Turning a frown...

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.

It's when activity in the estate picks up and those who are a little more than merely alive stir, that Susan usually makes her way upstairs, already regretting the one hour a day she has almost to herself. Almost, since she's never alone, a guard always keeping track on her actions whether he's human or not. She does her best to ignore them, even if some are trying their best to have her aware at all times. Today at least starts a little better, the guard merely doing duty, not taunting her to set a foot wrong. It's one bottle down and one to go, the woman seated on one of the couches, a longing stare at the doors leading outside. It's not hard to guess what's on her mind, even if she keeps betraying emotions from the usually so easy to read lines on her face.

That same door that opens with a gentle sound of air shifting around its edge. The figure that stands outside is dressed is a long, black, leather jacket, his body somehow slightly bulkier than is usual for him, and his hair is slicked back in tousled spikes to ensure it stays away from his eyes. William Grant enters, gliding with those quiet, measured steps that serve him so well. Vampire ears might easily pick up the scratch of metal against metal; chainmail beneath the clothes. That and the four foot long greatsword held almost negligently in one hand, delicately as though it were a broomstick or rapier, not a hefty block of solid metal. His face expressionless, he begins to move across the room, not acknowledging any other presences just yet. A faint smell of day-old blood follows him.

It's the combination of it all, though each would have made her rise in it's own right. The flow of fresh air is welcomed, Susan lifting her face to it, eyes closing briefly even as she breathes in, fighting the fangs that long for the real deal instead of the bottled blood -and nothing else- that's been hers for the past three weeks. But it's the identity of him, and only that, that has her dipping in a brief curtsey, head lowered to leave the fresh air waft elsewhere. Quiet blue eyes follow his passage, the bottle lifted to her lips again to drink. Similar reactions come in varying degrees from others in the vault, her guard -waiting by the stairs leading up- bowing deeply, respectfully, from the waist.

Pale eyes swivel, locking on to the mortal guard with a dark and timeless need deep within them. Will just keeps walking for the moment, until the fridge opens with a swift movement of a hand. He drags a bottle out, cracking the lid and bringing the bottle to his lips in one blurred switch of movement. Only once the bottle is empty from a single draught does he turn once more, allowing the hint of an acknowledging nod to be sent towards Susan. "Are you healing well?" he asks, voice still scored with a dark hunger, even as another bottle snakes into his hand to be opened in a single movement.

There's a moment's hesitation from Susan, but she will nod, gently, a smile flickering to show her appreciation for his inquiry. The hunger he's displaying lowers the corners of her mouth again however and with the ice blue swiveling to the guard and back again, she walks over to the bar where she lays a note block on the counter and briefly writes down a few words - even if she's unable to keep hungry expectation entirely from her face.
The sheriff keeps a few bags from the blood bank in the back of the fridge.
Not something she'd dare to touch, but he's King, right.

The second bottle rapidly draining in the face of a hungry King, it is placed on a nearby counter with perhaps more force than was meant; a noisy crack sounds across the room. "Thank you," whispers Will, his words revealing the slender fangs that are now, finally, retracting towards normality. His tone is scored through with a cold anger, though quite what it is for is unknown. "However, needless consumption of true heartblood draws one further from humanity." Yet another bottle retrieved from the fridge; he's not even bothering to heat the synthetic before cracking it open. His stance is slowly growing less rigid, his mask is starting to return, eyes flicker closed, and the mask is set.

The one great virtue of not having a tongue is so you can swallows your words without the other one ever having heard them, or in this case, ever having read them. Scratching through whatever she just scribbled down, Susan simply nods, leans away from the counter and stuffs the block back in her back pocket. Watching Will closely, she finishes her own breakfast, and points upstairs, all of her face helping to get the question mark across. Raised brows, wide eyes, puppy dog pout. Waiting for his consent to leave. So eager to leave every day life at the estate well alone.

Pale eyes calm now, Will brings them to rest on Susan. "No, not just yet," he tells her, with a faint trickle of amusement entering his tone. "Have you plans for when you leave the estate yet? I have been seeking opportunity to discuss your future with you; where you see yourself in a century, and the such." He is otherwise motionless, himself once more. Idly, he spins the greatsword in his hand, letting the blade slide through his fingers as he rests it, hilt first, on the floor.

Pushing disappointment back, Susan gives him another nod, just to let Will know there's not a hair on her head thinking of leaving before being dismissed. His question however sparks another sentiment, and he can probably sense her hair standing on end while she retrieves the block, flips it to a fresh page and writes, occasional wary glances at him. More precisely, at the sword. And her writing? A little less neat even compared to earlier.
My sentence isn't finished, there's 19 years of AVL left, so that's my first call of duty.
He can see her bite her lip right before she adds a quick,
My lord.
Another pause and she writes below that,
I'll probably be spending the rest of the century paying back the creditors.
As before, she holds it up for him to read, but the ice blue eyes linger on the sword still.

"I feel that we can dispense with formalities via the medium of the written word," Will says, with a gentle, indulgent smile touching at his lips. The complete opposite of the barely contained killer who walked into the room. "Nineteen years is not so long, Susan. Perhaps if you should perform a great service for your King, the sentence could be commuted," he speculates, though whether there is anything in particular is unclear. "How do you intend to repay the creditors?"
The sword is now lifted slightly, tapped in an easy tattoo against the floor in an unconscious movement; a sign to those that know him that Will is relaxed, and likely thinking about something.

A relaxed king does not automatically a relaxed Susan make, but his first comment elicits a smile from her, thoughtful but welcoming and with it still in place she bows her head, extending the respect in a different way. His second comment however piques her interest. For 19 years may be but a heartbeat in an existence that's centuries old, every day at the AVL seems like a century onto itself to Sue - it's well known that she doesn't share the point of view she's so publicly projecting. This time her eyes stay locked on Will, her hand writing quickly, negligently for him to read next,
I'll start another investment group.
It's what got her into money in the first place. It's all she knows. And it's the one thing that lands her in trouble each and every time.

"I dislike the League and everything it stands for," Will tells her, easily. "I fought against the Revelation with every fibre of my being, to no avail." Still the metal hilt taps against the floor. "Are you certain that is wise? There are other means to make money, Susan. Perhaps not so rapid, but less fraught with uncertainty."

A tilt of her head tells him she's listening and not just to his idea about making money. Though she certainly doesn't comment, the respect in her eyes just went up a few degrees. To encourage him however, she writes down,
Obligations? Bonds?
Can't help but be a stockmarket girl.

"My money is largely from solid business, from low-risk investment and above all, patience," Will says. Never mind the vast quantity of capital he 'inherited' from Kegan. "In the modern era, the markets are practically unplayable. There are, however, solid opportunities for those who would serve the greatest good, those who would follow their leaders into Hellfire with a grim smile and unwavering dedication. Individuals like the Whip."

Still listening. And listening. Willing to go along with. That is, until Marius is mentioned, at which point any and all mirth that was still on display dies a quiet but rather deliberate death. Blank faced, she bows over the note block to write, slowly this time, needing to search for the words. When she looks up again, Susan's not quite willing to meet his eye.
Low-risk usually means time consuming. I fear my creditors are not the most patient of our kind.
But she does insert a nod of respect, just so he knows she's not calling him an economic nitwit.

"Hence there are other methods," Will says, with a mild humour flicking into his voice. He moves, a rapid blur of darkness, bringing his lips close to her ear, where his tone drops until it is barely audible, even for a vampire. "If opportunity arose to bring royalty's enemies to their political knees, there are those who would pay handsomely. Loyalty to authority is not shameful, it is profitable." Then he moves once more, again blurring into movement, grabbing yet another bottle of synthetic blood. Someone must've been hungry.

Well, there still is guard on offer if he'd but step down from a few principles? Susan however is slightly too busy to make any such suggestion, still trying to maintain her cool. Last few times anyone blurred on her in the estate she was on the receiving end of pain. Slowly the eye she'd closed in expectation of it, opens again, locking on him now, weighing. Not glancing down for a second as her hand writes down,
I'm listening, my king.

"When the time comes, it will become clear," says Will, cracking the third bottle of blood open with a deft movement. "I will wait until after you are healed, and I have determined the viability of this co-operation." He begins to walk away, towards the door to downstairs. "Now I must wash the blood from myself."

In other words, there's nothing concrete yet. Susan speaks Politician, even if she's not fluent at it. There's a deeper curtsey now and quiet, but hopefully scheming eyes follow him out. So there's light at the horizon after all.

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