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.
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 The Blood of the Covenant, [Nico]
Lucia Idoni
 Posted: Jan 2 2015, 01:28 PM
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Lucia did not have meetings.

Meetings were for men in suits, men with more money than brains and not enough of either to realize that they lacked that most vital and inimitable quality of the truly powerful: class. Meetings, however sternly they were called, asked permission of the recipient party, and after more than a millennium of life, she was not in the habit of asking for permission for anything if she could help it. As the ambassador to the wide-spread and powerful Idoni clan, there was very little she required permission from others to do anyway.

So she did not have meetings, but instead came to call, showing up uninvited on the doorstep of her intended targets with a smile and a flash of dark red lipstick. On this particular occasion, she had brought with her a bottle of wine; her progeny, while he was lazier than she might have liked, had certainly inherited her taste for the finer things, no matter how that sometimes embarrassed him.

As of late, there had been some love lost between Nico and herself, for which Lucia was deeply regretful. To say that he had deserved her wroth as of late would be a misrepresentation of the truth—however bitter she was that Claudio had confided in Nico, more than a thousand years her junior, she knew better than to expect defiance. Their patriarch's plan had left her confused and hurt, a function of his secretive nature that she'd never gotten the hang of. It wasn't precisely Niccolo's fault that he had fallen in the middle of that complicated mess.

It didn't stop her from seething with anger, but she was willing to set aside their differences for the evening. On general principle, Lucia liked Nico, and while her fondness for him may have waned as of late, she was certain it was never too late to make things right.

This was not a purely social visit, however; she had her own agenda, and her own conditions to coax their relationship back into the waters of alliance and camaraderie. Nico was not getting out of this one unscathed.

She knocked lightly, three taps in rapid succession, and waited for him to come to the door. “You're looking well!” she exclaimed warmly when he finally answered. “I do hope I haven't dropped in on anything. May I come in?”
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Niccolo Bellini
 Posted: Jan 2 2015, 09:57 PM
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“Oh!” Nico smiled ingratiatingly, swinging his door open grandly. “Lucia, what a pleasant surprise! You look gorgeous, of course.” He leaned in close, kissing the air above both her cheeks. It was a surprise, certainly, though perhaps pleasant was a stretch. Nico knew this tactic well; he had used it himself, in fact, learned at her knee. “I was just doing some laundry,” he said, rubbing his mouth nervously. “Are you hungry? I could fix dinner, if you’re in the mood for food.”

Nico knew Lucia and Claudio both did not eat regularly, but it was a habit he was never able to shake. It was something of a crutch of his; it made him feel more grounded, more normalized. He occasionally worried if it was a sign of weakness, but then, he was nothing if not a man who loved bodily pleasures, chiefly being eating and sleeping. He figured, he was old, he could enjoy what he wanted. This argument only held up, unfortunately, on vampires who were younger than him. Neither of his elders ever commented much on his eating, however, so he assumed it must be alright.

He let Lucia in, thanking her warmly for the wine she brought. It was quite nice, he noted—she knew him well, and had generously picked one of his favorites. His gratitude was sincere, and he helped her out of her coat feeling quietly optimistic about the evening’s proceedings. Perhaps she was less angry than he’d originally thought.


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Lucia Idoni
 Posted: Jan 9 2015, 05:53 PM
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“Ah, it's been so long since I had a proper meal that I fear I would not remember how,” she declined gracefully, straightening the skirt of her dress with her free hand. “But I have never lost the taste for wine, so I count that among my blessings. By all means, don't let me stop you from partaking in your pleasures, Nico.”

Lucia handed the bottle off to him and smiled, though perhaps not as warmly. There was still family business to be discussed, which meant that past the niceties of greetings, they would not be peers until the issue had been resolved. She had always had a particular talent for compartmentalizing relationships that way. “I'm sure you have some idea as to the reason for my visit?” Her protege might have been less ambitious than Lucia had originally hoped, but he was certainly not stupid, and she'd been avoiding him as of late.

She wanted to hear him say it, though. Assuming and launching right into the heart of the matter took some of the fun out of it for her.
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Niccolo Bellini
 Posted: Jan 11 2015, 11:46 PM
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“Oh, I wouldn’t dream of eating wtihout you,” he muttered, stepping towards the kitchen with her gift after her coat was secure in his closet. It was something of a faux pas, as he understood it, and among vampires eating was to be a social occasion or done alone with little in between. Otherwise it was something of an abnormality.

“I certainly can guess why you’ve stayed away,” he said plainly, searching for a corkscrew. It was put away in its drawer, much to his surprise. “Why you’re coming now is a little less clear unless,” he said with exertion as he removed the cork, “you’re here to threaten me. Full glass, maman?” He smiled widely.

“Has the game changed, or have you gotten tired of waiting for Claudio? It’s not hard to do—some glaciers move faster than he does. It’s easier to brandish bloodlines and pointy teeth at me than to tell him your feelings are hurt, I know. And don’t take that to mean I’m not sympathetic, just that I know he can be hard to talk to.” Nico sighed as he set down two wineglasses on the counter, staring at them purposefully as he tried to remember the next step in the process. Pouring, that was it. “So, you’re interrogating me? What do I know about Claudio’s grand plans that you do not, why was I told when you are the favorite son?” Nico shrugged. “Please, ask. I’ll tell you what I can. You know I will—no sharp teeth required.”

Nico really did regret the situation as it stood: he was very fond of Lucia, and loyal to her, and seeing her hurt unduly weighed heavily on him. It frustrated him a great deal that Claudio would not assure her of her favor with him when the new heir was more a tool to protect both of them than a slight on her character. He was also frustrated that Claudio had chosen him to confide in, though if Nico had been in his position he probably would have done similarly. In the shortest of terms, he felt conflicted, and seeing Lucia for the first time in weeks only made him feel guiltier.
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Lucia Idoni
 Posted: Jan 15 2015, 08:15 PM
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Threaten you?” Lucia heaved a sigh and reached for the first glass Nico filled. It was true, of course, that she was here as an intimidation tactic, but that was hardly something she wanted to point out. And anyway, threats were much more overt; she'd hoped her mere presence would impose enough to impress the point on her young protégé. It had done so, in a fashion, but it seemed his remorse for the situation outweighed his fear.

For a moment, she worried that she was beginning to lose her touch.

“My dear Niccolo, why ever would I threaten you when I could simply bring you my concerns like any sane person?” She gestured vaguely to the wine, a clear token of her civility. “But on all other counts, you are correct. I suppose perhaps I am...” Lucia paused, loathe to admit that she'd let her animosity get the best of her. “Posturing,” she spat.

“I have been in line to succeed Claudio since before you were born, Niccolo,” she whined, suddenly aware of the unfairness of it all, and she felt like a teenager again. “Why has he forsaken me now?”
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Niccolo Bellini
 Posted: Jan 19 2015, 03:12 PM
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Nico sighed, looking heavenward as he considered his options. 1) he could follow orders and tell Lucia nothing, allowing her to continue believing she had been slighted by Claudio when she had not, thus creating a situation of jealousy and resentment between the two of them, or 2) disobey Claudio’s direct orders and explain to her what was happening, assuaging her fears but potentially jeopardizing the plan and bringing the wrath of a two thousand year old vehicle of terror down on his head. Either way two very old, very spiteful, very dear family members would be mad at him, leaving it as a lose-lose situation. Of course Claudio had to choose him.

“Let’s sit, Lucia. Please,” he said, gesturing to his living room. It would be more comfortable, surely—unlike Claudio, Nico preferred to have audiences intimately, rather than at separate ends of meeting halls. What a blatant fear tactic, how tasteless. “Claudio…Claudio, as you are well aware, has lived a very long time. His intent, you would agree, is to live a lot longer. And, well,” Nico shrugged, “What better way to ensure his survival than to appoint an heir so, dare I say it, hilariously incompetent that no one would possibly want to risk it?” Nico took a drink of wine. “And the power vacuum if they killed Jason would be nightmarish, anyway.”

He clicked his tongue, looking first at his mantelpiece then up the chimney, then back to her. “It’s not about you so much as it is about survival.” Nico coughed, sensing he was overstepping his agreement with Claudio more than was perhaps wise. “I urge you to keep this strictly between the two of us, but I hardly think the situation will be a permanent one.”

He was going to regret this later, he could feel it. But, well…there were loyalties to consider.
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Lucia Idoni
 Posted: Jan 23 2015, 05:20 PM
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Lucia leaned back against the couch, touching her wine glass thoughtfully to her lips. She had to admit, if there was any truth to what Niccolo was saying, that it was a good plan. As far as Claudio's plans went, anyway; their fearless leader's health had been declining as of late, and she wondered if his strategy had been on the decline along with it. The Garza boy—well, he was not who Lucia would have picked if she'd been in charge of the clan. Flashy and unrefined, he was hard to control and already out in the limelight as Claudio's heir. It was rare for new vampires to be introduced to the community so soon.

“But why has he chosen to tell you and not me, Nico?” she languished, taking another sip from the glass. “Am I not among his oldest friends? Am I not his heir?” She turned up her nose; technically, she was not, not anymore. Claudio had plucked her from certain execution and given her eternal life, and she, in turn, had trained by his side to head the family in the event of his death. He'd always trusted her, until now.

She huffed and blew soft, defeated bubbles into her wine glass. There was no point in keeping up the fear tactic if Nico had already relented, and having all of the fun taken away from her was quickly sapping her enjoyment of the conversation at all. She'd come in, guns blazing, and she was going to be leaving slumped over in a sulk.
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Niccolo Bellini
 Posted: Feb 17 2015, 05:24 PM
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“I think,” he began carefully, tapping his wineglass lightly, “that Claudio feels that ultimately you are more loyal to the good of the clan than to him. Not to say that is a bad thing, of course, but merely that this is a sensitive matter, and he knows that were you ever in a situation in which it would be prudent, you would not hesitate to do the right thing. I, on the other hand, he feels could be trusted not to.” Nico paused, trying to determine whether his meaning was clear. “Our ambitions and loyalties are both very different…where I don’t have much desire for the throne or emotional investment in the Idoni group as a whole, you are both passionate and capable. I think, while Claudio adores you, he also fears you will one day want to succeed him.” Nico shrugged. “He knows I would not.”

He set down his wine glass and rubbed his eyes tiredly. Sometimes this job was more stress than it was worth.

“While we’re on the subject of picking favorites and betrayals and et cetera, dearest, I think I should be the one to tell you that Claudio is sending me to New York. There is a group of young insurrectionists he wants nipped in the bud and I’m going to imply strongly they disband or join a clan. Frankly, I think you would be far more intimidating, but,” he rolled his eyes as he picked up his glass once again for a sip, “who am I to question the wisdom of our glorious leader, eh?”
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Lucia Idoni
 Posted: Jul 26 2015, 09:04 PM
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”I am his successor. Or was, anyway.” Lucia sighed, kicking off her heels. Perhaps she had simply been seeking Nico’s company; his charming sense of defeatism was often so calming. “New York I can’t argue. I lack your finesse.”

Nico’s finesse, in this case, was more like a hard-wired desire to do the minimum necessary to meet a goal without exerting the kind of effort that serious bodily harm required. Lucia was not so kind, and Claudio was well aware of it. “New York’s just children, isn’t it? Or are the Nassars involved?”
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