Y14/07/15 Downtown 'Circus' Court

Cast: Ali, Margaret, Evan, Julius, Kyle, Sasha, Hendrik, Cecil, Emerson, Cora, December, Daedalus
Location: Ahmanson Building - LACMA - Mid-Wilshire
Synopsis: Downtown Court for the purpose of judging Hendrik's (former Seneschal of South-Central) illicit embrace of Sasha Bennet.

Ahmanson Building - LACMA - Mid-Wilshire

The Atrium of the Ahmanson Building is vast, and footsteps echo upon a marble floor cast into a grid of shadows by artificial lights angled to shine through the majestic skylight above. The rest of the lighting here is no less dramatic, as nearly every setting seems calculated to shade certain areas and emphasize others, to overlap, to create spaces within space. Pushing back the dark of night here is not just a practicality of function, but a work of art in itself.
The recessed balconies of several levels of galleries rise on the western side, polished white stone blending seamlessly with the other walls, and boasting a prominent grand staircase that rises and splits in order to link the lobby to the second level. Here you stand at only the tip of the iceberg, but a watchful guard or two is usually on hand to help with directions, or simply keep a lookout for trouble.
A large notice board appears to have been wheeled out for the evening, prominent on the otherwise sparse flooring.

Ali enters from the courtyard outside.
Ali has arrived.

Margaret has arrived.
Evan enters from the courtyard outside.

Evan has arrived.

With Evan in tow, Peggy enters quietly and walks to the stairs. She slowly climbs up to the balcony, where one might hope to watch without drawing too much attention to oneself.

Margaret ascends the stairs to the balcony.

Julius enters from the courtyard outside.
Julius has arrived.

Evan hesitates before following Margaret. He casts a nervous glance at the ceiling, then, with a wrench of will, climbs the stairs as well.

Evan ascends the stairs to the balcony.

Kyle enters from the courtyard outside.
Kyle has arrived.

Sasha enters from the courtyard outside.
Sasha has arrived.

Cecil enters from the courtyard outside.
Cecil has arrived.

Julius settles in to the subtle shadows that stretch in partial concealment.

Emerson enters from the courtyard outside.
Emerson has arrived.

The time is midnight the 15th of July when the deadline expires and the Downtown Circus is opened. For the occasion, outside LACMA several street-performers pulled their circus acts. Inside however, the Halls of the Ahmanson are cleaned and lit for the occasion. The furniture has been re-arranged to make a circle. At the end of the wall opposite of the Message board is an old oaken chair resembling a throne.

At place (Balcony): Evan is silent for a long moment while he loosens his scarf a little bit. "Ah." Another pause. Scarf properly adjusted, he looks up. "It is very likely that Lord Masterson is already here."

Cora enters from the courtyard outside.
Cora has arrived.

Evan is, if anyone cares, sitting on the balcony with Margaret, deep in conversation.

At place (Balcony): Margaret says, "I do not know. He may be arriving with HRH. Though…" She gives the balcony a little paranoid look-about, "…they might both be here already.""

In the back, somewhere, is Ali. The tall Latina is doing her best to try and blend in with the woodwork - unfortunately she's neither wood, nor work, so her success is only marginal. She is notably weaponless tonight, with both hands in her pockets and a neutral expression on her face.

At place (Balcony): Evan nods solemnly. "I expect that Lord Masterson is, at the least. He may want to observe what is said and by whom before His Highness arrives."

All the bets are off, it seems - Sasha and Hendrik arrive, boots echoing vaguely on the marble floor. The pair look like rock star and groupie, and their entrance is done in the same manner one might enter a concert hall; all showy greetings and smiles. Sasha is less so with the greetings; pale eyes flicker about, taking note of those present - some familiar and some not. A faint little scowl is visible as her eyes pass over one or two of the Tremere.

Julius arrives stag; if indeed one normally brings dates to these sorts of things. He is however attired rather differently this evening. A smart black suit, devoid of such trite and commonplace things as obvious designers; Dolce & Gabanna shoo'ed off the fashion rack for handmade one-off craftsmanship one can only find in Old London Town. It is worn with a black shirt, the blazer left at home and a waist-coat backed by deep purple silk complementing a matching tie. A gold watch chain runs from the buttoned 'coat into one of it's pockets and a lonely skeleton key hangs from that. He carries with him a small clay jar and promptly makes his way over to the seating alcove.

Not long after Ali, Cora enters the room quietly. She's not here to draw attention, almost slipping in and around the corner. Upon seeing Ali the woman approaches the Columbian with a greeting gesture and a smile; "Good to see you here also Chica."

At place (Balcony): Margaret's appearance shifts in the blink of an eye (whether you actually blink or not) and suddenly she has on a tuxedo and top hat, instead of the usual boring tweed suit.

Kyle was standing near the middle of the atrium, speaking to one of the ghouls who works in the museum. However, after offering a cheerful wave, he turns and begins to walk toward Ali. Nearing her, he pulls on a non-existent hat. Cora's arrival is met with a little less enthusiasm.

Emerson steps out of the shadows.
Emerson has arrived.

At place (Balcony): Evan seems about to say something when Emerson appears. He falls silent.

Ali smiles idly at Cora, noting Kyle's movement out of the corner of her eye. "Mmm, I admit; it was a toss up - block party or Court, but here I am again." She winks at the Prince. "Didn't they promise Giraffes?"

Cecil arrives more or less unobtrusively, sticking towards the periphery of the circus, at least for the moment.

Ali joins the group of people including Cora.

An unassuming boy appears next to Margaret, turning towards her when his eyes meet her gaze.

At place (Balcony): Evan says, "(OOC) Erm. Take back that last pose. Oh hell."

Auspex on Ali notes:
«control and a fair bit of trepidation, confidence»

At place (Balcony): Evan seems about to say something when the boy appears next to Margaret. He falls silent, and politely finds some lint on his coat that needs tending.

Up in the balcony, Margaret (now wearing a tux and top hat) hauls herself to her feet. She stands there for a moment, looking down at the assembled people, and then steps up to the railing. In a rather loud, deep voice (with a bit of Boston in it), she says, "Good evening." in that 'you guys be quiet now' way that announcers do.

Auspex on Kyle notes:
«Waiting for the show. Excited.»

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«A little uneasy, but there's a strong sense of resignation about her all the same.»

Auspex on Evan notes:
«Evan is nervous, but not very much more so than usual. A steely calm keeps his jangled nerves in check and, indeed, represses all of his emotions.»

For all purposes, Hendrik remains close to Sasha, occasionally taking her arm. The man moves forward, but not too far. There's a somewhat nervous smile toward Cora and Ali and an appreciative nod, before he moves forward, unsure where to go.

Auspex on Margaret notes:
«Really, really uncomfortable. Shy nearly to the point of fear, certain that folks will laugh or throw things at any moment. Steeling herself, trying to suppress all emotion.»

Auspex on Hendrik O'Neal notes:
«afraid. But it's something that must be done»

Emerson posed to Aura-Readers:

Evan, sitting next to Margaret, makes himself as unobtrusive as possible, and keeps his eyes on his feet.

Auspex on Cora notes:
«Not happy to be here but.. responsible»

Auspex on Julius notes:

The boy smiles toward Margaret and slips behind her as he finds himself a more comfortable seat next to the throne.

Ali glances up as Margaret intones, 'Good evening.', and arches a brow. Her hand comes up in an idle wave and wave she does before returning to her conversation.

Sasha, too, takes note of Ali and Cora, a faint tip of head given the pair as well. She stands easily beside Hendrik, giving him a wry sort of smile, maybe tipped with a hint of anticipation as pale eyes lift upwards to focus on the balcony, flickering over those present there, before settling on Margaret, curiously.

Julius too looks up from his shadowy recess; eyes finding Margaret, and then the boy as she addresses the court.

Cora's gaze searches out Hendrik, offering a silent nod in greeting and an encouraging smile in Sasha's direction. Then she turns to regard the boy that just seated himself. She turns toward Ali and nudges her quietly.

Cora whispers to Ali, "That's him."

Ali sways with the nudge, then looks from Cora to the boy. They remain there for a good moment before she looks back down.

Margaret stands there silently for a few long long seconds, staring down at the gathering below. She makes another attempt at shushing everybody. "Now, then…" A pause, wherein she licks her lip and scans the people below. She meets Julius's eyes, and then speaks again. "…Welcome, in the name of His Royal Highness, Emerson, Prince of Los Angeles. Mr. Winterman, will you please lead the accused forward?"

Kyle turns to face the action, leaning back against the wall. He slips a toothpick between his lips and crosses his arms over his chest, apparently enthralled.

Ali slides both hands a bit further into her pockets; her lips are pressed tightly, the set of her jaw becomes a bit tighter and she watches Sasha and Hendrik- should the woman meet her gaze again she'll find the response to her first smile, one of Ali's own, a slanted grin of sorts and the incline of her head.

Hendrik regards Margaret and will aim to take Sasha by the arm when Margaret states her purpose. He'll move along, albeit not without giving the Tremere a glare.

Cecil moves around quietly, joining the other Tremere harpy in the audience.
Cecil joins the group of people including Kyle.

Julius dips gently at the waist toward Margaret's commanding position, as he carefully settles his jar onto a chair, he moves at a brisk strong page, heavy footfalls ringing in the silence of the hall, interposing himself between Sasha and Hendrik he takes an arm each with a deadpan expression betraying a little more purpose than is common, he marches them forward with utter ignorance toward Hendrik's glaring. "I present to His Highness' court and His Ringmaster; the accused Hendrik O'Neal of Clan Toreador, and his illicit progeny Sasha Bennet, stolen property of Clan Tremere, bastard childe of the accused." his voice hoarse and dry, it none the less carries very well and he releases them both, dipping once more, this time more grandly at the waist before stepping back.

The boy remains unmoving, like a statue almost, watching the proceedings. At Julius' announcement however, he offer the slightest of nods.

The grin that touches Sasha's lips after she glances at Ali fades as her eyes flicker towards the Tremere. There's a low growl from the young Toreador; pure reactive instinct as Julius draws near, attempting to snatch her hand free of his arm, though she does move forward all the same. The redhead's voice, too, rings out with sharp anger at Julius' words: "You're a damn liar. You and yours have no claim over me."

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«Distrust and a hint of fear as the Tremere draws near; intensifying quickly to pure anger.»

Auspex on Hendrik O'Neal notes:
«proud but very very worried»

Hendrik doesn't protest as much. In stead he finds another victim to glare at; Cecil.. Then refocuses back to his Childe whispering; "Sasha."

Auspex on Julius notes:
«Some mixture of condescending amusement and insolence-borne anger»

The boys gaze meets Margaret’s eyes again.

Ali arches her brow at the interaction. In the end, she almost does a lot of things; almost steps forward, almost murmurs something to Cora, almost grits her teeth, but in the end she does none of these things. She remains as she is, but does bring her arms up and folds them across her chest.

Margaret frowns a stern, elementary-school-teacher frown down at Sasha. She says calmly, "Shush, it's not your turn to talk." Peggy then removes her top hat, and turns around to glance at the boy. "Mr. O'Neil is accused, yer highness, of siring the childe, Miss Bennett, in violation of the Third Tradition," She turns back to face the room again, "Which is administered for all of the City of Los Angeles by His Royal Highness, Prince Emerson, as specified in the Treaty of La Cienega."

Evan occasionally glances at the scene below, but mostly looks at his feet. His expression is neutral and indifferent.

Sasha's jaw clenches, but she does at least fall silent as Hendrik says her name. And though she's quiet now, she still radiates that anger with jerky, unsettled movements.

Auspex on Evan notes:
«Evan's nervousness gradually fades. He is, however, much more alert than he appears.»

Emerson nods again, acknowledging Margaret’s announcements. For a moment he assesses Hendrik and Sasha, almost as if looking through them. Then he gestures Margaret to continue.

There is one of those dramatic sorts of pauses, and then Margaret loudly invites, "The floor is now open to any who wish to plead for or against the accused." And then she steps back, putting her top hat back on her head.
Ali exhales and steps forward, commanding attention as she moves; its hard to tell why, if it's her height or her being, her self or her presence, but she is a force. That much cannot be denied. Her gaze turns upward and she looks toward Margaret for acknowledgment.

It takes Margaret a second or two before she realizes what Ali wants of her. Then she says, "Um." and more loudly, "Seneschal Santiago of South Central has the floor."

Auspex on Hendrik O'Neal notes:
«a growing feeling of discomfort and fear»

Cecil waits patiently, listening.

Ali inclines her head toward Margaret, then speaks. When she does it is in a clear, almost accent-free voice. "Senora, Your Highness.", she begins, somehow not choking on either of the words, "I stand to ask for leniency for Senorita Bennet- despite the crimes of her Sire, she is nothing more then a victim of circumstance. The concept that she 'belongs' to the Tremere is false; she has not belonged to them for several owners now and they have sought no claim before now. As property she was handed around between several Tremere and that unfortunate 'group' they had put together." Her eyes turn and lay upon Julius; she smiles, but lingers for no more then that before looking up at Emerson. "It is nothing I address now, but to point out that the gifting of her outside of Tremere ranks breaks any claim they have to her."

Julius is about to step forward from his point of retreat; when Ali does so first. His jaw visibly tightens but he waits as she steps forward to the ringmaster's acknowledgement, and rolls his eyes throughout her speech.

Auspex on Ali notes:
«nervousness and confidence, strength, pride»

Auspex on Evan notes:
«A faint flame of sympathy flickers in Evan's aura when Ali speaks. It dies quickly.»

Slowly, Sasha falls still throughout Ali's words, not even breathing, unblinking eyes on the woman. A bare breath passes her lips, gratitude creeping into her gaze, and something else too as her attention shifts to Hendrik, fingers curling about his arm tightly.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«The anger eases somewhat, but it's still present about her - but receded enough to let the low kind of unease creep back in.»

Emerson regards Ali. He appears bored almost, still he nods and says; "By all means, bring it forward."

The Brujah angles her head forward. "There was a time..", she begins, "..when several Tremere made alliances with different members of different clans, for the purposes of attacking another domain.", she says, "Sasha was gifted to other members of this group, from the Tremere, to another clan, and finally to a third. Her last owner perished, which left her as a masquerade breach. Hendrik did what was responsible and needed by keeping a wayward ghoul from a life without a master. Sasha Bennett ceased to be Tremere property when she was given as a gift, then third removed with another gifting, then left to suffer her master's passing without guidance."
Hendrik almost jumps up when Sasha takes his arm. He looks severely haunted.. and when he finds the source of that touch.. Sasha, it's almost as if he's looking from behind a veil; "Ah.. it's you." he whispers, his voice sounds awkward when he tries to focus on Ali's speech.

Margaret listens to Ali, her head tilted slightly to one side and her expression somber.

Auspex on Ali notes:
«a mild anxiety as she's asked to elaborate, but her strength and confidence remain. She shows no signs of dishonesty.»

Ali adds, "..different clans from different domains.", a moment later.

Emerson nods toward Ali; 'Indeed' and gestures, relieving her from the floor if she would. His eyes settle on Julius, expectant almost, before the gaze moves on to Margaret again.

Ali begins to step back as soon as Emerson finishes his gesture. With her hands clasped behind her back she retreats all the way back to Cora's side, no further words to add.

Sasha's grip tightens, like she can ground Hendrik with the strength of that touch. There's concern in the way she studies him, brow furrowed. Ali's speech earns a tense reaction, but the redhead is looking nowhere but at her sire.

Cora would reach out to pat Ali on the shoulder briefly and whisper a 'Well done.'

Margaret steps back to the 'center stage' of the balcony when it seems (to her anyway) that Ali has finished. "Thank you, muh'lady." She waits for a second or two, just to be sure she's not cutting the seneschal off, and then she invites, "Mr. Winterman, Tremere of Greater Downtown, you were wanting the floor?"

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«Her unease has intensified - whether from Hendrik's demeanor, Ali's speech, or some combination thereof - into fear.»

Julius takes his opportunity now to step forward, sweeping a deep and reverent bow to the balcony. "My Prince, Warden and Ring mistress Innes, ladies and gentle-vampires, children of all ages; these allegations are unsubstantiated and ultimately immaterial."

He rises to circle around the pair, keeping his front at all times to the Throne. "Sasha Bennet is no longer a ghoul and is not the subject of a breach of the First, though Hendrik O’Neal stole her from a coma in a hospital bed and later sought my clansman to gloat too of his self-acknowledged theft. She is the illegitimate bearer of the gift of immortality. A gift which it is Your Highness' sole right to bestow and which the accused has flaunted in vain pursuit of power. This…criminal." he glares toward Hendrik. "Has sought every port in this storm that he has sewn. He has sought to undermine the basis of Your right of The Third, my Prince. He has loudly sought to rally anarchists to his side to dodge a bullet he knowingly labored upon. He is a self-confessed liar, who has taken steps to deceive just and fair arbitrations that he has himself requested, his blood is deficient and a stain upon the honor of his esteemed clan…Sasha Bennet is nothing more and nothing less than these crimes of insolence and treachery made flesh!" he ends this impassioned speech behind the accused. "The Tradition is clear; 'If thou createst another without thine Elder's leave, both thou and thy Progeny shall be slain.' They have shown contempt by not even seeking Your permission, why are either of them due Your lenience?"

Auspex on Evan notes:
«A hint of skepticism greys Evan's aura, like a shadow cast by a cloud passing over the sun. It is gone in the blink of an eye.»

Emerson regards Julius for a moment, but again it's as if the man is looking through the Tremere, not at. He simply nods and waves his hand again when the neonate is finished.. if he is.

Julius bows once more, and steps out of the ring.

Cecil raises a hand towards the lady who is playing ringmaster for the evening.

Ali murmurs to Cora, "Is he seriously suggesting that Emerson doesn't have the right to his own choice..?"

Cora grinned at Ali's former remark about Julius' speech. It's a slow grin.. somehow she doesn't seem totally at ease as well.

Margaret says, "Thank you." formally to Julius, and then scans the room again. Seeing a hand up, she announces, "Steward Northrup of Santa Monica, you have the floor."

Kyle has disconnected.
Kyle departs the group of people including Cecil.

Cecil, steps forward, "I speak against the accused. I first learned of this crime when he came to Santa Monica, saying that we Tremere ought not to seek the return of Sasha any longer, for indeed, he had made her into a Vampire with his blood. When I suggested to him that he run, and run quickly, he laughed. If I might paraphrase, he said something akin to, "Prince Emerson's reach does not go as far as He might think it does." Seeking to draw out information, he violated Elysium with his Presence. When, later, I spoke to the Keeper about this matter, he admitted he had done so freely, but defended himself by false accusations against me and demanded an arbitration. The results of which, can be seen here on the boards - he, knowing that his accusations would not stand up to any scrutiny, attempted to cover his lies by having his own memory altered by an ally, so that he would remember the matter his way. His utter disrespect earned him a lifetime ban from the Getty - something which few can claim. As a.. petty revenge, he sent hit men to kill other Tremere ghouls. I therefore suggest that he not be allowed to stain further members of the honorable Toreador clan with his constant recidivism and utter disrespect for anything other than himself."

Auspex on Cecil notes:

Auspex on Julius notes:
«Condescendingly amused disapproval, almost pity toward Ali»

Sasha's eyes are narrowed, a low, almost inaudible growl coming from her throughout the Tremere's speeches as her attention shifts from one to the other. Her jaw is clenched, restraining the urge to speak.

Evan lifts his gaze and regards Sasha and Hendrik curiously.

Margaret says, "Thank you." politely to Cecil. She looks out over the room again, eventually landing her eyes on Sasha. She stares at the young woman for a little wile, and then addresses Hendrik. "Mr. O'Neil, would you or your childe like the floor, to speak on your own behalf?"

Emerson 'ahs' softly as something Cecil said seems to have caught his interest; "And what childe, is the relevancy of Acton not being able to keep his Elysium? Does he need my aid in pursuing his violators outside Santa Monica?"

Cecil, being dismissed, returns to his place in the audience.
Cecil wasn't dismissed! Whoops!

Margaret quickly steps back from center stage, looking down at Cecil with the teeniest tiniest little smile on her face.

At place (Balcony): Evan finds an invisible bit of lint on his coat that needs tending to.

Kyle has connected.

Auspex on Evan notes:
«The faintest flicker of amusement ignites a shower of gold that dies like embers in the breeze.»

Cecil says, "Your Highness, I believe it is relevant because it indicates his character - he will offend again. He will encourage others to offend. And then I believe he will gloat about it to whomever he can get to listen, showing off a checklist of the Traditions he has willingly violated."

Ali begins to step forward, then stops and looks up toward Margaret.

Emerson raises an eyebrow; "Then you admit that your Keepers punishment was not sufficient, hm?" A faint smile is offered and he gestures again, looking at Margaret expectant.

Margaret waits a tick longer, just to be sure she's not interrupting anybody, and then she re-introduces Ali. "Seneschal Santiago, did you want the floor again, muh'lady?"

Sasha's head jerks upwards, gaze fixing on Margaret, though she waits. There's a gleam of satisfaction, too, at Emerson's questioning of the Tremere.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«Still uneasy, still afraid, but there's a creeping determination coming through.»

Cecil, finally dismissed, returns now to his place in the audience.

Auspex on Julius notes:
«Sincerely impressed by Emerson»

Auspex on Cecil notes:
«Faint relief suffuses through the calm collection»

Auspex on Kyle notes:
«Amused at the antics.»

Cecil disbands the group he was in.
Cecil joins the group of people including Kyle.

At cluster (): Kyle chuckles as Cecil returns.
At cluster (): Cecil says, "That went about as well as I could expect it to go."
At cluster (): Kyle raises a finger to his lips and continues to watch the show.

Julius moves quietly and unremarkably around to Cecil and Kyle. His flying from it's chair to his waiting hand as he passes.

Ali steps forward and bows her head. "Only briefly, your Highness, to point out that Hendrik has atoned for his sins in Santa Monica and that if Acton's keeper believed it necessary to force further atonement, he would surely be here to plead his case."

Julius leaves the shadows of the seating alcove.
Julius joins the group of people including Kyle and Cecil.
Julius looks to Margaret questioningly.

Was that a faint grin on Emerson's face? It's just a nod now.. and another wave; 'Indeed'.

Ali bows and steps backward, again backpedaling to Cora's side.

Auspex on Cora notes:
«Somewhat proud of Ali»

Kyle looks over at Ali and grins. He dips his head to her in a friendly manner, then turns to watch Julius move to join him.

"Thank you, muh'lady." Peggy says formally to Ali. She then looks at Sasha and Hendrik. Silent for a beat or two, and then she asks, "What've you to say for yourself, Mr. O'Neil?"

Margaret sounds stern, like somebody's mom when they're about to get a good scolding.

Sasha opens her mouth, like she wants to interrupt, but perhaps wisely decides otherwise. Back held straight, her gaze is on Hendrik alone now.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«Fear still, and it's focused on Hendrik, like she's more afraid for him than anything else.»

It takes a moment before Margaret's words get through to Hendrik. First he looks toward Sasha.. trying to radiate confidence, but he has not lost his haunted expression. He moves forward, approaching that throne a few steps, proud and respectful. When his mouth opens, he seems to have some trouble not showing fangs. "I plead guilty. I was unaware that Prince Emerson had this kind of control over South Central, and I will take my punishment accordingly and singularly." It's obvious that he's a practiced public speaker, charismatic too.. but his hands clench into fists for long, before becoming calm.

Auspex on Hendrik O'Neal notes:
«Very paranoid and afraid. There's a good deal of anger, but mostly it's just fear. And not so much for himself, but for his companion.»

Evan glances up.

Auspex on Evan notes:
«Surprise flares bright, before dying low. But unlike the emotions before it, it endures.»

«VERIFY» Julius expended 1 Vitae points.

Emerson slightly shakes his head at Hendrik’s explanation. In stead of addressing him, he addresses the other Prince in the room; "I have confidence that your new Seneschal is aware of the Treaty."

Margaret turns to stare into Emerson's eyes. Waiting or something.

Ali remains with her hands clasped behind, then bows as she's mentioned. "Yes, your Highness."

Cora forces a smile as she nods back to Emerson respectfully, going as far as to perform a curtsy; "This one realizes ignorance is no excuse."

Emerson waves, beckoning Sasha to come closer; "And you, Childe. Tell me. Why should you live?"

"No." It is murmured, but Sasha's response to Hendrik's words is nonetheless fierce. She steps past him, offering a bow that has the awkwardness of someone who's never done it and only has half a clue -how-. It's clear Sasha isn't sure quite how to address the group on the balcony, her eyes flickering from one to the other - though passing in a kind of distant, quick way over Emerson like she can't bear to look at him directly. After a beat, she simply speaks - not nearly so smooth and practiced as Hendrik, but passionate, resolute all the same: "Hendrik's crime is that of acting rash in the course of preserving the Traditions. In taking me - in Embracing me - he preserved the masquerade… something the warlocks fail to mention." Derision creeps into her voice here, unbidden, "That one of their own, self-styled Professor RiffRaff, held me unbonded for a month, claiming no ownership, and no adherence to rules of this society." She pauses, not for drama, but almost as if she's bracing herself for the words that follow, a kind of shakiness in her tone: "Not to presume, but I guess what I'm getting at is… if I am indeed the living embodiment of insolence and treachery as has been accused, then it is my life that is forfeit as punishment?" The spread of her hands offers a certain kind of fierce determination, perhaps ruined somewhat by the unsteadiness of her hands.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«Scared. Determined. Both vying it out, one overriding the other and back again.»

December enters from the courtyard outside.
December has arrived.

Kyle grins at Sasha's speech. Rolling the toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other, he shifts his weight and waits.

Auspex on Kyle notes:
«Enjoying the attempt at passion.»

Julius looks like he wants to snort, but restrains himself and instead casts a sideward glance to the toothpick rolling of Kyle with some measure of interest.

Emerson murmurs; "The blood goes after the Sire, it seems." And glances at Margaret again.

Auspex on Ali notes:
«whatever an inward groan looks like»

Ali closes her eyes briefly, exhaling before she brings her gaze back to Emerson. Or, more precisely, an area very close to being Emerson.

Soberly, Margaret listens without much reaction. She stares down at Sasha for a few loooong seconds, as if expecting that there's something more. When there is nothing more, she speaks up again. "What will you" she looks over the whole assembly, "any of you—give to spare them?"

Emersons gaze searches out Cora in particular.

Enter December. One time resident of Downtown. There is pretense, the door is opened quietly and closed quietly. The Gangrel stops just inside, her sunglasses are removed and put away. Evil feline eyes sweep over the room before she moves to stand quietly somewhere near the back.

Auspex on December notes:
«The beast rolls beneath the surface, always so close, but lax sated for the time being. But the stirring of hunger is already forming again.»

Sasha lets her hands drop; she's oblivious to the reactions of the crowd, stepping back to Hendrik's side. She's watching him more than anyone on the balcony, low exhale escaping her.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«Resigned, now. A sense of relief, like the only thing to do now is wait.»

Hendrik still seems to have troubles focusing. Perhaps he's not entirely aware of the situation, or perhaps he's processing too much. In any case he does step forward; "I offer his Highness a monetary sum of his choosing, an hour of any kind of music he'd like on WKRT nightly, and a Major Boon."

Cora shakes her head. She doesn't seem to speak up. Perhaps she doesn't think it necessary to do so; "The Domain of South Central has nothing to offer, that His Highness requires."

Auspex on Julius notes:
«Intense consternation toward Hendrik»

At cluster (): Julius says, "…the gall, his and his Childe’s lives is on the line and he offers a major boon?"
At cluster (): Kyle chuckles softly. "Maybe you should mention that."

Emersons gaze skims the Ahmanson hall. When Hendrik speaks he seems to consider something.. but then it's back to Margaret again.

Margaret steps to the front again. She looks back at Emerson, staring at him for a moment or two, and then, she turns back to look down at Sasha. There's a pause, and then, in a matter-of-fact sort of tone, she says, "His Royal Highness, Prince of Los Angeles, asks who of you should die. You, or your sire?"

Cecil watches quietly.

Evan -almost- turns his head to look at the man standing behind him. But he checks the motion before it really begins, and turns it into a craning of his head to look curiously down at Sasha and Hendrik.

December shifts her feline gaze in the direction of Sasha and Hendrik, her eyebrows raising upward ever so slightly. An almost cruel smile has curled at the edge of her lips.

Auspex on December notes:
«There is a faint.. amusement. And she is very interested in Sasha's answer.»

There isn't the slightest hesitation as Sasha answers, gaze on Margaret: "Me."

Auspex on Kyle notes:
«Adores the misplaced courage.»

"Mr. O'Neil." Margaret says, when Sasha has answered, "What say you? Which of you should die?"

Emersons lips curl up at the reply, his gaze shifting from Sasha to Hendrik now.

Auspex on December notes:
«As a funny moment, as if she's getting some joke. An "Aha!" kind of moment, twined with amusement and pity for Sasha and Hendrik.»

Hendrik shakes his head at Sasha's reply. He closes his eyes. A single drop of blood runs down his cheek. "No. Me." It visibly pains him to say so, and he can't bare to look Sasha in the eyes.

Emerson posed to Aura-Readers:
«some disbelief»

At cluster (): Julius says, "Oh good. So they can both die?"

Sasha's voice is quiet, murmured to Hendrik: "Saved me once, saved me twice. Time to pay back the favor."
Kyle shakes his head from his place against the wall. He mutters something quietly, watching the pair of martyrs.

Kyle whispers to himself, "Do they understand this is for real?"

At cluster (): Julius says, "I think they're expecting a Disney song and dance number to save them"

Emerson nods toward Margaret and raises now; "At least they are smart. They understand dying is the easy way out.. and I am not easy." he murmurs.

Auspex on Evan notes:
«Evan's aura dims and shrinks a bit in a gentle melancholy, but there's also… understanding?»

Margaret looks back at Emerson, and bows deeply. A graceless, stiff sort of bow. "Yes, muh'lord."

At cluster (): Cecil looks to Julius and raises a finger to his lips.
At cluster (): Julius says, "arches an eyebrow on Cecil's side and remains quiet."

Emerson addresses the pair in front of him. His voice is low, muttered; "You have sinned against me. You could have ran from this City of angels, yet you come here, you acknowledge your crime and are willing to sacrifice your existence for the other. Surely you must think I am merciful." He shakes his head.

Margaret backs off center stage, hat in hand. She settles on the edge of the balcony, looking at Emerson's shoes.

A shudder races through Sasha as she focuses her gaze on Emerson for a moment, and a moment is all she can stand, pale eyes fixing at some point on the balcony beneath him instead. She says nothing, back stiff.

The Prince continues; "Hendrik 'O Neal. We've met once before. Tonight is the second time. You will live in fear of making one single mistake, however small, and your nights of determining your own fate will be over. /Come here/." There's a sudden command to his voice.

Hendrik seems unable to resist. He stands and moves up the Balcony toward the Downtown Prince.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«Another healthy dose of fear prevents her speaking, perhaps mercifully.»

Evan casts the briefest glance to Margaret beside him, then goes back to looking down at his shoes.

Auspex on Margaret notes:
«Her aura has remained unchanged, until now. Now she has the ugliest tint of eager anticipation about her.»

December's jaw clenches a little and she rolls her gaze away from Emerson and Hendrik. She too seems to find her own shoes rather interesting at this point in time.

Julius intently observes the dead-man-walking.

It's almost a casual gesture when Emerson takes out a knife, slits his wrist. Hendrik seems little more than a robot when the once Seneschal kneels and drinks from him.

Auspex on December notes:
«A shudder runs down December's metaphysical spine, she was already terrified of Emerson. Now she's /TERRIFIED/ of Emerson.»

Auspex on Hendrik O'Neal notes:
«Unwilling.. and after.. feelings of extreme fondness»

Margaret cannot help it. Her eyes are drawn to the wrist-cutting, and then to the drinking. With some effort, the only thing that shows on her face, though, is just a teeny little tightening of her jaw, and licking her top teeth.

When finished, Emerson pulls down his sleeve, dismissing the Toreador while murmuring something to him.

Emerson whispers to himself, "Until we meet again…"

A noise escapes Sasha as she watches for a moment, like a muted expression of fear, eyes closing.

Next Emerson focuses on Sasha; "You.. Have much to learn, and your Sire will be your death. You will not be raised by him, but by another of your Blood, with whatever assurances they see fit to ensure your obedience, if they would have you." He glances between Julius and Sasha now; "The Toreador and the Tremere can surely make arrangements, so you forget what you must."

Margaret whispers to Emerson, "Lord Mayfair, or a Toreador of South Central?"

Margaret leans in to whisper a question to Emerson.

Julius steps forward, dipping low from the waist. "It will be done, my Prince. By your leave and command; at once?"

Emerson whispers to Margaret, "No Toreador of South Central. Harrison.. I wouldn't want to bother with that."

Ali steps forward, "Our Sheriff is of their blood- I will deliver her promptly.", she says - badly interjecting, then compensating with two bows before rising. "This would retain the confines of the Treaty, for she is a citizen of South Central, alive due to your majesty's choosing."

Emerson gestures toward Margaret. She can answer Ali instead.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«A jumbled mix of fear and panic and anguish.»

Kyle seems completely satisfied by all this. He bows from the waist to Emerson, then moves to the exit. Pushing the doors open, he moves out into the night, his job here done.

Kyle departs the group of people including Cecil and Julius.
Kyle leaves for the courtyard.
Kyle has left.

Hendrik is.. totally off. The combination of the Blood and the fear almost causes him to ignore Sasha. It's uncertain if he managed to hear Emerson's second 'sentence' at all; "As long as you live.." he whispers toward her; "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Auspex on Hendrik O'Neal notes:
«very uncertain about that»

Julius whispers to Cecil, "Are you able to handle the process, adelphos?"

Margaret bows stiffly towards Emerson, and then turns back to face Ali, "I beg your pardon, muh'lady, but His Royal Highness wishes for the childe to be raised away from her former sire." Her tone is very polite.

At cluster (): Cecil says, "I ought to be able to do so if need be."

December glances between Ali and Margaret, she gives a small shake of her head and pushes away from her spot. As quietly as she entered she makes her way to the doors to leave.

Julius whispers to Cecil, "I'd sooner clean her out 'before' they get it all down on paper. Do what needs to be done."

Margaret gestures towards Sasha. "Come here, Miss Bennett. I will see to the arrangements." Her tone is still polite, but not even remotely maternal or sympathetic. She then addresses the rest of the room. "Ladies and Gentlemen, do you have any further business to conduct tonight with His Royal Highness?"

"I will make all assurances, your Highness. While South Central is geographically the same, the Sheriff and Senor O'Neal are not at all of the same mindset. Sheriff Melciah is a Camarilla of good standing and has been for quite some time. He has stood as an Officer of South Central for years. Senor O'Neal, despite his brief stint as Seneschal, has never relinquished his roots.", points out the tall Latina in a clear tone, eyes upturned toward the Prince.

This seems to jar Sasha into a jerky kind of motion, gaze lifting to Margaret as her words finally penetrate. "No." It's almost to herself, muttered, and a panic-stricken look is cast towards Ali. She doesn't move towards Margaret; if anything, she steps back, instinctively.

Auspex on December notes:
«Feels rather sick at the blood drinking, and a little unhinged and removes herself… fear perhaps chasing her out.»

December leaves for the courtyard.
December has left.

Evan watches Sasha, and a sad smile touches the corners of his mouth.

Auspex on Evan notes:
«Sympathy softens Evan's normally steely and determined aura, mixed with a flush of understanding.»

Emerson glances at Ali and gestures toward Margaret once more.

Auspex on Julius notes:
«Utter disbelief»

Margaret bows to Ali, and says, in a matter of fact sort of tone, "South Central offered nothing for her, muh'lady." She licks her lip, and straitens back up again. "But I will take your suggestion to the Toreador Primogen." She gives another quick glance over at Sasha, and repeats—in a slightly scolding tone, "Come here."
"The Prince of Los Angeles had commanded you, childe" Julius snarls from the edges. "Obey Miss Innes."
"Missus." Margaret says automatically.

Seeing Sasha, Hendrik was going to interrupt perhaps.. but that is where Cora fetches him and gently nudges her former Seneschal out.

"And /you/ are not He." Ali snaps at Julius before bowing to Emerson once more. "Your Highness, may I at least have a word with the childe first? Some reassurance may smooth things for the future."

Sasha takes a step towards Margaret; pauses as Hendrik is lead out, and finally moves towards the balcony, albeit reluctantly.

"She seeks the secrets You have forbidden them, My Prince." Julius asserts with a bow to the Throne. "The Tremere protest most strongly."

Emerson's expression takes on annoyance when he addresses Ali; "She can cooperate or she can die. If you can make her, by all means. Margaret.." he glances at the Nosferatu lady; "If there are no further requests, you may close this circus."

Margaret turns back to the Prince-child, and bows deeply again. You can never bow too much in times like these. She then turns towards the room in general, and -ignoring pretty much everyone else trying to talk- she says, "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your attendance."

Ali bows again toward Emerson and exhales, then stretches her hand out to Sasha and beckons her forward. "Senorita, por favor."

Margaret walks rather quickly down the stairs, exiting the balcony and heading towards the spot where (it seems?) Sasha and Julius and Ali have gathered. She stands beside Sasha, not interfering with Ali or Julius. Watching, with an empty face.

"In English, if you don't mind Seneschal?" Julius remarks in Ali's direction. "Unless there is something in this exchange you wish to hide?"

Margaret whispers, "Mr. Winterman, manners!"

In the mean time, Cora nudge-forces a confused Hendrik out, trusting perhaps that Ali will handle.

Cora goes home.
Cora has left.

Hendrik O'Neal leaves for the courtyard.
Hendrik O'Neal has left.

Cora departs the group of people including Ali.

"My apologies, Warden." Julius' brow dips deeply before Margaret. "In English if you 'please', Seneschal?"
Evan follows Margaret as if she held his leash in her hand. He bows crisply to the young man behind him, then hurries down the stairs after her, coming to halt by her side.

Sasha only stops once she reaches Margaret, the uneasy tenseness visible in the young Toreador's stance. A scowl is sent Julius' way, but it's Ali she focuses on.

Emerson doesn't seem to find the ongoing struggle particularly interesting. A nod is extended to Margaret and the group containing Julius and Ali, before he starts to move down undisturbed and then simply.. vanishes.
You cloak yourself from the minds of others and hide from view.

Emerson has left.

Margaret whispers to Sasha, "You mind your manners too, Miss Bennett. No scowling at neonates until you've earned the right to do so."

Evan descends the stairs from the balcony.

Ali pays no mind to Julius' interjection; she simply waggles her fingers again toward Sasha, then slips a hand around the other woman's waist and begins to walk out. She turns her gaze down and says to Margaret, "You are most welcome to attend, of course. If you don't mind, I would care to see Sasha safely to Senor Mayfair's side once I speak with her - what reassurance you need, I will give."

Margaret falls into step beside Ali, and asks politely, "May I speak with you in private, muh'lady? Before we head out?"

The look Sasha gives Margaret can only be described as confused disbelief, brow furrowed like she doesn't quite understand. Ali's the only familiar person in the group, and the redhead fixes on her, pale eyes wide.
Ali bows her head and murmurs something to Margaret.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«Confused, unhappy, overridden by muted panic with a bare fingernail's control.»

Ali whispers to Margaret, "I would gladly, but for the fact I don't particularly trust Senor Winterman to not make put his warlocky powers to good use. Perhaps there are separate quarters for things like this?"
Evan examines Sasha curiously while Ali and Margaret talk. He offers her a reassuring smile, gentle where Margaret is unforgiving.

"You may not trust me, Seneschal. But it is precisely those warlocky powers that the Prince of Los Angeles commanded be employed. Sasha will be made to forget what she must, and returned according to His command." Julius replies bluntly.

"If you wish to accuse me of treason, that is an entirely different conversation." the Tremere adds.
Margaret looks slowly around the room, and then resumes walking, towards the conference room door. "It is not seemly that we argue here in front of everybody. Please. Come in. You too, Miss Bennett."

Evan, now in the habit of following Margaret around, starts to do so yet again, then hesitates, looking to her for indication of what he should do.

Sasha finally speaks, her voice rough with uneasiness, and no small amount of derision as she eyes Julius. "What secrets do you think I will impart in five minutes that I have not had ample opportunity to share for the last year, warlock?" She does, however, move alongside Margaret, keeping pace with the woman.

"Do as you like then, Seneschal. Warden, I shall inform Regent Augustin of His Highness command. We shall expect her promptly. Good evening." he bows and he leaves.

Julius leaves for the courtyard.
Julius has left.
Julius departs the group of people including Cecil.

Margaret bows shallowly to Julius. "Thank you kindly, Mr. Winterman. I believe the chantry has my number? I would like an appointment at his earliest convenience." A pause, and then she lowers her voice to ask, "I take it that the regent is the only Tremere with the power to erase memories, in the Downtown Domain?"

Margaret apparently says that to Julius's back, as he storms off.

Ali continues to walk, the arm around Sasha's waist drops and slides into Ali's own pocket as she makes her way slowly toward the conference room.

Evan, in absence of any orders to the contrary, follows, since that's what he's been doing all night.
Sasha missteps for a moment, a slight stumble, at the mention of Augustin. A low hiss of breath escapes her inadvertently as she stiffly makes her way towards the conference room.

"Miss Bennett?" Peggy says, if it seems that Sasha isn't following.

Margaret goes through the mahogany doors.
Margaret has left.
Margaret descends the stairs from the balcony.

Ali goes through the mahogany doors.
Ali has left.

Sasha goes through the mahogany doors.
Sasha has left.

Evan goes through the mahogany doors.
Evan has left.

Cecil goes home.
Cecil has left.

Daedalus enters from the courtyard outside.
Daedalus has arrived.

Daedalus goes through the mahogany doors.
Daedalus has left.

Daedalus arrives through the mahogany doors, returning to the Atrium.
Daedalus has arrived.

Margaret arrives through the mahogany doors, returning to the Atrium.
Margaret has arrived.

Evan arrives through the mahogany doors, returning to the Atrium.
Evan has arrived.

Evan follows Margaret out of the meeting room.

Margaret stands just outside the conference room, blocking the door as much as possible. She crosses her arms over her chest and looks out of sorts.

Evan smiles sympathetically to Margaret.

Daedalus stands near the bulletin board, his fingers lightly skimming over the various postings and notifications that are in place there.

At some point in her scowling, Peggy notices Daedalus. She studies him for a moment, before offering a deep bow in his direction—whether he's looking at her or not.

Auspex on Margaret notes:
«Frustrated, so very, very frustrated. Wary too, and sick to death of being polite tonight.»

Margaret whispers to Evan, "I once saw her quarter a man with her bare hands. And she knows I saw it, too. How am I supposed to tell /her/ what to do?"

Evan ducks his head respectfully to Daedalus, as well.

It would be difficult to determine if it was the bow which caused him to react or the simple presence of others in the room, but whichever it is there is a smooth shift of one foot to draw Daedalus about. "Ah, good evening to you both. I do not believe I have as of yet had the pleasure."

Evan then glances at Margaret when she speaks to him. He shakes his head and replies in an equally low tone: "She could take the childe if she so desired, but she will not. Her — " Here, his voice is utterly arrested by a brutal coughing fit that comes suddenly and leaves him utterly helpless.

Margaret pretends that she does not see or hear the coughing fit. She turns away from Evan while he recovers, on the excuse of talking to Daedalus. "I have seen you here or at the Getty once or twice, muh'lord, but no, I don't think we've been introduced. I am Mrs. Innes, Eyes and Ears of Lord Masterson, and this—" she pauses a tick, hoping Evan will stop coughing, "Is Mr. Anders."

Evan does recover pretty quickly, though he still looks a bit unsteady on his feet when Margaret refers to him. He bobs his head, careful.

Daedalus nods his understanding as the fingertips of his right hand press delicately to his chest. "I am Lord Lucius Cesare, Primogen of West Hollywood and Elder of Clan Toreador. It is a pleasure to meet someone with the trust of one as esteemed as Lord Emory Masterson." His gaze flickers quickly to Evan and then dips. "And yourself as well, Mister Anders."

Evan apparently doesn't trust himself to speak again, because he doesn't.

Auspex on Margaret notes:
«An odd mixture of intimidation and relief joins the frustration»

"Um… Nice to meet you as well, muh'lord." Peggy bows shallowly, and then smiles a little crooked smile. "It is awfully good luck, muh'lord, that brought you here tonight. May I ask, if you don't mind, when you and yours will be having your next salon?"

Brief surprise reveals itself in the furrowing of Daedalus' brow. "An unexpected question I must confess. It is presently under energetic discussion as to the 'where' of its location. I am afraid a 'when' shall be delayed until such time as the locale might be agreed upon. These details are ever so important you see."

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