Logs:Stakeout on Ursulines Street
Stakeout on Ursulines Street
|Characters:||Muse, Nikola, Seth, and Seven|
|Summary:||Seth and Muse stake out a building on Ursulines Street, and Seven spots them and investigates recent decapitation killings along the lines of the TSO-NOLA plotline. Nikola shows up half-way through.|
The sounds of conversation, laughter, and the steady party that is downtown New Orleans are in their usual rhythm on this warm, humid Louisiana day. A wind from the west blows through the streets, carrying the smell of the Mississippi and the more distant Lake Pontchartrain. Ursulines Street is a slightly more subdued part of the Quarter, but still packed with small establishments that are lively at this hour of the evening.
Going about twenty feet upwards from the street, however, the city gets much quieter. On a comparatively isolated rooftop, silent but for the growling mechanical hum of the building's large air conditioning unit, a small lookout post has been established in a military style. A rectangular carrying case about six feet long, in a military style, has been set up on a random edifice on the top of the building and flipped open. Within it, resting on a padded foam cut-out, is an assault rifle with a long, professionally-made suppressor screwed onto the muzzle, and a few magazines loaded with bullets.
Aside from this, the only things occupying the rooftops are the shadows. One Shadow, in particular, has tied back his brown curls out from his green eyes. Tonight dressed from head to toe in black clothing (long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and combat boots) Seth stands overlooking the lip of the roof, carefully out of view of casual passerby. A telescopic sight that looks like it should be mounted onto the aforementioned rifle is in his hand, and he's using it to scope out a dark and locked up building further down the street.
"Nothing so far," Seth murmurs aside, apparently speaking into the darkness that keeps him company, but his eyes are not only fixed on the convent. He's also sweeping his attention over the rest of the street for anything unusual, pacing to all four sides of the squarish brick building that he's standing on and looking for anything unusual.
It's peaceful up here, in the opinion of the darkness keeping company with the Shadow. Within pleasant enough earshot of the hustle and bustle of nightlife - particularly by the standards of those acute senses - and yet out of reach of that accompanying glare, the endless dizzying whirl of light and animated activity. No, a balmy breeze and near fathomless dark in which to wander is far more palatable to the other presence on the rooftop. Because there is, without a doubt, another pair of watchful eyes. It's more a subtle brush across the sensitive hairs at one's nape than a tangible presence, for most. To Seth, it's familiar. And perhaps, in some way, oddly comforting.
Seeing as they appear to be in relative solitude, Muse allows the wreathing, ethereal cloak of velvety night to gradually dissipate at the edges, ebbing and flowing from her silhouette like smoke to reveal the hazy outline of the creature they conceal; indistinct yet recognizable in the green-gold of heavy-lidded eyes and a mane of tumbling dark curls. The slender creature is lounging nearby, leaning against the wall in the shadow of the stairwell entrance that leads into the building proper. Arms folded and one booted foot propped against the concrete at her back, the second Mekhet looks decidedly bored.. though that could easily just be the set of those feline features rather than genuine displeasure.
Following her companion's progress as he makes another round of the rooftop, Muse tilts her head and regards him with a flicker of curiosity. "..and there were no further leads, as yet? I'm surprised, genuinely, that nobody else thought to venture into the place.." A flit of her gaze indicates the secured nunnery, emphasizing the meaning in her sweetly Southern-accented words.
A natural night owl, Seven is out and about during the evening with her varied business. First on her list of things to do? Investigate further the murders that she and the other Black Constables have been hired to look into. Some research had yielded interesting results but there was still more to do. There always is. Not that she minds, keeping busy keeps her mind at ease. Usually. Besides, she's prefers discovering things first hand than from books.
Arriving at one of the older crime scenes, the young, hooded woman starts to slowly prowl around the scene. Although she figures that most of the information that one could gather from the area has already been found, no harm done from a second glance. It's when she's peering behind some debris that she feels it. A warm sensation that starts at the back of her neck and spreads throughout her body. Vampires.
Standing upright, she starts to peer around as if expecting to see someone immediately. With no one in clear sight, she concentrates before slowly her gaze turns toward a nearby rooftop. Her head tilts to the side before she steps to the shadows and creeps on over. A fire escape is found and she does her best to silently climb up. She's no Shadow, but she has her own tricks for blending in to the scenery. Voices are heard but indistinguishable. Popping up, she lingers near the edge of the roof to survey things. Two figures. And a weapon. "Accorded?" A female voice calls out to the Kindred, calling attention to her as she fully climbs onto the rooftop.
"There's a meeting coming up, with some of the others," responds the curly-haired man as he tucks a stray strand of hair behind his right ear, lowering the telescope from his eyes again. Seth glances over his shoulder towards the chatty patch of shadows, a brief but sincere smile curving the left side of his mouth as he regards her for a moment before responding. "I'm hoping to learn more then. It's very possible that we're the only people who've ocnnected this to the nunnery: if that's the case, and we accidentally barge into where the creature is laired up, just the three of us... without backup, on that thing's home territory and with no further information about it, we would be easy targets." Seth's briefly happy smile has vanished entirely by the time he's finished talking. After a breath or two, Seth has lapsed into a casually conversational tone that belies the seriousness of how he pronounces the ease of their impending deaths, in that plan of action.
The flicker of movement and the sudden voice by the edge of the rooftop draws Seth's attention, and he lowers the telescopic sight. A beat passes by as Seth considers, his free hand drifting down to a pistol holstered near his hip, but in the end he relaxes and steps out of the long shadow cast by the air conditioner and into the relatively more lit patches of the rooftop. "Yeah, Accorded," he offers up by way of response. "Name's Seth. You are?" His head tilts, piercing eyes easily cutting through the darkness to study the new arrival.
Despite having only recently re-awakened, the calm ease with which Muse has been adapting to these modern nights frankly meant she was a touch disgruntled at having her usually eclectic wardrobe dictated to her this evening. But, she supposes, it's a relatively small price to pay to barter her coterie-mate allowing her to accompany at all. The weighty combat boots are a constant, and the black leggings aren't too far outwith her personal tastes. But the plain black hoodie? For one thing, it's much too big; presumably liberated from one of the others. It falls almost to mid thigh on her and the sleeves are pushed impatiently back to the elbow out of her way. Blech.
Listening detachedly to her companion, the lounging Shadow inclines her head, just once, in understanding. There's no warning in his tone, of course. But she knows well enough that the lack of expression is a red flag, in and of itself. And Seth simply doesn't do worried. So she pays his concern the relative heed expected. "I know.." The brunette replies, lips twisting in a lazy smirk. "..and I've stayed away, just like I said I would. I'm not questionin' your methods."
There might perhaps have been more to add.. but it would appear they have company. And sharply attuned company, at that. While the girl herself doesn't move, arms remaining folded, foot still nonchalantly propped, that dark gaze drifts toward the fire escape in the wake of her companion's own attention. Instinctively, the shadows that had remained, blurry and confusing, around her begin to furl inward once more. A mere thought and she'd simply fade from existence. Or appear to. For now, however, she waits. If whoever the stranger is came with ill intent, they wouldn't have announced themselves so blatantly. Right? Well, that's her logic and she'll stand by it, thank you.
The motion Seth made toward his hip caused the hooded figure to move back a little, ready to run in case it was pointed her way. Only when it seems that the immediate danger has passed, because when is it ever really safe with vampires, does Seven slowly start to move forward. With an oversized hoodie obscuring both her face and figure, slim but still not form-fitting pants, and sneakers, all muted, dark colors, it would've been hard to pick her out as female right away had her voice not given her away.
The mortal carries herself confidently enough but there's clear caution in her steps. Gloved hands slide into the pouch of her hood as she approaches. Both vampires are given a curious look over, although with Seth introducing himself, her attention naturally drifts to him. It might be noted that while she does look both them over, she's careful not to directly meet their gazes. Though, Muse is kept in her peripheral vision. "Seven," she introduces herself in turn as she comes to a slow stop a couple yards away from the pair.
She's not exactly the social sort, so, she just gets down to business. "Looking for another Accorded vampire. On a case involving..." She pauses, thinking. "Someone possibly trying to frame your kind. Beheadings. Blood drained."
"Might also be a Vampire, yeah," Seth agrees with the assessment of the newcomer, offering a lazy smile with one fang hanging over the thin curve of his lips. With a languid hop, Seth sets about moving to seat himself on top of the humming AC unit on the building. "You've come to the right place, then." He gestures with the telescopic sight in the direction of the lurking, oversized-hoodie-clad Southern Belle, "This is Muse, my constant companion," he offers by way of introduction, not saying much more on the topic. Business casual is Seth's normal mode of dialogue, after all.
"We're here about the same thing. I am a Hound of the Triumvirate, freshly appointed and on the case. I believe we've found a lead," Seth points in the direction of Ursulines Street again, wielding the scope like a professor might wield a yard-stick. "But I'm verifying it before I take it to a gathering of investigators so that we can check things out collectively." A diplomatic way of saying 'so there will be more targets than just us, if it comes down to that,' but there's nothing inherently incorrect about his statement either. "I'm inclined to think it's a Vampire or at least some kind of hemophage, but given how strange the motives are, I'm not sure what it is, exactly. How did you get involved, if you don't mind me asking, Seven?"
Huh. So maybe this is a passable 'mortal' ensemble after all. Muse's eyes flit in a swift down-up of appraisal as the stranger moves forward, noting the similarities in their attire.. as well as the way she herself is kept sensibly in line of sight. A slow smile once again quirks at the corner of her lips at this, in the darkness that ebbs and flows around her. Well, seeing as she's acknowledged, manners do dictate a further introduction in kind. She doesn't seem to mind this being offered by Seth; tilting her jaw in a subtle upnod of greeting.
Oh good.. someone who's succinct. No need for arranging a coffee date or exchanging a long-winded history of one's time walking the Earth. Just the facts, ma'am. Remaining perfectly still near the stairwell door, the brunette observes the exchange in unobtrusive silence; after all, the Hound has the information and is rightly positioned to exchange it as he sees fit. There was a distinct lack of title apparent to accompany her own moniker..
The mention of Seven having been seeking another Accorded vampire doesn't go unnoticed. "Nikola." The suggestion is offered, soft-spoken, from the murky darkness. And to be honest it's more of a serene statement than a real question, equally directed to each of the others now occupying the rooftop. That's the thing about rising to any place of authority within the Praxis.. your name just ends up on everyone's lips, for good or ill.
The name offered by Muse is noted and tucked away for later. "No," Seven responds with a small shake of her head. A moment passes where she considers something, then offers Muse an appreciative look. Social cues and manners aren't exactly her strong point, but she's learning. "Helene Armaud," she states instead as she lets her gaze linger just a moment before looking back to Seth. Again, Muse doesn't fully leave her sight. "One of the Black Constables. Hired to look into the murders," she explains, though her tone indicates she's unsure how well known the group is. But that doesn't stop her from continuing on. "Helene... we found to be a name of one of the sisters." Another pause, consideration, then a brow raises before she looks between them. "How much information have you already gathered?" she wonders, head tilting. Not that she's unwilling to share but she clearly doesn't want to have to explain more than she has to. Internally, she's wondering where the more sociable Constables are.
"How much?" Seth raises an eyebrow and chuckles quietly at this request, straightening up into a proper upright position instead of his reclined lounge. "Decapitator has extreme speed powers, is capable of doing the exsanguination itself via some supernatural method. The victims weren't drained with technology or hung upside down, for example. Exsanguination was the cause of death. Exsanguination wound is on the neck, consistent with Vampire bites. Decapitation could be covering up the bite marks, but that's strange, since Vampires don't normally need to worry about that sort of thing. Suggests some kind of feeding deformity or alternate feeding method." Seth is ticking off on his pale fingers while he's talking, eyes raised up to the cloudy sky and somewhat unfocused while he's talking. It would, however, be a mistake to assume he's no longer paying attention to the moment that they find themselves in. So far, he has four fingers upraised.
"The decapitator isn't a feral: it's capable of using tools. It etched a casket symbol next to the body dump site that we found," The fifth finger goes up, "indicating sentience and premeditation. This isn't some vicious spirit, all of this was planned meticulously by something corporeal. That narrows down what kind of creature it could be." The sixth finger, index of his left hand, continues Seth's count. "Additionally, the casket in question led me to remembering a case at a nearby nunnery on Ursulines Street," what a coincidence, that's where they are, "where a similar decapitation incident occurred not too long ago, with some journalists. Bloodless and decapitated after intruding into the convent." Seth upnods in the direction he had been observing previously. "So likely we've found where it's lairing, and it's somehow related to old New Orleans history. So it's either some kind of unaging creature or it's a Vampire gone mad. The motive for the killings remains unclear, as well as specific identity and gender. But it's probably old, dangerous, and is managing to do all of this without being caught. That suggests a certain level of cunning which most monsters are simply not capable of." Seth's up to nine fingers. He drops both of his palms down to his knees and offers a lazy smile towards Seven. "I think that about covers what we know."
There's a distinct expression of 'ah' afforded, as Seven gives the mysterious name of the 'vampire' she'd sought, though the Shadow seems unperturbed. She doesn't seem to mind the lingering of the Constable's gaze, either. Forthright is absolutely fine with Muse.. or so anyone familiar with her would say. Those who faff and fuss tend to earn some colorful turns of phrase as their just reward.
Allowing Seth the time and space to offer up what clues have been uncovered - awfully trusting, isn't he - the delicate brunette at last lowers her booted foot to the ground, straightening her posture ever so slightly. Honestly, were she herself this potentially old and formidable creature that is so fascinating the supernatural populace, and she happened to stumble upon an unsuspecting pair so obviously staking out her lair, there's no doubt in her mind at all she'd play with her food. And likely try to deduce just how much they knew before relieving them of their pesky heads.
Of course, Muse is a cynic by nature.
By the time her coterie-mate lowers his hands to his knees, his stoic Shadow has her unsettling gaze upon him again. He'd left one finger unraised. A pinky. She now unfolds her arms and raises her own, wryly adding a further point. "..and even if it's not lairin' here, somethin' about those journalists trespassin' clearly prompted all this. So it's worth investigatin'." That butter-wouldn't-melt accent is at odds with her collected demeanor. Not unpleasantly. It's just a voice of another time and she seems disinclined to dilute it even a little. Lowering her hands to a clasp before herself this time, she returns her attention to Seven; feline curiosity smoldering unabashedly in the gold-flecked depths of her eyes.
Another appreciative look is given, this time to Seth, for the information shared. "Long ago... 17th century or so." Because for a human like herself that's forever ago. "Women, French, were sent over here. To the nuns." It's clear that the young woman is less organized with her information than Seth is. She has to pause for a moment, as she had been somewhat distracted during her researching, to collect the information in her head. "They were sent here to be married. One group was sent back before they could be married. The caskets carried their equipment. The nuns went to collect their things, it was already gone. Rumors about demons, vampires, started back then." There's a nod to Muse again. "Helene was one of the women from the first group. Her name was cross checked with those who have signed the Accords." The young hooded woman paces a little as she speaks, uncomfortable but pushing through it. "We're unsure if she's involved but... we smelled perfume at one of the sites were a body was found," she explains. "If not her... she might know who."
Seth casts an amused glance sidelong at the southern brunette at her addition to the conversation, offering only a brief and fanged grin before returning his green-eyed attention to the task at hand.
"Casket girls, yeah." Seth nods in recognition of the initial story that Seven tells, hopping off from his perch atop the large AC unit that's mounted onto the roof of the building they're upon. "Took a museum tour once," Seth remarks on the topic with a grin. The grin quickly vanishes as the name Helene is brought up, and the topic of perfume. His brows furrowing downwards, the Mekhet rakes a hand through his tied-back brown curls and exhales slowly. The gesture is unnecessary and reflexive, but relaxes the pensive wrinkle that briefly crossed his forehead. "The convent is where they used to process the casket girls," Seth continues, obviously not having thought too much of that bit of information, before nodding slowly. "Apparently got closed up due to weird happenings related to the casket girls, originally. Full on exorcisim stuff. It's why we found it important enough to investigate."
It seems like Seth's recent and long-winded recitation of their evidence wasn't even conclusive, as he continues adding more new information. "My current working theory is that whatever woke up was originally in the convent, or somehow related to it. The abrupt onset of killings definitely suggests a new supernatural entity, as a pattern killer like this would have been noticed by now if they were active in the past."
Seth's brows furrow at something that Seven says. "One of the sites...?" His head tilts to the side. "Were all of the victims female, that you know of?" His curiosity is apparent. He's wandering towards the open box containing an assault rifle that's propped up to one corner of the roof as he talks, sorting it back out to get the equipment ready to travel before snapping the lid shut. Apparently he's wrapping up his position of look-out, though he doesn't seem to be departing immediately. He's just multi-tasking, as is his habit. "The one thing I'm lacking," he confesses casually to Seven, "is more information about victim patterns. Although this vampire Helene is interesting, as well. If someone actually remembers the killer, from the past... that could be very helpful, indeed."
Seeming more at ease the more forthcoming the stranger appears to be - or at least that's the impression lent by the relaxing of some gathered tension in her narrow shoulders - the brunette over by the stairwell door allows more of the shadows around her to fade back to their rightful place, revealing herself more clearly in a token gesture of good faith perhaps. The fleeting glance cast her way by her companion is met, of course.. though it's with only a vaguely impish quirk of one brow. What? She always interjects when she sees the need. And, just as often, when it amuses her to.
The momentary softening of countenance shouldn't be mistaken for anything remotely approaching blase, however. The Mekhet is paying rapt attention to these new snippets of information from Seven; spoken of in the levelling of her gaze back upon the other woman, the way she stays so unnaturally still while listening. Though, she could merely be keeping a sharper eye on her coterie-mate's back as he sets to casually packing up his equipment. It's hard to say. Maybe both.
Anyway. As Seth reiterates her point more eloquently, as is also his habit, Muse tilts her jaw upward a fraction, drawing a sudden deep and slow lungful of the balmy night air in through her nostrils. Has she caught a scent, is that the reason for the sudden return to 'human' inhalation for long-dead lungs? She makes no comment upon it, if so.. perhaps the mere mention of perfume demanded she at least check.
"The most recent victim also wore a crucifix." The utterance is quiet, as seems to be her habitual manner when speaking; politely timbred not to demand attention nor overwhelm supernaturally sharp senses.. but perfectly audible. Ladies do not mutter. "Had me wonderin', given the apparent beginnin's related to the nunnery, if the other victims might have been of Catholic faith or whathaveyou." A subtle agreement with Seth's desire for pattern.. or at least a way to rule out some of the more obvious options, if one were hoping to consider motive.
Being utterly without motive, after all, is a chilling notion even to the Damned. The loss of self in the face of the Beast.. not exactly the way most wish to end up. Even those afflicted with the inevitable ennui of passing centuries.
Nikola Senjan is not typically at home with long surveillances. Fire a volley and board 'em in the smoke, that's more his style. But the big Ventrue has reconciled himself to the fact that Seth is not a total idiot -- caution is, in fact, called for in this case. And so while the others have been staking out the Nunnery, Nikola has been pacing the French Quarter. His interest in decapitated corpses is mingled with an urge to hunt, and in the past few hours he has at least sated his appetite. Now, his Beast settled down and his appetite whetted, it is time to join the rest of the Band of Savages.
He makes his way discreetly into an alley, before clambering up a fire escape and attaining the rooftops. This is an area where the Mekhets certainly have more experience, but Nikola himself has a few advantages. Crouching down on all fours, he moves across the rooftops with the speed of a sprinter, leaping from one to the next as he makes his way toward a certain spot on Ursulines Street. He's careful to keep well out of sight of the passersby beneath, and indeed the Vampire seems almost bestial, his arms morphing to attain the same length as his legs -- turning him almost into a four-legged predator.
And then, finally, he's just a rooftop away. It's a narrow gap, for once, and he allows himself to straighten, to regain the Blush of Life, as he steps across. His Beast announces itself to the other Savages, rising up in warm greeting as he pads into view. And then he pauses, seeing a stranger here among his friends. Dark eyes flicker from one figure to the next, but Nikola doesn't seem to sense any threat and, after a hesitation, he advances once more. "Muse. Seth." And then, to Seven, a polite nod. "Hello."
Upon hearing another voice behind her, Seven quickly glances over her shoulder to the unknown figure. It's instinctive the way her body shifts to a possible fight or flight posture almost immediately. A moment passes though, her mind calming just enough to recognize him call out to the vampires. They don't seem threatened by his presence, so, she relaxes. Slightly. She's confident of herself and her abilities but she knows she's no match for a trio of natural predators. It's not very subtle the way she makes sure her back isn't turned to any of them, still making sure she never looks directly at their faces.
"Another investigator?" she questions curiously of Nikola, giving a glance in Seth and Muse's direction to take in their own reactions to Nikola's arrival. Though, she seems to figure if he's here, he's with the others in /some/ capacity.
"Can't find a connection between the victims," she admits, lips pursing underneath her hood. "Male, female, employed, homeless... Only thing in common we found was their vicinity. All of the bodies were found near here," she explains to the others as she slowly starts to pace again. "The perfume was near a homeless body... Think it belongs to whoever committed the crime." A pause as she ponders something. "Helene may not be the killer herself... maybe bound to the one who is."
"So you're saying that this Helene Armaud is a vampire who could know who the killer is, and could even potentially be hostile to us and dating back to the 17th century herself. Lovely," Seth quickly summarizes their current conversation for Nikola's arrival, also restating the core ideas of Seven's statement a brief frown. The Mekhet raises up a hand to wave to Nikola, "Niko, this is Seven. She's looking into the 'capper also, we're trading information. Seven, this is Nikola. He's with our coterie, and is also a Hound of the Triumvirate. Official-like." Snapping his fingers as a flash of inspiration hits him, Seth snatches a passing thought from the aether and gives it voice in Seven's direction, "Oh, and we've recently launched the Regas, a casino and Elysium on the river, with a private section for Accorded folk. If you need to find us urgently for something, at least one of us is there. Or, if nothing else, you can get a message passed to us privately."
Having given voice to that thought, Seth looks aside to Muse and nods appreciatively. "Maybe we're looking at it the wrong way," he says thoughtfully in the other Mekhet's direction, "Maybe things were /taken/ from the victims that are consistent, and we're not seeing it because we don't have all the information. Well, besides their blood and their lives," he says with a shake of the head after establishing the obvious. Then he's looking back to Seven. "That's good to know, thank you." A brief reach into a jean pocket produces a rectangular, matte black business card with glossy silver font. 'Seth, Hound and Keeper' is written upon it, along with three different phone numbers. Walking closer to Seven, the vampire offers up the card. "If you need to get ahold of me to touch base or if you encounter complications, please don't hesitate."
The arrival of the third Savage doesn't seem to surprise Muse. Does anything? In fairness, his Beast is a familiar presence, even when it's 'full as a tick' and metaphorically sleeping it off. The waifish creature turns her gaze toward the Ventrue as he emerges, a slow curve playing across her lips in obvious recognition; perhaps even calmly emphasised, just a touch, for Seven's benefit as the Shadow senses the cautious look sweeping over the trio. The female Mekhet, admittedly, is at a glance the least formidable of the three Kindred and her deliberate choice in posture maintain that impression. No sudden movements, features an impassive mask of polite enquiry.. even her willowy build and that seraphic appearance, it all lends to an aura of non-threat. Now, in direct comparison to the green eyed Shadow with the rifle and the statuesque newcomer, she's even more easily overlooked. Perfect.
Following the wordless greeting, the brunette remains quiet long enough for introductions to be made, before venturing a question aloud to all present. "It would seem, by my thinkin', that you.." This much is directed toward the Hounds in particular. "..would be best to speak with those Elders who have been in the city that long? See if they can recall any other associations.. savory or otherwise." Agreement with Seth's own train of thought.. with a slightly wider net than Helene herself.
In an absent-mindedly 'human' gesture, Muse casts her gaze skywards and captures her lower lip thoughtfully in her teeth.. only the presence of sharp canines subtly indent the soft flesh. "The perfume.." Gently, she directs her next enquiry toward Seven, lowering her eyes toward the other woman again after a moment. "..how would you describe it?" What an odd question. But then, odd is relative. This is a conversation between three vampires and a stranger about a creature decapitating victims and draining them of every drop of sweet, delicious blood without spilling a drop.
It's possible that the Mekhet is getting hungry.
One pale hand rises, fingertips raking back through her thick tresses. "Something that might have been taken from them.." This, it seems, she's simply pondering to herself, her tone softer still; little above a whisper. "..I dont suppose.." Those vibrant eyes flit between her coterie-mates, then to Seven. "..that anyone can get their hands on the records? Whether those who identified the victims noticed anythin' missin'? You'll have to forgive me, Ma'am.." This is to Seven alone, with the lacing of Southern charm and the ghost of a smile. "..my understandin' of 'procedure' is limited." Yeah. To detective shows on Amazon.
"Helene Armaud. We have a name to go on?" There is a flash of sharp teeth as Nikola grins a greeting at Seven, sidling along until he stands nearer to Seth and Muse. He seems to delight in the unsubtle display of discomfort from Seven, the shift into fight-or-flight. The Ventrue cannot hide his satisfaction, the faint trace of smugness in his voice. But he also does not force her to pivot from one threat to another, presenting himself as a unified front with the other two vampires. "Nikola Senjan, yes. A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Seven." The man's voice is vaguely Eastern European.
"Thank you for filling me in, Seth," he says softly, aside to the other man. Considering for a moment, the bearded vampire says "I think that we are presented with several possible courses of action. It appears we could focus on this Helene Armaud, or we could go in there." A nod across the street, to the nunnery. There is an eager glint in his eyes as he adds, "Or we could do both." He greets Muse with an answering smile and a deep inclination of her head as she posits her questions. "I don't recall the perfume specifically," he says after a few moments, though the question was not directed at him.
"I can speak to the other elders of the city," he offers, "If I can be given appropriate introductions." A look toward Seth at that, as though the other newcomer can simply summon up a collection of Elders for the pair of Hounds to interrogate. "As for the records? What about the humans that have been hired, these Black Constables? Could they be of assistance in infiltrating the police? If not, I would be delighted to have a word with one of their homicide detectives." Another flash of a grin, bright in his dark beard. When Muse bites her lip, he shades a brief wink in her direction. "Just like on Bosch? Or is it Luther this week?"
Seven seems to appreciate the introduction made for her. She's content to simply watch the interaction between the vampires with a hint of interest. Perhaps she even starts to relax juuuust a touch as well. When Seth starts to approach, her focus on the actual situation at hand returns. Back to the mission. Her posture immediately straightens again, holding herself steady for now. There's a very brief glance to Nikola, perhaps a note that while she's very cautious around the gathering of them, she's not exactly /afraid/ of them.
Taking the offered card, she studies it for a few moments. An edge is torn off where, still keeping all the information in tact. Pulling from her pocket a pen, Seven scribbles down a number and returns the edge of the card to Seth. "In case you need a contact with the Constables." Even amongst capable vampires, the mortal knows she's an asset in certain situations. After that, she lightly reaches up to give a small tug of her hood, pulling it just a little more over her head. "There's some detectives amongst us," she replies toward Nikola, revealing her own affiliations to the later arrival. "What information do you seek?" she wonders with a curious tilt of her head."Can pass the questions along... or have them contact you," she offers.
A look over toward the more quiet Muse, then a nod toward Nikola. "One of them was the one who smelled it," she admits. Although she found other information at the scene, the scent of perfume had escaped her. Thinking over the scene, she pauses again. There's a slow look between the three, eventually settling on Muse again. "A thing I /did/ notice... The victim had a ... pleasured look on their face."
"There's going to be a meeting tomorrow," Looking up and to the side, Seth speaks in the direction of Nikola as the Ventrue proposes further plans of action with a slight nod, "Involving some of the others who are working on this case. I intend to go and make myself available there, see what they've got so that we don't expose ourselves any further than necessary. If there's no new evidence forthcoming..." The Mekhet rolls his shoulders in a shrug as he picks up the carrying case for the assault rifle in one hand, propping it up against his right shoulder.
"We'll sweep the convent," Seth nods towards Ursulines Street, below. "The Elders are going to be trickier. Might be a good place for us to get our beloved Sheriff to issue us a proper warrant so that we can do it on official authority. They'll be less inclined to drive us away or give us the run around if the Praxis is more obviously behind it." With an amused glance at Nikola, Seth tacks on, "We are new and not respected, after all. Nobody's gonna be inclined to tell us shit, and we can't just beat it out of them."
Seven's further information is given silent consideration. He takes the card with a quietly murmured "Thank you," examining it before tucking it away into a small leather card-carrying sleeve that he produces from one of his jean pockets. "Pleasured, you say?" Seth considers absently. "So perhaps a seductive sort, then. Mind control. Even more reason not to get into close quarters. Though that makes the violent disposal method even stranger."
Seth casts his green eyes thoughtfully towards Muse, sidelong, as he walks to the edge of the rooftops and looks down upon the street. "If we've got the official paperwork, it shouldn't be hard to start a query. It'll just expose us and potentially spook whatever we're chasing, so I'd prefer to do it only as a last resort. I'd rather not fight an Elder in a dark alley if I can avoid it, especially one that knows I'm coming for it. But I'll see what I can do, it's an option." A pause. "I'll look into getting some contacts on the New Orleans force. Shouldn't be too difficult."
For her part, Muse offers a slow blink of dark lashes, all innocence - or sardonic humor - in response to the quip from the Ventrue. "Columbo." Niko's other questions, she leaves for Seven to answer.. seeing as she is one of aforementioned Constables. She only speaks again to clarify, for the pair of them, her interest in one seemingly minor detail. "Other, less pleasant luxuries than perfume can leave a lingerin' scent.. that's all." It may or may not be relevant.. but in trademark style, the Mekhet points it out, regardless. "If it was just perfume.. that narrows the field only if it was a genuine oversight and not a deliberate ruse to lead investigators astray." A sewer-dwelling Nosferatu might, for example, seem unlikely to don Chanel No 5 on a nightly basis.. but it'd be an easy way to throw off pursuit, no? So many considerations. The Shadow idly presses the tip of her tongue against one sharp canine, visibly turning things over in her mind. While she may not be so savagely charismatic as Seth or so fiercely vibrant as Niko, the female does presumably have something that merits her inclusion, given her admitted lack of modern knowledge. Maybe it's nothing more than that occasional Southern snark.
"You can't?" This brief aside is cast in Seth's direction, on the matter of not simply extracting information by violent means; surprise and disappointment warring across her angelic features. "Huh. Well, color me disappointed."
As Seven offers the further tidbit, though - the notion of the victim looking 'pleasured' - the slender brunette relents to a vaguely wolfish smile, despite the subject matter. Hey, draining people of blood? Less of an issue with vampires. There's a slow nod of assent offered aside toward the other Mekhet for the points made, before she adds, "..there were no signs of a struggle, I recall you sayin'..? Maybe that's for reasons simpler than sheer speed. The Kiss is.. not always unpleasant." The corner of her lips twitch upward a little further on one side. "Again.. if it really is one of ours we're dealin' with. Nothin's set in stone. Mind control? That widens the field again." Unbidden, her gaze drifts up and aside toward the Ventrue, in the wake of his timely offer of 'having a word'. After all.. how many times has he found a source of sweet vitae merely by the power of suggestion?
"Ah. You're one of them. How convenient." Nikola smiles crookedly at Seven, studying her with what he might consider to be polite interest. Unfortunately, his fangs flash briefly as he smiles, providing a disconcerting reminder that the Ventrue is not, in fact, a Mortal investigator. The tall Ventrue seems to note the air of readiness, the lack of fear, acknowledging Seven with a brief inclination of his chin. "It appears," he notes to Seth, "That our friend here can provide those Detective contacts for us. I, for one, would like to review their case-files. As Muse notes, there may well be testimony from their living friends that can shed further light on the situation. But I begin to wonder, if all the murders were committed in proximity to the nunnery, if we aren't hunting an opportunistic killer." A nod across the street, echoing Seth's gesture. "I think we're looking at a lair."
He casts an amused look over at Muse as she expresses her disappointment. "I agree with Muse -- if we can't simply beat the Elders into submission, I really don't know what my role is here." He's clearly joking, his eyes twinkling with unconcealed mirth. He follows along with her logic, smile fading slightly as he inclines his head again. "That's an interesting note, Miss Seven," he says pleasantly. "And indeed -- there are a variety of explanations." He doesn't comment on the subtext in Muse's glance, perhaps unwilling to fully reveal his own capacity, but there's a smugness in his tone that can't quite be concealed.
Turning to Seth, he adds "I rather hope to attend this meeting as well, if I am available." There's no guarantees there -- running a steamship is quite an endeavor, after all. The big Ventrue smiles suddenly, turning his attention fully onto Muse. "Columbo is an interesting choice. Gumshoe detective. Remind me, when we get home, to provide you with my copy of The Big Sleep. You may find it...titillating." Another wicked grin, this one far more human -- and almost boyish.
When the attention is not on her, Seven resumes her observation of the vampires. That curiosity returns to her features, bright green eyes flitting between them, making mental notes here or there. Not all of the nuances or subtleties of their interactions are noticed, of course. Just simple things here and there. She's still when she's not speaking, almost a contrast to when eyes are on her. Although she's certainly no Shadow, she has a knack for watching while being unseen.
"Many theories, many possibilities," she agrees with the group, casting a glance in Muse's direction for a moment. "Occam's razor. Simplest solution. A vampire, for whatever reason, killing these victims. Things here and there though... why leave the casket symbol? Why behead them?" She shakes her head lightly, brow furrowing some as a pensive expression momentarily overtaking her features. "Finding the motive behind it all seems key now," she states as she takes a look over her shoulder to the streets. "If you all go into the nunnery and need assistance, I'm good in a fight," she offers as she returns to the group. "I think most... maybe all the answers that are sought are in there."
Seth has been in the process of leaving for a bit now, and it looks like he's resolved to close up shop here. "I'll get you the information about the meeting, if you've got time," The Shadow offers towards Nikola with an absent-minded nod of affirmation. A brief, sardonic look is cast aside towards Muse, accompanied by a quirked eyebrow. "No, I can't, unless you want to fit me into a lava lamp and keep me by your bed," Seth deadpans towards the brunette, "But seeing as I rather like being person-sized, I'm going to avoid that, I think."
Piercing green eyes swiveling towards Seven, Seth nods agreement. "I appreciate the offer. I'll keep in touch. What happens tomorrow will be the biggest factor in determining our next steps. That being said," the Mekhet offers a languid smile to Seven, before glancing to the other two vampires, "It's getting early, and I need to grab a bite to eat before I head home. So I'm going to call it an evening. If either of you would like a ride, I've got the car here, a few blocks over."
He strolls over to the fire escape near the edge of the building, putting one foot onto the metal frame. "In any case, I feel like we've made solid progress this evening. All that's left is catching the hunter. Stay safe out there," he directs this last comment towards Seven. "It could also be watching us like we're searching for it."
"You're very agreeable this evenin'." Muse's reply to the Ventrue is saccharine.. which doesn't often bode well, particularly when paired with the sort of innocuous smile that follows. "I thought we'd explained to you the side effects of drinkin' from sweet lil blonde sorority girls." Yes, because one wine cooler too many is quite clearly the only reason Niko would be so brazenly helpful. The brunette's teasing fades after only a moment, with a gentle shake of her head, as her attention wanders from him and his addled affability. Yes.. she's definitely hungry now. But, manners dictate, even after all this time, that she conclude her part in the discussion first and foremost.
Slowly nodding her agreement with Seven, though her gaze drifts to unseeing middle-distance out over the streetlights of the city, the brunette replies simply enough. "Why, indeed." It seems, to her, an inordinate amount of effort to go to just to send a message that nobody can translate anyway. A few rapid blinks and she rouses from her reverie, cutting a glance back up at Niko before settling her eyes on Seth as he heads for the exit. His idle banter is met with a deliberately blank stare. She probably does know what a lava-lamp is.. but sometimes it's just more amusing to feign ignorance. On some matters, that is.
The idea of a hunt? That's one she rarely ignores. There's a firm nod of assent to this, a telling flicker of tension along the Mekhet's delicate jawline. She starts after her fellow Shadow almost reflexively, her conscious mind catching up a splitsecond after the movement begins. Still, in passing she has the good grace to bid Seven a proper farewell. "A pleasure meetin' you, Miss Seven. I think I can safely speak for all of us in thankin' you for the information." She doesn't offer a hand, doesn't even really draw anywhere near the other brunette.. but her tone is pleasant enough, even if her heavy-lidded eyes are sharp.
"I agree, Miss Seven. I think the answers we seek are in there." Nikola gazes over at the Nunnery with a thoughtful expression, glancing aside at Seven -- noting the way that she studies he and his Coterie-mates. The bearded Ventrue raises a hand to his mouth, not bothering to conceal the fact that he's concealing a smile. "And I suspect, Miss Seven, that your offer will be taken up on. We don't like to heedlessly risk ourselves when there are other options." A charitable interpretation of what he just said is that Seven might even the odds. Less charitable: meat puppet for the mean people. His tone is ambiguous -- it could go either way.
As Seth makes his farewells, Nikola glances again toward the Nunnery before nodding his head. "I could do with something sober to eat," he says. Perhaps Muse hit the nail right on the head after all -- tequila slammers and wine coolers can go right to an unsuspecting Vampire's head. "Maybe I'll grab a bouncer if you two want to visit a club." The casual discussion of feeding, in front of the Black Constable, doesn't seem to alarm the Ventrue at all. Besides, it's not as though they're leaving anyone decapitated in an alleyway. He follows the other two Vampires.
"Goodbye, Miss Seven. It was an interesting coincidence, meeting you here. And as Seth said -- do be careful. I would hate to see your head separated from your body." His tone is almost jovial as he follows along, like the good attack dog that he is.
"Details of the meeting in case of my absence would be... appreciated," Seven tells Seth, though she briefly looks toward the others to indicate her number was available to be shared with them as well. The mortal doesn't have much else to say beyond that. For now, at least. That curious look lingers, as does her attention on the vampires as they make their way off of the rooftop. Slowly she makes her way to the edge, continuing her watch for a few moments as they head away. She doesn't let her gaze remain /too long/ this time, turning away and heading the opposite direction, making her own way into the night. Although she's not off to any hunt, there's always other things for the mortal to attend to.