Visions and Portents

The Vision
Vision washes from inky blackness, charcoal clouds of volcano smoke billowing through the line of sight, slowly receding to leave a wide, open moor stretched as far as the horizon.

The moon peeks a fitful crescent out from behind a dark cloud, the sky otherwise clear and bright. The moor glistens with night dew, the vista marred only by a large rock, scored with old and ancient carvings. Upon the rock stands a small figure, his body graced with an old and tattered tabard, faded and dirty white though still bearing a crimson cross; the blazon of the Knights Templar. His arms are by his side, and he stands motionless, simply looking out across the moor.

Dark shapes move through the night, filtering towards the makeshift pedestal. Some come on two feet, confusion and wonder drifting through the night from their muttered conversations. Others come on four legs, cloudy eyes glancing around and inhuman hearing testing the night for intruders. Eventually, all settle around the front edge of the rock, some sitting, some standing, others simply resting on their haunches.

The man on the rock holds himself motionless still, finally quieting the buzz of conversation by raising his arms, bringing them to a dark marionette of crucifixion. The gathered posse falls quiet, the preacher lets his arms fall and stares out across the gathered throng. He begins to speak.

"I am your black destiny," the figure announces, "the Winter that slays the weak, and hunts the unworthy." His voice booms across the moor, touched by an unearthly power that tickles at the senses. Clearly a great leader.

Lightning strikes! An arc of deathly white obliterates the mighty rock and sends a thousand shards of rock through the throng. Blood and gristle is everywhere, some blown backwards by the strike and others simply crumpling to their knees before falling with face to the floor.

Yet the man within still stands, though now he is joined by another, a feminine figure that stands to his back, glossy hair tumbling down her back. Opposite him stands another figure, this one more bearing sword and shield in a ready stance. The first man moves forwards, a knife appearing in his hand as if from thin air. They battle, flashing steel cutting and tearing at skin and flesh. Eventually, bleeding from myriad tiny wounds, they stand apart.

The shieldbearer stands motionless, staring with cold, blue eyes at his foe. It become clear that the shield also carries a Templar design, and the bearer is familiar, dark-haired and slender. To his side stand a pair of shadowy figures, not quite present and of indeterminate origin. Another figure lies on the floor beside him, red hair pooling around her head as though her throat had been opened. The tattoos across her naked back clearly show who it is. The shieldbearer glances to each side, before sadness clearly takes him and he shakes his head, opening his arms to invite the incoming thrust of the knife.

The knife pierces his chest, releasing a spray of blood. Suddenly, the moor is washed in an almighty blast of sinister power, the eruption of horror and terror spreading forth as vision recedes once more, obliterated as the blast of black cloud covers everything.

Sheriff's Estate - Downstairs

As the night stretches on towards dawn, royalty has been abroad. The door to the main room of the Sheriff's estate opens silently, to reveal a glamourous woman in a slinky, red dress who waltzes in with a tinkling laugh. "We'll see if you can manage to smile for more than three seconds straight," Tanwen comments, playfully, as she meanders across the room.

Following close behind is William Grant, King of Texas. There is a smile in place, as he takes his customary quiet, measured steps into the room. Dressed in a black tuxedo, complete with a little dickie bow, he seems to be in a rather good mood. "If anyone is capable of forcing a smile to these old lips, it would be the most glamourous woman in America," says he, cheerfully.

There is a figure, petite and blonde, standing statue still in the hallway. Unlike others, this evening she is dressed quite comfortably. Pajamas, even. A pair of reddish pink shorts emblazoned with 'Because I Said So' in white lettering, and a matching tanktop with a pink swirling crown with the same words beneath it. She is positively unmoving as she hears the voices, though is well aware that her presence is known.

"Flatterer," Tanwen accuses, though she's still smiling happily away as she floats across the room towards a couch, falling in to it with catlike ease. "Izzie, sweety, come and join us," she calls, brightly.

"Flattery suggests that the comment is not true," Will responds, more playful than he's been seen in Dallas for quite some time. His attention shifts to Isobel, and he brings forth an easy, pleasant smile for her. Instead of heading straight for the couch, he moves towards the kitchen, and synthetic blood. "Would either of you care for a drink?" he queries, pleasantly.

Has she fed this evening? Isobel can hardly remember how long she's been standing in the hall outside her quarters. "I have fed," she states, though there may not be any truth in it. "Speaking of the truth, your Highness, I must request a discussion with you at some point. That ahh…" A glance to Will then back to Tanwen. "… dream."

There's a nod for Will, before Tanwen's expression falls more somber the moment Isobel speaks, her eyes closing briefly. "Yes, of course, the dream." Her tone significantly less cheerful. "Would you rather discuss it privately?" she asks, seriously, throwing her own glance towards Will.

Grabbing a pair of bottles and placing them into the microwave, Will turns in place, leaning back against the kitchen counter. "If the ladies should wish to discuss something without my presence, I am amenable to it," he tells them, though there's a distinct element of suspicion in his look as he glances between the pair. « Did she cast your future? » he asks Isobel, mentally.

"I have no fear of sharing the discussion with my Maker, your Highness. Chances are that he will know of it shortly anyhow." Isobel has never been certain what he could feel through the bond, though she is well aware that she would tell him regardless, should he ask. "Though as you were involved with it, I shall leave it entirely up to your discretion." A shift of eyes sees Isobel giving a brief nod to Will.

"The choice was yours," Tanwen tells Isobel, focusing her attention on to Will for another brief moment, and shaking her head, as though in warning. "You should probably sit. What about the dream did you want to discuss?" She reclines gracefully on the couch, head resting on one arm.

The face of the King of Texas hardens briefly, his eyes speaking of danger, before he turns once more, collecting the bottles of synthetic from the microwave and cracking them open with practised ease. "Tanwen's gift is a dangerous one, Isobel. The problem is that one can never be certain if a dream is allegorical or not, or if it is cast in stone or a malleable fate. I have never known them to be unimportant." He studies Tanwen once more, apparently gauging her feelings on the matter.

"I am not a fool, Valentine. I know well that visions and portents are rarely what they are, even if I am Christian." Isobel did come from a time where such things were normal, and nothing was rarely ever set in stone. "To begin with, why it would have anything to do with your death, your Majesty." Completely formal, no way that's going to break at this point, as she feels entirely guilty for forcing the woman to see what she saw.

Tanwen's eyes cast towards the floor, and she shakes her head. "It was not my death," she says, quietly. "Just a by-product of something that should never happen. I was merely incapacitated." Shoulders lift in a light shrug as she brings her eyes back up. "Valentine, this was not an allegorical dream."

Slowly, one of Will's brow raises. "I was merely attempting to impress upon you that Tanwen's gift is not mummery or fakery. It is true seeing." Eyes flick to Tanwen as he presents her with a bottle of blood, though he says no more. He places himself on the opposite couch to Tanwen, relaxing into it as he drops. Or at least apparently relaxing into it.

Were Tanwen not a Queen, she would be receiving a demanding, 'Explain yourself'. Instead, Isobel moves to sit next to Will, the first she's moved all evening. Much like a child, she rests her head upon his shoulder, and then nods to the Queen. "I agree that it should never happen… though I am uncertain as to what it was. It was most disconcerting, and as I have not dreamt in over six hundred years came as quite a bit of a shock." Quieter, to Will, she adds, "I meant no disrespect, but I never doubted the veracity of her claims."

"Valentine, can I truly trust this one?" Tanwen asks seriously, looking directly at Will as though Isobel were not even there.

Will's response is simple. "Yes," says he, with a slow nod. "As you would me." He glances back towards Isobel, allowing her a nod. "Very well," he tells her, gently.

"Very well," Tanwen echoes, sitting up and placing hands into her lap. "When I utilise my magic to harm another, I am visited by pain beyond any that you could dream. That is what occured. The lightning bolt was mine. The rest? Shadowy figures usually denote people currently unknown by fate, or people that may be present or may not. The figures whose fate is uncertain. It stands to reason that one of them is you, since you were not otherwise present." Her shoulders move in a heavy sigh. "Valentine, it was Demetrius Aquinas."

"That makes very little sense," Isobel says, giving a glance to the Queen. "Not about the pain, but if it is my fortune, my future, would it not stand to reason that I would be present?" A moment of silence passes, then she looks forward. "No, I understand. It is my actions that will determine my presence or not, though I am still perplexed as to the meaning." Eyes glance up at her Maker. "We should find this man and bring him down now before he can harm you. The both of you."

"You are correct," says Tanwen, with a slow nod. "Your actions and choices will determine your presence. The very presence of shadowy figures means that the future is mutable, that it may change or be altered in many ways. The vision shows only one outcome; think of it as destiny giving you fair warning. However, there is no timescale. I could not see the stars or anything to give me clue as to the timings." Slowly, Tanwen once again shakes her head.

"Demetrius Aquinas," Will echoes, his voice and demeanour hardening, his eyes filling with rage. "The self-proclaimed Voice of God. Is he not still asleep? Isobel, your thought is touching, but he is not a creature that can be found until he wishes it." He takes a drink of the blood in his hand, eyes closing against the sudden anger washing through the mental link with Isobel.

"Anyone can be found with enough time, Valentine." Case in point, they managed to wind up in the same location once more. "Calm yourself, please. There is no need for such anger. We shall deal with this." She will send Marius off to find the man. Isobel frowns a little. "I thank you, for attempting to explain such things to me. I have never been one fond for portents and divination, but if this is to come to pass, then surely a forewarning is a fortuitous gift."

Tanwen looks on Isobel, fondness twinged with an element of sadness. "A fine gift it is, Isobel. It's just a shame that I couldn't offer you a brighter future, and for that I apologise." Seemingly serious on that point at least, she finally takes a sip at the synthetic blood, grimacing slightly at the taste.

"If you knew," Will says, low and deadly. "You will know if it becomes necessary. I will not burden you unless his eye falls upon us. Tanwen, will you inform our friends?" He visibly, forcibly calms himself with eyes closed, and moves a hand to rest on Isobel's leg, in an extremely fatherly gesture.

Isobel actually shows some semblance of humanity, with shaking her head. "Please, your Majesty. A future is what one makes of it. Had I believed less, I would have met the sun when sent away from the only home I knew after my turning. As you have said, it is but one possible outcome and we will do our utmost to see that it never comes to pass." Removing her head from the comfort of her Maker's shoulder, the Sheriff sits upright. "We will set this right, Valentine. I am no warrior, but I will not have this fool hurt those whom I cherish."

Tanwen brings up a smile from somewhere. "You are a special girl, Isobel. I'm glad he found you. Perhaps we should talk about something a little less morbid?" She sips again at the synthetic blood, distate showing clearly on her face. "I don't think I'll ever get used to this stuff," she comments, jokingly.

Will allows a nod for Isobel. "We will, when it comes. I look forward to standing with you by my side, my Isobel." His smile is softer now, gentle and kind. "We could always discuss how long you are planning to spend my money?" he asks Tanwen, teasingly.

"Tch. A Queen should never divulge such information. It is what it is, Valentine. You should accept that this is the way royal courts have acted throughout history." Isobel is only aware of this, since once she was sent away she went to the courts. Easy to find a tryst and blood a plenty there. "I thank you for being so frank and honest with me about the prophecy."

Tanwen releases her tinkling laugh again, giving Will a look that speaks of revenge to come. "For that, I'm tempted to do so for at least another month," she tells him, wickedly. She lifts attention to Isobel, voice dropping softer. "It is my duty and my pleasure, my dear. You are Valentine's progeny, so I will care for you as I do for him. Like a cute little baby."

Will merely looks on, helpless in the face of the women. Hands lifts in mock submission. "I am defeated in the face of the pair of you," he says, jestingly. "Now, if you will excuse me, I need to remove the penguin outfit."

There is no laugh, though there is a very slight smile. "I should be appalled to be thought of as a baby, though I suppose in comparison with you, your Highness, I undoubtedly am." Therefore, it will be accepted with grace. "I should perhaps take myself to my quarters as well, so as not to intrude on your evening further. As before, if you have need or want of anything please let me know." A very respectful dip of her head is offered to Tanwen, though she doesn't remove herself from the sofa as of yet. She has not been summarily dismissed.

Tanwen lifts a brow, looking at Isobel with that same wicked smile. "I wasn't calling you a baby, Izzie." She looks pointedly towards the King of Texas. "Who's house? I'm not telling you to leave, sweety, so you'll just have to go. Valentinus, tomorrow you're taking me out to see the local bars." Her smile is sweet now, all innocent and light as she stretches out fully on the couch, crumpling the beautiful gown in the process.

Will merely stands slowly, offering a short and shallow bow to the pair. "I will be certain to make myself available for her Majesty's imperious commands," he says, before turning to withdraw, stepping those quiet, measured steps towards the stairs.

Thus, Isobel remains seated. "Should you attend Mary's, do ask her for the special reserve she keeps for me? It is far better than the synthetic, I promise you." Because it is actual blood, heated to perfection, as opposed to bottled chemical compounds. Blech. "Though I suggest against attending the Holy Water. They have a strict policy of no vampires, and I do not wish to be prying silver bullets from either of your chests."

"Are we really going to play this game?" Tanwen asks, with good humour. "Thanks for the offer, we'll see if this Mary is willing to give up her Sheriff's tipple of choice." Her eyes close as she relaxes, and releases the happy little laugh once more. "Perhaps they'll be amenable if I smile sweetly? Although I doubt they serve Trueblood."

"Indeed," Isobel says with a smile, intent on staying awake the entire day if the Queen does, even though it will be a great detriment to her. Should her ears start to bleed, she will be less than thrilled. "I have not yet gone myself, though Gregory tells me that the Holy Water is run by those people. The ones that proclaim we will bring about the destruction of humanity. I cannot stand those people."

"They're just confused," Tanwen replies, idly, as she relaxes. "I may just sleep here, you realise, and you will be forced to join me." With a quiet noise of contentment, she settles shoulders against the couch and wriggles, as only a woman can. "With time and careful negotiation, we will all eventually live in peace. They're just scared, and I feel for them."

"The time for pitchforks and torches is over. It is not as though we have not been hunted throughout the ages. Perhaps I expect too much from humanity." Isobel eyes the Queen, and for once? She laughs. "Your Majesty, then I could honestly say I have done it all. I have never slept with a Queen before."

Tanwen's eyes snap open, narrowed at Isobel and cheekily coy. "Sorry, sweety, you're cute and all, but Valentinus would be livid." Grin. Eyes close once more, as she settled back. "You do not expect enough. They grow, they change, they evolve towards the stars. Can we really say the same?"

"I dare say that if my Maker finds himself livid over a slumber party, that he needs to see that he is more ingrained with human society than he already is." Actual sleep as opposed to any type of sexual deviation. It would seem that Isobel has no fear of opening up herself to being who she is (a little) in the presence of the Queen. "I would like to say that there is a majority of us that are attempting to. The opportunities we have been afforded with longevity, should have us less strict in our ways and more flowing with the times." She will never say so aloud in this particular house, but she was for the Revelation. To live freely once more? How can any not want that.

"Not quite what I meant, you coy little girl," Tanwen returns, with a wicked little smile touching at her lips as she wriggles once more. One arm lifts, a finger pointing upwards in agreement. "Exactly. Once the old cranks who run everything realise that they're being out-evolved, then they'll start playing nice and joining hands. Until then, we're stuck in this downward spiral of lording it over the mortals, when all anyone needs to realise is that neither vampires nor humanity has a monopoly on bigotry and idiocy. I have very good relations with the governor of my state, and we work well together."

"The old cranks?" Isobel raises her brow at that, but settles onto the couch. Not laying back, but drawing her feet up onto it, tucking them beneath her. "You are quite lucky to have such good relations. The governor and the senators here, I have no dealings with. The current mayor is trying for peace, but the election is around the corner and I do believe this man Wright will give a fair run, which will be problematic."

"The establishment, Izzie. The oldsters, half of which are younger than even you, not that they'll ever admit it, who demand rigid adherence to protocol because it keeps them in power." Her lips purse for the second, and she makes a small noise of disapproval. "Well, if he turns out too bad, you'll just have to kill him and put in someone with a bit more sense. Make it look like the god-botherers did it because he was starting to be liberal, or something." Not entirely evident whether she's joking or not; her voice is still light and breezy. Militant liberal?

"Ah, them. The men who still believe that though the genders bear equality these days, that they should run everything in the boy's club." There have been a few that Isobel has run into over the years. They are her favorite feeding ground, actually. "They just need be reminded that behind each and every one of them is a woman that has a better head for politics than they do." It will not be her. She is far better at playing the 'trophy' to one of them to get what she wants. "I do not think killing this man would be wise, as it would undoubtedly lock his stance in stone. He is one of them."

"Exactly. Radical splinter group, glamoured if necessary, kills mayor for being too liberal. Anyway, it's your house, your toys to play with. I'm simply glad people are a little more sensible up North." She smiles once more, apparently now settled into the couch as best as she is going to be. "Boys will be boys, Izzie. Hang off the arm, let them believe whatever they want. Simplicity itself. Now, I am going to relax. Shh."

Clearly playful at the end there, she does fall completely still, as though settling for sleep.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License