Logs:TSO-NOLA - The Death of the Muse

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TSO-NOLA - The Death of the Muse

Characters: Muse, Mingzhu as ST
Date: 2020-07-09
Summary: Muse has her head messed with and ends up in bad waters..
Disclaimers: Torpor

The Dome of Sins is proving a popular attraction, since the launch of the Regas a month ago. Advertising, word of mouth, social media influencers.. all play their part in denoting it as one of the premier venues to while away an evening in luxurious style. Oh.. and it enjoys the patronage of the supernatural as well as the mundane. Talk about dominating the market. Tonight, the aisles of the casino are pleasantly abuzz with activity. The tables are largely occupied with diners or those merely enjoying a few casual drinks with friends. Corporate schmoozers do their thing, hungry-eyed arm candy scan the crowd in hopes of better marks. A jazz quartet provide the sort of dreamy ambience that can be enjoyed without actually trying to follow the music. Some consider that the beauty of the genre. Others consider it mindless noise. But either way.. it suits the mellow atmosphere this evening.

Enjoying some solitude, a rare excursion away from the coterie's shared haven and drifting aimlessly out from the Elysium deeper within the vessel, the slender, dark haired form of Muse slips through the doorway and into the exciting surroundings of the casino. She's attired, as ever, in her faithful combat boots. On this occasion, they complete an ensemble of skinny jeans of faded black and a plain v-neck t-shirt of marl grey. Oh, and.. sunglasses. Indoors. At night. How pretentious. Those who do glance her way likely assume her the daughter of some high roller staying on board and thus forgive the casual choices in clothing. But for the most part, gazes tend to slide away from the Mekhet rather than linger upon her.

Following a cursory sweep of her gaze over the area, she begins making her way unhurriedly through the crowd.

Muse fails a perception roll at -2 to notice the Angel

It must be a little stressful, knowing that you have an ephemeral being actively working against you. One that has already provoked you into ill-advised action. It is perhaps then not surprising that as Muse wanders the casino floor, she catches glimpses out of the corners of her eyes of people who remind her of the Angel's appearance.

A woman with long brown hair - looks exactly like her from the back, but turns a moment later to show a face that is not the same. The long skirt of some chick's dress, in a certain light resembles the demure length of the angel's attire, but as the light changes sequins catch and reflect it. And so on. It's almost a certainty that the Angel isn't here, but as they say - it isn't paranoia if they're really out to get you.

Admittedly, having one's bestial instinct urged so easily to action against one's will certainly takes it's toll. Muse has been remaining close to the Plantation, or at least in the company of her more aggressive coterie mates since that unnerving night in the Convent. But it's been a little while.. and the Regas is, she's been assured, well protected. Besides, isn't there safety in numbers? She'll be safe enough in a crowd like this, most likely. Unless the Angel has given up on the notion of stealth entirely.

With Niko indisposed - no doubt tending to some Captain business elsewhere aboard his beloved floating Elysium - and Seth occupied elsewhere in the city, the little Shadow is permitting herself, at long last, to relax. Just a little. She's grown tired of being cooped up, even if it is supposedly for her own good. Though, at least she hasn't required chaining up in the tombs again, in recent nights. That wasn't particularly enjoyable. Raising a hand, tucking a wayward lock of dark hair back behind her ear, she keeps an eye on her immediate surroundings from beyond the dark tinted lenses of her shades. The woman with the long hair warrants a glance.. only to be dismissed a splitsecond later. It's not her. Does that skirt look familiar..? Oh, come now. Get a grip, Muse. You're a centuries old vampire. One that's made of shadows and ought not be bloody jumping at them.

Her steps carry her, unthinkingly, down a short flight of steps and onto the dancefloor, which she begins to skirt.

Muse succeeds on a perception roll at -2 to notice the angel

Odd glimpses and corner-of-eye shadows are one thing, but then Muse spots a woman by the bar who is dressed in a high-necked blouse and long brown skirt, cinched at the waist by a wide belt. She has brown hair, long and with a slight wave to it. She's the right height, the right build.. sure, she's only being seen from the back, but that must be her?!

She is ordering something from one of the barstaff. A drink, presumably, since he bustles away to fetch it.

At first, Muse's strides simply slow. Then they halt altogether, the Mekhet stopping between the edge of the dancefloor and the bar as recognition begins to dawn. Admittedly, she only really got a fleeting glimpse of the Frenchwoman the last time before things got.. confused. But there's no mistaking the outfit, nor that hair. It's her. Isn't it..?

The Harpy glances about herself, in search of anyone who might understand a message of concern in her gaze, were she to offer it. She wishes, suddenly and desperately, for Seth. For Nikola. Hell, even for Seven or her friend with the tentacles. But there's nobody. Just the mortal security guards and a dome crowded with vulnerable, ignorant mortals. Protection or hinderance? Both, perhaps. She can't break the masquerade, not here. But.. surely no creature with an iota of reason would attempt otherworldly violence in such a place, either. Right?

Steeling herself, Muse alters her course a little; steering away from the bar with a surreptitious turn of her lithe frame to perhaps waylay recognition in kind. Heading now for one of the few empty tables, only recently abandoned judging by the glasses still decorating the cloth, she reaches to the back pocket of her jeans, fingertips seeking the familiar edges of her cellphone. This isn't a fight she would win. But if she can raise the alarm..

Muse succeeds on a perception roll at -2 to notice the angel

It is perhaps only a few moments that Muse is looking away, down to her phone when she draws it out, but in that time the angel has disappeared from view. Moving swiftly between the droves of muggles no doubt, not even waiting for her cocktail to be delivered. Why would an ephemeral _want_ a cocktail, anyway?

Given just a few moments of warning, Muse catches the angel's approach out of the corner of her eye. Coming from one side, though her posture is calm and her step casual, in no way aggressive, she moves to sit down at the same table, in the space opposite Muse, assuming the other woman doesn't move away.

Fuck. The curse may not be uttered aloud but it's written clearly across Muse's features, even behind the disguise of those aviators. Slowly raising her head, she regards the 'woman' opposite as she practically materialises with wary green eyes, her thumb halting where it had been poised over the screen of her sleek smartphone, a message in progress but as yet unsent. She really should have practised more with speed and less with emojis...

Not fooled for a moment by the apparent nonchalance of her new companion - she was, after all, perfectly calm the last time they encountered one another and look how that turned out - the Mekhet considers her watchfully through her dark lenses. And waits. The atmosphere around them seems suddenly muted, as if heard underwater rather than in the immediate vicinity; the babble of conversations and games and music fading in the face of more pressing matters.

Taking a moment to smooth the wrinkles from her skirt once she has sat, the Angel doesn't take her eyes from her Mekhet tablemate. Those few moments of silence pass, and then she speaks. "Why do you and your companions work against me? I have done nothing to harm you." Technically true; not a single point of damage did she do to any of the Band of Savages. "Why do you interfere with my work?" It seems to be a genuine question, the Angel perhaps unable to connect how leaving bodies throughout the city would concern a trio of Kindred.

Are.. are they actually going to have a civilised discussion of recent events? That's unexpected. It takes the Shadow a moment or two to absorb what is being asked, and another to formulate a calm and succinct response. There's no sense in trying to flee, she knows full well how fast this creature can move, when the need arises. Perhaps if she can buy some time, one of her coterie-mates will appear..

"Your 'work' leaves a trail of bodies in it's wake." The simple response is soft-spoken, laced in that sweet Southern accent of hers. "That draws unnecessary attention to our kind." There's a pause as the brunette herself takes the measure of the seemingly harmless figure seated opposite. Ohh, if only she didn't know better. But.. there's perhaps opportunity here, too. "You're feeding that.. 'other being'.." She wisely refrains from using any less polite terms for the jello baby. "..with human blood. Why?"

Hey, you don't get what you don't ask for.

"It is not a being. It is a tool," the Angel replies mildly, as if talking about blue blood-drinking jello-like yoga mats is an everyday occurrence. "It is my mission." That encapsulates her whole reason for doing it - she has a mission, it is what she must do. "I require it to be returned to me. I could perhaps make an effort to be less conspicuous?" The suggestion is made in that same quiet tone, her gaze never leaving Muse.

The angel gains 7 successes on maniupating Muse's desires. Muse fails to resist, and her desire to keep talking and find a resolution that doesn't put her coterie in danger is gradually amped up.

Well, we're down the rabbithole now. May as well continue the fall, and grasp whatever we can of the roots in passing. "..a tool for what?" Muse is careful to keep her tone one of curious enquiry rather than accusation or, heaven forbid, disgust. She hasn't spent much time in the vicinity of the creepy looking thing in the yoga mat. Nor does she particularly intend to, at any point. It's well protected. There's the faintest hint of a frown about her brow that her sunglasses don't entirely conceal. The 'Angel' is offering logic. And for reasons she cannot quite fathom? Muse is actually inclined to go along with it. There's no reason they shouldn't discuss things calmly, after all..

In the absence of the Hounds and their guns, anyway.

"Perhaps if we knew more about your mission, the purpose of the tool, then we could make an informed decision. Our mission is to safeguard our own kind, y'see.. and far be it from me to warn you against the takin' of blood.." There's a wan smile to accompany this, for a splitsecond. "..but leavin' corpses behind? That causes all kindsa trouble for everyone involved."

"For draining blood," the Angel replies regarding the purpose of the yoga mat, her tone suggesting that this should be obvious. "I cannot speak to what for." Can not or will not? It makes little difference at this point. "I can certainly attempt to be less conspicuous in where the dead are placed." Attempt? By the sound of it there is a limited amount of choice that she has over such an action.

"I would be obliged if you will return my tool to me," she then requests, tilting her head slightly as she studies Muse.

Attempt to be less conspicuous. That's not much comfort. Bodies will still be showing up somewhere. Missing persons reports will still be filed. And given the relative ease with which Niko traced the last transactions of the victims.. Lightly tapping a fingertip on the screen of the phone - though it's near impossible to say if that's where her gaze is directed - the Mekhet appears to consider the matter carefully. And she's not quite giving up yet, on the pursuit of insight. "That might perhaps be a start.." she offers, before venturing a further question. "But I still don't understand some of the details, if those are things you can speak to. For instance, what's the significance of the casket symbols found at the dump site of the bodies..? I know.." Her other hand rises, palm facing the woman in a staying gesture. "..the casquette girls. Came over from France. But what does that have to do with your mission, Miss..?" Space is left, optimistically, for the interjection of a name. Something. Anything she might be able to convey via text before negotiations fail.

Because they will.

She's refraining from answering the request quite yet, regarding the return of the Angel's precious blue.. 'thing'.

"You may call me Michelle," the Angel murmurs, answering the last optimistic question first. "If you are curious about the marks, I am happy to show you what they are for. If you will accompany me?" she requests, gently toning up that desire to keep talking even more, as she rises from her seat. "We will not need to go very far. Just to the closest drop site," she adds, her tone reassuring.

Somewhere, in the back of her mind, alarm bells are ringing. Don't. Don't leave the Regas.. But the suggestion seems so entirely reasonable that Muse can find no real cause for protest. And if, with any luck at all, she can garner some useful information for her coterie-mates then.. well, it's worth the risk. Yes. Scooping up her cellphone in one hand, casting a glance down toward the screen as she, too, rises gracefully to a stand, the brunette swiftly notes the partial message she has composed thus far.

TO: Seth, Niko Angel aboard. Willing to negotiate. Going to explain marks.

And that's all there is. She doesn't hit 'send' quite yet, perhaps hoping to have more to offer before she causes a panic. "Very well. After you." Those big green eyes are rapt once more upon 'Michelle', waiting for her to lead the way so that she may fall in step.

"Wonderful." The two women walk out, their pace casual, and Michelle leads the way across the block and down an alleyway to where the closest of the bodies were dropped. "If you lean in and look closely, you'll see a residue of the blood in the mark," she murmurs, gesturing to where the coffin-mark was etched on the ground near some dumpsters. "It is something I am compelled to do when I drop the bodies, as a warning to others. My nature alas forbids that I fail to do this each time."

Wandering out into the night, in the company of an ephemeral being who has already proven capable of both outrunning vampires and inspiring them to frenzy with a mere glance. Yeah, great plan, Muse. But they need something to use against this thing. Some leverage. More comfortable now that she's in the shadows, the Mekhet wraps them unthinkingly about herself like an old coat, drawing reassurance from the darkness that others would shirk. But yes.. at the Angel's behest, she does obligingly venture into the alleyway. She doesn't need to get too close - her Kindred senses can still pick up the coppery tang of blood in the dirt and she nods slowly to convey such, keeping one eye at all times on her composed companion. "As a warning to.. others like you?" Tilting her head a little, a wolfish mannerism of curiosity, she adds, gently, "And what would happen if you failed?"

The angel gains 11 successes on maniupating Muse's desires. Muse fails to resist, and her desire to know more about the angel and her ways, to gain power through that knowledge, is turned up to 11.

"As a reminder of the city's history," Michelle replies with a small smile, offering her hand. "I can show you what would happen if I failed. It is indescribable, but I can share with you the memory of my last failure," she offers, not attempting to make contact with the Mekhet. She does however change which dials she's turning in Muse's head - now it is all about amping up that desire to know more, to fully understand what the Angel is doing and how she acts, /why/ she acts the way she does and if maybe there's power to be gained by knowing all of this.

Why on Earth is she placing any trust in this 'angelic' being? It makes absolutely no sense. But something in her quiet manner, the soothing tone of her voice.. even the way she smiles.. it all simply begs Muse to have faith. Or as close to such as one of the Damned can affect, anyway. Eyeing the offered hand warily for a long moment, the Mekhet hesitates, weighing the options in her mind. She wants to know. Wants to understand. It's in her very nature to be curious to the point of feline.

And we all know how that worked out.

In the end, though, it wins out. Taking the half step required to close the distance - and silently pressing 'send' with the thumb of her other hand before pocketing her phone - she places her palm atop the one offered toward her by 'Michelle', offering a single nod of acceptance.

The angel gains 7 successes on activating the 'Rapture' Numina.

As their hands touch, Michelle flexes her wings - not literally, there is nothing to /see/, but waves of rapturous pleasure begin to wash over the Mekhet, visions of the most beautiful moonlight night and sensations of near-perfect bliss. This must be what Heaven is like, an unending peacefulness and feeling of wellbeing - feeling of being human, even, remembering the contentment of having a full belly and a comfortable place to rest, a powerful feeling of euphoria. Why would anyone want to wake from this?

Muse's dark eyes spring wide behind the concealment of her shades, pupils dilating until there's a mere sliver of emerald around their periphery. Staring sightlessly ahead of herself, she takes in the sudden vision her senses are afflicted by with an air of starry eyed wonder. If.. this is a 'punishment', if she were more aware of herself she might indeed question why the Angel seems so dedicated to avoiding failure. It's glorious.

Waiting a few moments until the Mekhet is fully under the effects of this rapture, the Angel steps to one side and scoops Muse up, one arm about her back, the other under her knees, almost like carrying a sleeping child. That done, she spends a moment charging her speed, and then begins to /run/. The wind ruffles through Muse's hair as they travel at high speed, practically invisible to those they pass by when combined with the Angel's naturally innocuous state. Where are they going? Who knows - but they're getting there quickly.

Still lost, blissfully ignorant, in the trance, Muse seems completely oblivious to being lifted with ease from the ground into the Angel's arms. Certainly there's no struggle. Why should there be? Everything is just so.. peaceful. It's been a long while since the Shadow has felt such calm and satifaction. Generally, the waking world is a frightful place for her, in comparison to her 'true' domain - that of dreams. Is she dreaming now? So many questions.. but none seem important enough to rouse her from this heavenly reverie. Nor does the rush of wind through her dark tresses or the sensation of moving somewhere at greater speed than even she can attain.

They travel for a while - beyond the urban sprawl out to where the fetid water of the swamp runs in slow fingers through the bayou, to a tall cypress tree with exposed roots that have sharp points. There is a moment, a prayer spoken by the Angel, and then she simply... drops her passenger. Spiked roots pierce her in several places, including the heart, and the swamp laps gently at her body as she sinks lower and lower, soon covered by the murky waters as she slides down the root, lost to sight, lost to the sun, lost to... Torpor.

Would it be of comfort to her coterie mates, to know that her last conscious moments were spent blissfully unaware of her fate? It's small condolence. But the one thing Muse feared more than sunlight.. was returning to torpor. It's a kindness, truly, that she has only the fraction of a second for awareness, when the first of those pointed roots pierce her flesh. Not even time for a change in her dreamy expression. She's returned to the waters of her beloved bayou.. and imprisoned beneath the surface, blackness closing in around her once more. Cold and merciless. It seeps into her eyes, her throat. Penetrates her slender body through the wounds around those sharp roots. Until, ultimately, she comes to rest, lifelessly, in the mud of the swampbed.

The cellphone in her backpocket clings feebly to life for a few seconds more. And then, both metaphorically and otherwise.. a light goes out.