The coroner's assistant opened the drawer and pulled back the sheet, and Calla saw a living woman. Lucy's face was intact, her eyes closed, her long red hair fanned out around her head. She was breathing softly, chest moving just the slightest bit. Even her clothes were there--gray sweater, dark jeans, a chunk of quartz on a thin gold chain. Calla bit down hard on the inside of her cheek and concentrated on now. The image flickered and blurred and vanished, leaving only the waxy, jawless corpse, naked and autopsy-scarred.

Bodies remembered what they'd been.
Post of the Month
Keep Reading >>
Join

Learn More

Lurk
The Sacred And The Profane
CBOX
The Sacred & The Profane



 
Reply
New Topic

 Princess Crocodile, Lucia
Aamira Nassar
 Posted: Mar 21 2015, 08:29 PM
Quote


Of late, Claudio Idoni's behavior had been...interesting. "Interesting" in the sense that he had taken a new-turned child, and, in defiance of all logic and statecraft, made him heir. While the throne sat empty, and such idiocy might cost him his power and his life. And when something was this interesting, Layla Nassar wanted to know about it. Their agents had little to say; the families were not actively feuding as of this moment. Thus Aamira had arranged an evening out with Lucia, in order to feel out the new situation and perhaps Claudio's motives.

It was a given that Claudio had good reasons for his choice of heir. Appointing the child was simply so ridiculous that he had to, and her family was most eager to find just what they were. Soon enough she would arrange a meeting with her new contemporary--but for now she would go through that tried-and-true channel.

Truth be told, Aamira did also want to see how her former contemporary--if Lucia could really be termed former, considering the power she still wielded and the history they still had--was doing through all of this. She couldn't imagine being set aside (who would her dear Mama replace her with? Cousin Fatma? Cousin Namar? Please.) and she rather thought Lucia hadn't been able to either, up until it had happened. After all, she was almost to Claudio as she herself was to Mama. No one could have predicted that his plans would change so drastically. The poor dear must be terribly distressed.

(Aamira found herself darkly amused by this.)

Still, that was but a garnish. The evening's real purpose was foremost in her mind. Because whatever game the Idoni patriarch was playing, there would be consequences, and with the position of king temporarily empty...These were high stakes.

Also, because she was Aamira Nassar, and the last time she'd thought of her own pleasure before her family's aims had been 1954. And that had lasted six hours.

Aamira sat at the private table she'd booked in one of New York's finest top-floor restaurants, legs primly crossed at the ankle and tucked to the side. Ibrahim, her current favorite retainer ("current" was perhaps inaccurate; he'd been her favorite since she'd been small enough to demand piggy-back rides and had judged his the best), stood discreetly several feet away, doing the bodyguard's trick of blending into the decor while also looking obliquely menacing. Just seconds ago he'd finished a sweep for bugs magical and mechanical. There were only the two of them. One companion adequately ensured some measure of safety and demonstrated status while not being enough to offend.

She'd already ordered the wine. A longtime enemy was quite like a friend in some ways; she knew what Lucia enjoyed.

And, speak of the devil, there she was. Looking the same as ever, of course. Aamira rose, the ghost of a smile tugging at her lips. "Lucia," she said, pressing her rival's hand. "A pleasure, as always. Do have a drink." Aamira, rather than call in a waiter, poured for them both. "Now, I won't insult you by asking how you've been. We both know that the answer is quite obvious. I am here to hear your...shall we say, official position on the Idoni hierarchical shift."
PM
^
Lucia Idoni
 Posted: Mar 31 2015, 03:49 PM
Quote


Even through the vents in the air-conditioned car, she could smell the city, sweat and piss and blood. It breathed like a living thing.

New York had never been Lucia’s favorite. Modern cities with their modern marvels still managed to stink like Rome had after her turning. The thick scent of too many bodies stuffed into too little space lingered in the air, and though the money was there, the good sense to keep them all properly housed was quite absent. She was not a humanitarian by nature, but Lucia preferred clean food.

Claudio had advised against her presence in the city. Niccolo’s mission was, of course, his own, and it gave the wrong impression to have such a powerful member of the clan deal with the young upstarts that were causing him grief. Powerful or not, however, Lucia was ambassador to the clan, and should the young upstarts choose a side that benefitted the Idoni family, it was common sense to have her present. Hadrian had already involved himself in delicate negotiations with the Ortegas, and so, she had reasoned, the duty rightfully fell to her.

He had seemed reluctant. That had only cemented Lucia’s resolve. Whatever had forced Claudio’s hand or sowed the seeds of distrust, she was certain she could overcome. It would just take time, and time was what she had plenty of.

Aamira’s invitation had come at the perfect moment. She had parted ways with Niccolo only hours before, and was already finding it difficult to keep her nose out of her progeny’s business. Not all of his affairs were strictly business in nature; he had asked for privacy in dealing with these matters, and though she was loathe to do so, she knew she would have to give it to him.

So she traveled alone, and the smell of hot pavement and bile was soon clouded out by the more pleasant smell of steel and glass. The elevator was lightly perfumed. It covered up the scent of sweat and old sex, which she would have preferred. By the time she reached the top floor, she was eager to step out onto the polished tile and into fresher air.

Up here, the air was sterile, well ventilated. It might have been a handsome building, if Lucia had not been used to something much more understated; Claudio had always had a flare for the classical, the conservative, punctuated by as little ornamentation as possible. That was not a trait their clan shared with the Nassars, she considered as she was led to the private dining room her counterpart had rented.

The curtains were drawn—Lucia often forgot Aamira’s extreme youth when they were face to face. Layla had taught her daughter well, and though their families were no longer on the same side, she had a fair amount of respect for the girl. Being named heir at such an early age was a lot of weight to have placed on one’s shoulders, especially for a child who had never known mortal life. She’d seen other born-vampires wild with power and sick on the thought of immortality; it was a feat that Aamira had turned out so well.

If she felt at all threatened by Aamira’s assertions (she had noticed that smile, hidden under a mask of professional concern), she gave no indication, simply returning her rival’s friendly gesture with a reserved smile of her own. “I’m told that it’s not my place to indicate the official position on that subject,” she admitted, sliding into a seat and taking a sip of the wine her host had been gracious enough to pour. “Though, unofficially, I don’t think the Garza boy will last long. He’s still wet behind the ears; it is unlikely that Claudio expects him to lead.”

A shift in succession was a juicy subject for any of the vampire clans, but the Nassars in particular had much at stake. Lucia had heard little, as family loyalty does not often breed traitors, but she had heard enough to guess that something had shifted in Aamira’s family as well. “And what of your mother? I’ve heard she’s been seen less and less these days.”
PM
Email
^
Aamira Nassar
 Posted: Apr 8 2015, 08:13 PM
Quote


Lucia enforced prevailing opinion--that Garza would not last long, nor was he meant to. Ordinarily, Aamira put very little stock in prevailing opinion, being of the opinion herself that consensus was no guarantee of accuracy, but in this case she happened to agree. So young, thrust into the spotlight so soon...oh, he was not at all meant to be anything but a stopgap, she was sure. Garza was a pawn. The problem was that Aamira couldn't see the section of the metaphorical chessboard that Idoni was playing on. Her only comfort there was that it was likely no one else did, either.

"One might almost feel sorry for him," Aamira said, and took a sip of her own wine. The key word, of course, was almost. It was a shame for one so young and new-made to die, but she had not the time to pity him, and she was sure Lucia had not the inclination. Besides. The new-made often died. The question, then, was who would be chosen when he was inevitably removed. She rather hoped for Lucia. A known quantity was much easier to deal with.

"Dear Mama?" So like Lucia, to arrow straight at what she didn't want to talk about. "Why, she's busy, that's all. Internal affairs, you know. Besides, she enjoys her solitude. She tells me it's much easier to think without the cousins chattering in the background." All true, as far as it went. It simply left out all mention of Layla's illness. "And she wishes everyone to grow used to seeing me without her." Also true. Far too many members of her family still thought of her as a solemn little girl with ribbon-tied twists, playing in her mother's skirts; it was inconvenient and required inelegant strong-arming at the best of times.

Normally, she disliked drawing attention to her extreme youth (she hated to admit it, but Garza being so young was something of a comfort, because it meant she was no longer the most junior player of this game, however briefly). But on this occasion she felt it was warranted. Better that Lucia concentrate on Aamira's age instead of any possible gap in Layla's armor.
PM
^
Lucia Idoni
 Posted: Aug 24 2015, 12:41 PM
Quote


Lucia had been the Idoni's ambassador for long enough to know when she wasn't getting the whole story, but for now, she didn't push the subject. Clearly there was another reason for Layla's disappearance from the public eye, and she had her own suspicions on the matter. Those suspicions, however, she would leave out of her report to Hadrian for the time being; the Nassar family and her clan had once been strong allies, and though the tides were changing, she bore Aamira and her mother no ill will.

She shrugged instead. "I was much older than you are when Claudio finally allowed me to learn how to lead. I was hot-headed, violent--" Was was definitely a kind choice of words, but Lucia's occasional brutality had come in handy since she'd taken on the role of the clan's main ambassador. She had not made her debut as a vampire until well into her second century, shortly after murdering the ambassador of a now long-dead clan.

"If our recent interactions are any indication, I think your mother has little to worry about. The Nassars will make a leader out of you yet."

Sooner rather than later, she suspected, and the thought was not without a hint of sadness. After more than a thousand years, one got used to the way the world worked, and now everything seemed to be changing.

But Aamira had called her here to discuss a very specific matter, and she had certainly not been sworn to secrecy. In the back of her mind, a tiny piece of the puzzle that was her sire's intentions with his new appointment clicked into place. "As for the Garza boy, even if he were to take up Claudio's mantle, I do not think our clan would follow him." The thought of taking over the clan by force in the event of Claudio's death had already crossed her mind.
PM
Email
^
Aamira Nassar
 Posted: Aug 24 2015, 08:15 PM
Quote


"Why, Lucia, was that a genuine compliment? You surprise me."
Aamira tilted her wineglass in Lucia's direction. Always gratifying, to hear such things from Lucia--whom she respected greatly, and who sometimes made her wish their families weren't feuding. She might even say she liked her. "Although I'm sure I was just as awful as you were. I was a little monster for decades." Until she was twenty-five, she'd barely been allowed out. And feeding--oh, such a mess. She'd eaten even the bones. Now, of course, she was far more refined.

"No," she agreed, "I suppose they wouldn't." Even if he had the least idea what he was doing, which she was absolutely sure he wouldn't. Nobody was able to do anything right at that age. Lucia, though, was old, experienced, and respected. Certainly one the Idonis would follow. But not the only one. There were others who were just as respected, and they had enough followers to challenge her if they so chose.

In short, there would be civil war. Which, with the borders they were pushing, the Idonis could ill afford. Were they to show any sign of weakness--were they to exhaust themselves fighting each other--why, what would be simpler than for her own family to solidify their borders or even expand a little? For the Kanda clan to carve themselves a base, or the Ortegas to reach north? Not even the most reckless would put themselves in that position.

Insurance. That was what he'd done, by raising up this child--given himself nearly-ironclad protection against attempts on his life. But why? Something this drastic suggested a commensurate threat. She simply couldn't think of a one. Oh, assassination was always a problem, yes, but that was easily solved by being older and better at tearing out throats, or by having bodyguards. Was it frequency of attempts? An exceedingly strong enemy, perhaps from one of the otherworldly courts? Her mind was bending itself in circles and not coming up with anything useful, and it was frustrating.

Aamira covered this by taking a sip of her wine and raising an eyebrow. "Ah," she said, "I begin to see. But who indeed would think to challenge Mr. Idoni?"
PM
^
Lucia Idoni
 Posted: Aug 30 2015, 09:57 PM
Quote


"Anyone who sees weakness, I suppose," Lucia conceded. "Claudio's goals for the clan are--well, they are certainly ambitious, if we're being lenient. Even among our own, not all are pleased with this." Unrest over the Idoni's recent focus on expansion was hardly a family secret; though no one had splintered off from them yet, several small groups--some led by Claudio's oldest surviving blood kin--had made their displeasure quite known in recent months.

She tilted her head back, making room for a long sigh and more wine. "I had worried, for a time, that his trust in me had waved, but...." Claudio had not given her specific instructions on what could or could not be said. His trust in her, at least where the good of the clan was involved, was implicit and unflappable. She chose her next words careful, as much for the good of the Idoni family as to uphold that trust. "Times have driven us all, at one point or another, to dealings with that most fickle of princes."

Archon was hardly a friend to the world, but he had a way of weaseling himself into affairs whether he was invited or not. Lucia had always suspected that there was some kind of scrying magic attached to his name itself, like the monsters of her childhood, and so she did not speak it. Claudio, however, had never been so cautious.

He had never been cautious about much, but these days, that was becoming even more pronounced.

"Last I heard, the Fool's Court has had their fingers in some of the less savory dealings in Baltimore. A murder, the Ripley girl I think--" The Idonis dealt with the Ripleys only seldomly, and rarely in the open as far as the better majority of their respective houses was concerned, but it was Lucia's job to know everything about everyone and news traveled quickly in this digital age. "I doubt he would settle for a coven of witches as his only conquest. Claudio is making...provisions, I suppose.

"The Nassars would be wise to be on their guard as well,"
she added. Though the fall of the Nassar clan at Archon's hands would be ideal for Claudio's ambitions, it would ultimately prove detrimental to the clan, especially if Lucia were to succeed him as was originally planned. Better the devil you knew....
PM
Email
^
Aamira Nassar
 Posted: Sep 8 2015, 09:36 PM
Quote


"Lenient in the extreme, I'd say." What Lucia said was no secret. Nor would it have been particularly surprising if it was. Every clan had such conflicts, but the older ones were especially prone to it. Seniority gave people ideas.

"He would try, if anyone would," Aamira agreed, frowning slightly. She had not been raised to hate Archon, or fear him--rather, she'd been taught that the two of them were going to have to enter negotiations at some point or another, and she ought to be prepared. She'd also been taught that he and his court were unholy and didn't belong here, but that this was usually beside the point when it came to diplomacy. "If he means to take Baltimore...hm. You're right, perhaps that's not all he wants. Perhaps he's removing a potential threat."

Not that it would be hard for Archon to take Baltimore if the Ripleys fell--but more pertinent, perhaps, was the fact that the coven surely had the strength to bind his kind, and might be hired by the Idonis if Claudio ever felt the need for it. If, for example, Archon decided he was tired of sharing Chicago and moved accordingly. She doubted he was interested in the library-keepers; they only cared about their books, and so long as he kept clear of them they probably wouldn't even notice what he was doing. So, as Lucia said, her family was the most logical target.

(Lucia usually worked these things out slightly faster than she did, by virtue of being several times as old as she was. Such was the reality of being younger than practically everyone she knew.)

"We are always on our guard," she said, "Especially against threats from that direction." Briefly, Aamira considered an offer of solidarity, but her mother could countermand her at any time, and that would damage relations more than simply refusing to help at all would. It would be the logical thing for them to join forces against Archon. She ought to know what Mama would say, know it as she knew the taste of blood on her tongue, but...no, she didn't want to think of that. Especially not right now.

Instead, she said, "I hope things will go back to normal before this grows too tiresome. But..." She sighed. "I suppose it won't be that easy, now. Your father's shaken things too much." And she wasn't looking forward to the metaphorical fallout in the least, especially now that she knew His Highness was on the board.
PM
^
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

Options
Reply
New Topic


 


 



RPG-D