Time to Meet Your Maker

Hotel Carmilla

Entering the lobby and public space at the Hotel Carmilla is much like stumbling into a Bohemian artist's studio. The vivid and operatic display of seemingly haphazard combinations of surreal contemporary and centuries-old furnishings create a style that is akin to stepping into a real life painting.
The walls and floors are metallic grey, with a large piece of metal art marking the center of the lobby. Support pillars of metal and wood give the entire area an arty look. At the very end of the area is a hand-carved 10' Italian fireplace in front of which is a lush, red velvet couch, while a custom Venetian glass chandelier hangs above.
So as not to detract from the extravagant view of the hotel, the front check in desk has been settled into the wall at the left side; enough to be seen but not enough to stand out against the otherwise breathtaking room. The wall behind the desk is a lush deep pink. A unique piece of art hangs behind it, and on either side of the security guards can be seen.

A cold, brisk night outside, relatively quiet for Dallas, though the reasons for that are anyone's guess. The Hotel Carmilla lobby is relatively empty, though a few people are dotted around, mostly talking into cellphones. Lounging against the check-in desk, speaking with his usual quiet but carrying tone is William Grant, Sheriff of Area 9. Behind it stands a neatly suited duty manager, and a somewhat terrified-looking receptionist, all glossy and shiny, with perfectly manicured nails.

"But sir," says the duty manager.

"Should I hear the word but from your lips again we shall have a falling out," interrupts Will, currently radiating a quiet menace. "Instead, you shall explain quite what you, you personally, have done to affront me."

"Sir, I must protest. I was merely acting as—"

"No," says Will, simply and rather unpleasantly, making the threat implicit in his words. Clear blue eyes lock on to the unfortunate manager, the promise of death within them. "I shall say it for you. You failed to notify me of a visitor, because he gave you a small roll of green notes. How I know this you will never know, but I do know, Jeremy" The manager glances down to his lack of nametag. "that you will not do it again. If you do, I shall revoke all priviledges." Including breathing, if his look is anything to go by.


Elevator doors part, and several humans in business suits step out. Obviously here to see someone or another. Two vampires disembark, talking about the bar down the street, discussing which will find a willing fangbanger first.

The final patron exits the elevator, pausing only to turn and use the mirrored doors as a primping zone. Hair is fluffed out, another coat of lipstick applied. A gentle turn of her head to check her side view, then a nod before heading toward the lobby to find herself a meal for the evening. Isobel did note that there is a blood bank down the street, and if that fails the bar that was being mentioned should have a willing donor or two…

"Sir, I feel that if you just wait for the hotel manager to arrive, then—"

"Then shall you find yourself unemployed in rather quick time," Will informs him, suddenly switching to a pleasant smile. "I am offering you the opportunity to make amends now, rather than at the hands of your employer later. You do realise what crossing the Sheriff will do." His attention shifting around to the elevator as it dings, he watches the occupants walk along. The first two receive a tiny nod, recognised as they are already. The third gets a more thorough look over, and a puzzled look, a second look, crosses the normally iron-controlled expression.

The Sheriff? An eyebrow arches slightly, interest piqued. Isobel has yet to look over at the desk, trying to ensure she is presentable before doing so. She crosses the lobby, freezing about midway. Though her outward emotions remain calm and collected, there is a great deal of inner turmoil. Confusion, loathing, surprise, adoration. A tumult to be sure.

"It is not possible," she breathes, eyes narrowing briefly.

The duty manager continues, unaware that he is largely ignored. "Sir, with the respect due your position, I must—"

"A single additional word and I will tear your head from your shoulders," says Will, simply staring ahead of him. He stares unthinkingly, makes an involuntary step forward, his lips moving in a short whisper. "She is dead." He catches himself, stops in place, still stares.

Isobel has a snappy comeback upon her lips. One that goes so far to say that of course she is dead. She would not be staying in this hotel otherwise. It takes just a moment for her to realize of whom he speaks, and her head cocks in a questioning manner. The single word response comes on a whisper instead, "How?"

Slowly, suddenly careful of movement, his entire body seemingly drawn towards her, Valentinus des Barres takes two more steps. He stops again, eyes close for a mental drawback, the closing of barriers that are attempting to crumble. They open again, and the faintest tinge of red colours his lower iris. "Me," says he, quietly.

A swift hand slips into a pocket, presenting a still white handkerchief. This offered out to him as she tries to keep her distance, but offer some comfort to her sire at the same time. Isobel remains silent, refusing to speak that which is on her mind. Instead, once she surmises he's had time to compose himself, she asks, "You go by the name of Will Grant these days, Valentine?"

A single shake of his head for the proffered cloth, and Will is again composed, at least outwardly. "I do," says he, the sudden pain of memory behind his eyes broadcasting through their mutual link. "Isobel— mine eyes fall upon one I believed dead. She said you were dead."

Isobel neatly folds the handkerchief before slipping it back into her pocket. Her eyes remain upon her face, and she gives a subtle shake of her head. "Her intention was for me to die. She sent me to France during a time of great upheaval. Had I remained I would surely be ash by now."

"She betrayed us both," Will informs her, quietly, eyes falling to the floor, "and I served justice upon her." His face lifts towards her again, the rest of his body still for the moment. "Is there hatred in you, for me? I was nothing of what I should have been for you."

"Such was her nature," Isobel states, softly. She will not speak ill of his Maker, no matter what she had to endure at Ysolde's hands. "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses," she quotes quietly. "I have long since forgiven you. I would be long since dead were it not for her manipulations, and thus she has received my forgiveness as well." Once a novitiate always one.

Slowly, Will allows a nod, and a smile, a true and genuine smile of thanks comes to his lips. "My sins against you are great, and Matthew or no, I will atone," says he, directly. He turns, facing towards the desk and the duty manager who appears to be doing something very important involving a computer and a telephone. "We shall not discuss her again, not here. In private, I will give you the truth of her. Allow me to be your host; I have a place for you in my home if you wish it, for as long as you wish it."

Having traveled to seek out the other Sheriffs in the country, the Kings and Queens, Isobel is well versed in the etiquette. To turn him down would be an affront. Instead of protesting, though she is sorely tempted to, she dips her head forward in a gracious nod. "That is very kind of you, Valentine. I was on my way to feed, then seek out the Sheriff of this Area, but it seems fortune smiled upon me this eve and I shall be able to take care of both items at once."

"I insist only for one day," says Will, allowing a full smile for her now, almost boyish. "After that, you are free to do as you wish, free to engage wanderlust, to find business, to find anything. My joy is that you are amongst us still." His tone is animated, more so than seen recently in Dallas. Perhaps the faintest hint of real emotion within him, so long has it been since he has allowed it. "I have synthetic at my home."

Isobel considers a way to broach the subject delicately. She clears her throat several times, and while she offers him a smile it is perhaps a somewhat sad one. "I am afraid that I am unable to enjoy even the finest of the synthetics," she answers, much to the chagrin of the human employees at the hotel. "The hotel offers… other delicacies, which is why I obtained a room." Free, willing humans, as room service. "However, if you do not mind a quick stop at the blood bank down the street, I can procure sustenance there."

"Of course, of course," says Will, with a sudden, sly glance towards Isobel. He reaches through his mind, towards the bond they once shared. His mental tone is old English as always, the archaic edges gentled now by the blissful touch of progress, or technology and modernism. « I will take you to a place where you may feed from a willing subject, and for a beauty such as my Isobel, there will be a grand selection. » He gestures with one hand towards the door. "Shall we?"

Amusing, thinking she is his beauty, considering the years that have passed without seeing him. "As you wish it." Even had she wanted to protest going with him, since it is a request, she really can't. Isobel moves toward the door, almost gliding. "Though you do not need to go to such extremes on my account."

"On your account," Will tells her, stepping quiet steps by her side, "there is very little I will not do, and joyfully so. We have a second chance to build the bridges we never could, and we may learn who the other is, truly, not coloured. Now, follow, please." With that, he is suddenly a dark shadow, flitting at what he terms a likely speed she can match without struggling towards his destination.

Bloody Mary's Bar

Given to irony, Bloody Mary's Bar is decorated primarily in black and varying shades of red. From the black bench seats and chairs, black tables, black walls with chilling red blood flowing down them in a continuous manner, it's quite obvious why this bar has the name it does. Deep red mahogany makes up the floor and bar. Dangling red star lights illuminate the bar, lending to it's somewhat creepy look.

Blood Mary's buzzes with quiet and not-so-quite fun. Fangbangers, vamps and wannabes abound, the bartenders busy with the human clientele, and less so with the synthetic, though a few bottles are sold. A dark shape flits to a standstill just outside, waiting barely a moment before opening the door, utterly ignoring the hefty bouncers minding it.

Stepping his measured steps, the Sheriff enters, turning to hold open the door for someone else. This does not go un-noticed, by those who are savvy enough to keep an eye on door and happen to recognise this particular man. A few people nudge a few others, there is some interest.

A second chance to build bridges, and learn who he is? That could be a very dangerous thing, but something she is unable to deny him. After all, as her Maker, he is able to order her to stay in Dallas should he so desire. When he acts so chivalrous as to hold the door open for her, Isobel straightens her back and enters, quietly. As she passes, a quiet, "Thank you," is offered.

Will allows the door to close once she has passed, stepping to walk alongside her. "The table in the corner is mine, though you may wish to browse first." The possibilities for political ramifications flutter through his mind, though he shrugs them off with relative ease. He walks towards the corner, not bothering to return any of the attempts to garner his attention. "What brings you to Dallas?"

Isobel eyes a few of the patrons, none with much interest. Fangbangers have never been her style, and are generally a last resort, though dressed as she is she may just be able to pass for one. Moving through the establishment to the table in the corner, she eases into a seat then glances at him. "A shifter wedding. The company I have been working for hired my services to ensure that the rituals were captured nicely onto film."

"Once you have selected, feel free to bring them over," says Will, whilst beginning to lounge into the round corner. "You are a photographer now? An interesting career. What of yours should I hang upon my wall?"

"You more than likely have something of mine already hanging upon your wall. I have used many different names over the years, Valentine. Should you have any night landscape paintings, or photographs, look beside the name for a minute heart. It is how I have kept track of my works over the years." Isobel grins, then beckons to a young, yuppie, businessman type that is sitting at the bar. After a moment or two, he begins to make his way to the booth.

Perusing the crowd, Will spots a dark-haired beauty he has been considering for some time. He does not summon her, not quite yet, instead pausing, expressionless now in his usual way. "In truth, I do believe there is a landscape on the wall of a house in Iowa that has such a heart. A dark, chilling piece that looks over Venice, as I recall. Perhaps yours?"

"Ahh, Venice. I hid there for a time," Isobel says quietly. "It does sound familiar, and should the name read 'Symon Skye' then I do believe it is mine." The man continues to make his way to the booth, causing Isobel to slide a tad closer to Will to make room for him. "Though I do admit that the Scottish muirs have always been my favored locale. I can almost paint them from memory."

"I spent much time hiding myself," Will admits, though he stops as the man approaches. He doesn't bother moving up himself, instead just watching Isobel, quiet closely, though without any of his usual intensity. "Is there something of yours that truly stands out? Something so beautiful, so special, your crowning piece?"

Isobel considers, not really giving the man much thought. She does quickly ask if he is a willing participant, and when she gets the go ahead, smiles a little. Her fangs have yet to pop out just yet, so she's not entirely ready to feed. "I think, perhaps, Aberdeenshire after it fell to ruins. Something about painting a place you have an emotional attachment to turning to dust is simply breathtaking."

"Do you know where the painting is?" Will wonders. Politely, he does look back across the bar, letting her be on with her business for now. Still, he does not summon the dark-haired girl.

There is a silent moment, accompanied by a slight wince of pain, as Isobel feeds. No rules posted here saying that she can't, after all. Once she has had her fill, which is not all that much considering, she pats the man on the cheek, thanks him, and sends him on his way. No muss, no fuss. No need for a glamour.

"I believe that it is in a private collection in a Fraser home in Ottawa, Ontario." A sly little grin plays upon her lips. "I ensured that particular piece stayed within the family. Should you wish it, I can contact them and ask to their price."

"I do want it," says Will, quietly, adding sardonic humour as he continues. "However, I have a feeling the price that comes through you may be prohibitive. Still, please do contact them." Fingers tap quietly on the couch as the tangy smell of blood fills the air. Two fingers lift, pick out the dark-haired girl, and Will flicks a summoning. "I suppose I should ensure you of the local laws, and the such. Later, remind me to give you the full briefing. It does bore me." The raven-haired beauty does start sweeping her way towards Will.

Isobel licks her lips, nodding at her Maker. "If they are the general rules of most Areas, then you need not bother with the rundown. Should there be anything that differs even in the slightest, I shall endure them for you." A phone is slipped out of her pocket. Simple in design it is meant to be practical, not flashy. "I shall place the call while you feed. They may not like the call from their art dealer coming in so late, but they will endure it for me. Especially if I offer up a never before seen piece by the same artist."

"In general, yes, there should be no problems," says Will, making a mental note to explain at some point why so many of the laws are similar across the country. Hard legwork on his part, for one. "Of course, make your call."

The dark-haired creature sways over to him, and he holds out a hand to her, which she takes. She begins to move in, turning to snuggle in close when Will suddenly moves, a backhanded slap taking the girl sharply across the face. Not painful, but a shock. "Professional," says he, with disdain. "Away from my sight, slattern." She leaves, quickly.

In the midst of her call, Isobel winces for the woman as she is slapped. It is not so unusual a sight to see, but there is a reason she generally prefers her dinners to come in expensive business suits. Her brow raises at him as she continues the discussion, and a mere moments later she hangs up to make her offer.

"They have agreed to half the price they procured it for, provided I can locate another original for them. Should that be agreeable, the painting will be here within the week."

"You have a piece of paper with a number?" Will asks, easily. He settles back into the comfortable seating with quiet grace, lounging again now. "Perhaps a more subtle method of communication. How long do you intend to be in Dallas?"

Isobel is not in the habit of carrying around notepads and pens. Instead, she motions to one of the waitresses asking to borrow her pen. After obtaining it, she scribbles a number on the napkin and slides it across to him. The number is in the range of $9,000. One of her more expensive pieces of work. It is not as though she ever did it to make money. "As long as you desire me to remain, Valentine. Should you ask it of me, I will leave now."

Glancing down, Will lifts a slender brow. "If the piece on the wall of a house in Iowa is anything to consider, that number is lacking either one or two zeroes." He glances up to Isobel, unleashing a full smile onto her. "I will give them the full price. You understand, of course, that I do not want to ask you to come or go; I wish you to choose your path."

A laugh. Cool, almost icy. Isobel winks at him. "Purposefully lacking," she points out. "They could not afford it even at that price, but as it was signed by a Fraser, and they mistook the heart for a strawberry, they believed they were purchasing a piece of family history." She does not contact them back immediately, and she will allow the full price offer to shock them. They could use it, as she's well aware. "Then I shall stay at least as long as the office here has needs of my services. Should our bridge building be going well by that time, perhaps I shall consider staying a little longer." Taking a small pause, she glances over at him. "With your permission of course."

"We shall cross that bridge should it exist when we approach it," Will quips, longhand. His fingers tap a faster beat on the seating, as he stares out at the people. "Come. I will show you my abode, and your quarters, and then I have business, which shall be boring, when I am certain you have your own business to attend to."

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