Y15/02/13 The Art of Aura Reading

Cast: Sasha and Sam
Location: b. Anderson Building in LACMA, c. San Marino Wedding
Time: February Year 15
Synopsis: One Toreador trying to teach the art of Aura reading to a Toreador Childe.

A. Prelude

Sam raises. A change of topic; "I think I figured out how to start teaching you how to sense emotions. Are you interested?"

Sasha flicks her cigarette, and straightens a little at his words, clearly interested. "Really? God, yes," she answers hastily.

Sam nods and turns to gestures at the door; "Let's get a cab then. I wanted to show you."

Sasha rises and moves to pace Sam towards the door even as she explains.

The young man moves to open the door for Sasha now and pulls his mobile to call for a taxi.

Sasha glances sidelong at Sam. Her fingers seek out her cigarettes as they wait for the cab, pure habit, though she manages to resist the urge to light up again.

You offer a ride to Sasha.
Sasha accepts your offer of a ride.

You get into the taxi and it drives away.

B. The Truth of Aura's in Art

Anderson Building - LACMA - Mid-Wilshire

Wooden floors and white-washed walls, moodily lit; the galleries of the Anderson might seem almost bland at first glance, as antiseptic as a hospital - but if this is a hospital, it's a mental one. Here are the modern art collections, the outre and twisted children of the twentieth century: Picasso's cubic sculpture "Centaur", the surreal impressionism of David Hockney's "Mulholland Drive - The Road to the Studio", Rene Magritte's contradictory "Ceci n'est pas une pipe", and many other works from the merely odd to the outright grotesque.
Here, giant pool balls are racked in the middle of the floor. There, objects d'art are arranged as if part of a city street, complete with sound effects. One piece is a hall of mirrors that must be walked through. Another, "Backseat Dodge '38", is a stylized car with working headlights and a wireframe couple making whoopee in the back. Exhibits with video screens, moving parts, flashing beams: this is not your grandfather's art gallery. To walk through it is to fall down Alice's proverbial rabbit hole, to experience the wondrous and horrific without barriers. But as much as the art might be unprotected from you, perhaps you might ponder in turn that you are unprotected from it.

Sam remains fairly silent during the ride, if only to avoid the earlier topic. Once they enter LACMA grounds he directs Sasha to the other significant building and from there finds the section with paintings; the Expressionism wing.

Sasha keeps her cigarette out and plays with it, finally tucking it behind her ear as she takes note of where they're headed. There's a subtle kind of tension that creeps into her posture as they pull up outside the LACMA, though she remains remarkably silent, following in Sam's wake. Curiousity draws her to examine the walls as he leads her into the other building.

Sam browses the halls and finally finds a section with painting from Marc Chagall, Klimmt and a version of Edvard Munch's 'scream'. Bright colors and warped figures, mostly merging with eachother; "I'm sure you've heard of paranormal stuff.. perhaps even had a picture of your aura taken during a fair.. which probably is a load of crap. Those that come close.." He points at the paintings surrounding them; "Was this large group of painters around.. 1910 - 1950 that started to paint the world not as they saw it but as they -sensed- it. An attempt to show things the way they really were inside."

Sasha draws herself away from her examination of the wall and follows in Sam's wake until he indicates the section of the wall. She frowns a little in concentration as she studies the paintings, glancing sidelong at Sam. "Are you saying that's what it's like for you?" she steps closer to the Munch, a faint hitch of breath given. "God. That's quite a bit depressing, really."

Sam follows Sasha hmms; "Yes and no. I think they come really close to catching the colors of the moods. Perhaps.. I almost think they saw them too. Perhaps.." He frowns and glances around, taking in these paintings again; "But even mortals know they are -right-. You know they are right. It's because you recognize them. Because these colors and lines are some sort of universal language that you don't need to learn. You just need to learn and see them. It's more than that however. Something you cannot see. You actually do -sense- the others emotions. It may be difficult at first to understand that these are not your own feelings."

Sasha moves towards the Chagall, fingers stretching out but not quite touching the canvas, head tipped. "So, you're saying it's instinct? Like the way you just kind of get feelings about people, if they're creepy or whatever— but it's more visual?" She glances away from the painting to look at Sam, thoughtful.

Sam considers; "I think instinct may be a subconscious application of the real thing." He agrees and follows up; "Instinct.. intuition are ways to know what's really there while lacking a pointer. You don't know -why- you feel this way because you cannot consciously perceive these truths. I sometimes think humans are as capable of these things as we are.. just block it out for sanity's sake."

"So it's…" Sasha stops, reaches by habit for the cigarette behind her ear, and catches herself just shy of it. Quietly, "Are we that far from humanity, that we can stand it where they can't?" she wonders, glancing back at the painting, exhaling slowly as she takes it in anew.

Sam nods quietly; "I think so. Yes. There are various ways to look at it I guess. One would be survival. I don't think the human species would be able to handle these truths and 'powers'." He pauses; "My take on it is a more religious one. Ever since 'the Fall' humans left a world that was 'whole' and entered the world of good and evil, male and female, life and death etcetera. All we know, all we can know is by limitations and contradictions. Vampires choose to remove themselves further from 'unity', so this is why vampires can see more of that 'truth'.. a destructive kind of truth."

A faint shudder races through the redhead that has nothing to do with the painting she's studying. "Truth tends to be… destructive. I guess it's why our kind likes to lie so much, because we don't want things to change." Sasha murmurs the words more to herself than anything, finally glancing over at Sam, a slight stiffness in her posture. She's silent, studying him intently, like she's trying to see the sort of brilliant and dark colors the artists depicted.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«A distinct sense of unease beings to creep in around her at his mention of religion.»

Sam smiles, approving of Sasha's attempts. He points to another picture now; "But it's not all bad. See? There are good feelings too. You see how that red-yellow cloud goes all across the painting to connects the woman and man? It's not all depression. There's love, desire, life.. although its rare to find them in vampires. If you want to sense the good feelings you'd do well to surround yourself with mortals."

His pointing draws Sasha's attention away from her study of him and to the painting in question. "Is that why you were at the coffee house?" she queries.

Sam remains silent at first, then decides to answer; "I went there because Vanilla invited me. But I do have a more or less 'mortal' life." the young man admits, gaze focusing on that painting again; "A mortal identity at least. And there are many reasons for doing so, but.. staying in touch with what matters certainly is one of the most important ones."

Sasha's attention has switched; she seems more interested in Sam's words than the painting or the lesson at hand for the time being. "A mortal identity? Really?" she pauses. "Is that that.. the black priest guise?" a hint of hesitancy in her words, of discomfort.

Sam shakes his head; "No. People know me the way you do. The priest.." He frowns; "I guess you could say he was my foster-parent. He.." Time to turn and examine yet another painting, but his voice remains slightly awkward; "He.. died though." Breathing in and out; "You know how it is."

Sasha's studying Sam intently still, intrigued and thoughtful. "Yeah," she breathes, eventually, sympathy faint in her voice, "I know how it is." As is normal for her, there's a physical element to her emotions; she steps closer, looping a hand around Sam's arm, giving it a faint squeeze.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«Curiousity lingers, and a sharp grief that fades swiftly, like she's deliberately shoving it away; fading into warm sympathy.»

Sam allows the touch, actually seems to appreciate it this time since he offers a smile in turn. Then manages to snap out of it, refocusing on the surrounding; "So yes. Why I'm showing you this is so you know what you should be looking for. Next we can maybe.. find you places of extreme emotions that are more visible. I'd rather you start with the happy stuff though. Perhaps some of the places where couples hang out. Or.. I dunno, a wedding."

"A wedding?" That catches Sasha by surprise, the idea of it bemusing enough that she breaks into bubbled laughter. "God, that sounds like the plot of a movie, two vampires crashing a wedding." She considers for a moment. "I'd have to find something to wear, though. Maybe Venus would go shopping with me."

Sam seems puzzled; "Who's Venus?" he asks, then grins; "Yes. The uninvited guest in the church the City Hall. Or, you're the police officer checking on security." he winks; "When you're re-installed all proper-like. I think we're coming close. Yes?"

"She's Leo's.. " Sasha pauses, as if trying to come up with the right descriptor. "—daughter, I guess. She's not the most stimulating conversationalist, but far more than… well. Anyway, I'm sure she'd know the best places to shop." She gives another squeeze of fingers to Sam's arm before pulling her hand free. "Mmhm. Close," she agrees, attention shifting back to the paintings.

Sam ahs; "Sounds good." he replies; "Perhaps you'd like to help be browse through some magazines with 'suits that would suit Sam' then. I don't have a clue." When Sasha releases him he finds a couch to sit, leaving Sasha to her study of the works.

"I'd like that," Sasha replies, warmly, turning her attention back towards the paintings as Sam moves away, lost in study of them for the time being.

Sam smiles at Sasha's agreement to his request and seems happy to just lean back and watch both the paintings and Sasha examining them for however long it takes.

C. The Colors of a Wedding

San Marino - Pasadena

Whereas South Pasadena has its spots of nightlife such as the Rialto, there is nothing hip about San Marino. Unapologetically rich, white, and insular, even the streets seem unwelcoming to visitation, winding through rolling hills and leafy lanes that are replete with stop signs, speed bumps, and the small city's ever watchful police force patrolling in wait for violators. But for all its stuffiness, San Marino can't be denied as a historic and cultural area. El Molino Viejo (The Old Mill) still stands as the oldest commercial structure in Southern California, built by native Gabrielino Indians in 1816. Unquestionably the biggest draw, though, is the Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens, home to many priceless treasures of art and literature, and plant species from around the world.

It's early evening in San Marino and one of the large receptions is currently host to a lively wedding party. The speeches are done, the food is eaten, and now the guests merrily mingle and chat, dancing and laughing and drinking. Into the midst of this steps two more guests who pass unnoticed - for they're dressed the part. Sasha's dressed in one of her nicer designer gowns - courtesy of a generous Santa Monican sponsor. She's made sure her companion is dressed the part in a new suit, too.

So yes. Sam tried for something different than black trousers, black shirt. It's.. something of a suit, but not a conventional one, which he probably chose after a few browsing sessions through various magazines.
The young fellow seems fairly at ease, despite the fact that he doesn't have a clue who these people are.. and vice versa; "So. Did you want to dance, or do the wall-flower thing and enjoy the happy faces?" He asks softly.

"God, no," Sasha's vehement protest comes to his suggestion of trying the wall flower thing, reaching to hook an arm through Sam's with the intention of guiding them towards the dance floor. "We're here to experience emotion, right? We need to get right into the thick of it. I love dancing— you dance, right?" she asks belatedly.

Sam inclines his head; "To be in the middle of it might be the best thing." and 'heh's shortly after;"I know how to Waltz and.. hum.. streetdance a bit. The later being no good right now." he grins a bit sheepishly and offers Sasha his arm and starts to pace in the direction of the dance-floor; "I'll probably manage if you lead, discretely."

"No one will notice, they're all well into cups by now," Sasha says by way of quiet reassurance, lips curving upwards. Pale eyes flicker around to take in some of the others at the party; the mood is festive and lively, the band setting an energetic pace. Sasha leads them onto the dance floor, picking a spot somewhat in the middle, pacing out the beats for a moment before she begins the dance. The movements are done with ease, like she's not even thinking about it, concentrating instead on the music and the people around her, she sets a fairly easy pace to follow.

Sam is happy to follow. His movements are fluent enough, like someone with some practice. Still the young man needs to concentrate, sometimes focus on the steps. He gratefully mirrors Sasha's choices when a new beat and hence dance-style comes up and may try to improvise a bit, as time goes on.
Occasionally there's a gentle nudge in one direction or the other, more specifically in the direction of the bride and groom, the proud parents or another smooching couple.

Posed to Aura-Readers:
«feeling slightly out of place, but happy enough taking in the music and the lively atmosphere»

Sasha settles into the rhythm of the steps, pale eyes glittering, more with delight as the dance progresses and changes than anything else. It's probably a good thing that Sam draws her attention away, back to the people in question; her eyes settle for a time on the happy couple, with a twitch of lips, almost like she's bemused by it. Then to the next, with a kind of tip of head, taking it in, managing not to miss a beat as she does. "God, they're all so… happy," she says, almost marvelling, like it's not something she expected.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«She's comfortable, now, anyway - feeling at home on the dance floor, the beats of the music a soothing familiarity.»

Sam follows Sasha's gaze and inclines his head with a genial smile, despite the detachment in his eyes; "We tend to forget, but life moves on." he whispers back, and a wink; "Blissful ignorance, no?" and tries now; "Perhaps, you can remember how it was? It may help you pick up the feelings behind those faces."

Posed to Aura-Readers:
«No effort to remember, but he allows the surrounding emotions to flow through him.»

"I remember," Sasha responds as the music slows and allows them to chat easily, gaze flickering from one of the parents to Sam, "That I never wanted to get married. God, the very idea's horrifying," the redhead shudders a little. "But I— I remember how it felt, to be that happy. A long time ago." Her gaze settles on one of the couples, with a slow exhale.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«A kind of shuddering unease at the thought of being tied to one person forever and ever amen. And something else that follows, a slow, creeping contentment surfacing, but faded, the memory rather than the actuality. It's enough, maybe, to allow her to glimpse a hint of that in the couple she stares at.»

"There never was a would-be mister Bennet?" He glances at Sasha.. which is easier since the pace is slow; "Yes. Perhaps those ties limit the sense of freedom. There is hope however. A promise to build a better future, a family..I think." He falls silent now, allowing Sasha to focus on the people surrounding them.

Posed to Aura-Readers:
«both; a sense of loss and detachment»

A sudden tension creeps throughout her body, stiffening her movements; Sasha missteps, but recovers quickly enough. "No," she says, fairly sharply, a hint of forcefulness giving it the air of anger that fades quickly enough. She returns to studying those around her, but seems more troubled, distracted. "The family of this age is friends, not lovers. Lovers come and go."

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«His question strikes a nerve, and the denial while ardent is a little less than honest.»

Sam copies Sasha's misstep, but doesn't recover as quickly. He offers an apologetic grin to nearby couple and tries to catch up again; "I think it depends on the family. Some continue to be old-fashioned, it seems." He seems lost in thought for a moment; "Perhaps this isn't the best place for you. We should perhaps aim for things you want to feel."

Posed to Aura-Readers:
«reflection, realization.. and coloring himself silly as a result»

Sasha shakes her head sharply. "No, it's about emotion, isn't it? There's plenty to be had here. It's— it's fine," she says, still somewhat distracted, back to people watching as they move, although there's one or two more little hesitations in the dance, as if her thoughts are elsewhere.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«It's almost like she braces herself, then opens up, letting the emotions wash over her in sudden, shuddering rush. Taking it all in: the joy and delight swelling up, taking her concentration to process.»

Sam nods quietly and with the pace being as slow as it is, feels confident enough to take the lead himself, allowing Sasha to concentrate. He softly hums along with the song of the live band as they play the pairs favorites.

Posed to Aura-Readers:
«back to sensing and channeling those (to him awkward) feelings of others»

Sasha relinquishes the lead easily enough, without even thinking, letting Sam guide her through the movements as her attention drifts elsewhere. A faint, shuddering breath races though her, pale eyes half closed as she takes it in, her fingers tightening briefly against his arm. "God. Can you feel that?"

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«She feels it all with a keen intensity, like all the memories are rushing back and the emotions are becoming more hers than theirs.»

Sams pace slows more, almost coming to a halt. Intense blue eyes focus on Sasha, or seem to look through, and from there to the source of these emotions. The young man leads Sasha to a half turn; "Yes. Now look at them. The colors of dawn."

Posed to Aura-Readers:
«pleased at Sasha's response. Picking up what she is feeling. The feelings remain both welcome and awkward. There are no memories.»

At his prompting, Sasha opens her eyes to focus on the bride and groom. She exhales a sharp, surprised breath, blinking once, brow furrowed. "Oh—" she breathes, clearly startled by what she sees, "Oh my." It's a good thing Sam's all but halted the dance, for she falls dead still, staring, taking it in.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«The emotions she's sensing linger, but overriding it are her own: astonishment and an abrupt sense of wonder.»

Sam doesn't mind the stillness or the stare. He doesn't intervene, not even when those mortals nearby become aware of Sasha's focus. Sam attempts to counter their attention with stares and smiles in turn. This is what they are here for after all.
Eventually however he suggests; "Let's perhaps claim these seats for a while."

Posed to Aura-Readers:
«pleased it seems to be working. Somewhat amused by Sasha's sense of wonder. To some extent.. happy for her.»

It takes a moment for the words to break Sasha's reverie, and her answer is an absent, "Sure," her gaze still on the couple as they move off the dance floor. Eventually, she averts her gaze with a low exhale, eyes still glittering with a lingering hint of that emotion, borrowed or otherwise, she feels it keenly enough that it's visible in her. "God. Is it like that all the time?" she finally asks.

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«A thrumming sense of delight and contentment, partially hers, partially theirs, but so mixed in it's difficult to tell one from the other.»

Sam guides Sasha to the nearby chairs. He bends toward her, whispering in her ear; "It makes things both, more beautiful and more horrific. This is why I wanted you to start here. Also because.." he hesitates for a moment; "Truth is something that doesn't fade. You may have turned something on that doesn't have an off-switch."

Sasha sinks into the indicated chair without much prompting, her gaze roaming over the crowd with that lingering sense of wonder. "I had no idea," she murmurs, though Sam's latter words draw her attention with a furrow of brow. "Ah— ah." She exhales slowly, pats down her pockets before recalling she has none in this dress, and digs in her clutch purse instead for her cigarettes. "I had no idea."

Auspex on Sasha notes:
«A mixture of anticipation and trepidation marks her yearing for a cigarette.»

Sam nods; "Nothing comes without a price." he replies and waits, allowing Sasha to experience these first steps; "You'll notice you can actually focus on one individual. Not just the way he feels now, but down to something more essential. Personality.. and nature." Another hesitation; "You'll notice how our colors differ from theirs."

Sasha's gaze continues to rove across the gathered crowd, moving from one to the next, not really stopping until Sam's words draw her attention. It's him she focuses on, with a slight frown, as if attempting to determine the difference. "You seem… darker," she notes, thoughtfully.

Sam nods; "We all have dark veins. They weren't always there. We used to be paler.. but not with dark veins. They came when the Nephilim did their ritual of becoming." He continues to whisper; "The plus of this being.. you -can- identify who's one of us now and who isn't. And there are other signs with other meanings, that you'll learn when you go along."

"Oh." The mention of the Nephilim and their effect seems to catch Sasha by surprise, she frowns a little as she continues to stare somewhat at, and somewhat past, Sam. Her attention roves off towards the crowd again, concentrating briefly on individuals for a moment. "That will be useful, at least. I guess I'll know who to stay the hell away from in a club, or whatever," faint humor in her voice as she murmurs her response.

Sam offers a faint smile; "Yes, it is useful." he agrees; "Very much so." He leans back, allowing Sasha to watch the crowd; "An Elysium-assembly is.. very different. It's likely to confirm all your prejudices at first. But.. it's never too early to loose the remnants of naivety." his voice is somewhat playful too.. but his eyes are are dead serious; "Take your time here though. I'd rather you take this as the point to measure from, than them."

"Ease me into things before I face the brutal truth huh, chief? It may be a little too late for that," there's a hint of amusement lingering in Sasha's voice however, smile curving Sasha's lips. Her attention roves across the crowd, finishing her smoke, taking her time. That sense of contentment leaks back in as she soaks up the emotions of the crowd at hand, pale eyes glittering as she bounces back to her feet with the obvious intention of heading back out to the dance floor.

Sam grins; "First impressions tend to last. It makes things easier when they are.. pleasant." But he nods and stands to follow Sasha onto that floor, able to focus more on the dance this time. Clumsily trying out new things while allowing the music to guide their step.

White Wolf © White Wolf
Original Work is licensed under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 US License.