Street Meeting

Deep Ellum

Just a few blocks from Downtown, Deep Ellum acts as the arts and entertainment district of the city. With a myriad of live music venues, theaters, and a few small galleries, it has become the nightlife hotspot for the city. In addition to the usual arts, the are is prone to gaffiti art and murals, some of which appear overnight.

Deep Ellum is also becoming known as Vampire Central, thanks to the city's first and only vampire accommodating establishment - the Hotel Carmilla.

The witching hour has passed, and the darkness that has settled across the normally furtive city streets is strangely quiet. Very few folks are abroad, whether by chance or by design, Deep Ellum is largely deserted. Even the people of the night are largely absent.

That is, until the door of the Hotel Carmilla opens, thrust aside by a man desperate to please those who intend to pass. He bends his head and body in something like a bow as the vampires who exit pass him. The first of two to leave is a short, slender figure, dressed in customary close-fitting black clothing, who walks with quiet, measured steps; Italian heels clicking gently against the sidewalk. His expression is unusual for him, in that there is one. Quietly and calmly satisfied, his lips are formed in a gentle smile. When his voice comes, it is low enough to avoid mortal ear, though perhaps not vampire. "It is good that James chose a wise path. He may prove useful, should he be able to keep his equipment in its appropriate place."

As Marius passes through the door, opened so.. gratefully by the vampire seeing the pair out, he pauses for a moment to lean and whisper something in the door 'porter's ear. If a vampire could pale any further, it is this one, and whose bow of obeissance deepens just that much farther.

It doesn't take the stockier of the pair to catch up with his companion, and there's a deathly.. cold, empty look in the crystal blue eyes. His hand was stayed, this time.

"I am disappointed in the thought that he will indeed do as you command." Usefulness notwithstanding, of course. "I will be checking on him before our scheduled meeting." Just in case.

Michael has made quite a point of not being involved the last few months, with the exception of the Kegan situation Michael's managed to remain almost entirely out of the political, and even social arena, which of course has likely led to people wondering what the ancient vampires actually up to. Tonight however the answer is simple, he's taking a walk, he's dressed in one of his more formal suits as he walks alongside Desiree, his features blank even by vampire standards, he lets only his confidence show, and that's confined to his graceful steps. He seems quite comfortable to remain silent unless Desiree wishes to speak, he comes from a time when walking was a popular past-time after all.

After spending the earlier evening hours dancing at the Country Club, Desiree needs some air before calling it a night. When Michael suggests a walk, she agrees, tucking her hand into the crook of his arm. They walk slowly, strolling as it were, with her looking into shop windows, but not speaking much. A comment here about an antique she likes, or remarks about the evening's activities. It's only when the couple approach the hotel that she stiffens slightly on Michael's arm. She easily recognizes both vampires exiting the hotel, and notes to her escort, "Michael, it's Grant and … I don't know the other's name, but he's the one looking for Mellie." There's a touch of wariness in her voice. If Michael chooses to join the others, she'll be a human amidst three very old vampires. Not a comforting thought, though she trusts Michael to help her if things go … wrong. A hand lifts to her neck, unconsciously touching the healed bite marks on her skin.

"Let him know how lucky he is," says Will, with dark humour lifting a gleam to his eye. "Let him consider the alternative avenues his occupation may take, and let him consider disobedience as a pastime." Ancient ears hear a voice, hear a word, and clear eyes skip across to regard Desiree flatly, completely lacking emotion. The mask of an old vampire drops into place, perfectly without any remarkable feature, and Will simply looks at Desiree, as his steps move his direction towards her.

Eyes do not quite flick across Michael, but old etiquette means he will not make the first measure of greeting. Instead, he remarks idly to one side, to his companion, "Grant now, is it?" There's no hostility to his tone; in fact there is the faintest thread of sardonic humour.

"Aye, I will," do as you command, with pleasure, "and I will have him thanking me and blessing you." Marius does enjoy his life, and when such gems are cast before him?

Marius trails Will by only a step, so as his companion continues on his path, so he does. Catching Desiree's comment regarding Mellie, "Yes, I am," his voice seems booming in its basso, yet he keeps his volume down. "Have you news, then?" There is no mistake— he never introduced himself to the lamb…

As for Michael, he, too, waits for the proper greetings to pass.

It would seem there's no avoiding some meetings then, the comment from Desiree gets a faint nod, no sign that he's worried, no apology offered, but Will Grant Does recieve a bow of the head, one that's a little deeper than necessary, while Marius recieves a much more well measured nod, one that shows the exact amount of respect due and nothing more. "Mister Grant." It's not the greeting he'd offer if Desiree weren't around, but then he's not going to let the details of Vampire politics go slipping to her just yet. He keeps his expression as stoic as ever.

Startled to suddenly be the object of Marius' attention, Desiree had forgotten vampires incredible hearing. "I—-" She starts to speak, then stops, uncertain whether or not to answer before there are greetings made. Eyes cut to her escort. Michael will know what to do; she has that faith in him. He won't allow her to make a mistake. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she can feel her heart pounding, and the pulse in her throat is almost visible. Her hand slips from Michael's arm as she looks up, but is careful to not meet the eyes of either Grant or Marius. She does know a bit about her place in Vampire society, which is to say, at the bottom of the food chain.

Once Michael has made the proper greeting, Desiree dips into a slight curtsy, head bowed. It's the only thing she knows to do to offer proper respect to "someone of importance." And, perhaps, she senses she may answer Marius, now. "I have kept my eyes and ears open for any news, but other than the fact she hasn't been seen for some time, there is no news. I know she has a sister, and I plan to seek her out as soon as I'm given the name and where she works." No, Desiree doesn't know who Mellie's sister is, not yet, at least. "I will continue searching, however," she tells the guardsman.

"I look forward to your results," Will tells Marius. Then his attention switches across. "Michael," he greets, with a smile brought to the fore that speaks of a friendliness beyond any usual acquaintance, and a movement of head beyond usual for a normal local vamp. Classic vampire authority; use everyone's Christian name. His tone matches his smile, a general good humour. "You are yet to determine a reward. Will you be holding me to a favour for eternity? I do not mind if such is your wish." Apparently stone cold serious on that. Eyes flick once more across Desiree, impassiveness back and in control. "Is this one still not yours?" he wonders, idly.

Anything regarding plans for continued discussion is set aside for the two before them, and Marius' waiting comes to an end. He, too, offers greeting, though his own vocalization is simply a grunt.

It is to Desiree, then, that empty blue eyes turn, and he listens to the 'report'. "She is unaware and will be of no aid." Apparently Marius also is aware of the sister. "You will continue your inquiries elsewhere where you may find answers."

With such directive offered, he falls silent for Will.. and the question regarding favours. Have to look in to that and make sure that anything that comes from it is.. appropriate. Though Michael is elder, and should know and fully understand 'how things are', he's on guard. Now.. as for claiming? Curious question, though he, too, wonders in the answer, and waits.

Michael returns the smile, the degree of formality in his greeting done for now he shrugs a shoulder. "If truth be told, I have been out of the social circles. And my nightly activities require little that could stand improving." He speaks with a casual tone, still little feeling slips in, he knows etiquette, and those that have followed Michaels' existence will know that he's prone to hoarding favours until they can be best used. "As for Desiree, no." He glances across to the woman, and then back to Will. "That is a level of committment that seems…unnecessary at present."

The directive is acknowledged with a bow of the head and a soft, "Yes, sir," though for all the world Desiree feels she should be calling them all lords or something equally Medieval. There's a sense of ancientness surrounding her, as if the world's past has inundated her. She forces her composure, exercising her will power to calm her breathing and heartbeat. Probably only partially successful, she is again startled when Will asks his question. Eyes dart upwards to Michael. She trusts him, but he cannot lie. She isn't his, she isn't anyone's other than herself. That's the way she wants it, after all. Freedom. No claim.
Only after Michael speaks does she lift her head and regard Will and Marius. Quiet determination fills her eyes; nothing offensive, nothing rude. "I belong to myself," she says softly, firmly. "Michael and I are close friends, but I make my own decisions and choices." With that said, she smiles. It's genuine, as is the respectfulness she offers Will and Marius.

A peripheral glance that doesn't touch over Desiree's and Marius' exchange would suggest a measure of interest for Will, though it's subtle enough that only those paying attention might take note. Instead, his attention is largely locked on Michael. "Just give me a touch of warning if you are planning something spectacular, neh?" he offers, letting that same sardonic humour drift back in; easy to read an approval for position for Michael there. "I quite appreciate my head in the position it is, after all."

Now he looks again to Desiree, the only acknowledgement of her words that look. "Interesting," he comments, allowing a brow to move a fraction. Apparently not getting involved in that particular discussion.

There's not so much as a flicker in Michael's expressionless mask, there's nothing to imply that he thinks anything of Desirees' words, but it's something of a difficult position of course, on the one hand it could be seen that he finds Desirees' attitude amusing, but on the other it's not something he can explain easily. He simply avoids the topic, instead focusing on the favour. "I have no intention of putting you out. And I certainly won't expect you to take time out of your schedule for me."

The attitude which makes her Desiree remains. It's not arrogance, it's simple independence. Even Marius' comment doesn't remove every bit of her confidence, though her expression wavers slightly. She doesn't answer him, but her jaw tightens just a bit at his laughter. Perhaps she's holding back from saying anything stupid. The other question? She answers it with ease, smiling confidently. "I haven't exhausted all the avenues of investigation," she says quietly. "The sister was only one. I'm working on finding friends who don't work at Bloody Mary's, people she knows other than vampires or fangbangers. It may take awhile, but I will discover something." She must maintain her aplomb. To do otherwise is to lose what little advantage she has in this company.

Will's comment? Gets no reply, but Desiree's smile fades slightly. Her eyes are wary, now. She's not stupid, and she's not blind. She may know her place, but she's anything but subservient. Passivity, after all, can be a sign of strength, not weakness.

That same sardonic humpour of Will's filters finally to his eyes. "It would hardly be a favour were I not put out by it," he says, keeping eyes locked on the elder vampire. "I consider you amongst the most trustworthy in this state, Michael. Do not be afraid to ask me for assistance, even for situations where your favour need not be wasted." Still, his attention is drawn sideways, clearly taking note of the substance of the other conversation, if not the full subtleties.

That's just it.. there is no advantage to the lamb in this company. Particularly after declaring her 'independance' from any claim the elder vampire may have on her. What she's declared is that while she is the willing vessel of Michael, she is also.. a toy to be played with. Has Michael not explained anything?

Tsk. Tsk. Not that Marius really cares. "Speak to me of this independance, lamb." He lowers his voice once more, a soft basso rumble, "When I next see you…"

Crystal eyes flicker back to Michael, and the vampire is studied with a neutral, dead stare. He's taking the measure of the man, certainly, on a few counts. Done with his own game, he's content to fall silent once again.

"I'm glad to hear I'm appriciated." Michael smiles his amusement obvious. "Perhaps one evening when you are not tied down with your many duties we could discuss the matter of my favour and other things in more detail?" Again there are certain things Desiree is probably best not over hearing, not to mention he doesn't know how far he can trust Marius if matters should move onto his personal business. He seems not to notice Marius' attention, but then he's given Marius little more than passing attention since the greeting. "Perhaps you will be attending the opening of Medieval Times?" He'd heard of the connection between the Sheriff and the resturant, but he's little to confirm, it and less to be imply Wills' involvement. "It sounds like an amusing evening. I wonder will the tournament be open to the guests or will it only be… trained performers? I am unfamiliar with such businesses."

Those few words from Marius do much to shatter the confidence. As most of it was bravado, Desiree's expression falters slightly, though she is actress enough to hold herself within a designated character. A persona she dons as others would put on clothes to hide their nakedness. But she has no doubt Marius sees the cracks, and will use them to his advantage. If she's not careful. There can be no answer to his remark, save, "When next we meet, I will have information. My independence will be of little interest." She hopes.

At this, she falls silent, as well, listening to Michael's talk with Will. She looks toward the two elders, but not directly at them. Her interest does perk at the mention of Medieval Times, however, and she's reminded of something else. Something she needs to discuss with the AVL. Her expression is thoughtful, almost enigmatic. Certainly odd for a human in such company.

Of course," Will acquiesces, with a subtle shift of eyes towards the present mortal; understanding and amused smile matches Michael's humour. Attention flicks once more over Desiree, though there is no visible reaction to her silence. "I very much doubt I will be permitted to take part," he laments, jestingly wry, "though the details and the invitations are from the lady in question, not myself. I merely purchased the establishment for her. Do you know more?" he wonders, of the Whip.

There is little to be gained in the subservience of chattel. It is simply the way 'it is'.. and the sooner it is realized, the easier everything becomes. Michael may thank him later for setting his vessel on the correct path once more.

Marius speaks not until spoken to once again, and this time, by Will.

"The gates will be opened to us soon. You will receive your invitation if you have not already done so. There will be a ball in honour of the Lady. When the evening has passed, then it will open for the public, and then there shall be feasting and.. theatrics."

Marius inclines his head briefly towards Will, "Such is her desire, that you are also in attendance."

Nodding Michael finally turns his attention to Marius. "Well it sounds as though it shall be an evening to remember… I find far too few evenings are worth remembering of late." He shrugs a shoulder. "I think I'd like to try the sword again, it's been a long time since I lasted wielded a sword." He seems to give that some thought. "Still either way, it would be good to remember nights long since gone."

Desiree's silence can be interpreted many ways, subservience only one of them. It is respectful silence, like a child when adults are speaking. She has manners, and applies them now, standing silently beside Michael, though not touching him. No interruptions, no clinging to him out of fear. She may be new to vampire society-the higher up vampire society, that is-but she is not unintelligent or unobservant. The expression in her eyes as she looks up at Michael should give him warning she has questions. Questions she will want answered. Desiree won't ask him now, but later? Oh, yes, there will be a reckoning of sorts.

Approval is evident in Will's nod. "I would be honoured to accept the invitation," says he, allowing formality to flick into his voice. His attention scores across the others, before he speaks again. "It should prove an excellent evening, spectator sport and all. Now, you will excuse me. Marius?" It is clearly a question, an invitation to join him if the other so wishes, before the King of Texas moves, a sudden disappearing flash of shadow that streaks along the sidewalk, off and away about his business.

"It shall be an evening for memory."

Marius looks to Michael as the interest in the sword is renewed. "Too long is too long. It will be as if there has been no passage of time." Here, there comes a hint of a smile, "After some practice."

Still, the evening continues its pace and there are things that must be done before sleep comes to those denizens of the dark, and Marius extends Will's pardons with his own, "If you will—"

With the departure of his companion, Marius, too, turns and .. disappears, at least to the human eye, only with the 'youngest' in the crowd, he manages to take something of.. flight to accompany the king.

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