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Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Grumpy, Feb 2, 2013.
'Elysian Fields'. One of Camden Town's biggest and most bizarre nightclubs. Three floors of thick plate glass filled with gyrating punters here to enjoy the infamous night life of London, strobe lighting blasting across the vast room and pounding music echoing throughout. The three bars, one for each level, are hives of activity as buzzing guests attempt to push through the mob to acquire drinks with stern-faced security watching over the cacophony.
It's the largest and most popular of the clubs belonging to the enigmatic and notorious entrepreneur Harry Rothstein, listed in the student guidebooks and attended by celebrities from across the world. Up-and-coming acts are willing to give an arm and a leg to be featured at a venue like this, to get the exposure gigging at a Rothstein club can bring.
But through an unassuming set of doors and up an escalator to the hidden peaks of this vast building, one can find the secret heart of Elysian Fields.
One can find themselves neck-deep in the world of the Kindred of London.
Pale-faced attendees flit in amongst each other, like wolves circling one another. Wary, eyeing the competition, the potential allies and enemies. The bar girls, eyes glazed and with blissful yet empty expressions written across their faces, serve drinks of crimson as the guests flit around the vast room. The walls swirl in bizarre, cold patterns and feed the atmosphere further.
This is a room full of predators on their very best behaviour.
And holding court amidst it all is Harry Rothstein, Anarch Baron of Camden.[/size]
Alice awoke as the sun set. Another night had begun. She opened the door of the closet, still sleeping in there despite taping the curtains down in her room, just in case. The room was bare, save for a single folding chair. She hadn't the resources the make it more personal. That and she was saving her money for something more important then an end table or lamp.
Leaving her room, her toiletries in hand, she went to the shared bathroom. Almost ritualistically she splashed her face with cold water and then dried it off. There was little need, it wasn't like she needed to wash her face, but it was a harmless habit that made her early nights a bit more normal.
After brushing out her hair, and returning her items to her room, Alice headed out. Even though the night was young, shops did not stay open nearly as long as she could wish. Taking the Tube she eventually found herself where she wanted to be.
The neighborhood had seen better times, but further off there was in fact several unused buildings, so the occasional empty store front was better then it could have been. As she wandered the streets she stopped at a shop that was now familiar to her. Inside there were many string instruments. She looked inside the window for a while before walking in.
"Hello," she called out to the shop keeper, a wizen old man that had become more and more paranoid as the years crept up. He was a decent man though, after all, despite having a long ways to go to save for a cello he had allowed her to play one the first time she walked in, just for a few minutes. Those few minutes turned into twenty and she was told she was welcomed in any time to play. After all having someone playing so well in his shop was good for business.
"Are you here to purchase today?" The old man asked.
Alice shook her head. "If things go well, maybe in two weeks."
"Ah," he replied, and then he pointed to where one of the cellos were cased near a chair and a music stand. Alice walked over and noticed there was sheet music on the stand, it seemed he wanted her to play that particular piece. Alice didn't mind and with in a few minutes she was settled into the chair, the cello between her legs, and her eyes on the score.
It was cold, no it always felt like that, but blankets brought no warmth to a body the held none begin with. He straitened his tie as he stood in the dark alley that was his entrance hall, the front doors of the theater he called home having been barred and barricaded, and yet still the occasional vagrant managed to get inside in search of shelter and warmth, maybe something to eat. Their blood wasn't always appetizing but they were never missed.
Tonight though... as every night Eric was binding himself to a promise. Tonight he would make the most of things, by sunrise, then he rested his head he would be in a better position than right now where he stood.
It's wasn't easy to be him, his clan with his loyalties, but the nights were his and the gift of unlife would never be squandered as his like had been. With these thoughts he emerged into the streets of the dilapidated old theater district. The wind, what there was was bitter and the moon shyly skirting the clouds, but the streetlamps were lit and he had no trouble walking through the streets and finding his way.
At first he thought he imagined it, the haunting song resonating with memory. A cello wielded with skill. It was close by, and he frowned the the memories of a soft face, a time before he was reborn.
He let his feet guide him, though a pedestrian way and around a corner to a music shop and he paused, hand on the glass front. He He had come this far before, but had never taken the last step of looking through the window, maybe he was afraid, maybe he just didn't care... Maybe it wasn't who he thought it was... Then he tapped his fingers on the window. No point in looking just yet, maybe he could take this musician and start building a herd...
As she played, she heard a slight taping in the direction of the window. It seemed her playing at least had someone at the shop door. It wasn't the first time, and having an audience was always preferable. As her fingers found the spots on the strings and her eyes read the notes, she smiled. Smiling wasn't something she did much of late, but while she played she could not worry about what else life, or perhaps existence, had in store for her.
As the last note hing in the air, she sighed, another habit from life before, but a useful one. Quietly she then closed up the sheets of music. "Thank you," she called out to the shop keeper as she began to put away the cello.
"You know you're welcome to stay," the old man said from the counter.
"Another night perhaps?" It was partly business, she knew that, but it also seemed like a lonely man looking for some comfort in music. That she seemed to provide that was touching. Tonight though she had other plans.
As she opened the shop door she was startled, though she quickly schooled her features. She knew sooner or later she would run into him after all and even now she wasn't sure how she felt about the encounter.
"Eric," her tone was dead. A contrast to her emotions, but it was fitting considering the last time she saw him.
He froze, hos eyes darting upwards to find her standing there. "In the flesh." He did his best to display an easy smile when inside he was frozen to his core. "It's been a while, Alice." he added studying her, she hadn't changed a bit... not at all down to her hair and he furrowed his brow. If he had breath to take he would have taken a deep one.
"It's dangerous to go out at night." a simple statement, that might hit home for her considering the last time he had seen her or thought he had. With the shock of seeing her still not allowing him to break away or think strait he refocused on what he was doing here on the streets in the dark. Should he stay and talk or should he go and forget he saw her? No, she was here and he wanted to talk, maybe later he could forget.
A genuine grin split his face and he turned and gestured. "Walk with me, I'm sure you have an many questions as I do." if she followed then it would show she did, if she didn't it would make this meeting easier to forget. "I don't remember much of that night but you have to know what became of me."
"Danger I am more familiar with," her expression didn't change. It seemed Alice, who could so easily be able to share a smile, was not present. She thought though he seemed surprised. More then just running into any one person in a city as big as London. Did he think she was gone? Perhaps, though she might have been inferring too much she knew Eric and this man was more Eric like then the one she had followed on her faithful night.
She still had some time, and if he wanted to talk, it wasn't likely going to kill her again. As they started walking, the slight wind ignored, Alice shrugged. "I find it much better not to dwell on that time." Or the time following. She knew seeing Eric would bring back the painful past, and this might have been the worse night for this meeting to occur, she needed her wits about her later she was sure.
"It would seem you are well suited for the night," she said to him, waiting at an intersection as the cars drove past them. Glancing up at him, Alice was uncomfortable. She was uncomfortable with most of their kind, and that she knew him before didn't seem to matter. She tried to push past that and tried to ask an honest question. "Are you happy now?
"I don't think the past is worth thinking about anyway." he said pressing the button on the traffic light which would show them when to cross. He had no destination in mind, yet, but it was better than staying still. "It's the future we need to take care of, since the present we can do little about." he spared her a glance before beginning to cross the street. "I don't think I need to tell you I've changed." his voice had hardened, growling with determination and for a moment, as they reached the pavement he paused.
"Do you have a safe place?" he asked, his tone back to neutral as he turned his head halfway towards her and his eyes swiveling to bring her into his view. "If you need somewhere, I have extra room." it was true, he had. "You could play there for me in safety." A few more cards on the table, but his hand was still close to his chest, even with her he couldn't show his entire hand. She had changed too, everyone did. It was the rule of the night. Well, one of many.
"Safe? I suppose it is," she kept back the words that if she hadn't found a way to take care of herself it was unlikely he would have met with her again. A homeless vampire could survive, but their were fewer places for them to sleep then the human kind, though she had heard some had some interesting tricks for staying out of the sunlight. Then there was just the preditory nature of vampires in general. It's what made her nervous. She was well aware of her place on the totem pole. At first she had been hoping to go relatively unnoticed, but she lost that delussion recently.
"Thank you though," the offer was kind, but there was something about how he made his offer that made her be on alert. If Eric wanted to help her she was not going to be offened. She did not want to not be aware of any strings though. This was Eric, but he was different then before. Maybe she was too. Before she would have wanted to know more about his place and actually consider his offer. Now, well, he was an unknown, and until she knew how far she could trust him, she would keep him at arms length.
Starting to walk again she looked up at the sky. The stars were unfortunatly not to be in full view this night. "You spoke of the future," she brought up as they started to walk again. "What do you see in yours?"
It was a no. A gentle one but he inclined his head. "Good, I'm glad you're safe. As safe as you can be anyway." he was studying her face, there were thoughts hidden he could not read. She used to be easy to read and now... she was weary of him. Disappointment was best was to describe his feelings. "Greatness." he said walking slowly up past the shopfronts. "I wasted my life, I'm sure you'll agree. I will not waste my unlife." he spared her a look, reading her reaction before he shook his head slowly.
"For what it's worth I wish you hadn't been dragged into this." neither of them had said what they were but it was clear, she had changed too much not to be a vampire. "I could use an extra in a few nights, if you're interested. I'm meeting someone. If you're not busy, maybe..."
The unfinished sentence hung in the air. Maybe they had something left for eachother, he had given her up for dead, or as good as and had resigned himself to never seeing her again, maybe it was better that way.
"I wish you had found a diffrent way to strive for greatness." Her hands were in fists now. The facade she wanted to keep with him starting to crack, as the kaleidoscope of emotions grew. She was sure he meant his applolgy, after all, as far as she could put together, he was already a step into this world, if not specifically being groomed, before the events of that night. She was, plainly put, a victim.
But did he really have any clue how that went? Did he think she was just picked up as a pretty trinket for a night? He he did and that was all the appology, she would think much worse of him and yet she was angry he likely had little clue at all. A part of her wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him, to demand to know what exactly he thought happened to her.
Her festering anger almost caused her to miss what he said next, and it spun her in completely the other direction. He wanted her help! There was a time Alice would drop everything if Eric asked her to help. Not becasue, like so many girls from their school, she had an over inflated crush on him, but because he had never refused to help her.
"I would l...." then she paused, and not because she didn't want to say yes. It wasn't a problem of contradictions at all to want to shake him in anger and help him out of fondness. "I am not normally a busy person, but I think you might have found the one time where I have other obligations that I shouldn't neglect." An obligation that hung around her neck. The facade broke a little more, she had thought only music was something from her old life that could make her feel stable in this new world. "But if the timing for you changes...."
He clasped his hands behind his back to keep them out of the way as his narrowed eyes looked at her. "I didn't say which night..." so, she was flat out saying no and truing to be nice about it. "If you think I chose this knowingly you're wrong." he said a hand moving forwards to clamp on her shoulder, cutting off her escape.
"You've changed, I've changed, I'll take your refusal as a signal that we're just no longer... associated."
The word was very carefully chosen, and said slowly and clearly. "You're probably better off keeping your distance from me anyway. People of my clan are not usually liked, you should stay... safe."
He released her and then stepped around her to continue down the street, with or without her he'd carry on, she was from a dead life, one that had very little bearing on where he was going.
Hadn't he? Maybe she was too preoccupied with that blasted.... Her eyes widened in surprise when he grabbed her shoulder. So he was going to take her refusal, even if it was what it seemed, as a signal to wash his hands of her? Actually it might have been just as well she refused him if this was his reaction. That just stacked on the pile where she was angry with him.
As he let go and started to walk away, into the city and the night to get away from her, she narrowed her eyes. "Eric you are a selfish bastard! Don't give a fuck about the past, or be concenerend, but don't dance back and forth and then act like the wounded party." Her volume hadn't changed from their conversation, but the tone did as she didn't try to mask the anger any more. She couldn't trust him, but then again she couldn't trust anyone, but that didn't mean she couldn't foolishly still hope. That had not been killed within her somehow.
She took a step backwards, ready to be done with this, at least for tonight. "Until I get what I want, my habit isn't going to change in the evening. You have time if...." Turning she went to walk back across the street.
It's surprisingly difficult to find a decent apartment in the London area when you look like a walking ad for a meat tenderizer company. Between property taxes, closing fees, Down payments, insurance and the ever famous issue of working on a fixed income, the whole process served as little more than a giant headache. Add to that the issues associated with not being able to converse in person and you find yourself in a right proper mess. When Deadward had made his trek overseas, he did it with intention to only have to lay low for a month and some change. Whoever's sick idea it was to embrace him and leave him for dead in a ditch did a lot more than jack with the man's complexion. Unable to step foot in the sunlight in fear of final death had made slumming a whole new kind of experience. Two weeks was spent living in a variety of locations scattered about the streets of the city. The most famous was the night he crammed himself into a storm drain and found out he didn't need to breath anymore. An unnerving experience to say the least. Following that brought on a spree of breaking and entering, making his stay among a series of warehouses that dotted the docks of the Thames. The locks might have well been made out of saltine cracker and what few cameras that were there were obvious enough to avoid. It wasn't five star living, but it was better than the street and it sure as hell beat the sunlight.
Between evenings along the dockside the American managed to take up residence among a storage area used to hold Computer equipment. While not lucky enough to be sporting anything the likes of laptops which could be hawked without issue, the components did manage to fetch spending money after some fiddling with eBay. It wasn't much but it was a start that netted the Nosferatu a 6 months paid on a 10x10 storage unit in the east end of the city. It wasn't anything more than a long steel building with a dozen units per side, but even in life the American was hardly delicate. No amount of washing could remove that dull scent of burnt flesh from his body. Showers these days only seemed to clog up the drain with about a pound of dead skin and ash. Even touching things casually would leave traces of soot along surfaces if he didn't wear gloves. It was almost like going through puberty all over again, except rather than becoming a man he was turning into the coal Santa puts into your stocking when you act like a shitbag.
The Shed started with little more than four cinder blocks and a strip of plywood to lie on, but as time went on, more items went into its upkeep. What the Nosferatu lacked in the ability to converse in a face to face format, he made up for in the money saved from mundane tasks like eating and rent. Because he was off the records of the government, he didn't pay taxes. Because of the nature of his condition, he was no longer a slave to biological needs. It's unbelievable how much money a person spends just floating along in today's society.
While never the fan of scavenging for rats, there were plenty to be had in the area. The location was quiet and close enough to a few dive bars to catch a bite of something touch more appealing if the occasion called. The transactions made through the internet were prepared through a Post office box, so a hard address was not important. Despite living in a steel box in the slums of town, lif... existence wasn't that bad. Things were simple, and the only concern that came about through day to day life was the preparations covering the storage bill at the end of every six months. In a weird way, it was kind of like camping. It might have been the process of this ease of mind that made the Arrival of Harry Rothstein's letter so concerning.
The letter had been sitting in his PO Box one evening after collecting the proceeds from a handful of Kindles at a steal. The envelope was quite well to do compared to anything he normally dealt with, so it caught his eye right away. The Nosferatu knew that his actions weren't exactly invisible, but he rather hoped it would have been at least a bit more of a chore to track him down than clear evidence before him said otherwise.
Deadward shortly after his embraced was sanctioned by the Camarilla, a meeting that was about as comfortable as stabbing himself in the eye with an active blender. The process began as an introduction to politics in the region and ended up with a split open cheek bone after a few wisecracks. While a comical bunch of dusty old farts with sticks up their asses, the lot didn't show much for a sense of humor. A shame really. As Deadward read the letter in his box, the same general tone of the piece seemed to be fresh in its composition. As the young nosferatu read it, he considered eating something to induce vomiting. It wasn't rude at all, it was just too fake.
Glancing the letter over revealed a return address to a similar post office box location. The nosferatu knew that the Baron likely didn't expect any semblance of a response, but principal dictated that he couldn't help himself. Besides, he'd already lost his looks, his life, and his ability to go out in public without Scotland Yard being called on him. Losing his sense of humor would be a real travesty. With a pair of scissors, he cut the Baron's letter into pieces and arranged hand written blurbs below the clippings to relay the intention of the message.
Deadward had a feeling he was going to regret sending that at some point. Likely enough this sow would probably be just as quick to violence and losing his temper as the mismatched lackeys of the Camarilla. At this point however, the dead vet just couldn't bring himself to care. His entire life was a continuing event of being played. He was played by his parents, Played by school, Played by the army, played by the law, and now that he was dead, the whole tune was starting a new. What he didn't expect was a very out of the ordinary response.
Now, the nosferatu was interested.
Not only had the Baron matched his wit, but he'd done it in a manner that was light hearted enough to realize the humor of the situation and serious enough to not lose any semblance of face. After an exchange like that, saying no to an event of the sort was out of the question. As of whether or not he'd agree to the man's requests was yet to be seen, but from his initial impression any business proposal made would be considered with open mind. The Baron was right, Deadward could not be trusted.
There was an old saying that went something the likes of "A good Man can never be trusted to be honest, but a dishonest one can always be relied upon for his dishonesty."
It was in this premise that both parties seemed to understand each other.
It was to the tune of Jimi Hendrix that the Dead Vet found himself greeting the evening. The sound echoed from the alarm of a disposable cell phone which had been hacked by a tech minded college goer for a spot of weed and some small figures of money. The Baron's "Tea party" was tonight and Deadward had every intention to show up on time. Gathering up a small gym bag, the vampire packed a set of clothes that hadn't stained too poorly from the ash residue of his skin. Jeans, Faux Vintage Led Zeppelin shirt, shit kicker boots and the same Desert camo issued field jacket the army had provided him for the Middle East. The jacket sported a number of patches determining unit affiliation and Brigade. On the right shoulder sat the insignia of the 25th Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat team. A symbol likely lost on most of the folks in the area, but one that even with the lows of military service held quite a bit of meaning to the dead vet.
To say it was a loud outfit was an understatement. Deadward liked the Baron's initial impression, but not enough to dress up for the man. On the bright side, adding a wool cap and a scarf to the ensemble made the horrific appearance of the nosferatu practically invisible. The clothes were stuffed into the gym bag and tossed over the vet's shoulder. He'd trekked the sewers enough times to know you don't wear something clean when you move through them. Tossing the bag over one shoulder, Hammond started off towards Elysian Fields.