Stream of Unconsciousness (Hypnovamp Hyperfixation Powerhours)

Discussion in 'Your Bijou Blogette' started by Lazarae, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art


    I am having way, way too much fun describing Caelia's maliciously terrible taste.

    I mean, her line is mostly artists she does have some taste, though she is legit a fan of the rocaille/rococo decoration.

    Lexi's apartment is absolutely an act of spite though, Lia's room especially.
    • Winner x 1
  2. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    She wasn’t psychometric as some hunters were, able to read the memories of the past from objects, but she wasn’t blind and she could draw conclusions; the apartment was the remains of a battlefield in a war of tastes. The kitchen made it out relatively unscathed, mostly lacking in unnecessary adornment, though the upper cabinets had colored glass in art nouveau flourishes on the doors. The breakfast bar, though, had its corners carved into long stretches of grapevines and what might have been apple blossoms and the legs of the stools matched. They had probably been made as a set, or done custom to match. That at least was consistent; everything was damned expensive. Liadan couldn’t get a look in the office- it had been locked- but the handle was an old-fashioned floral design with a very modern lock. The living room must have been where the main fight had happened; nearly every straight line was instead a swoosh or a swoop or some manner of delicate hand-carving. The half-sane color scheme of soft earth tones accented with midnight blue that had managed to gain ground everywhere else was disrupted sharply and deliberately by the stark and artificial whiteness of the pristine leather armchair and now slightly less spotless couch. They sat centered like the punchline to an inside joke next to a gas fireplace in brown and gold marble that was utterly cancerous with bas-reliefs.

    Upstairs looked better. The stairs themselves were an unnecessary half-C curve and the railing was crawling with whiplash motifs, but the reading nook at the far end of the corridor that overlooked the living room was almost tasteful. The bookcase had intricate marquetry of a pair of peacocks on the sides, but otherwise had the sturdy solidity expected of a bookcase, and the armchair’s swooshes were restrained. Whatever ground had been lost in the furniture battle downstairs had been regained here, with the soft upholstery being a perfectly acceptable blue. In Lexi’s room, which she didn’t reenter with sunset so close, the saner combatant had nearly won. The bed was too soft, the sheets were too soft, but the headboard had only a pair of subdued whiplashes, the end tables managed a tasteful ornateness, and the wardrobe was as minimally swooshed as the bed. The second room, the one that Lia supposed was hers now--

    Oh dear god.

    Here the natural tones had been replaced with black, the midnight blue had shifted to being a main color instead of an accent, where it had been replaced by cream and gold. Approximately fucking everything had been gilded; the influence here was shading out of art nouveau and into some horrible rocaille-rococo-baroque frankenstein. The bed was a single, with two scrolling ends and pushed up against the wall underneath a canopy of sapphire silk that could encircle it. Some attempt was made to modernize the design; the mattress was modern, the bed made up in matching sapphire sheets like a normal bed and not some goth-Versailles monstrosity, with too many pillows but only on one side. It was still so, so much though, with the ends adorned with gilded carvings in a chaotic spill of swirls and curves that were almost impossible to follow, and the crown of the canopy was similarly overwrought and over-decorated. No night stands, but a side table against another wall, a short little wardrobe, another much larger one, and a vanity complete with a comically tiny little stool. The wood was all darkened oak parasitized with gold and enamel designs.

    The far wall had a comparatively more tasteful sliding glass door- still unnecessarily gilded though- that led out to a small balcony connecting the two bedrooms, and the left side of the room had a door to the bathroom; not shared, at least, judging by the position. Strangely, there were a number of cardboard boxes on, under, and around the side table. The tape had been cut on all of them, but most were still folded closed and seemed like they had been for a long time. The folds were still stiff rather than softened with frequent opening; whatever was inside had been left alone.
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  3. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    Let's do this one again, too. Prefer vampverse rn but always down to write a Lav/Nico/Gale.
  4. Codeless

    Codeless Cheshire Cat

    Lexi, soft.

    Lia, Shine
  5. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    It wasn't quite a perfect night, but it was a good one. Yes, it had taken him until evening to have a moment to himself, yes he was wearing his university hoodie to head off a bad body day, and yes it was raining rather heavily. But inside the Trembling Mug it was warm, the rain was reduced only to a soft susurrus and a starfield glitter of reflected city lights, he had good coffee and company. She was back again for the third time, had once more sat herself across from him as he tried to study, this woman who had seen him when he had worked to go unseen. Her eyes were hard, and something in the back of his mind screamed every time she arrived, but she had a soft smile, a soft voice, soft hands.

    Lia is being uncooperative, I'll get to her later. Tomorrow probably. Poke me in chat if I'm slacking.
    • Winner x 1
  6. TheOwlet

    TheOwlet A feathered pillow filled with salt and science

    Lia and pet (your choice if verb or noun)
  7. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    It should have felt right, the sun on her skin. It should have felt normal. Instead it felt strange and sharp, though not in a bad way. Up here, over the city, she could watch the light crawl across town, reflecting across every building. Lia sat out on the balcony, legs wrapped over and through the balustrade like she wasn't fifteen floors up, smoked her last cigarette of the night, and watched the sun rise.

    "Alexei should have warned his pet. It's dangerous to be left alone, without him to protect you." Violet. Liadan sighed, turned, was surprised to find the dead woman already so close.

    "Alexei has a dangerous pet." She bit back. She couldn't fight Violet, not yet or possibly ever, and she couldn't run; she rocked to put her weight on her back foot but held her ground as Violet approached, snaked a cool and soft arm around Lia's waist that was nevertheless as inescapable as an iron bar.

    "Mmm. So he does." Violet's free hand skimmed up her side, nails- two short, two sharp- dragging at the edge of her shirt and over the exposed skin. Lia kept still against conflicting influences to lean into it or pull away. Both were bad ideas. "He doesn't know what he has." The hand came up, lingered as it passed over her breast on its way up her shoulder where it came to rest at the curve of her throat, thumb pressed gently to her pulse. "Neglectful child hasn't even drawn from you, has he? Shh- look at me."
    • Winner x 1
  8. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    • Like x 1
    • Witnessed x 1
  9. TheOwlet

    TheOwlet A feathered pillow filled with salt and science

    Winner for that writing but also: Witnessed for Lia.
    • Agree x 1
  10. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    More from the main story

    She should have been more conflicted, probably. Being a hunter was the only thing she knew, something she had been born and raised into. Being torn away from it in exchange for her life should have upset her more, and many hunters would have preferred to die. Lia hadn’t exactly been thinking clearly when she accepted- either time she had- but now when she was only tired and hungry and a little achy instead of on death’s door… strangely, surprisingly, she was alright with this. Maybe it was that, really, her job hadn’t changed all that much. She would still be fighting, still be killing vampires, just more targeted and likely less often. Liadan was a tool, a weapon- she was still serving her purpose, it was just a different hand wielding her.
    • Winner x 2
  11. Codeless

    Codeless Cheshire Cat

    Winner for writing and also oh god lia no. i would hug her but stabby.
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  12. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    Oh, I forgot I hadn't posted this bit, which is relevant to the part I am currently working on

    Investigating that seemed better than continuing to endure the architectural assault that was the rest of the room, and if Lexi didn’t want her looking at the contents he shouldn’t have given her the room. With that flawless logic, she opened one of the boxes and peered inside.

    The detritus of a life left behind peered back. In this box were several books, many still wrapped in plastic for their protection, and a wild assortment of small trinkets; an electric candle shaped like a rose, three tiny stuffed penguins she had to admit were kind of cute, a fabric rose that further investigation revealed was a hair clip, a taped-shut jewelry box, a dollar store ceramic cat curled up on a pumpkin that had amazingly survived despite not having been wrapped… the only consistency was a certain haphazard femininity and the fact that she could picture none of it belonging to the vampire she had met last night. In another box were women’s clothes, folded neatly and lacking tags but pristine, as if they had been worn only once or twice if at all. They had collected the dust and cardboard scent of long storage and they weren’t Liadan’s size, but she found a plain black skater dress that looked like it would fit, and it was better than the blood stained clothes she had come in wearing.
    • Winner x 1
  13. Codeless

    Codeless Cheshire Cat

    Actually, where Did Lia learn to sing, and what are hunter songs?
  14. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    Oh right I was gonna do that.

    Gonna start my whole thing on the hunters but first, the answer to that specifically: the hunters taught her. All hunters learn at least a little because of the hunter songs, but Lia was encouraged because music helps her focus and stay calm in situations where pain isn't an option. (It also helps, to a degree, in social hunting; some lines like Charilaos's and Caelia's, and certain members of other lines like Liborio's or Elling's, might be drawn to someone who shows some musical talent, and it's another good way to get a vampire alone if they have that interest.)

    Hunter songs are a couple of things. Many are used in training, starting when they're kids- it's a lot easier to hold a kid's attention and help them remember things when they have songs to sing. A lot of those early ones are mnemonic devices. Some serve a purpose similar to a military cadence, once they start getting older and training becomes more complex.

    There's also a lot of oral tradition; while a lot of hunter tradition and history is written, they've found that people- and especially kids- connect better to things like song. Some songs are call-and-response meant to build stronger ties between hunters as they grow up.

    And then there's the fact that while hunter's aren't, exactly, a religious organization there is a lot of ritual to how they go about things. Partially because they're a good few hundred years old and a lot of tradition remains, but also because it helps them to accept things like the oathtaking. A big ritual like that is a lot less strange and out of place when you have so many other rituals, and a lot of them involve music and especially singing.
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  15. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    SO. Hunters. Man. Hunters are really kind of fucked up.

    In the period between the black death and the Renaissance, especially in France and England who were also dealing with the tail end of the Hundred Years' War, a lot of vampires took advantage of the population loss and political restructuring to form what were known as the vampire kingdoms. They weren't actually kingdom sized, usually only a few villages or small towns and sometimes even just one, but whatever vampire(s) had claimed that territory held them absolutely and the human residents could do approximately nothing about it. They typically weren't treated all that great, either. This wasn't the first time this sort of thing happened, both in Europe and the rest of the world, but it was the most blatant and widespread.

    A lot of things happened in response; some vampires opposed this setup (mostly finding it crude and unsubtle rather than unethical), humans started to gather to oppose potential vampiric threats, the mages started getting involved, leading to mass hunts that had as much to do with actual vampires as a lot of people using the vampiric threat to gain power for themselves or to remove rivals, especially as vampiric psy isn't well understood by most mortals. It was easy to accuse someone of being a vampire's thrall, and potentially a threat that needs killing even if they don't intend to do that vampire's bidding.

    It got messy. It got really messy, and eventually the First showed up and put an end to things- this is one of the few incidences of them getting directly involved and codifying rules. The vampire kingdoms ended, but for another hundred or so years several hunter groups formed. Most failed, either due to internal politics or because many vampires went to ground in the aftermath of the First's wrath. Several groups that were actually rather effective thought that the threat was reduced with less vamps around and so disbanded.

    But vampires were still around, and the rate at which they killed each other wasn't enough to provide balance compared to how many were being turned- especially since there was an increase in new vampires during the plague. Daianera had turned a mage's apprentice named Maddalena (later just Dalena) who was targeted by one of the less altruistically motivated hunts, and Dalena saw that while the exact situation wouldn't happen again something similar would if things continued as they were.

    She gathered members of several failed organizations and used her ties to the mages to found her own organization. Over the centuries they refined, modernized, and adapted to changes in both the world as a whole and vampire politics. The hunter families were established in that first century and they- and several branch families, like the Ciura- still exist today.

    Two very important things: the first is that literally no one knows the hunters were founded by a vampire. The history as told by the hunters is that Dalena was a survivor of one of the vampire kingdoms, rather than having been targeted by the mortal response. Daianera may suspect that the Maddalena she turned is the Dalena of the hunters, but if she does she's chosen not to do anything about it. The other is that Dalena at the very least doesn't hate vampires. The hunters are taught to see them as an enemy, and many individual hunters may hate vampires as a whole, but the organization itself views them with a sort of adversarial respect.

    Modern hunters are almost all born into the organization from the hunter families, though some are outsiders with sufficient psy who are brought in when they're older. The children are raised communally with others of their age group rather than by their families, though they are visited by their parents and other family members. Because of the high mortality rate of hunters in general, it's not uncommon for hunters to have lost one or both parents by the time they start training, and almost all of them are orphans by the time they complete it and enter the field.

    At five training starts. At this point everyone of the same age is trained together. Education in the early years is fairly standard and equivalent to non-hunter schooling, until they're about nine and things start to diverge. Children train with practice knives, and build speed, agility, flexibility, strength, and endurance as well as develop their psy. At nine- around the same time their education starts to get less standard- they start learning how to use guns and crossbows. Children are also taught how to cook and perform basic first aid, for the purpose of maintaining their bodies. Less a matter of hunting and more one of tradition, children are also taught to fence.

    As full hunters there are two groups: actual hunters, and the various support roles. Traditionally these are referred to as blades and masks, sometimes modern hunters might call them hunters and watchers, or hunters and eyes. "Blade" is still occasionally used to refer to hunters, but "masks" has fallen out of use completely. At nine instructors start marking out children for either role, and their education begins to focus more on history, including the hunters' own (or, at least, the version they've been given) and information on the various lines. Other subjects are still taught, but with a great deal less focus than what is immediately relevant to their lives as hunters. Their physical training continues, as well.

    At around 11, hunters take their oaths. Every hunter, regardless of role, takes an oath though the ones taken by blades differs slightly from the ones taken by support roles. The oaths bind them to the organization, which they are aware of, and to Dalena herself, which they are not. A hunter cannot leave the organization after they are oathbound; the oath will call them back. The longer they spend away the harder it calls, and sometimes even still-loyal hunters who are away from the organization's compounds for too long will experience negative effects; typically headaches, sometimes disruptions of their psy, and rarely a phenomena they call the Voice. It's not a literal voice, typically, but a psychic resonance from Dalena. It's usually a sign that a hunter needs to go home now, and a few times Dalena has used it to recall hunters in times of crisis.

    Actual hunters get their first proper knife after taking their oath. The hunters have a longstanding deal with some of the mage enclaves, and hunters' knives are enchanted for durability. Silver without magic isn't exactly a great material for a weapon, though they're plated rather than pure. The knives are practical and well made, but- especially with their first- are typically a little ornate. Mages like making fancy things, and the ceremony of a hunter's first knife allows for them to get a little carried away. (The knife Lia showed in the rave was her first knife.)

    Hunters who have finished their training hunt either solo, or in cadres, small groups of 2-5 hunters that work together. By the time of their oaths most trainees know whether they work better solo or in a team, and their next stage of their training depends on which. Solo trainees are given to a mentor, sometimes to a cadre, for continued more personalized training. Already formed proto-cadres are given to a mentor, sometimes to a pair, while trainees who work better in a team but haven't formed any bonds have their groups assembled for them and are given to a mentor or pair of mentors. Sometimes in the latter case the groups don't last, which is fairly normal. Every six months the teams are evaluated and members switched around as needed; because proto-cadres are formed by 11 year-olds they're also evaluated, but every year instead. The mentors and their trainees enter the world at large, and begin hunting in the city. Graduation happens when they're ready, but on average between 15 and 16. On completion of their training hunters are given an apartment in their city and (except for the watchers) left to their own devices, though they return regularly to the compound to report, for healing and evaluation, for resources, to visit the hunters they grew up with, or just to deal with the oath-induced strain of being away so long.

    This is getting away from me, I'm tired, and it's still hotter than the devil's asshole after chili night. More on this tomorrow.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
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  16. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    More disjointed info about the hunters:

    Support roles. Healers never become actual hunters; they get the same training up until they're nine but most of them never even leave. Hunters also do have therapists, they're just. Well. They find out a 17-year-old is drinking themself to sleep every morning, the question is "how is this impacting their hunting" and not "are they doing alright." Hunter therapists mostly head off extreme breakdowns and self-destruction rather than actually making sure hunters are coping in healthy ways. Most telempaths either get trained for that or to deal with outsiders. A well trained telempath is both a walking lie detector and able to limit what they output without weakening said output, so they're good for taking reports and dealing with traumatized vampire victims. They're not banned from becoming full hunters the way healers are, but they are discouraged from it.

    People who want to join the hunters but don't have enough psy to be trained, or trainee children who either don't meet standards for full hunters/lack the temperament/have observational skills better served elsewhere, make up the watchers. Those born among the hunters take an altered oath; those who join the watchers later typically don't, but are given less information and aren't full members. They serve as a rather extensive information network within the city, and those oathbound can stay away for longer periods than full hunters.

    Full hunters have a fairly high mortality rate, with the saying "there are no old hunters, only dead ones" being both unfortunately accurate and very common. Hunters expect to eventually die, and while the degree of recklessness varies they almost all have some casual disregard for their own safety. They're also really bad at planning long-term, and most don't bother with things like life goals. If you ask a hunter what they want out of life they're likely to tell you what they're planning to have for dinner.

    Nobody comes out of growing up cozy with their mortality unscathed, and as much as they're encouraged to understand that killing vampires isn't the same as killing a human it does take a toll on most. Hunters aren't really well-adjusted people and are typically a bundle of coping mechanisms barely holding together. Sex, especially after a long hunt or a bad fight, is pretty common; there are ace hunters, and Lia's inability to go five minutes without hitting on someone who can destroy her is slightly unusual, but most hunters wouldn't find it concerning. Well, other than the fact that 'people who can destroy her' tends to include vampires and that fact doesn't stop her. Hunters also tend to be kinky; Lia definitely isn't an outlier there. Heavy drinking is another common coping mechanism, and substance abuse in general, especially since hunters don't really expect to live long enough for it to impact their health too badly. Who cares about liver failure when you're probably going to get eaten by a vampire before you turn 30?
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  17. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    I am trapped in an ouroboros of procrastination, send help. Here's more info on vampires specifically:

    Skin contact with silver hurts and gives them a rash fairly similar to poison ivy; it's uncomfortable, but not fatal. Solid silver breaking the skin hinders their healing and hurts like a motherfuck, and will typically scar for a couple decades. Silver actually getting into the bloodstream, as in flakes or powder, completely fucks a vampire up and the only way to stop it from being invariably fatal is to cut out the afflicted tissue before it spreads to the heart.

    Sunlight is a bad time for any vamp, but those who are well fed can manage it for about an hour with nothing worse than a mild sunburn. It's hella uncomfortable though.

    Vampires get colder the hungrier they are- one who's recently fed is usually about as warm as any human. One who's overfed may be slightly fever-warm.

    Being injured, exposed to sunlight, or throwing around a lot of psy all make vamps hungrier. Lexi, since he doesn't do any of those things, can actually go 3-4 days without feeding before he begins to feel even a little hungry. Older vampires also burn through blood faster and are always a little hungry. Even the oldest don't need to be constantly feeding to maintain sanity, there seems to be some limit to how much age affects hunger, but they're never really full either.

    Killing when they feed, especially from a tranced victim, makes vampires stronger as they take in some of the psy released on death into themselves. This means vampires who drain psychics gain even more strength from the death. There are a couple who specifically hunt hunters, and even other vampires are a little afraid of them.

    Power is tasty. Mages, psychics, hypothetically fae- they both taste good and, depending on how strong they are, can make vampires feel a little drunk/high. It's not really either, but a chemically induced altered state is the closest comparison. The exact effects vary based on what they ate and how strong the victim was. Draining a well-trained mage can leave a vamp loopy for a week. The power also feeds them more.
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  18. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    Vampires are very low-key shapeshifters; their magic nature allows for them to shift their appearance to match their internal concept of self. This is not a conscious act, and is usually rather subtle. It's why, for instance, vampires may have trouble with haircuts; they need to already have their mental image of themself include shorter hair or it just grows right back (and often they don't need to cut it, it starts to shorten on its own.) Or why vampires who were tall hundreds of years ago when people were much shorter are still tall now; their concept of self is 'slightly taller than average' so their body changes to match. It's also why features smooth out on being turned, and why vampires tend to be more attractive than your average human. Lexi underwent a fairly extreme change when he was turned, on account of he's trans and his concept of self was pretty different from his physical body. There are some inconsistencies, too, as his height fluctuates slightly. The First has an extremely shattered sense of self, and their features may shift and change several times in a single conversation depending on how settled they are at the time.

    Vampires typically don't dream, unless they were dreamwalkers before being turned (or learn dreamwalking via magic), in which case they can't create their own dreams but can enter those of others. Dreaming is a function of the soul, and vampires functionally don't have one. During the process of being turned the soul is torn apart and used to fuel the change, leaving only tattered scraps. A vampire who retains a little more in the way of soul shreds may be able to relive memories when they sleep, but they cannot truly dream.

    Vampires are not only harmed by the sun, but become extremely tired and lethargic when it's out and will enter the daysleep. A vampire can either hold off or wake from the daysleep if they need to, for instance if they feel unsafe or threatened, but they're incredibly fatigued and have a hard time thinking or responding to events, and will go back to bed the moment opportunity presents itself. A vampire in the day, even one who's awake somewhere safe from the sun, is an easy target for someone who wants to kill them. In fact, a vampire is considered weakest when either sleeping or feeding.

    A Command follows the spirit rather than the letter; the words are simply a focus for vampire's intent, so the intent is what's followed.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2021
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  19. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    How donors work, and why people choose to become one, varies depending on line.

    Among Caelia's, there are three types of donors.

    There are 'loose' or 'free' donors, who have the freedom to come and go as they please but the only protection they're offered is against being killed while at one of Caelia's gatherings. A vampire who finds them outside of the gatherings can kill them without issue, and they can be harmed nonfatally at gatherings. Some just enjoy being fed on but want the option to be able to leave, but many are looking to become a vampire's full-time donor, and are either playing the field looking for a patron or trying to donate exclusively to the vamp they want to take them on in hopes of catching their eye.

    Then there are line donors, who technically 'belong' to Caelia and are placed under her protection, meaning they can be neither killed nor harmed. This is, however, a more long-term and binding arrangement that's harder for the donor to leave, but they're typically getting something out of it. Most are paid, but some might be getting gallery space or use of Caelia's connections in the art world, or similar. They typically only show up to the tamer parties, but they might make house calls as well- this would be dangerous except Caelia comes down hard if she finds out anyone's been messing with them. Lexi's donors are of this sort.

    And then there are private donors. Caelia allows every member of her line only one private donor, and because this is Caelia's line they're usually either sexually or romantically involved, and they typically live with their patron. This is why Lexi's apartment had the spare room, and also why the décor was especially horrible in it- neither of them ever expected him to take on a private donor, so the room was left to molder and store the fragments of Lexi's mortal life he never bothered to throw away but kind of wanted to. There's also the fact that Caelia's line being what it is, most private donors have rooms of their own, but they go mostly unused. Many private donors also share a bed with their patron simply as a line of protection to counter the weakness of the daysleep. Caelia typically offers no protection to private donors; that's the responsibility of their patron, and if their patron can't take care of their pet they don't deserve one. Some private donors are potential turns, but most aren't. Lia is assumed to be one of these. Caelia also has a private donor of her own who falls under this category, as she isn't sharing.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2021
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    • Informative x 1
  20. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    She had made some attempt at casual tonight, a white dress that was mostly plain except for the handkerchief hem, which was made up to look like severed butterfly wings. It almost worked, except the longest parts of the skirt barely reached her knees, it was the middle of November, and Caelia was built out of the wet dreams of everyone who had ever wanted a woman. She smiled gorgeously and took a step toward Liadan, who took a step back, filled with a sudden, certain fear not that she would be hurt, but that she wouldn’t be.

    Caelia closed the distance faster than she could retreat, took Lia’s face gently in her cool, soft hands. Lia froze, found herself unable to speak or breathe; there was only a soft, faint sound as some distant part of her registered what was happening. “Oh, Lyosha, my dearest shade. You’ve done so, so well.” Caelia was bright, blinding, and while Lia brought her shields up and her power in, she couldn’t block out the sheer force of the ancient vampire’s aura, and all her years of training failed her in her attempts to avoid meeting those impossibly blue eyes. “She’s lovely.” Liadan’s chest constricted, crushed under the weight of this gorgeous woman calling her beautiful like she was a teenager all over again and then

    They were on the elevator back down, Lexi a bowstring of tension with one hand gentle on her arm, likely to guide her as she shook off the trance. “What happened?” She asked- barely a murmur- as soon as her voice was working again. She might have thought he didn’t hear her, were he not a vampire and had his neutral expression gone stony. The elevator dinged, and he continued to guide her along and back inside his apartment. For some reason, hearing the door close behind her brought a sense of comfort and safety, one that felt almost out of place, unnatural. “What did she do to me?”

    He let her go and started to cross the room towards his office. “I can’t tell you.”

    There was, maybe, the barest hint of frustration to his voice and Lia found herself wishing she could sense him at all. “Alexei. What did she do?”

    Stop asking.

    The words died on her tongue, in her throat, and awareness sharply returned. He shouldn’t be able to do that. He shouldn’t be able to do that. He wasn’t making eye contact- he was three feet away with his back turned- and it had been at least 18 hours since he’d given her his blood. The fact that he’d Commanded her was almost secondary to the impossibility of it. She’d be mad about the Command later, this needed addressing now. “What the fuck.” She managed weakly, and he stopped to turn around.
    • Like x 3
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