Logs:Hollow Things

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Hollow Things


Characters: Remi de l'Aguille and Tivadar
Date: 2020-03-20
Summary: Two Kindred become acquainted at an art opening.
Disclaimers:

It was always supposed to be a middle-of-the-night show opening, they said. No, of course, the fact that they're letting people into the gallery showing the latest, freshest multimedia talent that could be found in the Big Easy only a handful or two at a time has everything to do with artistic choices and not corona virus. Of course, some people need not worry about such things, but how could the very mundane owner of this particular small business know that?

The exhibit contained within the small warehouse in a rundown part of town (about to have a renaissance, they say!) has been draped with black fabric, creating a maze of passageways that contain this sculpture or that 3D painting that's more than just paint, with lights designed to cast shadows and give the whole place the ethereal air of dreams (hence the name of the show, "Dreamscapes"). The art is a little hit or miss, an artist still dreaming, still finding themselves, still mimicking other artists but skilled enough to put a unique twist on each piece displayed.

The few mortals within drift through the maze of black murmuring in quiet voices, holding glasses of champagne or hors d'oeuvres, but the suffocating velvet feel of Remi's Beast occupies the space well enough that, even without lashing out, his presence may be deduced by any sensitive to the predatory aura of the hunter. For now, his hunt may, in fact, be the art as he stands thoughtfully in front of a canvas that holds a figure coming apart, skin splitting with fire or the smatters of inky smoke, some places knit with print words, tiny fragments of a book - or maybe even newspaper that build the image into something more.

--

Art runs through Tivadar's veins as surely as vitae, and even though his speciality is literature, the ancient Daeva takes an interest across the spectrum. He's still catching up with the various changes in art over the last century or so, including the advent of photography, so he isn't exactly sure what he's expecting to find when he steps into the gallery.

However out of touch he may be, he certainly looks the part of the trendy young art collector. He's dressed in a pink satin suit with a slightly sheer silk shirt beneath. It's an outfit that could easily have come straight off a runway in Paris, but it hasn't. It's been tailored so exactly and expertly that it cannot be anything but couture, and an expert like Remi will likely even notice the fine work where the piece has been painstakingly hand sewn. It's not an outfit that many could pull off, but Tiv manages it with panache, with messily unstyled hair and a pair of large, dark glasses giving him a slightly 'devil-may-care' vibe.

Drifting through the gallery, Tivadar takes in the pieces with real appreciation. Certainly he doesn;t like them all, but he seems to put real thought into what he's looking at as he tries to appreciate this strange new medium. He makes hs way through the network of twisting hallways created by those swathes of dark cloth until he rounds the corner into the area where Remi is considering the painting of the disintegrating woman. Faced suddenly with the prospect of another of his kind, Tivadar's beast squirms and writhes uncomfortably within his belly, the hairs on the back of his neck rising slightly as he steps quietly into view of the other predator. Still a good distance off. Making himself known in as non-threatening a way as possible.

--

That makes two well-dressed Serpents in one place. Remi's suit might as well be the devouring night next to the glitz and glamour of Tivadar's attire that might well be considered star-like by contrast. Though the younger Daeva doesn't often wear black, tonight it lends him an air of authority that suits his thirtyish appearance, but the cut, the fit, it's in the same rare class as that of his clanmate's, if from different sources.

The Frenchman turns just enough to cast his sharp blue gaze back over his shoulder as the sense, more than the sight, of Tivadar enters his awareness. The look lingers until he's completed a swift assessment that ends in: not an immediate threat... but certainly not ever not a threat. Such is the nature of Kindred, though, or at least in Remi's experience. He swivels on his heels and advances in a slow stroll toward the other vampire, a ghost of a smile playing across his lips.

"Good evening," is friendly enough, the English without accent and nearly perfect, though the intonations are a trifle 'off' for a native speaker. His eyes narrow slightly, mind reaching for a recognition that might be just at its edge. "May I give offer my compliments to your attire? That is a fine piece of fashion and you do wear it well."

--

Tivadar watches as the darkly suited vampire approaches, his dark gaze resting steadily upon Remi behind the sunglasses he's wearing. The Toreador is every bit as fashionable as his counterpart, though slightly more rumpled and artsy in his style, where Remi is so crisp and sharp. Tivadar's beast continues to squirm like a bloated little lamprey in his abdomen. However, through centuries of practice, Tivadar manages to school his expression to an indifferent air of relaxed poise. It's an art one learns, given sufficient time. Still, those eyes linger meaningfully, taking a full inventory of the other predator before his gaze finally returns to Remi's face.

"Good Evening" Tivadar eventually responds in turn. However, while Remi has cultivated that accentless intonation, Tivadar has proudly clung to his roots, speaking with a strong eastern European accent that gives him a little exotic flair, perhaps. Still, the English itself is practically perfect. When Remi compliments Tivadar's attire, the Toreador gives a slow turn, allowing an all-around view. Once this is complete, he speaks once again. "I must offer my compliments also. I was admiring the pad stitching on your lapels, they never sit as well when they're..." a brief pause as he seems to search for the word, finally settling upon "...machined" with a slight cant of his head to one side.

Eyes still resting upon Remi, Tivadar gestures mildly with his left hand in the direction of the painting. "Are you enjoying the work? I find it very modern," he states simply, the leftmost corner of his mouth curling slightly upward into an enigmatic smirk as he does.

--

By contrast to Tivadar's Beast, Remi's is a little more like a lazy cat, just quietly extending that habitual feel of not being able to draw quite enough air, the velvet of its touch cloying and unnerving. It's not that it's unaffected by the presence of Tivadar's proximity and that which dwells within, alongside, the Man, but that Remi's best defense is keeping his offense present and watchful.

If they knew each other better, the continental vampire might be reaching to flip off Tivadar's glasses. As is, he merely gestures, "Can you take it in properly with those?" The art is meant to be seen for itself, after all. The tone verges on critical, but doesn't quite get all the way there. There's a shift in Remi's frame that isn't quite relaxing, but is letting him sway a step nearer to the other Kindred, ostensibly for a better look at the stitching on the pink masterpiece, merely making an approving noise of assent to the commentary on lapels.

"I admit, I am not as captivated by this display," a hand goes to flap in the direction of the piece on the wall without deigning to give it back his attention, "than the detail on you." His suit, he probably means. Brows rise before blue eyes come back to Tivadar's face. "The work reminds me of an artist long ago." There's that slight squint at the man's face again. If the Serpent is a little stymied and mildly frustrated as such, well... memories do suffer through torpor sometimes. "Do you enjoy the modern?" He inquires, finally glancing back in the direction of the thing they've both come to see, presumably.

--

There's a pause that feels much longer than it really is, before Tivadar reaches upward with his left hand, clasping the arm of the vintage Dior glasses between thumb and forefinger. He initially moves to push them upward into his hair, before finally thinking better of it and removing them altogether. They're folded, and then suspended from the open collar of his shirt by one arm, the extra weight causing the sheer silk to dip an inch or so further to give just the barest indication of his collarbone. "I've never had trouble seeing in the dark" Tivadar comments quietly, corners of his mouth lifting in quiet amusement, as eyes rest on the other Daeva a moment longer, before finally slipping back to the artwork on the wall.

When Remi comments further on Tivadar's outfit, those eyes slide back to him, this time with a hint of renewed curiosity as they study the younger vampire once more. There's a moment of pause, Tiv's lips pursing just slightly for a second before he slowly reaches to open the left side of the jacket enough for Remi to see the embroidered monogram on the inside of the breast. It's a small, subtle detail, though the letters GDVP can be clearly seen, even in low light, by highly tuned kindred vision. Tivadar's brows lift just slightly before the jacket is closed once more, and his attention returns ostensibly to the work of art, though his focus remains very much on Remi. There's a moment of quiet reflection before he offers "In some ways it is fascinating, but there is something cold about it. A lack of..." he pauses thoughtfully "...romance" he concludes, with a slight nod of his head in the direction of the painting.

--

Every movement is tracked by the sharp blue gaze of the dark-suited Daeva, some small hint of pleasure flashing across his expression before it smooths to its usual cool neutrality. "Of course not," Remi replies lightly, Tivadar's amusement mirrored by subtle change in the set of Remi's lips. "It's simply not how the art was meant to be seen," he dismisses, adding in an aside, "though in this case, a darker lens might do more to add to the artistry than to take away." He won't, certainly, be putting in a bid on this particular piece tonight.

When the slender man moves a hand to reveal the monogram, Remi's Beast reacts faster than Remi, the Man. There's a sudden tension, a sense of coiled to spring in the moment of surprise that appears on the Daeva's face before he's rocking back on his heels and folding his arms across his chest. There's a moment where his intense gaze is back on Tivadar's face, studying it with a different kind of interest, maybe even a shade more suspicion or something. After a moment, the Beast within settles, if slightly more on edge. "Now, that, is not a maker's mark I've seen in many, many years."

He frowns slightly, letting his briefly brooding look go back to the art to take the brunt of his quick sorting of his internal reactions. When he opens his mouth it's to address the remark about the art. "Too much realism, perhaps?" He lets his eyes narrow, really considering the art and then shrugging. "Romance is ready enough to come by, if one is looking to find it." Abruptly, he looks back to the other Serpent. "She is well?" She who is GDVP.

--

Tivadar blinks once, slowly, though both of the predators will know it's strictly unnecessary. The crowd of mortals is sparse enough that it cannot even be a show for them, but something that must be intended for Remi. When Tiv's eyes reopen, there's a slight smile that reaches them, almost playful, as he observes the sudden rush of tension in the other Daeva. Without the dark glasses, Tivadar's features are far more expressive than one might expect for a vampire of his age, and he chews on this bottom lip thoughtfully for a second, appearing to consider Remi and his reaction a moment, before looking back to the painting once more.

Tivadar doesn't immediately respond to the comment about the maker's mark on the inside of his jacket as he once again observes the piece of artwork. Tiv's lips press very slightly together, though the rest of his features remain still. It's not until Remi suggests there is too much realism that Tiv gives the tiniest shake of his head left to right, seeming to at last come to a decision on the piece. "It just rings...hollow" he observes, with a slightly haunted edge to that final word. "It frightens me in a way" he confesses, before finally looking back to Remi, when he asks after Madame DVP directly. "This age suits her. She is freer than she has ever been." he states simply, eyes resting thoughtfully upon Remi for several moments, though he does not pose the obvious question, as much as to leave it hanging in the air.

--

The older Kindred's expressive features draw the younger's distinct interest. Between that and his confession, Remi's quite forgotten the catalyst for the conversation. The art is less captivating to the Daeva than all this, though it seems to have caught the attention of two humans who pass by the pair of predators to get a closer look. Their presence finds Remi's voice dropping to hushed tones that won't carry far. His, "Frightened...?" and "You?" could be taken in a variety of ways given the ambiguous rhythm of word and accompanying silences. "Hollow things are simply in waiting to be filled, surely." If only this artist had done a better job. He doesn't study the piece, but rather Tivadar. After a moment, his words skip topics, quite intentionally, "I should be delighted to become reacquainted with her," but if course, only with Tivadar's goodwill for such a connection.

"I am, perhaps, remiss. I am Rémi de l'Aguille." The strange name might be remembered. Remi of the Needle. It's not even a man named after his craft, but rather the tool of it. It's not a normal French name, not even in a long ago era, but it is the name that was whispered quietly in those circles of high fashion so long ago, his sire's secret weapon when it came to battles whose weapons were satin, silk and lace.

--

Tivadar spares a glance for the pair of mortals, apparently far more enthralled by the piece than either of the kindred. Those dark eyes rest upon them for a second or two, and if Remi is watching closely, he might spot Tivadar's tongue run ever so briefl across his teeth as he does. Those quiet words are heard, though it takes a second more before Tivadar's attention slips fully back to the other vampire, that playful expression from before mingling with a slight curiosity as he studies the younger Daeva once more.

When the introduction comes, Tivadar's brows lift slightly, as though everything has fallen into place, there's a slight smile, followed by a respectful inclination of his head to the artist. "Of course you are, it makes sense now." he acknowledges, taking a half a step closer -- too close really -- to reach out and gently inspect the other Daeva's lapel with obvious appreciation. "Still using the old methods, I see. That's good." he praises, before retreating that half a step back and introducing himself with a very slight bow from the waist. "Tivadar Dragfi."

--

Remi's eyes flit from the older Daeva's lips to the mortals, a knowing amusement briefly warming his sharp features, but then he's being studied in turn and lifted brows and an open serenity of expression (perhaps slightly forced) welcomes the examination. The artisan's chin lifts slightly as if silently inviting the verbalization of whatever conclusions are drawn and seeming satisfied when the younger-looking man slots his name into some memory.

The man in black remains exceptionally still when the Toreador touches his lapel, inclining his head slightly to accept the praise. The name offered in turn seems to piece the puzzle together for the younger vampire, too, and he sighs a soft, "Ahh," that is as much relief as some small measure of relaxation. "You attended our parties, did you not?" Obviously, Remi's unlife circumstance has changed since then, the time when he was a ghoul, or perhaps a the newest of neonates. A glance chances to dart away from Tivadar to the humans, and Remi's head tilts very slightly in silent question.

--

"He did a good job keeping you out of sight" Tivadar responds smoothly, those dark eyes raking over Remi once again before flitting briefly back to the pair of mortals, before returning. A moment of quiet consideration follows, before Tivadar speaks again. "Ghyslaine would enjoy it, I'm sure. She rarely has the chance to discuss her work with another true artist. You'll let me have your card?" he asks, perhaps a little old fashioned, Do people still leave cards anymore? Tivadar seems to think that they do. The pair of mortals are by now moving off toward the next piece, and Tivadar's interest in the pair wanes just as quickly. "I have a finer vintage at home" he offers by way of explanation "And besides, it does not do to overindulge" which is a most unusual attitude for a daeva.

A final look is given to the painting, Tivadar pursing his lips once more. After a moment, he speaks. "We are hollow things" he nods in the direction of the painting "It reminds me too much of us, really. She is disintegrating, losing herself. She knows it, but is powerless to stop it, so she despairs." he frowns slightly, those expressive features looking briefly haunted as he stares at the work a few moments more.

--

"Simply good economic sense on his part," and a healthy dose of possessiveness. "Supply and demand. If I was nowhere to be found, then none could seek my skills without his explicit blessing." Not that a ghoul like the Remi of old would have ever disobeyed the instructions given him by the center of his world. It would seem, though, in the centuries that have passed Remi appears to have become his own Kindred for there is no sense of that submission now in his self-possessed demeanor.

"Not quite in the old style. The paper is not nearly so nice and they're mass produced," rather than handmade and written with exquisite calligraphy and care. Still, Remi reaches into an inner pocket in his coat and withdraws a slim white card of enough weight to be respectable by someone of his exacting standards. There's nothing but a phone number, but that serves the purpose and it's proffered to the older Kindred.

The younger Daeva's brows lift a little at the philosophy, but amusement plays on his lips, at least until the deeper impact of the art is brought to light. "Some of us believe otherwise." A very, very small segment, to be fair, within that unpopular Mystery Coil buried in the Order of the Dragon. "But that is perhaps a deeper conversation, for another day. If you contact me, I shall attend you at your convenience." This may be a throwback touch of deference to the elder's age, and yet, there's nothing really deferential in Remi's demeanor, his gaze still sharp, his expression once again cool.

--

Tivadar watches as the card is produced, and then reaches over to accept it when it's handed over. The elder turns it over in his hands, before giving a single slight dip of his head in apparent approval, and secreting the card away somewhere about his person. "I am sure Ghyslaine would be pleased to become reacquainted" Tivadar agrees, eyes resting on Remi for a moment, before he adds "And I would certainly enjoy getting to know you better, now you're not so jealously guarded" Tivadar teases, eyes flaring briefly with that spark of humour once more as the corner of his mouth flick upward in the brief suggestion of a smile.

Tivadar holds Remi's gaze for several seconds, almost to the point of awkwardness, before he looks about himself once more, and when his eyes alight on the work, there is a very briefly pained look. "I really can't be around it any longer" the older vampire remarks, before looking back to Remi. "Would you be so kind as to excuse me? I have several matters to attend to."

--

"There is something to be said for personal freedom, to be sure. I would value the opportunity to speak with you further," Remi returns in kind, but there's more than courtesy in the words judging by the very real intrigue thinly veiled in that cool expression. One glance goes to the painting before he nods slowly. "Of course." The younger Daeva inclines his head in polite farewell. "A good evening to you," he wishes the elder before gliding his way toward the pair of humans still observing the work of art. Tivadar may have a better place to grab a bite, but apparently Remi isn't so choosy, at least not tonight.