Logs:And All The Devils Are Here
And All The Devils Are Here
|Characters:||Nikola, Madeleine, Malcolm, Muse, Pan, and Seth|
|Summary:||The Carthians and Invictus gather up at the Cafe du Monde for introductions and conversation.|
The hour is early evening, and the bustle on the streets of New Orleans continues by the glow of street lamp and car headlights. The Cafe du Monde is relatively quiet, this evening: no large groups of tourists are passing through, and the weekday crowd has mostly ebbed and faded with the latening hour. From the back room emerges a Mediterranean-looking man, tonight dressed in shades of black. Short-sleeved, collarless black shirt, black jeans, black leather wingtips. His forearms, covered in sleeve tattoos with an Egyptian motif, are the only especially outstanding thing about Seth: his hair is pulled back, only a few long strands of brown hanging over his face. A black leather messenger bag is slung across his shoulders, resting against his hip, and his hands are occupied: in one, a politely accepted but untouched cup of coffee, and in the other a folder full of paperwork. A metal ballpoint pen is tucked behind his right ear, and he makes his way over to one of the Cafe's empty booths in a corner. He's mostly occupied looking over the paperwork, though he does pull out a phone and punch a text message into the glowing rectangle of a screen. 'Proper meeting's over now,' and then he dims the screen and sets it on the table as he starts flipping through the folder he's got.
When the fuck did Conquista del Pan get here? No, seriously, because one moment there's no Pan, then the next their Beast is very tangible and -right here-, inside the cafe prior, a brisk walk taking them away from a heated discussion behind them between an angry customer and a barrista. "You called my fucking name." "I put your coffee right here!" "Well where did it go, then?!" Pan is cradling a cup of cafe au lait, holding the milk and sugar and chicory up to inhale deeply of the scent, when they arrive at Seth's booth. "Room for another? Or are you all busy doing money magic?"
The minutes tick by. Most people enjoying a place like this, early evening, don't count them. Nor would an immortal, ordinarily. But, as she drifts into the charming establishment, it's perhaps plain enough to see that the svelte brunette on the receiving end of that swiftly-thumbed text is.. well, let's just say the longer she struggles to grasp the piece of plastic in her hand, the further that mild displeasure twists across her lips. What's truly remarkable, point of fact, is the lack of gazes that trail the Shadow. Eyes simply slide away from her rather than lingering without invitation. Suits her just fine. Even if her choice of attire tonight lends a different impression entirely. A daringly-cut bodysuit of black lace disappears beneath the high waistband of some black-sequinned shorts that sparkle charmingly in the streetlights and the illumination offered beneath the cover of the Cafe's patio. She'd likely pass for a clubber. Almost. If it weren't for a couple of those seemingly trademarked eccentricities. Rather than heels, for example, there's the ever present combat boots, laces trailing. Plus, of course, the tangible perplexity assailing those angelic features; a shadow cast across her brows as she frowns down at the screen of her iPhone. Muse's Beast is recognisable enough to those familiar with her; that hint of majestic, feline threat lurking beneath the facade of the ingenue. And it, in kind, is ever aware of Seth's, seeking and finding him within the dull background noise of nightlife. Flitting a glance upward toward her coterie-mate through lowered lashes as she approaches, her path miraculously lacking in impediment to her progress, the elegant brunette offers a half-smirk, a twitch of one brow upward in 'greeting', before Pan makes their appearance. Beautifully timed to get right in her way. She doesn't seem to mind, though. Southern manners. "Hello, Pan." That sweet, accented tone prompts them to awareness of her presence behind him, had it really gone unnoticed - unlikely - before she's addressing the seathed Mekhet within the booth, holding up the phone in her hand to emphasise the source of her consternation. "This thing? About as much use as a trapdoor on a canoe to me, darlin'." With a shrug of her bare, narrow shoulders, Muse eyes the device balefully one last time before glancing between Seth and the Primogen. Case closed. Texting is hard. Stealing coffee is easier, apparently.
Such a busy, bustling tourist location is probably not Maddy's first choice for places to spend her evening. But maybe it is a place on Malcolm's short list, or maybe they just happened to see others. Or food. Or the smell of frying dough and chicory lured them in. And they do just wander in, openly, without any mysterious arrivals from thin air or artful slinking in shadows. Probably none of those are Maddy's style so much as making an entrance designed to cause a stir and draw notice is her style. Sometimes hiding in plain sight is the wisest thing. Dark hair has been curled and pinned up so that it looks shorter, adorned with a feathered and jeweled headband binds it back from her face. Tonight she's got little makeup except for the dark red lips, and a slinky black beaded dress that doesn't just look like a replica from the Jazz Age as it looks like a dress from the Jazz Age. "I think we should go dancing after this." These quiet words are spoken to her companion, one Malcolm, and not the room at large.
The abrupt appearance of another Beast ping's Seth's attention and his dark green eyes slide upwards in Pan's direction, but that's as far as his tense reaction goes. He straightens up from his slight lean over the paperwork spread on the table in front of him and offers a small but sincere half-smile in Pan's direction, accompanied by a palm-up gesture of his left hand. "Please, Pan, I appreciate the company," Seth responds, his right hand collecting the metal pen from behind his ear. His thumb clicks the point out, "The beautiful thing about modern magic is that most of it's automatic, anyway. No need for messy ritual circles or screaming virgin sacrifices anymore. Just..." He puts the pen to one of the pieces of paper, an elegant cursive of a signature flowing in black from the instrument's point, "and all of the arcane necessities are taken care of. Truly an achievement." Seth slides over on the bench of the booth as it starts to become more crowded. His piercing gaze rises from its immersion in the paperwork to look towards Muse as she approaches, meeting her eyes briefly with a subdued smirk at the timing of her situation. The amusement conceals the genuine pleasure of greeting, however, as he sets the pen down atop the table. "You'll get the hang of it, museling," he responds, with an understated smile, to Muse's amusingly antiquated complaint. Though the turn of phrase does evoke a thought from Seth, "Though speaking of that, we could probably use some canoes for the house. I do get tired of the engines on those fanboats." He reaches a hand out wordlessly in Muse's direction, indicating the phone with a glance of his eyes and the quirk of an eyebrow, communicating 'let me see.' His eyes briefly flick towards the entrance to clock the presence of new arrivals, but it's only for a moment.
"Muse. Looking astonishingly lovely, of course. If you're having trouble with texting? Remember you can just draw a line between all the letters in the word with your finger. It can be easier than hunting for what you need and trying to peck out each word one at a time if you didn't grow up with keyboards. Give it a couple of months and you'll adore it. Second nature." If grandmothers can do it, Muse surely can. "Thank you, Seth. Quite good of you." Pan slides into the booth across from Seth, and settles in against the wall, holding the coffee up near their face and breathing deeply and rhythmically despite there being no -biological- need. Ninety percent of the joy of coffee has always been olfactory, and Pan's not abandoned it. "Although you say messy circles and screaming virgins like they're bad things. I have friends in the Circle who'd disagree, I imagine. I don't understand the fascination with -virgins-, but I do like screams on occasion, myself." Madeleine and Malcolm get surreptitious glances from Pan, with just a hint of increase of upward tug of their lips at spotting the pair. More quietly, Pan wonders to the two nearby: "Do you imagine the First Estate will join us?"
For Malcolm's part he is more in his element here. His hair is always a tad unruly, but it is left to its natural curls this evening. Well fitted jeans, a button down shirt left untucked and open partway down his chest, and a pair of black leather shoes make him much more casual than usual. "Mmmm, yes that would be fun. Have you found a local spot yet?" he asks, his eyes looking around this place and the people here.There is the slightest raising of cackles feeling as the others are spotted, but he smiles in their direction, leaning a head down to Madeleine to speak in a soft voice, "Seems we aren't the only ones here. I do recognize one of them, the friend of yours from the Library." he says, motioning towards the other gathering ov Kindred. He doesn't so much as state his intentions, instead changing course a she guides his companion where she holds onto his arm, heading in that direction.
"Aww, no screamin' virgins tonight? Why'd I bother gettin' all dressed up?" Easing gracefully, and without waiting for invitation, into the booth beside her coterie-mate, Muse unabashedly peers over at the folder he's thumbing through, folding her bare arms on the surface of the table. If her Beast were truly visible, there's the distinct impression its tail would be lazily flicking to and fro. There's just an inherent sense of satisfaction and mischief about her, this evening. The phone is handed over with a palpable touch of relief.. though, knowing her, she's merely irked at her inability to be wonderful at everything, immediately if not sooner. "I got it to do somethin' this one time.. but then I ended up doin' somethin' with some kinda.. flappy bird. Why's that even a thing?" Green-gold eyes meet those of the tattooed figure beside her, betraying the lack of genuine ire or upset, soon accompanied by a wolfish glimpse of white teeth, the tip of her tongue toying with one canine. "Thank Gawd I'm pretty, right?" Her dark brows arch a fraction, though the statement is clearly rhetoric. Perhaps one that gets bandied about any time the Elder Carthian falters in her understanding of this new century. Which is often. Clasping her hands loosely together, the Mekhet raises her gaze next to Pan, affording them an unabashed once over with a half-smile yet curving her lips. Feigned innocence. Deliberately so. No doubt that's the expression they can expect for the foreseeable from this one, having so cheerfully declared their belief that she's something else entirely. "Well, aren't you just made'a sugar." The flattery from the Primogen is well-received, if with a flicker of amusement. The matter of the evils of texting, though? That's Serious Bidness (tm). "Yes.. everyone keeps tellin' me how great it is. Maybe technology just don't like me. But I am not so easily dismissed, I assure you. Many, many little smiley fellas in your future." Yes, she knows what a smiley is! Progress. Then it's back to Seth, her head tilting a touch askance. Noting the brief diversion of his gaze she follows it's direction, likewise acknowledging the newly arrived strangers over yonder. But, save for an idle perusal, her Beast remains unperturbed; a smacking of feline lips now that curiosity has been sated. "Canoes?" she echoes, with a skeptical lofting of brow. "..is this one of those euphemisms that I don't understand? Because I thought we'd had that discussion.." Cue cheerful smile. "Anyway. What have you been upto?" Foregoing propriety entirely now, she leans further over to cast her gaze over those papers. Well, if they were of a delicate nature, he wouldn't have them out in the open, right? Right.
"Hmm?" Maddy did not miss the others in the cafe, but she likes to play at being oblivious. It's amusing to her to act like she's not paying attention. Probably no one else thinks that it is cute. "Who?" But Malcolm is already heading in that direction, so the answer to her rhetorical who is answered swiftly enough as she smiles at the group, "Bonjour, darlings. Fancy meeting you here."
Seth is clearly about to comment on something to Pan, perhaps about the metaphysical implications of virgins over the experienced types in terms of ritual blood sacrifice, but he's distracted by Muse settling in next to him with her usual vortex of trouble-making. His mouth still open, tongue set to the beginning of a diatribe long-since forgotten, Seth closes his teeth with a 'click' that's just audible to Vampire hearing, setting the pen down and unlocking Muse's phone with a straightforward swiping gesture across the pad of numbers. The screen is kept visible to her curious eyes so that she can imitate the gesture later: no doubt she's paying attention, looking for something to pounce on in the business that Seth has arrayed in front of him. The phone is passed back to Muse with an easy gesture, and he exhales slowly, feigned long-suffering inherent in the timbre of his breath, before responding. "No screaming virgins," Seth agrees with the brunette's disappointed assessment of their evening so far, eyes briefly raising as he looks around the placidly friendly Cafe du Monde, "Well, not here anyway," he appends as an afterthought, picking up the ballpoint pen again. "The pastries here are excellent, renowned throughout the region. I thought I'd get some delivered to the Regas when she's in dock, between cruises. At least for the grand opening celebration cruise. For a pretty reasonable rate, they're willing to loan some of their pastry chefs for a few days, as long as the lodging onboard's taken care of and they get reasonable amounts of downtime to party, themselves. I figure it's a good deal," he explains aside to the brunette belle as he sorts through the papers, making a few more signatures before he forgets: after all, it looks like their evening is about to get a lot more interesting. Seth looks up to Madeleine and Malcolm as they close in on the booth, first with an upward glance of his green eyes, and then a raise of his head and a straightening of his posture as he detangles himself from his work. "Evening," he offers, with a small wave of his right hand, metal pen still held among his fingers. "Name's Seth, nice ta meetcha." He's picked up some of the mannerisms of Southern hospitality while he's here, after all.
New Orleans is such an entertaining city. Open-container laws, tourists in their vibrant clothing colliding with those who make their livings by providing their visitors with unforgettable experiences, and then those small predators colliding with the larger sharks who wait in dark waters... It's like watching a microcosm of the Vampiric world, played out on a small puppet stage. Nikola wanders the French Quarter, not actively hunting this evening, simply enjoying the sights. So many Kine, imagining themselves at the top of the food chain. Imagining themselves to be the most dangerous thing that lurks in the darkness. But he does have someplace to be tonight, and eventually the tall Ventrue glances down at his Rolexx (a rather convincing Rolex knockoff, if one fails to spot the extra X), and begins to make his way toward a particular Cafe. The bell above the door chimes as he steps inside, absently adjusting the lay of his coat. The bearded figure is dressed casually, at least for him -- indigo-blue jeans, a white Calvin Klein t-shirt, a notch-collar blazer of navy blue. As he steps inside, brushing hair back off his forehead, the dark-eyed man studies the room at large. He senses the others before he sees them, his own Beast reacting with a visceral urge to //strike// as he sees two strange predators nearing its 'friends'. He masters the urge to go absolutely shit-clap, instead patting his back pocket, as though assuring himself that he hasn't left his wallet behind -- or lost it to one of those small street-predators he has been enjoying all night. Making his way toward the table, Nikola flashes a bright, too-friendly smile at the cluster of individuals. He loiters behind Madeleine and Malcolm, his smile softening to something more genuine as he looks between Seth, Muse, and Pan. "What a delightful mismatch of antiquities, cultural relics, and post-punk pioneers. Hello, friends. May I join?" The man's accent, vaguely Eastern, emerges at odd moments.
"Good evening, Lady Rapace- and Lord Not-Rapace- Roberts. What excellent timing. Nikola, sit." Pan pats the seat of the booth next to them in invitation to the newest-arrived of the Carthians, and advises the Invictus, "These are the new coterie that's come to town. Seth's already introduced himself but these are Nikola and Muse, and -look- at them. Why, the three of them together give the two of you a run for the money in attractive groupings." Pan turns to draw one knee up onto the seat so as to put their back against the wall of the booth and face outward. "Perhaps the First Estate could pull up a couple of loose chairs and join us? It would be fun. We've no virgins to offer you but I'm sure there's conversation to be had, at the very least."
Malcolm offers a warm smile as well, his arm remaining wrapped by Madeleine's as they stand next to the booth. "Yes, good evening." he returns to the others. His own voice carries a faint trace of Scottish ancestry, mostly modernized by now and hard to place for those not familiar with the region. He regards pan first, their introductions much appreciated by the look on his face, "It is a pleasure to see you again. I was sure it wouldn't be all too long." He does look at the others, names given to them, and tilts his head in thought, "Well... while I agree that they surpass my half of the pairing, I would have to fight you abouthers." he says, disentangling himself from Madeleine as he rubs her back. He steps away to grab two chairs for them, bringing them and settling them on the outside of the booth for he and Madeleine. He holds the chair for her as he regards the others, "A pleasure to meet you all. My name is Malcolm Roberts, this is my lovely wife Madeleine."
"Not here." agrees Muse, pleasantly enough, in regard to the matter of procuring virgins. True to form, she's promptly distracted by the return of the phone, stubbonly determined to master its mysteries. "Maybe we could have some delivered. Is there a uhh.. 'app' for that..?" She ventures the jest with a momentary flick of her gaze between Pan and Seth both, having picked up the phrase somewhere along the way. It's amazing what one can learn, if they've the patience for observation. Alright. Let's do this. The brunette lowers her focus to the screen, even as she's nodding her understanding of her coterie-mates business endeavors here tonight. Hey, she's female. She can multitask. Stroking her thumb gently across the surface, she permits herself the faintest of smiles as the screen does, at last, do as it is bid. Right, left, right, left. She toys with this most basic ability a moment longer, before the dawning realisation of introductions being made rouses her attention.. as does the arrival of another reassuringly familiar Beast, on the periphery of proceedings. Seeing as Pan gallantly offers their names, the Mekhet can afford to simply smile in lazy assent up at the newly-appointed Primogen and Sheriff; dark-lashed green gold eyes taking them in speculatively.
"Niko! Good timing, the pastry chefs are on board for the grand inaugural cruise," Seth greets and rapidly updates the last member of his coterie currently in New Orleans with an actual smile, rather than the fleeting memory of one that he assumes for most interactions. He gathers up the paperwork that he's spread out and shuffles it back into its matte black folder (of course it's black), before picking up the folder itself and sweeping it away into the black leather messenger bag that he's wearing at his side. His attention turns more fully to Madeleine and Malcolm with a nod of greeting, saying aside to Muse, "There probably is an app for that, this is New Orleans... after all," with a tone of understated amusement: but also, Seth wouldn't be surprised if it was true.
"An app for //virgins//?" Maddy questions Muse as she takes the seat brought to her by Malcolm, looking intrigued by this idea, "No. But there is a Tinder, and that usually will summon up one that is ready and willing." She smoothes out her dress, flatly ignoring Pan's prodding about people being prettier than her. Ego simply will not allow her to acknowledge anyone else might be better than her. "With the Tinder I suppose there might be a virgin on there, but if you go asking for one you might have a visit from a police officer instead. Terrible business when that happens." Maddy doesn't further elaborate on that, though, instead letting her attention wander over the three new faces. It's a polite look, but a very obviously measuring look at the same time.
Sit. Just for a moment, it looks as though Nikola might bristle, might intentionally take offense at Pan's invitation, but the fellow isn't quite as churlish as all that. His dark eyes twinkling with suppressed mischief, almost a twin of Muse's own, the Carthian slips into the booth, companionably knocking his knee against Pan's as he settles down. He turns his attention to Malcolm and Madeleine, suddenly gravely polite, sitting on the edge of his seat with the upright posture of a debutante. "Nikola Senjan," he says by way of amplifying Pan's introduction. He smiles at Malcolm, scarred lips twitching in a lopsided expression. "I'm the beauty of our group, as you can see." "We got the pastry chefs?" Nikola's attention diverts to Seth, keenly attentive, and he nods in slow appreciation. "I didn't think that there was much chance. They told me that they were booked out for weeks in advance. Suppose it's a matter of asking in the right way." His own smile is equally genuine, even respectful, and he inclines his head faintly to his coterie-mate. Muse, sliding left-right-left-right on her phone, is met with an amused stare. "Wait until you discover the penguin-smacking game. Is that still 'a thing'?" The apostrophes slot neatly in place, marking this man as far less 'hip to the lingo' than he wants to appear. Attention sliding next to Madeleine, he gives the woman's commentary due consideration. Clearing his throat, he says -- almost sheepishly -- "I have terrible luck on Tinder. I've been meaning to ask Seth to help me revise my profile." A glance over at Pan, meeting their eyes with a sudden flicker of amusement. "You might be a better choice." Back to Madeleine. "No police, however. Well. One, but he was off-duty."
While Muse fiddles with the phone, Pan straightens with the look of someone who has experienced a sudden electronic vibratory alert. Obviously not from the vampire across the table who is still playing with the unlock function. Still, the youngest of the Carthians peers with thoughtfulness at the screen after unlocking it - with a thumbprint, not a pattern - for a few moments, going still before re-animating at Nikola's suggestion. "Tinder is trash," Pan declares, in the wake of that suggestion. "Grindr is superior in -every- way. It's not -just- for gay men, but Nik, you'd certainly do very well there, too. I hate swiping through folks one by one, Grindr gives you a -collage-. Most of the folks there are absolute garbage, true, but we're not surfing through it looking for -relationships-. Grindr will tell you there's a bisexual trans guy within six hundred feet and what he looks like shirtless. You cannot beat that fucking -utility-. No cops, though, Nikola. -Even- off-duty. Seriously. Standards. I don't even -eat- cops. I keep Carthian Kosher. No cops, no landlords."
Malcolm sits down in his own chair after Maddy, and he regards the others on an even plane now. "Virgins aren't all that hard to find to be fair. The real trick is finding one that is actually pleasant to look at." He smirks at the thought, looking to Nikola, "Oh, clearly." It isn't a jab at all, rather an appreciated jest with someone else used to being around beautiful people. "I tend to prefer meeting in person myself. Tinder is... well. My luck is when I can speak to them directly. For some reason pictures aren't my forte. I do miss the days of portraits rather than smart phones." He leans back in his chair, crossing a leg over his knee and laying his arm across the back of Maddy's chair, "I am the newly appointed Sheriff here, but I will skip the idle threats and intimidation. You all look smart enough to know how to behave. Instead I will offer my assistance. If something arises that my attentions would assist with... let me know." He looks over to Pan as they give their thoughts on the differing apps, "I suppose that is something that wasn't offered before. Best we had back in France and Italy was training someone to look for what we enjoyed, and then throwing a party to have them all brought for the lineup. Mmmm... I do miss those days." he says, looking over to Maddy to share a remembering look with her.
Rousing from her reverie, Muse blinks as she once again looks up and around, finding the group a little larger than before. Oh. Palming the phone onto a back pocket with a slight tilt of her weight to one side, the brunette calmly reingratitates herself to the ongoing discussion; a moment taken to flash each of her coterie-mates a private half-smile before she replies to Pan in that soft-spoken, Southern tone. One could almost expect a fiddle-dee-dee, quite honestly. "That does sound fascinatin'.. truly. But well.." Those lips quirk a touch further in wry amusement as she indicates Seth and Nikola in turn. "..what need have any of us to be browsin' collages?" Its a valid point. They're all just too damned pretty. Forgive the pun. Settling back in her seat, lean shoulders resting against the padding of the booth's bench, the Mekhet folds her hands rather primly in her lap as she otherwise absorbs the ebb and flow of conversation around her. There's an approving gleam of speculative mirth in those sharp eyes, when Madeleine ponders aloud the merits of this mysterious victim-buying service. Perhaps, on rare occasion, Invictus do have a sense of humor. It's just that usually when she finds them amusing, it's unintentional on their part. Like now. "Old enough to know better, perhaps. Smart enough to get away with it." This is the initial response offered to Malcolm before, with an endearing widening of her angelic eyes, Muse affords the Sheriff a look that's mingling curiosity and amusement. "You are too kind, sir.. havin' such genteel notions for the likes of us." Tail-swish. Claw flex. "Course, I haven't got the sense God gave a goose. Brains the size of squirrels, us ladies have." There's a fleeting glimpse of teeth in a charming smile, before she's on to the next thing. "But anyways.. speakin' of. I imagine you've trouble a'plenty already investigatin' these decapitations. We don't wanna pile your platter too high with our lil problems, no sir." She keeps her tone quiet enough not to warrant any looks askance from the other patrons of the cafe. After all, she's one of a rare group that finds discussion of murder perfectly pleasant over un-drunk coffee.
'Carthian Kosher' gets a laugh out of Seth, and he places his hands on the table as he quietly observes the flow of conversation around him with a look of idle amusement at the back-and-forth of the other Kindred. When Malcolm gets down to business, he adjusts his posture from its vaguely feral slouch into something more respectably straight-backed. "No threats? That's a shame, I'm a good dance partner, if you ever change your mind," Seth offers up with an easy smile, lips curving over straight white teeth. He looks aside at Muse's mention of decapitations and general drawl of Southern wit with a flicker of mischief in his eyes, although his words that follow are composed and carefully measured. "One good turn deserves another, of course. If you're ever feeling like you're one fellow with a gold star, all alone against a hostile world and need a hand... my merry crew has been known to dig some very effective graves every now and then, and I'd be happy to assist with moving the requisite dirt. And procuring the occupants, of course, if that needs mentioning." You never know when an elaborate metaphor might result in miscommunication, with Vampires. Too many turns of phrase and too many languages all in a moshpit together, for most of them. Never hurts to check. Then he's addressing Nikola to the side with a wry twist of his mouth, "You know I don't use dating apps. You'd be better off with Pan's advice."
"No? Malcolm would do quite well as a lure on this place." Place. App. It's all the same to her in the end. Maddy glances over at him, eyes sliding from mussed hair down to his jeans before she leans towards Pan, her voice lowering, "You must tell me how to use this one." Clearly she's not afraid to use her husband as bait for a good bite to eat. Or even probably herself, considering her clan and over all demeanor, she probably perfected hunting by looks a long time ago. "But I do miss those times. It was shockingly easy to make people vanish and no one noticed...much harder these days with that..." She makes a faintly absent wave of her hand, dismissing the topic easily half-way through the thought. "But does anyone use a dating app for dating? I thought they were all just food services. Like their Uber...Which is also useful for both a ride and a meal."
"Grindr? I haven't downloaded Grindr." Nikola considers Pan thoughtfully for a few beats, gazing at them with a hint of amusement. "If I'm looking for a bite, I don't often care about what they look like shirtless -- the game changes, of course, if I have a whole evening of play in mind." He glances around the table, flashing a conspiratorial smile. "I never had the pleasure of a full line-up, like our Sheriff here, but I do like that idea. Muse? We should indulge one night. Go out and round up a whole selection, work through them one by one. Don't you think, Seth?" There's a teasing note in the man's voice.
Teasing becomes full-throated laughter as Muse slathers on her 'aw shucks' charm, confronting the Sheriff with the full evidence of her goose-brained intellects. He smiles over at Malcolm as he subdues himself, eyes twinkling. "I appreciate," he says after a few final chuckles, "That you don't feel the need to threaten us. But as my companions say... consider us at your service." And there, again, the mirth is gone, replaced by sudden gravity. He leans forward slightly in his seat. "Seth is right. We're competent, and we work well together. Utilize us." No note of braggadocio in the bearded man's voice -- flat, unaffected, confidence.
And then the gravitas is gone, submerged once more beneath a quick smile as he settles back into his seat. "As for Carthian Kosher -- I enjoy eating pig." A wink aside at Pan. "But to each their own, my young friend. Isn't that what the Movement is all about?" Lifting a hand, he adds "In regards to Uber, I completely concur with Mrs. Rapace-Roberts -- I had an exceedingly creepy experience recently. I loved it. He received five stars, but unfortunately... He won't be driving any longer."
"I'm sure things were easier if you could put 'Lord' or 'Lady' before your name than if, say, you were a member of some precursor to the Movement, when it came to that sort of thing. The gap between the bottom and the top may extend at an exponential rate, but at least today the -floor- has raised considerably in most places. And we've many more tools for reaching the top - not to achieve it for ourselves, but may I say, rifled gun barrels did wonders for our reach." The talk about dating apps and buffets has Pan leaning back again as they tuck away their phone, and they shake their head slowly, grinning toothily - although not fangily, this time - at the gathered vampires. "Sometimes I -do- like to talk to a human. Have a nice conversation. I've even been known to have -sex- with one or two. Date them. You just can't get -attached-. But it's important to stay connected to them. To know what they're -like- and not just how they -taste-. You need to know what they're thinking about, talking about, caring about. Otherwise you find yourself pining for days hundreds of years past instead of immersed in how interesting things are now. They're on the brink of something very interesting, I think. In twenty years the Movement will be stealing -entirely- new ideas from the ashes of what they're about to burn down."
Malcolm smiles to the others. "Threats are useless things, really. They either show a need to be important, and in proxy clear evidence that you aren't, or that you are in fact the one afraid. Now, if you are looking for some sporting fun that is entirely different, and I am happy to dance." There is a bit of a toothy grin there as he considers it. "I am happy for the help. If you all have a mind to assist in the laws of the city I'll make myself available to you. We can meet up under more formal terms and actually lay out how to make it all work." he reaches for his phone, puttinghis contact information on the screen and sliding it across the table for them.
With the business mostly attended to he looks to Muse, and leans in conspiritorily, "You'll forgive my skepticism. I have lived with a beautiful woman for long enough to know that any signs of stupidity and ignorance are all too often a clever camouflage for simpler men." He shrugs, leaning back again. He looks then between Maddy and the others at the table.
"I can't help but feel like I am about to be in the middle of something..." he eyes his wife cautiosly. Looking at her as he speaks he replies to Nikola, "I definitely agree. You should try it. Perhaps a party? Throw a personal rave or something, rent out a space, make people feel like they are special and they will flock." He offers a sort of placating smile to Pan, "Oh, you are undoubtedly right. Lord Malcolm Roberts carried much back then. Now a days it is a fancy hotel room and nice clothes that play the part, more than that is rearely needed."
"I do declare.." Yep, there it is. She really said it. "..it seems almost too easy. Is this really how connections are made, these nights?" A pointed pause implies Muse's consideration. Or musing, if you will. "I love it." She flashes a conspiratorial grin across the table at Pan, apparently sharing their sentiments. Probably on far more than the obvious benefits of dating apps, of course. "You know, it took them months, in Rome, just to codify the meanin' of their titles, let alone the laws they wished to abide by. Who's got that kinda time for pomp?" Ahh, the birth of Die Unbesiegt. How fondly she recalls it. Like a puppy in its first adorable attempt to growl, only to fall on it's rump. As Malcolm's phone glides across the table's surface, the brunette unthinkingly halts it with a delicate fingertip.. then slides it past, on to Seth beside her without so much as a downward glance; still regarding the Primogen opposite. "Me, I like to get things done. Twenty years, Pan?" A distinctly unladylike 'pfft' of idle derision escapes her. "..don't sell us short. I'm more'n ready to toast some smores." The languid unfurling of the Mekhet's Beast, behind this teasing commentary, offers the impression of her growing restless. Tangibly so. It's not easily overlooked.
"Simpler men?" To the Sheriff, the brunette turns her attention next; arching her brows in an expression of polite enquiry. "As you say, sir." There's a contemplative levelling of her gaze upon Niko, seated across from her. But she makes no remark in regard to his offering of their 'services', instead focusing on the next suggestion that arises as the chatter wanders on.
"A party. Mmm. That certainly sounds more appealing to me than some formal affair. Though wherever shall we host it?" Glancing sidelong toward Seth, the Shadow arches a brow. "And will it be a better opportunity to discuss those matters that require investigating?" The emphasis is gentle, but it's there. He'll catch it.
All that said? The lean brunette retrieves her phone and - successfully unlocking it this time on her first attempt - sets to exploring the icons. Ooh. Calculator. Tap-tap-tap.
"There will be plenty of time for play once the work with the boat is taken care of," Seth raises his eyebrows with a smirk at Nikola's eager suggestion, looking aside to the man for a moment with amusement subtly showing on his face. Pan's unexpected venture into class warfare territory earns an approving nod from Seth as he leans back and listens thoughtfully.
"Yeah," Seth contemplates, "It wouldn't be bad to loop a few of them into the Movement as consultants. Get in on the ground floor. It's not like we don't have the resources or the motivation. We can do more than wait. If we're positioned as the gardeners by the time that the tree starts sprouting, well..." He tilts his head to the side with a 'whadda ya gonna do?' quirk of the eyebrow and shrug. "It's not like we've ever had a problem with using blood as fertilizer to help the plants grow. I've got a guillotine coming in the mail, anyhow. Well. If criminals delivered the mail."
When Malcolm offers up his contact information, Seth leans across to make a note of it on his phone, texting the number immediately with his own information. He does, however, produce a matte black business card with embossed silver font, reading 'Seth' and three phone numbers, one of them international. He places it atop Malcolm's phone and slides the device across the table back to the Sheriff. "Reception can be spotty sometimes, out in the swamps, but if you can't reach me directly or the phone's off, I check the other numbers frequently for messages through the internet."
The mention of a party, and its most recent bounce off of Muse, gets an amused blow of air from Seth's nose that could probably qualiy as a laugh, given his general veneer of understatement. "We're going to have a floating party on command soon," he narrates, for the benefit of Malcolm and Madeleine primarily, "And of course you're welcome to stop by if you feel like refreshments. All of my evenings are taken up planning the first bash... I'd say it's going to be Biblical, but I have no intention of cleaning up pillars of salt."
There is a very faint sigh at Pan's talk of Lord and Lady, and she looks like she might refute what they say. But in the end she just shakes her head, turning her attention back towards the others. Maddy is quiet, letting Malcolm do what he does regarding the laws and safety of the Praxis. Instead she turns her attention to watching each individual, observing, "I adore Biblical parties."
"Everything was easier for the lords and ladies," Nikola says quietly. He's not really agreeing with Pan -- their words have simply roused a long-dormant bitterness. For a moment, looking down at the table, the //age// of the creature can be seen. And in the same moment, the very danger that Pan has been talking about can be seen as well - a distant, almost alien, expression, as Nikola attempts to peer backward through the veil of Torpor and centuries. "They never sent help when we asked. They just took more. We were forced--" He cuts himself off with an effort, shaking like a dog trying to cast off a flea. When he looks up again, the smile is back, the reflected mischief. The mask. He meets Malcolm's gaze with a bright nod. "I look forward to it as well." But he doesn't elaborate, letting Seth take point on collecting contact info.
Muse's remarks -- and the look she sends him -- draw Nikola's attentions. He gazes at the Southern woman thoughtfully in kind, his own Beast raising its head, figuratively speaking, at the hint of restlessness in the woman. Is it time to let loose? No? Shame. As she dives deeper into the notion of a party, however, and Seth begins to elaborate, Nikola settles back with a satisfied smile. He lets his coterie-mates do the talking, for once, shutting his big mouth. It doesn't look as though he's biting his lips, however, so much as savoring an extraordinary performance.
He does perk up suddenly at the mention of the guillotine. "You really ordered it?" His voice rises an octave in, probably, unfeigned delight. Turning to Pan, Nikola says "They say that it's the most merciful way of killing traitors to the people. I always thought that the French Revolution possessed a higher concentration of pure genius than the Scientific Revolution. Robespierre?" He kisses his fingertips with a 'mwah' noise. "Do you really think this one will be as good?" Ah, the optimism of youth. "The party may not result in pillars of salt," he confides in Maddy, "But we do hope to deliver Sodom and Gomorrah."
Without abandoning the casual, fluid, liquid ease of their relaxation, Pan turns eyes on Nikola. None of the rest of the conversation grabs their attention like that bit, and the Daeva reaches out beneath the table until it can snag the cuff of a blue blazer over a fake Rolexx and seek out contact with the hand below to give a squeeze. The words that come are light and breezy but can't -quite- conceal the degree of effect that necessarily comes from hearing shit like -that- in the middle of banter. "I imagine there are nicer ways to die, but certainly better than hanging upside down from an Esso's rafters with your skull caved in. A nice quick beheading has the added benefit of killing every kind of corporeal creature I know of, not just humans. It's -efficient-. And none of the pomp and circumstance of an oversized sword you need the strength of three people to lift."
Malcolm collects his phone and the business card, replacing them back in a pocket. "Mmmmm, a boat. Also a wonderful choice. Something about being out on the water tends to be attractive. Also, depending how far out you go it can help with the issue of getting rid of the leftovers as well." he looks to Maddy with a smile, running his hand over her leg playfully, "I think a cruise could be fun." He agrees with Maddy on this point as well, "And the best parts of the Bible more than make up for the salt." He listens to Nikola, and there is a contemplative look, "I was quite pleased with my birth. It served me very well for a long time. Taught me to fight, to fuck, to lead... all the while enjoying everything my title afforded me. I don't think anything will ever beat the feeling of facing down another Lord that you had met for a party, feasted together, laughed and made merry, and then watching as the light fades from his eyes with your sword in his throat." He is smiling now, more longingly for an age gone by as he looks past the group to the wall. "That being said... some of the best men I have known were not of noble birth. We all have our parts to play. I always viewed it as more responsibility. It sounds like the ones you knew had no such notions. Those were my favorite to meet on the field." He tries to let the heavy be then, if it is more comfortable for some to let it fade into the background, "A guillotine, hmmm? Now whatever do you plan on using that for here?" There is a more interested look now.
The mention of Robespierre causes Maddy to laugh, her attention swinging towards Nikola, a brow arching upwards for a moment, "Yes, his manhood suffrage moment was fantastic. All men allowed to vote, regardless of title, race or religion. Very nice, his effort, on behalf of the men." She glances briefly towards Malcolm, then back towards Nikola, "You should look to Olympe de Gouges, if you are a fan of the Revolution....although she was executed by the guillotine because of her association with the Girondins." When Malcolm starts talking about birth again, she smiles very faintly before shaking her head, turning her attention to Pan, "As long as the blade is sharp, it's not the worst way to go. Quick, clean, the force of it falling does most of the work. What you have to worry the most about is when they move."
"What's this purpley-pink one do..?" Oh God help us all. Muse has discovered Instagram. What's she gonna do, post dinner pictures of her victims? ..it wouldn't be completely beyond the realm of possibility. Busying herself a moment longer, the brunette offers a non-committal 'hmm' of probable agreement with Madeleine, before flitting Niko an upward glance through her lashes in response to the confidence he offers the Lady Primogen; a wry smirk tugging at her lips at the incorrigible Ventrue. But there's something further. A subtle, weary sort of assent to the unasked question of her Beast as it prowls back and forth, looking bored. The brunette even punctuates the sentiment with a wordless nod across the table at her coterie-mate, before looking in turn toward Seth; including him in the democracy of collective decision-making. Hello? Carthians. Not that that has any effect on her tendency to do exactly as she wants when she wants to. "Well. This has been most illuminatin'." she begins, starting to slide free of the table, long legs in combat boots appearing on the outer edge of the booth. "Pan.. always a pleasure, sugar." Damn her butter-wouldn't-melt accent, but didn't that sound genuinely affectionate? "Mad Lady." Despite the moniker she elects for the Primogen - hey, she's not Invictus, she doesn't do the fancy titles - the brunette meets Madeleine's gaze with an unabashedly charismastic curve of lips as she rises to a stand. "Mister Mad Lady." A nod is afforded toward Malcolm, also. "Nice to meetcha in person. Maybe we'll see you onboard, some time." Smoothing a palm across the brazenly low cut fabric of her lace bodysuit, the waifish Mekhet seems about to address the more brash of the coterie.. only to find Pan working his Daeva sweet-nothings on Niko. That's just too tempting to ignore. "You leave his big sword alone, ya hear?" The tease is accompanied by one of those disarming grins, just playful enough to subdue any genuine warning, had one existed. But well. Niko can handle himself. Or choose to let someone else handle him. Either way. She's not here to babysit. Though.. something in Malcolm's polite rebuttal does elicit a throaty laugh, even as she's shoving her hands in the pockets of her sequinned shorts. Nothin' but natural talent never taught a man how ta fuck, darlin'. Unless they got fancy tutors for that now, too." Turning her feline green-gold eyes upon Seth, ultimately, Muse arches a brow; prepared to await him, it seems, beside the booth.
Seth grins briefly at the advent of Nikola's excitement over the guillotine. "It's not like they're difficult to make," he points out idly, leading Niko's amusement along. "Just a framework, a nice blade, and some pulleys to help with adding gravity. Just had to call up one of the metal shops we contract out to... the one that doesn't ask questions about weird work-orders, and paid them a bit on top. For the custom order, y'know." Seth's smirk is understated, but the easy success of whipping up the guillotine is a bit of excitement in an otherwise boring week of paperwork, so he is amused by it. The way you'd be amused by a running practical joke. Then Seth is looking aside to Malcolm at the query about the guillotine's use, "Oh, I'm a collector. Fond of my toys. I mean, what else do you use a guillotine for? It's practically a large statement of 'I intend to decapitate you,' but convenient-like. Like the chilled water dispenser in your fridge. No need to go out to the well and pull up a bucket, it's just right there, waiting for the button press." Seth's Beast is smiling, feline and cheshire, as he explains the use of a guillotine aside to Malcolm. "Same way I keep grenades on mail-order. Never know when you're going to need a good box of grenades, y'know? At least, that's been my life experience." Seth shrugs helplessly, beginning to push up to his feet himself as Muse slides out of the booth, following suit with an easy movement and a twirl of the metal pen among his fingers. Then he slides the instrument back behind his right ear again. "It's been a pleasure, folks," he offers with a smile around the table. "Pan, I'll text you the addresses for our holdings now that we've gotten settled, feel free to drop by whenever." He turns back to Malcolm and Madeleine, now fully rising up to his feet in a smooth motion. "M'lord, m'lady. Hope to see you at the gala," Seth affirms the invitation with that practiced, easy smile that he often wears, looking over the Cafe briefly and assessing the other casual passersby as he prepares to make his departure.
"All of Europe lacked responsibility, Sheriff, in the end. No one came when we called." The Eastern accent is thicker now, and Nikola's hand is tight -- claw-like -- on Pan's. "Not until they called us raiders and came to kill us, in any case." The bearded Vampire is striving to keep his voice level, but the Beast -- the Beast is angry. It is times like this where a mortal might take a deep breath, allow his nervous system to do the work for him. Instead, Nikola must rely upon sheer determination and centuries of repressing his own temper. Eventually, eventually, he relaxes his grip on Pan's hand, giving them a brief look of gratitude. When he speaks again, his tone is almost gentle. "I meant the Terror, Mrs. Rapace-Roberts. What a work of art. Though Esso stations have their charms." He slips out of the booth, shooting Pan a warm look as he stands. "My sword," he informs Muse far too primly, "Remains sheathed. It's my age, you see. They say there's a pill, but I am always so embarrassed to speak to my doctor." As he banters with the Mekhet, however, he also slides into a position just at her shoulder, bracketing her between he and Seth. There's a warm look over at Seth, as well, as the other man explains the creation of the guillotine. "I was just going to use the hood of a car," he confides sheepishly to Pan. "Rig it up and drop it. It would work, I think." A beat. "Eventually." Lifting his hand to give the seated trio a wave of his fingertips, the irrepressible Ventrue adds, "We'll see you all on-board for the Gala." Yes, Seth just said that, but it seems polite. Besides, it's his boat. Sort of.
When Niko, Seth, and Muse all stand, Pan remains seated. They simply extend one leg out to take up the space in the booth, and lean over with one elbow on the table to drop their chin into their hand. "Good evening, you three. Good hunting, and if any of us should die before the party, I wish us all sharp edges and swift strokes and corpses undefiled. I am looking forward to announcing your territorial claims and to seeing your floating palace in action. I love a good party." While the departing Carthians are afforded most of their attention, Pan -does- give a lingering look to Malcolm as the three are preparing to depart. Expectant, perhaps.
Malcolm smiles back to Muse, "Indeed, the pleasure is mine." There is a wicked grin though, and he can't help a light laugh that shows a bit more of what a genuine one would sound like from the man, "I'd argue that most of us aren't born with the talent at all. It's the repetition that gets us there. That and the loving guidance of a French Lady that isn't afraid to give pointers." he muses. "That is something I never would have had without my Title." Malcolm doesn't seem upset by the explanation of how the guillotine is used, if anything a bit amused. He nods, "Well, I can't argue the need for being prepared. I know where to come if I need someone beheaded now." He stands up himself, a polite way of bidding those leaving farewell. He meets Nikola's gaze then, and there is something of understanding there, "In my time it was the English we fought. Made my name doing it. In the end it didn't matter though. They were bigger and had more men and now the descendents of my old kinsmen call another Queen. Such is the way of things though, and in the end most of Europe has been punished for it's crimes over and over. As I am sure it will continue to happen. I always appreciate a good will to fight though. It's what makes nobility from commoners." he offers, the slight difference of philosphy taken to it's furthest point. "I look forward to seeing you all again soon. Good evening."
"Let us know when, and we should be there." Maddy replies, offering the departing group a smile before she turns her attention to Pan, whispering towards him, "Long Live Bonnie Prince Charlie." Then she glances from Malcolm to Pan, and back again.