Logs:Hell is Empty
Hell is Empty
|Characters:||Pan, Seth, Nikola and Muse|
|Summary:||The newly-arrived coterie introduce themselves to the Carthian Primogen.|
The song playing is, by the way: https://youtu.be/q_8gwHqG3Ac
Evenings in New Orleans are steamy, and evenings in New Orleans are hectic, but neither of those things seem to apply to Elysium. Though he has long since given up the need for thermoregulation, Nikola breathes a sigh of relief as he steps into the crisp coolness of the opulent basement. He's given up the need to breathe as well, of course, but that doesn't stop him from enjoying the dramatic effect of it.
Glancing aside at his companion, the rangy man slicks a hand back through his hair. "As you can see, Elysium remains... largely the..." He seems //about// to say 'the same', but then the music reaches his ears. Raising his brows subtly, he says "Well, //almost// unchanged." Moving with an unconsciously rolling stride, the tall man approaches the Throne.
It's something of a miracle - or would be to mortal eyes, perhaps - that the willowy brunette who descends the spiralling stairs doesn't trip over the weighty combat boots she's wearing. They're clearly overlarge. Plus the laces are trailing. As these, clompily announcing her arrival, precede her into sight of those already ensconced within the 'restricted section', they're followed by a pair of slender legs, calf length skirts of midnight blue tulle, a t-shirt of charcoal grey emblazoned with a Purple Rain logo, cracked and faded. Killed a hobo to stock our wardrobe, did we? Rather an eclectic ensemble, and yet the Kindred donning it pulls it off with aplomb as graceful as if she were attending some black tie formal. Following after the taller man she's accompanying, Muse casts eyes of gold-flecked hazel in a cursory glance over her surroundings. Familiar? Perhaps. Her expression gives nothing away; an inscrutable mask of polite enquiry.
Drifting across the floor, unhurried to the point of regal, the feline brunette does, inevitably, settle upon an open regard of the figure slung sideways across the armchair with their.. thing. Noisy thing. That prompts at least some reaction, the girl's head tilting just a touch askance as she regards the source of that frantic music. Much more intriguing, apparently, than a throne. Though, manners of a bygone era dictate she cannot simply wander over and demand explanation from a stranger.
When the two vampires descend, Pan hears the chatter - but it's the aura of their Beasts that makes them look up, really take them in with more than a glance. Ghouls shuffle in and out of this place all the time in a near-endless stream of spies and retainers and messengers. Look, new vampires. "Look at -y'all-," the Daeva sprawled across their chair says, once the two are fully descended down the stairs. "Tall, dashing, scarred. And some kinda elven antique in big stompy boots. A modern classic of a duo." They move to swing their legs off the arm of the chair, and come to a standing position before turning off the game and tucking the Switch into one overlarge pocket of their long coat that's entirely too warm even for the cool subterranean Elysium - were vampires, as previously noted, known for their need for thermoregulation. "Are you two new, or just folks who popped up while I was on sabbatical? I'm Pan."
Nikola, dressed in a rather nice blue suit, would probably have been sweating if he still could. It makes for a mismatch with his companion and her...radically alternative clothing choices. But he follows along as she approaches the chair, a hint of amusement evident. His lips quirk, slightly lopsided due to the scar at the corner of his mouth, as he finally recognizes the music being played. His own shoes -- gatorskin loafers -- make a rather less noisy announcement as the pair stride across the floor. He looks over at Muse thoughtfully as she gazes at the device in Pan's hand, watching her watch the electronics.
When Pan speaks, the taller of the two newcomers directs his gaze back to the seated figure. He smiles brightly and inclines his head, respectful without groveling, before looking at the other Vampire directly. "I am Nikola Senjan." The man's voice is interesting - a hint of an Eastern accent, fading but still audible. He glances aside at Muse, but doesn't introduce her. "I am a new resident of the city, though I've visited from time to time. I've heard your name, Primogen. It's a pleasure."
Antique? ...no, that's fair. Muse, having drawn to a halt, lowers her gaze slowly to her attire, plucking at her skirts idly with both hands, rubbing the fabric between thumb and forefinger. The fashions of this century remain a mystery to her, admittedly. But she simply likes what she likes. And that much is evident in the calm, measured way she raises her head once more; affording Pan a subtle curve of her lips, with just a hint of fang. She continues to regard them levelly as her companion offers his introduction - and denotes this androgynous beauty as Primogen. Interesting. Those dark-lashed eyes flick briefly to follow the departure of the device they'd been playing with, perhaps a smidge of disappointment in their depths, just for a moment. She'll have to investigate that some other time, apparently.
Muse's own Beast is.. languid, for the moment. It takes in that of the stranger with idle curiosity, rather than unfurling and stretching with a display of claws. Though, one might say the same of a bored tiger behind bars, no? There's undeniable power.. but it isn't roused to any particular reaction by spectators alone.
Belatedly, realising her turn may be upon her, the brunette speaks up for the first time; revealing a delicate Southern accent entirely at odds with her appearance. "Less new to the city.." she advises, softly, before offering her name. Or so one can assume it to be. "Muse." Pan is taller than she, demanding a slight upward tilt of her face in order to keep her heavy-lidded sights upon them when they rise.
The word Primogen provokes a scrunched up face and one hand lifting to scrub through Pan's hair, mussing its practiced dishevelment into one that isn't nearly as on purpose. "Yeah, uh. Not super okay with that word yet, so. Just Pan is fine? It's the kind of title you only keep until your head's chopped off in this city, anyway. So, hi Nik. Hi Muse. New or not, welcome to the Praxis as it stands. We've either got a rogue vampire chopping folk's heads off to drain them and dumping the body or somebody stealing blood and making it -look- like us, and we've got somebody knocking off anybody who takes a position of leadership, but it does mean lots of opportunities for advancement. Which Clan and Covenants are y'all in? I can direct you to somebody who can acknowledge you and everything - there's somebody for every -Clan-, at least, although we've still got spots where there's nobody for Covenants."
For the new arrival: Pan and Muse are standing near a circle of armchairs, talking, although Nikola is about to disappear.
While Muse, it appears, is paying close attention to the swift summary of the Praxis hidden within the erstwhile chatter offered up by Pan, Niko upholds his air of affable, mannerly indifference by wandering off to admire a nearby painting, hands clasped behind his back. He does nod, here and there, to convey he's listening but.. the rapt audience has, for the time being, diminished to a party of one.
Smirking ever so slightly, lips quirking in subtle amusement following Pan's reaction to the formal title, the brunette inclines her head slowly in understanding. "Pan, then." She seems perfectly accepting of this, despite the.. abrupt mannerisms. She's still not quite used to those modern traits and there's a slow blink as she processes first the whirlwind of efficient information divulged, then the enquiries that follow. A swift down-up flit of her gaze openly measures the figure before her. But then, what reason is there to withhold? "Mekhet. Carthian." Uncertain of herself - something she's not overly fond of - Muse folds her arms comfortably across her midsection following this succinct response; her straight-backed posture reminiscent of an era and decorum quite polar to the Movement. Such a contradiction.
The decades may come and go, but constants remain. For example, parking is always a bitch, whether it's carriages or mid-range BMW sedans. Seth is dressed in a sky-blue dress shirt and black jeans tonight, dark and soft-soled boots that aren't quite military-issue on his feet. Having taken care of the car, he's on his way in after Muse and Nikola, navigating through the Lee Circle Library with a deft and quick pace. He's looking around with dark, curious eyes: the clean, modern-looking lines of the library and the tall glass windows definitely catch his attention on the way through. But then he's past that and into the restricted section, strangely without books as it is, and his eyes fall on where Muse has found herself. A definite smile curves his mouth and he begins walking over, his right hand raised in a wave should any eyes be cast in his direction.
"There you are, museling. Sorry about the wait, I about got into a fistfight over the parking," Seth offers up in a by-now familiar sarcastic deadpan in the brunette's direction, once he's within quiet speaking-distance, To the new face, Pan, he nods his head politely, the smile still lingering on one half of his mouth, "Good evening," as he steps comfortably closer and to Muse's side. "I don't believe we've met. I'm Seth, Seth Lancaster," he adds, his voice an accent somewhere between French and Greek, with a strange undertone of the Queen's English mashed up and mixed in. A chaotic salad of accents, to be sure, though not unpleasant to the ear.
"Oh, well then you're one of mine. Be careful as -fuck- around here. Every ghoul reports back to the Trium and they're not shy about it, and we only -just- got our seat back after they murdered Viv and her kid, so. Ixnay on any overtyay evolutionaryray onversationscay." Advice that Pan -obviously- takes at -all times- and -never blatantly ignores-. "But yeah, consider yourselves officially acknowledged as members of the Praxis and shit if you want to be, by the power invested in me by bullshit hierarchies and concepts that should have gone out of fashion with the fall of feudalism and all that. Y'all got phones? If y'all got phones I can give you some numbers. My work number, the numbers of some mortals I use sometimes, that kinda shit. Comrades. Rope you into the community and all."
Then -Seth- arrives, and Pan looks -him- over, now. "-Damn-, Muse. You've got two? Do you swirl them together sometimes so you can get both flavors in one spoonful? Nice. Hi, Seth." Pan shoves hands into their coat's pockets, the thumbs poking out, and grins toothily, fangs showing, at the both of them. "Conquista del Pan. Call me Pan. Welcome to New Orleans, the fuckin' world capital of inconvenient and brutal decapitations."
Warning of decapitations and Kindred framing, those placed in authority being swiftly taken out - of unlife entirely, rather than mere position - and sneaky little ghouls telling tales on the night-to-night dealings of the masses? Yes.. now she feels at least somewhat at home. Still, the Mekhet eyes Pan askance. They've just such a different parlance, she's struggling to follow. Not that she'd admit any such things, of course. No, sir. There was a warning in there, somewhere, and that she accepts with a grave nod.
Seth's arrival, however, turns out to be fortuitously timed. As the Primogen wanders into some foreign babble she's never heard in her unlife, Muse's eyes widen just a fraction, sweeping aside to regard her coterie-mate with a palpable '..what?' in their expressive hues. Pig Latin, apparently, was not something well brought up young ladies were expected to familiarise themselves with. It's a fleeting look, before she returns to her regard of the taller figure before her. "Oh. Well.. thank you." Phones, next. Phones? Oh.. right, those.. things. "We.. yes." They speak so fast, she's beginning to look mildly flustered.. because it has to be that and not the casual cussing, right?
She'll get used to it.
"Spoonful.." she echoes this sentiment dubiously, before deducing that Pan is making fun at her expense. This she accepts with good grace and a sudden grin in kind. "Well, doesn't every girl enjoy her treats? I myself have a terribly sweet tooth, I'll have you know." That's response enough from her.. she clearly relies upon her newly-arrived companion to pick up the slack in regard to those modern details that are lost on her, looking up and aside to him serenely.
Seth says, "Oh, we can do that here?" A flash crosses through Seth's eyes at the word 'decapitations,' but it's... excitement? Or something close to it. The prospect of violence stirs his Beast in the same way as offering it fresh prey. His continuation of the topic is sarcasm, mostly, but he's definitely mulling something over. "Wonderful," he observes of the situation, though he seems to sincerely mean it. "If there's persona non grata running amuck, I could use the target practice," he says contemplatively, but shelves the topic a moment later. "Is there ever a convenient decapitation, though? I mean, always seems a bit of an imposition on a person, making them leave their head behind. I've never seen a person beg to be relieved of their skull, I don't think," Though, he takes a beat to think about it, casting back through his memories. Seth's lips press together momentarily while he's talking, but it's to fill the dead heartbeats as he's fishing out a cleanly made business card.
There's not much on the card, just silver text on black. 'Seth,' it reads, and then a few phone numbers. One of them is international to Egypt. "If you can't reach me at the first two, I check the last one at least once every few days. I've had a cell tower installed at the house in the swamps, but reception's still spotty elsewhere on the bayou. Can't work miracles." Well, not too many miracles, anway.
Muse's confusion at the modern parlance gets a knowing smile from Seth, one of empathy: he's been there before, not too long into the past. And the 21st century is a feisty bitch, as chunks of passing time go. He's looking back to Pan with a more serious expression, as he did catch the tail end of their conversation. For all of his early, smirking amusement at the prospect of violence... he's serious now. "We'll take the acknowledgement," Seth gets down to business, "Yeah." He's also fishing out his phone to accept any phone numbers offered. "We'll have a nice, defensible place of our own up pretty soon: I'd like to get some proper feeding rights squared away, since there's a few of us out in our swamp house, but until then, I'm putting a boat down on the Mississippi to throw the occasional bash on. You're welcome to pop by, of course," he invites Pan with a slight up-nod. "She ought to be finishing the final preparations this week, if everything goes well. I like my head exactly where it is, y'know.""
To Muse, when she mentions having a sweet tooth: "I have -two-."
"I think once you're dead, we stop considering your convenience a factor. But no, we're -Carthians-, the inconvenience of the decapitations is always on us. It's all the elder nobleman with a sword kind of decapitations and never the crowd of peasants with a guillotine type. Or, rather, half the time it's that and the rest it's the psychopath with a saw type. Or piano wire. Or whatever they're using." When Seth offers a business card, Pan reaches out to take it, to peer at it for a few moments. "Monochrome mononym, I like it. I'll text you here, you give your friends the number? I'm rarely out of touch. Just let me know when you all pick a spot, I don't think there's a member of the Movement with proper recognized territory since Vivienne and her crew died or split town, and it'd be nice to remind New Orleans that we exist and are allowed to take up space."
Seeming mollified as, with Seth's arrival, the brunt of attention is taken elsewhere, Muse's expression clears and softens; the Mekhet able to return to merely observing for the moment. There's a similar flare of wolfish anticipation, though, in response to her companion's stirring Beast, the mention of violence provocative within the brunette's demeanor, too. Albeit with a slightly different aspect.. but such details can be overlooked. Responding instead with a gentle nudge of her elbow to her coterie-mate's ribs, accompanied by a wry smirk, she seems nevertheless unperturbed by the notion of his target practise.. and amused as he waxes rhetoric on the tasty matter of quite literally 'losing one's head'. The twist lingers across her lips for Pan and their deadpan mention of those two perfectly visible canines.. and yet there's a quiet sense that she's little concern over the idea of anyone 'sampling' her coterie-mates. There's a distinct, prevailing camraderie between the trio.. and whoever else counts among their number? Likely the same. Never can tell, of course.
Catching that look sidelong from Seth, the slender brunette returns a vaguely sheepish glance. Hey, Rome wasn't built in a day. This is the first time she's been brought to the Elysium since.. well, for a while. It'll be some time before she's truly acquainted with the current generation treading these halls And in the meantime? She has her companions to guide her safely through the more treacherous waters.
Piano wire? That draws her attention, brightly, back to the Primogen. Of course it does. Good old-fashioned, theatrical aggression. It has its appeals. "..do you know what your faceless assassin is using? Has the Sheriff's investigations uncovered anything of note, in that regard?" That Southern accent, it makes everything sound like butter wouldn't melt. Shame about the subject matter. Plus, there's the blithe assumption that anyone even occupies said post..
The texting suggestion from Pan gets an affirmative nod and a "Yeah, works," out of Seth. He absent-mindedly shifts his weight to his left leg as he takes a beat to survey the room thoughtfully out of habit, before looking back to the conversation. "I throw one hell of a party, if I do say so," Seth suggests in an understated tone, business casual. "If we're looking to remind the town that the Carthians are here, the language of New Orleans seems to be parties, isn't it?" He looks around with that thoughtful glance again, "...though you wouldn't know it, looking around here," he observes idly at the somber atmosphere of the library. "Parties and violence." This last phrase invokes a thought from the depths of Seth's tranquil, thoughtful expression. "Oh, speaking of which, if the Movement needs any kit, I can make a few calls and get it on the next delivery into port. It's a profitable side business, comes in handy." He tilts his head slightly to the side. "Since the city's so dangerous, and all. Might as well be dangerous right back to it, turnabout's fair play."
Muse's series of questions gets a slight nod from Seth as well, booted foot tapping lightly against the floor. "From your expression, I doubt this fellow's a long suffering proletarian, then? Well. I was planning on setting up an enforcement arm of the Movement here anyway. Might as well get started early."
Nikola gazes up at the Rubenesque triptych thoughtfully as the others converse, his hands clasped behind his back. But he's listening -- one can sense the shift in him as he hears about the death of the former Primogen and her Childe, the stirring of something cold and monstrous beneath the surface as his Beast shifts, lifting its head and scenting the air. And then it vanishes back into the depths, latent fury receding. It can still be felt, a reptile-cold hunger, waiting to be summoned forth.
He turns back to the group, pacing to stand just behind Seth and Muse as he gazes at Pan over their shoulders. When he smiles, there are fangs evident. But his voice is remarkably mild as he says "With respect, Primogen, I think we oughtn't ask for any such allowance. We exist. We are //entitled// to our space." He stretches his arms lazily overhead, grasping each wrist in the other hand and turning his palms upward to the ceiling, the fabric of his suit-coat straining. A soft, contented, sound escapes him. Suddenly, he seems friendlier, his Beast warming, shedding its reptilian ferocity as a snake sheds skin. Perhaps it is the reminder that all here are, after all, Carthian.
"I agree with my companions. If the Sheriff is not himself Carthian, we ought not wait. May we assist?"
"If by 'kit', you just mean 'things someone with lots of money can buy', then I hereby dub you the official burner-phones-and-explosives-guy, because if I could think of anything I always want more of, it's those two things. The Invictus rolled in with a Primo same day I did - the esteemed Lady Madeleine Rapace-Roberts. Who promptly appointed her husband as Sheriff. But I bet with a word or two I could suggest it might be politically convenient for both our factions if a Hound or two were appointed from the Movement. And just because the -Praxis- has a Sheriff doesn't mean we can't...you know, do the work better without any kind of city-wide sanction or support. What we -need- is to look fucking competent, because there's nobody else doing that fucking job, right now."
Nikola's assertion gets him a broad grin. "Entitlement doesn't go far when the people in charge are a nigh-unbreakable monolith of two hundred year entrenched power. We don't get to just assume it, we've gotta take it, announce it, protect it. We're in a city where our leader's childe was killed just to draw her out of hiding, and then -she- was killed for political convenience despite the fact that it left someone -still killing us- out there somewhere. So. I'll set up a meeting with the good Lady, and see about getting her husband to appoint one of you to a Hound position, and then? I expect you to out-perform the Invictus on every level. Yeah?"
It's a minute change. A subtle downward tilt of her head. A lidding of those intense eyes and a mischievous tug at one side of her lips. But Muse is undeniably at ease and bolstered by the proximity of her coterie-mates.. and evidently finds the subject matter of the ongoing discussion beyond merely palatable. Quite delicious, in fact. It's the mention of the newly-appointed Invictus Primogen and the subsequent announcement of the first person who came to mind as Sheriff, though, that rouses an actual laugh from the willowy creature, a gentle shake of her head following that has a few of those mahogany curls bouncing against her collarbones. "As I recall, the merits of a decent Sheriff were usually weighed beyond the bedroom.. but, as I am constantly reminded, the times they are a-changin'." All that's missing, honestly, is a fan for her to idly flutter and she could be a Harpy of Elysiums long past; a simple barb summarising her opinion with elegant alacrity. "Look competent?" The old Southern affectation creeps in and she doesn't seem inclined to correct it in the slightest, arching a single brow up at Pan, affecting an appearance of innocence that's deliberately feigned. "I think you have little need for concern." Those green-gold eyes drift first to Seth beside her, then up and over a shoulder to include Niko. The wordless assurance is there: they're going to be far more use than some Invictus plaything.
"Have you ever heard the quaint old expression.. teaching your grandmother to suck eggs..?" Damn, that accent! One who looks and sounds so angelic, and yet she's calmly implying the collective ability of the coterie to see this matter dealt with, utterly unconcerned that she's addressing a Primogen. Hello? Carthian. Still.. she'll leave it to her companions to deceide upon the necessity of formality and meetings. Her own preference, clearly, is simply to get on with things. What is she? One moment every inch a Lady, the next seeming barely capable of restrain. The impatient energy momentarily rolls from her in waves.
Perhaps something about the 'appointment' roused a flicker of irritation within that previously basking Beast. No, not just irritation.. a keen observer would discern it. Contempt.
Nikola's assertion about getting involved is met with a nod as Seth wordlessly affirms his participation. 'Burner phones and explosives' gets a laugh out of Seth, and he nods agreeably. "Yeah, I can stockpile some of those. Been a while since my petty drug dealer days, but I know the game well enough. It'll be the same as coming home... without the opium." He tilts his head to the side thoughtfully at the mention of politics and listens more than he talks. "If we're going to be throwing parties, say we want to get our floating party boat declared as Elysium, to contrast with this place. What would we need to do?" He levels the question at Pan with some consideration. "First thing we'll need to do is move power off of its central axis here and into our backyard, if we're gonna pull ahead in the race. Might as well start with a place to throw raging parties."
With a glance aside at Muse, Seth's lips curve into a brief smirk at her assessment of the situation. "Now, now, museling, I'm sure we all have the good of the Domain and its residents in mind." He's so deadpan and sincere that he has to be joking. But he comes back to the subject of Hound quickly enough. "Mmm, depends. How many hats is one allowed to wear, here? Keeper of Elysium, Hound..." he trails off thoughtfully. "I'm fine with one of us taking the mantle, since we're clawing back respect. Once I can correlate the leads you've got, I'll get started on the legwork. Haven't stretched my legs in a while, myself, but I can find a guy for that." Seth's dark green eyes are disfocused as he considers the conundrum in question, though he's obviously still paying attention despite staring at a distant wall. The topic of political appointments is already in the past to him as he considers the conundrum of the killer. "If we're lucky, this guy's an idiot and we can just bait him out. If we're not..." He compresses his lips. "He'll only appear when it's inconvenient."
The question is a breath, murmured as Muse lashes out -- in her entirely genteel manner -- at the very idea of such a choice. Nikola bares his teeth in some semblance of a smile, fangs evident, but it is quite clear he shares Muse's contempt for the idea. He listens to the others, still coolly amused. Absently reaching up to brush hair back off his forehead, the bearded Vampire speaks into the lull that emerges as Seth's gears begin to turn. "Nepotism," he opines mildly, "Is a prime example of the decay of older institutions. Consider, if you will, the appointments made by Justinian II in the days before his exile." His dark eyes flash from one person to another, absently stepping further forward to brush shoulders with Seth and Muse both, //literally// presenting a unified front.
But he doesn't elaborate on the mention of Byzantine politics, as relevant as it might seem. Instead, canting his head faintly, he says "That which acts cannot be destroyed, Primogen. True in physics -- less so in politics, but not a bad notion. With one of us as Hound, and with my boat as an Elysium, and with a Carthian as Keeper of Elysium..." He trails off, shrugging slightly, turning his own attention to Seth as the other man considers the questions of murder. "Bait. Yes. Is there a pattern to the victims being killed? I'm afraid I may have let my attention drift."
"I make no claims as to the competence or incompetence of Malcolm Roberts. I will note without judgment that despite the fact that his wife outranks him, he's the kind of guy who, when she hyphenates her name, does not do the same to -his-, but I will refrain from speculating as to what this says about his sense of security in his position in their hierarchy. I will leave it to the -Invictus- to overanalyze the names and titles they give to one another."
Pan rocks back and forth on their heelsbiting their lip with the effort required to not go on further tangents about the Lord and Lady Rapace- and non-Rapace- Roberts. "As to opium, shit, if you've got it, I wouldn't say no to that either if we've got mortals to filter it through. But a new Elysium is a good idea. You don't need -me- for that, just say it loud and proud and if anyone breaks the rules, break their face. You need any help on -that- front, well. It's one of my specialties."
On the subject of hats: "I don't have any say as to which one of you is named Hound, or -if-, beyond whatever political or social pull I can aim Lady Madeleine's way. She -does- owe me a hat, though, so. I have reason to...casually bring it up, in such a way as to suggest it'd be politically advantageous, and then let things progress. I don't think there's any rules saying y'all can't all three be called Keeper. Just name it collectively Kept by your Coterie. No reason you can't all three -work- on any damn problem you want, though."
Nikola's question about victims: "I have -no- idea. Heads chopped off, exsanguinated, no blood at the dump site, that's all I know. Ghandara, Primogen of the Nosferatu, brought it up. She tasked some Lance fucker with a bad attitude with hiring some Black Constable mercenaries to look into it, but Lady Roberts named her husband Sheriff to get him on the job, too. I've been a little busy to get involved more."
The pretty brunette meets Seth's gaze, at first, with a withering expression of 'really?'.. but she relents a moment later to a reflection of his smirking amusement. Rocking gently from heel to toe and back again in her heavy boots, she gradually dissipates some of that predatory tension from within her svelte frame; rolling her narrow shoulders back and flexing her long fingers where they rest in the curves of her elbows, arms still folded across her midsection. And yes.. at the further, gentle behest of the Primogen she lets the matter lie. For now. Her attention is better focused on the matter at hand, indeed, rather than the Invictus and their fuddy-duddy nonsense. "Mercy me.." she murmurs, as a final thought on the topic, having listened to Pan's summary of the numerous figures who should have information. "..don't it just seem a classic case of the right hand not knowin' what the left one's doin'?" Airy in tone, teasing and cheerful. She may as well be at a barbecue.
You know. Serving up Invictus on a spit-roast over white wine spritzers. Perhaps with a lacey parasol.
"Well, perhaps someone will beat us to it. Taking care of this mess." Somehow, despite her words, the Mekhet manages to imply that she seriously doubts it. There's a knowing smile cast up to Niko as his proximity becomes more apparent with the shift of weight. Shared understanding is always pleasant. But there's also a sentiment echoed by he and Seth both that elicits a gradual expression of long-suffering as she does it, too. "Bait. Goodness, who could you possibly use for that.." Just to emphasise her point - or for her own idle amusement - she raises one hand to rest fingertips lightly upon her decollete; a physical expression of 'I do declare!'. Well look at her. Who wouldn't mistake her for an easy target?
Looking aside to the brunette Muse with a continuation of that smirk, Seth considers the topic seriously as he takes a few steps towards one of the room's vertical pillars supporting the high ceiling, and leans against it with the press of a tattooed forearm. "Who would ever think you're bait?" He understates in Muse's direction with a raised eyebrow. "Vulnerable, dainty... it'd work if this guy's a serial killer with a thing for collecting pretty ladies' heads, sure, but if he's some weirder flavor of nutter, I'd hesitate putting you on the chopping block so readily. Let's load up some guns and take a look at the situation before we put you on a fish-hook and dangle you out by the Mississippi for any passing murderers, museling. If you're feeling like a snack, we can stop off for one on the way home. Easily solved." He knows exactly what she'd do if the killer in question wasn't prepared for an abrupt and violent ambush, though. Her competence isn't in question, just the wisdom of teasing unknown decapitators in close quarters.
To Pan, Seth nods. "I appreciate that. If it's too much trouble, as far as one of us being Hound... we don't need the title on a platter, we can just do the thing without it. I doubt anyone will turn down the extra hands on the case. Better to have autonomy than be burdened with maliciously compliant responsbilities, after all. Not that I'm opposed to the idea, I'm willing to go through with it, just something to consider if the circumstances don't seem favorable." On the subject of Elysium, he nods simply. "Alright. That was the plan, but it never hurts to check with people who know the terrain."
"Now, Muse, don't jump to conclusions. It could be that our killer prefers tall brunette men to small brunette ladies." But Seth is expressing the same thoughts, with far more eloquence, and so Nikola falls silent for a few beats. "But I'd be happy to dangle, myself." Again, Nikola smiles. And the Beast uncoils itself, lifts its head, leaves very little doubt as to what awaits someone who bites into that particular hook. The Ventrue locks eyes with Pan for a long moment, smile lingering on his features. "I declare my ship to be Elysium." After a moment, he adds "Loud. And proud. And be damned to anyone who tries to violate its sanctity." Literally, no doubt. He glances from Seth to Muse after making his declaration, as if asking for their permission -- or endorsement, at the least. When Seth agrees, he nods to the other man firmly.
"In my homeland, we have an expression: The left hand is holding shit, and the right hand wants to clap." The urbane, faintly-accented words, slip neatly from the tongue without a change of intonation. But there is a delighted glint in his dark eyes, a warm sense of amusement radiating from the man as he looks over at Muse. "In short -- it sounds as though it is going to get messy." And suddenly, the urbanity is gone, the smile turning into a snarl, the mask just...gone. "Messy is good for us. Board 'em in the smoke," he hisses. "And leave their bodies tied to the mast."
Clearing his throat, regaining his composure, the lean Ventrue adds "Figuratively. Of course."
Everything else Pan was thinking of saying is wiped clean by Nikola's absurdly vivid saying. Pan just -stares- at him for a moment, and then states, simply: "I am very glad that I grew up in a part of the world and in a time where I had indoor toilets and wet wipes for the -whole time- I was mortal. I am extremely glad I will never have to take a shit again, and so I will never have the experience of going to wipe my ass and having to think about that saying from wherever the hell you're from. And as soon as we're done here? I'm going to go find a Ventrue and ask them to make sure I remember that saying as some other metaphor for things being about to be messy." Pan slides back two steps and leans against the arm of the chair they were in, previously. "But -fuck-, y'all. I cannot tell you how excited I am that we seem to be getting pirate Carthians. Vampire pirates. -Vampirates-. My approval shouldn't mean shit to y'all but I firmly approve. Give letters announcing it to the ghouls and they'll make sure it gets posted here, and that letters get directly sent to the types who think they're too important to come look at public postings. I mean, I'll probably get one too, but that's because they don't -know- I'm not bougie so they gotta treat me like I am."
To her credit, there's only a hint of a disgruntled growl to Muse's bearing as both her coterie-mates calmly put paid to her offer of help, such as it is. Well, 'bait' isn't exactly in her wheelhouse, after all. Fair enough. For, despite appearances - and what manner of Kindred puts much stock in those? - the Mekhet's Beast betrays her age and savagery as only it can; ever simmering just beneath the surface of that 'aw shucks' facade, barely leashed by the required propriety of control in such company as the present. "Can we?" Brightening once more, instantly saccharine-sweet at the notion of feeding offered by Seth, the brunette quells the urge to be immediately on the move.. though only just.
Fortunately, Niko can always be relied upon to provide timely distraction. Idly pivoting on a bootheel, arms flung out to offer the impression of an unhurried pirouette, Muse glances up in time to catch his eyes upon her and offers a slight grin, the tip of her tongue toying with one sharp canine. Absent-mindedly agreeing with the Primogen, she holds the Ventrue's gaze a little longer, conveying her quiet amusement at his colorful dialect. Well, his at least she can understand. "..that's disgusting, Niko." That slow turn brings her back about to face Pan, who warrant a widening of that wicked grin. "..and you'll think of it anytime someone applauds." It's as much a promise as a jest, the thought firmly implanted without any need for Dominating him, of course.
"Don't have to be figurative.." she continues, still addressing the man behind her despite her movement. What's the point of being a vampirate if you can't tie an enemy to the mast and leave them for the sun? Oh dear. Apparently that passing mention of a hunt has had a discernible effect on the Mekhet's mood; her Beast beginning to stir and, with a lazy stretch, take to a graceful pacing beyond those tenuous bars. Still, she appears to accept Pan's approval without hesitation or query. Of course they're pleased. Why wouldn't they be? One matter, however, has need of being addressed.
Halting her turn at last, hands dropping to her sides, the brunette looks between the Primogen and Seth, over there at the pillar; wary and innocent all at once, in contrast to her rising hunger. "..bougie?"
Nikola's piratical expression gets more of a laugh than the derailing shit-applause, as Seth has clearly heard expressions from that part of the world before. Still, a grin briefly crosses his lips. "Vampirates, yeah," he agrees with the idea, glancing in Niko's direction before nodding. "We'll need to get a jolly roger or two," he contemplates, tapping his chin with the back of his free hand while he leans on the pillar. "To do this properly, of course. I know some ruffians who might be interested in pirating about. I could use a break from doing paperwork, myself."
"Bourgeoisie," Seth supplies helpfully in Muse's direction. "Aristocrats, and that. I think I have a copy of Marx and Engels in the library back home, I'll pull it out for you later," he hooks his thought onto the end of the explanation, almost absent-minded as he's considering the contents of their library. And then he's back to the conversation, abrupt as lightning, and he looks to Pan with that lingering ghost of a smile that's commonly on his face. Like the distant memory of laughter, repeated by rote. "It's good to have companions in the Movement here who still have the flames kindled hot. If you ever feel like pirating about yourself, I'll save you a seat. Oh! And once our gardener gets back here from Cairo, I'll probably have some opium for you. Or herion derivative. Or whatever madness he's working on lately, I honestly haven't been keeping track, what with the chaos of moving across the Atlantic for the last few years. Logistics... I'm going to have nightmares about construction work-orders for a decade after this." The easy smile on Seth's face shows that he's not sincere about the statement, just bringing the situation up to speed with relaxed humor.
"Every single time you applaud," agrees Nikola without a hint of shame as he continues to smile at the Primogen. "Every single time." He meets Muse's grin with a wicked smile of his own, scarred lips curving sharply upward. The notion of a hunt seems as appealing to the Ventrue as it does to his diminutive coterie-mate, and he turns to Seth with an almost-boyish expression. But the Beast gives the lie to //that// look of hopeful optimism, stirring itself vividly to life. "We should take her to a nightclub," he tells Seth earnestly. "Just imagine." Yes -- imagine this dainty little combatant on the dance floor, in the flashing strobes. Imagine what happens next.
Boarding them in the smoke? Try boarding them in a smoke machine.
The notion of tying their opponents to a mast does arouse a smile from the tall pirate. "What we ought to do," he elaborates on Seth's notion of piracy, "is take a cargo ship or two as they come into the harbor. Have any of you read //Dracula//? A ghost ship or three, crews vanished and cargoes pilferred, never goes amiss." Except, of course, that it lacks any resemblance whatsoever to subtlety. "I had rather good success taking cargo ships off of Somalia a few years ago. Until that particular avenue went desert-dry. Captain Phillips." A harsh sniff of distaste.
"Ahem. Anyway. I don't have heroin, but I do have some rather good marijuana that we could offer up for sale, if taking over a supertanker is completely out of the question."
"Pot's in no short supply in New Orleans. -Plenty- of local growers, plenty of outdoor locations for growing, lots of abandoned housing that's not suitable for living in but which the cops won't check to see if you've got grow lights behind spray painted windows 'cause they're afraid of black mold. But if y'all want to start selling, I can stop buying from -mortals-. I've had to start switching my preferred prey over to the kind of folks who don't mind the occasional intoxicants for some, uh. Personal reasons. So putting more out there makes my life easier." Hands still in pockets, Pan gives each of them a long, appraising look.
"So. I'm trying to work this whole..." One hand comes out, gestures at the three, waves about. "Dynamic out. So Seth's the respectable one with all the resources and the connections. Enjoys the antics but maintains some respectability for y'all. Nikola says the shit that grabs attention, gets right up in everybody's faces, probably does the bulk of your up close bloody work, although I could definitely see Seth standing over someone begging for their life with a gun pressed to their forehead, just too vivid an image to shake. And Muse, she's...quiet, observant, paying way more attention than she lets on, subtle, scarier than she looks, probably does a lot more of the talking when there's not a stranger around. Not trying to be nosey, I just want to get a feel for who you folks actually -are-, as opposed to just talking about what we can -do- together."
"Oh." This is the eloquent first-response to the explanation given by Seth, in the wake of that unfamiliar parlance. "Thank you." Well, manners cost nothing.. that doesn't prevent Muse from hoarding them, apparently, for her coterie-mates alone. Maybe Pan, too. On a good night. Speaking of, she eyes the Primogen, openly and unabashedly, with those big dark eyes; the rich hazel hue overlaid in unlife with shimmering gold. "I'm hungry." she informs them, matter-of-factly. Well, it's not as though she needs to have concern for the fashionable maintenance of that tiny waist. Not on her diet. "If there's nothin' else pressin', Pan.." Clearly having been about to offer a fare-thee-well, the Mekhet pauses as a conversation takes place over her head.
This is not, in and of itself, a rare occurrence. That much is plain.
"A what now?" Were nightclubs a thing, when she last prowled the streets of Nawlins? It would appear not.. or if so, she has long forgotten. Looking between Niko and Seth, feline curiosity playing across those expressive features; lively and undeniably appealing. Is it easy for her, one might wonder, to lure hapless prey in just with a bat of those ebon lashes? Hell yes. Is that usually her approach of choice? ..no. No, definitely not. That Beast, while no doubt inviting in many ways, is not overtly seductive in nature. That's not her play at all. Too easy, perhaps.
Before the question can be answered, anyway, something else ensnares the Mekhet's attention. Pan's focus upon each of them in turn. She can feel the weight of that gaze, and instinctively turns to meet it with her own.. only to loose a low, throaty laugh a splitsecond later, as they postulate aloud on the dynamic within the trio. It's an entirely genuine, uninhibited mannerism. No shade. Though.. well, vampires do tend to enjoy shade. Take that as you will.
The observations on her companions evidently meet with her approval; a broad grin offered to Niko, fangs indenting her lower lip, and a fond gaze of appraisal settled upon Seth, in turn, for each of their summaries. As for her own? The brunette merely quirks a single dark brow up at Pan, those white teeth still revealed. Indicating she addresses her coterie-mates with a slight tilt of her head, she opines aloud, after a pause just this side of uncomfortably long. "...I like this one."
Seth smirks, an expression drawn out by Nikola's comments about Muse and hunting, although he doesn't linger on it over-long. He's instead listening to Pan thoughtfully, head canting to the side. An abrupt laugh agrees with Muse's final observation, something about the construction of the statement and its delivery genuinely amusing him. But he's considering Pan's observations seriously, after all. They were finely constructed. A sincere response follows, "I came over from Cairo. Bought an old place out on the Bayou, found this little saintess of trouble," he upnods slightly in Muse's direction, "sleeping on the property. Know Niko here through work stuff." It's dramatically understated, though concise enough. Piracy is 'work stuff?' Well, he does seem pretty ennui about the whole thing.
Seth continues his response, although on a bit more indirect tack. "My father was in the army, back when the Crown occupied Egypt and other bits of Africa. So was I, for a while. Seen my share of killing. I don't do it much these days, but that's more because the modern era's deadliest weapons are numbers in a bank account than bullets in a rifle. Not that I have anything against bullets," he clarifies, the focused and then meandering track of his thoughts alternating back and forth almost on whimsy. But he's clearly thinking about something else, underneath. "They're cheap now, though. Wave your hand and a piece of plastic and you can get a dozen men willing to die for you, like shopping for a carton of eggs at the grocer's." It's an odd expression, from an old Vampire, but Seth clearly remembers it. "People say we're magic, but money... nah. Money's the real magic, or at least, it's the kind I take care of. The rest of the crew can rampage about because we've got a whole lotta violence bottled up and waiting to go." He shrugs. "Can't have a revolution if nobody's alive on the other side of it. Right now, we're in survival mode, far as I'm concerned. Once things are stable here, though..." he trails off thoughtfully, leaving the possibilities unvoiced. "Anyway, it seems like we have a long list of errands to tend to, before that."
Seth hasn't forgotten Muse's statement, smirking as he fishes the car keys out from his pocket. "Alright, I think I know a place for you to freshen up before we head back to the house," he affirms in her direction, straightening up from his lean on the pillar, although he's not walking away yet, of course. He looks back to Pan. "Pleasure meeting you, Pan. I look forward to working with you further."
"Yes... As you can see, Seth is our spiritual leader, our guru, our guide, and our financier. Also, he is the handsome one, the planner, and the pragmatist. He wears many, many, hats." Nikola's voice is rather fond, expression amused as he gazes over at their so-called spiritual leader, listening to the man explain his own role in the organization. He absently reaches up, loosening his collar as though the very notion of describing himself necessitates more air -- an affectation, obviously, here beneath the surface. After a few moments of consideration, the somewhat-unorthodox Ventrue adds, "Muse? Muse speaks for herself. I would never presume to box her in." Wisdom, then, beneath that flashy exterior.
And then, finally, it leaves himself. "Am I the noisy attention-grabber? The right hand to keep your attention while the left hand picks your pocket?" The question seems genuine, as though Nikola himself is uncertain of his role. "Am I the cheese on the mousetrap?" Another thoughtful pause. A look over at Muse, as if for guidance, and a long moment of silence as he stares at her, his own attention apparently diverted by some thought. "I think," he finally ventures, "That I've just proven your point, Primogen." And he smiles again, shark-sharp, fangs fully evident. "I'm the noisy one."
He looks thoughtfully between Muse and Pan, considering them both. For a moment, again, his brash demeanor seems to slip aside and reveal something...older. More considered. The ancient Beast raises its head again, overlaying an inhumanly-objective cast to his features as he studies the pair. When he speaks next, his voice is entirely different. Grave, measured. "Yes," he answers. "I do too, Muse." He straightens from his slouch, as Seth has, directing his attention entirely on Pan, studying them with that same gravitas.
"It will be a pleasure to be of assistance to you, Primogen. I appreciate the warmth of your welcome."
A moment later, though, Pan notes: "But I like all of y'all. I'm glad you're in town. You've got me hopeful that maybe some shit will get done before we're all killed. And that if -I- specifically get killed first, that there's somebody else ready to step in. I feel like if any of you had been around two weeks ago I probably wouldn't be in this situation. Have a good hunt."
"I look forward to it, too. All of y'all." Out of the three, though, Pan points a finger at Muse. "You and I, though? We're gonna have a chat at some point where you can't verbally hide behind these two and just say a word here and there all cute and get ignored. Your whole fade-into-the-background act is just gonna make me pin you down one on one at some point."