Ascertaining the Truth

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.

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The evening.. is. Night has fallen, the sky dark and filled with the celestial bodies that hold sway once the sun has drifted past the horizon. For some, the beginning of evening holds the beginning of their 'day', and for others, an ending of their toil and the beginnings of their slumber until the sun rises again.
The Whip of the city, holding the responsibility of the Sheriff in the Lady's absence, has a full evening of business he must attend to. Distasteful business in such that it makes him think more than he considers his own capacity— or rather, no. He's aware that he's more than capable of discharging such duties. Centuries of soldiering, leading troops, has taught him the value of leadership. He just doesn't care for.. a lack of forthrightness. On any level.
Clarification is required.. and Chloe, the King's own, is summoned.
Yes… summoned.
Marius does not have a place of meeting, nor does he really care to. All that is his concern is that the Estate is quiet and the vault is now empty, and will remain so by his order until such time that he deems it.. open for authorized traffic, as it were.
He sits on the couch, his black clothing a contrast of the white couch. There is no movement from him, no hint of 'life' within the eyes that appear to gaze sightlessly into the distance…


Chloe obviously doesn't take well to that. Still, she's come of her own free will, carrying along her laptop in case the Whip is busy with other things. Normally it would have been books, but books there are aplenty here for her to peruse at her leisure.

After being announced, she doesn't head right to the couch and bow or curtesy at the man. Instead she drops the laptop off on a table then makes her way to the kitchen. Eyeing the man quietly, she yanks out one of the bottles of synthetic from one fridge, shaking it and setting it in the microwave to warm it. Then she moves to the other fridge and gets herself a bottle of water. It takes about 90 seconds for the microwave to ding.

Both bottles are carried to the main area, the blood set before the whip as she chooses to sit on the couch opposite him.

"You had best not be about to tell me bad news about Will."

Like a being that has centuries to waste, Marius simply.. sits.. and waits motionless, his gaze unmoving as Chloe enters and accomplishes her tasks before seating herself. When he does speak, his voice is soft and low.. very near approximating the tones of when he'd warned her back at Mary's before she'd been struck.
"It was a waste of my time to inquire into the wrongdoings of a vampire in this city. I am very near the point of having Charles drain your friends and leave his post for bothering us with their trivial issues."
Marius' expression remains dead cold, the expression of the grave. "Were you told this vampire," who remains unnamed, "attacked humans without regard?"

There is an abject look of relief when it appears that this 'discussion' has nothing to do with Will being still gone. Her brain quiets itself, no longer going over tactics and things that she's been studying since the last attack.

"You were given all of the information I had. I forwarded you that email, and requested Charles at Josephine's behest for the safety of her brother." Hands twist around the top of the water bottle, and she opens it. A sip is taken, and she tilts her head.

"If you speak of Skylar's friend, that witch… she gave me no information. Just that the man was Egyptian. She told me very little about the accident, or about the vampire. She said that 'the vampire' tore Hugo from the vehicle, and that he threatened to kill her."

"You were present at Mary's when we heard that Hugo was his claim, by his own admission of actions. I do not contest that claim at this moment."
Marius ignores the bottled synthetic for the moment, instead turning his gaze now upon the young woman before him, his voice still low and .. dangerous in his obvious controlled annoyance and anger.
"I spoke to this girl. The vampire took his rightful claim. It was she that attacked him first, by her recount. He retaliated, which is his right. Her injuries were caused by the initial car accident which I do not deem to be an unfettered attack upon her person and will not consider as such until I am able to speak with him."

"I was." Well she was. What point is there in arguing it? Hugo has a different view on the matter than Marius does, but Chloe has no ability to contest the claim. Merely bring the fact that it's contested to those in power to do something about it.

"She did not tell me that," says the redhead, giving the Whip a look which obviously denotes she's got no reason to be lying to him. Because she doesn't. "She was bitten also. I don't think the bite happened in the car accident. Still, all she told me was that he took Hugo and threatened her life. I apologize for wasting your time." And she can't help feeling played on all parts.

The only one she doesn't blame at this point is Josephine, because she expects Josephine to use her, and the other telepath really didn't have any information to share except her concern over her brother.

"By her account, she attacked the vampire in order to free her friend. A man whom the vampire claims a claim." Marius doesn't bother explaining the ramifications there. Either the King's own understands it, or can question it later.
"It remains that his only crime is his lack of presentation. For that purpose of finding him, I will keep Charles at his post and no other."
Now, Marius reaches for the bottle of synthetic and raises it to his lips. True to form, there's that trace of a crimson line that trails down the side of his mouth. It is wiped away off-handedly, leaving that pinkened streak. "This woman .. she told me that she attacked the vampire and harmed him because she was a witch. What do you know of such a thing?"

"She atta— " Chloe sets the bottle of water down and rubs her hands over her face. Perhaps a good thing another telepath isn't in attendance or they would have plenty of irritation and anger to mire through. Unfortunately for Will, if he's nearby he will be feeling the lot of it.

"Who's only crime? Tareq?" Chloe doesn't have an issue saying the name, but she wants to be certain who they're talking about. "Thank you. Though who's payment do you want? Mine for making the request for Josephine, or Josephine's for asking in the first place? I will let her know either way." She's fine with owing the sadistic bastard a favor, but right now she's more concerned with keeping her anger in check.

"Witches? More than I want to know. There's a few of them in the city. A coven, though I don't think they're at all organized. And they can do different things." The new Mayor's aide feels maybe a little bad divulging this information to the Whip, but he's asked, so she's answered.

"This self-identified witch was able to do him harm from within." This is really the best way that Marius can understand and explain what had been told to him. "How, I know not."
Marius sits on the couch, the bottle of synthetic in hand with a swallow taken from it. His expression is as dead as the grave, his tones low with that dangerous hint of anger and annoyance. This is a different kind of annoyance, to be sure. No longer directed at Chloe, but rather, at the inability to grasp something without explanation.. and it is forthcoming.
"The payment is to come from Josephine. She was who had approached you, and thus you, me at Mary's, so it is her burden for repayment."

"I'll look into it with one of my contacts." It's all she can do, not being a witch herself, and not getting any of this information from the aforementioned witch, even with the constant psychic prying. Chloe is beyond angry now, but by golly, she is going to look into things.

"I'll let Josephine know. I suspect that the need for payment won't be immediate? You'll wait until Hugo is at least out of the hospital? But I'll let her know to be expecting it either way."

The quiet swish of wind outside will likely go without notice for most, though the guards at the gate are quick to come to attention. The King has returned from his most recent foray, and is apparently lacking in good humour. His mind is largely empty, or at least as shielded as he able, and his body is swathed in chainmail, covered by a dark, heavy leather jacket that reaches to the floor. Pale eyes are without emotion, face the same — expressionless. He steps towards the entrance to the estate with customary quiet, measured steps.

As the entrance door swings open, it is perhaps only the five foot long greatsword strapped across his back that would suggest Will is in anything other than his usual congenial mood. Still, he largely ignores the present individuals in favour of heading towards the kitchen area, those same steps carrying him towards it with inhuman grace. For vampiric senses, the stench of blood follows him in rapid order, human blood. Beneath his nails, within the scabbard for the blade and on his breath. For the more observant, some faint, black stains are showing against the dark clothing.

"And I will hear of your results," of course.
Marius can feel the anger in Chloe's physical form.. the heartrate as it rises, the heat as it comes off in seeming waves.. and, of course, her entire manner and mien.
//Good, good.. now she understands.. //
"Her payment will be when I deem it necessary. It may not come within the week, nor the month.. but it will come within her short little lifetime."
Will's entrance garners Marius' attention, and swifter than the beat of an angered heart, he is on his feet and offering obeissance until such time that he is acknoweldged. The iron scent of blood, the patches found upon his royal person does not escape notice, and there is a surge through the younger veteran.. he can feel his need rise, and the fangs are in decided danger of showing themselves in the merest thought that such a Hunt could come about this very evening…

"Of course." Chloe was intending on sharing any findings with him anyhow.

"Will!" Okay, that's one thing that will perk her attitude. The anger is still very much there, but at least she's not going to do something stupid like punch Marius to vent. She has no sense of vampiric smell to tell her he's covered in blood, but his shirt is wet. "Are you alright?"

"Is this a matter of import enough that I should bother to care?" Will asks, levelly, and not particularly obvious as to which of the pair he is talking to. "How goes matters in the city of Sheriff Symon?" A glance flicks aside, acknowledges Marius with the faintest tilt of his head. Those same flat eyes sweep across Chloe. "I am without injury." At least there is no stench of vampire blood about him. "I intend to spend the evening with my books."

Marius rises from his homage, and now that his discussion with Chloe has reached an acceptable conclusion with solutions in place, there is enough that he can answer Will's question with certitude.
"It is some small matter made large by human ignorance, and is being dealt with as such." He speaks to Will now as Master rather than as Brother. "Simply a matter of a vampire who has not yet introduced himself, and is damaging his claimed.. much to the chagrin of his ignorant friends. At first, it was presented to Chloe that the vampire had attacked breathers, come to find out, he was attacked first and simply defended himself."
Inclining his head, Marius answers the question fully, "The city still stands for the return of our Lady."

"I'm not angry at Marius," Chloe says with a sigh. "Just some news he told me." A sheepish glance is given to the King and she bites her lip. "I forgot you'd feel that. I'm sorry if I pulled you away from anything important."

Then comes the sigh of relief. "You're not hurt. Good. I thought maybe Kegan…" She shakes her head, not wanting to think of that. Yes, even the telepath gets plagued by nightmares every once in a while.

Waiting a beat for Marius to finish up, she nods. "I left you all the information I had on it on your computer downstairs, but as it is apparently false and these people were using me to try and garner protection for their own stupidity, I guess you can ignore it."

The King, for he bears that mantle now with a slight shift of poise, a touch of difference to his bear, listens to both and finally levels his look upon Marius. "Chastise the immortal for failing to announce themselves before the attention of authority was brought upon them." By the glint to his eye, well aware of the extent to which the Whip may take chastisement, and the joy the same might feel. Free reign for as much or little as Marius feels is appropriate, and full support for anything the Whip may decide. "Explain to them the need for subtle movements in a city so volatile as this. Though I imagine this was your mind anyway. The aggressors should be monitored for future damaging behaviour." A dangerous sneer touches at his lips; the fated and brutal warrior of old. "Should any wish to argue beyond your patience, bring them to me." Much implicit permission granted.

The stance shifts once more, and regal bearing sheds from Will like a discarded cloak, replaced instead by an impassive, expressionless being. "As noted, I am perfectly well. There are too many mortals who seek to gain the blood of ages through aggressive means." Perhaps enough explanation for now, as Will places a full five bottles of synthetic blood into the microwave.

It is a bearing of grace that Marius recognized and understood immediately.. made ever easier due to the long history of tradition that the Whip follows. The younger of them will have to be taught, certainly.. but it is their Makers' issues.
"As always, my King, your decision is guided by wisdom and clarity. Such a course had been determined, but if there was any hint of wavering by any of your vassels, it is dispelled completely at your word." The permissions, however, brings a gleam to those cold, dead eyes. "I have one who watches over the claimed, Liege, and he is my eyes and ears."
Now that business is out of the way, Marius, too.. as if reacting to a unseen, invisible cue, also changes his… perspective on things, and there's a shift.. his tones holding a hint of envy, perhaps, at the opportunities presented to Will for use of his sword. "There was a single one, my brother, who tried, miserably, to take mine. It seems they are growing in number and in lack of sense. When next you strike, pray.. take me, and we shall count them as they fall."

"Again?" As in, 'another drainer'? Chloe looks, perturbed at this. Wondering if some of her own irritation at the situation wasn't his through the bond. It's hard getting used to feeling what another feels. "Royalty shouldn't go out without security, or bodyguards. Even in the medieval times, a King always had an entourage of able-bodied men to keep him safe." She worries for Will, that much is obvious.

It would seem Marius thinks along the same lines, and Chloe nods. She reaches for her bottle of water, then takes a sip. "There is… was a V Dealer that worked at Mary's." Frown. "I haven't seen her there for a while though. Left around the same time as Mellie. Can't say it's a coincidence…"

Will ackowledges Marius' words with a single, regal nod. "This time, I offered support for the sanctioned action against the few, that will educate the many about futile and foolish activity. That which is sacred will not be defiled in my domain." Meaning the blood. "If opportunity arises, I would relish the chance to fight alongside you once more." In true battle and blood.

The attention of the elder vampire shifts once more, his expression lifting towards a dry and self-deprecating humour; as though one or the other of these emotions is an act. Quite which is for any to guess, as the King withdraws the blood from the microwave, carryinh four bottles in one hand, the other easily cracked open with the left. "I am security enough for myself, Chloe, there is no need to fret. I would imagine that most dealers will be delving below the radar; information would be useful."

Marius certainly didn't offer his presence to Will as a bodyguard, and there is a blank look spared for Chloe. Valentinus needs a bodyguard as much as Marius himself does, that is.. not at all. What he does need, both of them, is a sword brother of whom they can both trust to fight at each other's back. It is that which the Whip offered, and the chance to draw blood and watch it spill in rivulets.. nothing more.
"I look forward to the day." And as sure, he does.
Chloe's addition regarding Mellie gains the Whip's attention. After all, he'd been sort of searching (though not really 'hard' per se) for the sister.. and with the inclusion of V.. "Who is this person?"

Chloe cannot read the minds of vampires, so to her? It's offered as protection. Even if they say it's not. Men and their pride and all that. "There's always need to fret, Will. It's not just drainers that will have it out for you, and not all vampires are younger than you." There are a few who are older who are likely upset at the fact that Will is King, and Chloe doesn't want to deal with another insane vampire like Kegan.

"Mellie? My sister." Beat. "She moved down to California with some guy. Likely one of her dealers." Beat. "If you meant the V dealer, I don't know her name. I just picked up on some of the conversation and thoughts on Valentine's Day… before they announced that Will was taken to meet the sun."

"As do I," Will tells Marius, with a fondness that belies his mask of impassivity. "Chloe's sister is no dealer, simply a user whom I wished to assist that I did not succeed with." Largely because he never saw her. "A message will be passed to California." A faint twist of lips show's Will's humour; dark at that. "Those older will not touch me for fear of tradition. Those younger will not touch me for fear of retribution. I sit the fence of popularity," Will tells Chloe, "which will no doubt one day be my downfall. However, I must drink before my thirst overtakes me."

There is no information there, then, that can be acted upon except for the 'California' part which Will handles quickly and easily. After all, it is a matter for Royalty.. and not of their Sheriff's Whips.
There, then, there is little for Marius to add to Will's explanation regarding his 'position' at the moment. He is fully aware that just because vampires are older, it doesn't mean they have the same battle experiences behind them.. and if one such as Will can not do it on his own, two certainly can. With ease.
Thus.. the assuredness of a sword brother.
Which reminds him.. sword brother.. "Valentinus.. one has entered our province and has made his presence known. It is.. one with whom I am acquainted." There's an understatement if ever there was one. "James Stockton. He was created after we parted ways. I am certain you would come to cherish him as a sword as I do. I would wish to have him meet you one day."
Not meant, certainly, to keep Will from partaking, he simply states and inclines his head, his own drink largely ignored.

A glance is shifted between Marius and Will. Chloe gets to her feet and moves toward the kitchen. There is an unspoken offer there — fresh as opposed to bottled. She won't say as much in front of the sadistic bastard, but only because she doesn't want Will to offer to share.

"I am glad for that, but I'll still worry. Such is my nature." To actually, you know, care for those she claims to love.

There is a hint of mischief in her eyes as she turns back to look over her shoulder at Marius, purposefully baring her neck to Will as she does so. "Maybe you can tell both Marius and his friend that I'm not your maidservant though?"

« Not now, » Will tells Chloe, mentally. « I am in no place to be feeding from mortal flesh. » His attention flicks over Marius a final time as he starts walking slowly towards the stairs; towards his abode. "It will be my pleasure to have James introduced to me," he allows, relatively formally. "Your trust well-founded will grant us another loyal soldier."

Only once more does his head turn, this time for Chloe. "Your worry is only yours, not mine. Be not afraid for me. Have a good evening, both of you." While Will goes to meditate and attempt to justify to himself the night's murder.

Marius' head remains lowered at Will's words and just after he departs. Only then does he retake his bottled synthetic and take a swallow from it. Cooled.. and doubly disgusting. The smell of the blood on Will's armour was more appetizing than the filth that flows from the bottle.
Irritation flows, and if he was anywhere else, the bottle would have flown. But, as it is the Sheriff's estate and the decor is white, he resists the urge to send it airborne.
"Before long, I will depart to take my fill before I sleep." How's that for warning that he'll be heading out soon?

« Fine, I will give you time to eat before I seek to hide myself downstairs to avoid Marius' wrath. » Which she knows is coming for her cheeky comment. Chloe was safe so long as Will was up here, but since he dismissed her question and went downstairs she'll be in trouble.

There is a chance to rectify it, maybe. As she remains in the kitchen, she ducks behind the fridge door in case something does come airborne at her. "There's a few bags of blood in here if you'd rather those than the bottle." Beat. "Before you leave." Only her forehead and eyes are peeked up around the side of the door.

The fact that Will completely ignored the question is enough for the Whip, remarkably, and treats it as tacit.. scolding of his claimed. So, there is more the feeling of.. righteousness there.
"Your Master apparently had no word to give in your support, lamb." Therefore..
"My preference is for fresh. I will partake when I depart." Though, obviously, it hadn't escaped his notice that Chloe had given him the synthetic when there were bags in the back. Such a slight, won't be unaddressed, but that will come… later.
"And perhaps I will discover some blood sellers," V dealers, "and rid ourselves of a few more vermin."
Marius turns now, and unlike Will who had retired to his chambers, he is going to spend the rest of the evening out of doors, doing the business of the city as well as his own..

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