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Unread 30th of January, 2016, 22:21
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Golden Lights, Muffled Screams (Chapter I)

“What's right? If you want something, you have the right to take it; if you want to do something, you have the right to do it.”
― Bret Easton Ellis


In the wake of Derek Wilson's execution, Los Angeles seemed to dip into a period of uneasy civility. Kindred across the city became reclusive and distant, as though the recent reminder of their mortality and the potency of the Prince's wrath had diminished to no small degree the strength of their courage. But the local vampires knew Pious Delacroix too well to think that the matter would end with a public execution: he was a Kindred whose scorn was hard to wear down, and each knew that he would treat any infraction of his rules harshly in the immediate future. And so, perhaps wisely, they each kept to themselves.

For a time following their investigation into the murder of Sebastian Powell, Isabella, Gabriel and Gator waited patiently for Rebecca Hedley to make contact. Weeks afterwards she did, but her own report was less than detailed.

"The Kindred you found at the alley continues to insist that he had nothing to do with Sebastian Powell's destruction," said the Prince's childe. Gabriel, who was joined by Isabella at the time, glanced at his coterie-mate with a raised brow. "Either he has incredible mental fortitude, or he's telling the truth."

"And yet our mutual friend saw him fleeing from the scene," replied the Toreador calmly, "and I've never known a Nosferatu to give an inaccurate report before."

"He claims to have been drawn to the house by the smell of blood; and he claims to have found Wilson in the throes of frenzy, and fled." Rebecca paused - in the background, the faintest sounds of passing traffic could be heard. "He is a wasted resource at this point, regardless; and in delving into his mind, I have found him to be guilty of other breaches of the Prince's laws."

"Such as?"

"He chose, quite unwisely, to feed from the child of a local celebrity. The rules regarding such practices are unarguably clear."

Gabriel nodded, and glanced again at Isabella, whose head was canted very slightly to the side in a gesture almost feline. Both neonates knew how dangerous it was to feed from celebrities in Los Angeles; and both Kindred knew how severe the penalty was for such an infraction.

"Would you like us to resume our investigations?"

"No," answered the Ventrue. "There are no clear leads to follow at this time, and with Vanian having been seen frequenting the murder scene it has become too risky to proceed."

Gabriel frowned. "The Sheriff? But I thought that, officially, the matter was settled?"

"Officially it is; but Vanian is terrifyingly thorough, and obsesses over cases that have long been concluded. With Pious having rendered his judgement she will not take official action should she find anything new, of course, but she would pursue her leads nonetheless."

"If she finds anything, I suppose it will prove beneficial. After all, we were investigating the matter in order to prevent further murders; if she finds the real culprit, then that threat can be removed by someone with the authority to do so."

Rebecca almost seemed to smile on the other end of the line - but whether that smile was perfunctory or sincere was unclear. "I agree, but if she discovers that we have been investigating ourselves - and that we met with an Anarch to do so - then she may not react kindly, despite our intentions. For all our benefit, I think it best if we let the matter lie for the time being."

"As you wish."

---------------------------------------------------

The Spencer Hotel - why did it have to be the Spencer Hotel?

Not for the first time, Jack found himself wondering that same question. His grandsire liked to remind him that frequent business was a good sign that their company, AD Security, was perfectly suited for the modern City of Angels - but that didn't help the neonate overcome the unsettling feeling that overcame him whenever he wandered through the Hotel's private hallways.

It wasn't a difficult assignment. In fact, it was almost intolerably easy. The Prince's execution of Derek Wilson five weeks ago had forced the local Kindred into a state of sobriety - each minded himself with the utmost care when in the presence of others, in order to avoid a possible rule infraction, imagined or otherwise. It was not a safe time to be a rule-breaker in Los Angeles.

Of course, rule-breaking in Elysium was never wise, and this was all the more true when it came to the Spencer Hotel. The Keeper of Elysium there was as renown for her casual cruelty as she was her madness, and it was a suicidal vampire who risked drawing her ire.

Slowly, but evenly, Kindred began to filter into the Hotel's private chambers, and Jack forced himself to focus on his role. He glanced at each newcomer as they wandered past: Sarah Adler, accompanied by her satchel of books and notes and curiosities; Michael Chase, wearing the newest fashions and a smile that was, at once, handsome and arrogant; and last came Goldilocks, a hideous and twisted creature encased in ill-fitting fabrics and a bright, skewed wig. To the credit of those within the room, most seemed to politely ignore the Nosferatu as she lumbered through the chamber towards a door on the far side - even Michael Chase, who was usually so eager to levy a barbed remark towards one of the Sewer Rats.

With the Nosferatu Primogen out of sight, Michael and Sarah retired to a corner. There they spoke softly, their words quiet and hard to discern. Michael reclined luxuriously in his seat, whilst his companion looked as though she wished to be anywhere else in the world. It was curious, them sitting together despite their clear animosity.

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- Private Leonard L. Church, RedvsBlue

Last edited by Church; 30th of January, 2016 at 22:38.
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Unread 31st of January, 2016, 00:34
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Dax leant against the doorway of the private chambers. Hed been working for two hours already and the place was deserted. Hed received a text from Steve upon rising along the lines of “Spencer Hotel. Go.” And when he tried to argue his case via text he’d received a curt voicemail outlining that it had to be him, on request of Alice and that if he continued to be obstructive he’d be pulling Kiss of the rose shifts for a month. That was enough of a threat, he couldn’t stand the place. He tried not to think about why Alice had requested him specifically. He still had nightmares about the time he saw one of her victims in her bedroom. He’d only gone up to tell her she had a guest and bloody hell did he wish that he’d sent someone else…

He pulled out his phone for a cursory view no messages from Steve any of his brothers or Ize although the latter wasn’t surprising. She went awol from time to time.
Gradually some familiar kindred came along and he stood to attention, Adler and that bloody toreador that always looked like the cat that had gotten the cream. He was tempted to shove him away, hit him, bite him as he walked passed. He groaned inwardly. That settled it. He needed to feed tonight. It was inexcuseable to think this way around clients, even if that client was Michael Chase. One slip up and the whole reputation of the company was in the dirt. None of them made eye contact with him, he might as well have been invisible but that suited him especially in his current state. Goldilocks was the last to come through, he didn’t mind her at all much or any of the other Nos really. He could hardly judge them when it came to the looks department. Besides, they liked to keep themselves to themselves.

She disappeared into the other room, he made a mental note to check with her if she was expecting any other guests as he liked to know who would be coming and going. He noticed that Chase and that tremere chick were deep in conversation and making an effort to be quiet. Where Chase was concerned the more he knew the better. He turned his head to the side and tried to listen in…

Last edited by Razvan; 31st of January, 2016 at 00:41.
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Unread 31st of January, 2016, 01:33
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It hadn’t been a good couple of nights for the Malkavian since she’d received the note. She’d almost vomited when Bernice had handed it to her initially and it was still scrunched up in a ball in the corner of her living room where she’d thrown it. Her sleep since then had been disturbed by nightmares involving her own blood dripping down her tied legs, children tearing their faces off and corridors lined with demonic scrawls in her own handwriting (which were again, written in blood). She’d woken more tired, lost and slightly more unstable each evening.

She stumbled down to Bernices to buy a newspaper to rip up and the fierce lady had taken one look at her and told her to get her arse out of the flat and take herself for a long walk to blow away the cobwebs… but to probably change out of the prison uniform and monster feet slippers first.

She’d taken the advice and walked until she was lost. Generally speaking, if she was physically lost then usually her brain had to pull itself together to get her home again. It had been a tried and tested method for her in the past and it was currently working.

Ize began to catch little “real-life” snippets of conversation and feel the cool air on her equally cool arms. At times she even saw trees through her hazy vision and the odd bench. She must be in a park… yes a park. No idea where the park was but still, she’d narrowed it down. Her throat was sore as if she’d been in an intense conversation with someone. She knew it had probably been with herself and grimaced.

She looked down with relief that she was properly dressed in a dress, leggings, boots… but no coat. If she’d had her wits about her she probably would have put on a coat to not concern the mortals who would have felt the chill of the night air, but in the past it hadn’t been unusual for her to wander around in her pajamas or just her underwear so she should really count her blessings.

She sat down on a nearby bench, rocking slightly forward and back with her pale arms wrapped around her. Her mind cast back to the events five weeks ago. They had come to such an abrupt end. She’d thought of Derek Wilson often since then. It would have been nice to have cleared his name for the sake of his Sire. She frowned when she thought of Gabriel. Time was completely relative to her most of the time but she couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen him… it FELT like weeks ago.

She pulled out her phone and sent him a quick message. The text did not send, frowning she pressed resend and the same thing happened again. She looked at her outbox and realised that all three of her previous messages hadn’t sent to him either. He wasn’t exactly one to not pay his phone-bill…

"He probably wants rid of you altogether dearie. Knows your no good and that your a walking time-bomb of ridiculousness" "How is he supposed to stand credibly beside William when he has to cart you about?""What a disgrace". She stood from the bench, her fists clenched and head shaking from side to side trying to shake the voices out. Well, she would find out one way or another; tonight. She left the park, eventually got her bearings and started to make her way towards Gabriels place.
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Unread 1st of February, 2016, 09:07
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Neither madness nor time could help Isabella forget about Antonio De Luca. Born into the family as a brother to her father, he was cousin to Isabella in name only; but he had always treated her more as a sister or - as he so says - as a cousin than as someone for whom he shared a greater responsibility for.

It was difficult to fault Antonio for the amount of attention he levied towards Isabella during her mortal years; it could be said, however, that almost all of that attention was negative. A vampire himself, her uncle had been the one chosen to perform - or, more likely, had been the one to request permission to perform - the Proxy Kiss, turning Ize into an obedient and dutiful servant of the Giovanni Kindred. His obsession with her had only grown during her tenure as a ghoul, and it surprised no-one when he was revealed to be her chosen sire.

But then the unexpected happened, and Isabella had awaken a child of Malkav. To his credit, Antonio had vouched for his "cousin" right until the end, until the more powerful members of her family had chosen to disown her openly. His commitment to her might have been mistaken for sentiment by those who didn't know him better; but in fact, the callous, manipulative, seductive, and vengeful Antonio had simply been unwilling to lose someone who he considered to be "his".

In some ways, then, the curse of Malkav had been a mercy. Crippled as she had become by insanity, even Antonio couldn't keep her subdued and domesticated. Until now he had never attempted to find her, or communicate with her, and for a time Isabella had come to believe that he had forgotten her entirely...

And now, it was revealed, he not only remembered her, but knew just where to find her.

Burdened as she was with thoughts about the Giovanni, Isabella barely noticed the expansive and thriving landscape around her. She wandered across traffic-laden roads and down back alleys until, suddenly, she was standing at the entrance to Gabriel's haven: a quaint, single-family home that, for all the world, looked so simple and ordinary that no-one would have paid it a second glance.

The Malkavian stared up at the front door, her eyes unblinking. Seconds lengthened to minutes, and even the voices seemed to quieten in anticipation.

---------------------------------------------------

The conversation was kept purposefully quiet and vague, with Michael contributing the most to the dialogue whilst his companion stared unkindly back at him. The two Kindred's shared a demeanour as cold as their flesh, though the Toreador managed to keep an almost conversational edge to his voice.

Doing his best to appear as though his interest lay anywhere else, Jack edged slightly closer towards the conversing Kindred and their corner. Sarah glanced briefly in his direction, but otherwise seemed not to acknowledge him. Assuming that his attentions had gone unnoticed, Jack listened closely.

"I do not see the problem, Sarah," Michael said with a shark-like smile that was, at once, sweet and dangerous.

"Of course you don't," replied the Tremere with a slight hiss, "but that's because, unlike me, you've nothing to do but sit back and play ignorant."

The Toreador almost looked wounded. Almost. "You'll forgive me for disagreeing with you. Maintaining my silence is taxing enough; but providing you with the... "materials" you require-"

"You could be doing more."

"I could also be doing less," replied Michael sweetly. "Or I could simply forsake this whole enterprise and put in a call to the Assassins."

Sarah's eyes were narrow, mere slits, and her fangs cut into her pale lips. "You wouldn't dare. You'd suffer as much as I if you were to do that."

Michael beamed, and laced his fingers together in his lap. "Would I? Can you be sure of that?" Slowly, he leaned in towards the Warlock; despite herself, she withdrew further into her seat. "Are you sure enough to bet your existence, Sarah?"

Suddenly, the door to Jack's right opened and the Kindred lost rack of the conversation. He turned just in time to witness the arrival of Chris Jennings - a slender, simply dressed man whom the Gangrel knew to be a heavily-Dominated blood doll, and a favourite of Mad Alice. That he had maintained the Malkavian's good humour was, perhaps, the only reason why he remained whole and unspoiled. But that would not last - it never did.

Spotting Jack Martin and, perhaps, anticipating a slew of questions, the mortal made directly for him and identified himself awkwardly. "Miss Alice sent for me." He glanced about at the room and its splendid - yet somewhat outdated - decour, and then added, "Can I see her? Do you know where she is?"

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- Private Leonard L. Church, RedvsBlue
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Unread 1st of February, 2016, 10:05
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A shiver of unease traveled up and down her spine and she trembled deliciously as she stood in front of Gabriels home, it felt almost if she was being watched from the shadowy parts of the tree-lined street. Not that the sensation of being watched was an unusual one for her, but usually the sensation came from inside her brain rather than outside of it.

The house somehow didn’t look the same. The empty, dark and gaping windows leered down upon her and all seemed silent. She bit her lower lip and walked up to the front door. This all felt so wrong, she didn’t like this game at all.

“Round the back silly girl”.

“Okay auntie, you always know best.”
She muttered in agreement and kept close to the building as she scooted round the back, trying her best to move as smoothly as possible. She approached the back door and peered through the window, almost touching her nose to the glass. Every time she’d come here in the past Gabriel had been with her or he’d already been in so she’d never had to gain entry on her own. She frowned as she inspected the locking mechanism of the door and the room beyond.
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Unread 2nd of February, 2016, 06:08
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"Yep, just pretend I’m not here sweetheart" Dax thought with his eyes looking ahead at the door. Just like the rest of em’

He listened with interest and tried to pick apart their conversation. he knew that Adler was into her experiments and stuff… Was Chase helping her with a particular risky venture? Why she would want to get involved with someone like him was anybody’s guess she seemed like an intelligent gal… still... He cracked his knuckles. He did hate to see a woman backed into a corner, especially by that one. He suddenly had a thought to pick him up by the throat and slam him against the wall and mess up his perfect hairstyle, make him bleed a bit. Oh god! His stomach contracted and he felt his fangs pinch the inside of his mouth ever so slightly as they grew. This sucks, this truly sucks… He rallied himself and felt for his mobile. He needed to let Steve know about the exchange between the two Kindred, but also just to get him the hell out the Elysium as soon as possible before he took someone’s head off. Before he was able to press send the door opened. He smelt the human before he saw him and took a deep breath to centre himself as Jennings addressed him. He studied the human carefully.

It worried Dax that he was recently shaping young minds in the education system whilst at the same time being Alice’s bitch boy; he hoped that they had a good supply teacher lined up because he definitely wouldn’t be making it into school again.

“Not seen her around tonight, but if she called for you it’ll be alright if you head on up..... Im sure you know the way” He smirked as he said the last part. Bloke had been to her chambers more often than the bloody help recently. He looked at Chase and Adler who were still deep in fraught conversation and frowned. Probably not best to have a lone human wandering around, regardless if the majority of the populace had had their bollocks cut off of late an wouldn’t dare try anything so daring. If anything happened to him en route it would be his bollocks. “… wait, let me take you” he grunted and headed towards the door
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Unread 2nd of February, 2016, 22:13
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Following the direction of the voices, Isabella crept around the edge of the property. A neat, concrete walkway helped her to muffle her tread, and her avoiding of the swaying lawn ensured that she left no trace or print of her passage.

The door was a simple affair: solid, yet not sturdy enough to deter a home invader with any sizable degree of conviction. Placing her pale hand upon the handle, Isabella paused just long enough to glance about herself; she saw only the amber eyes of a feline - perched high atop the neighbour's fence - staring back at her. The animal's fur lifted the longer the Malkavian maintained eye contact; it hissed and then stole away down the fence's other side and vanished from sight.

Skin it, said the voice sweetly. Use it's skin. No-one suspects the cat. A quaint disguise. But you are too big! Perhaps there are more lurking in the shadows? Skin them too.

Returning her attentions to the door, Isabella threw her shoulder into the barrier and, soundly, the hinges tore from their fixtures. The Malkavian did her best to keep the door itself still, and to place it soundless back into place as she entered, so as to mask her passing from casual view.

The house itself was meticulously kept, and Isabella was reminded, in no small way, of the house she had entered not five weeks before. It was of a similar design and layout, certainly, and were it not for the numerous picture hangings displaying persons unknown to her she might well have considered herself to have jumped back into the depths of memory, back to a time when her coterie remained whole and a fresh investigation had been underway.

Like the murder house, the kitchen was coupled with an entrance into the living room, and that in turn branched out in three other ways: the first way was the stairs, leading up; the second was an open arch that led on to other chambers; and the third was a solid, dark brown doorway that, one could assume, would lead to the basement.

---------------------------------------------------

If Chris Jennings had noticed the Gangrel's thinly veiled blood-lust, the kine betrayed no sign of it. He was too busy glancing uncertainly in the direction of the room's two other predators - the very same two that were staring at him with open fascination.

Jack's offer of guidance was welcomed enthusiastically by Chris, who was keenly aware of the hunger that displayed itself in the faces of both Michael and, to a greater extent, Sarah. The mortal fell into step with the vampire as he stepped out of the chamber through the same door that Goldilocks herself had lumbered through previously.

It wasn't hard to locate Mad Alice's chamber, despite the labyrinthine quality of the hotel. The elder maintained only a few havens within the complex, but each was marked in small ways, allowing her to be found with minimal fuss. Some might have questioned the wisdom in this, suggesting that the Kindred was leaving herself open to dangerous and unwanted guests - but those critics had either never met Alice, or had been sufficiently fooled by her mask of preadolescence into thinking that she was incapable of protecting herself.

"Are we far?" asked the kine when Jack stopped suddenly, but the Gangrel did not answer. His nostrils were flaring, and he turned his head this way and that as he tried to hone in on the scent: blood. Very finite, almost invisible traces of it had been placed beneath the carpets of the corridor - a clear marker that would lead him to Alice's chamber. It was an effective method of guidance, but to Jack the smell of blood was a painful reminder that he hungered.

"Are you alright?" Unwisely, the mortal risked touching Jack on the shoulder. When the Gangrel turned to stare at him, Chris Jennings recoiled as though he had been struck. Without having to check, Jack became keenly aware that his fangs had slithered forth from their sheathes.

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"There's a fine line between not listening and not caring. I like to think that I walk that line every day of my life."
- Private Leonard L. Church, RedvsBlue

Last edited by Church; 2nd of February, 2016 at 22:23.
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Unread 3rd of February, 2016, 05:01
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"This way." Dax led with Jennings trailing closely behind him, he reserved judgement of Adler and Chase staring at the mortal, they could put on all the airs and graces they wanted but at the core they were just as ruled by the Beast as he was. Best he was out of the way and not wandering around on his own like a bunny rabbit. The kine was following a bit too closely for his liking his skin crawled with hunger and he felt restless and distracted. He tried to speed up, focusing on following her hallmark, some stains never got cleaned out and his body tuned into the vitae like a sat-nav. He reached a crosscorridor and stopped to figure out which way, when the bloody idiot touched him something inside him flared and he turned towards him. The look on Jennings face was enough to snap him out of it, he looked... terrified and slightly disgusted. a reminder of what a monster he was. great. he grimaced slightly and cleared his throat before speaking.

"Don't worry mate I don't swing that way... i uh... well your no female... get me?" he didn't wait for the humans response and turned his back on him and walked down the correct corridor. Only a half truth, he thought. Id eat a scabby dog right now.

he thought he found her room and knocked three times "Madam Alice, I have Mr. Jennings here for you." he spoke loudly
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Unread 3rd of February, 2016, 07:29
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She became one with the cat momentarily, feeling calm as she was eclipsed by its ruinous green celestial eyes. As it stole over the fence she wanted to follow it and become it, the friendly voice gave a most helpful suggestion and she braced herself to chase it.

She cursed; if Gabriel wanted nothing to do with her pursuing a cat through his neighbours garden was not going to help her cause, the furry one could wait. As she gained access she tried not to do any more damage than necessary. She just wanted to speak to him. To tell him that she was sorry for whatever she’d done to make him ignore her and to wish him well. “And take his eyes?” She stopped short in the kitchen as the thought, or was it a voice? Drifted through her. It was so hard to tell nowadays. “Well, that’s not going to help the situation either!” She raged into the darkness. “First the cat, now Gabriel. Why can’t you leave things be?!” She flailed to the side and heard a smash of something hitting the kitchen floor and then smashing in a tinkling of glass.

She mindlessly fell to her knees, feeling some pieces cut her flesh and tried to gather the glass with her hands “Stupido stupido donna!” she spat and got as much as she could into a nearby pedal bin. She rested with her head in her hands briefly. If she could she would have cried at how pathetic she was.

She got to her feet and suddenly realised how silent the house was. “Il mio angelo?” she called. “Are you here?” she walked through the kitchen and into the living room, looking for recent signs of life in the place. “Gabriel?” She took a halting step towards the basement and then changed her mind and went towards the stairs, if her memory served he slept in this bedroom usually.
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Unread 3rd of February, 2016, 08:49
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The Malkavian's voice seemed to etch itself into the air, and echo eerily as it traversed the seemingly-empty house. Isabella stopped, as though waiting for a response, a noise; she broke that self-enforced stillness only once, in order to shush the voice that continued to whisper ill-fated advice.

And there it was: the softest of sounds - the whisper of a thin, cream-coloured curtain swaying minutely upon its railing. Isabella considered the curtain, noted its moments and, slowly, peeled it back.

The window was open. So minute was the parting between latch and seal that she could easily have overlooked it, were the wind not so gracious as to move the curtain for her benefit. But what did this mean? Did it betray the fact that someone had been here recently? That someone had left it open long ago and it had simply gone unnoticed?

Returning the curtain to its place, Isabella stepped away gingerly and waited. Would the house reveal any more secrets? She waited, listened, let her eyes roam the walls and floors and ceiling... and nothing. Nothing stirred.

Acting on her previous assumption, the Malkavian started towards the stairway and started up it. The steps beneath her creaked loudly, despite her lightness - perhaps, she wondered, by design? - but she continued up without delay. She glanced into the first room, and peered in at a bathroom in pristine, immaculate condition. She moved on, and twisted the doorknob of the second room; beyond lay a bedroom, occupied by a bedside cupboard, a wooden-slated wardrobe, and a double bed against the far wall. The duvet had not been rustled.

It did not take Isabella long to conclude that this particular room could not have been Gabriel's chosen sleeping site - the window that overlooked the double bed was poorly designed to keep out the sun's rays. Were Gabriel to have tried to sleep here, he might have been burned to a crisp soon after. Thinking along those lines, and urged on by the voice, Isabella gingerly lifted the overhanging length of the duvet and peered under the bed.

No ashes. No boogeyman. No Gabriel.

She exited the room after checking the wardrobe (another dead end) and glanced upwards: no attic space. Concluding that she covered sufficient ground, the Kindred descended the stairway and approached the basement door. For the briefest of seconds, her mind screamed at her that the handle would be as fire to her skin, and she hesitated to make contact with it; but upon gathering her courage, and reached out, she found the handle to be cool to the touch, and untarnished by fingerprints or skin grease.

Slowly, carefully, Isabella turned the handle. The latch went, and the door swung slowly outwards.

What lay before Isabella was utter carnage, and a scene that contrasted completely with the immaculate household behind her. In front of her person there should have been a stairway of solid wood, but all but the first step had been broken as though by some consider forced from above - something falling? Isabella glanced up just to be sure - the ceiling was intact, so how had the stairs been destroyed?

From where she stood, Isabella could see much of the basement. It was clear from the carefully sun-proofed windows that this was where Gabriel kept himself during the daylight hours, and from what Isabella could see they were the only articles in the chamber that remained untouched. The walls had sizable, ball sized holes punched into them by some force or another, and shelves, cabinets, and a coffee table of ornate design lay smashed and shattered about the floor. A bed in the far corner had had its frame twisted severely, and its mattress was overturned and stripped bare.

Swallowing despite herself, and ignoring entirely the screeching voice in her mind, the Malkavian leaned into the room a little further - what was that? She craned her neck to see: there, in the very corner of the room and jutting out from beneath a hollowed out floor-space, was a small, slender laptop device. It was closed and seemed to be entirely undamaged - had the vandal failed to notice the object, or had it merely seemed unimportant?

---------------------------------------------------

Despite Jack's assurances, Jennings didn't appear particularly comforted. He remained still and vigilant as the Gangrel turned about, and allowed a greater distance to form between them when following his escort to Alice's chamber. He did not speak up again.

Taking a moment to fully compose himself, Jack knocked three times upon the door. He called out - clearly, patiently, and then stepped back to wait. For a full minute nothing happened, but then, slowly, the door handle twisted and the door slithered inward.

The room beyond was, quite surprisingly, entirely ordinary in appearance, if one could ignore the presence of the three individuals currently occupying it. The bed was generously sized, covered in a fine quilt, and flanked by four posters that held aloft a transparent series of drapes; the walls were covered in paintings by some local author from the past decade or so, and a half-dozen mirrors of varying shapes and lengths; and from the ceiling hung a moderately-sized, electric chandelier, which was, at the time, fully blazed.

But then, there were the people occupying the room: the first to stand out was Goldilocks - that hideous nightmare who, at the time of Jack's entry, sat cross-legged upon a chair besides the bed; the second was a mortal woman in her thirties who had been stripped naked, and was covered in red, angry welts in the shape of open-handed prints - her mouth had been sewn shut across its length, with both needle and thread still hanging from her chin; the final individual to be spotted was Alice herself, a pretty, dark-haired girl in a simple, green dress, who was perched upon the end of the bed. This child looked up at Jack's entrance, and her youthful - yet ghostly white - face split into a friendly smile.

"Jack!" Alice climbed off the bed clasped her dress in excitement. "They said you were here!" She saw then Jennings in the doorway, and her smile widened yet further. "And you brought me a present! Thank you! I was starting to get bored with this one." Without looking around at the naked woman besides her, Alice pushed her away in a display of childish exuberance.

Goldilocks chuckled - the sound was wet with phlegm and was entirely unappealing. "I'm far from bored. If you don't want her...?" Alice didn't reply. Goldilocks continued to stare at the naked woman with something akin to lust; the pathetic kine began to quake with terrified, muffled sobs.

Ignoring the kine at her feet, Alice gestured that Jack and his charge should enter. Jennings, who had until then been so eager to find his mistress, seemed to have paled considerably when he caught sight of both the Nosferatu and the damaged woman besides her. Jack watched him sway, and considered - for the briefest of moments - reaching out to steady him.

"Christopher, come and sit on the bed. I've some stories I know you'll love!" Alice pointed rigidly towards the bed, and waited expectantly. When Jennings didn't move instantly, the girl developed a frown; then, perhaps sensing the danger he was in, Jennings immediately made for the bed and lowered himself onto it obediently.

As Jack considered whether he was expected to stay or go, the battered woman began to emit loud, hysterical, muffled sobs. Looking up, the Gangrel noticed that Goldilocks had moved over to the woman, and was looming over her like some movie creature of horror. The woman crab-crawled back in an effort to get away, but was limited in her movements by the bed at her rear. With an unsavoury cackle, the Nosferatu reached out with a long, spider-like hand and wrapped her fingers about the woman's leg...

...and then, suddenly, there was a loud and terrible 'crack' as Mad Alice cleared the distance between them with nightmarish speed and grabbed the Nosferatu's wrist. With terrible strength she wrenched the Sewer Rat off of the kine, and threw her across the room towards the wall. Jack watched, stunned, and it slowly dawned on him that the 'crack' he had heard had likely been the sound of Goldilock's wrist snapping.

Hissing reflexively, the Nosferatu snarled at the twelve-year-old; Mad Alice stared back, her eyes dangerously narrow. "Don't touch my things. They're mine. If you do it again, I'll gut you." The Malkavian's words lingered in the air for a long moment; and then, slowly, Goldilocks regained her composure, snapped her wrist back into place, and excused herself without another word. Alice watched her leave and then reached for the beaten kine. She half-dragged, half-carried the woman over to Jack and then shoved her into his arms.

"The dead thing touched her. I don't want it anymore." And with that, Alice moved back to the bed, climbed into the nook of Jenning's arm, and began humming softly as he nervously began running his fingers through her hair.

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Unread 3rd of February, 2016, 09:59
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Her heart sank right down to the fourth circle of hell as she surveyed the scene. What kind of creature could have caused such carnage? Something massive. A werewolf? “There would have been further damage in the house silly girl”. She inhaled deeply and called onto her auspex to try and scent any of his blood and prayed that she wouldn’t find any.

If he had been in the room at the time this chaos took place… How would he have survived? “Il mio angelo, what has become of you” she crooned mournfully. Noticing the laptop she made her way gradually down the ruined staircase, taking the time to tread carefully. As she walked through the remnants of Gabriels life she visualised him curled in a corner, prone and afraid for his life, abandoned by his friends and Sire and unable to call for aid. Her anger began to grow, “plotting and ploying and secrets and lies and death and dealings and hate and blood” she growled, gathering the laptop from the space and checking for anything that may be lying underneath it. “never enough for the pretty faces that they show, we’ll see what happens when I smash their glasses like their brains on the kitchen floor” Her hands trembled as she opened the device and pressed the on button, counting on there being enough charge to see if it was Gabriels device and if it held any clues to his movements prior to the attack on his domain and presumably his life.
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Unread 4th of February, 2016, 08:27
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Hurry the hell up love, he was eager to get back and listen in on a bit more of Selma and Louise's convo in the lounge. He was just about to leave the kine by the door (unlikely he would get snatched from right outside the keepers chamber) when it opened.

He wasn’t exactly surprised to see the woman there, it was a similar story last time he had a peak, how someone so malicious ended up as the guardian of this places was anyone’s guess…. he nodded at Goldilocks and Alice and stood to one side as Jennings entered the room and sat next to the malkavian… So freaking weird seeing someone that looked like a 12 year old child commanding a full-grown man.

He turned to leave as soon as he saw the Nosferatu going for the woman and cackling, he didn’t want to see it. The killing didn’t bother him so much; he saw it a lot and wasn’t one to shy away from the occasional slaughter. The unnecessary torment bothered him though. Make it clean and make it fast or don’t make it at all. Everything happened swiftly between the female Kindred, he was glad he didn’t have to step in between the them as Alice faced the sewer rat down he didn’t really fancy a wrestle with Goldy Girl to be honest.

“the dead thing touched her. I don’t want it anymore” he gaped at her as she returned to the bed. He’d done his share of corpse clean-ups sure it was part of the job but this was a living breathing female, what was he supposed to do? Finish her off and dump her outside the city? God she smelt good in his arms, his fangs were already out and he took a deep breath drawing her into his body. The Beast growled appreciatively and the sound reverberated around the room. It became clear in his mind what he had to do then and he nodded at Alice. “M’am. Have a nice evening.” He grabbed the woman firmly by the arm and tried to yank her outside to the corridor, she started to struggle and he back-handed her across the face to make her stop. He didn’t put THAT much force into it but she collapsed onto the floor probably more from fright than any lasting damage, but who knew? He lifted her into his arm and as he passed through the doorway he nudged it closed with his knee, glancing at Alice and Jennings as the the door shut.

He looked to the left and right trying to remember the layout of the rooms in this part of the building. he needed an empty room to take her.
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Unread 4th of February, 2016, 22:52
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The ruined staircase was not easy to navigate. It's many ruined, jagged and disastrously pointed steps pointed were aimed erratically, and were Isabella to slip or miscalculate she risked being skewered. Fortunately her growing concern and confusion did little to lessen her balance, and she made it to the base of the chamber without incident.

With her Auspex in place, the Malkavian immediately caught the strong scent of blood about her - Kindred blood. She glanced this way and that, but could see little of it across the floors. She looked then towards the dents in the walls: there she could see a small smearing, as though some blood had been printed by the impact, but also, hairs. Isabella leaned in close and sniffed the hair. Gabriel's - likely from his finely groomed head.

It occurred to Isabella that Kindred did not bleed profusely when wounded - at least not enough for them to lose precious vitae. Still, some red splatter was inevitable, and based on what she saw in that basement it became clear that a vampire had been there during the chaos.

Isabella went to the laptop and dislodged it from its hole. She opened it - how quickly it opened! - and plied her fingers to the keys. It awoke at her touch, and arrived at a red velvet screen. And then it demanded a password. Isabella frowned, and then typed in the name of Gabriel's sire; the page refreshed itself, announcing that her attempt had failed.

Perhaps your own? offered one of the voices. Isabella tried her own name - nickname, first name, and then in full - but was frustrated each time.

Before she could utter a frustrated growl, she noticed the 'password prompt' icon had appeared. She clicked on it, and read "Here lies a true child of Spain."

---------------------------------------------------

The woman had begun struggling, her desperation giving her strength despite her battered and exhausted state. The moment the door was opened she tried to wrench herself away from the Gangrel. And then, with a level of casual cruelty that - perhaps - surprised even himself, Jack backhanded the terrified woman. She dropped from the shock of the blow, and did not resist when he hauled her from the room.

Busy though he was looking this way and that, trying to find a suitable and vacant room, Jack couldn't help but notice the wide-eyed stare the woman was giving him. Pleading, terrified, desperate, begging. She expected to die.

Overcoming that accusatory stare, the neonate spotted a room six doors down that was normally reserved for Alice's ghouls - and, as far as Jack knew, none of them had come by the hotel that night. Perhaps it was unoccupied? It would likely be unlocked if it was, as only Alice and themselves were supposed to be able to access this part of the complex anyway...

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Unread 5th of February, 2016, 04:42
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Her heart beat was deafening in the quiet of the corridor. It was beating too fast and he was worried that she'd have a seizure or something. "chill out woman, i'm going to get you home." he made pointed eye contact with her and then looked briefly over the rest of of her exposed body with a grimace, one of his fingers was pressing directly into one of the scarlet welts on her legs and he adjusted his grip slightly to ease the discomfort. He didn't know what else to say to her, what could be said to a woman whod gone through something like that....god knows how long she'd been kept there. he wasn't a kindred of many words at the best of times. He walked slowly and evenly and tried not to jolt her much. he was sorry and glad he had hit her in equal measure if she'd made it to the corridor she wouldn't have gotten more than three feet before Alice snapped her neck. Equally he didnt want to let on to alice he had any sympathy for her otherwise shed twig that he would let her live.

Looking over his shoulder he checked for any other witnesses as he approached the door he made a move to set her on her feet so that he could pull the handle "can you walk?" he asked as softly as his gruff voice would let him so not to scare her.


Last edited by Razvan; 5th of February, 2016 at 04:49. Reason: added ooc thing
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Unread 6th of February, 2016, 06:26
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"Blood! Here, there and there! But no body so he could still be playing somewhere with a new friend." She nodded sagely to herself and sang "with a new friend, yes, yes and POP goes the weasel". She took a seat cross-legged on the floor with the laptop.

Red velvet background? Of course. She sang inanely to herself and hammered out her name in it's different guises on the keyboard. "Oh course it's not my name, how vapid of you bambino".

She saw the hint flash up. There was only one kindred of mutual acquaintance of theirs that fit that striking description, someone from years before who left her one night without a word or a sound or a hint of where she'd gone to. She tried to push that train of thought off it's track. There truly be monsters.

She paused before giving the name a try on the keyboard. C A T A L I N A.
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Unread 6th of February, 2016, 20:39
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Catalina. The name was entered slowly, and Isabella waited a split second before striking the 'enter' key; but the moment she had did the computer spring to life, birthing a new, silvered screen in place of the old, filled with a series of word documents. Each was titled by two dates, being about four weeks apart, with the latest document having been started only three weeks before.

A journal, then?

From above Isabella came a low creak, one that coincided perfectly with a high pitched scream within her mind. She was startled, despite herself, and became deadly still - she listened to the household above, and tried to discern whether the creak was a natural groan of the building... or was owed to something else.

---------------------------------------------------

Realising the extent of the woman's terror, Jack did his best to sooth her with as unthreatening a tone as he could muster. He set her on her feet and, slowly, she planted herself so that she could hold her own weight.

And then, slowly, she nodded her affirmation to his question. Perhaps instinctively she tried to open her mouth to speak, but her lips were held fast by the stitching; she gasped when her attempt pulled the thread taut, and caused a small droplet of blood to form in one of the holes. Wisely, and to her credit, the woman turned away from the vampire and wiped it away.

The door was unlocked, as Jack suspected it might have been, and gave way to a lavish chamber that was nevertheless more spartan than was Alice's. The bed was smaller and lacked the artwork and bed-set canopies of its neighbour several doors down; but most noticeably it lacked the presence of anyone else, Kindred, ghoul or kine.

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Unread 7th of February, 2016, 06:42
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He was glad she didn;t leg it as soon as he put her down and noticed she tried to speak in the affirmative to his question. Maybe she did still have her tongue then that was good. He caught a waft of coppery goodness in the air and pushed through the door quickly into the room. Empty. Good. He left the door open and let her make her way in at her own speed he doubted she would want to be isolated with another of his kind in a bedroom again... he considered taking off his jacket to cover her but it would only reach her hips and well, that left all the important stuff uncovered. If he could blush he would.

he looked around briefly for clothing for her but there wasn't even a wardrobe. He walked to the bed and pushed the duvet onto the floor pulling off the dark colored undersheet.

He held this out towards her "Here." he said. "and close that door behind you, we need to be quiet otherwise it's my head as well as yours, hear me?". He was thinking of his options, he needed to get back to the main room soon otherwise he'd be missed and he couldn't just set her free out the back covered in a sheet. Maybe a taxi? Shit no cash. He patted his back pockets. There was a cab firm that AD Security used on account, but then there would be a record, the driver would blab and Steve would be PISSED about this. What if she blabbed. Poof goes the masquerade and also the companys rep. One thing at a time Dax he thought. Killig her is so not an option so just go with the flow.... He took out his knife and walked towards her, levelling the blade towards her face time to sort that bloody needlework out... He thought twice about doing it himself and flipped the knife over in his palm, presenting the handle to her. "Take this and sort your face out a bit." He made eye contact with her steadily "Dont do anything stupid."
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Unread 7th of February, 2016, 07:05
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The voice didn’t like the noise at all and screamed in a warning. Ize collapsed the laptop down and held it close to her chest, looking upwards towards the ceiling as if that would hold the answer. It wasn’t Gabriel. She somehow knew that with every fibre of her being so didn’t call out towards him.

There was no exit down there in the basement and she would be trapped if caught down there; she flipped her phone and sent a text to Dax to let him know where she was and ask where he was. He would at least then have a starting point if she didn’t make it out. "As optimistic as ever sweetie". She poised herself on her heels before heading up the stairs, clasping the laptop to her left side and getting her knife ready in her leading right hand. She made to go out the way she came, through the living area, kitchen and out the back.
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Unread 7th of February, 2016, 21:53
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his phone "burrrred" in his pocket and he opened the phone, it was a brief message from Ize saying that she was at the Toreadors and asking where he was. Nice of her to check in and also unusual. He remembered that Gabriel had a VERY nice car and if she was with him that could be an easy solution to the shit storm he was currently dealing with. Ize was the only Kindred he trusted to some extent outside of his firm not to drop him into anything. "hey, i got trouble. back of spencer hotel asap, need a lift" he shot back, fingers crossed that she was of the right mind tonight to actually be of any use he could never tell what planet she was on some nights.
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Unread 8th of February, 2016, 04:11
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Before Isabella could begin climbing up the ruined stairwell, a sudden vibration began on her person, signalling the arrival of Razvan's response. The Malkavian checked the message before drawing her knife and starting towards the stairs.

It was a lumbering climb, but Isabella made it back up into the living room with surprising speed. Once there she paused, and glanced this way and that, waiting. The house was still, silent, almost suspiciously so.

Whatever's here is going to do to you what it did to Gabriel, hissed a masculine voice in her mind's ear. Skin and flay and eat you. Serves you right, you parasite.

Not willing to risk sticking around to discovered whether she was truly alone or not, Isabella turned on her heel and moved through the kitchen. She pulled the broken door away from its jury-rigged setting and put it to one side. And then she rushed out into the night without a backwards glance.

---------------------------------------------------

The woman looked at the offered knife, studying it carefully before turning her gaze back upon Jack. She was uncertain, perhaps suspicious, and did not immediate reach for the weapon. She acknowledged his warning with a short, simple nod, and then slowly took the knife in hand.

The task of removing the stitching was made more difficult due to the room's lack of a mirror, but the woman cut away at the threads with an energy that she had previously been lacking. The terror in her eyes was not gone, but Jack noticed something else there, buried deep but beginning to surface - anger. He could understand that emotion well.

Finally, when the threads were severed, the woman drew a deep breath in through her punctured lips and closed her eyes. She was crying - whether through pain or despair it was not clear - but was quick to dry the tears on the back of her hand. When she was done, she turned back to Jack and, after a long pause, offered him back his knife.

"Thank you." The woman's voice was rough from disuse - an indicator, perhaps, of just how long it had been since she had had the power of speech.

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Unread 8th of February, 2016, 05:25
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Her hands shook as she replaced the door in its frame and nearly fell over her own feet as she rushed from the property as if something was on her heels. Her teeth chattered in fear as she got to the pavement but she didn’t stop running. A couple of streets down she finally stopped and willed herself calmer, feeling less like death was just around the corner. She started touching the laptop in her arm reassuring herself that it was still there, hopefully it would hold a clue to what had happened down in that basement. She couldn’t have spent one more minute in that house.

She remembered the message and looked behind her. Gabriels car, if it was even still there, would have been in front of the house and she wasn’t going back. She swallowed in fear at the thought. Dax wouldn’t have asked for the favour unless he was desperate and she didn’t want to leave him in the lurch.

She looked around her for a vehicle hidden from the main street and wondered how difficult it really would be to hotwire a car...
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Unread 8th of February, 2016, 08:18
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Seeing the woman starting to look pissed made him uncomfortable that he was unable to let her take a shot at revenge. That He was part of the system that ended up with her tied to that bed was enough to get his claws sharp. Maybe she was a multi-millian dollar heirness or something and she’d complain to daddy and he’d have this place burnt to the grounf. Yeh thatd be good. He took the knife back and sheathed it, the sight of her tears was much harder to stomach than her anger so he focused on the job at hand instead.
“Heres how it’s going to play out” he starting pacing the room and raised his hand to rub at the side of his head where the Mohawk ended. “you walk with me, close. When I cough it means someones coming so I’m going to have to grab you like this.” He grabbed his own upper arm to demonstrate, last thing he needed was her freaking out in the corridor like a stray cat. “stay silent, like a graveyard, get me? When the coast is clear I’ll be able to let you go. We’re heading to the fire escape and then a friend should meet us in a ride, she’ll get you out of here.” Not the perfect plan and he sure as hell didn’t want to manhandle her anymore but they needed to move fast and get past any kindred they came across. “Are you, uh. Okay with that? Cos we need to move soon”
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Unread 9th of February, 2016, 09:07
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It didn't take Isabella long to place good distance between herself and Gabriel's haven; and, perhaps unwittingly, bring herself onto a long and shadow-littered street that housed more than a few cars. The Malkavian considered each of the vehicles carefully before approaching her chosen target - a long, black motor that appeared dated, but not unkempt. Isabella double checked her surrounds - twice - and then set to work on entering the vehicle and hot-wiring it.

---------------------------------------------------

After making sure that the woman had confirmed her understanding of his instructions, Jack eased open the door back into the hall and checked the length of the corridor. He paused, and listened, and then checked again. When he was certain that they were quite alone, he gestured for the woman to step out first and then directed her back towards the closest fire escape.

Much to his great relief, the journey to the fire escape was uneventful, and they met no-one - living or dead - on the way there. Jack eased open the window and stepped out onto the metal framework. He tried to ignore how it creaked angrily beneath his weight. Looking back at the woman, he gestured impatiently that she should follow. Wrapping the under-sheet more tightly about herself, she did as instructed - and began to shiver as she looked down.

The descent was a slow affair, both because Jack didn't want to catch the eye of anyone down on the ground, and because the woman seemed unable to move very quickly for fear of falling. It quickly dawned on the Kindred that she was terrified of heights, but he had no time to comfort her. If he took too long, or was seen leaving in this way...

The growl of a lone motor some distance below drew Jack's wandering eye. He tracked the approach of a vehicle as it made for the hotel - a black, sleek thing that had, perhaps, seen better years. He almost smiled when he caught a brief glimpse of the figure behind the wheel.

It seemed Isabella was having one of her better nights after all.

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Last edited by Church; 9th of February, 2016 at 09:10.
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Unread 10th of February, 2016, 06:44
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Smashing the window with an elbow she let herself into the car, placed the laptop carefully on the passenger seat and started yanking out the small box which held the ignition keyhole. She was barely able to hold in a squeak of joy as she rubbed the starter wires together and the engine stoked into life, it took her a second to get her bearings around the car before clicking on the headlights and reversing from the space.

She hated automatics. Lazy Americans. She'd learnt in a manual car, the De Luca family had always kept to their European roots and she'd learnt in a Mazzarati and then was gifted a Ferrari. It was a lovely off-white one the colour of ground bone dust and the leather was the brown of plucked cow skin. Antonio had taken that from her before her embrace and said she could only drive it with his permission. Her safety or some such nonsense. Her fingernails dug into the steering wheel as she pulled onto a familiar street.

It was a short drive to the Spencer Hotel and she cruised slowly passed the front of the iconic building looking for the route to the back, she slowed to a crawl as she drove down the narrow side street. He wasn't there waiting for her. "How rude, nasty beast".

A movement caught her eye from the side of the building and she peered through the windscreen to the fire escape where two figures were creeping. She recognised Dax by his hair immediately but didn't know the second figure. As they came closer to the ground she realized from the form it was a woman, and she wasn't wearing any shoes, or clothing of substance. She looked terrible. Ize didn't get out of the car but wound down her window as they approached.

She pointed at the woman and frowned. "You didn't tell me you were bringing a guest, piccolo scoiattolo. How would I have known to bring enough sandwiches to our picnic?"
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Unread 10th of February, 2016, 08:21
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Relieved to see Ize he watched the woman carefully as she made the last few levels to the safety of the floor. He walked up to the car and raised his hand in greeting as she spoke.
“Yeh. sorry for not giving you a heads up.” he could have miscalculated her willingness to help a human. there was no telling at times with the unpredictable malk, had no choice though. “Thanks for coming, you’re a life saver.. she's uh, one of Alices, needed to get her out” he looked at the woman and checked his watch. “I need to get back and finish my shift otherwise I'm fucked. Can you take her somewhere safe? I’ll fill you in on the rest later… hey…” he did a doubletake at the car. “this isn’t Gabs car… new wheels girl?” he then saw the broken window at the passenger side and grinned.”guess not”
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