Campaign of the Month: October 2017

Blood & Bourbon

======================================== NAVIGATION: CAMPAIGN SIDE ========================================
======================================== NAVIGATION: DASHBOARD SIDE ========================================

Celia VII, Chapter XI

Good Men

“I remember who my real friends are. And who the fair weather friends are.”
Joseph Montobon

Tuesday night, 22 March 2016, AM

Jade: Jade sends a text to Draco as she wraps things up with Celia’s mom, asking if he’d heard anything from their friends.

GM: Haven’t asked.

Jade: Oh good. Got you in time. Don’t bother, I figured it out. Thanks though.

She even includes a heart emoji, just to keep him guessing. Then she mutes the text thread, preventing any notifications from him until she unmutes him. She’s not really interested in anything he has to say anymore.

She dials Benji’s number.

GM: It rings for a while.

“Yo. Leave a message.”


Jade: “Hey, it’s me. Just making sure you’re okay. Hit me up. Mwah.” She blows a kiss and hangs up.

Surely Savoy doesn’t have a reason to detain Benny. He hadn’t done anything. Probably just wants to avoid her for getting him staked, right?


She takes off.

Tuesday night, 22 March 2016, AM

Jade: The first stop is the clubhouse. Located on Royal, the building isn’t far from Flawless and the Evergreen itself; she should be able to hit all three if needed.

Jade uses her key to unlock the panel to put in the code that lets her inside.

GM: Jade looks as if she has the place to herself. Andi and Tyrell are still off on their road trip, last she heard, and Roxy and Benji do not currently seem in.

Jade: Disappointing, but expected.

Jade resets the alarms and security systems and heads out. She stops at Flawless long enough to make sure that is securely locked down as well before she swings by the Evergreen.

Celia would run from this place, tail tucked from her earlier chastisement. But she isn’t Celia. She squares her shoulders, straightens her spine, and approaches the door.

GM: Flawless is quiet and still at this hour of night and appears secure.

The Evergreen is quiet too, at this hour on a Monday (well, Tuesday), and though bereft of crowds its lights remain on. Fabian receives Jade cordially and inquires what he can do for her with a wide smile.

Jade: How much does he know about what goes on here? Was he aware that only hours ago she’d been held captive in the same interrogation room where she had murdered her sister?

Does Savoy keep his people apprised of his moods towards his subjects?

Jade answers with a smile of her own. It’s politics, not personal. She inquiries after Benjamin, asking if he’s still here, or if he was released.

GM: The smiling ghoul gives no indication either way.

Fabian answers that Mr. Moore is no longer enjoying the hospitality of the Evergreen, though he is expected back tomorrow night.

Jade: She asks for clarification: did he leave of his own volition or was he taken to another location? Essentially, is he free or not?

GM: Fabian chuckles like Jade just told an amusing joke and replies that of course Mr. Moore left of his own violation.

“All of Lord Savoy’s guests may enter and leave his house safely, freely, and—he dares hope—while leaving something of the happiness they bring, madam.”

Jade: Her smile doesn’t slip.

“Naturally, Fabian, and let no one suggest otherwise. I merely wished to complete my business with him. When did he go?”

GM: “Perhaps an hour or so ago, madam.”

Jade: “With friends, or alone?”

GM: “He left in the company of two ghouls, madam.”

Jade: “Why is he due back tomorrow?”

GM: “He had some business he wished to conduct with a one Mr. Draco, madam.”

“Any friends of theirs are welcome to attend.”

Jade: Why the fuck.

“What time.”

GM: “10 PM, madam.”

Jade: She thanks him for his assistance and heads out.

GM: Fabian beamingly replies she is very welcome, wishes her goodnight, and declares the Evergreen has been made all the happier for her presence.

Jade: Sure it has.

Tuesday night, 22 March 2016, AM

Jade: Jade dials the Caitiff again.

GM: “Yo. Leave a message.”


Jade: She continues to call.

GM: She continues to get voicemail.

Jade: Anxiety gets the best of the other girl inside of her—is he mad at her? Pissed she got him staked? Turning on her? Going to leave her krewe for Draco’s? Did Draco get his own office within nights and she hasn’t in years? Is he going back on their deal not to fuck with each other?—but the lick in control beats it back down. She finally sends a text to the Caitiff.

Sorry for the spam. Big shit happening, want to make sure you’re okay. Lmk when we can discuss. Owe you.

It’s late. She’s alone. She doesn’t like being alone. There are too many people whose relationship with her are up in the air for her to settle down.

How did it come to this?

Her flesh ripples, shifts, changes.

Celia: Celia stares into the rear-view mirror in her car, hating… everything. She wants her mom. She wants Pete. She wants the boy Stephen used to be.

Mostly she wants her sire. His arms around her. His lips at her throat. She wants to find whatever it is that turned him into this beastly thing and kill it so she can free him, so they can be happy together. She even wants her sister-in-blood, wants the genuine warmth and kindness she’d seen beneath the mask, wants—

Celia takes a useless breath.

Blood ties them together. Blood ties her to her sister and her sister to her. There’s no one else in the world who understands what it’s like to be his childe, lying to everyone, cut off from… from everything. Her grandsire had let Gui be killed because he’d only ever served his sire; what if he finds out the same is true for her? What if, even now, he’s plotting her demise?

It’s anxiety talking, that’s all it is, anxiety because she’d messed up; every time she thought the worst would happen she’d managed to pull out of it, hadn’t she? And Pete would have brought her back in if her grandsire was pissed. She’d be dead. He said so.

And Draco is… they have a deal.

Benji, though? Her ghouls? That hunter? The Setites and Marcel?

She wants advice. Needs advice. Needs someone who isn’t pissed at her, someone who doesn’t think she’s a weak, burdensome fuckup, someone who she can trust.

Can she trust anyone?

That’s the discussion she’d had with her mother earlier tonight. Take the mask off, let them see it doesn’t have to be like this. Her sister had done so.

Celia closes her eyes, searching inside of herself for the ties that bind the pair of them together. Donovan’s childer, linked by blood that doesn’t care what sort of mask they wear because its ties are stronger than the lies they tell each other, stronger than the lies they tell themselves, stronger than the lies that their whole society buys into. She finds the connection and marvels at the clarity of the red hue, as if all this time it had been waiting for her to simply see it.

Celia tugs.

GM: That is what her mom had said. Be the change you want to see from others. Like she’d been the change she wanted to see from Celia. And from Jade. Show there’s no need to lie, that the masks can come off.

And Camilla had too, hadn’t she? Celia had hated her, or at least resented her, until she took off her own mask. So many years spent hating the Kindred who could have been sister.

Yet Camilla’s mask, Celia knows all-too well, is strong. And for all that she risked on her younger sister’s behalf—that’s its own thrill, isn’t it, to have someone else who’s the big sister, who can be the one to give advice—that mask came back on, flawlessly in place, the moment they left that cold cell in Perdido House.

For all the world knows, Camilla has no sister. Jade has no sister. And Celia, if she has any ties to the masked city at all, is but a ghoul.

Nothing answers.

Celia: Disappointment is her constant companion.

She wants a win.

Needs a win. A victory over someone else. Needs to feel in control again, to take back the power, to… to just stop feeling like a fuckup.

Celia sends her thoughts to Jade, but it’s another that comes out, another that makes a call to a boy on a phone that doesn’t belong to Celia or Jade.

Ayame: Ayame scrolls through her contacts to find his name. Durant. She presses the ‘send call’ button and holds the phone to her ear.

GM: To her chagrin, she gets his voicemail.

Celia: She’s perhaps unsurprised to once more be sent to voicemail. Celia decides against leaving a message; she hadn’t needed him for this, not really. She knows where the bitch hangs out. And it would be too hard to explain to him why she’s doing what she is.

But it will hold for tomorrow. Tonight she wants to get lost in the comfort of the arms of someone who adores her.

She goes home to Alana.

GM: She finds the ghoul wearing a babydoll nightie and soundly asleep in bed. She’s wrapped around a large pillow in seeming substitute for spooning with her domitor.

Celia: Alana won’t be asleep for long. Not if Celia has anything to say about it. She strips from her borrowed clothing and deposits it across the back of a chair before sliding into bed behind her ghoul. She presses her lips to the back of Alana’s neck and snuggles close, arms snaking around her body.

GM: The ghoul soon wakes at the physical contact. She shifts and turns around to face Celia with still-bleary eyes.

“Mistress…?” comes a sleepy purr.

Jade: “Hello, darling,” comes the answering purr. Jade’s voice. Jade’s face the ghoul sees when she attempts to turn over, but the Toreador takes her by the wrists and gently pins her down.

“I missed you all night,” she murmurs, nuzzling at Alana’s neck, “and I want to make up for it.”

GM: “Mistress…!” comes a second explanation with suddenly wide, delighted eyes.

Alana squirms under Jade’s grip as her domitor gets on top. The position does not look displeasing to her.

“I missed you so much, too… more than I can say… but you’re here, and when I’m done, you’ll never want to leave…”

She leans upwards, as much as she can with her pinned wrists, and plants trails of tender, rapturous kisses along Jade’s neck and naked breasts.

“You’re so beautiful… you know that… just absolutely, stunningly perfect…”

Jade: “I know,” Jade says with a smirk, “but I love hearing you say it.”

She nudges Alana’s thighs apart with her knee and settles between her legs. And then she… changes. Her skin ripples below the waist, the padding from her firm, round butt moving to take on a new position in front of her. She builds from her clit outward, turning the tiny bundle of nerves into a larger, thicker shaft that she presses against the girl beneath her, rubbing her stiffening cock between her lips.

“Do you want it?” she whispers in Alana’s ear, nipping at her lobe. “Tell me how badly you want this. How much you want me inside of you.”

GM: “Mistress…!” Alana gasps, eyes widening as she feels Jade’s budding manhood brush against her lower lips.

The ghoul’s face looks as if Christmas just came early.

She instantly spreads her legs, already dripping wet, and arches her back as she moans wantfully and tugs against Jade’s grip.

It’s amazing how fast she’s woken up.

“Fuck me, mistress,” she begs. “Please fuck me. Please fill me. Please give it to me. Please let me take you inside me. Please fuck my brains out. Please, mistress.”

Jade: With her back arched maybe Alana doesn’t see the rest of the changes take over Jade’s body. Perhaps she misses the darkening of the skin, the way her hair recedes back into its follicles, the way her chin and cheeks darken with scruff. Soft feminine curves slide beneath her skin to pad her arms and legs, filling out what needs filled and giving her the appearance of more muscle tone. Her chest flattens into the smooth plane of pecs.

Jade can’t make herself taller. She can’t create matter from nothing. But she does rearrange her body’s structure, and the result is a very, very handsome man now poised between Alana’s legs.

Pic.jpg “I prefer,” Jade—Jade?—says in a deeper, more masculine voice, “if you’d call me master.”

He pushes inside in one quick thrust.

GM: Alana gasps. From surprise. From delight. From the cock that’s now inside her, its owner now busily thrusting back and forth.

“Yes… master…!”

The ghoul’s inner walls are warm and wet around Jade. This isn’t his first time with a cock, but it’s still an altogether distinct form of pleasure. There’s no wanting someone to hit the spot. She’s—he’s—not ‘taking’ anyone into her. He’s taking the wet and willing woman beneath him. He’s the one whose cock is soaked with Alana’s juices. The ghoul’s pussy is soft like the finest silk. It’s similar to the feeling of a french kiss when Jade’s tongue is entwined with another person’s tongue, but this feels a hundred times more pleasureful. Jade can feel everything in his pulsating manhood. Alana’s pussy feels like the most natural place in the world to be. Jade goes in and out and in and out, remembering how her—his—partners did it, keeping his rhythm constant.

“Thank you… master…. thank you for your cock… master…!”

Even the word is different. Master. Shorter. Blunter. More direct. None of the trill that comes with ‘mistress’.

Jade: He likes it. The power that comes in having his own cock to fuck this warm, wet pussy. The way she writhes and pants beneath him when he hits that spot he knows so well, the one that makes her thighs tremble and the breath leave her body in tiny little gasps. When her back arches it presses her tits against his chest, firm nipples rubbing over his skin with every bounce and jiggle.

He growls, shifting, hooking her knees over his shoulder so he can press further into her, drilling deeper to make her toss back her head and moan. He keeps at it, but only for a little bit. Then he shifts again, spinning the pair of them so that he’s on his back and she’s kneeling above him.

“Ride me,” he says, sliding a hand between her thighs to stroke a finger across her clit.

GM: It seems obvious, that familiarity with having a penis and vagina makes one better equipped to provide pleasure to one’s partner.

But how many people can claim the same firsthand familiarity with both sex organs that Jade now has?

A flushed, sweaty, and breathless Alana eagerly obliges her master’s request. It’s different from this angle, and pleasantly so. The ghoul does more of the work. It’s less actively ‘drilling’ than it is… the closest thing Jade can think of, absurdly, is his mom juicing lemons with one of those handle-less, hand-operated juicers. Pressing the fruit against the hard, thrusting, jutting surface. Pressing down and squeezing, watching the juices all run out, as soft yielding flesh meets immovable tower.

Jade’s pleasure builds with every upwards thrust from him and downwards grind from Alana. Soon, but not too soon, he feels it coming. The explosion he’s on the brink of from all the pressure built up in his penis. It’s so different having the sensation concentrated in an appendage. Jade’s muscles tighten. He cries out in pleasure, in tune with Alana’s gasps and moans and cries for more. Jade wants to release the tension, to finally cum inside his ghoul.

And then he does. Jade can feel his penis pulsating like it did earlier, but now in waves rather than quivers, as he climaxes. He feels a release of fluids. Vaginal juices, from his ‘wet’ penis. The wetness couldn’t have just been Alana’s. Does it feel different for men to release thicker ropes of white cum? That’s one detail which would take deeper than surface-level work.

The afterglow is similar, though. He feels calm and at peace. The tension is gone, there’s just a relaxed state of pleasure. He can feel his penis returning to it’s flaccid state. He lies still for a moment, entangled in Alana’s arms. Nothing could move him from this position. This feels like the place he is meant to be.

Well, except for round two.

“You were magnificent, master…” purrs Alana, lying her head against Jade’s flat chest.

Her fingers lightly play across his abs and pecs.

Jade: Jade rather enjoys the sensation of soft, warm hands on his chest and abdomen, his partner tucked beside him in bed with her cheek on his chest. He wants more mass. Wants to be able to pick up Alana and take her against the wall, the way Celia likes being taken. Wants to be taller, broader, stronger.

Bone work, he thinks. He needs to learn the bone work. Already he imagines a way to replace his bones with calcified collagen, storing the rest of it inside of him where no one can see but where he can get to if he ever needs to be bigger.

He could be as big as a Brujah.

“I need a name,” Jade says at last, his fingertips running up and down Alana’s spine.

GM: “Hmmm,” Alana muses, nuzzling her head against her domitor’s chest in apparent thought before looking up.

“How’s Jason, master?”

She smiles as she uses the word again.

“Jason Kalani.”

Jade: “Not Kalani,” Jade says. Something about the name “Jason” rubs him the wrong way.

“Caelum is what Celia comes from. But perhaps that’s too close.”

GM: “Caelum is a weird name,” says Alana. “You don’t see anyone with that.”

“Maybe John.”

“That’s a strong, tough guy name.”

Jade: “Mm,” Jade says at the suggestion. John rubs him the wrong way as well. It’s not a name he wants to respond to.

“We’ll think of something,” he says at length. “Master will work for now.”

Jade runs his fingers through Alana’s hair.

“I have a job for you.”

“Today I’d like you to go shopping for this face. Get me something casual and get me something dressier. Fitted. Find shoes in my size with an insert or inconspicuous platform. Make sure the pants are long enough to hide it; we can hem them if needed. An inch or two.”

Alana has good taste in clothing and will know to take his measurements with her when she goes. It’s not a hard task. She might even enjoy it.

“Your friend down at the coroners, you still see her? Find out what happened with her boss. Friend of a friend mentioned he was attacked. And a missing body or something.”

GM: Alana gives a delighted trill.

“Sure thing, master. Clothes and shoes. Ones to look taller.”

“And she’s not my friend, just a client. But I can ask. Maybe send her a gift card, since it’s been a little while.”

Jade: “Do so. Send one to the woman running for mayor as well. And my father.”

Jade slips from the bed, padding silently across the floor to where he’d set his purse. He brings it back to bed with him and sifts through the contents before finally holding out a wallet.

“I’d like to find this man. Sooner rather than later. Ordinarily I’d send Reggie, but I still haven’t heard from them. See what you can do. Carefully. I suspect he’s a hunter.”

GM: “Sorry, master, who’s the woman running for mayor?” asks Alana.

Jade: “That city council lady. Ocampo.”

GM: The ghoul nods. “Sure thing, master. Dale, Ocampo, and your dad. Do you want to do any of their treatments yourself, or to leave it to me or the techs?”

Jade: “Put Ocampo and my father with me. You have a rapport with Dale already.”

GM: “Okay, master,” Alana nods again.

She looks over the wallet.

“Do you want me just to find him for you, or to bring him in?”

Jade: “If you think you can bring him in safely, do so. Otherwise just find where he’s squatting.”

Jade sets the purse aside and turns to face the ghoul.

“Did you kiss my mom?”

GM: Alana nods again at that directive, then pauses.

“…sorry, master?”

Jade: “Did you kiss her. When you first started at Flawless.”

GM: Alana gives a faint laugh. “I don’t think your mother and I are much each other’s type, master.”

Jade: “No. It sounded out of character for you.”

Jade settles back against the pillows, pulling his girl toward him once more.

“We need to find the boys.”

GM: Alana nods and snuggles up against her domitor.

“I can’t believe they’d just abandon you like this.”

Jade: “I don’t understand why. Or where they are now. Why they won’t pick up. There were voices on the other end of the line, yelling at them about being on the phone. Rusty got lippy. Laughed when I said I wanted to make sure they were safe. Said they were.”

His fingers curl against Alana’s back.

GM: “What awful people, master,” murmurs Alana, nuzzling against Jade’s chest.

“I’m here for you. I’ll always be here for you.”

Jade: Jade purses his lips.

“Their brother was missing. I get it. But it doesn’t explain why they wouldn’t let me help.”

GM: “Who knows, master. Maybe they’re just weird about it, since he’s family. I think he always came first, with them.”

“Before you.”

Jade: “But I could help.”

GM: “I know, master. It’s completely irrational.”

Jade: “I wanted him back just as much. I wanted to find out what happened just as much.”

GM: “Completely irrational,” Alana repeats. “I never thought we could rely on them.”

Jade: Jade scowls at the top of her head.

“You’d have it be just us if you could. But you’re not muscle. Not an investigator. You can’t stop other licks from snatching me up off the streets and torturing me.”

GM: “They’d say things about you, when they thought you wouldn’t hear, master. They never took you seriously.”

Jade: “Like what.”

GM: “That you were fuckable. That it was the only thing you were good for. That he’d have been out of here, Reggie that is, if it weren’t for the sex.”

“Or how he was ‘humoring you.’ Letting you think you were in charge. That sooner or later, he was going to ‘make’ you give him a blowjob. About how much he was looking forward to ‘putting you on your knees, where you belong.’”

Jade: Jade is silent for a moment.

Then he twists, pinning Alana beneath him with her wrists in his hands.

“Don’t lie to me, darling. They know too much about me for us to let them go rogue. The truth now. What they said. When. No embellishments.”

GM: Alana looks up with wide, half-aroused and half-fearful eyes.

“He said you were fuckable, master. He said he was going to make you give him a blowjob, master, if you didn’t on your own.”

“The other things were more, implicit.”

Jade: “Wanting to get out. To get away from me. To no longer be mine. Did he say that?”

GM: “Not directly, master. It was other things, and the way he said them. I don’t think he ever really took seriously the idea you were in charge.”

“You were someone he fucked, not a literal mistress.”

“I don’t think he was ever scared of you, of displeasing you. Of disobeying.”

“I’ll admit that Randy at least had that, he knew who was in charge.”

Jade: “His brother will be a cripple without me.”

“A week, two, and he’ll be right back in that chair.”

GM: “Reggie cuckolded his brother, mistre—sorry, master. Laughed about it. Enjoyed it. I don’t think that family was ever completely right in the head.”

Jade: “Was I supposed to beat him harder to keep him in line?”

GM: “Maybe, master. There was just something wrong about them, I thought.”

“Reggie tried to rape a girl at Flawless once.”

Jade: “He what?”

GM: “Mira, you remember her? Quit a while ago. Reggie had come over to the spa for something, figured he’d get a massage while he was there. She was his massage therapist, and seemed pretty upset after they were done together—she ended their session early. She clamped up when I asked about it, said she wanted to just move on. I couldn’t prove anything. You remember how she was moving across the country, and you’d been nice letting her quit before her two weeks were up. She said she didn’t want to make waves, risk you saying bad things if another employer called for a reference.”

Jade: “That motherfucker,” he snarls.

“And who the fuck would give a woman trouble if she said she’d been raped?”

“What kind of person do they think I am?”

GM: “I think that was actually part of it, master,” Alana says thoughtfully. “She’d had a really good experience with us. She didn’t want to ‘tarnish’ it, if that makes sense—which, I know, doesn’t make sense.”

“She just wanted to bury the whole thing.”

Jade: “Send her something. A gift basket.” As if that makes up for it. “Something nice.”

Jade lets the ghoul go, anger in his eyes. He’ll gut the bastard.

“He’ll need a hit eventually. Or he’ll go looking to get laid. Or his brother will stop walking and not even juice can put him back to rights.” Rusty will need a doctor, someone like Jade.

No, it’s even easier than that, isn’t it. He doesn’t have to go looking at all. Jade will lure Reggie back in without expending the effort of a search.

“We’re looking for replacements in the meantime.”

“And we’re moving. Get the havens ready. Start looking for a new place. Up the security on the spa and have the locks changed.”

GM: “Okay, master. I’ll send her something,” nods Alana. “I’ll write her something sensitive, too.”

“Change the locks. Okay. What sort of place do we want? Nice like this?”

“Inside your domain, still? I know that’s how things are supposed to be, but there’d be a lot more options if we moved outside.”

Jade: “Stay in the Quarter. We’ll use alternative identities if we end up outside my turf. Apparently,” he spits the word, “we can count on my landlord to hunt us down eventually, but I’d like to make it at least a bit of a challenge for him.”

GM: “Okay,” repeats Alana. “What about a haven in Flawless, too, master? Obviously it’s not a place to have sex—well, bed sex—or watch movies, or anything like that, but you are safe there. Surrounded by people who’d all do anything for you.”

Jade: “Put something in place. Discretely. And have the whole spa swept for bugs. I’m tired of my conversations not being private.”

Maybe even this one isn’t. His lips pull back from his teeth at the thought.

GM: Alana nods. “Sure thing, master.”

Jade: “Get your sleep, pet. We’re going hunting tomorrow.”

GM: “I can’t wait, master,” the ghoul purrs.

Tuesday evening, 22 March 2016, PM

GM: Jade wakes up. It’s a second later than it was eight hours ago. Alana is snuggled up next to him in different clothes.

“Good evening, master,” she purrs.

Jade: “Hello, darling.” Jade slides his arms around the ghoul. “How was your day?”

GM: “Not as good as last night, when I got to see you,” Alana beams.

GM: After some more early evening cuddling and kissing, the ghoul has the following things to report:

Courtney Dale is scheduled for an appointment later this week.

Maxen and Thalia Ocampo have both been sent Flawless gift cards. Ocampo’s with “a little more pizaz” than Maxen’s since she’s an important woman who doesn’t yet have a relationship with Celia.

Mira has been sent a nice gift basket and handwritten note saying something thoughtful and validating.

Alana has some real estate listings for Jade to take a look at, both within and without her domain.

Alana has changed the locks at Flawless, bought some further cameras, and upgraded the alarm system to one that will send a mobile alert to her and Jade’s phones whenever it’s triggered.

She was, regrettably, unable to locate the man whose wallet Jade recovered, or to find any bugs in the spa.

Jade: Jade hadn’t really expected Alana to find the man. They had waited too long. It should have been done on Sunday immediately following Jade’s departure from Elysium. But he praises Alana for the rest of the good work; he has other avenues he can pursue to locate the hunter.

GM: Alana beams at the praise.

Jade: Jade reaches into the bedside table to find his laptop, tapping in his password when prompted and then connecting to the Wi-Fi through a VPN.

“What do you know about Hensler,” he asks.

GM: “Sorry, master, I don’t know who that is,” she admits. “Maybe I could go to more lick events with you, to pick up on these things.”

Jade: “Mm,” Jade muses, “are you going to keep it in your pants if I bring you around?”

GM: “Of course, master. I don’t want to cause problems for you.”

“And I’d be more helpful to you that way, if I knew about things and people like Hensler.”

Jade: “It’s okay, darling. I know about Hensler. I wanted to see what you knew. But you’re right. That answer was… illuminating.”

Celia’s mother’s words about trust echo in Jade’s head. Alana will be a terrible teacher for Diana if she doesn’t know what she needs to.

“He’s one of Cartwright’s. Animal trainer, of sorts. If I’m not mistaken, either Nova or Roxy got one of their hounds from him.” Or sent one to him. Or liberated one from him; Jade doesn’t quite recall the details. “There was an incident at my mother’s house. I might get her a dog.”

A smile broadens his lips.

“His domitor and I discussed some collaborative work a while back that never quite got off the ground. Perhaps now the opportunity is ripe.”

Jade taps a handful of letters into the address bar of the laptop before he changes his mind and disconnects it from the Wi-Fi. He turns it off and reaches for his phone instead, scrolling through to find the text thread with Diana.

How’s Emi & Goose?

GM: “Your mother can get her own dog if she wants one,” hmphs Alana.

But she smiles as her domitor does.

“Maybe it is, master. I’ll remember that, who Hensler is. Cartwright’s ghoul.”

Diana texts back soon enough.

Hi sweetie. Things have been hairy. This was a very big change for Goose. You want to come over tonight?

Jade: “I like you more when you’re less insecure,” Jade sighs, nudging Alana with his elbow to move the girl off of him. He rises, tapping back an affirmative to Celia’s mother.

“The more secure her home, the less I need to visit.”

“The less I need to visit,” he says, padding across the room to the closet to pick out a variety of outfits for the evening, “the more time I spend with you.”

GM: “You’re right, master,” agrees Alana.

Jade: “Then don’t begrudge the time I spend setting her up for success. It saves in the long term.”

GM: “I guess it does, when you put it like that.”

“You said you wanted to go hunting tonight? Do you want to come by the spa, too?”

Jade: Jade turns to look over his shoulder at Alana, a dress in one hand and leggings in the other.

“Oh, darling. We’re not hunting kine tonight.”

GM: “What are we hunting tonight, then, master?” the ghoul smiles.

Jade: “Something a little more slippery.”

Jade doesn’t offer further on the subject, only tells Alana to get a message to Cartwright’s hag to set up a meeting, and to “be sure to clear it with his regent, once you get a date." A glance at the clock on his phone tells him that most of his kind probably isn’t even up yet.

Hunting. Then Diana. Then big game hunting.

Gonna grab dinner, but on my way, Jade texts to Diana.

GM: “I’ll do that later this evening, master,” nods Alana. “It might take me a little while to track down her number.”

Great, see you then. :)

Jade: “Text me when it’s done.”

Jade’s flesh begins to ripple and change as s/he peruses her/his closet for additional items. S/he asks where Alana left the male clothing as s/he packs a bag with tonight’s necessities.

GM: Alana tells him/her where they are in the closet. The clothes are stylish and range from casual to semiformal. The shoes have Jade’s female size but are male-appropriate.

Jade: S/he checks the lift on the shoes.

GM: As requested, there’s a discrete insole to boost his/her height by a bit.

Still pretty short for a man, but less short.

Jade: “Perfect,” the voice from the body says.

GM: Alana beams at the praise.

“Do you want me to come with you, mast… er, mistress? Cartwright’s hag might be easier to reach during the day anyway.”

Jade: S/he shakes her/his head.

“Not yet. I have some personal errands to run first. I was thinking about sending you over to see Ron. He mentioned he wanted to speak to me.”

Celia: The face finally settles into Celia’s. She pins up her hair with a deft flick of her wrist, letting stray tendrils of it cascade down her back and curl to frame her face.

“But I’d prefer to do it myself, truth be told.”

Celia: “Flawless as ever, mistress,” Alana purrs, reverently stroking a handful of that silky hair.

“Okay. I’m here if you need me for anything.”

Celia: “You’re a gem, ’Lana.”

GM: “You’re a star, mistress. You’ll be one in every sense of the word, too, after Ron comes through for you.”

“You deserve to be famous. More famous. You deserve to have people all through the world talking about you, idolizing you, wanting to be you. Worshiping you.”

Celia: “I know,” Celia says with a smile. “I will be.”

GM: The ghoul continues to reverently stroke Celia’s hair and face, then leans close to plant a trail of kisses along her domitor’s head.

“You’re the most beautiful, fabulous, incredible woman in all the world, mistress.”

Celia: Celia tolerates it while she gets ready. Then she’s gone, a trail of her signature scent in her wake and a final kiss lingering on Alana’s lips.

GM: “I love you, mistress,” the ghoul calls after her.

Tuesday evening, 22 March 2016, PM

Celia: Celia texts him on the way. It’s a casual text, an innocuous line about “being in the area” and “thinking about swinging by,” but they both know there’s nothing happenstance about it.

She sucks in her aura as she traverses the city streets—habit with this face after so many years—and keeps an eye in the rear view mirror. Perhaps to look for pursuers. Perhaps just to touch up her lipstick with the tip of one finger before she pulls into the complex where her friend is waiting. Nude heels click against the pavement with every step that she takes once she parks her car, dress dancing around her knees. Not too short, no, not for Celia. Not too formal, either. Casual. Maybe even a little risque, though the soft mauve color and fluttering skirt prevents it from being aggressively sexual.

Celia presses the number for his floor once she reaches the elevator and takes it up to knock upon his door.

GM: Celia’s date for the evening lives at a ritzy condo building in the CBD. He says he’ll let the people downstairs know to let her in. It’s a relatively long elevator ride up to his unit; she feels like there has to be some kind of metaphor there about the recent reversal in the Montobons’ declining fortunes. She vaguely recalls the family either currently or formerly owning a more historic property along St. Charles Avenue. Whether the Montobons lost it when times were tough, or whether Joseph simply prefers to live in the CBD’s more modern and forward-thinking environs, downtown is where he makes his home.

Working late, just getting off. I’ll meet you at the lobby.

The girl at the front desk is smiling and pleasant, the artwork trendy and contemporary, the plants bright and green, and the chairs around the unlit fireplace large and comfortable. Celia doesn’t have to occupy herself on her phone for long before her date for the evening comes in.

Joseph Montobon is a young and handsome man around 30 with short brown hair, strong facial features, clear blue eyes, and a very carefully maintained stubble outline suggestive of a beard without the actual hair. It gives him a crisp and focused look while making him look more masculine and mature than going clean-shaven. He’s dressed in office clothes, dark navy suit with black oxfords and white dress shirt, though his jacket is undone and his tie loosened in seeming concession to the late hour. All things told, he looks attractive, confident, healthy, successful—everything a man in the prime of his life should want to be.

Celia: And everything she wants in a man.

Celia is all smiles as she watches him approach, enjoying the way his jacket gapes open to reveal the smooth planes of a chest she is intimately familiar with. Right now it’s tucked away behind the white collared shirt, but soon…

She rises as he draws near, though she makes no move to greet him more personally than she would any other friend. The exact nature of their relationship has long been confined to behind closed doors.

“Hey, handsome.”

Well. It’s not like she doesn’t greet all her friends like that.

GM: Almost everything she’d want in a man.

He’s fit and healthy, but he’s not as buff as Roderick is. There’s no six pack swimming beneath that white shirt, even if the chest and stomach are smooth. There’s equally little question who would win in a fight, probably even before the Embrace.

He’s almost everything a breather might want in a man.

But to her kind?

Just another plaything.

Nevertheless, Joseph smiles as he sees Celia and greets her with a touch along her shoulder.

“Hey, cutie.”

He takes the elevator up with her.

“So how’s the biz?”

Celia: Celia doesn’t linger on thoughts of Roderick. He isn’t hers anymore. Perhaps he never truly was; perhaps they’d been doomed from the start. The monsters have been in her life for so long. And she knows Joseph is only a passing distraction, knows that she’d called on him because despite the lack of six pack abs he reminds her so thoroughly of her ex-lover. Because, were she kine, she could see herself happy with him. Instead she comes like a hungry wolf in the night.

No, she hasn’t forgotten what she is.

She’s just so very good at pretending.

Physical proximity comes naturally to Celia after spending years of her Requiem touching others. The predator inside of her doesn’t even stir when she casually leans against his side, as if quite by accident.

“It’s going well,” she enthuses, “busier than ever. Working on the expansion plan and have a few collabs coming up. More medically based. I’m pretty excited.”

The truth of the statement is in the smile she turns on him.

“What’s got you tied up this late?” A nod to the suit and tie.

GM: She’s always been good at pretending.

“Is it? Good for you,” Joseph smiles back, rubbing his hand up and down her side. “Expanding a business is one of the most satisfying things you can do.”

“For me, it’s work. Surprise.”

“If time is money, spending time on your business is giving it a cash infusion.”

Celia: It’s as easy as talking to Roderick once was. Her chest aches at the thought.

“And there’s never enough of it,” she says with an effected sigh. “Big project?”

GM: “Yeah. Contract with NASA.”

“Things got fucked up for a bit when our lead engineer disappeared.”

Celia: “Disappeared? Like quit or just vanished?”

“Think he was selling secrets to a competitor, maybe? People do weird things for money.”

GM: “Vanished. And yes, that’s part of what caused the delays. His wife was indirectly involved in some drug deal turned massacre. They sent her to prison. It made the news, but thankfully wasn’t ever connected to me. Enough degrees removed.”

Celia: “Oh good. Your piles of cocaine bricks are safe.” Celia shakes her head. “That’s… honestly crazy. Hopefully things have calmed down a little for you.”

GM: “It’s mainly losing my lead engineer that set things back. There was a lot to make up for.”

Celia: “I bet.” Celia gives his hand a squeeze. “I’d ask if you need anything, but y’know, not an engineer and all.”

GM: “Nah. Another guy I know stepped in and he’s been great.”

“Retired guy who knows what he’s doing.”

Joseph lets them into his condo after they’ve stepped out from the elevator.

Celia: She follows him inside, slipping out of her shoes and setting down her purse to pad after him through the space.

GM: It’s a nice place. Neat, clean, comfortable and modern-looking furniture, a few paintings, nice view of the waterfront. It looks like he’s rarely here to do anything besides eat, sleep, and (she knows) fuck.

Joseph takes off his shoes, removes his tie, and lays down his jacket over the couch.

“Was gonna grab some food from the fridge. You had dinner?”

Celia: “Not yet,” she says, “swinging by my mom’s later. She always has something waiting for when we show up.”

Maybe a new face could get a place here. Nice view. Celia steps toward the window, already wondering what it would take to get away with making a haven in the building.

“They allow pets here?”

GM: “Hm, good question. Probably. Moot for me.”

“Had dogs growing up, but I’m not around enough to give one attention.”

Celia: “Could get a cat. Or a bird.”

GM: “Cat still needs attention, and birds aren’t real pets.”

Celia: “Maybe a turtle,” she muses, turning to join him in the kitchen.

GM: “You want a drink?” he asks, pulling open the fridge.

Celia: She does.

“Watcha got?” Celia slides in behind him, touching a hand to the small of his back.

She peers over his shoulder.

“Tell you what,” she says, “I’ll mix up some cocktails and you get started on dinner.”

GM: He’s got some Ten Tickle microbrews and Woody Creek Kentucky bourbon. The latter kept outside the fridge.

“You sure? I was gonna wait on dinner if you’re eating at your mom’s.”

Celia: “You worked all day,” Celia says, stepping away to find a pair of rocks glasses for the bourbon. “I’m sure you’re hungry. Besides,” she glances at him over her shoulder, “I’ll probably steal a bite before you’re done.”

She finds the glasses in a cabinet and has to stretch to reach them, rising to the tips of her toes.

GM: “Works.”

Joseph grabs something from the fridge and sticks it in the microwave.

Celia: “Master chef,” Celia teases, getting to work on the cocktails. Ice in both. A pour of whiskey in both. Celia raids his refrigerator for lemon juice and soda water—or any bubbly, fizzy clear drink—and tuts at his lack of simple syrup. No soda water, either. She supposes it’s not something most people keep on hand. But there’s maple syrup in another cabinet. And a jar of honey.


She glances as the rocks glasses and shakes her head, putting them back to find something taller. She grabs the cocktail shaker while she’s at it.

“Don’t suppose you have Campari,” she says as she pours the bourbon and ice from one glass into the shaker. The Italian liquor is nowhere to be seen. “Hm, back in a flash.”

Celia carries one of the glasses into the living room where she’d left her purse, pretending to search through it while the flesh on her wrist ripples and parts, exposing a blood vessel to the air. That, too, parts with just a thought, and Celia thanks Jade for the cool trick while she bleeds into the cup. She makes sure he’s busy looking elsewhere—the microwave is really interesting all of a sudden—while she works and sets things back to normal.

It doesn’t take long to mix the drinks after that. Lemon juice and honey join the bourbon in the shaker. She caps it and shakes until the container itself is cold, then strains it into a glass for him.

“Gold Rush,” she announces as she hands it over. “And this is… well, it was going to be a Boulevardier, but no vermouth. So we’ll see.”

She clinks her glass against his in a toast.

GM: “Busy chef,” retorts Joseph.

It’s interesting mixing drinks like this when she never really got to enjoy them, or even learn much of anything about them, as one of the kine. Drinking was always out of the question at her father’s house, her mother had the desire literally programmed out of her, and Stephen only drank occasionally. Emily was the person deepest in her cups that Celia ever knew, and she wasn’t big on mixing drinks, just swigging tequila and cheap shitty stuff out of the bottle.

Maybe in another life she’d have been a connoisseur.

Joseph raptly watches the microwave’s rotating dish before using an oven mitt to take out what looks like some leftover chicken alfredo. He carries it to the counter while Celia carries the drinks.

“Fancy,” he says, impressed, and toasts his glass to hers with that praise.

Celia: She spends enough time at bars to know the names and common ingredients. Better for the Masquerade. And better to know a few drinks that look red, like hers, to avoid questions.

“Mostly,” she admits, sipping at her drink, “I can’t stand the taste of it straight.”

GM: Drinking one’s own blood, for all the lust-sweetened flavor of Celia own, just never does it like someone else’s. It’s like masturbating. You’re simply missing out without a partner, even if you’re objectively a far better lay than they are.

The mixed-in ice and bourbon just make it worse. This is like masturbating with a hand that’s coated in sewage.

She supposes it beats having a sewage-coated hand without masturbating, but it’s really just a different degree of bad.

Celia: But as she’d shown Emily, at least it lets her get a little bit tipsy.

Well. A lot bit tipsy that night. She’s gonna slow it down tonight.

GM: “Think more guys prefer it straight,” remarks Joseph, tossing his back before starting on the steaming food. He’s brought out an additional fork and napkin for her.

“I’ve known girls who did too, but not as many.”

Celia: Celia leans a hip against the counter while he eats, sipping slowly at her drink. She doesn’t let the distaste cross her face, not even to wrinkle her cute little nose.

“Acquired taste, they say. Had a friend who used to wax poetic about notes of cherry and vanilla and oak whenever he drank. Open it up with a little drop of water. He’d be livid if he saw me mixing it like this.” Celia smiles at him over the rim of her glass.

GM: “Ha. Sounds like a snob.”

Celia: “He was. Glad he moved, to be honest. One of those people you end up with as a friend and you’re not really sure how but they kinda just keep coming around.”

GM: Joseph takes another bite of alfredo.

“I know how that is. Lot of them are pretty bad friends.”

“When things weren’t doing so well at the business, a lot of them drifted away.”

“Now that things are better, surprise. They’re back.”

Celia: “You get that everywhere,” Celia sighs. “People disappear once the whispering starts, then change their story once it’s over. Hope you told them where to shove it.”

GM: He shakes his head.

“Alienating people doesn’t do me any favors.”

“But I remember who my real friends are. And who the fair weather friends are.”

Celia: “That’s fair,” she concedes. “Think I’m just… annoyed right now with some who went that way.”

GM: “What happened there?”

Celia: Celia shakes her head.

“It’s not quite the same. Just finally parted ways with a friend only to find out some really dumb stuff was going on behind my back with the whole family and another friend.”

GM: “Too bad, but least you finally cut them loose.”

Celia: “Just makes me wonder what the mutual friend is still keeping from me, since she didn’t bother mentioning it until they were gone.”

GM: “Could be she was lying and trying to make you split. Or just didn’t figure you’d believe her until you decided to split.”

“Depending when she told you.”

Celia: “Last night. Wasn’t quite ready to write off the whole family, just the one kid who kept causing problems. Spoke about it to her.”

Celia shrugs. “Minor problems, I guess.”

GM: “You writing them off now?”

Celia: She shrugs again. “Guess I’ll see what they have to say if they come around again.”

“Someone cute once told me that alienating people doesn’t do me any favors.”

GM: Joseph smiles. “It doesn’t. Though if they’ve walked off, sounds like they’d only be fair weather friends if they came back.”

“Because they wanted something.”

Celia: Blood, mostly. But Celia doesn’t share that with him. She smiles back, setting down her drink to slide her arms around him.

“Everyone wants something. What about you?”

GM: “Restore the business. Grow the business. Make my family’s name respected again. Pass it along to a son.”

“Everything I do is for that. My family used to be important. Few of us went into politics, back in the day.”

“My dad really bungled things.”

Celia: “Did they? I don’t think you’ve mentioned that to me before.”

GM: “Yep. My grandpa ran for mayor. Lost, obviously. Pretty ancient history now.”

“It’s not something I’d want to do, but my mom says she’d love a grandson who went into public service.”

Celia: “So one son for the business, and another who goes into politics. What about the rest of them?”

GM: “Two boys’d be enough for me.”

“Maybe a girl too.”

Celia: She’d meant it to be light-hearted and fun speculation, but it’s too close to another memory, too clear a reminder that this isn’t a world where she fits anymore.

GM: “But kinda feel like I’m already being half a dad to my younger sister.”

Celia: “How old now?” She reaches once more for her drink. It’s disgusting, but isn’t all booze? It still does the trick. If her body weren’t so carefully controlled her cheeks might begin to flush.

But she’s dead. So they don’t. Not unless she wills it.

“Joseph,” she says slowly, swirling the blood and bourbon around her glass, “if it’s not too personal… what happened with your dad?”

GM: “Sixteen,” he says. “Still living with my mom. Other sister’s 24.”

“My dad killed himself.”

“Left a note and blew his brains out.”

Celia: Celia’s eyes briefly close. She’d meant the business. What happened with the business that his dad had bungled. But perhaps it was the suicide that had done it.

She murmurs an apology for bringing it up, returning her drink to the counter and sliding her arms around him, cheek pressed against his chest. Her fingers move across the shirt covering his back, slow and soothing.

GM: “It’s fine,” he says. The way he wraps an arm around her and squeezes her shoulder makes it seem more like he’s comforting her than the other way around. “I’ve had a bunch of people bring it up way worse than that.”

“Even had some try to use it against me.”

Celia: Celia stares up at him. “What? Why? How even—?”

GM: “That sort of thing can tank a company’s value if you let it. Make investors or business partners not want to associate themselves. Plummet stock values. Wind up in newspapers. Ruin workplace morale.”

“Competitors might want to air dirty laundry to ruin you.”

“Or unscrupulous types who want to buy up a business after they drive down its value.”

“Again, sort of situation where you find out who your real friends are.”

Celia: “People are just…” she shakes her head.

“I mean, I get it, I guess. Use what you can to get ahead. But wow, just…” she trails off. “My dad mentioned he might run for higher office. I keep wondering if there’s going to be some ugly digging into our family history because of it.”

“You expect it in politics, you know? I guess I didn’t think it’d show up everywhere else too.”

“Naive of me.”

GM: “It shows up everywhere. It’s just worst in politics. So if your dad’s running, yeah, I’d expect to deal with the paparazzi.”

“And any ugly old stories to get dug back up.”

Celia: “Gross. I’m changing my name and moving.”

GM: “Good luck.”

“Some people thought I should do that, though, just sell and move to Florida.”

Celia: “Doesn’t sound much like you.”

GM: “Nope.”

Celia: “Unless you want to run off together.” Celia wiggles her eyebrows at him.

GM: “Ha ha. Maybe for a weekend getaway sometime.”

Celia: “That could be fun.”

GM: “I know a bunch of people who like to yacht across the Gulf.”

Celia: “Hmm. I was just looking into one.”

GM: “Funny timing. Just be sure not to fall off and drown like the Malveaux kid.”

Celia: “I’ll buy some arm floaties.”

GM: “Perfect.”

“My mom was really unhappy things didn’t work out with Savannah, marrying up and all, but right now I feel like I got the better end of the deal.”

Celia: “Hard, losing someone that young. Losing someone before their time no matter the age, really.”

GM: “Harder losing two someones like they did.”

Celia: Celia can only nod in agreement, thinking of her own family. Her mother losing two daughters. Henry losing his son, his daughter walking the edge of a tightrope to stay safe so he doesn’t lose her, too.

GM: “Crazy what that family’s been through lately. Wonder if someone has it out for them.”

Celia: She can think of who.

“You think foul play?”

GM: Joseph shrugs. “There’s plenty people who don’t like them. Didn’t get where they are being nice.”

“I don’t know if there was or not, but it’s sure possible.”

Celia: Probable, even, but she doesn’t say.

“I heard a story once about how everyone who is ever successful has to make a deal with the devil to get there.”

“One of those real heavy-handed morality stories.”

“Maybe they sacrificed a goat once and now it’s coming back to haunt them.”

Her smile slips.

“That’s kind of worrying to think about. Being a target because someone doesn’t like your family. I’m, ah… well, glad you’re not involved anymore.”

For many reasons, like the fact that if he were she wouldn’t be here.

“I used to date a guy who said his family was threatened a few times because of his dad’s job.”

GM: “What was that, cop?”

Celia: “DA.”

GM: “Not surprised there.”

“I think there’s some truth to that story, anyway. Success doesn’t come without work and pain, and plenty people want to take shortcuts.”

Celia: “And here you are slaving away for hours and hours and hours instead of drawing occult symbols on your floor.”

GM: “Ha. Well, I’m sure there’s plenty people who would if they thought it’d get them results.”

Celia: Her father certainly had.

What deal had he made with her sire? Giving up his first born? She’d been there that night; had he realized, even then, that she isn’t Maxen’s child, or had it been later?

Is that why they took Isabel too?

Celia forces a smile, dismissing the thoughts. She’s being silly. She turns to pick up her drink and finish it off, draining the contents.

GM: “What really gets you through the tough times is friends. People with friends they can count on don’t make devil’s deals.”

Celia: It’s like a knife in her chest.

Maybe it’s not too—

She can’t finish the thought. The collar tugs, reminding her of her job. Her place.

“Knowing that someone is there for you, even if you’re at your worst… that’s pretty priceless. Imagine it would get someone through a lot.”

GM: “Yeah. I’ve been lucky. Not everyone is.”

Celia: Not that it had helped him escape the rumors.

“D’you want to—” she falters. She came here for blood. Sex. Not to get further involved with the kine. There’s no future here. Pretending otherwise is stupid.

He’s not just going to replace Stephen for her.

GM: “You okay?” he asks at her pause, eyebrows raising slightly.

Celia: No.


She’d ruined someone.

“Just thinking.”

Sold him out.

“I lost someone close to me recently. Watched him kind of… spiral out of control. Think there was more I could have done to prevent it.”

Turned him into a monster.

“I miss him.”

She broke him.

Celia lets out a breath.

“Little close to home is all.”

GM: “Maybe there was, maybe there wasn’t. Only person we can be totally responsible for is ourselves.”

Celia: “When did you get so wise.”

GM: “Ha. I’m not wise.”

“Sorry for your loss. Maybe you should lay some flowers on his grave.”

“Still do that with my dad, every now and then.”

Celia: “Does it help?”

GM: “A bit. Helps my sisters more than me, I think.”

“Girl thing.”

Celia: “Girls and their silly emotions.”

GM: “I mean, call it sexist, but they are more emotional. That’s my experience.”

Celia: “Or more willing to show their emotions, at least.”

“I don’t think our brains really produce more or less chemicals on average.”

GM: “I think it’s more than that, even if it is that too.”

“How’d he die, if it isn’t too raw?”

Celia: “ODed. He was going through a tough time and started getting into harder and harder things as the time passed. Hanging out with some sketchy people. Lost some of his support systems all at once, so it was… was a bigger blow than I realized at the time.”

GM: “That’s pretty rough. At least he had you there for him.”

Celia: “No,” she says, “I wasn’t there when he needed me. I could make excuses about having my own family things going on, and that’s true, but in the end I messed up.”

GM: “You think you could’ve saved him?”

Celia: “Yeah. I do.”

GM: “That’s pretty rough, too. Sometimes there isn’t a happy ending.”

Celia: “I’ll get to feel guilty about it for the rest of my life, so that’s something to look forward to.”

GM: “What do you think he’d want you to do?”

Celia: Die in a fire, probably.

“The guy I used to know would want me to move on. The person he turned into would want me to suffer like he had.”

GM: “Well, you didn’t give him the pipe or sell him whatever he OD’d on.”

“Either that last dose or the first one.”

“You’re not responsible for someone else’s bad habit.”

Celia: “Thanks. I appreciate you saying that.”

Even if it’s not true. She manages a smile, subdued though it is.

GM: “Least I can do. Also the most.” Joseph finishes his glass.

Celia: “That’s not quite true.”

She takes his empty glass and sets it aside, stepping into the circle of his arms. Her palms flatten against his chest, lips parting slightly as she lifts her gaze to his face.

GM: She doesn’t see it for long, at least from a distance, before Joseph meets her lips with his. His hands encircle her waist, roaming up and down her hips as his tongue explores her mouth. She remembers, as a 19-year-old with Stephen, wondering what to even do with her hands.

Celia: She doesn’t wonder now. She starts at the top of his shirt and works her way down, deftly unbuttoning as she goes without ever breaking away from his lips to watch what she’s doing.

GM: Joseph busies himself pulling off her dress, then undoes the clasp to her bra while continuing to kiss her. He hefts her off his lap, sets her down, then pulls at her hand, leading her to the couch.

Roderick could’ve just carried her there.

Celia: Maybe she’ll give Joseph a little something back so he can be just as strong.

She strips from her panties as they go, leaving them on the floor, and slides right back onto his lap once they reach the couch. Finished with his shirt, she pulls it open to run her hands down his chest, admiring the view of his body beneath hers. He’s not Roderick, no, but he’s certainly no slouch. A moment later her lips follow, fingers pulling at his belt, then the buttons and zipper of his pants. She slides them past his hips and off of him until, for an instant, she’s kneeling on the floor in front of him.

This is why Reggie had left. This, right here, this unwillingness to put a cock in her mouth now that she’s a lick. But she’d sucked off Roderick, hadn’t she. There’s nothing less than about doing this, not anymore than her kind would see the sex itself. So she kisses the inside of one thigh. Then she does the other. And finally she brings him into her mouth.

GM: Reggie wanted something for so long that she freely gave to another.

Perhaps, in that regard, he and his brother are not so different.

Joseph enthusiastically lets Celia please him with mouth and tongue, but has her stop short before he cums, so that he can enter her between her legs as well. It’s a pleasant change of pace to go back to after she was the one to fill Alana, but Celia has a newfound appreciation for what the experience is like for male partners. Is her pussy silky soft like Alana’s? Does it feel like the most natural place in the entire world for a man to be? Joseph seems to think so, if his face and rapid movements are any indication. He’s vigorous and hungry and looks like he relishes every moment with the incomparably gorgeous (and experienced) woman beneath him. He lasts a while before he cums and fills her with his seed, collapsing onto the couch with her in a sweaty heap.

“I needed that,” he pants.

Celia: His seed isn’t the only thing that fills her; she waits until his breathing changes, until he can’t quite hold back the sounds he’s making, until he twitches inside of her. Then she bites. She’d come over with the intention to drink her fill and then leave him a bloody mess in her wake, but something decent that might be a conscience or a promise made last night makes her stop after a single hit.

The taste of his blood is enough to bring her over the edge she’d been riding from the sex, and once she licks his neck closed and cleans off her lips with her tongue she’s content to lie beneath him, satisfied smile in place. Her chest rises and falls in mimicry of his.

“Yeah,” she nods, taking unnecessary breaths, “me too.”

GM: Joseph’s blood tastes crisp and energetic. It’ss got a dark, woody undercurrent that’s harder to place her finger on, but the Kentucky bourbon gives it a good further seasoning and leaves Celia feeling pleasantly buzzed. The simultaneous orgasm is a bonus: there’s no sensation quite like feeding while cumming.

Joseph nods sleepily, looking a little paler. Perhaps the late-working man would be a weakly breathing, near-motionless heap if she’d drank as deeply as she’d intended.

Celia: Decent, she thinks, but still a monster. Still feeding off of others to exist.

Celia presses a kiss against his lips as his lids begin to droop, lightly teasing that it had “taken a lot out of him.” She excuses herself to the restroom to freshen up and rejoins him after a moment, letting him know that she turned the water on to warm up for a shower.

She says she’ll bring a movie next time, or maybe work out that knot in his traps for him, but she understands that tonight he just wants to lie down. Celia doesn’t overstay her welcome. She even cleans up their plates and glasses before she goes, sticking them neatly into the dishwasher.

Then she’s gone, leaving his place as intact as she’d found it. Almost like she’d never been.

GM: Almost.


Calling People

Not gonna lie, it gets real fuckin’ annoying when people Celia is close to (krewe) don’t answer their phones. Like Jesus Christ, at least text back. Annoyed with Fabian here for his vague message about the meeting; why not just say there’s a fight? Like fuck dude how did the entire faction of Bourbons find out about it, even Andi knew about it when she was out of the city, but Jade had no idea?

Honestly the flow of information in game is actually kind of annoying. Celia shouldn’t have to hunt down information about events like this. How the fuck had anyone else known? How had Veronica or Preston or the other nobodies known? Like fuck dude if they know why doesn’t she?

“Did you hear about that big event coming up?” Nah man I was busy jacking off.

Like. ????

Do not like the anxiety that it sends me spiraling into when people don’t get back to her over little shit.

Forgot what I wanted Durant for. Something dumb, probably. Also lookit him being a douche and not answering his phone either. What’s the point of a cell phone if you don’t pick up.



As always, amused by Alana. Happy to get to fuck her like I wanted. With a dick and all. Celia is going to have a ball with this new power of hers; honestly, I know I’ve said this, but man it’s real fuckin’ cool. Enjoyed the description of sex from the male perspective. It’s not often that I read or write things from that POV. Still leaves me wondering what it feels like when a dude gets off, but I guess I also have a hard time explaining how it feels when I get off, so… Y’know, words can only do so much.

Was a little thrown off when Alana said Courtney wasn’t a friend since they’re listed as Allies, but aight. She’ll dangle the bait and reel her in.

So. I didn’t roll Empathy on Alana here about the mom kiss even though I kind of suspected she was lying, specifically because I wanted Celia to have an excuse to go after the Nossies. I figured I shouldn’t “confirm” it until I had that opportunity. Not that she really needs much reason to go after the Nossies, but why not, ya feel?

Interesting insight to Reggie during this conversation. I do sometimes worry that Celia is too soft with her ghouls and that it leads to this sort of rebelliousness. I keep thinking that if I do end up getting Jamal after the fight I don’t really have a way to control him, but that goes for any fighter really. Anyone she hires as muscle could probably take her one on one. Will need to figure something else out since they don’t really respect her and only humor her.

Was not happy to find out that Reggie tried to rape someone. What the fuck man. And she didn’t tell Celia! Like damn what a chach. I feel bad for Mira. Glad Alana was able to accomplish the things I wanted her to do during the day. Relatively easy things but it’s always nice to be reminded that she’s competent. Shame about the bugs. I assume I didn’t roll well enough for her, so Celia will have it swept again (as she’s already mentioned), and get one of those electronic failure things.

Excited to finally maybe meet Hensler and Cartwright!

Joseph Montobon

I’m glad I finally got to see Montobon, too. He was someone I’ve been interested in for a very long time. I think I originally wanted to have Celia date him as a mortal cover but she ended up doing so with Randy instead. Maybe now is the time to revisit.

I really like him as a character. Yeah he reminds me a little bit of Roderick, which might be why, but I did enjoy the scene with him. He’s very polite. Definitely interested in seeing more of him. Would like to deepen their relationship.

“Acquired taste, they say. Had a friend who used to wax poetic about notes of cherry and vanilla and oak whenever he drank. Open it up with a little drop of water. He’d be livid if he saw me mixing it like this.” Oh hey that’s my friend! Wasn’t a snob and wouldn’t mock me for mixing anything, but we did go to whiskey bars together to try new things. Was sad when he moved. Also I used to drink it straight. Taught myself to like it because I wanted to be a tomboy and a manly man.

“Someone cute once told me that alienating people doesn’t do me any favors.” Tehehe I like flirty Celia.

After they hooked up and everything Celia was going to ask how his mom would feel about dating / marrying a governor’s daughter, but I didn’t end up saying that. I think I was mostly worried about people who know she’s a vampire getting nosy and stuff.

Think the “flowers on the grave” thing might actually be something Celia does. Says goodbye to Stephen at his gravestone in like a final farewell before she lets him go. Liked that she was sweet enough to clean up after herself. Trying that whole “being decent” thing. She’s gonna have to take him on a real date one of these days.

Celia VII, Chapter XI
False_Epiphany False_Epiphany