“I have eternity ahead of me; I’d like to actually do something with it.”
Tuesday night, 22 March 2016, PM
Jade: Hunger prevents her from simply stalking out into the night. She fishes through her bag for the two pints of blood leftover from the thin-blood she and Draco had murdered the night before, sticking it into the microwave to heat. She drinks it down. Irritation surges through her. She should have had an easier time of things at the club; distracted by her emotions she no doubt moved past a dozen other kine that would have made an easy meal.
But the blood is a reminder that she has things to fix. She doesn’t doubt that Pete is going to check in on Emily sooner rather than later, and she’d rather have a plan in place than not. It’ll help her mom, too. Keep her from that wretched, addicted state.
Jade changes. Heeled boots, leather leggings, a double layer of tank tops beneath a hooded jacket. She pulls it up even as she succumbs to the embrace of the shadows around her, more at home in them now than she has ever been before.
She takes off into the night, heading toward Jackson Park. While she walks she pulls her phone from her pocket, uses another burner app, and dials the number on the back of Joel’s credit card.
GM: “Hello, thank you for calling Bank of Columbia,” greets a recorded female voice. “This call may be recorded.”
Jade is asked to enter the last four digits of her ATM debit card number, social security number, or tax ID. Jade is given a menu of options to pick from after doing so. Live representatives, fortunately for her, are available 24/7.
Jade: Jade’s vocal chords change without her needing to do anything more than will it. Even if it isn’t a proper match, a bank rep will have no idea, and a recording even less.
“Transactions,” she says into the phone.
GM: “One moment,” replies the stilted voice.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are no transactions after the date he ran into Jade.
Jade: That’s good, it cuts down on the list. She needs the ones from before.
GM: There’s a variety of mundane transactions for things like grocery purchases, as well as a bus ticket to New Orleans. It was purchased a few days ago.
Jade: She’s looking specifically for a hotel, hostel, motel, or other rental property.
Though she makes a mental note of the date of the purchase for the ticket to NOLA.
GM: She gets the name of a hotel that some googling shows to be in Central City. Only $25 per night.
Jade: Who needs Reggie and Rusty, she thinks, tucking the address of the hotel away for later. She’ll catch a Ryde after she finishes at the Square.
GM: At this hour, Jackson Square is closed down. The ghost tours are over and even the crowds of visitors that gather around the back fence of St. Anthony’s Garden to take pictures of the giant shadow cast by the “Touchdown Jesus” statue are all gone. The square’s iron gate is closed and locked so that homeless people don’t sleep inside. Instead they sleep outside, with all of their dogs. Or they don’t sleep. They piss, shit, vomit, fuck, and shoot up.
Concealed by shadow, this time, no crowds of disheveled panhandlers harass Jade for money. A few dogs, though, growl at the Toreador’s passage… they are not fooled by her.
Jade can’t tell the thin-bloods by scent and sound, like she can her own kind. But there is a heady scent of blood wafting from one of the kicking sleeping bags.
Jade ignores the dogs unless they come close to her, lifting a hand and murmuring an “easy” to them. She crouches beside the sleeping bag to peer at its owner.
GM: She finds a shirtless, pale-skinned man with a red bandanna burying his face into the neck of a gasping man underneath him. An adjacent cardboard sign reads, TOO UGLY 2 PROSTITUTE!!!!!
Jade: Jade isn’t so rude as to interrupt the meal. She lets him finish.
GM: A little while passes before he sits up. He looks in maybe his 30s, with a scraggly brown beard and features that could be passably attractive under better circumstances.
“That’s the shit, isn’t it?” he says to the man in the sleeping bag, who gives a bovine grunt.
Jade: Glad he has enough sense not to slaughter the man, Jade gives him a moment to extricate himself from the bag before she speaks up, shattering the illusion for him, at least.
GM: The man does so in short enough order. Besides the bandanna, he’s dressed in dirty black pants and high-top gray sneakers.
He freezes at Jade’s address and looks her over with something between fear and anger.
“What the fuck do you want?”
Jade: Jade smiles at him, showing the tips of her fangs behind her perfectly curved lips.
“Possibly an offer, if you want more of that.” A nod toward the kine in the bag.
GM: “All right, what?” the thin-blood says warily.
Jade: “Do you have things here?” she asks, casting a glance along the assortment of people. “Gather them. Come with me.”
GM: “I’m not stupid,” says the thin-blood. He still looks alarmed, and in no rush to go off alone with her.
Jade: “If I wanted you dead, darling, I could do it here. I only desired to step away from prying ears.” She tilts her head to one side, considering the thin-blood. “I’m looking for someone and wondered if you could point me in the right direction.”
GM: “All right, who?” he asks.
Jade: “An alchemist.”
GM: “What’s in it for me?”
Jade: “A bath and change of clothes, for starters. Following that, a hot meal.”
GM: “Fuck the bath, just gonna get dirty again, aren’t I?” says the thin-blood.
“I want out. Canal Street. Get me that, I can hook you up with a GREAT alchemist.”
Jade: “Done,” Jade says easily.
GM: The thin-blood looks surprised by that answer. And still suspicious.
Jade: “Done as in the lord and I are closer than many think. Done as in until I have it officially cleared I can offer you better.”
GM: “Okay, what’s better?”
Jade: “Off Bourbon.”
“I have a block between Bourbon and Dauphine. You’ll have access to a portion of it until we get Canal for you.”
GM: The thin-blood regards Jade warily.
“What’s gonna stop you from just leavin’ me high and dry, after I hook you up?”
“Actually, fuck it, I’ll just take cash and juice.”
Jade: “Prudent.” Jade smiles again. “I have an interest in what you can do and would have offered an ongoing deal, but we’ll settle it up with cash and juice, then.”
GM: “Okay, I want… $2,000, and a donor.”
Jade: “I’ll give you $500 now, $500 after I meet your contact, and take you hunting.”
GM: The thin-blood considers that.
“Okay. The hunting before you meet him.”
Jade: “Bring your things, darling. We’re going clubbing.”
Wednesday night, 23 March 2016, AM
GM: The thin-blood brings his things. There aren’t a ton. Just a stuffed- and worn-looking backpack he slings over his bare shoulders.
Plus a sleeping bag.
Jade: Jade asks the thin-blood for his name during their trek. It doesn’t need to be a real name, she offers, just something to call him by. She gives him her own if he asks, and tells him they’re making a quick stop on the way.
“I run a spa,” she says, “on Royal. If you’re coming out with me we’re going to get you washed and changed. It’s all about appearances out here, sweetheart.” That last line is delivered with a tiny quirk of her lips that could mean a dozen different things.
She lets them in through the employee entrance and leads him to one of the Swiss showers, offering a towel and assorted bathing supplies.
GM: “You can call me Jake,” says the thin-blood.
He doesn’t disagree with her logic about the clubs, and seems to figure what the hell. He’ll wash up.
Jade: Jade gathers a few more things while he does so. Clippers and scissors, a clean outfit—shopaholic, she has clothes and accessories everywhere—and pulls a thousand dollars from the safe behind the counter. She keeps the bills small, tucks five hundred into one pocket and five hundred into a small plastic bag that goes inside her stomach. Just in case.
Once he’s out she asks if his hair still grows, and if he’ll let her trim it for him.
GM: “Yeah,” he nods in answer. “Not as fast as it used to. But no thanks.”
Jade: “Shame,” she murmurs, putting away the clippers, “I imagine you’re rather cute beneath all that. Come on then.”
She offers to let him leave his things here if he wants, but it’s no skin off her back if not. They walk toward her turf on Bourbon and Jade peppers him with questions: how long he’s been like this, does he know who Embraced him, where he stays during the day and whether or not the sun hurts him, if he’s figured out how to totem twist, what he did prior to his half-death.
GM: With visible reluctance, Jake decides to leave his things at the spa, figuring that toting around a sleeping bag and worn-looking backpack will make it harder to pick someone up at the club. Between the bath and shirt, he looks pretty cleaned up, though his beard and hair are scraggly enough he could probably blend back in among the homeless.
“Why do you give a shit ’bout all that?” he asks, suspiciously.
Jade: “Idle curiosity. I’ve made a study of anatomy and physiology among kine and Kindred, and you fall somewhere in between. I think it’s interesting.” She casts a glance at him, offering a small, amused smile. “And the walk would be awfully quiet without making conversation.”
GM: “I been a vampire maybe a year, I don’t wanna talk about that, I ain’t gonna tell you where I sleep, I dunno what that is, and I was a traveler.”
Jade: “I only wanted to know if you had a safe place during the day,” Jade says with a dismissive wave of her hand. She moves on to a less-intrusive topic. “Where all have you traveled?”
GM: “’Cross the country. Me and my friends were in Lubbock before we freighthopped to NOLA.”
“Fuckin’ awful city.”
Jade: “Have you done that since? Traveled outside of here, I mean.”
GM: “No, there’s all sortsa shit out there, isn’t there?”
Jade: “That’s what I’ve heard.”
GM: “You donno?”
Jade: Jade shrugs. “It’s as dangerous for us to travel as it is for you. Perhaps more so. Loops can sniff us out. I’ve run into plenty of monsters on city streets, but none while I was on the road.”
GM: “Fuckin’ awful city,” Jake repeats, spitting to the side.
Jade: She doesn’t disagree.
“Where would you rather be?”
GM: “I didn’t mind what I was doin’ earlier. I got by. Saw the country, didn’t work a stupid 9 to 5.”
Jade: “Freedom,” Jade says with a smile.
GM: “Yeah, fuck the man an’ all that.”
Jade: “You might enjoy Houston. Or LA.”
Jade: “Something to consider for a later date,” Jade says with another shrug. “Come on then. It’s open mic night.”
She leads the way into The Cat’s Meow.
GM: “The fuck?” he grouses. “Come on, I just wanna grab a girl, not sing an’ shit.”
Jade: Jade rolls her eyes. “That’s what we’re doing, darling. I only meant there’s significantly more people here than a normal Tuesday would warrant.”
“Make sure you do it somewhere discreet,” she adds as they walk inside. “You still show up on cameras.”
Jade buys drinks for the pair of them, casting her eyes through the crowd for a likely target while it’s mixed and poured.
GM: Open mic night at The Cat’s Meow goes well. Some people play the guitar. Some play the piano. Some sing. The crowd claps and seems very into it. Jake elects not to take the mic and strikes it up with a girl in the crowd. Jade does, though, and is showered with applause and admirers. People can’t get enough of her. Guys can’t get enough of her. Many invite her back to their places. She has her pick of the litter. It’s so unfortunate she’s full, or as close to full as she can be from lighter sips, anyway. Feeding from a handsome guy in the back of his car still feels good, though. She feels the rush of all-natural sweet flavor across her tongue, running down her throat. It tastes like lust, yes, but also like adoration. It tastes like cheers and applause and calls for more. It tastes like everyone loving her and being unable to get enough of her. It tastes like people bowing down before her… and it tastes like she could now make them, even those who weren’t here to see her tonight, through the Blood.
Jake, last she saw him, disappeared into the bathroom with his girl.
Jade: It’s a heady, intoxicating rush. This is what she exists for, why she was made: the adoration of a crowd. The invites back to their places. The smiles and catcalls and whistles and suggestive looks. The dancing, first with one boy and then the next, until she winds up in the arms of her ideal partner in the ideal situation: on his lap with his throat bared to her teeth, her pockets full of phone numbers from hopeful admirers and future meals.
She’s not hungry. Not really. But she feasts, taking this majesty with her, letting it roll and flow across her tongue to slake a thirst that’s never truly quenched. When she’s done she licks closed the evidence of her deed, pressing a kiss against his lips instead.
He’s kine, just a passing fancy for this one night in the back of his car, not real.
But that’s all she wants right now.
Wednesday night, 23 March 2016, AM
GM: Jake expectantly collects the $500 from Jade and goes back to Flawless with her to collect his things.
“‘Kay, he’s at Rampart.”
“I’ll lead you there. You got the other 500?”
Jade: “Yes,” she says, calling for a Ryde for the pair of them. “You two on good terms?”
GM: “Yeah, we’re tight, sometimes I sell him shit and buy his shit.”
“Lemme see it. The money. You can hang onto it, but I wanna see it.”
Jade: Jade gives him a look. “I took you to my business, took you to my domain, and got you a vessel. Do you really think I’m going to stiff you over $500?”
GM: “Hey, why not.”
“If you’re not gonna, doesn’t cost you anything to show it.”
“Not like I can take it from a full-blood, is it?”
Jade: “Not without retaliation,” Jade says with a smile. “But it does cost me something to show you.” She leans in close, whispering in his ear, “I’ve got it tucked into a secret hiding spot.”
GM: He gives her a look. “Uh, why?”
Jade: “Because these pants are too tight for me to put a wad that big into my pockets.”’
GM: “Okay, like… there are purses.”
Jade: “Mm, good target for thieves. Not worth the hassle.”
“I didn’t roll it into my twat, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
GM: “Rather have it up a girl’s pussy than her ass.”
“Might still be something to lick.” He makes a face.
Jade: “Does that still do it for you?”
There’s no judgment in her voice, just curiosity.
GM: “Yeah, I’m not a fag.”
Jade: “Mm. Majority of ‘em can’t get it up anymore.”
“What did you mean when you said earlier that he buys your stuff?”
GM: “Sometimes he pays me to get shit for him.”
Jade: “Like what?”
“Are you good at that, getting shit?”
GM: “Random shit. Bones, gas, vape juice, soda, pills, just random shit.”
GM: “Yeah, I knew a guy with a dead dog, he said he wanted the bones.”
Jade: “Huh. He say why?”
GM: “Nope, and don’t wanna know.”
“But yeah, I guess I’m good at it.”
Jade: “What else are you good at?”
GM: Jake shrugs. “What’s it to you?”
Jade: “Maybe I could use your services too.”
“If you tick the right boxes.”
“Though you’re rather reticent to offer anything that might tempt me.”
GM: By this point they’ve left Flawless and are walking towards Rampart. It’s along the same route Celia takes to her mom’s house.
“Okay, I’m good at surviving, I guess. Did okay for years after I left home.”
Jade: “Good in a fight?”
“Surviving in the wilderness, or in cities?”
“Come on, Jake,” she says, nudging him lightly in the side with her arm, “don’t be shy.”
“Pretend it’s a job interview. Sell yourself.”
GM: The thin-blood flinches at Jade’s nudge.
“What’s in it for me if I do sell myself?”
“’Cuz I hated jobs and interviews.”
“More blood and cash?”
Jade: Jade is quiet for a moment, watching the buildings they pass by.
Whatever he is, he’s not going to replace what she’s missing. He’s no Roderick. No Reggie. No Reynaldo.
He’s not even a Randy.
“Yeah,” she finally says. “Blood and cash.”
GM: She can imagine Draco sneering at the idea she could replace him with some homeless duskborn.
Reggie would probably laugh.
Maybe Reynaldo would make a quip.
Who knows about Randy, though? Maybe look flummoxed.
“Okay, I’m good surviving in cities. I can beat someone up.”
Jade: Jade doesn’t imagine any of that. It’s her head. She’ll control her own thoughts.
She nods at the answer but doesn’t press further. They’ve reached Rampart, and Jade succumbs to the embrace of shadows once more.
Then, after they start that way, she asks what else. Breaking and entering? Stealth? Finding people? How good at fighting is he really?
GM: “Yeah, I can follow people and find shit, and I can fuck someone up,” the thin-blood answers. “Dunno about B&E.”
Jade: “Any good at fucking?” she asks, lips quirked in amusement.
GM: Jake snorts.
“What, you want to hire me as a gigolo?”
Jade: “I don’t need to pay for sex, sweetheart.”
GM: “Yeah, sure, I’m good at fucking too.”
Jade: She laughs, slinging her arm through his.
“How far down is your friend?”
GM: Jake regards Jade’s arm warily for a moment, but doesn’t pull away as he answers,
“Not far. He’s got his drug lab in a house.”
Jade: “You’re afraid of me.”
GM: He glowers at her.
“Yeah, I’m a duskborn, if you missed it.”
Jade: Jade regards him for a moment, wondering what it would be like to be on the other end of it. To be a half blood like he is. Weak. No rights. Not belonging to one world or another.
“I have a friend,” she finally says, “from before I was turned. I recently found out this friend is now Duskborn.”
GM: She’s had some taste of that with Dani.
But it’ll always be one thing to witness and another to experience.
“Sucks to be them,” says Jake.
Jade: Her lips twitch.
GM: Rampart Street is everything Jade remembers, full of homeless, junkies, prostitutes, and other desperates, low-lives, and down-on-their-lucks. Their gazes slide off the Toreador, though Jake catches some looks and glances. Few look friendly. No one stops him, though, when he arrives at a sagging and dilapidated-looking house with grimy, paint-peeling walls and blacked-out windows. Garbage is piled out front. It’s one of the least homely homes Jade’s ever seen. Edith at least tried to make hers look hospitable.
Jake bangs loudly on the door.
“Yo, it’s me!”
GM: No one answers.
Jake bangs again.
“OPEN UP, JACKASS!”
That finally elicits some muffled footsteps from the other side of the door.
Jade sees a shadow darken a peephole.
“Who the fuck is that?” comes a nasally male voice.
Jade: “He sees me,” she muses. Curious.
“A client,” she says to the eye staring at her through the door.
GM: “Do people call you a name other than ‘A Client,’ A Client?”
Jade: Amusement flashes across her face.
GM: There’s a longer, thoughtful pause before Jade hears deadbolts unlocking.
That takes a while until the door swings open.
Jade: Jade waits patiently. She gets it.
GM: The door swings open. The man on the other side is white and pasty-faced, with a scraggly beard, thick glasses, and semi-messy shirt brown-blond hair. He’s got wide shoulders and a thick neck for his size, though he’s only a few inches taller than Jade, and has a portly belly. He’s dressed in a stained black wifebeater and stained, worn-looking jeans it looks like he doesn’t care if he ruins. He smells vaguely like rotten eggs. His face is flat and unsmiling as he closes the door behind them.
The inside of the house looks little homelier than its exterior. It looks filthy and neglected. Like no one has lived here for years.
“You staying?” he asks Jake. “I’m only redoing all the bolts twice.”
Jake thinks. “Nah.”
He looks at Jade. “Half up front, half when you’re here, we agreed.”
Jade: “Thought you wanted a job.”
GM: “What’s the job?”
Jade: “Come by my place tomorrow,” she says, “we’ll discuss.”
Claws sprout from the tips of her fingers. She pulls aside her jacket and shirts, for a moment baring her chest to the two duskborn. Though to a layman it might look like she’s cutting herself open, the claws are just for show: her flesh parts at her mental command, letting her reach in to pull free the bag of folded bills.
She hands it over.
GM: Jake stares for a moment before tucking away the bills.
“…’kay,” he says.
GM: “’Kay,” he repeats. “Later.”
He moves to get door. The other thin-blood preempts him and opens it instead, with a flat look on his face. Jake looks at him too for a moment, then leaves.
The second thin-blood does up all of the deadbolts and then turns back to Jade.
“If you want to fuck me while you’re in here, bad idea. Really bad idea. I wouldn’t be meeting a nightborn I don’t know know, one on one, in my lab, without an ace up my sleeve.”
“So with that out of the way, what are you here for?”
Jade: “I suppose I appreciate the heads up. But I’m not here to fuck you.”
Not in either sense of the word.
“You’re an alchemist?”
Jade: “Have a name, Alchemist? Or something I can call you by?”
Jade: “Sean.” She nods. “Jade,” she says again, looking around the place.
“A warlock told me that you might be able to assist with a project I’m working on. I came to verify. And perhaps come to terms.”
GM: The room they’re in looks like it’s been abandoned for years. Graffiti is sprayed all over the peeling walls. It smells like stale piss and mildew.
“Okay. Depends on the project.”
Jade: “I’d like to ask you some questions about your work. What it can do.”
GM: “Anything a full-blood can do.”
GM: “Call it the innate potential of duskborn vitae. Same principle that lets us learn new tricks from whatever blood we drink. Just expanded and refined.”
Jade: “The twisting.” She nods. “What about other things? Things the blood can’t ordinarily do?”
GM: “Depends on the things, but alchemy can do plenty things the blood can’t do.”
Jade: “I want to thin the blood to tamper with its properties. Slowed aging rather than stopped. Make it not or less addictive to its drinkers.”
GM: “Diluting its beneficial properties should be possible. Making it less addictive is probably more trouble than it’s worth. Who’d want to do that?”
Jade: “Not less binding. Just less like a high. Less of a drug. The desire for it can cause emotional and cognitive impairment.”
GM: Sean shrugs. “You’d be the first nightborn I know who’s wanted to do that. I suppose it’s theoretically possible. There’d probably be side effects.”
Jade: “Do you deal with many nightborn?”
GM: The thin-blood’s lip faintly curls.
“More than would like to admit it.”
Jade: The desire for gossip runs deep.
“For what?” She glances around again, then finally perches on the edge of a couch.
GM: It’s a rotted, blackened, moth-eaten, and badly stained leftover of a couch that looks like it’ll dirty her clothes just sitting on it.
“Things they can’t get anywhere else.”
“Things they didn’t think were possible.”
“Things they knew they couldn’t ever do themselves.”
The nasally-voiced man smirks faintly.
Jade: She opts against perching, in that case.
GM: “You nightborn think we’re runts, but we’re the future. Homo sapiens are runts next to dinosaurs, and look who rules the planet now.”
Jade: Jade shakes her head.
“I have no quarrel with duskborn. I think the ability to twist is fascinating. Likewise, the alchemy.”
“And the… other things.”
GM: “Nightborn get weaker with every generation. Every iteration is worse than the one before it. We just get more flexible.”
Jade: “More flexible?”
“But don’t you eventually hit a stopping point?”
GM: “Why should we?”
Jade: “No, I mean… with generation. Isn’t the blood eventually so diluted that you just get humans again?”
GM: “If water’s poured from a high vantage point it doesn’t evaporate when it hits the ground. It just spreads horizontally.”
Jade: Jade stares.
“Tell me more.”
GM: Sean gives her an appraising look.
“What’s it worth to you?”
Jade: “Jake took cash and blood. Are you looking for that… or something more?”
GM: There’s a faintly contemptuous sneer at the other thin-blood’s name.
Jade: “I can get you out of here,” Jade says. “Better digs. Better feeding.”
GM: The sneer deepens.
“I am out of here. I have territory on Canal.”
Jade: Amusement meets the sneer.
“Yes, I didn’t imagine you called this home.”
“A decoy. Convincing, with the locks, for someone who isn’t familiar.”
GM: Sean considers that.
“What sort of decoy?”
Jade: She’d meant his fake haven. But if he’s interested…
“You were worried enough about me trying to fuck you to mention it off rip. You have a fake place here with a dozen locks, which means you don’t feel safe. Turf on Canal is a nice step up. But more than that…” She looks him over, up and down.
“I want a partner. Someone to work with on various projects. I’ll give you a new face and identity. A mask, if you’d like, or something more permanent.”
GM: “I don’t need a new identity. This is a better place to cook than Canal, and I wouldn’t be stupid enough to sleep here even if it wasn’t.”
Jade: “Then what do you want.”
GM: “You said a decoy. I thought you meant a physical one.”
“I meant this decoy you have here. But if you’re looking for some sort of physical decoy, I imagine I can do that as well.”
GM: “Tell me more. What can you do?”
Jade: She could lie.
Or she could put Emily and her mother and maybe even Dani ahead of herself for once.
“I’m a night doctor.”
GM: Sean considers that.
“Okay. So you could make a dead body look like me?”
“Are you trying to escape someone?”
GM: “No. Could just be useful down the line.”
Jade: She nods.
GM: “The decoy can pay for questions, or can be part of the payment for developing what’s essentially diluted vitae.”
Jade: Jade shakes her head.
“I’m looking for something long term. I want to know more. About you. About duskborn. About the alchemy.” Jade considers him, then finally goes for it. “Perhaps about your nightborn clients.”
“I am willing to provide more than just the decoy.”
GM: “Me, duskborn, alchemy, sure. My clients, forget it. Some would stop coming if they knew I was blabbing about it.”
Jade: “Even if you just tell me what they’re after and not who they are?” She flashes a winning smile.
GM: “Okay. For the right price, sure.”
He looks her over.
“No wonder you look this good if you can change faces.”
“I’ll give you a discount if we fuck.”
Jade: Jade laughs. “I was pretty before I was turned. But yes. I upped it.”
She prowls forward, stalking around him and surveying him up and down. He’s not her usual type. And she has her pick of every lick in the city, every breather with eyes.
But she’s curious.
So very, very curious.
She stops behind him, sliding a hand around his back and down his thigh. Her lips find his ear.
“Does the breather way still do it for you, or were you hoping to get a little messy?”
GM: Sean just stands there. She can hear his breath faintly hitch at her touch.
Perhaps he’s reconsidering the advisability of this idea.
But she is absolutely gorgeous.
“Yeah. I can still cum and get hard.”
Jade: “And have you, or do I get to pop your cherry?” She nips at his neck with the flats of her teeth.
GM: She hears the thin-blood’s elevated heart rate.
“I have. Yeah.”
Jade: “Tell me about it. Your first time. How you met. Where it happened.” One hand slides up his inner thigh. “What it felt like.”
GM: Sean reaches out with one hand and starts squeezing Jade’s right breast.
“As a breather?”
“She was an escort. We fucked in a hotel room.”
“It felt good. Using a condom made it worse, but a real pussy was still way better than a fleshlight.”
Jade: Her nipple pebbles beneath his touch.
“And as a duskborn?” Deft fingers snap open the button of his jeans. “Have you ever fucked a lick before?”
GM: His cock is hard and throbbing against his briefs. His other hand reaches out to squeeze her other breast too.
“A couple times,” he says. “For payment.”
“None even close to you.”
Jade: “Really,” Jade muses, “you’ve fucked other licks.” Her fingers close around the desperately throbbing cock. With fangs long in her mouth she leans in, grazing the tips against the side of his neck.
“Is that the truth, Sean? Other licks touched you like I’m doing now, slid down your pants, let you put it in them? Hm?” Her hand slowly slides up and then down his shaft.
GM: The physical response from Sean’s pulsing cock is nigh-immediate. The thin-blood is breathing harder.
“Yeah…” he gets out. He squeezes her breasts some more. At least he knows what to do with his hands, unlike Celia on her first time, but his movements still feel stiff and slow next to Jade’s expert seductions.
“Quarter rats… Caitiff… Flannagan, one time.”
Jade: “Pity,” Jade sighs, breath warm against his neck. “I wanted to be your first. You always remember your first.”
She trails a line of heat from neck to jaw to lips, free hand fisting in his hair when she brings her mouth to his.
“Fucking makes me hungry,” she murmurs against his lips, “and feeding makes me horny. Do you think anyone will miss one of those breathers outside, or can I show you a really, really—” her hand squeezes gently, thumb brushing against the head of his cock “—good time?”
GM: “I’ll remember you…” breathes Sean. He starts to kiss her back. The motions may be stiff, but they’re no less hungry for it. Jade very much doubts the alchemist gets to fuck any licks as gorgeous as her.
“Yeah… they’re nobodies, no one cares…”
Jade: They’re not the only thing that’s stiff. Her nipples strain against the double layer of shirts, aching to be touched again. She rubs against him, removing the hand from his cock to slide around his lower back, pulling him flush against her.
“Let’s go get one,” she whispers between kisses, “and share a drink, so that when I sink my teeth in I don’t rip your pretty little throat out.”
GM: His hands are moving up and down her sides, and doubtless they’d return to her breasts swiftly enough if they weren’t right against his chest. “Yeah,” he answers thickly as hands descend lower down to squeeze her ass, “let’s.”
Jade: Jade all but purrs at the touch. She pulls back just enough to let her hands between them, tucking him away and fastening the button again. She strokes him through his jeans, giggling, and turns to start unlocking the door. Maybe she doesn’t need to bend over quite so far to reach the lower locks, but she does.
It’s a nice view.
GM: It’s a very nice view, and elicits a sharp smack from the palm that connects with it.
Jade: She wiggles her hips invitingly, then finally gets the door open. Jade peers outside through the crack in the door to survey their options, reaching behind her to pull Sean flush against her back. She rubs against him.
GM: There are some homeless camped out nearby. None look, or smell, like anything close to an appetizing meal.
She feels Sean’s firm cock rubbing against her ass and his hands returning to her breasts.
Jade: There’s something sweet that pours out of her. Something innocent and friendly and all-too-wholesome as she catches the eye of one of the homeless men and waves him over.
GM: The old man looks up towards her from his sleeping bag.
“Not the ones right outside,” preempts Sean. “If they all see someone walk in and never walk out, they’ll talk.”
Jade: Jade huffs. “Come on then, let’s go stalk the streets.”
She moves her hands across her face as if she needs them to shift her features, and when she pulls them away she looks like a rather fit black woman in her early thirties. Pretty, but not drop dead gorgeous.
She tugs Sean out the door with her.
“Is your name really Sean?” she asks as they go.
She slings an arm through his.
GM: Sean closes and locks the door after them.
“It’s the name I use now.”
Jade: “What did you do before all this?”
GM: “I was a convicted felon working a dead end service industry job. Before that I was a medical researcher.”
Jade: She seems more interested in the medical research than the felony.
“What kind of medical research?”
Jade: “And that transitioned well into what you do now?”
GM: “Yes. Past the initial learning curve, it’s just more chemistry work.”
Jade: “How long have you been at it?”
GM: “Chemistry, since the early-mid 2000s. Alchemy, a few years.”
Jade: “And it’s different than the blood magic the warlocks do.” Not quite a question, but she looks to him to confirm. “Not magic?”
GM: “What is magic?”
“Just natural laws and processes there’s no other explanation for.”
Jade: “People used to think technology was magic,” Jade concedes. “Can you tell me more about it? How it works? Is it something you taught yourself with your chemistry background or did it kind of just… come to you?”
“The shifting,” she adds, as if to explain what she means, “that just came to me. After my Embrace. When I was kine I had to wear a lot of different faces. Pretend to be a lot of different things to different people. So I think that’s why it comes more naturally to me than others with whom I share blood.”
GM: “Closer to the former,” he answers. “It took time to learn and develop. It didn’t come just from drinking the right kind of blood.”
Jade: She nods, but waits for him to continue.
GM: “But it doesn’t go away, no matter what I drink or don’t drink.”
Jade: “What does it… do? You said you can mimic what nightborn can do. How does that work?”
GM: “It works through elixirs. I make them, drink them, snort them, inject them.”
Jade: “What do you need for them?”
GM: “Different things. Depends on the formula. But always blood.”
Jade: “Lick or kine?”
GM: “Why do you want to know all of this? Nightborn can’t learn what we can do.”
Jade: “That doesn’t mean I don’t want to know how it works. I’m not looking to steal your secrets. I’m looking to broaden my own knowledge to make an informed decision on whether or not the two of us can work together on various projects… or if this is just going to be one of those hit it and quit it situations.”
GM: “I have blood. I have money. I’d never say no to more, but I’m not desperate for them like other rats. What’s in it for me with these projects?”
Jade: “Partnership. Protection from the Guard. Expanded clientele if we can mesh our abilities. Sex. Information. Domain. Connections.” Jade glances sidelong at him. “There are many things I can do for you, but I’m not interested in tracking every single service we exchange to nickel and dime each other over whether that was one question or two.”
“If we can form a working relationship we will be able to go further than either of us would alone.”
“I don’t want an assistant or a lackey or an errand boy. I could take another ghoul if I did. I want someone who knows what they’re doing and brings something to the table. Who isn’t desperate for blood or cash or selling out to the highest bidder.”
GM: Sean considers all of that thoughtfully. He looks wary, still, but intrigued.
It doesn’t hurt that the ‘sex’ is right in front of him.
“We’ll see how this deal goes, then, as proof of concept for any future ones.”
Jade: “Let’s find our vessel, then.”
Wednesday night, 23 March 2016, AM
GM: Rampart Street’s homeless seem warier of the predators crowded into their midst than one might give them credit for. They stick together. They sleep in groups. Some of them even have guys keeping watch. They make themselves as inconvenient to target as possible—and they are wary and suspicious of passersby in the middle of the night.
Jade isn’t sure how the rats penned up in here get by. The feeding is bad, despite the initial seeming abundance of vessels. The area has been so overhunted that the prey are spooked. The better part of an hour has passed by the time Jade and Sean finally locate one of the thinnest, grayest, saddest, most disheveled-looking old bums she’s ever laid eyes on. He’s moaning softly into his sleeping bag.
“Finally,” mutters Sean. “N-”
He’s cut off when no less than three attackers descend on him, knives and fists flashing. They look like street kids. One smells like a true-blood. They howl their wrath and scream bloody murder about poachers.
The old bum bolts awake and starts to flee like a spooked deer.
Jade: This is it. What she’s been looking for all night: the opportunity to beat the shit out of someone.
The old man flees—
Which means that these three get to face her wrath. She could shift. Right here. Let the Beast out. Let the claws out. Descend upon them in a maddened rage—
No. Someone had told her once that she needs to control herself in a fight. That she can’t risk breaking the Masquerade because she went apeshit.
Still, her Beast rises to the surface, lips pulling back over her teeth to bare her fangs and a snarl ripping from her throat. Her eyes flash in the darkness.
GM: The eyes of one attacker bulge as his face drains of color. He promptly turns and flees, cowed by the vampire’s wrath.
Seeing the obviously greater threat, the true-blood leaps at Jade, fangs flashing to sink into her neck. Her companion stabs at the Toreador’s flank.
Jade: One threat disposed of, Jade turns her attention to the lick and lackey stupid enough to come at her.
She doesn’t need a knife. Not when she has ten razor sharp blades that sprout from her fingers with nothing but a thought, body weaving to avoid the knife and claws shooting out to catch the leaping lick in the gut.
GM: Jade’s claws slash across her slower attacker’s belly, leaving angry red gashes. Cat-quick, five more rents open along her other attacker’s face and throat before the knife can land in her back.
The rats don’t stay and fight, in the face of serious opposition. They scramble off, bleeding and hurting into the night.
Jade: Oh no they don’t.
They’re not going to chase off her meal and get off scott free.
Jade sprints after them.
GM: The duskborn aren’t any match for their nightborn cousins, in either fight or flight. The true-blooded rat swiftly disappears into Rampart’s squalor, but Jade slams into the one whose heart still beats in her chest and tackles her to the ground. She looks like a teenager, dirty-faced and dressed in threadbare clothes.
“Let me go! Please!” she begs.
Jade: Jade twists her fingers through the girl’s hair, yanking her head back even as she presses a knee into her back.
“Where’s he headed,” she growls. “Tell me or I’ll rip your fucking throat out.”
GM: “Back, back towards Can, Canal,” the girl stammers.
Sean’s watching from a distance, having started to take off when the rats jumped them. There’s some blood staining a gash across his shirt, though the flesh underneath now looks hale.
Jade: Took off.
He took off.
She’s not even a fucking brawler, took on two of them after scaring off the third, and this motherfucker took off.
She shouldn’t be as angry as she is. But she’s used to real licks, not these half-blooded abortions that bail at the first sign of trouble.
Jade yanks the girl to her feet, still gripping her by the hair.
“Show me,” she snarls.
GM: Dani didn’t bail when Rocco was menacing them. Even when Jade told her to.
“Forget it,” Sean says flatly. “Decent odds that rat’s raised the alarm with others.”
Jade: Dani was mind fucked. That doesn’t even count. And they’re not friends anymore. She’d probably hand Jade over to Rocco for the asking now.
Jade looks back at him. Then to the girl.
“We’re going for a walk, sweetheart.”
GM: “Do what you want with them,” says Sean. “I’m going back to the lab.”
The girl just nods unsteadily.
Jade: A low growl rips from her throat. Jade lets go of the girl and tells her to get lost. She stalks back toward Sean, shoving her hands into the pockets of her jacket as she falls into step beside him.
Silently, she stews.
“Fuck this street,” she finally says.
GM: The girl bolts off as soon as Jade releases her.
“Yes, fuck it,” the thin-blood agrees.
“Hunting here is terrible. Too many predators and not enough prey.”
Jade: “Should have taken you to Bourbon. Wouldn’t have been a waste of time.”
She kicks aside a pile of rocks.
“Just wanted to get fucking laid without losing it,” she mutters.
GM: “You can just blow me.”
“Does that make you lose it?”
Jade: “If I were to sink my teeth in.” Jade gives him a look. “What do you think I needed it for?”
GM: “Keep the fangs in, then.”
Jade: “Better O when you do it both ways.”
GM: “Fed and fucked? Yeah.”
Jade: Of course he has.
Jade doesn’t say anything further, slinking into the shadows of the night as they head back to the lab. Slumming it on Rampart with thin-bloods.
How the mighty have fallen.
GM: As shitty as the house is, there is a bedroom. Who knows how much use it sees. The peeling, blackened and graffiti-scrawled walls look as neglected as the rest of the house. There’s a mattress on the floor with sheets over it, clean enough to actually use, though it looks like it’s been a while since the sheets were washed. The room still smells vaguely unpleasant—the same rotten eggs smell that clings to Sean’s clothes, which he takes off.
Jade: Jade might have seen worse, but nothing immediately comes to mind.
Before he takes his clothes off she’s at his throat again picking up where they’d been before she’d decided she wanted a pre-fuck snack. She keeps her fangs away but nips at his neck with flat teeth, fingers once more working at the buttons and zippers on his jeans. Her hand slides inside.
Maybe it’s not the prettiest location, but she isn’t going to half-ass it.
She lets him strip her out of her jacket and pull the shirts over her head. When he turns her around and kisses her neck she arches her back into the fingers pulling at her nipples. His movements might be stiff, but she makes up for it. She peels the leather down her legs and is left with nothing underneath but the smell of her arousal, and he finds her slick when she moves his hand between her legs.
“There,” she says, and when he finds the right spot she makes a noise that has him throbbing against her backside.
She doesn’t blow him. But she does take control, pushing him onto his back so she can straddle his hips, sinking down onto him with her head thrown back. She moves the right way. She makes the right noises. She’s warm and wet and tight and none of the other girls he’s been with can compare to what she does with him. It’s enough to drive their failed hunt from her mind.
GM: Jade has, at least, seen uglier than Sean. He might not smell the best, and be a little overweight and out of shape, but he’s no Nosferatu. He’s eager to remove her clothes once they get going, though, and Jade soon finds his cock firm against her hand. His own hands squeeze her breasts like he’s kneading dough. He gets right to business once all of their clothes are off, and moves to fill her legs until Jade pushes him back-first onto the bed. He seems happy to let the Toreador take him from cowgirl position, though, especially when it means he can keep his hands on her tits.
None of the girls he’s been with can surely compare. Jade can only imagine what sorts of girls he normally gets. Desperate rats, like the thin-blood she grabbed? Desperation isn’t sexy, even if they were anywhere close to as experienced or ravishingly gorgeous as she is, which they surely were not. Sean’s eyes are wide. She’s incredible. How the hell did she just fall into his lap like this? This goddess of love, knocking on his door from out of nowhere?
He moans throatily as Jade rides him, and it’s not overlong before his quivering cock shoots its load, filling her with his seed. Not very much leaks out from her, though, when she climbs off him. It doesn’t really leak out at all, actually. There’s more of it on his cock than she sees come back out of her pussy. The consistency is more watery than any cum she’s seen.
“Holy…” Sean breathes.
Jade: Do the other licks he fuck get wet like she does? Do they look like they enjoy it like she does? Or do the lie on their backs with vacant smiles while his cock pumps in and out of a cunt that’s just as dead as their eyes?
Jade smiles down at him when he’s done, then moves to one side and rests her head half on his chest and half on his shoulder and upper arm. She leaves evidence of her own release splashed across his cock and lower belly.
Jade idly trails a hand down his chest.
“I get to pick the location next time.”
GM: “This place is a shithole,” he agrees, eyes still appreciatively roaming her naked form.
“The other nightborn don’t cum like you.”
Jade: “I imagine they don’t fuck like me either.”
“They’re missing out. Sex was the best part of being human.”
GM: “They don’t come even close to fucking like you.”
“And yeah. They are.”
“Feeding is great, but sex and food are terrible things to miss out on.”
Jade: Jade can think of something that compares, but she doesn’t share her thoughts with Sean. She only smiles, as if she misses the taste of food.
GM: Maybe Celia does. But Jade never ate anything after she was born.
Jade: The pads of her fingers continue up and down his chest, occasionally slipping lower across his rounded belly.
“You’re happy,” she says eventually, “with what you are?”
GM: “It’s a better deal than I had alive.”
Jade: “How old were you? When you were turned.”
Jade: “Married? Kids?”
GM: “No. Never wanted any.”
“Had a girlfriend, but she split fast after the felony conviction.”
Jade: “Can I ask what you did?”
GM: “I cooked meth.”
Jade: She had assumed as much.
GM: “Wasn’t even selling it. Purely for personal medicinal use.”
Jade: “So how’d they find you?”
GM: “Bad luck. Terrible luck. I was smart. I never bought meth, never sold meth, just made small amounts for my own use. Police searched my car on a routine traffic stop.”
“They didn’t even find any meth at first. Just some spilled powder they thought was ephedrine, even though it was not actually ephedrine or even a related chemical.”
Jade: Jade arches a brow at that.
“Why were they testing it?”
GM: “Because powder meant drugs to them. It wasn’t drugs. I don’t even remember what it was, probably just spilled sugar from a packet. But then their stupid PharmaChek sweat patch drug test turned up a false positive. And because of the false positive, they searched all of my possessions.”
“And they found the actual meth.”
“My life was over after that.”
Jade: “That’s awful. I’m sorry that happened to you.”
GM: “It’s a farce. Drug laws. Methamphetamine is legally fucking available by prescription under the name Desoxyn, for treating narcolepsy and ADHD, but only one company is allowed to make it.”
“A prescription will cost a person with no insurance about $500 a month, not counting doctor’s visits.”
“The same amount of dextromethamphetamine can be purchased on the street for about $100.”
“Or manufactured by a medical researcher with a chemistry degree for about $10.”
Jade: “Is that why you started?”
GM: “Yes. I had, have, several mental disorders. I was in and out of the mental health system for years trying different combinations of medication. None worked. I kept fucking up my life.”
“So I finally turned to illegal drugs. I experimented, and discovered that indica-strain marijuana and low-dose methamphetamine let me eliminate virtually all of my symptoms.”
“I decided to keep making my own meth, because why the fuck would I want to get involved with drug dealers and pay ten times what it’d cost me anyway.”
“I went back to school. I got my master’s. I had a prestigious career.”
“I wasn’t ever going to sell the stuff. Too risky and didn’t need to. My job already paid well.”
Jade: “But just having it was enough to get you sent away, and once you’re in the system it’s almost impossible to climb your way back out.”
GM: “I was also transporting it across state lines. So my ‘crime’ fell under federal jurisdiction. I thought I could get away with it because I was making such a small amount, but nope. Five grams was enough.”
“I got fired from my job. Felony meant I’d never be hired in the industry again. Lawyer was able to get me only a month behind bars, because small amount and no distribution, but couldn’t plea deal away the felony.”
“The feds are pitiless.”
“I lost all my savings between court fees, attorney’s bills, and the judge ordering me to move far away from the site of my ‘meth lab’.”
“Girlfriend was already gone by then. I got a new job as a minimum-wage O’Tolley’s cashier.”
“And that was my life.”
Jade: “Until you became duskborn.”
GM: “No. I came here because I heard it was a friendly city to duskborn.”
“That was half-right. The Quarter is.”
“If you’re not just another set of fangs taking up space.”
Jade: “So you’ve done work for Savoy or Preston. That’s how you ended up on Canal.”
GM: “I did work for some other licks. They talked to Preston. She upgraded me to Canal.”
Jade: “What kind of work?”
GM: “Alchemy, obviously. And I still cook meth.”
Jade: Jade rolls her eyes at him. “Obviously. I meant specifically.”
She pauses a moment, lifting her head to look at him, then lays her cheek against his chest once more.
“Can you still take it? Does it do anything for you?”
GM: “Meth? Yeah, it still does.”
“Makes me good money now, too, seeing as I’m no longer gainfully employed.”
Jade: “I have, like, a million questions,” Jade admits, “and I don’t know where to begin or what you’ll answer.”
GM: “Why? Nightborn can’t learn alchemy.”
“But whatever. For the sex, I’ll answer anything that isn’t a trade secret.”
Jade: “I’m not trying to learn alchemy,” she says again.
“I just want to know about it. How strong it can get. What it needs. What it can do that Kindred can’t. What it can’t do.”
“And you,” she adds after a moment.
GM: “Like I said. It can do anything nightborn can do, and a lot they can’t do. It’s all a question of having or taking the time to develop the right formulae.”
“It needs blood, always mine, often someone else’s, and other ingredients that vary by formula.”
Jade: Jade sighs at him. He isn’t telling her anything new.
“You’ve mentioned. I’m looking for specifics, Sean. I’m not trying to steal your secrets or learn your alchemy process; I just want to understand it, then discuss whether or not the things I’d like to do are viable.”
She sits up, drawing her knees to her chest. He hadn’t seemed much interested in the post-sex intimacy of cuddling, and she’s got too many other options to try to force herself where she isn’t wanted.
“I have a medical degree. I’m not going to say I’m the best night doc in the state, but there are things I can do, have done, would like to do, that other’s can’t. They lack the vision or the drive or the ambition, maybe even just the creativity. Any knob off the street can rearrange a face. It takes a deeper understanding to do what I do.”
“You’re smart enough to have been a medical researcher, smart enough to turn cooking meth into alchemy, smart enough to keep your mouth shut about your clients when I asked. That’s what I’m looking for.”
“You want to trade sex for information, sex for favors? Fine. I’m happy to do that. But from the way you spoke it sounded like you want more from your Requiem than you currently have.”
“Am I wrong?”
“Because I’ll tell you what, Sean. You’re not the only one. Yeah, looking from the outside, I’ve got it good for a greenfang. Domain on Bourbon. Savoy’s favor. Lots of friends. But you ask someone about me and you know what they’re going to say? Vapid slut. Stupid whore. Plays with makeup.”
“Makeup,” she says, “because I run a spa. That’s all they think I do. Make people pretty. The ‘intellectuals’ look at me and roll their eyes because they think I’m just a makeup artist; they don’t understand the the body itself is my medium. They don’t get that I can dissect a corpse in a fraction of an hour, pull apart bone and muscle and ligaments and turn it into armor, weapons, clothes. That even without the ability to sculpt bone I can harden collagen and cartilage and replace what’s damaged. They think because I’m small I can’t render them paralyzed with a single touch in a certain area that leaves them awake and present and able to feel everything with no control of their limbs, or that I can’t split apart their skull and dig through their brain matter and twist their limbic system until they’re puppets: a claw in their hippocampus and they’ll be unable to store new memories, a touch of the amygdala and their emotional attachment to old memories are twisted to what I want them to be, damage the neocortex and they’ll become naught but vegetables drooling all over themselves in a nursing home. Sever the connection between specific neurons and an entire memory can be wiped from their mind.”
“Yes. I can destroy. And I can also heal. I can tell you about the case I took where a man’s spine was so crooked he hadn’t been able to walk in years, and how I was able to identity the source of the issue and fix it. I can tell you about the woman who had her shoulder repaired twice by a kine doctor, and how he said that she couldn’t continue her career because he couldn’t put her back together a third time.”
“But I could. And I did. I repaired a meniscus and let a young man go back to playing sports when all his therapists said he’d never be on the field again. I repaired the damage done to a woman whose husband threw acid in her face because another man smiled at her. I grafted new skin onto a burn victim who’d been so badly injured I could see bone.”
“I touch a body and I listen with my hands, let my gut lead me to the proper areas, find the sources of pain and trauma and fear and help them let it go. Chronic pain? Gone. Inflammation? Gone. Femur rubbing against tibia because the cartilage has been worn to nothing? A kine doctor will tell that patient he needs a total knee replacement. They’ll break the knee apart and cement a new one in and it’ll take him months to recover, and every time it rains he’ll feel the ache of the screws in his knee, and he’ll always favor that leg because he’s terrified of damaging it and going through that pain again because the way they put in the replacement means they have to break it all over again to swap it out for a new one. I can fix it. Good as new, brief recovery, very little associated cost.”
“Those pills that cost the patients $500 a month? That emergency surgery that set the young couple back $30,000 that they didn’t have? The doctors that don’t listen to their patients and prescribe pills that don’t work and add extra dosages until the patient is so numb from all the chemicals and side effects that they dig their nails into their own skin just to fucking feel something again?”
“Fuck that. Fuck them. The drug laws are a farce. Medical insurance is bullshit. It ruined you: your career, your relationships, your name, all because you took your health into your own hands. I have eternity ahead of me; I’d like to actually do something with it.”
GM: Sean’s eyebrows shoot all the way up to his forehead.
Jade’s seen that same look on more than a few other faces. When the pretty Toreador, the pretty girl, they all thought was so vapid and shallow in her thoughts and interests suddenly starts spouting smart-sounding medical facts and shows she knows what she’s talking about.
“I guess you are more than just a pretty face,” says the duskborn.
He’s quiet for a few moments as he chews over Jade’s words, his impressed face growing increasingly thoughtful.
“No. You’re not wrong.”
“I’m comfortable. I sell the meth and make good money. I trade the alchemy for favors. I live along Canal. I have it better than most duskborn here. But it feels like a glass ceiling. I’m still boxed in to the Quarter, boxed in to this part of the Quarter, and using this shithole for my lab. Dealing with scumbags and losers. For the meth and the alchemy.”
“Even leaving the city would be just a change of scenery. Maybe smart for the duskborn who don’t have anything, and are starving along Rampart. But just more elbow room in the gilded cage for me.”
“My sire was nightborn. He approached me, when I was working at O’Tolley’s, and thinking about killing myself. He said the Tremere could use someone like me. He said I could master the secrets of the universe. Have a fresh start, belong to a society of like-minded, intelligent, and educated people whose knowledge I could enrich, and who could enrich mine. Who didn’t give a shit about the felony. He said I could be respected again, appreciated, and be part of something greater. And live forever. I guess I was the perfect candidate in hindsight. My life was over, I had no other options. I’d have been completely loyal to the Tremere.”
Sean pauses again.
“Then I turned out duskborn, and suddenly that was all gone. All those promises. ‘Duskborn’ was just another felony conviction.”
“So yeah.” His voice isn’t without bitterness. “I do want more.”
Jade: It’s a look that part of her hates and part of her relishes, but she doesn’t let that cross her face now. No, she listens to his story, to the promise of a better life that he was offered by his sire, and though her face remains impassive her heart hardens.
“How,” she asks, “how could he not have known that you would turn duskborn? There’s a limit to how far a nightborn can be removed from the first lick before they are labeled thin-blood; he should have known. The chantry should have known.”
Anger shoots through her on his behalf. Someone was careless. Someone was stupid. Someone promised him the world and snatched it back when he came out wrong.
Or someone had set him up.
“I don’t care,” she says, “that you’re duskborn. I don’t care how far you’re removed from Caine, or that everyone else in this city would mock and deride me for being seen with you. If you want to study the secrets of the universe, we’ll study. If you want a fresh start, I’ll give it to you. And if you want to get off of Canal, I’ll take you somewhere else. Preston can shove it. The Tremere can shove it.”
Bitterness colors her own voice; perhaps she’s thinking of the way she’d asked to study and been denied, the derision in Bornemann’s face when he’d spoken to her, the echo of Lebeaux’s words when he said he was taking magic off the table.
She casts a glance around the room, then finally looks back to Sean.
“No more of this. No more slumming, no more scumbags, no more losers. We’ve got the world at our fingertips. So let’s take it.”
Wednesday night, 23 March 2016, AM
GM: The first thing Sean wants is simple. He wants a better lab space. Just any old apartment won’t do, or he would’ve gotten one by now: this is a literal meth lab he’s working from. The chemical odors are very noticeable, not to mention the activities therein very illegal. He wants a nice space where he won’t be noticed or disturbed.
In return for that, he’ll work on developing a less addictive strain of vitae. He’ll need periodic samples of Jade’s vitae. He expects the process to take anywhere from months to over a year. There will probably be negative side effects: “Nothing comes free in alchemy. Or in life, I guess.” The initial, earliest results will probably be disappointing.
Sean is not sure what other ingredients he will need, as he’s developing this formula from scratch. He’ll try different things and see what works. He thinks they should start with methadone and buprenorphine, which are used in the treatment of addictive disorders. Blood from the ghouls in question could also be of use, particularly if it has a phlegmatic resonance. Taken while they’re in lazy, apathetic, calm, or sentimental frames of mind. It could also help if Jade’s vitae carries a similar resonance (obtained, in her case, from feeding on phlegmatic-flavored vessels).
Jade: Lab space for what he’d have traded her anyway.
The thought bothers her, but perhaps not as much as it should. She has a lab where he won’t be disturbed, and so long as he keeps his nose out of her projects they should get along fine. The locks were recently changed; all she needs to do is sweep for bugs, and she’ll hire someone shortly to do so.
There’s another lab being built, she mentions, but it isn’t ready yet. Once it is they can both move their projects over into the space that will be better fortified and better equipped. She asks what he needs and fires off a text to Mel about the additions to the lab. She’s sure to make it discreet and not let on it’s for an alchemist or meth production.
Unless her grandsire is too angry with her to build it for her now.
A frown mars her pretty features.
If he’s coming into the deeper parts of the Quarter and is seen entering and leaving Flawless he’ll need a good disguise and a cover story. She has no interest in flaunting her association with alchemists; she’s not ashamed of him, but she doesn’t want people to know what she’s up to. He can be passed off as a new ghoul, medical assistant, or some sort of handyman if he likes. Regardless of what the story is, he’ll need a new face. A mask if he doesn’t want to get rid of the Sean identity in the meantime.
She’s not looking to dominate his time, but she does want to know what sort of work he does for other Kindred, whether or not he gives her the names of the Kindred in question. If he asks why she only shrugs and says that she doesn’t have a monopoly on ideas.
Eventually, she says, she’d like to file for another business license (under a different name) and manufacture various products. Medically based.
GM: “Where are the labs and how much space is there?” Sean asks. “This house is a shithole, but it has room. I need to move supplies and product in and out periodically. Cooking will more or less ruin all surfaces it takes place on. Every pound of meth creates several times as many pounds of toxic waste that need to be disposed of, and alchemy creates runoff product too.”
It’s immaterial to him what what story Jade comes up, but he’s keeping his face. He’ll take a mask.
“Disciplines in a bottle is a common request. Powers duskborn can use regardless of what blood they’ve just drank,” he answers. “What work do you do for other Kindred?”
Jade: Her current lab won’t work, then. She says she’ll find something else; it’ll be a little bit, but she’ll get on it.
“Depends on the Kindred. Body modifications for the most part. Alterations, fixing flaws, synthetic aging, removing unwanted body parts.” She cocks a brow, then smile. “Disciplines in a tattoo.”
“Does that work for nightborn? Disciplines in a bottle?”
GM: “No,” he says. “Just duskborn. Only their vitae has the potential.”
Jade: She ends up on his lap, still naked on the mattress in the grimy room, straddling him with her thighs parted and knees on either side.
It’s just comfortable. And she likes the way her tits keep distracting him.
“You said you can do things Kindred can’t. Is there a formula that can… change perspective on a memory? Or permanently alter someone’s emotional state?”
GM: It’s very comfortable.
For both of them.
He looks as if he likes being distracted by her tits, too.
“None that I know,” he admits, reaching out to squeeze them.
Jade: “Was probably a dumb idea anyway,” she sighs, leaning in to the touch. Her nipples stiffen into tiny little buds when he runs his thumb across them.
“What about lifting curses.”
His thumbs run back and forth as he stares, then leans close to lick them.
Jade: “Some snake thing. Lick is stuck in torpor. Blood isn’t waking her.”
She runs her fingers through his hair when he leans in, letting out a soft sigh when his tongue touches her flesh.
GM: “There are formulae that can awaken torpid licks,” he says, pulling his mouth briefly away to answer. “I don’t know if it’d work on her or not, but it’s doable on other licks.”
Jade: Jade lifts his chin, trailing her fingers gently down his cheek. Her hips shift just slightly, rubbing against him. “Do you happen to have any handy?”
GM: “Maybe.” His hands return to her breasts, squeezing and kneading the firm yet bouncy flesh. “What would I get in return?”
Jade: “You mean a gorgeous lick on your lap isn’t enough?” She leans in to press her lips against his.
GM: “It’s a great star-”
He cuts off as their lips meet, his tongue hungrily exploring her mouth.
Jade: Great starts lead to great finishes.
Jade makes sure he enjoys the ride.
She kisses him slowly, intimately, taking her time to tease and coax him with her tongue rather than rush through things. They’ve already had each other, already engaged in the frantic, panting union. Now it’s time to explore. To take his hands in hers and move them down her body, caressing the smooth, soft skin of her chest, belly, thighs. They part for him and he finds her dripping, eager for a finger, then a second, and her hips shift against his hand as he moves them inside of her, returning her own hands to his shoulders. Her nails dig into him when he finds the right spot, lips parting in an eager gasp that begs for something bigger. She trails kisses across his mouth, down the line of his jaw, his neck, all the while rocking gently against the hand inside of her.
She doesn’t even need to touch him to make him hard again; his cock throbs against her.
GM: Jade always makes sure someone enjoys the ride.
There is so much of her for his hands to explore, and all of her body is so soft and supple. And wet. Between kisses, he retracts his hand to taste her juices, then sticks his fingers in her mouth so that she might taste herself in turn. He gives her that something bigger she craves, too, letting her sit atop his lap and wrap her thighs around his torso as his manhood fills her. He sucks and kisses her breasts until she brings him to another climax, his wet and non-ropy seed filling her.
“God damn,” he pants, face pressed against his breasts.
Jade: There isn’t better sex to be had in the city. She’s made sure of it.
Jade rests her cheek against the top of his head, listening to the flutter of his heart beating in his chest. His shoulders rise and fall with every breath that he takes; her body moves gently to accommodate the motion.
She’s quiet. And then she’s kissing him again, lost in a memory of soft lips and gentle touches, until finally she pulls her lips away, shifts on his lap, and curls between his legs with her cheek on his chest.
GM: His heart beats slower than breather lovers she’s had. But still it beats.
Faster, too, for her diligent attentions.
Someone would have to be dead, fully dead, for their heart not to pound after a tumble with Jade Kalani.
“…gonna need a less shitty place for this, too,” says Sean.
Jade: “Mm,” she agrees, “somewhere with a real bed. And a couch. And a countertop… or desk… or table.” It’s clear she’d like to utilize all of those surfaces to fuck. “Maybe even a bath.”
GM: “Bath in a meth house wouldn’t be much of a bath. It contaminates pretty much the whole property.”
Jade: “Suppose we’ll need our own fuckpad, then.”
GM: “Definitely not saying no to that. This was mind-blowing.”
Jade: Jade stretches her arms above her head, smirking contentedly.
“And you thought I came to fuck you the other way.”
GM: “I mean, I’ve traded alchemy for sex before. It’s been… okay.”
“The nightborn are the worst at it. I had to tell one lick to make herself warm and wet, because this was literally fucking a corpse if she didn’t, and we got into an argument about how much blood it took.”
“I tried just asking for blowjobs, after that, but sticking your cock in another moisture-free room temperature cavity is about as much fun as it sounds.”
Jade: Jade laughs at the description.
“We’re corpses, dear. Dead as all the rest of them. Could always lube them up and shove it in if you really want to, but it doesn’t feel good to any of them.”
“So mostly they don’t bother.”
“Waste of vitae and all that.”
GM: “Lube doesn’t fix the fact they’re still room temperature.”
Jade: “Shove some of those hand-warmers up there.”
“Or fuck their ghouls instead of them.”
GM: “Even sex toys can warm up with use, but something as large as a human body that’s at room temperature is staying at room temperature.”
“I tried that a few times. Ghouls.”
“They were even less into it. Pulses or no.”
Jade: “How fortunate you found me, then.”
GM: “Yeah.” He pauses. “Bring me some of the torped lick’s blood. And another hit, to make up for costs accrued.”
Jade: “I’ll get that over to you. Possibly tomorrow, tonight if I get lucky. There a number I can reach you at, or should I just show up and knock?”
GM: “Yeah,” he repeats. He gives her a number.
Jade: Jade gets up long enough to search through the pile of clothing for her phone, then settles back on the sex-infused mattress. She taps off a text to Josua.
You free if I stop by a sec? Need to grab something from sleeping beauty.
She saves the number Sean gives her.
GM: What you don’t want to grab something from me? ;)
Jade: That’s the plan, darling.
“I have a haven,” she says after a moment, “off of Canal.”
GM: I like this plan. Marie’s under lock and key tho. Need to ask Daddy M to see her
Jade: Can you let him know I’m swinging by?
Jade looks up at him.
“That’s not quite the response I expected.”
GM: Yeah he’s not in right now tho
“I mean, a haven’s a haven.”
Jade: “Mhm, most licks are just like, ‘wait what that’s secret are you going to kill me what do you mean you’re inviting me over’?”
Can his kid let me in? Wanted to get this taken care of for him.
GM: “I mean, guessing you have more than one, so whatever if one’s not secret.”
Uh idk lemme check
Jade: I’ll owe you/him/whoever one if I can get it tonight. ♡
She laughs at the words.
“None of them are secret. Regents always know who is where.”
A pause, and the laughter fades from her eyes.
“But it was. Until my ex and I split. Now it’s… whatever.”
It’s not like Draco will ever come by for anything now that Celia and Roderick are split. And she’s moving soon anyway; all she has to do is let her sire know there’s a new location for him to meet her.
Somewhere that doesn’t have so many memories attached to it.
“Gonna head out. Catch you later, Sean.”
She has more to do this evening than dwelling over what was or might have been.