Y17/03/04 The 5th Quinn Room Gathering: 'My Monster and Me'

Cast: Karasu, Samael, Ali, Apolo, Cyrus, Jules
Location: Quinn Room - Huntington Gallery - San Marino
Synopsis: The 5th Quinn Room Gathering: A disccusion about 'My Monster and Me'.

Quinn Room - Huntington Gallery - San Marino

Secreted away in the depths of the east wing lies an elegant drawing room, Georgian in design, furnished with British pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries. Despite the room's size, it is an intimate setting; the furniture grouped in conversational arrangements upon a large, burgundy, Imperial rug. A walnut cabinet stands at the back, its doors fastened open to reveal a message board; nearby, several talking points decorate the surfaces of ornamental tables: jet and marble statuettes, silver tea caddies, Bone China and other objects d'art. A crystal chandelier hangs centrally from the high ceiling, providing a golden light which warms the room. The walls, featuring minimal rococo plasterwork designs, have been painted a soft honey brown to pleasantly offset the intricacy of the contents.
The sense is that this might once have been a room for statesmen or nobility to while away the evening hours, and as such, it is particularly well-suited to its current patrons.

Karasu comes through the double doors.
Karasu has arrived.

It's the 5th Quinn Room Meet. The lights in the Salon aren't as bright as they were during the previous sessions; dimmed. There are no chairs set out for the occasion also. Sam is still there however, in a dark corner of the room, reading in a tome-like book that must be a Bible.

"Tadaima!" Karasu wanders into the Quinn Room with a playful smirk on her face. It seems she enjoys these meetings very much. The girl hurries to occupy her spot, the same one that she took last time, but now no music center is present. "How are you Samael-chan?" she asks as she puts down her bag.

Auspex on Karasu notes:
«A warm feeling appears as she enters, a calm and relaxed state with some excitement.»

Auspex on Samael notes:
«calm with an undercurrent of fear»

Samael glances up when Karasu enters, peering in the direction of that entrance to see who's there. After a few seconds recognition dawns and he lets out a soft; "Ah.. it's you." A nod, a smile; "Good evening Katsumi. How are you?"

"Thank you, I feel great." The Japanese girl answers before she glances around. "We are alone, except the hiding, lurking Malkavians and Nosferatu's, as well as our own second nature, the Beast." The girl says softly and sighs. "Truly, I hoped there would be more attendees, but then I always love to talk with you, so maybe I will have more time today."

Samael offers a faint smile, pleased that Karasu seems to be doing well. He carefully closes the Bible on his lap; "Yah. I.. I'm not really in the mood for a big discussion I admit. Isabel pretty much ruined it for me. Let her do her singing session.. as long as she doesn't show up here."

Auspex on Samael notes:
«dislike bordering hatred»

Auspex on Karasu notes:
«Shocked, uncertain, mixed with paranoia, shame and isolation.»

Karasu leans back and crosses her arms in front of her chest. "I see. We could postpone this event. It seems I am the only one, so you don't need to see it through…" her serious expression brightens once more. "You know that these events are very important to me? You managed to do something that I truly respect; offering a topic and place for open debate. That is much more than Isabel has done for so-called freedom. I mean, the foundation of freedom is the flow of information." Her voice is calm. Her eyes remain on Sam, curious.

Auspex on Karasu notes:
«Calming down, feeling a bit confused and stupid after a realization.»

Samael's eyes focus on Karasu, almost looking through her, contemplating; "No.. it's quite okay." he assures; "By 'big discussion' I mean a lot of people. We can talk about this topic.. we can organize new nights, more topics. I just.." he waves his hand; "I'd like some others to take the lead, if possible."

"I guess by 'others' you mean 'me' this time." The small Japanese glances around just to be sure. "Well I thought about following up on your concept of gathering and discussion. I will miss these events very much." She says and sighs once more. "Well, you know me. I have a lot of questions, but I want you to feel well first of all… so I'll hold back." She smirks.

Sam smiles more, encouraging; "'Others' very much includes you, yes. You're my assistant. I believe I've always nudged you to organize such things. You're empowered, now you simply need to do it."
He leans back, asking simply; "What questions?"

Karasu laughs and shakes her head. "You didn't take my laziness into account. I would rather lean back and let others have the floor. I got in enough situations I didn't want to be in already." She casts a sad smile; "I'm just afraid to do anything important or visible." another sigh. "My questions? Many. But lets keep to the topic, /the beast and I/ as I remember? I'm always interested in that topic and your opinions. You seem to lack the ferocious nature that the others have. I saw you hungered for food, but your desire was much less strong than that of others." Her intense brown eyes search for Samael's.

Auspex on Karasu notes:

Sam hehs; "Well.. If everybody would continue to lean back, nothing would ever happen, no? On top of that, I'd like to lean back once in every while, especially since South-Central started to use my initiatives as a topic to slander me over also." There is no small amount of sarcasm in his voice as he states; "They are so very good at motivating the young."
The lad shrugs however, blue eyes searching out Karasu; "So.. what is your question? I think I explained this to you, back then, with the fire and Carraig."

"Yes, you told me about Golconda." Karasu nods. Apparently she forgot to react to the first part of Samael's remark; "You told me about the acceptance of God's way, but I would like to hear about the techniques also. I mean, the Catholics have their own tradition, such as praying which resembles the ecstatic trance of several other religions, especially if you consider that the liturgy is in Latin and most of the believers don't understand a word." she adds, trying to specify what she means to say.

Samaels gaze is redirected as he ponders Karasu's question; "I think that you try to think your way to salvation, Katsumi.. but that can never work. You either -go- that path or you don't. All of you. It involves .." he breaths; ".. everything you do, everything you are. The first thing required is Faith, and hope that it can be possible. When you have that, willingness. When you have that, perseverance. What it is you have to do?" Eyes refocus on Karasu again; "A person that knows once told me; 'Stay well fed and out of trouble."

"I deny it!" The raven-haired girl declares suddenly while escaping from Samael's sight; "Your Western God is nothing but a child who wants attention! Your faith in God is much deeper and includes many details; it is about how you act, not about what you accept. It is unimportant. Does it mean anything if I go to the Church to confess after I kill someone? I think it matters no more than when I would share the act with say, my psychologist." She sulks, that much is clear from her expression.

Auspex on Karasu notes:
«Rebelling! Burning with anger and righteousness. But rebelling about what? God? Her state of being? It is hard to tell, something very complicated.»

Sam does put some effort into remaining calm, but his eyes flicker, betraying rage; "Sssorry.. What did you jussst call my God?" There's a very present hiss to the young man's voice now; "Of -course- you need to -mean- it when you repent and asssk for forgivenesss. And even then it doesssn't mean that you won't be punissshed for your crime. If you asssk forgivenesss and you don't mean it you only increassse your crime. You can't lie to Him."

Auspex on Samael notes:
«religious righteousness»

"It is your God and not mine Samael." Karasu straightens and shakes her head. "I merely voice how some could interpret it. I'm not talking about him. How could I?" she sighs and shakes her head once more. "I am sure about one thing, I could never know the final truth about God. But let's approach this topic logically. Let's focus on what the Bible says. I am not an expert, and you could can correct me any time. Please tell me what your beliefs most important rules are, rules that you must follow?"

Auspex on Karasu notes:
«Still burning with desire to prove her right, however she also feel guilty about hurting Samael… but there is no way back.»

"All the more reason not to insult Him.. or me, for that matter." His muscles tighten as if he considers to get to his feet and just.. walk out. Instead however his hands reach out for the Bible on the desk next to him. The book is opened and handed to Karasu. It's a Latin Bible, but even those with some basic understanding could make out the 10 Commandments; "To know the final truth about God is to Know Him, and no mortal or vampire can. However, when we try hard enough, when we believe and surrender to His Will, we can hope to catch a glimpse of His light sometimes."

Auspex on Samael notes:
«The aura stirs. Something about the way he feels about Karasu changes»

"It is your way, I have nothing to do with the western God." Karasu shakes her head and glances down. "I am sorry to hurt you, but I hate this argument. It is about the words that you like so much. What would change if I say that I accept him? Nothing. The important thing is how you act; that is what defines what you are. How you think and the perception of the world… I… I…" she falls back and glances away. "Atashi wa baka desu."

Auspex on Karasu notes:
«Trying not to be melodramatic, with a hint of self-sarcasm… but she would like to disappear, to cry, to shout… to do something, to escape… anything.»

When Karasu apologizes Sam closes his eyes for a moment, recovering his calm; "I do not.. mean to use these discussions to force my opinion." he explains, eyes opening half; "So if you choose not to believe, so be it. I cannot make you open your heart or mind. I can only pray that you may find Him one night." His fingers clasp and are placed in his lap; "You need to understand that for me, one cannot go without the other. Would I loose my Faith in Him Katsumi…" He doesn't finish his sentence. A faint apologetic smile is offered instead.

Karasu glances up, smiling faintly. "I just feel a bit strange sometimes, like a fish on land." The raven-haired girl sighs again. "I want to face my inner fears, or my beast if you will. I faintly remember that I did this before, somewhere."

Ali comes through the double doors.
Ali has arrived.

Sam seems to have regained his calm, inclining his head to Karasu's remark; "I think your perception is valid.. I often thought that it's fear indeed, that allows the Beast to take over. Like.." he gestures; "Here.. I don't want to deal with this.. so this is where I tune out and allow my animalistic instinct to govern me."

'My Beast and Me.' Appropriate, isn't it, that the footsteps echoing through the east wing should end up belonging to this woman. *This* woman. A tall, striking Colombian woman who makes no attempt to conceal the bat in her hands. She enters simply; light eyes sweeping, falling, finding Samael and Karasu. A razor edged smile tilts her lips just once, briefly, then scrapes a straight non-emotion line yet again.

It's the 5th Quinn Room Meet. The lights in the Salon aren't as bright as they were. Dimmed actually. There are no chairs set out for the occasion also. Sam and Karasu are there however, in a dark corner of the room, talking.

"Ali-san!" Karasu smiles confused, occupying the seat next to Sam. "It is nice to see you!" she offers distantly. Then she glances back at Samael, nodding without a word. She keeps her brown eyes locked on his blues for a long moment.

Auspex on Ali notes:
«the smoldering edge of anger, waiting, patient»

Auspex on Karasu notes:
«Distant dedication. Intense emotions passed. Calm.»

Ali can't be missed, not even by a Sam wrapped up in conversation. So.. when the South Central Seneschal appears he raises to his feet all formal-like, in order to perform a slight bow in greeting; "Seneschal." the high voice rings; "Welcome to the meet.. Unfortunately." his hand gestures between Ali's bat and the message board in the room; "The weapon is less welcome. Care to take it out of sight?"

Auspex on Samael notes:
«some dislike, some alarm»

Ali leans to the side and spikes her bat in a nearby potted plant, then leans back and looks flat faced upon Sam and Karasu. "It's been fine the prior four." she says simply. Without pause, the Seneschal goes on. "Besides, wouldn't you rather things be calmer? I'm happier when people don't fuck with my bat. Or did you finally throw off the disguise of inclusiveness?"

Karasu leans back and fixes her gaze somewhere on the other side of the room with a strange smile. It's almost as if she isn't in the same room or in the same reality.

Sam shrugs; "Rules are simple Seneschal. I can't be around everywhere all the time to enforce them, but when I spot an issue, I will. It's up to you to take them or leave them." He gestures at couches and chairs nearby before he sits down near Karasu himself; "You have come to give our debates another chance?"

"I haven't missed one of your 'debates' yet." replies Ali. She remains standing, leaning, arms folded across her chest. "I haven't seen much in the form of debates, but I take comfort in the predictability of it all. So tell me.." The Brujah sneers, her distaste is palpable. "..How has your lecture gone so far."

Auspex on Karasu notes:
«She finds something both warm and funny in the situation, which draws herself away from the serious self-inspection.»

"You missed the heated debate already, but we could warm up anytime." Karasu glances back with a warm smile. "And it was an interesting argument."

Sam returns an ever so sweet and gentle smile at Ali, then nods back at Karasu; "Indeed. It has been a rather intimate discussion until now." he agrees, and actually manages a pleasant tone to his voice; "Lectures… I remember trying to pull a night of lectures in South Central but alas, the Officers of the Domain thought you and your Coterie were more worthy of their attention. It is perhaps the appreciation and interest that the residents of South-Central bestow upon each other that ensures it is thriving with similar initiatives. Perhaps Isabel’s workshop will be more interesting for you."

"There's something just a hair ironic about you givin' lectures on the Beast, Sam. Then again.." Ali's eyes roll toward the ceiling; she shrugs. "..maybe not. Just scoot your hips to the side an' your panties will come back out, promise. Time's long past. I'm sure you got some insight on the Beast that ain't no one else got, given.." She smirks.

Karasu listens quietly once more, focusing on the nice little surface of the floor. It seems she has no lecture about the beast or any other subject for now at least.

Auspex on Karasu notes:
«Thoughtful, distant.»

Apolo tsks, clucking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "Now, Ali. You're a guest here. You should be nice." A roll of his shoulder shifts his position on the wall, so he's more turned towards the Brujah Seneschal than he was a moment ago. He's never on time for these things, and never has the good grace to look sorry about it.
Apolo has arrived.

When Sam regards Ali it's with a faint expression of disbelief or surprise, it's hard to tell which.. and then Apolo enters and it's disbanded entirely. The lad jolts to his feet again, performing a bow that's significantly deeper than the one offered to Ali before. The title however seems less formal; "Lord.. I mean… Apolo. Welcome."

Auspex on Karasu notes:
«She feels strangely content when Apolo appears, in the sense of 'I was right about it, I knew it'.»

"I am being nice." replies Ali. She turns to face Apolo, maybe used to 'missing' him by now - maybe the fourth time is the charm. She finds a smile for him, no matter how faint, and seems to make a long, drawn out effort to roll the tension from her frame like one would slow shake their jacket straight. "I was curious what the debate had been- since it was said to be a heated discussion. I love to hear varying viewpoints. I come up here for a debate, after all. Not a smile and nod session."

Karasu straightens up o offer a slight bow to the direction of Apolo before she sits back. "Good evening Apolo-sama. I hope you have a pleasant night." She offers with a polite smile and with eyes peering into the distant.

Auspex on Samael notes:
«it's strange how people can feel fear and relief at the same time. Yet, Sam manages.»

No one should be surprised, nor does Apolo seem to expect it — you could set a watch by his appearances at these things, and probably train a spotlight on the area he likes to lurk in. Not that it would do any good; bright lights don't seem to help illuminate him. "Don't try to fool me, Ali Santiago. I have it on good recommendation that you can be much nicer than that." Chiding, but there's a smile behind it, his mouth crooked higher on one side than on the other. "Sam. Sakura." A nod to booth before he settles back next to Ali, pressing his thin shoulder blades against the wall.

Auspex on Apolo notes:
«Bland, all his high emotions grayed out and mellowed.»

Sam continues to stand, beaming a few smiles in Apolo's direction. It's only when his Seneschal settles back that he finds his spot on the couch again; "I acknowledge the Seneschal was nice-er than I get her normally, Apolo." Not a defense in particular.. perhaps simply an attempt to get the discussion back on track; "As I explained to you earlier Seneschal Santiago, I'm not doing a lecture. The topics I chose do not have one solid answer. The Beast in particular is a thing that you get to know by experiencing its presence.. or absence. It's just that sharing experiences might help prevent a dead alley or two."

"Oh, perdone." This through smiling teeth. "You had grouped it with your lectures in South Central, so I assumed you had termed them both correctly." Ali pauses, exhaling as she turns and glances at Apolo, who has settled next to her. "It's true." She can be nicer. "..the game sucks if you show all your cards at the start, though. What's your point of view? Since apparently these lectures are now gatherings for Sam to get everone else to give them their answers." Ali chuckles lightly. "The Malkavians have never been one to talk much about it - even the ones I knew better then this; granted, maybe Elvis didn't have the best understanding. Maybe he just didn't understand Brujah."

Elvis? Karasu's eyes open widely for a brief moment; otherwise she remains silent, glancing between the three. Perhaps she is more interested in their opinions than in voicing her own.

Auspex on Ali notes:
«restraint layered atop self control, capping the same, smoldering anger»

Apolo tugs on some of his cropped hair absently, winding it deeply around his fingers. "You'd be surprised how many different ways there are to show your cards. Its no sin for him to be curious, Ali. He is young. And so is she. And so are you. Our beasts — not our monsters, Sam — are very.. alien, to what we were." A short, choking cough of a laugh shakes his thin chest." Well, sometimes. But!" Apolo clasps his hands together, faking delight. "I can not give my opinion unless I know what was discussed. Sam? Sakura?" Their names are given expectantly.

"You started calling them lectures Seneschal Santiago.. Then I pointed out the difference between these -discussions- and the series of lectures I attempted in South Central, and that these were not those." Samael clarifies, following up on Apolo's request; "The topic is 'My Monster and Me' and could cover topics like the Beast and how we drift from being 'human' and mortal ethics. The 'Downward Spiral' that many are caught up in… How it happens.. Why it happens… and if we can try to prevent going under."

Ali exhales; her lashes flutter at the Toreador's second explanation but she moves on without argument. Her expression is probably enough. "..was discussed." she says dryly, turning to look at Sam. "Not the topic. You see, it's hard to join a conversation when y'don't say anything except it was an interestin' conversation. It could cover a whole barrel of things - but the question was what *did* it cover."

Auspex on Ali notes:
«growing irritation and annoyance, sparkling atop the smolder»

The Downtown Seneschal shifts a little as he watches Ali from under his lashes. A hand flutters up to touch her briefly on the arm — something familiar in it, the kind of movement one makes to sooth a friend or show a little companionship. Not that he has a place to do either. The contact is brief; his hand slides back to smooth his hair back. "She has a point."

Auspex on Apolo notes:
«Bristling around the edges, calm mood being pricked at, cracking.»

Samael sighs, a glance to Karasu; "Well.. apologies for the misunderstanding then. We discussed.. in order of appearance.." he tries to remember; "Actual things that you need to do to put the Beast down. Karasu and myself expressed opposing opinions of the requirement of Faith and Gods involvement in this.. and since we could not agree on this topic we moved on to a more practical aspect of reigning it in. We speculated that confronting ones own fears could help us get a grip. I voiced the opinion that it is perhaps an unwillingness or incapability to deal with these fears ourselves that allows the primal instincts to take over."

As Apolo's fingertips lay upon her arm Ali glances down; her forehead wrinkles briefly, then smoothes to its normal youthful appearance as she looks back up at Samael. "..Faith and Gods? Fear?" She blinks; her expression as if the Brujah had suddenly entered an alternate universe where a completely separate discussion were taking place. "What was the reasoning behind that?" she inquires, somewhat sharply. It's no more sharp then any other aghast reply. "Which God? Does it matter?"

Auspex on Ali notes:
«a settling as Apolo touches her; a regathering of restraint. It remains, keeping things captive as disbelief floods her aura»

Cyrus comes through the double doors.
Cyrus has arrived.

A nod to something, nothing, about Ali, and Apolo is able to slide his attention sidelong to Sam again. "I do not think over-stimulation is the answer, Sam. You can not make a dot here, and a dot there, and a dot there, and draw a straight line between them, and say, 'Here is where it starts, and here is where it ends.' It is not like that. It is not a product of what we fear."

Cyrus is as stealthy as he's ever managed to be, just a creak of the door before he nudges it closed behind him, a brush of his hand down his coat, a composing sigh to lift his attention again as he waits for his eyes to focus upon those gathered. Steady, for once, distracted yet sober.

Sam falls silent pondering Apolo's words for a while; "I agree there must be more to it." he inclines his head; "And I've wondered how deep it actually reaches."
Ali's questions are not ignored, he simply needs a bit of time; "It is a favorite topic of miss Karasu and myself. Legends of salvation.. and what needs to be done to get there. But I don't want to lecture.. or rather, repeat confirmation from my Elders, my.." a sidelong glance at Apolo; ".. Prince. I have limited actual experience to back up such arguments."

Jules comes through the double doors.
Jules has arrived.

"Have you played with your Beast?" wonders Ali, her eyes narrowing now as she looks upon Samael. "Not played, obviously, but .. sat with? Had a beer with? Kicked up yer feet an' tried t'hit on its brother? Do you know it *truly* or is this an academic discussion?" asks the Seneschal. She is standing, leaning against one of the walls. Apolo is very close by - close enough to touch without reaching if he so chose, but Sam is conversation distance away.

Auspex on Ali notes:
«curiosity amidst disdain, the continued stretch of restraint over anger»

Auspex on Samael notes:
«uncomfortable as often is the case such a company. There also is a sense of calm however. conviction.»

The double doors open, slowly.. a crack, and then Julianna slips through them. Her brown amber gaze flicks over the area and she attempts to find a corner to hide in.

Auspex on Jules notes:
«Hunger, close to starvation.. but it makes her feel vital, alive.. emotions are bright, but she's terrified of approaching anyone here.»

Cyrus finally has taken stock of the cast, and the topic at hand, his attention skimming across Sam as he speaks, and settling upon Ali. "Do you claim to know yours?" he wonders, tempering a thoughtful snarl with something of a smile. Another breath, and his eyes fall away, moving forth. "Are you are on good terms with it? Have you bargained with it? Made compromises? Little sacrifices to quiet it's grumbling…" He tilts her a curious look, strolling into the crossfire of the conversation. "Should we consider you an authority on the subject?"

Close enough to touch indeed — that's what he's doing, thumb and finger pinching a fold of dark blue fabric above Ali's elbow, tugging it gently before falling away. No question, no look follows. It was just a pinch of fabric and the tug, and Apolo's hands find something else to occupy themselves with, dancing across his thighs, picking out an unheard rhythm on his jeans. His eyes narrow just so, throwing the little crow's feet there into sharp relief as he watches the others in the room, weighing what they're saying.

"I'm not.. an academic." Samael replies to Ali; "We all just search for answers. My experience.." He glances away, voice soft and unable to talk and confront anyone’s gaze; "That it would jump at me when someone would insult me, which happens, given my looks. So when they told me I had to get rid of it, I tried a million things. In the end I kinda.. traced it back, I think.. lured it out and basically put it in Gods hands. He took it away. Not to say it's gone. But it's quiet. Not roaring in the next room, but somewhere locked away in the cellar, if you get what I mean."

Fingertips seek out the wall of a corner, dropping onto them and slowly tracing along them. The small woman glances toward the source of the conversation but Julianna does not introduce herself to it. Her fingertips simply touch and trace over all non-vampire-things that she passes as she makes her way further into the room.

Still the touch, though just a touch, draws the Seneschal's gaze down to her elbow again before up to Cyrus. "..an authority?" She lets a grin side confidently toward the Cowboy. "You should consider me an' expert on not a fuckin' thing except for myself; an' you should be happy to do that. Do you really wanna have to work with someone who's so much of a wild card that they even surprise themselves?" She laughs mildly there; it doesn't seem the Colombian would choose to do so if she had the option. "I'm just curious, Cyrus. Though I'm sure your brother is happy to have someone leap to his defense. There is a difference between knowin' because you *know* an' knowin' cause someone told you; I'd like to weigh things appropriately." Settling, she nods toward Sam. "Fair enough. The God shit still smells like the jungle in Summer but .. one delusion is as good as the next an' it's hard to argue if it worked. For someone, at least."

Auspex on Jules notes:
«Alive with sensation, channeling her hunger into.. inspiration. The desperation taking her higher.»

Cyrus shrugs a shoulder, a gesture that doesn't really suit the outfit, his composure straying off-course somewhat. "That all sounds very academic to me…" he grumbles bored, wandering on past them to find a wall to lean against, and glowering at the space between them, though his focus doesn't settle on either Seneschal. "Is there anyone present who's feeling bold enough to claim experience with the subject?"

Ali curls a brow. "I certainly ain't gonna claim *in*-experience." she says flatly. The expression seems to tack on, 'You?', though there are no words.

"Get rid of it?" There's a touch of incredulousness in the Malkavian's voice, bordering on insult. A shake of his dark head dismisses the notion, pushes the idea away. Apolo eyes Sam for a long moment before Cyrus's question threads into his attention. "I know mine. That is my family's talent. We know. We breath it. Some are ruled, some are choked, some wear theirs. I guess that makes me the authority." His words are barely breathed — in other company, they would probably go unheard.

This is where Sam is facing the crowd again and actually is aware enough to greet Cyrus with a slight bow; "Warden Sedoso".. then brightens and follows up with another one; "Miss Giovanni. Welcome too. I've been meaning to catch you to give you that score.." and glances around, apparently searching and failing to find it.

Jules glances toward Sam, though it seems like she doesn't really see him. Too caught up in the texture of the wall. She nods a little, and continues her walk.

Auspex on Samael notes:
«oh my.. Sam has music on his mind. Distraction galore.»

Cyrus seems on the edge of saying something, caught on the edge of a snarl, but his tongue just slides across his teeth and he resolves to let it go, staring at her for awhile after. "I'm sure the two of us could have interesting conversation about that…" But that would not be wise, and his smile admits as much, all that bitter venom falling floorwards.

Auspex on Cyrus notes:
«Hatred and revulsion.»

The tall Colombian holds Cyrus' gaze; like a granite behemoth she is a still, unmoving statue of restraint. After a moment her expression finds movement, finds life, and she quirks the edge of her lip in what could be taken a smile, a sneer or a smirk. Ali shifts her weight and turns to look at Apolo, angling her head as she comments, "I suppose it does. The lot of y'all seem to make it the longest, far as I can see."

Sam nods when Apolo's earlier question actually manages to reach his distracted brain; "Yes. Getting rid of it is one of the requirements." the lad answers absently. In the mean time the search is continued. Under the nearby pillow? On the piano? Nope; "Ah.. I left it in the library." Samael assures the equally distracted Jules; "If you excuse me, I'll be right back."

Sam? Talking to Jules? Julianna doesn't seem to hear him once more. She continues her touching of the wall, coming to a stop when her path would bring her within arm's reach of Apolo.

Its easy enough to find Apolo, leaned up against the wall next to Ali, and if Jules is super lucky, his apparently handsy mood tonight will kill that arm's length between Seneschal and Torrie in short order. "My Father is an outlier," he admits without hesitation, "but it is true. There are more of us who survive than in other clans. But it takes its toll." The movement in his peripheral makes him turn, skimming his gaze across Ali, Sam and Cyrus in turn, before they rest on Jules. "Yes?"

Samael passes back through the doors.
Samael has left.

Jules's brown gaze study Apolo for a moment and she then dips into a curtsey, or half of one since one hand still has fingers against the wall. She murmurs, "Evening, Don Apolo."

Auspex on Apolo notes:
«The wheels are starting to chug, gaining steam as he muddles over what he wants to say — and stops, mid stream when Jules' catches his attention.»

"There is longevity in all clans, but .. I believe the Brujah have less who make it out of their neonate years." Ali frowns- the emotion wrinkles her youth, sets it in the lines of an aging parent, then wipes it clean once more. "It seems that if they do, it is for the long haul, but .. " Again, she shakes her head. A shrug; a gesture toward nonchalance and nothingness that falls notably flat. "There is something *more* in our blood. I know that as sure as the sun comes up t'morrow.. but the question is the what and the why of it."

Apolo says, "XXXX.., Jules. XXXX.. ." in Italian.

There is a moment where it doesn't look like Julianna understands whatever it is that Apolo said to her. But then she smiles brightly at him and dips her head.

Jules says, "Of.., XXXX." in Italian.

Apolo murmurs a few words in Italian, and fixes the little Rose with a half-quizzical expression, as if curtsies and polite greetings were some strange phenomena, never before offered to him. Still keeping half an eye on Jules, the Seneschal tries to turn back to the conversation, but its clear he's lost his thread. Mild confusion flitters across his face, there and gone in a heartbeat, but there's lingering evidence of it in his words. "..loonie," all caught up in some exchange the rest weren't invited into. "What do you think it is, Ali?"

Cyrus's focus abandons Ali and hardens upon Apolo, then is cast back to Ali in strained expectation, and he does his damnedest to listen. After all, that's what he came here to do. But something's got him ruffled, and he can't seem to smooth it down, though he tugs at his sleeve and presses the creases from his coat. "This is bullshit," he mutters, venting the bad mood that has gathered, shoving away from the wall, as if he can get out from underneath it. "We can dance about this all night, and never touch it, never even find the shape of it. Because it's just not polite. And any honest insight, anything genuine we'd have to offer, will not sit well in this company… Or it would risk showing us for what we are."

Jules smiles toward Apolo and then goes in reverse, away from him.

"..I think it's just more." answers Ali. Her words are all simplicity; all nothing but the truth so-help-me-God. As if He cared. "I think something goes wrong right at the start and when we died we lose centuries of human-kind taming itself." she explains. "I think the Brujah either lose more of their peace or have less to start with." She is drifting now, both tone and eyes become unfocused and thoughtful. "I don't know. I prolly won't know until it's too late, but I'll look.. I know what I am, Cyrus. I'm not under any illusion. I doubt anyone here is. I mean, shit.." She laughs. "..we all had the same thing for dinner t'night, didn't we?"

Auspex on Ali notes:
«a settling amidst thoughtful contemplation, the reduction of anger and a soft diffusion, amusement»

Auspex on Cyrus notes:
«Twisted up about something. Something he wants to do, something he wants to say, all tangled up in his better-judgment and polluting his civil intentions.»

"Ah, but Jules here didn't have dinner tonight, did you, little flower?" Apolo has finished watching her, or is too lazy to turn his head to track her movements away from their knot of people. The words have only the slightest edge, a little dig, barely enough to warrant the breath it takes to make them. "Do you really know, Ali? We are not just this. It is not just -that- that makes us what we are." He sighs, stirs himself, pushing off the wall to stand straight, flicking his dark eyes between the two, Cyrus to Ali and back again. "What we are to become."

"No." Julianna says honestly from her spot in a corner. She's found a nice little chair to sit in, and pick at the rose she normally keeps in her hair. She's pulling the petals from it, one by one.

"I figure I do; course, at one point I thought vampires were myth, so .." Again, the Brujah laughs easily. "Like I said- I know myself and my insides, not anyone else's. Whatever comes next- I dunno. From what I understand there's a steady downward spiral until there's so little left of you that someone comes along to put y'outta yer misery; if you're lucky you snap, if you're not you just don't fucking notice. No se." Her hands spread- she doesn't know.

Cyrus can't even bring himself to focus any longer, distaste spoiling his best intentions, his painfully-maintained posture slouching off towards the door. But something snags the moody Toreador, like an angry hand upon his shoulder. "You know." He scoffs. "Can you tell me what you are, Santiago? Can you tell me what it -feels- like?" That curiosity is enough to drag his gaze back to her, though not directly, still more interested in the door. "What does it feel like to crush the face of a little girl who called you a bad name? Is it satisfying? Does it heal your wounded pride?"

The moment Cyrus scoffs Julianna is moving, she is heading for the doors. Her hands are settled at her side now, no merry lingering of her fingertips against the walls. No, she simply goes for the doors.

"I can't change what the Beast does." replies Ali. As much as Cyrus is all glower and scowl, she is neutrality and nothing. Her eyes find Cyrus and remain there. "Shit happens. People oughta keep themselves from runnin' off at the mouth - shit's just bad business. What's it to you, anyway? What the fuck do you care if I smash some little shit cause he annoyed me. I know what I am, Cyrus. I kill things, lots of things, for lots of reasons. Sometimes just for the fucking fun of it- sometimes because they were stupid and started running their mouth. Who. The fuck. Cares. I don't interfere when you play Toreador in the middle of Elysia."

Auspex on Ali notes:
«matter-of-fact nothingness»

Apolo had been eyeing the door but Jules is faster. His attention span, fickle at the best of times, is shifting, ready to go, get out of the stifling air of the Elysium — and obligation roots him there. "Sedoso," hissing out the name like a warning, but its unneeded, Ali's words cutting over and across them, when he might have expected something else instead. The Seneschal finds himself paused at his opposite number's side, head canted up to look at her, gaze quiet and appraising. Measuring.

Jules comes to a stop at the doors, though she does not leave just yet. She simply stands at them, one hand on the door knob.

Cyrus turns to face her, but Apolo's voice puts a stagger in his intentions, and takes a moment, flashing a coy smile when he recovers himself. "You just count your blessings, Ali Santiago," he drawls out, a razor-fine whisper that does not stir his eyes from their stare. "It was -my- Seneschal who returned with that girl's broken body in his arms." A brief glance to Apolo, measuring. "His body, standing between you, and her.
'Could've gone bad. Could've been much more difficult to forgive. So let's all just thank our lucky stars…" A last smile for her, of an almost congratulatory sweetness, before it drops away in distain and he turns to go.

"Ah, mi amigo.. are you making threats wrapped in politeness? So blueblood. You might wanna let me know which girl it is that you're gettin' all worked up about before you go provin' yourself t'be the anarch we all know an' love." It could be that Cyrus is leaving, but Ali address him as he does so. Her attention is fleeting, splitting, remaining on he while she glances around. "Nothin' like a lecture on morality t'end the night out - count your years, Cyrus, y'act like a childe."

"You are both trying my patience." Apolo pinches thumb and forefinger over the bridge of his nose in an entirely human gesture, suddenly weary with the whole thing. "Shall I throw my dick in the ring, puff myself up a little bit? This is a fine way to remind us what we all are." The Malkavian steps between the two, the gesture deliberate, un-subtle, as he too moves towards the door. "Jules. Walk me out. I have an errand for you."

Jules gives a dip of her head toward Apolo and says, "Of course, Don." She holds out her arm toward the Malkavian and then asks, "Did Protector Marshall pass on my report about the Ghoul you sent me to investigate, Don? Or shall I inform you myself?"

Auspex on Apolo notes:
«Bristling, irritated, echoes of old anger.»

Cyrus tosses a glance to Apolo's warning, but he casts that snarl of defiance elsewhere, giving the Seneschal just a moment to pass before he settles his intentions on Ali again. "It's not a threat. If you had harmed him, even by accident, I'm not too proud to admit that I would be the least of your worries. But I don't need to tell you any this. You know yourself so damned well. Wildcards and all." And he seems to have said his peace, turning again for the door.

"Ohhhhh." Ali leans back, laughing to herself as she snaps her fingers. *SNAP* The sound resonates as she presses her shoulders to the wall, head tilted upward. A beat passes; a breath, then she calls her departure, "Buenos noches, Apolo. My apologies for the dick wagging; I was out of batteries." A joke, maybe. She laughs either way, leaving her humor untouched and turning to make her own way out another exit.

Auspex on Ali notes:
«*POOF* Understanding»

Apolo meets Cyrus's gaze as he passes and doesn't strive to hold it when the other man looks away. Whatever he needed to say was said in that silent exchange — he turns to words now, offering them out to Jules. "No, she has not. But this is her show. She will pass it along to me in due time." The Seneschal settles his hand on the girl's arm, letting her open the door — always the gentleman. "Good night, Ali," drifts back over his shoulder, his tone dry. Maybe he didn't get the joke.

Auspex on Cyrus notes:
«And angry satisfaction with its vendettas still live and smoldering beneath it. But he is in control, more so than he has been all night. An offended bristling at the interruption.»

Jules nods her head to Apolo and then will open the door and lead him out when he seems ready to leave, it would not do to tug him out, no.

Apolo passes back through the doors.
Apolo has left.

Jules passes back through the doors.
Jules has left.

Cyrus scoffs once the realization hits Ali. "How soon we forget." He gives her a moment to laugh it off, shaking his head in disbelief. "I'm surprised that you can be so damned cavalier about things. Fuck, I suppose I should admire that. I'd move a lot more freely if my conscience were so unburdened."

"No, no, Cyrus - not forgotten, misunderstood. I placed your concerns for the girl originally.." explains Ali. She turns smoothly, lingering by the door as her gaze settles on Cyrus. Another shrug of her shoulders follows. "I dunno, chico; I guess you just get used to it. There's a reason it's smart to not poke Brujah. Or any'a us, really. Do you mourn the dumbass at the zoo who sticks his hand into the Lion cage an' gets it bit off? I don't." she notes, snickering. "I laugh - that shit's just dumb an' sure as shit it ain't a mistake he'll make again. Small price to pay."

"This isn't about the girl," Cyrus verifies. "It's about the 'innocent bystanders.' The body you would have torn through to get to her. Would that have been her fault, as well? Shit happens, yeah, but for some one who seems so aware of herself, so confident in her own power, you're awful eager to shrug off any responsibility. Well, I don't buy that bullshit. For the record." And even his anger seems exhausted now. He continues on towards the door.

"Yea, prolly. If you open the Lion's cage .. is it the Lion's fault?" Ali wonders this, but she too doesn't really seem to care. She hasn't really seemed to care for quite some time. As she exits, she calls back, "An' it's about Apolo, Cyrus; no need t'pretend you give a shit what happened t'Luke or anyone else. You have'a good night, chico."

Cyrus pauses for an instant, but decides against whatever impulse held him there, departing without another word.

You pass back through the doors.

Huntington Gallery - The Huntington - San Marino

The gallery interior is as dignified and classical as the outer shell; high ceilings, Ionic columns and long, straight hallways decorated with hundreds of works of art; busts, silverware, paintings — all manner of pieces have found a place here, offering a fascinating interplay between the elegant and the domestic. The walls are embellished with subtle arabesque mouldings, often papered in a subdued cream Chinoiserie.

Apolo and Jules are not far from the Quinn Room doors. He's watching her, untangled from her arm, waiting expectantly.

Jules gives a dip of her head toward Apolo, though her gaze is downcast, almost as if she were afraid she had displeased the Seneschal.

Auspex on Jules notes:
«Cringes at her obvious failure.»

Cyrus strides out, to his credit: He's not stalking, or stomping, or even sulking, just controlled, even paces seeking a new focus- Whatever's left of his mood is banished in a grinding sigh, sliding his hands down in his pockets as he nears to join Apolo in the expectant waiting and watching of Jules. He lifts the Seneschal a questioning glance, but it is brief.

Auspex on Cyrus notes:
«Not entirely banished. Enough remains for him to work through and brood over, a lingering contempt.»

Apolo shakes his dark head and immediately has to smooth back the ragged bangs that fall into his eyes. Jules irritates him. His bangs irritate him. That discussion in the room irritated him. He's a prickly fellow, and it shows in the toothy smile he finally turns on the girl. "I'll be in touch, Jules." Dismissed — a hand waves in the air between them, to make it formal. "I'm headed home," he's already telling his bodyguard, turning his face up towards Cyrus.

Auspex on Apolo notes:
«Irritated. Bored. Irritated with being bored. Bored of being irritated.»

Jules gives a nod, and then a curtsey to Apolo, and then she turns and heads for the doors without another word.

Auspex on Jules notes:
«Crushed, but doing her best to remain composed.»

Cyrus nods his agreement, glancing off to the Quinn room doors with a mild scowl. He seems oblivious to the plight of his little clan mate. "I'll drive you." He lifts an expectant hand, out of habit, before his gaze edges back to the Seneschal, hopeful, reluctant. "I shouldn't linger though. I've got things to take care of."

Jules steps through the main doors and out into the night.
Jules has left.

Apolo watches the girl go, and waits until the doors have shut after her form before stirring himself, patting down his pockets absently. "That's no problem," voice dry, gaze still on the doors, as if he can bore through them with his gaze. "You take care of what you need to." There are the keys, produced at last and pressed into Cyrus's hand, and the brief touch of skin stirs him from his funk and straightens him back up. A faint smile is offered up and he's off, meandering towards the exit.

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