💸 The Bidding Lounge - Blood Den, 2nd Floor [La Banque du Sang]
Shaarn Nalos - [Bordello Barrio] - FROM: La Banque du Sang - MAIN FLOOR
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LA BANQUE DU SANG
"The Blood Bank"
The Bidding Lounge
(officially franchised blood den*)
[Down the Stairs to] La Banque du Sang - MAIN FLOOR
The Banque du Sang features an exclusive and proprietary 'Bidding Lounge' the likes of which cannot be found in any other blood den within the city. The Bidding Lounge is a very exclusive, posh, and elegantly appointed parlor located on the Second Floor of La Banque du Sang. The lounge is comprised of a well-lit, center stage situated in front of cozily situated cocktail tables and booths swathed in red leather. All guests are allowed to access the Bidding Lounge, but only those who intend on bidding are allowed to stay once the Donor Auction has begun.
The Bidding Lounge is a special indulgence offered to any patrons of La Banque du Sang that can afford to partake in these highly select, limited time, and always expensive auctions. Though, as any patron who has had the good fortune (and the good fortune) to win one of these auctions in the past will attest, "No price can be placed on the once-in-a-lifetime chance to taste exceedingly rare blood."
For those with deep enough pockets who cannot pass up the chance to sip exotic and rare blood, the Bidding Lounge is where select Donors have agreed to auction off some of their deliciously rare blood to the highest bidder. Auctions are held based on Donor willingness and availability, so Donor Auctions are not held every day. However, when they are held, you can guarantee it is because a truly rare or exotic blood type has come to La Banque du Sang for your tasting pleasure.
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If you are curious about the typical rarity of the blood types offered in one of our Donor Auctions1, in the past La Banque du Sang has contracted with Donors that included a wide range of astonishingly rare and exotic blood types. We have played host to many races of rarely seen Elves, such as: Desert/Sun Elves, Snow Elves, Shadow Elves, Fire Elves, White Drow, Sea Elves, and more.
Our establishment has also had the pleasure of presenting Donors that were Animal Shifters and exotic Were-Creatures, as well as special, one-of-a-kind Animal Hybrids and Other Exotic Hybrids.
We've also had Donor Auctions featuring a number of full or partial Fey, Selchie, Dryads, Wysts, Aeros, and more.
However, a few, very lucky patrons in the past have had the one-off privilege of bidding on some incredibly rare and exotic Donors from near-extinct races. The blood of those Donors were and are, considered to be exceptionally rare commodities; as such, the chance to taste their blood was and is, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. These auctions have included Donors with full or partial Moon Elf blood, full or partial Silver Elf blood, and a few other races that are now considered so rare as to be functionally extinct.
And in one very memorable, very expensive auction, La Banque du Sang had the honor of hosting a Donor with both the blood of a Celestial and the blood of a God.
Suffice it to say, the final prices on those once-in-a-lifetime Donors were astronomical.
╺ ✽ ╸SpoilerBIDDING LOUNGE BAR
EXCLUSIVE & EXPENSIVE BLOODSpoilerWu Du Black PorcelainSpoilerRed Spirit (Special Edition)SpoilerCask 426 - ConsanguinitySpoilerHighland Park HeritageSpoilerHonore Sangue (Private Reserve)
*This blood den has been legally sanctioned by the Shaarn chapter of the Monstrum Venandi Guild
1 Please be advised that La Banque du Sang has a very comprehensive 'Donor Contract' and a thorough vetting process to ensure that each of our Donors has the specific blood type they claim to possess. So all of our participants in the Donor Auctions can be confident that they are getting exactly what they have paid for.
TOM-CAT: [KIANA BEACH: ★First Stab - POUNCE (★1/2) - WATCHER BATTLE (3/★4/5/6/★7)] – [GOBLIN SLAYING: (1)-(☆1/2)] – [ICE CAVES: CLIFFHANGER (★1/2) - POWDER KEG (★1/2/3) - HYPOTHERMIA (4/5/6) - BONDED (7/8/9/)] – [SUNSTEALER:(1/2/3/4)-(1/2)] – ★Miiya & Cat-Tom – [SPARRING: (1/2/★3)] - ☆The Great Tipsu Hunt! - ☆Stolen Kiss – ☆Overwhelmed by Intimacy – Returning to Her – ★Bath Time Bonding – ☆Wings, Tails, & Love – ☆Cave Storms – Climbing the Walls – [1st KISS: ★Chase-(★2/★3/4)] – ★Cat-Tom: Rescue Kitty! – Cat-Tom vs. Skaven – ☆(Forced) Shift Back – 9 Lives – ★A Beast in the Darkness – Reuniting w/Teleskela – ☆Bored Nihilism – Cat vs. Dragon – ★Emotionally Exhausted Bath – ☆Catboy, Interrupted – All For Her – ☆Bellissimo Gato – [BATH-HOUSE: Confessions(1/2/3/4)] – Catboys Can Purr – ★Bagels, Love Poems & Catnapping – Love Poem – [FIGHT PIT: CHAMPION SUITE (★1.No, no, no.../2a-2b/3.Prostitution/★4.Tipsu/☆5/☆6a-6b/★7a-7b.Holden's/Proposition) - GRAND ARENA (Leona/☆F#1/★F#4/★Cat-Tom vs.Werewolf: 1/2/3) - LOST (1/★2) - FOUND (3/4a-4b/5/★6.Swansong Kiss) - RESCUE (★1.Teleskela, MF'er/2/☆3.Reawakened Bond) - ESCAPE (4/5/6/7)]
DAETH: ☆Breaking Callon - ☆Pleasure w/Pain - Teasing Amarice - [DAYTRIP: LAVISH HAND (1/2/3a-3b/☆4.Sensing Death] - Kissing Fate(★1a-1b) - Precariously Balanced Nature - ★At Long Last, Eddellyn - Soul Searching - ☆Into the Maze - ★The Minotaur & The Labyrinth - ★Heart of the Maze - Before the Storm - ★Thunder & Honey - ★Ripped Gowns - ★Sensual Poetry - Warding Sigils - ★Hedonistic Filth & House-Sized Party Crasher - Confronting Maarazaar(1/2/3) - ★Ash Bunny Irihi - Cormeum MIA (stolen heart) - A Vow & Shadowy Msg
RISQUÉ: ★Fun with Fisticuffs!
[CHATTE] ★Enter Chatte - Chat w/Castor - ★Proposing the Race
[ASMODIEL & GALVINA] ★A Celestial & Demoness Play Cards - Asmodiel Smites a Feeder - An Angel & Aeros Walk Into a Bar... - Undaunted Spirit - Benediction
[☆ = favorite / ★= extra fave]
[OOC: from the La Banque du Sang -- the First Floor]
Belkin led Pioloss and his thrall to La Banque du Sang’s luxuriant Bidding Lounge. The Bidding Lounge was a cozy, richly appointed, and exclusive space that clearly catered to the affluent tastes of those who typically patronized it. The decor was upscale and classy with an understated elegance that spoke of the deep pockets and generational wealth common amongst its highly select clientele.
A raised, medium-sized stage framed by lush red curtains and lit by a pair of opulent crystal chandeliers, was the obvious focal point of the insular space. Plush, red-velvet booths and narrow pub tables with tall, red velvet-wrapped high-backed chairs were arranged around the stage. The back of the room was dominated by a large, polished mahogany bar manned by a single, well-dressed bartender. A wide assortment of beautifully crafted bottles was tastefully arranged along the back wall, each one unique in its artistry, and all shared one thing in common: exorbitant expense. On display was some of the most expensive, aged, refined, and exotic blood that one could find, not just within Shaarn, but across the known worlde -- and at that price point, La Banque du Sang did not offer blood by the glass.
A number of people were already idling within the lounge and with the arrival of Belkin, Pioloss, and Rigel, the susurrus of quiet conversation was briefly brought to a halt. Every eye in the room turned to flicker over the three newcomers, taking their measure. The trio was met with varying levels of judgment, criticism, and, ultimately, dismissal as, one-by-one, the patrons quickly went back to what they’d been doing, most apparently having decided that none of the shabby strangers were of any consequence.
As the trio progressed further into the lounge, one thing would become immediately obvious: aside from a number of juice-pack thralls that consisted of a number of smartly dressed men and women who waited in attendance to their masters, every single individual present was a fully turned vampire. While it was conceivable that there were also a few pureblood, Alpha vampires amongst those gathered, it was impossible to tell from afar.
Belkin started to lead Pioloss and his thrall to the handsome mahogany bar, when the ambrosial smell from a freshly opened bottle of Red Spirit (Special Edition) on a nearby table wafted through the air. The exquisite scent of the finely distilled blood stopped the Dhampir in his tracks, his body going taut as, faster than a blink, the last tenuous threads of his control snapped.
All conscious thought fled Belkin as bloodlust seized him, shredding his willpower like wet tissue paper. His fangs elongated and his eyes rolled up briefly before snapping back, the irises now glowing blood red as his focus zeroed in upon the throbbing vein in Rigel’s neck.
The Dhampir was a blur as he lunged at Rigel, his actions driven by the overwhelming need to feed.
Blood Den LPC
Enforcer of the Monstrum Vernandi (aka - “The Blue Bloods”)
Before Pioloss or Rigel had a chance to intercept or pull out a stake to defend against the ravenous creature, a nonchalant voice rose up and cut across the sound of the Dhampir’s animalistic snarls.
Belkin’s forward momentum ceased so swiftly and with such suddenness that it looked like he’d run smack into an invisible barrier, his mouth mere inches from Rigel’s throat. The Dhampir’s body went stiff, every muscle drawn tight as he strained wildly against whatever unseen force had locked him in place, his eyes still locked on the Uman’s delicious neck. Now that he had an up close and personal view, Rigel would see that there was absolutely no comprehension within Belkin’s eyes, the man's mind utterly consumed by the ravenous hunger that drove every other thought from his mind. The blood red eyes that met Rigel’s were more animal than man; more monster than Uman. Long, thick strings of drool clung to Belkin’s fangs and leaked down his chin as the creature continued to snarl and strain towards the Uman, the smell of the adrenaline-spiked blood rushing through Rigel’s veins driving the Dhampir to even greater levels of mindless desperation.
The muted sound of a barstool scraping along the plush carpeting as it was pushed back preceded the appearance of a young man, who looked to be around nineteen years old or on the very low end of twenty-something -- definitely no older. Kyd was stylishly dressed and had a fashionable, punk-rock aesthetic that he wore with the kind of thoughtless ease of those who looked good in whatever they tried on. He had the lean build of someone who’s never had to worry about watching their weight, with a certain vulpine suggestiveness to his features that lent him a sort of attractive edginess. The fringe of his straight, dark hair just barely grazed the mandarin collar of his shirt, the strands effortlessly styled to reflect a tousled, “just-rolled-out-of-bed-with-your-girlfiend-or-boyfriend” look that was enormously appealing.
Kyd wore a sarky expression as he assessed the scene, his lips curled back into a derisive sneer that displayed the sharp points of his fangs and revealed him to be a vampire. The eyes that peered at the trio were an intense and captivating shade of electric blue, and held a striking aberration: crimson-red pupils.
Kyd wasn’t just a vampire; he was an Alpha vamp. A pureblood.
“Jee-zus,” Kyd exclaimed in a somewhat exasperated, yet pleasant baritenor voice as he focused his attention on the snarling, still-frozen Dhampir. “Would ya just shut-up for a minute? Yer givin’ me a headache with all that noise and totally killin’ the vibe in here.” The Alpha vampire rolled his eyes. “And jookan step back from the spook,” he said, indicating Rigel with a jerk of his thumb and revealing a tattoo-wrapped forearm. He grinned mockingly. “‘Cause at this rate, I betchyu yer breath will kill ‘em before anything else does.”
Almost as soon as the words were spoken Belkin’s mouth clamped shut with an audible snap and he abruptly lurched away from Rigel. Then the Dhampir proceeded to take a few large and exaggerated steps backwards, his movements jerky and unnatural, like a stiff-jointed puppet being yanked along on tangled strings. The ravening Dhampir began chewing his lips in mindless hunger, blood and saliva drooling down his chin in rivulets, every muscle coiled with tension; his body was rigid with strain as he pressed against the Alpha vampire’s compulsion which had overridden his will, subsumed his mind, and locked him down.
Belkin’s will was no longer his own. His actions belonged to someone else. He was a passenger in his own body.
“Yeah, alright -- yew can stop there,” Kyd said, once he felt there was enough space between the Dhampir and the Uman. “Goddamn, psuedo-vamps,” he spat, a note of disgust creeping into his tone. “It’s always something with yew guys, like yew ain’t got it easy being able to walk the streets or take an afternoon stroll in the park.” The Alpha stepped around Belkin in a small circle, studying the man’s appearance. “Yannow what that means?” he asked, stepping back from Belkin and looking the lesser dhampir in the eye. “That means you can get a jookan job, chucklenuts.” He snorted in contempt. “So all this?” he waved a hand to indicate Belkin as a whole. “Is just freakin’ pathetic.” Kyd shook his head, wrinkling his nose in distaste before shrugging.
“Always knew you’d eventually snap -- yannow that, Belky?” he asked without asking. Kyd shifted his gaze to another vampire lingering nearby and made a discreet motion with his fingers. The other vampire nodded and then walked off, swiftly disappearing downstairs to the first level. His eyes returned to Belkin. The Alpha sucked air through his teeth and made a disappointed noise in his throat.
“Yannow the MV can’t let this slide, Belkin,” Kyd stated, his voice momentarily losing some of its flippancy as he grew serious. “It’s bad enough yew tried to feed off an unverified donor, but going an’ pickin’ another dhampir’s personal thrall?” He whistled, sticking his hands into the pockets of his jeans and rocking back onto his heels. “Yikes. That ain’t something yew can come back from. In the Bidding Lounge, no less.” Kyd shook his head and suddenly dropped his gaze, looking away from the Dhampir that he continued to hold locked in place under the sway of his will.
“Look, we gotta make an example outta yew, Belky,” he said quietly, in an oddly somber tone. “Sorry man. Yew crossed a line…I gotta do this.”
He looked up as the sound of soft, carpet-muted footsteps climbing the staircase from the first floor up to the Bidding Lounge, whispered through the air.
Blood Den LPC
An apathetic Celestial
[OOC: from La Banque du Sang -- the First Floor]
All conversation died off as the shape of an enormous presence stretched over the bones of some subdued, yet terrifying power, began to seep into the enclosed space. The atmosphere grew heavy and charged, like a storm was gathering with the lounge. Every eye turned towards the lounge entrance, watching; waiting, with bated breath. Kyd swiftly stepped back from Belkin and leaned semi-casually against the bar, still holding the Dhampir enthralled under his will.
The footsteps grew louder, the hushed sound like the steady roll of distant thunder that grew closer with an electric crackle of anticipation.
And then Asmodiel was suddenly there, standing before the Alpha vamp, his bearing unconcerned and airy, like he'd always been there to begin with.
There was a sense of raw, restrained strength impressed into every line of his lithe figure, and one had the unnerving sense that whatever vestigial traces of power they felt emanating from the Celestial wasn’t even a fraction of a fraction of the true vastness of their potential. Asmodiel turned slightly and glanced at Belkin, who was finally able to tear his gaze away from Rigel as the starkness of the angel’s immutable presence cut through the fog of his bloodlust and replaced it with naked horror. A choked, strangled whimper painfully clawed up the Dhampir’s throat, the sound small and pathetic as it leaked into the unnaturally quiet room.
The angel looked back to Kyd. He silently raised a single, elegant brow, the curve of its refined arch speaking volumes. The motion clearly said, ‘Well? We’ve had similar interactions countless times now and I can’t -- and won’t -- lose any more time on useless conversation, so confirm if this is the correct individual or not. Let us be done with this so that you may cease wasting my time.’
Kyd gave an almost imperceptible nod of confirmation.
Asmodiel pivoted and dispassionately approached Belkin. He fluidly closed in on the Dhampir and as he drew closer, behind him the shadows of expansive wings were thrown against the walls with the rustling sigh of shifting feathers. He didn’t pay attention to anyone else in the room, although it was less that he ignored everyone else, and more that he didn’t even notice they were there -- in the same way that one usually didn’t pay attention to ants on the sidewalk underfoot.
The Celestial halted in front of Belkin and swept him with a detached, impartial gaze, before wordlessly raising his hand to the man’s face. The incandescent glow of his eyes grew more intense as he firmly pressed his palm against the Dhampir’s forehead, the neon green color beautifully contrasted by the rich darkness of his skin.
Asmodiel didn’t chant, invoke, or scribe a rune against Belkin’s skin. Past the slight, almost imperceptible tension that tightened the sculpted line of his jaw, the Celestial gave no outward indication that he was actually doing anything to the Dhampir.
There was no warning for what came next.
All of a sudden Belkin’s body seized, his spine bending as his shoulders harshly jerked back, his shoulder blades pulled together so violently that for a moment it looked like his back had cracked. The Dhampir’s head jolted backwards, the motion quick and brutal like he’d been hit by an invisible uppercut that caught his chin and snapped back his head, leaving him staring dazedly up at the ceiling. Abruptly, his eyes went impossibly wide and his mouth dropped open into a long, agonized scream…
…that never came.
Before any sound could escape the cage of his throat, painful light brighter than a supernova suddenly erupted from Belkin’s eyes and mouth in an explosive discharge of energy as hot as the sun. Tongues of white-hot plasma burst through the orifices of his eyes and mouth, burning through the atmosphere like solar flares, the secondhand heat and radiation emanating from the Dhampir hot enough to burn the top layer off of one’s skin.
Light poured from the cracks in Belkin’s skin until his body was filled with painfully bright, white light that cruelly seared the Dhampir from the inside out.
Asmodiel didn’t bother to stay past the initial eruption, knowing that the feeder was already dead, even though his body continued to jerk and twitch. The Celestial impassively turned away from the Dhampir that he’d just smote, filling the creature’s body with the white light of his Grace that always burned as bright and hot as an exploding star.
He disappeared as the light ceased spouting from Belkin’s eyes and mouth, the Dhampir's body swaying in place for one, terrible moment and briefly giving those present a horrifying glimpse of the blackened, burnt-out hollows of his eyes, and the charred, melted-flesh wreck of his mouth. The Dhampir seemed to hang there as if held up by an invisible thread, before all at once his body crumpled, seeming to collapse in upon itself.
Nothing remained of the Dhampir named Belkin Contarre, except for a large pile of hot, smoking ashes.
[OOC: Asmodiel back downstairs to the First Floor]
Rigel Followed Belkin and Pioloss up the stairs to the bidding lounge. He followed quietly and scanned the area as they moved to take in all around him. The lounge they entered was well appointed and rivaled virtually any court he had ever been a witness too. There were a large number of people milling about and the room went silent upon their entry. In just a few moments they had been assessed and everyone returned to their previous occupation, as they headed toward a beautifully appointer bar. Then it happened.
In the blink of an eye Rigel learned two VERY important facts. First, Vampires were incredibly fast. Rigel had always possessed the fastest reaction time of virtually anyone he had ever encountered and yet he could not have defended himself or avoided Belkins attack. On top of that the Monstrum Vernandi guard had not only seen the attack but reacted quickly enough to stop it.
This led to his second conclusion. If anything went awry, Rigel was a dead man.
A sudden strange feeling came over Rigel in the next near instant of time. Though he would have expected the boil, the rush of adrenaline and the slowing of time that usually accompanied danger, that didn't happen.
Certainly time slowed as it always seemed to but this time there was no fire, no boil. His senses were heightened, his reaction time seemed ready, his heart had slowed, but there was no sense of danger. Only an unexpected calm almost akin to the feeling of safety. This in itself bothered Rigel because he knew it was not right. This was a dangerous time and a dangerous place, among the most dangerous he had ever been in. These were opponents against which he knew he could not win.
Was he being influence by the enforcer vampire as Belkin had been? Or was he being protected by him? A conundrum indeed.
Blood Den LPC
Enforcer of the Monstrum Vernandi (aka - “The Blue Bloods”)
Nobody spoke for several, long moments after Asmodiel departed. Conversation slowly resumed once the Du Sang clean-up crew arrived and swept up Belkin’s ashen remains, everyone seeming to have resolved to push the horrifying incident to the back of their minds. At length, the Alpha vampire who had stopped Belkin from draining Rigel pushed away from the bar and finally approached Pioloss, sparing the Uman a passing, disinterested glance. He didn’t extend a hand to either one of the two, though offered them a neutral grin.
“My name is Kyd Wrawk,” he said by way of introduction. “Just Kyd is fine.” That’s all he offered by way of personal information, not even identifying himself as one of the enforcers of the Monstrum Vernandi.
“So gramps,” he began, assigning Pioloss that particular nom de guerre (which he would use whether or not the dhampir gave his name) because the dhampir’s pale countenance and leathery, weather-worn skin made him look far older than Kyd, especially when compared to the vampire’s own perpetually youthful aspect. Realistically, Kyd knew that Pioloss was far, far younger than him -- practically a baby when placed up against the considerable span of the vampire’s own life.
He just didn’t care. Besides, it amused him. He went on. “How’d yew get caught up with that hot mess?” he queried, referring to the late Belkin Contarre, who was now a literal hot mess of smoking ashes. “‘Cause it’s obvious that yew ain’t from around here, just as it’s obvious to me that the spook over there,” he turned and swept his aberrant gaze over Rigel from head to toe, “ain’t yer thrall. He’s not even yer juice-pack, ain’t that right, gramps?”
Kyd looked coolly back at Pioloss, pinning him with an unimpressed, yet not really judgemental stare. His mouth suddenly twisted into a wry, impudent grin that said he already knew the answer. He wouldn't tell the dhampir how he knew (the lack of healing and scarred puncture marks across Rigel's suspiciously clear skin, and the sharpness of the Uman's gaze being just two quick tells that the Alpha had immediately picked up on), wanting to see how the stranger responded, before deciding on a course of action.
And as far as the Alpha vampire exerting even a nominal amount of influence over Rigel...
...why expend the energy when Kyd could simply snap the Uman's neck, should they step out of line? Besides, it was generally considered to be a bit of a faux pas and just poor etiquette to coerce another feeder's juice-pack or thrall. While it wasn't strictly forbidden, it was certainly looked down upon and seen as unbecoming of an Alpha.
Maybe dhampirs went around influencing the thralls of others, but that sort of behavior was highly frowned upon within the walls of La Banque du Sang.
Of course, the Alpha pretty much knew that the Uman wasn't the foreign dhampir's thrall or juice-pack, so the same rules didn't necessarily apply. Not that Kyd was about to exert any energy to subvert the man's will. Though it did raise an important question: if the Uman wasn't a juice-pack and if he wasn't a thrall, then why did the dhampir bring him?
There weren't many reasons a feeder would bring an untouched donor to the blood den, and if Kyd had to guess, Pioloss planned to offer Rigel as either collateral or as a trade -- it just remained to be seen which one.
Pioloss didnt move. Not a single muscle so much as twitched. To the untrained eye, one might assume he had been caught up in the same compulsion which had only recently precipitated Belkins doom. But the truth was that it was fear. Fear alone that kept him immobile, plain and simple.
But as to the source of that fear? Watching Belkin being reduced to nothing more than a smouldering pile of ash had been bad, terrifying even! But if Pioloss was to be honest, there was still a large part of him that couldn’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction at the sight of one less vampire in the Worlde. Especially one as obviously blood crazed as Belkin had been! He even found himself regarding the effortless way in which Asmodiel had dispatched the Dhampir with no small measure of respect!
No, what had Pioloss rooted to the spot in fear now was how Kyd had removed all traces of the Dhampirs free will with nothing more than a word! Death was one thing. The God’s themselves knew that Pioloss was more than familiar with going up against those who vastly overpowered himself! But to have such a measure of control over another sentient being that Kyd was able to override Belkin’s ability to even move? His every urge, desire and survival instincts completely overridden by the whim of another, and to know that he himself was just as vulnerable as Belkin had been?! Well that was something that Pioloss simply couldn't wrap his head around…
But if that wasn’t bad enough, it seemed that Kyd was now questioning him about just what it was he was doing here at the Banque du Sang! For several moments Pioloss continued to say nothing, do nothing! Mere moments, yet to those of the undead they may as well have been an eternity. Beneath the surface his mind raced to try and come up with… something! Some angle which might reasonably explain what he was doing here yet leave him with even a slim chance of being able to leave again. But there was nothing. So with a resigned sigh Pioloss straightened his back, looked Kyd directly in the eye and told the Alpha Vampire the whole, and unvarnished truth. Rigel was his friend, not his thrall, and the two of them were here for the sole reason of trying to rescue Faan. Or failing that, to at least ascertain whether she was here willingly or not. After that? All that was left was to look on with whatever meagre defiance he could muster towards Kyd and wait to see whether he would be allowed to live past the next few moments.
Alpha Vampire Enforcer for the MV
(aka -- “The Blue Bloods”)
So here’s the thing: in some way, shape, or form, they -- he and his fellow Alpha vampires -- all have these unique…knacks. It’s a kind of differentia, an inherent trait that’s not exactly a power or magic in the traditional sense. It’s more or less a supplemental essence, an ability that enhances or provides an edge to their
unnatural attributes. Kyd's knack synergizes scarily well with the their natural abilities to coerce and compel, because no other Alpha can dominate wills like he can. As long as you can hear his voice, Kyd can own you, period. That's his true knack and why he's almost invaluable to the MV.
Why they have them is…nebulous, at best. There’s some hazy implications that these knacks were gifted by the progenitors of their race, just as there are an equal number of vague hints that they are just random evolutionary quirks. So basically, Kyd doesn’t know why they have them; none of them really do. Not anymore, at least, because he’s pretty sure that any pureblood still alive who remembers their progenitors, would have to be somewhere upwards of a quinque-millennium in age -- 5,000 years old. And Kyd hasn’t met any vampire, let alone a pureblooded one, that old in (what feels like) forever -- and at 375, he counts his age in centuries.
Even Godfrey, who’s presently both the oldest vampire he knows and the oldest out of all the purebred and bite-made feeders within the entirety of the Monstrum Vernandi, is “only” a cool 900-something years old -- practically still a teen (not really). Of course, he isn’t and though 900-some years is little more than a drop in the bucket of a being -- of a Celestial -- like Asmodiel, to Godfrey’s peers and lessers, those 900-some years make him both the oldest and the strongest vampire in the MV guild. Now, if you really want to get technical about it, that also makes Godfrey their ‘Alpha Prima’ -- the Alpha to the Alphas, so to speak -- but that’s a whole other subject, and Kyd just can’t right now.
Besides, that’s not why Godfrey crossed Kyd’s mind.
…Wait, why am I thinkin’ about Godly? Kyd snickers silently to himself. Sure, Godfrey may be one of the rare people he actually respects, but that nickname will never not be amusing -- mostly ‘cause Kyd’s fairly certain that reality itself would one day collapse under the metric jook-ton of irony brought on by the ungodly number of skeletons crammed into the recesses of Godly’s closet.
Jee-zus, what the vith was I thinkin’ about?
Kyd absently glances at Pioloss. His gaze briefly flicks over the dhampir with all of the detached, casual disinterest of someone boredly flipping through an outdated waiting room magazine. Let’s see…chalk-white, bloodless skin; stiffly drawn shoulders; ramrod straight spine; cracked-teeth clamped jaw -- yep, there it is. Now he remembers what had kicked off his earlier thoughts: the dhampir’s “bright eyed with terror, stiff as a board” semi-living statue routine. Or maybe it's a bizarre piece of avant-garde theatre and the dhampir's doing their level best impersonation of a petrified, shell-shocked little herbivore paralyzed in absolute, horror-stricken fear. In which case, weird, but whatever -- it ain’t his thing, but maybe it’s the not-juice pack’s jam or something.
Granted, he knows it’s not some piece of performative, experimental theatre, but it is savagely entertaining. More than anything, Kyd kind of finds the whole thing in general hella jookan amusing in a ‘really couldn’t care less’ kind of way, as the situation teeters closely on the brink of absurdity. The feeling is without malice, however.. but the Alpha still finds a sort of perverse humor in the dhampir’s unequivocal and unexpected fear response.
Though it does beg the question: what, exactly, triggered it?
Logically, one might look to Asmodiel and that pervading, ever-present feeling of cosmic horror that surrounds beings as mind-bogglingly vast as Celestials, in general. Except Kyd isn’t so sure. Because he’d seen the dhampir’s already pale face grow even whiter, and their body go rigid with tight-jawed fear before Asmodiel had arrived. Kyd can’t read the dhampir's aura and emotions (that’s not his knack), but he doesn’t really need to in order to make a decently accurate guess as to what provoked it.
Right about then the dhampir drops the facade of a terror-stricken herbivore and instead pulls themselves straight and meets the Alpha’s crimson-pupilled gaze. And as Pioloss begins to convey the circumstances and subsequent reasons that brought him and his
untapped blood keg “friend” to La Banque du Sang, he answers Kyd’s earlier questions…and then some. He goes on to relay a (somewhat) truncated recounting the convenient germane series of events which saw the pair moving between The Inn Too Deep and The Sumps (or as Kyd says, “the Hostile Hostile’s Hostel” and “Salopri Slum” -- aka: “Screw-up’s Slum” ), each of the two locations carrying the distinct the dishonor of being known as some of the most dismal, wretched places in Shaarn Nalos.
Kyd slumps against the bar as Pioloss talks, throwing an elbow atop its polished surface and leaning on it as he relaxes back into a boneless slouch that conveys an openly Laodicean disposition. Otherwise, his expression is undemonstrative, reflecting nothing back except an air of remote impartiality that isn’t necessarily cold and unsympathetic, but neither is it exactly warm and compassionate. One also gets the distinct impression that if wristwatches existed, Kyd would’ve made a
decidedly slightly passive-aggressive show of checking his watch for the time.
Lacking a watch, the impudent kopil loosely crosses his arms and thinks about what Pioloss just told him, purposefully declining to offer a reply. He prefers to let the silence build-up, anyway. He’s found that most people can’t handle it, so unused to existing in a space free of noise that many people simply fall to pieces, unable to sit with their own discomfort. Kyd peers at Pioloss for a time, then shifts his gaze to Rigel before looking back to the former, the crimson burn of his pupils bright against the unnatural blue of his irises. He studies the dhampir impassively and without pretense, his expression perfectly non-committal with only a spark of distant curiosity in his gaze -- it’s the kind of absent, fleeting interest of someone studying an animal that had found its way into the house.
For all intents and purposes, Pioloss told him the truth. Unfortunately, Kyd can’t concretely confirm the veracity on his own, because he doesn’t read minds; he can’t rifle through the dhampir’s thoughts and memories at his leisure and pull out the relevant information -- that's Godfrey’s knack. Godfrey can slide beneath your thoughts, look through them, but when he does, it feels like a knife slicing paper-thin fragments from the frontal lobe of the brain. Kyd knows; he’s experienced it first hand and jookan hell, it wasn’t fun by any means.
It doesn’t matter. Kyd is more than adept at reading people and the dhampir is not hard to read. He doesn’t need to read the other man’s mind in order to find what he wants to know. He snickers to himself. Maybe he should invite the pair to a high stakes card game, because the dhampir’s poker-face is absolute shu. He knows that Pioloss told him the truth; he can’t decide if the decision wa naive, stupid, or both.
It’s honorable, true; even he can admit that. And there’s something to be said about a little bit of honor in the shadowy worlde of subterfuge, misdirection, and doublespeak in which Kyd lives. The general concepts (honor, honesty) are so incongruent with Monstrum Vernandi’s language of half-truths and full lies (it’s stipulated in the contracts they all sign that they become fluent in it), that it's almost distracting. Honor will only carry you so far and honesty, even less, but hey -- Kyd is willing to see how far this distraction can get. Well, at least
until if the distraction becomes a nuisance, at least.
At length, Kyd pushes away from the bar and indulges in a long stretch, the line of his body elongating as the tension unpins from his shoulders and back. The hem of his shirt rides up, revealing a glimpse of a tattoo that follows the line of his spine in a series of blue inked circles, with the smallest at the base and the rest gradually getting bigger as the pattern continues up his back.
“Alright, gramps, I’ve thought about what ya said," Kyd states abruptly, eschewing calling Pioloss by his actual name. He smoothly pivots back towards Pioloss and his not-juice pack, Rigel, and props himself against the corner of a booth. “And I’ve decided to believe ya -- at least for now.” He pauses. Something flashes through his eyes. “Way I see it, yew gotta be tellin’ me the truth, ‘cause if yew ain’t then yew’re the two dumbest budalls I’ve ever met.” Kyd narrows his eyes at the pair, his lips pulling into a flashed-fang grin. “‘Cause yew’d have to be a smooth-brained bir curve to come in here and not just lie, but lie about wantin’ to cause a disruption. Seems like there’s at least a couple of brain cells to rub together between the two of yew, and neither of yew seem particularly suicidal, so I’m gonna let yew stay.” The corners of Kyd's mouth curve into a sort of terribly attractive, mocking grin. His attitude is deeply self-assured and irreverent in a way that makes you either want to kiss him, punch him, or punch-then-kiss him; Kyd's got a way of lingering in your thoughts even as he insults you with a cocky smile.
“On one condition.” Kyd straightens and pins Pioloss and Rigel with a piercing stare, the curve of his grin flattening as his features smooth into a neutral expression. “Listen gramps, I dunno what Belky told ya before comin’ up here, but everyone wantin’ to stay in the Bidding Lounge, must pay a fee. Ain’t no exceptions -- period.” He shrugs. “Fair is fair. However,” he begins, then pauses. Kyd gives Pioloss and Rigel each a lingering glance, his eyes moving over them in a slow, pointed sweep from head to toe. He doesn’t comment on their clothing. He doesn’t need to; he said everything with that one, that one, purposeful look.
“Since yew didn’t try to lie to me,” he continues, shifting his gaze fully onto Pioloss. “I figure I’d do ya a favor, gramps, and waive the monetary fee.” The, ‘because we both know yew ain’t got the coin to pay it,’ isn’t said but is clearly implied. “Yew still need to pay the blood fee: 2 donated pints. And that’s non-negotiable.” Now Kyd shifts his gaze to Rigel and shoots him an amused grin. “It ain’t no big deal, spook,” he says reassuringly. “All we want is 2 pints. Big guy like yew could easily donate 4 without even comin’ close to being at risk of passing out.”
Kyd chuckles, his grin sharpening. “I also ain’t gonna compel either of yew. We don’t compel Donors here, so if yew ain’t gonna pay the blood fee, fine. I’ll kick ya outta the Lounge and that’s that.” He raises a shoulder in an expressive shrug as if to say ‘I don’t give two jooks either way’ or maybe, ‘yew’re loss’. Kyd waited for the idea to fully sink in, before he added a little more context.
“Oh yeah,” he exclaims, feigning forgetfulness. He looks directly at Pioloss. “I nearly forgot to tell ya, gramps: yer girlfriend is here.” He slouches back against the booth and casually crosses one ankle over the other. “Don’t know why yew think she needs to be ‘heroically rescued’, though,” he muses. “Not for nothin’ but what makes yew think she even wants to be ‘rescued’? Who knows, maybe this ain’t her first rodeo?” Kyd does know, but he’s not going to share that with the pair.
“If yew want to see her,” he adds, “yew can. ‘Cause it won’t be too long…” Kyd’s smile widens. “...Until she makes her debut right here in the Bidding Lounge.”
The message is clear: if either of them want to see their friend, they have to pay the fee to stay in the Bidding Lounge.
It is true that most people cannot seem to handle prolonged silence. But then, Pioloss is not most people. Having spent the majority of his life alone, the Dhampir viewed silence in the same way one might view an old friend, or a comfortable blanket. So far from being unnerved, Pioloss utilised this time to study Kyd in his turn. He gains precious little from his scrutinisation however. The Alpha Vampire is simply too aloof, too wildly different from any member of the undead he has encountered before, or perhaps simply he is just too old for Pioloss to be able to read! The best he can surmise is that Kyd is perhaps entertained by them? Though why anyone would find Rigel and himself entertaining is quite beyond him!
“I can’t speak for my friend, but I would be more than willing to pay the blood fee?” Pioloss replied, already rolling up his sleeve. I may be a Dhampir now, but I make no idle boast when I say that during my life, no small number of Vampires would have been willing to pay through the nose to spill even a drop of my blood!”
“As for causing a disruption? Be assured that we have no intent of doing so. I simply wish to make sure that my friend is alive, well, and not here against her will. If that is the case then we shall leave willingly. But if not? Well, maybe we - I mean, the Monstrum Verandi and myself - could come to some sort of business arrangement to secure her freedom?” (Because I sure as hell am not going to go up against someone who can stop me dead in my tracks with nothing more than a single, spoken word!)
Alpha Vampire Enforcer for the MV
(aka -- “The Blue Bloods”)
Kyd raised a brow at the dhampir. The Alpha hadn’t picked up any hint of an accent from Pioloss’ speech, but he guessed that Common wasn’t their first language. Otherwise, he’s not quite sure how the concept of a “blood fee” being asked for in a blood den, could be so widely misinterpreted. Unless, of course, Pioloss purposefully misunderstood what Kyd asked, in which case the Alpha would be happy to spell it out for him -- for both of them -- in no uncertain terms.
At least just this once, because the Alpha vampire wasn’t into repeating himself unnecessarily. And as far as a contract with the Monstrum Vernandi? Well, that would depend on a number of things, including their willful (or not) ignorance of everything that was said from here on out. Kyd pursed his lips and slightly canted his head as he peered at Pioloss with an inscrutable expression. After a moment, he pushed his fingers through his dark hair and huffed out a breath, though it was impossible to tell if the sound was amused or annoyed. “Maybe Common ain’t yer first language or something,” Kyd offered in a solicitous (sort of) tone. “So I’ll assume yew ain’t being willfully ignorant…” he paused, and pinned the two with a hard stare that was suddenly as cold as frost from the peak of the Ice Krowne. “...Or tryin’ to play me for a fool.”
The Alpha let the statement hang in the air for a moment, before abruptly making a dismissive gesture. “‘Course yew ain’t doin’ that, right gramps?” he said, and the tone edging his words was either humorous, mocking, or both. “I’ll lay it out for ya, got it? So listen up, ‘cause I ain’t gonna repeat myself.” Kyd shifted his crimson-pupilled gaze between both Rigel and Pioloss, making sure he had their attention before he continued.
“Dunno what customs yew're used to, gramps,” he said, gesturing at Pioloss. “But the Monstrum Vernandi ain’t blood cannibals. It doesn’t matter if yew are a dhampir -- yer blood is tainted. We only want and accept Donors with pure, unpolluted blood. The only time we might even consider taking infected blood is from exceedingly rare and exotic Donors -- and I’m talkin’ rare and exotic as in true Fae, Sidhe, Wysts, Silvers, Moonies, partial-Celestials, and the like.” Kyd shrugged. “Sorry gramps, that’s just how the blood sprays. Ain’t nobody here desperate enough to accept or even want impure blood, unless the Donor is from some truly exotic stock.” The Alpha let his words sink in for a moment before pressing on.
“Now that yew understand how we do things here, I’ll reiterate: if yew want to stay in the Lounge and see yer friend, then the 2-pint blood fee needs to be paid. And we only want his blood.” Kyd gave Rigel an emphatic once-over. “By the way, I’d decide sooner rather than later,” he said, with a meaningful glance towards the stage.
Rigel listened silently as he had been since they entered La Banque du Sang. Kyd Wrawk’s less than subtle hints were not lost on Rigel. He had known all along that it was only his blood they were interested in. His issue was that he had no reason to place any trust in Kyd Wrawk or his words. Do Vampires have such a concept as honor? On the other hand, other than the overt intimidation, they had not been aggressive toward Pioloss or himself. Actually, Kyd Wrawk himself had stopped Rigel from coming to harm and that had to count for something.
"Am I correct in my assumption we will be allowed to speak with our friend? If so, I will willingly “Donate” the Extorted required two pints."
Alpha Vampire Enforcer for the MV
(aka -- “The Blue Bloods”)
Kyd chuckled at Rigel, finding the Uman’s “tough-guy” attitude to be sort of adorable in a ‘puppy barking at a big dog’ kind of way. The manner in which Umans tended to bluster and bully about was cute, really, and the Alpha vamp typically found it more entertaining than not. Lucky for Rigel, now was one of those times.
"Jee-zus, spook!" Kyd exclaimed, flashing fang. "Yew make it sound like yew're gonna be held down and bled." He raised his brows at Rigel, a vicious kind of amusement reflected in the sharp points of his grin. "Unless yer into that sorta thing." Kyd's crimson pupils practically glow from the bed of his unnaturally blue irises as he gives the spook a thoughtful once-over.
"Just sayin' – du Sang is more than equipped to accommodate yer…predilections. And if it's me takin' care of ya…" The Alpha's fangs suddenly dimpled his bottom lip. "I guarantee yew'd never even know there were fangs in yer neck." He winked. '...Cause yew'd be havin' the best time of yer life, livin' out yer darkest, most debauched little fantasy -- all in yer mind,' he thought silently.
Kyd offered an eloquent shrug in response to Rigel's actual question, then said: "Whether or not yer friend talks to yew is really up to her, ain't it spook? But yannow…bidding certainly can't hurt, either."
The Alpha motioned to one of the du Sang thralls waiting in perfect attendance and standing out of the way near the back wall of the bar. A tall, male Kilwaan Elf came forward and bowed gracefully at the waist. The Elf had long, lustrous blonde hair, a fair complexion, elegant features, and brilliant teal colored eyes. Moreover, they looked well-fed and healthy, with the only signs that they were fed upon being the two telltale punctures at his neck and wrist; the rest of his skin was markedly smooth and unblemished.
"This is Mateo," Kyd said, introducing the Elf to Pioloss and Rigel. "He ain't one of mine. Elves are too grassy, ain't no iron in their blood." His lips quirked. "Give me a red-blooded Uman, any day -- know what I mean, gramps?" Kyd slid a speculative look towards Pioloss. "Ain't like I keep thralls, anyway – he's one of Valentine's. His favorite, actually, so play nice, spook. Mateo's gonna draw yer blood. We don't let feeders draw Donor's blood -- yannow, unless they've agreed to a live feeding."
So saying, Mateo would escort Rigel to a curtained off area behind the bar to draw 2 pints of blood the good ol' fashioned way: no fangs or magic -- just a needle, bag, and a healthy vein.
The process of bloodletting occurred in a private room off the bidding floor, and was done by non-vampiric phlebotomists. Though all present were expected to maintain decorum around donors, the Du Sang was not an establishment that made a habit of taunting its wealthier patrons with the scent of fresh blood prior to an auction--even though that might lead to more generous bidding.
If he complied, Rigel would find the process to be reasonably quick and sanitary. He would be returned to the bidding floor a bit paler and with a tight bandage where the blood had been drawn. The monk was offered a choice of mulled wine or water while he was drained of his vitae. The wine would likely have an outsized impact upon him, while drinking water or eschewing refreshment would likely see him feeling a bit fainter than usual, depending on his constitution and ability to withstand blood loss.
While Pioloss and Rigel paid their entry, those participating in the auction entered and took their various seats. There were not a large number of bidders, but each one carried an aura of influence and power with them. Most of the vampires who entered were attended by thralls, and even these slaves were adorned in regalia fit for nobility. They attended their vampiric masters as they retired to semi-private booths and reserved tables.
The auction, itself, started without fanfare or pageantry. One of the ubiquitous gnomes of Sharnn emerged from behind the velvet curtains, made her way across the dias, and climbed to a station behind a lectern positioned beside the stage. “Ladies and gentlemen, we begin.” She said simply, and the lighting--magickal and mundane, which illuminated the stage brightened as polished lamp reflectors were adjusted and chandeliers were lowered. From one dark corner, a mage rewove the leylines of magickal glowlights.
At a nod from the auctioneer, Faan stepped from behind the heavy mohair main front curtain. The elfmaid was just that; an elf--through and through, when she emerged upon the dias, caught in a spotlight. She wore a revealing gown that only enhanced her ethereal beauty, without diminishing any of the alienness of her presence. A flashing collar dove daringly deep and wide across her decolletage even as its lines drew the eyes upward to focus on the long graceful arch of her neck. The gown seemed perfectly tailored to Faan’s curves until it separated in a slit nearly on the hip, cascading to the ground in a kick pleat weighted such that it exposed seemingly endless leg with each pendulous swing, continuing long after her walk, and turn, and three more captivating steps had ended.
If anything, the shimmering blue-grey fabric lent an arctic tint to her pale flesh that an observer could not say was only reflection. Every step was intentional, every movement and every cant of her figure by her design. If Faan was compelled to act as she did, if her runway walk was involuntary, she would let no one know it, for she captivated the entire room with her almost extraterrestrial presence.
She also looked very pale. With an eye to his bedraggled bit of dhampir sport, Kyd spoke aloud over the rustling whisper that swept the room at the appearance of the elfmaid. “Eh? She’s it? No thanks. Like I said; Elves taste grassy. Give me a good blushing Uman bloodbag, any day.” He chuffed, with a meaningful glance and half-grin at Rigel.
The elfmaid’s expression--a combination of million-mile stare and just-parted slightly-pouted lips--turned upon the speaker and sharpened. Faan was decidedly not uncomfortable upon the catwalk, quite the opposite, for--from it--she could wield the rapt attention of those watching her as well as a craftsman their tool or warrior their weapon. Her bi-colored gaze was enough to irradiate those in its path and more than one alpha twitched, forcing themselves not to duck away from the invisible beam. This was to say nothing of what happened to the gauche commentator. Kyd’s grin faded as his eyes turned--with real trepidation--to face the woman on the runway and he found himself pinned by the almost-physical full force of Faan’s attention, dragging the eyes of every other being present along with hers, skewering the vampire with a thousand-needle stares.
Kyd was not easily cowed--or at least he thought he was not--not by a mere look, at least. Yet when he opened his mouth to follow up on his dismissive, he found himself robbed of speech. The fire of centuries of smoldering hunger, decades of debauchery, and a swimming pool of blood--consumed throughout the ages--wavered, guttered, and was nearly extinguished by
in the elfmaid’s heterochromatic stare. The alpha vampire had the sudden sensation of being an infant in his creche, looking up at something ancient, deep and dark, toothy and terrible, looming in the gloom above the rails of his crib. Every hair upon the vampire’s exposed flesh stood upright in a forgotten reaction of the living creature he had never been, and Kyd felt a new sensation whose name he had forgotten in the annals of time.
It was fear.
And then it was gone, Faan’s laser-like attention switched off, unpinning him from where she had transfixed the vampire. “What the… med was… that…?!” Even Kyd’s subvocal words in his breathing could barely find their way out of the aftermath of terror constricting his throat.
Whatever it was, that was up on that stage, was