Logs:Long May it Last

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Long May it Last


Characters: Marcus, Muse and Nikola
Date: 2020-06-08
Summary: Good night, good work, I'll most likely kill you in the evening.
Disclaimers:

Restricted Section - Lee Circle Library - Central City

It's relatively peaceful. You know, even by the standards one would expect of a hidden chamber beneath a library. Kindred come and go, of course, as do ghouls and other creatures with permission to do so; fetching and retrieving, or leaving messages, some simply lingering to catch up on gossip of enjoy a little company before venturing out to hunt.

Keeping herself apart from these seemingly innocuous and largely infrequent bursts of activity, the newly appointed Harpy is comfortably settled in a high-backed armchair, her attention downcast on the sleek tablet in her lap. Oh, she glances up with a ready curve upon her lips for those who do approach her. Manners demand such things. But she seems content in her own company, for the most part; no invite given to join her, merely a polite exchange of greetings or necessary information before whoever it is finds themselves gently dismissed. It's not that she's rude, or even anti social. She's just.. distracted might be the best descriptor.

Muse is, as usual, attired in her trademark 'eclectic eleganza'. The ever present combat boots are there, tonight their backdrop striped leggings of dark green and ebon. Catch them at the right angle and with the pop culture understanding and you might discern the Slytherin House insignia high on one thigh. With this is paired an oversized t-shirt of faded marl gray, black lettering upon the fabric proclaiming 'Not today'. That mane of dark waves is left loose about her shoulders, looking always just a little tousled - the sort of 'bedhead' that some women spend hours perfecting. This one? Probably just hasn't brushed it. On the plus side, given the pleasantly dim lighting in Elysium, the Mekhet has abandoned her Aviators onto the table before her; those expressive green-gold eyes in full view. So, there's that. And what exactly is so important on that digital screen? A delicate fingertip is swiping steadily as she appears to skim-read the words of an article..


There is an old adage that states that peace is a lie, there is only passion. Naturally there are none so passionate as those from the Mediterranean, and none as exemplar of the idea of passion as the Daeva - thus wherever peace exists a Daeva from the Mediterranean will undoubtedly show up to ruin it all with bad dancing and an out of date fashion sense.

Herein we greet our hero for the evening, Marcus Perperna is the very definition of out of date but in a cute way. Donning a tuxedo style that would fit the very earliest of Fred Astaire films, the gentleman enters with almost a sway of music about his steps, as if there is a song playing that only he knows. You know, the exact opposite of a Disney production. As he makes his way into Elysium after several months away he surrenders a old and disheveled sword to one of the waiting Ghoulish attendants, before sashaying into the peripheral of Muse's view.

"Ah," Perperna states, as if having just discovered that someone had put a juice carton back into the fridge empty, "Madame Harpy, I was rather hoping to spot you here this evening."


"Mmm. Wish granted." The brunette doesn't raise her head immediately, though that half-smile twitches at her lips as she's addressed, elfin features cast in strange illumination by her device. It's set as dim as possible, of course, but still.. there's enough light to cast her eerily, until she calmly flips the cover closed, a binding of simple black leather, and clasps her hands atop. Only then does that gaze drift upward, taking in the form and attire of the latest figure to approach her from the ground up. Nice shoes. Likewise the suit. Unhurriedly, quite unabashed about the appraisal, she eventually levels her gaze upon the Daeva's and offers him the full force of her smile in greeting.

Despite the vague adolescence of her clothing 'style', if it could be called such, Muse is likewise just a touch... out of place. "I don't believe I've had the pleasure." she begins, inviting an introduction from the newly-returned vampire. That sweet Southern voice, pitched softly and bearing a velvet cadence in the lower inflections, is pure class. Add to this her mannerisms, and the natural elegance with which she conducts even the tiniest nuance, and one can easily imagine her in centuries past. Perhaps more easily than her presence can be believed in the here and now.

Stirring, with characteristic feline curiosity, Muse's Beast unfurls and examines the other in its proximity. She's old enough not to feel the need for showboating, it would seem. It's more an air of polite enquiry, at this stage.


Apparently Mister Perperna isn't the shy, or the hurried, sort and so simply stands at a reasonable but polite distance with an nonthreatening neutral pose while he is inspected. He does glance down at himself and remove a small piece of fluff from his jacket, which he pockets, but otherwise remains deathly unmoving. "That's what I get for having simple wishes. Next time I shall wish you arrive riding on an over-sized falcon."

Once the physical examination is done, the supernatural one begins as his own beast, ancient as it is, languidly peers outwards towards that of his companion - similarly inquiring rather than outwardly hostile. Showboating is for people ashamed of owning a boat. "Marcus Perperna," he says by way of introduction, "Recently returned from the old world." His own accent is difficult to place, some vulgate Italian perhaps; though it is eminently obvious that English is not his first language. "Invictus, Daeva, sonovabitch... I think that covers it." He shrugs lightly, apparently not really caring about the traditional etiquette.


"Not a unicorn?" The Harpy affects a momentary expression of contemplation, tilting her head a touch askance as she continues to regard the Daeva. "Well.. I suppose I'd look just as fetchin' on a falcon, come to that. So I shan't hold it against you. Much." There's a glimpse of white teeth in a mischievously quirked grin, sharp canines momentarily quite apparent. Leaning back, settling comfortably in her chair with her forearms coming to rest in a vaguely regal manner upon the carved arms, the Shadow offers the one opposite with a fractional inclination of her head. "Please." Goodness, has he proven distraction enough already to warrant a seat? "And pleased to make your acquaintance, sir." That Southern Belle charm is quintessential and seems perfectly genuine. Quite the bizarre contradiction, given her true nature, but there it is. "I trust your travels were.. fruitful. Or at the very least rich with whatever pleasures take your fancy." That could be quite a long list. Daeva are hardly known for their restraint.

Is she perhaps trying to place that mysterious accent? If so, Muse doesn't linger on it overlong. She's more amused by the offered non-titles.. and she doesn't bat an eyelash at the unfortunate revelation of Marcus being Invictus. Nobody's perfect. "If it's all the same, I'll stick with 'Mister Perperna'.. at least until you do somethin' to warrant my callin' you somethin' a little less proper." Well, it wouldn't exactly follow her own sense of etiquette, addressing him cheerfully in greeting as sonovabitch. Tempting as it may turn out to be.

Flitting her dark-lashed gaze from her new companion briefly, tthe Harpy upnods fractionally toward a nearby ghoul, who hastens forward to set fresh glasses of chilled and sweetend Vitae on the table. "Anyway.. now that your original wish has been granted.. how may I help you? Or did you merely wish to form an opinion?" Another of those near smirks and her attention settles upon the man opposite once more. A flicker of playful challenge? Maybe.


Quickly, though unhurridly, taking the offered seat Marcus offers a small shrug of his shoulders, "I thought a unicorn would be a little cliche. Harder to explain to the peasantry, too." He leans back in the chair, apparently quite comfortable in the presence of such a woman, Carthian and all. "The pleasure is all mine, I am sure. As for my travels... they were productive, though a might more difficult than I would like. Darn near froze over the Atlantic. Again." He shakes his head slowly, wiping the annoyance from his expression.

"Mister Perperna is exceptionally agreeable," sayeth he, "My fellows wallow in their titles like pigs in muck... as if anyone else cares." He pauses and his lips spread into a small, but obvious, grin, "At least we aren't Dragons, I suppose." He chuckles softly at his little joke before settling his hands in his lap. Several small moments pass as the two gaze at one another, the subtle dance of beast and mind at work as it ever is, "Oh forming an opinion is simply one of life's little pleasures, I prefer to be more productive when meeting someone for the first time." He grins again, "Though if I were to want to form an opinion, I'd rely upon our Harpy to tell me what it is." Another small pause, Mister Perperna seems to enjoy choosing his words carefully, "That was, rather, what I wanted to discuss with you. Appointed Harpies are... rare, at least in my experience. I served for a time as an unofficial Harpy in France, and was hoping to offer my services in an... advisory capacity. A... Talon, I believe is the term?"


The mention of seafaring, even with the displeasure over the near-freezing, clearly rouses some intrigue in the Mekhet. She doesn't bother to disguise it.. after all, what sort of Daeva would he be if he didn't enjoy a moment of idle approval from the likes of her? Once again, though, she moves on as the conversation does. "Things could always be worse, indeed." she opines, in the wake of Marcus' jest over the merits - or lack thereof - of various mythological beings. Unicorns trump Dragons. So do Carthians, of course.

"An Invictus with little regard for title.." The notion appears to amuse the brunette, a single brow arching as she mulls it over. "..curiouser and curiouser. And yet willin' to add the one of Talon to his surely already long resume?" Crossing her long legs at the knee, Muse absent-mindedly bounces her uppermost foot to a rhythm only she, apparently, can hear. On the plus side, she's still grinning. Perhaps she's not perturbed after all by his leanings, in regard to Covenant. "Did you enjoy your time as a Harpy, Mister Perperna? What about the position, appointed or otherwise, appealed to you? The social aspect? The power? The potential for Boons? No, really.. I'm interested." That much seems true enough, given the way her gold-flecked eyes linger thoughtfully upon the Daeva.

Leaning forward, the ghoul servant having wandered off to the next group who summon him, Muse picks up one of the freshly poured glasses, dangling it from a thumb and forefinger, swirling the contents gently. "You said you were recently returned.." she adds, apparently as an afterthought, though really it's anyone's guess. "..what opinion do you have of the current state of the Praxis? Be blunt." She hasn't accepted the offer quite yet. But nor has she denied him outright.


"An old Invictus, far more keen on... stability than on pretense," Marcus says with a slight nod, "If one has to *say* they're important, how important are they really?" He shrugs lightly as more qustions are posited, causing him to lean ever so slightly forward, though now his legs are crossed at the knee, "The record keeping was my... particular area of expertise. Who owed what to whom, why, who said what, when. Details like that. There's something charming, I find, about knowing such things." He pauses once more, with pursed lip and narrow gaze, "Boons are nice, and power is fine, but those can come easily enough with far less responsibility. I want to be of use, of... service, I suppose. And that I get to quench an urge of my own at the same time is a bonus in itself."

Then the big one comes, the question about the Praxis itself. There is another, longer, pause at this as the Daeva leans back once more, "Stagnant. And yes, I appreciate the irony coming from an old and crusty Invictus, but that was what I felt the main problem was when I was here last." He shrugs his shoulders again, more of an affectation than an actual expression, "Things seem to be progressing now, though. Primogen appointed, court offices being issued. Quite frankly, it's envigorating. If it lasts."


"Ah yes, the new Primogen. Long may they last. Their predecessors were not particularly fortunate, as I understand." Not particularly fortunate.. that's a polite term for 'murdered in horrible ways', isn't it. But then, Muse does have a certain ladylike quality. It simmers just beneath the surface, right alongside that languidly observant Beast, which paces back and forth beyond metaphorical bars of propriety and decorum. There's the distinct impression that such imprisonment is only ever temporary.

Having posed the questions, the Mekhet is content to listen attentively to the answers provided, raising her glass to take a delicate sip of the ruby contents, still observing Marcus across the rim. The intensity of her attention some might find disconcerting.. but likely not one so old as he. Is that what she's considering? "Old, perhaps. Crusty seems less likely." A pointed flit of her gaze wordlessly indicates that classic suit. Sure, it's a little outdated. But so is she, and she's getting along fine. "I'm inclined to agree, sir, with your choice of wordin'. Stagnant suits the situation well. Though some regard the word 'change' as far more formidable, alas." Tilting her head again, the brunette offers the ghost of a smile. "Your describin' it as invigorating bodes well, in my opinion."

There's a brief pause, nothing further offered to fill the silence between them. And then, it seems, the Harpy reaches some conclusion, nodding just once to convey such, without explanation. "Very well. I'd say we seem like-minded enough that the notion of workin' with you isn't entirely abhorrent." Oh, high praise. Way to turn on the charm, Muse. Oh wait.. is she being sarcastic? Yes. There's that wolfish smirk again, elongated canines indenting her lower lip a little. "And if nothin' else, I do agree.. there's pleasure to be found in merely understandin' why our kind do as they do. Havin' another pair of ears present when I myself cannot be will only be for the good. Thank you, Mister Perperna. I accept your gracious offer."


"I am glad that the... stain of such actions," Marcus says, as delecately as he can manage, "has been washed clean from the Movement. I certainly would not want to be judged solely on the basis of what my superi... well, those above me decide to do." An Invictus glad about the Movement? Please. "Having one of our covenants so restricted as they were bodes ill for all of us, in my view." He reaches a hand up to idly scratch at his stubble with the back of one fingernail, likely an affectation rather than a true need. His own beast is, too, pacing about behind bars likely far better strengthened but just as gilded.

Were he uncomfortable with the inspection in the slightest, his body betrays no such discomfort; apparently quite the opposite as he lounges about with clearly practiced ease. "Barnacle ridden, perhaps. It's a mildly amusing story, my original arrival. I do not recommend bobbing about on the ocean for a century..." he pauses and leans in, almost conspiratorially, "Did you know that Kindred bodies can still float? I thought it was all gasses and such that kept the Kine aloft in the sea, but no. Apparently we're far less dense." He pauses and cracks a grin, "Well, except the Sanctified. Lots of dense there."

Sitting comfortably in the ensuing silence, Perperna listens keenly when the sarcasm is brought forth. Whether he understands it or not is left to future sages to determine, but he simply nods along as if every word uttered was said in such seriousness. "If nothing else, we shall serve as an example to others. Decorum and... duty overcoming such political divides as the Movement and the Estate. So I do naught but bow to your supreme sense of taste in choosing your underlings."


For her part, Muse offers merely a noncommittal 'hmm', when it comes to the matter of the Movement and certain restrictions that, it appears, could not be enforced for long.. if at all. An acceptance of the Daeva's proposal, after all, doesn't equate to forgetting so soon just who and what he is. Though he's trying endearingly hard, she notes, to say what he believes she may want to hear. "You've no need to flatter my sensibilities, Mister Perperna. So long as we are of the same mind when it comes to the service of the Praxis, our differences can be overlooked." A cool and collected Carthian? Well.. one gets nowhere by being bullish and pig-headed. The Mekhet sweetens her smile a touch, just before the raising of her glass to her lips once more obscures the subtle curve.

A few beats later and the brunette presses fingertips to her Vitae-stained lips, quelling the urge to laugh aloud at the swerve in topic. With a blink and a disbelieving look in her eyes, she searches Perperna's features for any clue that he's teasing. No, he seems in earnest.. "You didn't. For a century?" Her own slumber seems rather dull, in comparison to this mental image. Or would, if one could ignore the inherent violence in being staked for over a hundred years.. "How, exactly, did you find yourself in such a situation, if you don't mind my askin'?" With the politics set aside, for the moment, the brunette brightens with telling intrigue on this baited hook, expertly cast.

Her free hand rises, fingertips raking her dark tresses back from her temple. It imposes no real semblance of order upon the thick locks, but is perhaps an unthinking mannerism, similar to the Daeva's idle scratch at his jaw. "I hope it hasn't put you off boats entirely, regardless.. otherwise you might be less inclined to visit our new Elysium. And that would be a pity.. it's quite the spectacle." There have been rumors of a new floating palace, indeed.. is that what she's referring to? "And please.." The shake of her head results in the tumble of those wayward curls right back to where they'd been, brushing her cheek and throat as they settle heavily about her narrow shoulder. "..I do not have 'underlings', sir. Associates."

Was that a flicker of wicked amusement, though, at the dangled idea of a 'pet' Invictus? Surely not.


Quickly moving past the 'oh woe to the Carthians' schpeel, Marcus nods rather enthusiastically at his tale, "Yes, quite. Well... eighty-something years. Decades bleed together." He chuckles softly, "An... unfortunate rivalry flared up in Europe, the kind that leads to destructive private warring. You know the type. So I had to leave, and booked passage on a ship. Luxury cruise liner, beautiful vessel... then it runs into an iceberg of all things, and I'm left starving and torpid in a box floating about the place like a cheap bottle of port." He frowns slighty, "I like boats. I much prefer them to air travel. So long as there are no icebergs."

"You certainly do have a way with words," the Invictoid says, as if this is even remotely news, "I had... trepidations about travelling to the United States. Especially back then. But I'm glad to see that such things were, at least in limited cases, unnecessary." He pauses slightly and frowns, "To change the topic entirely, I take it you know this city well?" He steeples his fingers before him, in thought rather than conversational domination, "I have, gods be praised, finally managed to sort out some semblance of order in my finances. Chaos breeds poverty, alas. And I'm looking to upgrade my abode... well. Acquire is probably a better term." He arches a brow, "I would be overjoyed for your advice on the subject. As a regional native."


"They do, don't they.." Muse's tone softens as she considers the blurring passage of time, those eyes drifting from her companion briefly and into the half-distance of nothingness beyond his shoulder. A moment of nostalgia, perhaps? She doesn't elaborate.. she simply falls quiet before returning her focus to the discussion at hand, willing the return of that idle curve to play across her lips, encouraging the regaling of tale from Marcus. "No icebergs. Duly noted." The brunette inclines her head in a nod of feigned solemnity. "I imagine you are safe from such dangers on the Mississippi, of course. The greatest threat aboard the Regas is to the fat wallets of those who frequent the casino. I've no talent for gambling, myself.. though perhaps I will eventually learn at least a few games. It seems entertaining. You know.." She swirls what's left of her drink, relenting to a hint of mischief. "..if you're the sort who enjoys risk and reward."

Another genteel sip. "Regardless.. it's a pleasant change of scenery, and open to all Accorded. An opportunity to meet my coterie-mates often arises, too." If he'd really heard of her, it's not a huge leap to assume he'd have heard mention of the others. The tongue-in-cheek named Band of Savages haven't been exactly invisible. That's not their style.

Then they're on to the shifting topic, that of securing a haven for the aged Invictus. "I was familiar with it, before my.. absence." A humorless chuckle laces this admission. "For now, I would say I am in the process of reacquainting myself with her. Though if I can help you.." There's a light rise and drop of her shoulders in a shrug, the meaning trailing off into what might translate as 'I'll do so if it's interesting'. "What manner of residence would you be lookin' for? I'm guessin'.." Her gaze offers another of those down-up flits, openly considering Marcus. "..grand..?" Well, it's probably a safe bet he wouldn't be content in a dilapidated plantation. But there are nice places, too, if one knows where to look.


"I lost the appetite for... currency-based gambling," Perperna says with a light shake of the head, "A long time ago. And I doubt any of the games we've played would be found in a modern casino. Still, it's worth learning if only for the conversation. When the wine is in and the wit is out, people say so much."

"As for accomodation..." he offers another small shrug, seemingly his trademark at this point, "Grand isn't remotely necessary. I can make things grand, if need be. Defensible, the more isolated the better - within the limits of hunting space, of course. Something with a large yard all around it would be ideal, like a farm or plantation house with ample land." He frowns slightly, "I can make improvements, and honestly I don't need my abode to prove my stature any more than titles. So longa as it's better than sleeping in a bog."


"You are intriguing." Muse declares this without a trace of concern. "An Invictus who has 'outgrown' displays of stature?" While she does seem mildly amused as she turns this concept over in her mind, the Mekhet doesn't seem to be making fun at his expense. If anything, the impression is merely her attempting to reconcile her opinion of his covenant with that of the man before her. "Perhaps you are the one to whom a unicorn should be attributed, after all." Alright, that was admittedly a blatant tease.

In a flurry of near-activity, at least in comparison to the stillness of a moment ago, Muse leans forward, setting her glass back down upon the low table between them. Then it's to the tablet, still in her lap, that her hands go; opening the book-style cover and coaxing the device back to life. She seems surprisingly at ease with the technology, given her own age and the recent awakening she has implied.. a result of natural swift learning or hours of practice? Who knows. The results remain the same. And her first impulse is, it appears, 'Google it'. "Well, there's no shortage of plantation houses.. especially on River Road, as I recall.." Tap-tap-tap. Scroll-scroll. Tap-tap scroll. "And how do you know, Mister Perperna, that I don't sleep in a bog..?" There's a glance cast toward the Daeva through dark lashes, thanks to the downward cant of her head, one of 'those' smirks tugging at the corner of her lips. She doesn't prolong the mischief, though.

Shaking her head, the Shadow chuckles softly, low in her throat, and returns to her perusal of properties on behalf of the man seated across from her. "..I take it you've all the necessary documents, that sort of thing.." Can't be his first rodeo, right? "I was fortunate enough to wake in my home, rather than bobbing about the Atlantic. Small mercies." Well, aside from the whole staking thing. That was something of an inconvenience.

Having narrowed the search, Muse offers the tablet out across toward the Invictus, several reasonable properties topping the list on a realtor's site.


"Even we," Perperna says with a small shrug of his shoulders, "Eventually grow up. A string of titles and estates hither and yon didn't help me much when I was bobbing like an apple, did they?" He chuckles softly, "Should I have shouted 'I am a very important man' to the seagulls?" He shakes his head slowly and sighs, "Most of my accolades, those that I did earn, are for things so far in the past they're barely remembered even by Elders. So there's hardly any point in ranting about them. I'd much rather prove my worth through actions that can be seen and spoken of in the now."

The Invicus peers at the device in Muse's hand, some sort of phone of some nature apparently, as they sit their mostly unmoving in two rather handsome arm chairs... somewhere in Elysium. Because details. "Anything with suspicions of hauntings, history of murder, that sort of thing. Drives the price down, keeps the neighbours away." He pauses slightly and narrows his gaze, "Documentation will be... forthcoming. So many more things to prepare in these modern nights. In my day we could just wander into a town, sit in an empty house say 'mine now' and that was that. Now I have to do forms, and wait in lines. And stamp duty? Didn't you lot fight a war about stamp duty?"


"It might have kept you entertained.." murmurs the brunette, withdrawing the tablet once more and, trying a different tack, starting a search for less savory property, starting with newspaper articles. She's a fast learner, the Mekhet.. but it's far from within her usual realm of expertise, house hunting. "..for all you know seagulls are very forthcoming in discussion of political mindset." Multitasking, she browses through the listings that appear, swiping at the screen with a delicate fingertip. Shifting her weight, apparently one of those who struggles with staying too still for any length of time, she swings her long legs up and over the arm of her chair, those heavy boots dangling and the tablet resting comfortably against her thighs now. Only then does she permit herself the indulgence of a sidelong glance toward Marcus. Once again, her own Beast rouses to wakefulness; approaching the 'bars' more purposefully in consideration of the other, far older presence. She's no fledgeling.. but the hint of disquiet in the Daeva's proximity, which she has thus far failed to put her finger on, perhaps results from nothing more than an awareness of his greater years. Whatever it is, no doubt he can feel the weight of the otherworldly gaze peering into his mind's eye. And we all know what curiosity did to the cat..

"There are a lot more things to overcome.." Ahh, superficially the Mekhet doesn't seem ruffled in the slightest. The agreement is calmly given in that butter-wouldn't-melt manner of hers. One less jaded might call it disarming. "..and I may not be the best placed to assist you. But let's see, shall we?" The recollection of how one used to lay claim to an abode elicits a faint smirk from Muse. "Simpler times, hm? Though, you never know what you might stumble upon in the cellars and attics of such places.."


Nikola Senjan, dressed casually in a white t-shirt and blue jeans, slips down the staircase into Elysium, absently tapping on his cellphone as he bobs his head. Wireless earbuds are evident as he turns his head to gaze around the vast room, presumably piping some modern tune straight into what passes for a Vampire's temporal lobe. He spots Muse and Perperna, presses a final button on his phone, and pockets it. Fishing out his earbuds and popping them into a wireless charger case, he saunters across the floor toward the pair. Muse's cellphone receives an incoming text moments after he finishes whatever he was sending.

He draws to a halt at Muse's shoulder, hovering just within her sight-line. Lightly laying a hand, just briefly, on Muse's uplifted combat boot in greeting, he offers a bright smile toward Perperna. His Beast, sensed just beyond sight, raises its head and scents the air curiously, attempting to draw a sense of the strange predator into himself. "Good evening, sir." His Eastern European accent has faded with time, but is still evident. "Hello, Muse. May I sit?"

<text> To Muse: Nikola sends, "Hey, hungry? I found a sorority party near the boring Elysium. *angry-devil-horn emoji* *male-vampire-emoji* *lady-vampire-emoji* Let's invite them to a private party and peel them like grapes. *devil-horn emoji*"


For his part Marcus T. Perperna, asshole to the stars, is sat practically stock still in the chair even as he advises Miss Muse on his homely requirements. If she were to think back, he hasn't actually blinked the entire time. "I'm a man, Madame Harpy, I am already far too easily entertained. I think explosions and things that go 'bang', 'fwip', or 'kapow' are entertaining, no matter how long I unlive." He seems positively up beat, save for the fact that his face hasn't changed expression for the past ten minutes, he hasn't blinked, and he doesn't breathe. You know, right charming. "The last home I lived in had a Nosferatu living under the floor. I didn't realise for a year. I managed to find the only clean Nosferatu in all of Chester, apparently."

Aaand then someone else comes tromping in. Though he doesn't look at first, when Nikola Tes- Senjan makes his appearance, the Invictoid's gaze falls upon the eastern European. And then he plays the usual game: First glance. Check for weapons, allies, hostile intent, evidence of fighting. No. Second glance, pulse, breathing. No. "I has been, thus far," responds the Daeva with a subtle nod, "our dear Harpy here has been helping me become reacquainted with the city." He pauses. "Marcus Perperna."


Tilting her weight first to one side, then the other, the slender Mekhet eventually produces her cellphone. Not from a pocket.. she's wearing leggings. Was she just sitting on it? Rather careless. But then, when one wants for nothing it's more of a challenge to remember the value of things. Thumbing deftly across the screen, Muse scans the received message, upper lip curling in the faintest of smirks before she simply shakes her head and drops the phone back down between her hip and the rear cushion. He's already here. She can sense him. Why bother replying with a string of emojis? Besides, she has company. "That is, admittedly, a very masculine trait. Not exclusively so, of course.. but I see your point. I recently began takin' instruction in the use of firearms. Who woulda thought it." If the lack of blinking from the Daeva bothers her, there's no evidence of such in the way she addresses him. With her sideways drape in the armchair and that casual indifference to actual propriety implied within, she clearly concerns herself only with what she deems important. And, here and now, the matter of breathing is low on the list. There's another of those fleeting glimpses of her teeth in a smile in response to the anecdote about the underfloor Nosferatu. That's not a feature she's seeing listed anywhere on the tablet screen, funnily enough. "I've never been to Europe, myself.." she's admitting, wistfully, as Niko approaches she and Marcus. "Maybe one night I'll have the opportunity. Actually visit the places I've seen." Rather an odd statement, uttered offhand.

As her coterie-mate draws to a halt, touching his hand to her boot - mercifully mud-free this evening - Muse raises her gaze from the tablet screen and offers him a smile of obviously fond recognition. "Hello, Niko." There's a simple nod of assent when he queries his permission to join them. "Of course.. if you're quite done trailing sorority girls. How many times must we warn you about that?" The teasing note is perfectly apparent. And then she's simply falling quiet, allowing the men to make their introductions. Frankly, if any of them are likely to have crossed paths, it's these two. Wouldn't that be delicious?

Those big green eyes drift between the Ventrue and the Daeva with unabashed interest, just for a moment.


"I just can't help it. I love their fruity little cocktails, Muse. I love their bouncy tittering, their rather crass seduction rituals, their cocaine... It's such a delight to strip it all away from them. You should come with me one night." Nikola, like Perperna, is making no attempt to appear alive. He draws out a chair and settles into it, offering a slow, cat-like blink as he gazes at Perperna thoughtfully. There is a long silence, as his Beast gives another slow 'sniff,' metaphorically tasting the air around the Elder vampire. "We've met before," he says, his voice soft. Muse has hit the nail squarely on the head. "You won't remember me, sir, I can't imagine." And there's a strange note in his voice, something the female predator won't have heard from him before. Not fear -- but respect, bordering on caution. "The first time was in Italy, but I saw you in Egypt sometime later."

Nikola looks sidelong at Muse for a long moment, an almost protective aura about the Ventrue as he studies her. And then he smiles, bright and fanged, lounging back into his chair. His Beast is still alert, still coiled, but the man himself seems perfectly at ease, downright insoucient. "Muse is the perfect guide to this city, Marcus. I find that when I want to learn a thing, I should find the most curious of my friends and ask them to explore it with me." A beat. "And Muse? If you do wish to explore Europe, it's only a week's travel by boat. We could start in the south of France and feast our way east. Say the word, and I shall steal us a sloop."


"It is rare that one of Us would call me masculine, but I'll certainly take it," Perperna says with a small smile, relaxing back into neutrality a moment later. "Firearms certainly have come a long way since last I tried to use one." He pauses and taps at his lip in thought, "There was a Prince... or a Bishop. I forget which, one of ours anyway. He wanted to put on a show for his retainers, as a show of force against his rival. So he had a firearms demonstration... back with the hulking arquebuses and cannons. Bunch of thralls and servitors were playing soldier, essentially... until one tripped, set their burning fusecord into the powder." He leans back and expands his hands outwards in a big gesture, "A massive explosion, and the prince himself fled from the massive fireball." He chuckles softly, "Needless to say, his rival was unimpressed."

Turning his attention back to Pirate from The Gap, Perperna peers somewhat closer. "Let me get a look at you then..." He tilts his head, since apparently that will help his eyesight, and purses his lips, "You. Do have a resemblance to an old... business rival, yes. Didn't you sink several tonnes of my cargo?"


"Their bouncy what now?" Muse offers the big Ventrue a smile that's much too innocent to be genuine. That appearance of hers is the ultimate bait and switch.. the doll-like features, expressive eyes, even that damn voice. They all disguise much too well the bearing of the creature beneath the facade.. and it's not even intentional, on her part. Well, usually. We all play the hand we're dealt, ultimately. At least she's not so overtly gregarious as his coterie-mate, right? But wait.. did.. did Niko just address someone respectfully? How many of those sorority girls has he had? The brunette gives nothing away, at a glance. But she remains both watchful and aware of the exchange taking place, noting the hint of wary consideration in the Ventrue. Huh. Well, it's not as though Marcus has attempted pretense, over his age or anything else, really. And so she meets that look from Niko with a blithe smile, a calm lack of concern.

Well hey.. it's not like she had anything to do with the sinking of cargo. Bloody pirates.

"I can't imagine that was impressive, no.. amusin', certainly. But then, what sort of Harpy would I be if I didn't find a little delight in another's misfortune? Especially when it comes about for such shallow reason. You want to intimidate a rival, set them on fire." Well, that's that, then. Twould that it twere so simple. Glancing back down at her tablet, the Shadow wrinkles her dainty nose just a touch, touching a tiny button on the side and abandoning it for the time being. "Nothing's really jumpin' out at me.. but perhaps we could arrange a little tour, some other night. See if anywhere strikes your fancy." A Carthian assisting an Invictus in finding a suitable home. What has the world come to? Well. Perhaps it would be a comfort to her, knowing where he can be found. One way or another.

Right now, however, Muse falls silent, clasping her hands comfortably across her midsection and observing her companions. She has little doubt that Niko probably did exactly what Marcus expects. But watching how it plays out should be entertaining.


"In fairness, I just sank your ship. The cargo, I sold in Constantinople." Nikola uses the old name for Istanbul, a name that has been wrong for centuries. He doesn't seem particularly abashed -- in point of fact, the Vampire seems rather flattered to have been recognized. He flashes a brilliant smile, meeting Perperna's gaze with an avid interest. "If I recall correctly, that haul paid for new knees in my sloop. The old ones were getting so rotted that my crew could almost pull them out by hand. You gave Terror another five years of life. Of course, she was eventually sunk by an Ottoman flotilla off the Barbary Coast. I suppose they didn't like the way I treated their sallee raiders." Real venom in his voice, there.

He sits a moment in silence, gazing at Marcus unblinkingly as he considers this turn of events. And then, breaking away to look at Muse, the bearded Ventrue flashes another of his too-wide smiles. He lays his head to one side, resting it on the shoulder that drapes over the back of his chair, taking in her butter-won't-melt innocence with an amused gaze. "You heard me. Bouncey tittering. And, of course, titty bouncing." He throws the second bit in almost as a boon, giving Muse the chance to really deride his taste in prey. Her gaze, too, is held for a long moment, as though he is trying to convey something without words. He winks.

"I remember the incident you're describing, Marcus," he continues. "I heard about it. Didn't witness it. It reminds me of that Elector in Prussia, or Austria, or one of those tiny Germanic states, who used to make his soldiers fight mock-wars. Quite mad, so I heard." A brief snort, the first time he has drawn breath, and only to exhale it in wordless derision. "I've always felt that among us, a show of force is foolish, and your parable is a perfect example. Now... Are you interested in an apartment, or a home? Downtown, or in one of the suburbs?" He straightens and leans forward, peering shamelessly over Muse's shoulder at the now-blank tablet. "Did you try Airbnb? You could always just...take it off the listings, once you move in. Make a friend of the owner."


"Well. I suppose the bouncier the better. For blood flow," Perperna shrugs his shoulders, keeping well abreast of the subtext-turned-text of the conversation. At the mention of his cargo, however, he just shakes his head, "I had always wondered how my sleeping box ended up there. That certainly explains why I woke up to a Varangian trying to cut off my feet. I have the worst luck, travelling by ship." He leans back in his chair, curiosity apparently sated and temper till managably even, "I certainly hope I was worth a lot, at least. I am exceptionally pretty. I was only trying to buy Malta, nothing serious."

The Old Man offers a small wave of his hand, "It's no matter, I'm sure we can find something suitable." He glances towards the Dread Pirate Niko and shrugs his shoulders slowly, "Something on a large plot of land, reasonably isolated, defensible. But with convenient access to shopping, good schools, that sort of thing." Though the idea of living in an apartment is mildly amusing. "Our dear Harpy here," he gestures to Muse, for some reason, "Has decided to take me up on my offer of service. So I shall also need a little black book."


There's a half-hearted aim of one dangling foot in Niko's direction, by way of response to his crude wordplay. But Muse doesn't look perturbed, in all honesty. "Mmm. Flaying, dismemberment, castration.. there's just no telling what will set people off, is there?" She offers this faux-sympathy to her coterie-mate, safe in the knowledge that he knows better than to take her seriously. She's seen him in action.. and she's under no illusions, in that regard. A sardonic smirk is offered in exchange for that wink, before the brunette once more quiets, letting the conversation drift over her. When the Ventrue leans forward, peering down over her shoulder, she wordlessly hands the tablet up and aside to him, briefly catching his gaze one last time.

"Mmm.. not the worst idea. Perhaps not quite so overt, though? There are several plantations that are run as museums, these days.. or just kept in a state of decent repair for the sake of appearances. Ghoul a caretaker, or a resident." Such disregard! But needs must. "That route would sidestep the need for all the paperwork, if nothin' else."

As Marcus reveals precisely how it came to be, the Carthian sitting in seemingly perfectly pleasant discussion with an Elder of the First Estate, Muse keeps her attention equally on the both of them. On the one hand, it is entirely her decision to make. On the other, her coterie-mates aren't exactly shy about their protective nature, when it comes to protecting one another. Seth, in particular, may not like it one bit. Niko? Perhaps more likely to be accepting. "I did." she confirms. "And if your heart desires a little black book, Mister Perperna, then a little black book it shall have. That's two of your three wishes, though." Stretching, raising her arms up and overhead, flexing all the way to her fingertips and toes, the Shadow then relaxes again with a satisfied curve about her lips. "Spend them wisely."


"Oh, you did. I am sorry about the Varangian, though. And about Malta, though I always rather liked the Knights. They make their initiates row the galleys, you know. Made." Nikola smiles again at Perperna, equally at ease. After all -- it's all in the past, right? Not as though Vampires carry grudges over the centuries. "Your trouble, as I recall, is that the crew was mortal. You should always partner with a Kindred for sea voyages, Marcus. If not myself, in the future, then I recommend several other very capable voyagers. Assuming they're still charting their own course, that is." There's a wistful note in the Ventrue's voice at this last, an unspoken acknowledgement of a long-dead dream. "I'm afraid I cannot help you, on the real estate front, though I do rather like Muse's museum idea the more I think of it. It would keep your name off the paperwork, which is always handy, and it comes with a free Kine to enthrall."

Dread Pirate Niko responds to the playful kick from Muse with an indignant "ow!" as her combat boot comes into contact with his arm. Barely into contact, of course, given that the Southern Belle wasn't trying to fracture his radius or anything, but Nikola seems to amuse himself with occasional flares of 'goofy humor'. One must amuse themselves, after all. "I did indulge in all three with the sallee raiders, admittedly. But they deserved it." Again, beneath the lazy humor, real venom lurks. Real anger, even after all these centuries.

Muse is right about one thing -- the news that Marcus is working for her now elicits a brief widening of the Ventrue's eyes. He glances between Perperna and Muse, his smile lingering despite the jolt. "Well, well," he finally murmurs. "Won't this be fun? A little black book... Mmm, I think we could go shopping for one. Kine these days keep all their contacts electronically, but I find that lacks a bit of... well, panache. There's something about the tactile nature of writing." He looks aside at Muse suddenly. "Do we all get three wishes?"


"One last wish, huh?" Perperna says, reaching up a hand to stroke at his chin in an attempt at a thoughtful expression, "Then... I wish for a magical quill that wrote down any time anyone said anything about me." He purses his lips and nods slowly, "Ghouling a family that already lives in a large home would be far easier. Though... just enthralling them should be enough. Maybe ghoul the family head, keep them in line. Not a terrible idea. Cheaper, too."

"Oh never mind that," Perperna says with a wave of his hand, "I got out alright, and it was centuries ago." He pauses and narrows his eyes slightly, "I think. Well, whenever it was, it's long past. And it wasn't personal. I had things, you wanted the things. It's just business." His lips spread into an easy, almost cheerful, grin, "We're both far too old to be squabbling like children over such inconsequential matters. Leave that kind of behaviour to the neonates and the fledglings, I certainly haven't the energy for it."

Apparently the idea of working with those not in the First Estate isn't a foreign one, as he seems perfectly happy sitting and chatting away with the 'rebels' without a care. "It's also far easier to get access to things locked away on a phone or a computer, I am told. I don't know if it is true, but I trust myself more keeping things protected when I can touch them. That and the internet terrifies me."


"Just be mindful of territory and feeding grounds, obviously." Muse adds this distractedly, having once more produced her cellphone as it buzzes brightly to life. Scanning the screen, she then thumbs a swift response. She really is learning fast, the little Savage protege. Though, she's probably just sending suggestive emojis to Pan. Again. It's a thing.

Gracefully, the brunette unslings her long legs from the arm of the chair, readjusting to sit cross-legged now atop the cushion, elbows resting on her knees. Dropping the cell onto the coffee table set at the center of the grouping of chairs, next to her emptied glass, she listens calmly as the two men converse, seeming satisfied with the offering of ideas she's already given. Though, a magical quill is somewhat beyond her paygrade. So says the momentarily wry look cast Marcus' way.

"The speed with which one can find information is impressive.." she opines, lowering her gaze to the sleek phone, "..but it's a steep learnin' curve. Even a few decades out of the world sees you set awfully far back. Fortunately for me? I have trustworthy guides." Yes, there's a quirk of her lips as she glances aside at Niko. He's one of them.

Pushing her dark hair back with both hands, drawing the tresses away from the temples and raking her fingers through the silken lengths, the Mekhet straightens her posture. It's near imperceptible.. but if one does notice such things, she's growing restless. Not bored, not in such fine company. But.. keen to be on the move. Her Beast prowls back and forth beneath the angelic mask, emphasising the impression for those physically close to her.


"I agree wholeheartedly," Nikola responds to Marcus. "Business is business. Taking a thing personally? Well, it's the sign of an amateur, isn't it?" He flashes his smile once more, idly drumming his fingers along the back of his chair as he lounges. "I rather thought it was a good idea," he nods in agreement. After all, the basic premise was his -- of course he likes it. Smug git. "But as Muse says, do be careful. I'm afraid I've taken on official duties here in this Praxis, and I would hate to have to give an old friend a talking-to." A Carthian, enforcing authority? How quaint. He winks, as though to show the ancient Invictoid that he does, in fact, catch the irony of what he's just said.

"I like the Internet," he notes. "I've been trolling several forums on yachting lately. It's a delight. Did you know that the South Africans have become famous for staging soft mutinies whenever they're hired en masse? Delightful. I should bring a few aboard the Regas just to watch and laugh."

His attention swerves over to land more fully on Muse as he senses a shift in her mannerism, a stirring of her Beast, and the Ventrue's smile turns wicked. He doesn't suggest that they go chase down his sorority girls after all, simply watches, waiting for the inevitable. "A good guide is invaluable these nights," he agrees, a hint of purring satisfaction in his voice. "And it behooves us all to understand the new ways. Our prey is far easier to catch now, and far more dangerous if we make a misstep. Have you encountered viral memes?"


"Oh it's impressive, certainly," Perperna says with a small nod, "But terrifying. And I thought the telegraph was dangerous... turns out I knew less than I thought. But I'm learning." He reaches into a pocket and produces a thin plastic card, around the size of a debit card, "I have a library card and everything." He returns the card to his pocket as he stands, apparently a reflex, when Muse does.

"I very much doubt there is a map of claimed and appointed territory. So I'll just have to go door to door, 'Have you heard the news of our lord and saviour, Draculesti?'" The Elder grins and settles his hands behind him, "I take it we're on the move?"


"You're itching to give someone a 'talking to', Niko. Lyin' like a no-legged dawg." The Southernism escapes her without guise and accompanied by one of those disarming smiles. Having risen, in the interim, to her full height the Mekhet doesn't quite reach that of the taller pair. But that doesn't seem to concern her. Stooping to retrieve her phone, only to remember she's without pockets, she keeps it in hand, casting a cursory glance over her surroundings. Manners, of course, dictated that the Daeva rise when the female present did so - how traditional. But when Marcus shows apparent willing to depart, also, the brunette regards him with a thoughtful tilt of her head. "I was of a mind to hunt.. I don't like to stay still too long, if I can help it. Force of habit." Plus the lingering memory of the deathless sleep of torpor.. and the nightmares that go hand in hand.

Flitting Niko a glance sidelong, she arches a brow in gentle enquiry, perhaps seeking his opinion. "If you wanted to join us.." She ventures the offer toward the Daeva, though she'll leave it to Niko to decide whether it's extended more fully.

"Either way.." she continues, turning her green-gold eyes upon Marcus again. Now that she's standing, the oversized drape of her t-shirt does little to disguise the waifish build of her form beneath. She's all angles. But then, that was presumably the fashion, when and wherever she was embraced. And that was definitely longer past than heroin chic. "..we should figure out some method of communication for you. Perhaps the simplest solution is merely leaving word aboard the Regas, if you've an aversion to technology." The quip about their lord and savior does elicit a fanged grin from the Shadow.


Nikola, too, presses to his feet -- the last of the trio to do so, he rises with a lazy stretch overhead, entwining his fingers and pressing his palms up toward the ceiling. "Mmmmm." The sound of satisfaction is surely habit, a holdover from the days when he actually needed to breathe, eat, drink, and do all the other messy tasks Mortals are required to perform on a daily basis. "I do love giving a talking-to, it's true." His smile is as lazy as his stretch, but his fangs are more evident now, particularly when he presses an incisor down into his lower lip. Lust comes in all forms, doesn't it?

He meets Muse's sidelong glance with a faint uptick of his chin, acknowledging the delicate manner with which she includes him in the decision-making. He considers for a moment, chin still uplifted, unconsciously adopting the haughty air of a Roman emperor. "Come along with us, if you like, Marcus. It might be good for you to see how they behave these days. Imagine Venice during Carnivale, but nightly and without the delightful masks." Another trace of venom in his voice at the mention of Venice. Is there a grand city that the Ventrue does not despise?

He shifts his weight slightly, moving to stand just behind Muse's shoulder, a solid presence to her waifish one. The stance isn't so much protective as it is a sense of unity, a physical projection of the bond the Coterie-mates seem to share. "The Elysium aboard the Regas would be the best place," he agrees after a thoughtful moment. "Though of course you could simply leave a discreet message with the hostess station. Both Seth and I take a very active role in managing the ship, and we won't leave you waiting long."