, and she’d always been good at it. If he tried to ruin that… but why? Why did she even care what he might say about it? It wasn’t as though they were friends.

Somehow, the ‘backhand’ part of ‘backhanded compliment' never surfaced, and she was left in the awkward place of taking far too long to respond. In the end, she relented, though it was with confusion more than resignation. “Thank you. I’ve been playing since I was a child.” She had no idea why she’d bothered with the second sentence, but it just hadn’t stopped at her brain-to-mouth filter like everything else did. Her fingers tightened on the collar of her coat where she was holding it, and she shook her head minutely. It was probably just the stress getting to her.

Of course, then things had to get even more awkward, and the blush returned perforce. “Wasn’t sure if it was you,” she murmured quietly, glancing down at the floor. Stupid, stupid, stupid! She should have just left him be, and snuck out via the coat room, but her damn curiosity had demanded satisfaction, and obviously she hadn’t been thinking well enough to remind herself that calling him wasn’t one of her brighter ideas.

She was clearly not on her game this evening. Syd couldn’t say for sure when she’d started thinking of this as a game at all, and maybe ‘sparring match’ was more appropriate, but that was surely the form of their encounters. He lunged, she parried, he’d sally forward again, and she’d bend backwards to avoid it and hit back. Of course, it was never fair, as for some reason he ever seemed to be holding a second blade, that strange thing he could do that made her doubt everything she knew about him. She was utterly predictable, and she knew that. Her life was regularity and routine. He was all unknown variables and fey moods, and it didn’t make much sense to her, who preferred to keep her feet on the ground and her eyes to the floor.

Feeling suddenly conspicuous, she swung her coat round her shoulders and settled it there, though she made no particular move to leave.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker
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Garreth Vilhei Frost




The defiance filtered across her face as he had expected, it had never ceased to intrigue him how others were. Regardless of the individual, all it took was a push into the comfort zone of expectation and things flowed as they normally did. She had expected him to use those tones with her, she had expected him to address her in a certain manner. Fulfilling these assumptions wasn't at all difficult and honestly, he was not surprised. He had become accustomed to falling into the image, perhaps because the moment when he shattered the perception that was in another's mind never grew old.

The faltering of speech, the silence, and the odd expression of confusion. Which was precisely what happened when he complimented her. Her pause told him she had not anticipated this--of course not, she already had such an accurate image, didn't she? In this way, he felt a mild sense of disappointment mingled with a brief flash of controlled anger. She was exhibiting behavior no different than anyone else. So quick to jump to assumptions and misconceptions and stubborn when they began to break.

It had been this way for most of his life, so in some respects, he was used to it. Yet he had hoped she wouldn't run such a close parallel, even if it was just a slight curve. He couldn't place it quite yet, and frankly he didn't want to. But he did enjoy their interactions enough to continue bothering and it would grow boring if she turned into a predictable playmate. Though he would give her a small amount of credit for capturing his attentions this long. Usually he would've lost interest awhile ago in pursuing these exchanges; in fact, he normally would've exerted dominance in this case. He did not keep those around that were of no use to him and did not provide anything worthwhile for him to pay attention to. And he most certainly did not permit any backtalk or sassiness--two things she seemed to have the perpetual habit of doing. He shrugged these musings off as he gazed down at her, not for a moment betraying a single thought.

He silently analyzed her as her body tensed, fingers tightening their grip around her coat. He did not pay it much heed as nodded casually to her response. The flush that had coated her cheeks was back in vibrance as she broke eye contact, looking down at the floor. My my, she really didn't cope well with these kinds of situations, did she? More than likely not used to being bested when it came to conversation. Her false images and puffed up bravado made it all the more laughable when it started crumbling around her.

He was on careful offensive; he did want to keep her guessing, after all and playing the cliche wouldn't aid in that endeavor. An amusing notion but not the path he wanted to tread today. He decided to ignore her embarrassment for the moment, addressing her previous statement.

"It shows in your technique. Though you did seem a tad stressed, your wrist was closer to the neck of the violin than it should've been." He regarded her briefly with a bit of intensity, as if silently reprimanding her for making such a simple mistake. "You should let yourself become lost in the music, not fill your head with all of your worries when you are making... hm. I think a good word would be beauty, what do you think?" He flashed a grin at her as if whatever comment she would make in response would be regarded as childish and menial.

The smile soon faded as he leaned towards her delicately, hovering those barely acceptable few inches away. "Though I can't help but feel you lied a little, Sydney," His tones skated just a bit beyond playful, letting out a bit of his predatory nature. He reached out very slowly to push a stray strand of hair behind her ear with a few gloved fingers. "If you weren't nervous, you would not be exhibiting this behavior." He curled his fingers around her hair a bit tighter, grip becoming firm as his silver eyes narrowed just a portion.

"Though to make such an offhand comment--why the surprise? Do you believe you know me so well after scant few meetings, Miss Parker?" He reverted to usage of her last name as his voice reached a dangerous level of calm. He had given her much leeway since they had first met, allowed many comments that normally would qualify as insolence. He may have permitted these interactions but she was bordering on out of line. She might be a human--and a woman at that--but he only had so much tolerance and patience for such actions.

He kept all his movements paced, small gestures that only she would register. Nothing that would alert any passerby. If she attempted to run, it would seem out of place. He relinquished his touch, sliding his hand back into his pocket. Perhaps he had been too lenient with her if she still believed they were equals. A cute notion but ludicrous--they would never be. And the sooner she learned, the safer she would be.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker
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This conversation, which had been teetering on a razor’s edge right from the start, had crashed firmly down onto the side of what on earth is happening to me, and how is this my life? the moment he’d taken to criticizing her playing technique, and it was only getting worse.

That had made her angry, actually. What right did this man have to tell her how and why she was wrong? His statement was not inaccurate; she had known as much, too, but the fact that he thought it was something he just got to say was so paternalistic it would have threatened to drive her up a wall had she had any decent amount of time to sit and stew with it. Now honestly, Syd was not the kind of woman who allowed herself to linger over such things—while her skin was not yet as thick to barbs and verbal needles as she needed it to be, she was capable of both forgiving and forgetting, but truly she’d like to be brooding and getting angry right now, because it would mean she’d been able to do more than harden her eyes and glare for a split second before any response whatsoever was stayed on her tongue by his accusation.

Not even the words. Fine, so her behavior didn’t jive with her proclamations. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d been caught in such an ill-conceived deception, but the tone with which he spoke was something different. Like a nocturne, where the melody played lightly enough, but the underlying cello score was deep and inscrutable and dark. The danger of it was only more obvious when he caught a lock of stray black hair between his fingers and moved it back, tucking it behind her ear with a gentleness that soon became the subtle force it belied, as for a while he did not move the hand, and she understood what this was meant to convey.

He was telling her that her opinion on the matter was irrelevant, that he would do what he liked, even around and to her, and it didn’t matter what she thought, not one little bit. There was a latent threat in the question, placid as his voice pretended to be, and she realized in a sudden flash of insight that he pretended just as much as she did, if not more. She put on a mask of undaunted confidence to hide the vulnerable heart that still—may it be cursed thrice—cared far too much about what other people thought, and he… what? Wore the trappings of a rake so as not to be called a gentleman? Sometimes, maybe, but not now. No, now the gentleman was the show, and what was hidden was something she couldn’t quite put a name to.

Her jaw tightened. She didn’t have to take this. She didn’t deserve to take it, and once again, he’d almost managed to convince her otherwise, with nothing more than a few quiet but not soft words and his simple physical being. It rattled her, yes, but she was stronger than this, even on the inside where she was tender still. Gentle did not have to mean weak, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to give him that, either, so she gave him brittle instead.

“No,” she said at last, shaking her head slightly. “But that is your fault as well as mine. You show me something, and then are disappointed when I see what you want me to. Whose fault is that?” She narrowed her eyes, and though her voice was no louder than his, it seemed to crack into the small intervening space. ”I suppose I don’t know much, but I do know what you’ve given me to see. That you hold me accounting for nothing, just like they do.” She didn’t specify who ‘they’ was, but in essence, it comprised the men she’d mentally grouped him with prior, and that association still held in this at least.

”You patronize me about my art, you pretend to indulge my thoughts and whatever defense I might muster against your indefatigable chauvinism, but you’ll not be swayed. You’re not even opening yourself to the possibility of taking me seriously, let alone actually doing it. Do I amuse you, Mr. Frost? Oh, look at the silly little woman playing lawyer, how precious?” Her face was flushed red again, though this time, it was clearly anger and frustration that was doing it. She’d had enough. She couldn’t sit here and take this right now. There had simply been too much emotional stress in her life recently, and though her logical part was informing her that this was for some reason a very bad idea, at the moment she couldn’t be bothered to care.

“Your kindnesses are no kindness at all, when offered with the condition that I don’t matter. You’re so good at it, too, with those little pieces of power you hold over my head. You almost had me convinced, truly, and I hate you just a bit for that. But you’re wrong. I do matter. Everyone matters, just as much as you. I doubt you’ll ever agree, and that’s you, fine. Just stop trying to convince me, too. I’ve already been there and done that.” She huffed a short exhale, and stemmed the rest of what she might have said. It wasn’t worth it; hadn’t she just figured out that he’d never honestly thought to consider her viewpoint, anyway? Why waste the words?

Something constricted painfully somewhere in her chest, and her stomach seemed to fall out from underneath her. She supposed that must be what giving up felt like; she’d never really done so before, not when it counted. Gathering her coat more tightly about herself, she adjusted the shoulder strap of her bag and smoothed her face over again, feeling the heat recede as the angry flush faded.

”If you’ll excuse me, Mr. Frost, I should be leaving. I have work to do.” She was planning on spending more time reviewing Simone’s case file; it was strange how she needed a distraction from what was supposed to have been her distraction, and that the original heartache was looking much more promising at the moment. At least she might have a hope of finding Simone, presuming she could get him to move out of her path.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Nebellia de Rozeriem Character Portrait: Sydney Parker Character Portrait: Alexander II Chartes Character Portrait: Simone Parker Character Portrait: Brigitte Lebelle
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His jaw tightened ever so slightly, eyes narrowing just a portion of an inch. Though he maintained his cool composure, with every word this woman spoke, she only managed to infuriate him further. Though she seemed to be ill at ease the more she continued on with her statements, the human still continued to spew nonsense at him. Each sentence she constructed compounded on to the assessment that she was a woman who was clearly blinded by her own ridiculous ideals--even more laughably absurd was the fact that she believed she could speak to him on such terms. Her amount of misplaced confidence was grating on his nerves--or perhaps that was the wrong word for it. It wasn't confidence at all. She was putting on airs again, putting up a defense to ensure that she would be able to keep a suitable distance between them.

In some ways, they were so alike it was almost... nauseating.

She re-adjusted herself, gathering her coat and bag more tightly. She was making all the motions of someone aiming to leave and her words of dismissal acted as a verification for this guess. He relinquished his grip and dropped his hand, sliding it into his jacket so that she would not see his mildly clenched fist. Contrary to what she might believe, he was not amused--not in the slightest. But he had enough experience to keep his temper in check. She was not worth the effort or strain it would take to discipline her. For once, his game was veering off slightly from the course he had intended--but that was alright. Unexpected situations arose at the precise moment they were unneeded. And there were other methods at his disposal.

He chose to ignore most of her comments, idle arguments didn't suit him at all. If she wished to compare him to menial, lesser males, then so be it. But he would not succumb to the image she had already put in place. Instead, he offered her a very distant smile as he took a step back from her. He was not going to press her, not now, not in this mood. He looked away from her as he spoke, shrugging his shoulders lightly.

"If you are quite done, Miss Parker," He began slowly, looking beyond the entrance towards where he had parked his car initially. "I assume you wish to continue to propagate a business mentality and, in turn, act as if the pressing matters on your mind can indeed be solved by leaving at this very instant." He slid his eyes back to hers firmly, a frown touching upon his lips vaguely.

"However, finding your sister won't be as easy as consulting a bunch of paperwork." In truth, he did not even remotely care about the missing sister. But there were perhaps things at Sydney's own disposal that could be of use to him. "You mention openness but is that a mentality you follow yourself? Things aren't all so commonplace as you believe them to be--and not everything is as you see it." He did not bother elaborating--humans were, by nature, creatures that couldn't accept a world beyond their own. Let alone worlds.

He gestured towards the entrance, still giving her an empty smile devoid of any laughter. "I imagine you were observant enough the last time to remember what my car looked like. Regardless of what you may think of me, Miss Parker, I would suggest you put that aside for now. I'm sure you've been frustrated in your pursuits for the past few weeks." And likewise, so have I. He didn't voice the last bit of his sentence--there was no reason for her to know his backing for this bit of assistance. He kept his expression the same as he regarded her, giving her time to process his offer. He did, however, shift just slightly--he wouldn't be waiting for her all night after all.



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A vampire, a king, and a servant girl walk into a bar...

And then a human enters the picture and screws up the entire joke.

Nebellia had been humming her melodic tunes to herself, the notes hitching and seemingly in a random jumble as she had moved through the hallways. She had personally not been to the kitchens in a long time (part of the reason that the area was so immaculate and clean). As she drew the corner and entered the room, though, her eyes were met with a most curious sight indeed. She first took notice of Lexi-Pop who, as always, filled the room with his natural aura of dominance. Next to him, however, was the thing that caught her eye the most vividly.

A human girl had her hand hovering near the handle of one of the skillets she had recently set down. Her skin was abnormally pale, a vivid contrast to the cascading locks of red hair that ran down her back. Nebellia gazed at her, wrinkling her nose as a wide smile began to touch upon her lips, widening in eager anticipation. So this was the scent--ahh~ She could smell it so c-l-e-a-r-l-y~ It matched up so well with what had lingered on her Kingy-Bear a few years ago. Intriguing, intriguing! She licked her lips as she bit her bottom one, barely able to keep in the excitement that was bubbling up. She had been waiting for this encounter and ahhh, she was growing so heady with thoughts of all the beautiful things that she could...~

Her golden eyes widened, staring intrusively at the wisp of a human girl. She had not ceased her humming throughout the entire encounter and had reached a sort of crescendo, almost as if leading into the ending measures of her own private composition. Behind her, she heard a few scuffles and her eyes were drawn away from the odd pair. The figures of Bree-Bear and... hmmm, she had never given this one a nickname, had she? She was going to have to think of one right now, this instant. (All the while, her trills of hums continued and filled the awkward silence of the kitchen)

The lower servant girl gave a hiss, barely audible, as she was pushed away by Brigitte towards Nebellia. The girl kept her head lowered respectfully, though the scientist noticed the sweeping gaze to check the occupants of the room. The bag was offered out towards her nervously, a mouse of a voice running under her own. "Miss Nebellia, the king instructed me to bring these samples to you but to inform you to speak with him first before doing anything," As soon as the object was presented to her, Nebellia reached the very last measures of her odd piece and finished on a rather dramatic "dun DUN...... dun DUN DUN.", followed by some borderline out-of-place girlish giggles.

She took the outstretched item with ease, pulling out a bloodied shirt and burying her face into the fabric as she breathed in the scent. Yes, exactly the same--exactly the same as her. Her eyes lit up directly on the human as this thought passed through her head with disturbing speed. She re-focused her attentions back on Lexi-Pop, peering at him from over the bag that she held fondly to her body. She dropped the shirt back inside of it as she did so, albeit casually.

"This is a rather unexpected pleasantry." She said, laughing again in a bubbly fashion as if they were all old friends and meeting up like this had been a fortunate circumstance. Well, it was for her, and she did ever so enjoy happy accidents. "A rather odd way to have one of our make-up interactions, Your Majesty." She said, giving a twirl as she curtsied. She noticed that the human had moved behind Lexi-Pop, oh poo, it wasn't as if she was going to bi--did that human have a skillet in her little hands?

Nebellia blinked a few times and, quick as a flash, she reached over and grabbed the skillet. But not with her hands, no, that would've been a bit too easy. She opted for snatching it out of the shaky hands of the human with her teeth, grinning at her with the object still in her mouth. She leaned over, placing the object upside down on top of the servant girl's head (that she still hadn't named yet! Ahhh, so elusive~), mimicking a hat faintly. She cleared her throat loudly, as if all of that could've been resolved without the need for her to go so far. But a quick wink to Lexi-Pop informed him that she was merely playing around.

A rule of thumb that had been established with the scientist--if she played, that meant she wasn't going to harm anyone. At least not at the current moment.

"Well! Now that the scary skillet has been taken care of~ Dearest Lexi-Pop," She purred, batting her eyelashes. "How did you know I was looking for samples? Such a thoughtful present you've given me. Was there anything you wanted me to do with it?" She asked casually, raising the bag once more in front of her and burying her face partially into it so that her nose and mouth were hidden. The punishment was definitely worth it now that this kind of reward was being presented to her~

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This was not Sydney’s proudest moment, all things considered, and she was really looking forward to just leaving and trying to do something useful with her time and hopefully possibly maybe not likely never see him again, but such was not to be her fate. In fact, she was more than willing to ignore the initial barb—she supposed it could not be that hard to guess what she planned to do, after all, but his next words stopped her cold. It felt, in fact, a great deal like her entire self had suddenly been encased in ice, head to toe, and she was seized with a sudden moment of foreboding.

For a moment, she just stood there, facing away from him, and apparently, that was reason enough for him to continue speaking. She turned then, just a bit, enough to examine his face, his posture, for any hint of a lie. Could she be blamed for this? She’d just scolded him with what were essentially the harshest words she knew, and he hadn’t seemed to take it all that well, even considering his obvious restraint. But no, now he was offering to help?

She searched him with hard eyes, scrying for any hint of deception, disingenuousness, and this she’d become accustomed to finding. She never asked her clients whether or not they’d committed the crime they’d been accused of, because she didn’t want to know. Her role demanded only that she defend them with all the resources at her disposal. But she had to know how to read a lie on their faces, because if she were presented with untruthful accounts, the argument would invariably come out muddled in trial, when they accidentally said something they did want to, and she had to know to prepare for that.

If he was lying, he was better at it than she could detect, though, for though she knew in some way that he was very displeased with her (and maybe he had that right as much as she did), she could pick out none of the telltale signs of deception. Her expression softened, just a trace, and she let out a shaky breath. None of this made any sense. What could he possibly know? He was, in fact, the one person she knew could not be directly responsible for Simone’s disappearance, as he’d been with her when it happened. Of course, that didn’t rule out the possibility of his indirect involvement, did it?

Her suspicion flared, only to be quickly suppressed by her more logical side. No. Whatever he was (and he was many things, not all of them even remotely pleasant), he was not the kind of man who’d kidnap someone. Well… maybe just not someone like Simone. All the same, she trusted him that far, strange as the realization was, and she sensed that he had a reason for this sudden, unwarranted benevolence. Sydney couldn’t say what it was, but she supposed he must have something to gain from this.

Does it matter? It sounds like he knows something about what happened to Simone. Nothing else is important next to that, especially not your pride. And the thought was true. The two most difficult things in life to say were ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘help me;’ this she knew well. Each involved an act of humility, a sort of vulnerability and openness that they both seemed inclined to avoid as though it were deadly poison. But for Simone, she’d humble herself a hundred, a thousand times over. Because that’s what family was about—putting the other people before yourself.

“I don’t know what you’re doing, Mr. Frost, and that bothers me,” she said frankly. The honesty was an offering, as close as she could get to that exposition of her innermost self that neither would allow. “But I can’t refuse an offer like that, and I think we both know it.” She sighed softly, dropping her eyes to the floor. The wood grain of it was knotted; she was surprised she hadn’t noticed when she first entered the place.

“Thank you.” Nodding, she turned and walked to the vehicle, hesitating for the barest moment before dropping her messenger bag on the floor of the passenger side. He was, for whatever strange reason, agreeing to help (again), and the least she could do was try and act like an adult about it. She would not sit in the back and treat him like some kind of glorified cab driver. The offer deserved more courtesy than that, and he was right about one thing: she could put almost anything aside with the right motivation. She’d do that now, and hope she could sustain it.

“Where are we going?” she asked cautiously, once they were both in the car. It wasn’t like she really cared, in the end, as she assumed his choice would be somehow relevant to what was somehow now a shared endeavor to find her sister. There was little in the world that could stop her curiosity, though.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Nebellia de Rozeriem Character Portrait: Sydney Parker Character Portrait: Alexander II Chartes Character Portrait: Simone Parker Character Portrait: Brigitte Lebelle Character Portrait: Sarai Ozeiel
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Ohh, this one had a lot of energy, didn't she~? Nebellia didn't even bat an eyelash at the girl who was glaring at her so firmly. How utterly adorable! Why couldn't she find playmates like this again? Ah yes, that was right, she wasn't like Danny-Pants, who literally walked around with his tail on the front end rather than the back and wagged it for all the girls to see. Sure, the method was effective to a degree but it was rather crude and she was a scientist~ Lexi-Pop's approaches were much more forwards but seductive in turn, and she honestly just couldn't see the appeal of... slowly reeling in the catch. Once it was gotten, however... Yes, a nice, long drawn-out playing session was much fun indeed.

She drew her mind away from her experiments, eyes following after Lexi-Pop as he ordered the two servants to stay. She smiled overly widely at the trio standing in the kitchen before sauntering after the king. He led them out to the main hall, a fair distance from the kitchen and away from any potential eavesdroppers. Not that many would want to get in close proximity with Nebellia anyway--everyone remembered the incident just several months ago when one of the guards had stumbled a bit too close to her lab. The fumbling idjit had tried to enter and set off one of her many traps. He had been lucky only his eyes had been gouged out~

She chortled at the memory, staring up at Lexi-Pop with her wide eyes happily. Mmm~ He could deny the present all he liked but things like this happened far too often after they had spats. She'd always get something nice from him one way or another afterwards. His gaze was firm, however, as if to tell her playtime was over for the moment. She released a sigh, closing her eyes briefly. As always, the shift was very apparent--her eyes lost their obsessive glean, mouth relaxing into a more neutral position. Her internalized changes of mental stability confounded most but Alexander was experienced enough not to even bat an eyelash when it happened.

“I want you to replicate her blood, if possible. Humans do not live forever, and her blood is… almost magical. I can’t have it disappear once she dies of old age… or self inflicted damages.” There was a pause as his eyes narrowed, regarded her more carefully. Nebellia dropped the bag from in front of her, holding it loosely in her hand as she stared back.

“Ah, and Simone herself ; the human… she’s off limits. You are not to touch her, nor to be responsible for any kind of harm done to her." The scientist let the briefest of frowns flit across her face as she nodded her head in consent to his wishes.

"The replication process should be simple enough--her blood compound shouldn't be that difficult to break down. As for this... magical quality you speak of..." She trailed off, reaching into one of the pockets on her dress and pulling out a thin needle along with a mini vial. She had always made it a point to carry odd assortments of things for those "what if" scenarios. She held the objects out gently towards him, gesturing towards his fingers. "I'll need a comparison to see if you are the only one that experiences this phenomenon. Certainly there have been satisfying humans but as for those with blood that seems magical... Hmm, it will make the experiment interesting."

"As for the human... very well, you have my word that she will be safe--at least as far as I am concerned." She handed him the needle and vial, letting her touch linger only long enough to tell him she was only doing this for him. To deny her the chance to toy with such a specimen, she'd only relent because he asked. She dropped her hand to her side, glancing back at the kitchen doors before settling her gaze on Alexander again. She gave him a quick curtsy but the frown had once again returned to her lips.

"The girl is malnourished and her body does not look like it is functioning at its healthy capacity." She was a bit wary to suggest it as mere mentioning would imply that Alexander was not knowledgeable. But it wouldn't do to have the human in that state--the blood on the shirt was old, she could smell it. At least a week or two. That was all well and good, but she would need more blood, more samples. And samples taken from a girl that was in that kind of sickly state would not provide optimal results.

Her tone was careful and politely pitched. "I can give my observation papers to Brigitte or.. the other girl, whoever you feel more comfortable to take care of your human. The servants were not tutored to take care of humans effectively and while I may experiment, keeping my subjects alive is also essential for my work. It may aid in the human receiving better care than she has." She bowed her head respectfully towards Alexander when she finished but still maintained eye contact. Her lips pursed slightly, she was his adviser after all--if things were awry, it was her job to fix them.



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Normally, a smirk would've touched on to his face when Sydney relented, processing his offer and (after seemingly battling it mentally), conceded to it with a sigh. Normally. But his anger did not go away as easily as all that, so he only stared at her coldly as she spoke. Her eyes flitted to the ground, voice coming out small as she uttered two words of the utmost humility, given the situation. She thanked him, softly nodding. He let her walk ahead of him a bit as she followed the direction of his gesture, heading out of the entrance. He should cool down, why was he still so discontent with her? She had done as he had suggested, she had fallen into place as he had known she would. But her words were still grating on him in the back of his mind. Garreth wasn't sure precisely why but there was something unsettling about what she had accused him of.

She was just a trivial, human woman--she was ignorant to the ways of the world and none too bright, despite what she might think. So why was this bothering him? He had been called many other things in his life, some names much more horrifying than what she had shot out and, in those cases, had been absolutely true. Her insults were menial, as was her place in the workings of things. He shouldn't let it get to him like this; anger only brought him closer to another part of himself that he would not succumb to. Not here, not now. He was beyond blind rage--he had proven that many many years ago.

With a deep sigh of irritation, he unlocked the car, the two of them sliding into the front seats. He had guessed she would take the front one as she had--she was at least smart enough to put aside her petty ideals for the sake of her sibling. Another trait they had in common. His hand tightened on the steering wheel at this thought, sharply pushing the keys into the slot and turning them so that the car would start.

“Where are we going?” Her question was plain but quiet. Perhaps she could tell he was annoyed but he was quite certain she had no idea as to what extent he was. If she did, she would've probably fled from the car screaming. It wasn't his getting angry that she would be frightened of, it would be what he would do... what he would turn into.

He shrugged off the uncomfortable image and stepped down on the gas pedal, pulling out of his parking slot. "The club." He answered curtly. He could almost feel her questioning look on him and he regarded her out of the corner of his vision, eyes flashing with a bit of silver. "I'm sure by now you're smart enough to process that the scene we were privy to couldn't have possibly been without witnesses--yet none of the hu... people claimed to have remembered anything." He adjusted himself quickly, careful not to let that particular word slip out. He carried on without paying it much attention, brushing it off as he would most insignificant things.

"We won't be trying to see if anyone remembers that night--but perhaps that owner friend of yours will remember some... unique regulars. That may give us a clue as to what transpired." He explained coolly, keeping his eyes on the road now. While he was certain the parasites would've gotten rid of all evience of their carnage or kidnappings, he was also sure they wouldn't have gone to such lengths to enthrall humans upon every visit. That would rouse too much suspicion. Odds were someone in there would remember one of the parasites--they tended to stand out, especially in dark settings like clubs.

He fell silent as he became absorbed in his thoughts, not speaking again until they reached the front of the club. The sign still had yet to be fixed, he observed briefly. He stepped out of the car, waiting on her before entering the building. Unlike the other night, there was no disgusting scent ot fill his nostrils, only the usual scents that humans carried with them.

"After you," He said, directing Sydney towards the back to where the owner was. As a rule, he didn't like crowded places like this. So the sooner they were able to leave, the better.

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Character Portrait: Garreth Vilhei Frost Character Portrait: Sydney Parker
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Sydney caught the hitch in his speech, confused but doing her best to let it pass as though she weren’t. It had almost sounded like he was going to say “humans,” but that would be ridiculous. There was no mistaking that Mr. Frost had arrogance enough for three people at least, but he didn’t talk about other people as though they were a separate species or anything. That would just be… bizarre. She resigned herself to not thinking about it too much and just took the rest of the sentence to be what he’d meant, anyway.

His idea made sense, but she was quite certain the police had been over such questions with the witnesses already. Nevertheless, it was possible that they hadn’t dug too deeply; after all, nobody seemed to be able to remember anything about the right period of time. It had sparked a separate investigation into the sale and use of recreational drugs at the club, which had so far turned up nothing. The blood results were problematic, but nobody had magically cracked under interrogation, and it had just left them all with the most confusing dead end she’d ever encountered, and she was running out of favors to call in.

So doing it by themselves might be the only option they had left. She wasn’t honestly sure why there was a ‘they’ involved at all, but for right now, she couldn’t deal with the suspicion, so she took the offer at face value. Not smart, not what she would have done under any other circumstances, but likely her only chance to make any progress.

The car pulled up at the club again, and Sydney let her eyes fall shut, taking a deep breath before snapping them open and getting out of the vehicle. She was dressed in a way that was ludicrously inappropriate for such a setting, but at least her trench coat was of some assistance in concealing this fact. It was ultimately inconsequential anyway.

Given that it was a Sunday, she expected the place to be less full than the last time she was here, and she was not disappointed in this regard at least. Efficiently skirting the dance floor, Sydney made her way to the bar and again asked for the owner.

“Sorry, he’s not in tonight, love,” said the bartender, a woman in her early thirties with more piercings than Sydney would ever know what to do with.

Well, that was something of an obstacle. Still, she supposed any of the staff would know the kind of information she was after. “Oh. Um… you wouldn’t happen to know Simone Parker, would you?”

The woman’s eyebrows ascended her forehead at the abrupt change in topic. One sleeve-tattooed arm sent a shot down the bar to a waiting hand, and she nodded. “Sure. We all know Simone. Got a raccoon out of here, once. Nice girl, why?”

Sydney shook her head. There wasn’t really time to explain that. “I need to know if there have ever been any strange incidents between her and other customers. Can you remember anything like that?” The concern in her tone must have convinced the bartender, because she leaned against the bar, looking down at her feet, clearly trying to think about it.

“I mean, guess that depends on what you mean by ‘strange.’ Few guys have tried to pick her up now and then—wait. You know, there was this one time… but it must have been a couple years ago now. Would that help?”

Syd was honestly skeptical that anything that old would be of any assistance at all, but nodded all the same. It couldn’t hurt, anyway. “This fellow came to the club, sat like a cormorant at one of the tables. Had women flocking to him like sheep, you understand, only he hardly seemed interested.” She snorted, running a hand over her short mohawk. “’Till Simone walked in, anyway. Couldn’t keep his eyes off ‘er. Think they might have left together?” This last was said uncertainly, as though she wasn’t really sure.

“Could you describe him at all?” Sydney asked. It wasn’t anything all that odd, maybe, but if the incident had stuck in the bartender’s mind for this long, there must have been something important about it.

“Mm…” the bartender’s brow furrowed. “Yeah, a bit. Tall, maybe as tall as him,” she gestured to Garreth. “Maybe early thirties? Muscular, dark hair. Definitely had a presence about him, I’d say. Definite bedroom voice, at least with Simone. That’s all I got; sorry love.” There was a call from somewhere down the bar, and the woman waved a hand to say she’d heard, reaching for a liquor bottle and several shot glasses.

Sydney sighed. “Don’t suppose that helps, does it?” she asked Mr. Frost.