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A Gruesome Delivery

Black_gift_boxMarius and Memphisto sat discussing the business at hand. That business is finding Pandora while keeping Those Who Must Be Kept safe from falling into the wrong hands. As such Marius and the ancients of his coven have put a plan in action to move the King and Queen to Sosaria, where none can follow.  The portals between the two worlds — Earth and Sosaria — have only ever been discovered by the most powerful of mages in Sosaria. Earthlings do not posses such powers, at least none that we know of.

As Marius continued to talk to Memphisto, a familiar face opened the door to the Bloody Brew. It had been quite sometime since Marius had laid his eyes upon the devious one, but none the less there he was in all his glory — Lestat de Lioncourt.  The Brat Prince had made his way to Sosaria at the beheast of the only one he would ever listen to, well sort of. Marius and Lestat had enjoyed a father-to-son relationship for the vast majority of Lestat’s eternity. Marius’ age and cunning had instantly attracted the young vampire centuries ago, but not in the way that is customary… not like Louis. This was certainly much more intellectual; more profound. Not that Louis wasn’t such but Lestat’s love for him was far more intimate. Surely, once Lestat had heard of Pandora’s predicament, he had instantly obliged Marius’ request to meet, perhaps even assist.

“So the prodical child returns.” Marius quipped. Memphisto just turned over and let out a short sigh as Edwin, our resident barkeep, nodded and fetched a new goblet for the man.  Marius motioned for Lestat to take the stool next to him, which of course is done with the flair of French nobility. Afterall, that’s what Lestat is.

As the two converse, Memphisto’s agitation with Lestat is quite evident. Memphisto is Pandora’s progeny and mortal brother thus in her absence Marius is his liege. Memphisto is an emotional being, much like Louis. So the fact that his sister has been taken and we have not made significant efforts (in his view) to find her has made him panic-stricken and anxiety-ridden. Not a good thing for a vampire to be. To him it seemed like Marius was receiving company in a time when we should be filling every corner of Paris to find clues to Pandora’s whereabouts. But there is always a method to Marius’ madness, that much he trusts.

As Lestat sits on Marius’ left hand, to his right is Memphisto.  They talk of old tales and Lestat is drawn into the current events, especially since the move of his beloved Akasha to Sosaria. It is this what drew him here. Although Letsat’s feelings on Those Who Must Be Kept has changed over the years, there is no denying that he has had a significant amount of Akasha’s blood, which has made him stronger, faster, more cunning, but has also bonded him to her. That bond places him in the role of protector to her. He shares that role with Marius and Pandora both.

As the conversation continues, Memphisto grows increasingly agitated at the exchange of pleasantries that is happening before his very eyes. In his turmoil, he starts to mention some of Lestat’s prior indiscretions such as the fact that his maker, Magnus walked into the sun right after making him leaving him a vast fortune and in his veins a deadly weapon. Marius of course takes this to be rude and rudeness is not something Marius’ can tolerate. As the exchange between these three vampires continues, Marius’ grows increasingly impatient with Memphisto, placing his hand over Memphisto’s left hand to sort of let him know his reaching intolerable altitudes. Then Memphisto mentions Louis… Louis de Ponte du Lac who is Lestat’s long lost lover and former companion; an awful sore spot for Lestat. Marius’ rage gets the best of him as he applies solid pressure to the hand he clasps and shatters it. Memphisto lets out a squeal in pain and quickly draws his injured hand to his abdomen. He then politely asks to be excused.

As Memphisto runs away to calm himself and let the regeneration gift take hold, Lestat looks deviously at Marius elated that his “father figure” would protect his feelings in such a way. There has always been a mutual respect between these two vampires; one an ancient, the other a rebel.  I think it was Magnus’ lack of education for Lestat that always pierces Marius’ cold unbeating heart. Marius feels a sense of responsibility for all his followers; as leader of the coven. But ever more so for Lestat and a few others who had very little, if any, education in properly living with this … this affliction. As one of the oldest living vampires, Marius’ takes this responsibility very seriously and Lestat admires him for it.

The topic then turns to Pandora and where could she be kept; certainly it would have to be somewhere highly protected, deep into the ground where escape or rescue would be minimized. Then, just as they were continuing their plans for a search and rescue mission, a human walks into the bar dressed in uniform, RBG colors. Marius’ knows that the Royal Britannian Guard has established a working post service as well as other cross-land services. “Hello, looking for a Mr. Romanus?” Edwin nods as Marius’ speaks up, “That would be me, sir.”

A small crate was placed on the bar, and the man pulled out documents to sign for the package. “And your name is?” Marius asked casually. He couldn’t remember the last time any special deliveries had been made to the Lair for him specifically.  “Jones, sir. Cephus Jones.” the man in uniform answered as he handed Marius some documents and a pen. Marius quickly put his signature to the documents in acceptance of the package.  Jones smiled and took back his documents and exited the tavern. Lestat gave Marius a blank look and then turned his stare to the crate. He could smell something odd about it.

Marius could too. Edwin took a hammer to the crate as his master’s request. Inside packed in ice was a gift box, with a fancy ribbon. Marius proceeded to untie the ribbon, noticing some small smears of blood that were barely noticeable. As he opened the box, inside… staring right at him… was the severed head of his adopted teenage half-breed daughter, Saralyn. Marius immediately kicked back his stool and screamed in agony had any humans been in the tavern that night; their nature would have been instantly compromised as ears would be bleeding. Lestat immediately extended his fangs; instant reaction to eminent danger. Edwin jumped back, also fangs extended. Memphisto came running down. Marius fell to his knees, sobbing.  As tears of blood rolled down Marius’ eyes, Memphisto looked to Lestat. Lestat with utter shock pointed to the box on the bar. When Memphisto took a look, he was immediately overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness. He, the more compassionate of our coven, without hesitation threw his arms around Marius coming down to his level.

“Does Pandora know?” Memphisto quickly asked. Lestat just shook his head, not really knowing how to react. Give him sarcasm, no problem, but raw emotion… most definitely stumped. Lestat noticed a note in the box alongside the gruesome delivery.  He pulled it out looking at Edwin walking slowly toward the box. Edwin silently closed the box and stepped back away from it as if it would jump out at him. Lestat opened the note. “There is this,” he said and handed it over to Memphisto. Memphisto read it out loud.

“Tsk, tsk sending a child to do your dirty work. You should know better. If you do not return Those Who Must Be Kept, I will unleash bloodshed among all that know you.”

Marius was inconsolable. A rare sight and one that Lestat just did not know how to react to; left him uneasy and perhaps vulnerable. Also a rare sight. The bloody tears were cascading down this poor man’s face. Saralyn and Brelyn had brought a small piece of normalcy to his life with Pandora; a glimmer of the humanity that he had lost thousands of years ago. He doted on them, loved them, is their father in every sense of the word. It is those moments in his life where he feels… human. For all of that to be taken away from him, in this manner was heartbreaking. In that moment, Lestat caught that feeling emanating from his every pore. In that moment, Lestat felt emotion. He scooted off his stool towards Marius and put his hand on his shoulder. “We will find her, put her to rest properly,” he said.

Memphisto looked to Lestat, “I don’t think Pandora knows. I mean if she knew, she would have raged out of her cage. We’re not talking about just any regular vampire here, Pandora is an ancient who has taken blood directly from the Queen.”  Lestat nodded, “That wouldn’t be what they wanted. Whoever has her, needs to use her. She’s their bargaining chip. This… this was to push Marius in a certain rash direction.” Memphisto agreed. Marius could barely speak. His words piecemealed out them, slowly in between sobs.  Edwin handed Memphisto a towel for his master; to wipe his face. As Memphisto thanked him, he ordered him to shut down the tavern. Blood had spilled from Marius’ face down to his shirt. As Lestat went to half hug Marius in consolation, Memphisto re-read the note that was left.

“… return,” he said. “They want us to return our King and Queen. Could it be their previous keepers?” He looked to Marius. “Brother, who kept our fount prior to your charge?” he asked.

 

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