|Characters:||Muse, Nikola, Perperna and Seth (Band of Savages)|
|Summary:||The Band of Savages congregate to discuss an annoyance.|
The Regas, lest it need said, is never really quiet. Even within the peaceful neutrality of her Elysium, one is aware of the near-constant bustle of activity going on elsewhere aboard the luxurious vessel. Well, for one thing, there's the need to wander through the Dome of Sins to arrive here at all. Talk about temptation. Regardless, if not 'silent', the theater is at least deserted tonight, save for one dark-haired figure who perches, legs swinging gently, atop the piano that occupies the stage.
Muse has shown no interest in the instrument itself, save as a vantage point. Much of her attention appears to be held by the sleek smartphone in her hands, thumbs busily swiping to and fro across the screen, or tapping softly as she types something. Probably trolling some online forum, let's be honest. A girl needs a hobby. And they're so easy to bait. The Harpy has extended an invitation, by the wonder of technology, to several of her associates, requesting a little of their time to discuss the recent happenings aboard the floating Elysium, as well as the subsequent fall out. Messages have been exchanged, screenshots forwarded. Now she simply waits.
Oh, and that eclectic street-chic is toned down, for once, in honor of the occasion of her actually organising something. A gauzy, near sheer blouse of black polka dot is tucked into high-waisted black capri pants, with a pair of expensive leather loafers upon her feet. The hair remains a riotous mane of non-concern, though.
It's a dismal night in ol' NOLA, Perperna's strolling the dock. He sees a woman waving t'wards him, but she's only after his c... anyway, moving on.
Marcus T. Perperna, Harpy's Junior Assistant Under-Copywriter (Second Class), has made his way to the Regas with all haste due the circumstances. That is to say he shaved, got dressed, had a light lunch (vegan and a garden salad), then watched a busker for fifteen minutes, and *now* he's here. Clutched in his left hand is a lightly blood-stained letter, and the other is soon filled at the bar before he departs into the Elysium.
"Not even a hint of a bribe," he calls out as he enters, a look of faux-frustration on his features, "The bald-faced cheek. Some prancing nobody that, judging from this letter smells of rising damp, expects me to *do* something and he doesn't even pay me?"
Nikola is never far away when the Regas is underway; when he received Muse's text message, he had been sitting with his feet up on the steering wheel of the Regas, gazing out into the dark night. There are spotlights on the bow of the vessel, helping to detect the treacherous little ways of Old Misery -- tree trunks, for instance, tend to pop up out of nowhere when a logjam finally breaks free upriver. But tonight is relatively idle. He glances down at his phone, rises, slips it back into his pocket with a gloved hand. "Eric? You have the helm. Keep her along the east bank, just thus, mm, until we come up on that sandbar next mile? Radio me with any problems."
And with that, he is gone, slipping through the crowded decks. Nikola is dressed to the nines tonight, in a gray three-piece suit. Very faint plaid breaks up the superfine pattern of his blue dress shirt, and a silver tie has been struck through with a diamond-studded pin. He wears a pair of black leather gloves. Entering into Elysium just after Perperna, Nikola smiles across at Muse on her piano perch, looking a little amused as he side-eyes Marcus.
"Ah, let me guess what this about, shall I? Hello, Marcus." His smile is slender-sharp now as he catches the mood, walking to lean against the piano alongside Muse. "Has someone been naughty again? Already?"
There's not much, this evening, to recommend Seth to the crowd of well-dressed partiers who typically occupy the casino section of the Regas. Wearing oversized headphones (for this day and age, anyway) attached to the smartphone in his hand, the man steps into Elysium at a casual stroll. He's dressed in a pale blue shirt with the dark image of a rampant heraldic lion stretched vertically along the left side, dark jean shorts, and black sandals, with his dark brown curls tied back near the nape of his neck. Sharp ears would pick up the placid tinkling of piano keys coming from the headphones.
Seth is descending down the stairs along one of the main aisles of the Elysium towards the central stage, reading a small book in one hand. Assorted Icelandic poetry, the title and by-line seem to imply. He's pulled the headphones down to rest against his collarbones, though music still drifts out of them - Clair De Lune, some orchestral rendition or another. He approaches the gathering and conversation, idly thumbing a cloth bookmark into place before shutting the small book with its blue monochromatic cover.
"It might be easier to solve this problem with a few gallons of soap and a fire hose," Seth points out as he approaches, idly tucking the book of poetry into a back pocket of his jeans as he reaches the bottom of the stairs near the stage.
"Indeed. What is the world comin' to." Muse herself agrees placidly with the Daeva as he enters, dashingly debonair as ever.. but a whisker shy of being fashionably late. The Southern Belle slowly raises her gaze from the dim light of her screen, offering him a slow curve of her lips in greeting as she draws her long legs up to seat herself indian-style. And then there comes Niko, looking awfully.. Ventrue. "Well. Don't you two make a handsome pair. Smart as all get-out." The compliment seems genuine enough.
As for the initial enquiry from her coterie-mate, she turns her heavy-lidded green eyes upon him with a single nod of assent. "Apparently, having written to me of his poor treatment at the hands of our Primogen aboard your boat.. Mister Rollins - without having yet met me, mind - calls into question my ability to hold my position at all." Amusement brightens her elfin features at this, a flit of her gaze going to Marcus. "Fortunately, he chose the wrong person to voice his concerns to. Or at least failed to emphasise said concerns with adequate bribery."
At Seth's arrival, the brunette looses a soft chuckle from low in her throat. "That would solve one aspect, certainly..." Reaching to tuck her dark hair back behind her ear, she sets her cellphone down to one side, fingertips momentarily drumming a rhythm upon the piano's polished surface. "Frankly, I'd not paid the chap much mind, despite his delusions of grandeur. Who is he, really?" Anyone of import, Muse would know. That goes without saying.
"I wouldn't say naughty as such," Perperna says with a wave of his hand, idly flapping the folded letter about as he does. This evening he's dressed simply, a plain white shirt and black slacks, still better than the battered tuxedo he came in with. "And hello, Niko. It's mostly... an irritation. Some jumped up nobody trying to get me to go behind Harpy Thoreau's back." He rolls his eyes, apparently particularly emotive this evening. "I'd not have minded if it didn't come with the assumption that I could be so easily... swayed."
He offers a small shrug of his shoulders, "I've not heard of him. According to his letter," which he opens with a one-handed flourish, "He's a smelly homeless poor nobody." He shrugs again, "The fuck is he doing writing to me? I don't *do* smelly." He flutters his eyelashes in Nikola's direction, "Pirates excepted, of course, darling." He purses his lips and goes back to the letter, trying to read it while also drinking from his glass of fortified wine, "The spelling is attrocious. And the formatting, not a single damned indent. Ah, here. Apparently he thinks he should be above reproach when non-Kindred are present..."
"Hello, Seth. I think he'll have had at least one bath by now, and a set of clean clothes. Pan took care of that." Nikola absently purses his lips to one side, rubbing a finger against the scar on his lip. He gazes thoughtfully down at his hand for a moment, then smiles aside at Muse. "Thank you. And you are lovely as ever." he murmurs, in acknowledgement of the compliment. And then to Perperna, he adds "I never smelled, my beautiful piece of furniture. Be fair. I just reeked of good fortune and success." But this banter is a distraction... The bearded Ventrue doesn't answer Muse's question immediately. His dark eyes flicker between the interlocutors.
"Gus Rollins," he says with unusual gravity, "Is a distraction at a time when we cannot afford to be distracted." He runs a gloved finger along the top of the piano, lifts it up, inspects it for dust. Appears to be satisfied with whatever he's found. "He's Ordo Dracul, of course, but precisely what his intentions are, apart from causing trouble?" The piratical Hound shrugs. "He violated the Masquerade aboard the Regas several nights back. Pan and I had words with him, and I was preparing a ban from the ship when this came up."
Nikola idly taps his fingers against the leg of the piano, in beat to the music emanating from Seth's headset. "I suspect he's a fool who thinks he can take advantage of the past unrest here in the city. This letter was sent after we warned him to watch his step. I consider that an insult."
"Hey Niko." A return nod and acknowledgement of the comment about cleanliness. A smirk briefly plays across Seth's mouth as he takes a few steps to the side, snagging a dark red, high-backed chair with one hand and pulling it a few feet across a throw rug to face the gathering before seating himself while facing the gathering. And then he leans back, knitting his fingers behind his head as he reclines. He glances towards Perperna before nodding slightly, a compress of his lips preceding speech. "Mm, seems like he's just avoiding responsibility for not understanding basic hygiene after all of his time spent in life and death. It's a strange method of retaliation against being criticized for your own life decisions, though." The green-eyed man cants his head to the side, a brief smile crossing his lips. "To be fair, what's he going to do? Have the Primogen Council hold a point of order about how we weren't sufficiently subservient to indulging his whims? Complain to the Trium that their greeters aren't polite enough?"
Seth leans one elbow against an arm of the chair he's sitting in, pressing the knuckles of his lightly balled fist against his jaw. "If it weren't for all of the other nonsense we've got going on, currently, I wouldn't be inclined to pay him any mind at all. But it might be best to address him before he decides to escalate his... guerilla campaign of high school drama against us, since the last thing we need is a PR situation on the Regas right now." A quiet 'tch' escapes Seth as he taps his tongue against his teeth, "Because even if you ban him, you know he's going to show up and cause an issue. Which I'm fine with, it'll give us the opportunity to solve this if he walks right into it. Might as well get it over with."
During the initial banter and greetings, Muse has retrieved her phone to pull up her own copy of the letter, saved in the Screenshots folder. Still, there's time enough for a smile aside at Niko in acknowledgement of his compliment in kind. She certainly looks better than she had been, that haunted look in her eyes departed and no apparent urge to sink her canines into anyone's throat for the moment. So there's that. Lowering her gaze to the images on screen, she tilts her head a little in an implication of mere idle curiosity. "And did Pan, as Mister Rollins claims, make a threat against his life? I find that highly unlikely..."
Looking up and between the others present, green-gold eyes contemplative, the Harpy is quiet a moment, affording each their opportunity to voice opinion. To her coterie-mates, she nods gently in agreement. "An irritating distraction for now.. but one that could escalate if not nipped in the bud. We can't be seen to tolerate such blatant flouting of rules we lay down and.. besides.." A smirk tugs at the corner of her lips. "..what's the point in holding a position if I can't use it to pull rank? You don't come into a new city and immediately start denouncin' those in authority if you can't even adhere to the laws. That is not the way to make friends and influence people." The hair flip is implied, though she refrains from actually following through.
To Niko's stating of the letter as an insult, the brunette nods once more, calmly agreeing. Her gaze slides to Seth next, lingering a moment before she replies. "Or he'll move on to the next in line and try his sob story on them. We get out in front of that, and leave an open invitation to him to disagree further.." She bites gently down on her lower lip, eyes drifting to middle-distance as she considers.
Glancing between Nikola and Seth as they speak, hinting at other things occurring, Perperna frowns slightly, "I suspect I'm going to have to engage in professional-levels of 'not hearing' things this evening." He pauses and glances down at the letter again, only now is it evident that the blood stains are quite probably tears - laughing tears given the letter's content. "Aside from being a bore, and a boar, how did he break the Masquerade?"
"As for insulting," Perperna nods down at the letter again, "I quite agree. While I would ordinarily understand sending multiple copies of a letter, the implication - at least to my reading - is that he expects something done. By me. If the Harpy decides to side with the Primogen." He blinks twice, supping again at his wine, "Which is insulting to the pair of us. And our covenants. Wars have been fought over less in the past." He narrows his eyes, then, and shakes his head, "We definitely need to control the story. Otherwise he might get enough of a whisper campaign going that will, eventually, diminish the level of trust in the Harpy's pronouncements. No trust, no Harpy."
"I agree. This situation is escalating, and we already have enough balls in the air," Nikola responds to Seth. "But I wish we didn't have to bait him. Letting him risk another violation of the Masquerade, let alone a PR disaster..."
The Ventrue hitches his shoulders faintly, lets them fall within the confines of his suit. Nikola looks mildly irked, but he does seem idly distracted by Muse's composure, her return to normality. A half-questioning glance is sent in her direction, but the Ventrue doesn't pursue it. Not here. He turns his attention to Perperna, answering both Muse's and the Daeva's questions mildly. "I can provide a copy of the security footage if anyone would like to view it, but what Pan said was 'Ignore him, he'll be dead in six months.' To which, on our balcony, on our ship, in full view of mortals and security cameras, he showed his fangs. A charge he does not deny, not that it would matter."
Raising his gloved hand to his lip again, Nikola nods slowly. "I think that a ban is in order. As well as a public recounting of the events, told by our esteemed Harpy." A flash of a wicked smile toward Muse. "I think we give him exactly what he asked for. A little bit of attention now may stave off a larger irritation down the road." Nikola, carefully, doesn't illuminate Perperna on any other goings-on. The Daeva is not the only one who has selective hearing, it seems.
At Perperna's mention of pointedly not hearing things, Seth looks between Muse and Nikola and then offers a half-grin in the Daeva's direction. He is remarkably deadpan, seeming almost bored with the topic of conversation as he delivers it evenly. "They seem to like you well enough, so I don't mind mentioning. There's a serial-killing hemophagic spirit running around the Quarter who we've managed to piss off in our quest to... end it, and its incessantly blatant supernatural behavior. Official duties, and all. So this whole..." He idly waves a hand in the direction of the empty Elysium, "upset smear campaign is an extra complication that could blow up the underlying powderkeg which is entirely unrelated to it. Which is why I'm of the same mind as Muse, on this. Respond firmly, let him keep escalating and the situation plays out for us. No need to make it complicated."
Seth shifts, pulling out the small book, and flips it open to his bookmark before reciting lightly, "For the unwise man / who comes among men, / it is best that be he silent. / None know / that he knows nothing, /unless he should speak too much." He shrugs with a roll of his shoulders, closing the book up again. "Let him keep talking. It's not going to do him any favors. If we take him seriously, it'll just make us look bad. We don't have anything to prove... issue the ban, and let's be done with it. Dismissal will go a lot further than treating him like a serious adversary, in terms of maintaining our position. If we engage in serious fisticuffs with every fool who questions us, we'll be exhausted by that alone."
"Exactly." Muse's soft spoken vote of approval is offered in the wake of Perperna's summary of things, on their part. "And quite why he believes I, as Harpy, should defer to his version of events else be undermined by my Talon at his request.." she trails off, shaking her head with an air of mild exasperation if anything. Allowing Niko the chance to recount things for the Daeva's benefit, she then regards the Pirate Lord for a long moment. "What actually came of your 'chat' with him? Do you think he understood his mistake, or did he refuse to see sense? Because frankly, one polite warning is more than he might have been given elsewhere, already." The affirmation of a ban, accompanied perhaps by a correct version of events, elicits a pleased smile from the brunette, in answer to his mischievous one.
"Not baiting, then. More calmly explaining to the fellow on the imagined soapbox - oh, that's ironic, isn't it? - that his tantruming has earned him a ban." This is murmured as a reassurance toward the Ventrue, before she turns her attention upon Seth; raising a hand to rake her fingers back through her bedhead tresses. "Nothing more than that, lest we imply he's of any importance to us." she agrees, unperturbed. "Though.. if he comes after any one of us with notions of retaliation.." The way she leaves the remainder unspoken is perhaps more ominous than grisly detail.
The mention by the casually-dressed Hound of quite what else is playing on their collective mind, currently, prompts Muse to lower her gaze with the ghost of a frown shadowing her brow. Even the contrasting illumination of the theater seems to draw in around the Mekhet, blurring the periphery of her silhouette by reflex.
"Ah," Perperna says as Seth offers an explanation, "I had heard rumours. It is a spirit, then? Not a ghost? That makes things complicated." He almost shudders, but doesn't really have a nervous system anymore, "And understandably distracting." He pauses, as if marshalling his thoughts, and nods slowly, "I don't much care how we react," he finally says, "So long as we maintain control. Of course that's basically my MO, being Unconquered, but still. The last thing we need is the Primogen Council, or the Princes, deciding they need to get involved - if this squabble turns into something more than petty mudslinging."
To Muse's comment about polite warnings, the Eldest nods again, "Quite so. In places with more... hands-on leadership he'd have been executed already. Or at least exiled, to be made someone else's problem."
As Seth details the events around their mysterious hemophagic attacker, Nikola smiles a wry little smile. He notes the way Muse draws in on her self, absently reaching to touch her arm, just for a moment, with a gloved finger. It's a small gesture, quickly withdrawn, intended more as a token than any real physical contact. "There's also," he says, "The fact that someone tried to blow up a Primogen. And that at least two others have been murdered. There's a lot happening in this city just now, and Gus Rollins is not the spark I choose to allow to burn my ship to the waterline."
When Muse poses her question about Gus's response, Nikola looks rather dubious. "It's hard to say. In order to speak discreetly with him, Pan had to use certain of their Disciplines to bring him along." He considers, looking down at a pair of glossy dress shoes before continuing. "Pan says that he should have understood it all. But frankly, he became rather noncommunicative. Just stood there smiling and nodding." Nikola nods at both Seth and Muse, idly tugging at his beard. "I am regretting that I did not kill him," he admits. "Still. He's had his one. Another Masquerade breach that I have to clean up, and I am going to grow tetchy." Oh, he's already tetchy. His Beast bares its teeth in frustration, unable to find the scent of its foe, despite Nikola's collected manner.
Leaning against one tattooed forearm, Seth is content to sit quietly for the most part, occasionally nodding agreement at certain nuances of the conversation. The conversation about Gus's reaction to the series of events is paid particular attention, though his eyes do flick to Muse at her frown about the on-going situation. It only provokes a slight nod of agreement at the sentiment, though, as he turns back to the topic at hand. "We can discern how much he understood by the fact that he decided to send the letters," he points out with a tilt of his head, followed by an exhale. "If he retaliates against us, if he escalates further, then we've already resolved the situation. How does that saying go? All he needs to do is give us a reason."
"Frankly, it's a good way to test the waters. If people actually gravitate to him, despite the fact that he has no real evidence or any leg to stand on, then we've shaken the grass and found the snakes, yeah? Better to get it out into the open." A shrug from Seth. "They would have found a pretext anyway, if /this/ is what they choose to get involved with. It's not a significant concern, from my view, except where it overlaps with other concerns." A pause. "Like further supernatural security for the boat."
There's the softest of chuckles in response to Perperna's out loud pondering, though Muse remains lost in thought a little longer; leaving her companions to converse without interruption. The light touch of gloved fingertips to her slender arm prompts the Shadow to glance up, finding Niko's gaze upon her and holding it levelly for a few beats before mustering a languid curve across her lips. It also draws her focus back to the matter at hand, in the end. "Mmm, I heard about Pan. Are you actively investigatin' that, too?" Noting the restless annoyance that stirs his Beast beneath his superficial calm, her own reaches out without hesitation, bringing with it a wave of affection and reassurance. All will be well. That's her tale and she'll stick to it. "I think we're all in agreement there will be no further warnings. And in the absence of the Sheriff, I'd say that ultimately, it falls to yourself and Seth to make that call."
Feeling Seth's gaze upon her in turn, the brunette turns her eyes toward him, fractionally shifting her weight to sit up a little straighter. Bothered? Who's bothered. Not her. Because fearsome spirit things running amok in her head is.. well, just another night, really. "That's settled then. I'll issue a ban on behalf of us all, worded in a manner that ought arouse no particular interest or concern.. save from our Mister Rollins himself, if he's feelin' suicidal.. and any enemies we've yet to uncover. I like it." As for the matter of more security, she tilts her head a touch to one side, studying her fellow Mekhet, searching what few nuances his expression gives away. "I suppose more couldn't hurt." But that's not really her area. She'll leave it to he and the Captain to negotiate.
"No more warnings, then." Nikola nods his head once in concurrence with the others, his Beast settling itself down as Muse reaches over to him with her own. He smiles crookedly aside at her in response, nodding faintly to himself as her attention rejoins the conversation more fully. "I'm not. Not yet. They prefer to handle at least the opening stages of this themselves." There is the vaguest sense of discontent from Nikola at the idea, but the Ventrue idly reaches up to adjust his tie, busying himself for a few moments with the gesture. "I can continue to try to handle him if it escalates again. I have absolutely no fears on account of his abilities, and I've a friend who is more than happy to assist." A brief, wolfish smile at that.
"We clearly state in our rules," Nikola nods toward Seth, "That cleanliness is required here. And of course, the Masquerade breach alone is enough." He settles back into his lean, looking more relaxed than he had since the beginning of the meeting. Idly stroking a hand down the front of his suit, he abruptly changes the subject. "Any and all supernatural protection that we can provide, Seth, would be most welcome. I think it's time we devote some attention to that." Unspoken is the knowledge of what sits in his private quarters -- as thirsty as Nikola himself. And the very real chance that a certain hemophagic spirit might be intending a comeback. "If I can be of any assistance in that regard, as well, please let me know."
"Just tell the Constables to forward me any names of practicing abjurers or warding experts, if you see them. I mentioned it at the last meeting, but I haven't gotten any follow-up. The sooner we can put wardings down on the relevant areas, the better," Seth offers up by way of response to Nikola's mentioning of security. "And that means finding said occultists and paying them for their services in a timely fashion. If that thing is already back after being shot into oblivion, we'll need to find the method to be rid of it quickly. Or else it can just suicide bomb the boat with enough explosives to ventilate the hull and not care even a bit." Seth exhales slowly, pinching his nose. "Frankly, the warding won't even do anything about a pile of C4. I'm starting to think we need an explosives expert to just rig the jello room to blow up if anything besides us goes in there, the more I consider ways that thing could attack us here. Mutually assured destruction might be our only decent play."
There's a brief glance aside at Muse, and then Seth nods agreement with her conclusions about the topic of the ban. "I wonder which of the Primogen will get his disgruntled fan mail next," he idly speculates, rising up to his feet as the topic of their meeting is brought to its conclusion. "In any case. Be careful out there," the Hound points out more generally. "If anything unusual happens... make sure you contact someone /before/ you investigate, even if it's just a quick text with location and happenings. If this gets dangerous from any angle, I'd rather not be surprised."
Bracing a hand, Muse hops lightly down from her spot upon the piano, landing gracefully and stowing her cellphone in a back pocket as she looks at the gathered faces. The ins and outs of dealing with this other entity are best left to her coterie-mates. And, as such, her part in proceedings is over, for now. "I'll have word spread, regarding Mister Rollins. And Perperna.. you have my sincere thanks for not bein' so easily bought, darlin'. Not that I'd expect anythin' less." The soft Southern accent actually has a trace of warmth in it as she levels her dark-lashed gaze on the Daeva, a thoughtful look in her eyes if one looks closely enough. Sure, he's Invictus.. but he's damn likeable. How infuriating. Stepping away from Niko with a brush of fingertips to his sleeve in farewell, the Harpy drifts up the sloped aisle of the theater with her usual unhurried stride, a glance and a fond smile offered aside to Seth as she passes. "Sir, yes Sir.." she murmurs, looking vaguely amused at the firm instruction. Then she's simply off on her way. There are important details to be disseminated, after all. And.. jello rooms to get as far away from as possible.