Neo-Political Showdown

Sheriff's Estate - The Vault

This room covers almost the entire ground floor of this house. The majority is taken up by a stylish reception area; three chunky, white leather couches places in a neat U-shape, with a low table in the centre. Another corner holds a modern, black table, six comfortable chairs placed around it as though for conference. The final feature is a bar, well-equipped behind it and with a pair of chunky fridge-freezers, containing a variety of synthetic blood. In one corner is a staircase, leading upstairs. On the same wall is a door through to the only area on this floor not part of this room, where sits a small bathroom and the route downstairs, a featureless door, metal constructed and lockable from one side only, though plated to fit with the design of the house.
Three walls are white, the fourth covered in ceramic panels to give some colour to the place. The floor is tiled, in a pleasant, neutral shade. Windows at regular intervals stretch from floor to ceiling, concealed blackout blinds above them. One wall bears a huge flatscreen television, and one aware of their surroundings will spot the speakers concealed at various points in the room. The general feel of this area is a clinical style, a blank, neutral canvas for whatever happens to be going on. Those who know Will generally refer to this area as The Vault, for the round pillars that stretch up to the roof.

The cool afternoon has given way to what promises to be a cold, clear night. The silvery gloss of the moon rides high, unmarred by the touch of cloud. Even through the light pollution of mighty Dallas, the stars shine fitfully, an occasional passing flashing light of a plane the only hint that the skies are not entirely devoid of life.

The Vault is serene and peaceful, undertones of vanilla masking the faded and almost disappeared remnants of the sharp smell of disinfectant. The dulcet drift of the Danse Macabre filters out through hidden speakers, the occupant apparently thoroughly ensconced with a childish if dark sense of humour. That occupant reclines gracefully on a couch, the large room otherwise completely empty. There is an open and running laptop on the conference table. William Grant, eyes closed in meditation, face as calm as his surroundings, awaits his expected visitor.

It does not take very long for one of Will's subordinates to show up in the Vault, announcing Ivan's presence. And in an even shorter amount of time, the tall man finds himself strolling across the threshold of the room, the utter epitome of cool class. Dressed as he always is for these meetings in a particularly sharp and well tailored dark suit, his dapperness actually lending to the control he is projecting. Stopping just inside the room, green eyes flash around the room in clear calculation.

"Mister Grant. It's been a while." His words are tinged with a wry sort of humor, and the smile that curves his lips do not extend to his sharp eyes. But something is different about the way Ivan holds himself. He is no longer intimidated by Will's mere presence. In fact, he is holding himself stoically, his jaw lifted in a slightly imperial manner.

"Drinks are over there," Will replies, idly, wafting a hand in the general direction of the well-stocked bar. "Have you missed me?" he wonders, voice starting to thread with a teasing lilt, his accent not the faintly Southern drawl Ivan has encountered, but cool and pleasant BBC English. The vampire doesn't bother to open his eyes, though his nose tests at the air, encountering the incoming scent and savouring it.

"I have, after all," he admits, sardonically wry, "been extremely busy saving the world, and your puppet's city." A far cry from the stoic and reticient Will of Ivan's past. His hands settle behind his head, a picture of relaxed and gentile decadence.

Ivan quirks his brows in mild amusement. "My my, excuse me, Mister Bond. I wasn't aware that I was in the presence of such a celebrity. No, you were busy saving your world. I commend you for doing so, however. I admit, I've not been given many details, so I'm not very well versed in your exploits, but I trust the process of doing so has not left you with any permanent injuries?" As he talks, smoothly and easily, he strolls over towards the bar, looking to fix himself a glass. "While I'm up, would you like a bottle of O negative?"

The vampire finally deigns to sit up, simply bending in the middle and opening his eyes. His tone is offhand, his face impassive, though the eyes that settle on Ivan hold a deep and dark humour. "The group who were killing vampires and humans alike have been eradicated, when I tore the heart of the King of Texas out with my bare hands, and crushed it beneath my heel. Peace has returned to our fair city, my little warlock." Then he watches, an idle hope for a good response sitting somewhere deep behind the mask. "O negative is fine."

"How deliciously graphic of you. If you would be willing to stick with me, I could wrangle up a couple of deals for you. A few pacemaker endorsements, perhaps even a cameo in a videogame…you are familiar with videogames, perhaps?" The content itself should make it quite clear, but in case the message isn't broadcasted transparently enough, the wry monotony with which Ivan speaks ought to do the trick. It was a slick expertise that Ivan prepares the two drinks, and by the time he's strolling back towards Will with a glass of warmed blood in one hand and iced scotch in the other, he seems prepared to get to the heart of the matter at hand.

"Peace? Peace is an imaginary construct that runs contrary to the very laws of entropy. I will, however, celebrate the illusion of peace that you have afforded us." The blood is offered over. "We have much to discuss, though. And I suppose now is the time."

Will accepts the mockery without real response, other than his smile growing wider, for a moment. This is amusing, apparently. "What do you specialise in?" he wonders, continuing to watch Ivan, with blank interest. "You don't see a good geomancer these days. I do hope you're a geomancer. All I could taste was the magic that burns through your lifeblood, and I'm a sucker for a mystery."

Still, he accepts the blood, a delicate inhalation through his nose ensuring a lack of contamination. "Our task force," he states, levelly. "A fantastic idea."

Ivan's expression turns impassive, and with impossible blank gleam to his eyes, he examines Will. "Mhmm. Well, I hope the timber of my blood did not disappoint. I also hope you wont take it as an insult when I gloss over the question," the witch offers almost jovially, giving his alcohol an experimental swirl before sipping from it. "It's nothing against you, personally. Nor is it a matter of lack of trust. However, I've come to realize that I'll need to proceed with much more discretion and discernment if I plan on avoiding death. Besides," here, he almost grins. "You'd bore of me if I revealed all my cards so willingly."

But then, it's back to business, and Ivan finds himself lowering his gaze to the glass. "You've read over the proposal? Good," and the man is pleased. "I suppose we have the semantics to go over, and details to tweak, but I'm pleased we're on the same page. It would be impossible to remain politically and judicially segregated, when we're integrated in a practical manner."

"Play a boring game, and I'll start getting itchy," Will replies idly, allowing a nod that accedes the point, for the moment. His look travels down and up the mortal, finally resting the piercing gaze of eight centuries upon him. The look of the Final Judgement, designed to pierce even the mightiest of poker masks. "Are you really so unafraid of me now, Ivan? Now that I am the most powerful vampire in the state, not just the city?"

He pauses, to take a sip of the blood in the glass. His tone drifts more innocent, his eyes widening mockingly. "Sorry, did I say _our_ task force? I did of course mean mine, administered by you."

This time, things have changed considerably. This time, Ivan will not cower at even the strongest of Will's gaze - the green-eyed man merely stares back, with an intensity that is not quite aggressive, but borderlining it. "You cannot touch me." He declares, imperiously and coldly, curling his lips into a smile that is cruel by designation. "You rule a state of lawless rogues, and you feel this is power? Dallas was an experiment. A social examination designed to judge the effectiveness of working with your kind, as opposed to against them. Do not allow your arrogant hubris to lead to your inevitable demise, Mister Grant, you are not invincible and you certainly are not God. My death would equate to your suicide."

Another sip of his drink, followed by a less then pleasant snort of amusement. "Yours? Greed and gross pretentiousness does not suit you, sir. You had your opportunity to 'call the so-called shots'. You failed. This is not your world to toy with. I would suggest you remember that. However, if you want to play hardball? Something can be arranged." Ahem. "The task force will be a joint effort. We will have to summon representatives from all races, I suspect, and create a list of cardinal rules. They will enforce these rules and function independently from the leadership of said races, barring exceptional circumstances. It's simple enough."

Will doesn't bother dropping his gaze, instead letting it shift into glinted amusement, as his tone waxes mocking again. "You threaten me with a war I have been awaiting for centuries?" he asks, mildly. "Mortals and vampires shall not be integrated for a good time yet. Fear on one side, arrogance on the other. Nobody wins."

"You really are missing the point," he continues, with a gentle, indulgent smile, "if you believe that threats will bring us to anything resembling an accord. I failed nothing; there were my kind causing trouble, and they are gone. Do you see the Fellowship of the Sun ground under your police force's heel? I am offering you something greater. This little task force-" Dismissed with an idle waft of a hand, the vampire otherwise motionless, "-is a bright idea, but eventually serves little purpose except delaying the hostilities and sending insurgents underground. In short order, you and I could own this state, possibly more. Then, and only then, could we effect real measures to enforce pleasantries. Besides, I can sweeten this deal beyond your wildest dreams." Then his smile drifts towards a smirk.

"Yes." Ivan admits, unabashed and unblinking in his solemnity. "I threaten you with a war that you mistakenly believe will never come to pass, due to trepidation on both ends. But this isn't the sixteen century anymore, Mister Grant. There would be no quest as to who the victor of this war would be, with the human population as it is and the rapid development of technology rendering your enhanced physical capabilities practically null and void. The only reason, Mister Grant, that I oppose such an incident so vehemently is that the casualties would be massive, and I'm unwilling to throw so many innocents into the line of fire for naught. I used to believe in equality of the races. I used to believe that vampires deserved their unlifes just as humans deserved theirs. I'm not sure if I believe in that anymore." If nothing else, Ivan is completely, one hundred percent honest.

The offer of additional power, though it appeals to Ivan, is considered with much suspicion. "If you believe that I will deign to act as your subordinate, we can put an end to that, right here. I have sacrificed much for the sake of that flimsy idea of peace, and I have nothing to show for it. You don't have the power to back up such assumptions - especially not as such a new King."

"The war has been coming for centuries," Will replies, mildly, "and will be stopped only by the practical application of judicious force, occasional murder and many sweet, sweet words. I provide the former, we each provide the latter to our respective races."

"You are _good_ at what you do, possibly the best I have seen," the vampire tells him, finally taking a sip at the bottle in his hand. He's still staying impassive, still relaxed, still with the pleasant BBC voice. "You are potent with word, acid in assault, strong in rhetoric. Your sacrifices sit aside my own; the thousands of years of life destroyed by careless lust for power. My strength is without question; the Sheriffs of this state would rather place me upon a throne than risk becoming my enemy. More importantly, you now have a wary peace, though you are too busy spouting cathartic venom to see the opportunity that lies before you. Nishimura is chained and bound, ready for your justice, and I sit prepared, ready to stand in the shadows at your side, to allow you the glory and the power for as long as you benefit us both."

And for once, Ivan is speechless. Not for a lack of things to express, but out of consideration of the possible outcomes that he may leave this conversation with. And with that assessment in play, his brows furrow thoughtfully, his lips pursing in an expressive manner. And it strikes him - nothing can be resolved by him spouting self-righteous vitriol. And so, with a heavy sigh, Ivan downs the remainder of his scotch, placing the glass on the nearest surface so that he can close his eyes and run his hand through his hair. There is a pregnant pause, thick with tension, before he speaks once again.

"A summit. I propose a summit of all the supernatural leaders of this community. So that we may come to terms as just that - a community - and extend this so called peace." Hiro's names prompts Ivan's eyes to flash open with barely suppressed rage, however, and he turns his gaze back to Will, surprised. "I had heard that you were under some debt to Nishimura. You are aware that I intend to kill him in the most painful way possible, yes? And that I will not accept anything less than his death?"

"Chained, bound and ready for your judgement," the vampire replies, mildly, his mouth a red slash of ill-intentioned humour. "His poor information almost led to my destruction, and his further action was in direct defiance of my order. Thus is the impotence of a new king, neh? I shall take you to him, where you shall end him. See my commitment to the cause of peace and our potential for the future in the pain I have allowed, the look in his eyes as you end him. Any means necessary, Ivan."

Leaning back now, into the couch, Will continues, "Isobel may attend this summit, as Sheriff of Dallas." He takes a thoughtful draught of the bottle in his hand, somewhat cold now. "Let your puppet attend, or yourself if you wish. I feel you and I may have greater thoughts afoot. Yes?"

Ivan squints towards Will, as if he was surrounded by a thick fog and straining to see the new King through the night. The assessment does not let up, even as Ivan parts his lips, then closes, only to reopen them once again, his words slow and deliberate. "I assume you have been informed of his crimes, then?" Regardless, he is quick to move on, offering Will a curt nod. "Today. I want to end this tonight. Now, perhaps? Which brings me to the other topic I meant to approach. Miss Tyler - she is to be put under whatever act of protection you see fit, provided it keeps any unfortunate incident of the like from occurring once more. She is an innocent. She does not deserve half of what has unfortunately come down upon her." As for the summit, Ivan doesn't look entirely convinced about the 'greater thoughts', but he offers Will a nod, signifying that he is at least open to such for the time being.

"Come," says Will, suddenly a flash of dark movement, so fast as to be almost beyond the limits of human eyes to see. The flash becomes Will again by the door, where he pauses, opening it with delicate grace. He glances back. "His actions were reprehensible, and asking for death. I am unable to place her under any more protection than my word as King, which shall come into effect as soon as the information can be disseminated. Any who may choose to call me enemy may use that as an excuse, though I give you my word I shall do my utmost to ensure she is not harmed."

Starting to step through the door, the vampire continues to speak. "Oh- threaten me in my own home again and I shall leave you an immortal body trapped in a silver coffin for eternity, regardless consequence," he says, pleasantly, as he takes his customary quiet, measured steps. "Now, we shall discourse on options for how to place you in true power en route."

Ivan slides his hands into his pockets, moving in a slow, calculated manner to the door behind the flash that is Will, no longer intimidated and frightened by the supernatural's incredible speed, and no longer struck with the desire to match it. However, when the pleasant 'threat' is administered, Ivan's brows furrow in a flash of irritation, and though he opens his mouth and looks to about to retort, the impulse is held back. Instead, Ivan allows a liberal roll of his eyes. "Possibly, yes. I prefer to act through a puppet figure-head, if at all possible."

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