REDEMPTION - Blood Bond
- Carson Jaegers apartment -
Carson stared out of the vast window, surveying the city between the ever watchful gaze of the huge twin roman legionnaire's busts that frame his multi framed bay window. His face revealed no emotion, his stance neutral. Only those who knew Carson intimately could see that his mood was dark. One such person was watching now.
Sabianne watched from the guest chair in front of Carson's antique desk. The massive oak reflected the darkness of the room, and perhaps even the mood. The normally dark brown varnish seemed black almost as though it drew the very light into it, and yet reflected none back.
Sabianne noticed that the room was engulfed in darkness, not that it bothered him. One doesn’t survive in the sewers long without the ability to see.
Brushing away a blow fly that was seeking purchase in the tear duct of his blacked eyes. The flesh rotting away from the normally mortal wound, proved to be an endless source of maggot infestation. Still, after the first thirty years, Sabianne had become used to it - the motion was now just reflexive.
He hadn’t revealed himself yet. Though he knew that Carson knew he was there. Carson could see Sabianne where no one else could - not even that Toreador tramp that both adored and reviled Carson’s power. Sabianne quietly chuckled to himself thinking about it. She was stymied at every turn she made against the prince, and could never figure out why. Stupid bitch, he sneered, you rest so comfortably in your ability to penetrate the unseen that you assume that one in your camp is against you.
Snapped from his thoughts it took a moment to realise that Carson had spoke “Not yet. But I’m working on it.”
Turning to face the chair, Carson's eyes fell on Sabianne. His gaze unflinching at the sight. Too long had they looked upon Sabianne to be concerned with such things.
“It is imperative that we find out how they are getting into the city. That is your task Sabianne, I entreat you to hasten your efforts.”
“My Prince, I’ve never failed you, and I never shall, but may I remind you that your reluctance to kill the Animal when you had the option was not your finest hour.”
“I have my reasons.”
“That neonate bitch? Tell me you are kidding?”
Carson chuckled to himself “Sabianne, your intelligence gathering is extraordinary. I marvel at your ability to find out even the darkest secret that has been kept for millennia with but a single gaze of your cursed eyes, but when something is so plainly presented in front of you, you stumble like a babe in the woods. Revenge Sabianne, pure, unadulterated, old fashioned revenge. He took from me, and I will use it to destroy him.”
“She trusts you then?”
“Of course she does, the poor dear. She’d believe the sky was down and the earth was up if I told her. She believes that she is the innocent victim in a dark jealousy that has raged for centuries. It’s really quite amusing to look into her eyes - I’ve not felt this way in quite sometime Sabianne, it’s refreshing.”
“And you really think that his love for her is that strong?” Sabianne was unconvinced.
“I guarantee it. The Autarkis has no manner in which to defeat me. I hold all the he loves and adores in my hand. Worse still, I am making her in my image. She will be glorious when I’m finished and my victory over him will be complete.” Carson turned to look once again out of his window at the city below. His city. “When he is on his knees before me, I will turn to her and ask her to choose his fate”. Carson turned to face Sabianne again, “do you know what she will choose?”
“Can you be sure? She’s too young. Innocent. Weak.”
Smiling, Carson leant forward on the desk, his tone excited “Which is precisely why she will choose me. The tool will ensure her loyalty to me. Even now, he calls her to his aid in routing out the Hands incursion into my city. An excellent video presentation I might add, Sabianne. You are quite the film maker. Within this trio I have the perfect solution. The tortured soul trapped by her dreams, the tool who will provide me with unending loyalty, because it is the only way he thinks he will regain the little he didn’t have in the first place, and the poor petite - lost and confused, yet totally compliant, and dependant on but a single word of love or praise from my lips. Andreas would be impressed, would he not brother?”
“That may be...” The words died on his lips. His senses caught something in the air. Jasmine. The scent is subtle, yet easily identifiable. Sabianne sneered, “That Toreador bitch is coming.”
Carson stood tall, and straightened his silk tie. “Ah, my beloved adversary. She does make it interesting, don’t you think?”
Sabianne was not so easily amused, “She has been gathering support in the Court. She may be a threat to you if you let her go on unchecked.”
A smile played on Carson’s lips, “A little dramatic don’t you think Sabianne? I hardly think...”
“She has the Witch on her side, and not to mention the Anarchs can be wielded by her. Their leader is her lover. Her network of spies is vast. She is preparing to move.” Sabianne found his voice rising to punctuate his point.
“Professional jealousy Sabianne?” his tone mocking.
“I didn’t...” began Sabianne, abashed.
Carson held up his hand to stop Sabianne, the smile was genuine. “Sabianne, she is a powerful adversary, yes. She is detachment personified. She would be a formidable Prince. She could challenge me, but for one simple little thing.”
Turning to face the door, Carson didn’t look at Sabianne. “You.”
Gabrielle steeled her resolve before she went into see the Prince. While she knew of his power and she evaded his ham fisted attempts to heel her with ease, he was still a force that must be reckoned with. Even his casual remarks bear a subtly that cannot be dismissed out of hand. Oh how she loved the game with him. Truly a match for her, but never her superior. Bringing to her face the smile that has brought nations to war, she entered into her Prince’s office with the grace of her exclusive breeding and met the Princes gaze unflinching. He’s alone, she thought, as her preternatural eyes searched the room in a glance. Good.
“Bon soir, mademoiselle, ca va?” Carson moved forward to to kiss her outstretched hand. Carson’s french was flawless, with a slight parisian accent.
“Bon soir, votre majestaire, ca va bien merci, et vous?”
“Tres bien, tres bien. J’a....been waiting for this visit, you know how I look forward to them. Wine?” Carson poured from the bvlgari crystal decanter into the rosebowl wine glass. Holding it by the long stem he turned to face her
Gabrielle sat without being invited. “and I too, of course. Yes thank you.” The move caught Carson ever so slightly. Gabrielle smiled inwardly to herself and then paused. The first move won so soon my prince? The game is moving up to another level I see.
“I asked you her tonight to ask you about the Elysium. By now you know it has been violated by the Hand? How exactly do you think that happened?”
Carson knew she didn’t know. The slightest twitch of her top lip gave it away. “Of course I knew it happened I have been conducting an investigation. Of course I wonder if the appearance at the Elysium is of the most concern or in the City itself?
Carson smiled inwardly, as she played her hand to quickly - she knew nothing of the incursion and she know knew he knew it , now it begins. “Of course this is the most concern to me, after all, I am the Prince and I must protect the City and those loyal to me at all costs, that is reasonable is in it not? I must consider the safety of all those under my protection. Those who have, on one knee, sworn allegiance to my reign. Why even the members of the Primogen, of which you are obviously well aware, all swore allegiance to me. I remember the look you had in your eyes when you took your oath.”
Gabrielle smiled coyly as she lowered her head slightly. Looking at the Prince from under her long lashes, she breathed “As do I my Prince.”
“You looked at me and pledged your service and loyalty to my sovereignty. My right to rule as the strongest.” Carson’s voice was distant, as though he was recalling the memory as he spoke.
“I remember my Prince.” where was he going with this? Gabrielle was beginning to feel uncomfortable.
“I gave you the elysium and its governance as reward to your loyalty, your faithfulness.”
“I am your majesties to command.” Gabrielle felt her throat constrict - it was difficult to talk - he was luring her, and she couldn’t see it.
The Prince went on, “and title over all of Toreador’s dealings in the City”
Sabianne thought to himself, here it comes, he shifted carefully in the chair to get a better look at Gabrielle’s face. Carson, you still amaze me, he mused.
Gabrielle raised an indignant eyebrow, “as is my right. I have not failed you and continue to serve you loyally, my Prince.”
Now, thought Carson, the pieces are in place “So you know then of the Toreador’s activities in my City?”
“You condone her actions then?”
“Of course, my Prince I know all of the Toreador’s actions in this City. Nothing transpires without my knowledge. I...” the words died on her lips. Wait. Her? What is going on here?
“And your express permission?”
Carson was pushing now, not giving her time to think about what she is saying, “so you don’t know all that the Toreador do in my City?”
“No, I mean...yes I do. I...” Gabrielle was floundering. She had nowhere to go, and for the first time in three decades she began to feel an emotion she had long thought behind her. Fear.
Turning once again to look out the window, more to hide his smile than for any dramatic effect Carson continued softly.
“So then you see my problem? You swear loyalty to me, you profess it now. You claim that you hold domain over all Toreador actions. That nothing within your clan does not occur without your knowledge or permission? Yet what am I to make of this?” Carson turned around and picked up a folder on his desk. Handing it to Gabrielle he came around to her side of the desk. He sat on the edge as he watched her reaction. The eight by ten photo’s, courtesy of Sabianne, showed the horror of the previous night’s Sabbat gathering and the Toreador’s involvement.
Gabrielle opened her mouth to speak and then closed it again. She was mute, staring in horror - the full realisation of what just happened bearing down on her fast. Who is this Childe? She’s Catherine’s...Mary? Marion? Marie? Yes Marie.
“I don’t know who these are my Prince.” A lie.
Carson drained the last of his glass and then put the glass down on the desk. His movements slow and deliberate. He leant forward towards the frightened Elder. His tone was caring and compassionate, his words - venomous. “The girl is a Toreador of this city. Has been for some twenty years. And she is cavorting with the Sabbat. Openly! With your permission. I wonder what I should make of this?”
Sabianne barely suppressed a chuckle. Where is your poise now, where are the scornful remarks, the superior smirk? It’s over, he thought.
Gabrielle shifted her gaze to the chair, wondering if she heard something there. Her mind was racing.
“I don’t understand.”
“Oh? You deny your treason?” The Prince leant back and folded his arms. Sabianne marvelled at the drama.
Gabrielle reached forward and grabbed the Prince on the knee. She looked pleadingly into his eyes, searching for the mercy that was not there, never there.
“Of course! I would never seek to destroy you. My loyalty is true. You have to believe me. Cars...My Prince, I am your devoted servant.”
“This looks bad Gabrielle. I’m not sure I can save you. The Primogen...”
Gabrielle saw her opportunity, a glimmer of salvation. The Prince wouldn’t want to involve the Primogen, but she must do something fast. “The Primogen need never know. I will fix this. I will fix this immediately. I swear to you on my blood, that I will fix this.”
Carson walked over to the liquor cabinet. Picking up a large brandy balloon, he deftly cut his wrist and dropped some of his potent vitae into it. He turned and handed it to the horrified Gabrielle.
Checkmate, thought Carson “No, you will swear on mine.”
Story 2 - “Blood Bond”
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