Have a holly, jolly Christmas... (private)

Nachton Mall stood in all its glass and brick glory as Simon shoved his hands into his pockets and grunted. This wasn't any mall, this was "the mall". It was 'high falootin' as Carol would put it, he thought with a small grin. An outdoor and indoor mall, Nachton boasted one of the most exclusive and high priced malls in the region with names found normally on Rodeo drive. Simon blinked the snow out of his eyelashes as he looked at the glass marvel under the thin dusting of snow. The growing cold and accumulating snow would be ideal for the upcoming winter festivals starting, which is where Simon wanted to present Carol with her Christmas gift. Just what that would be, he wasn't sure yet. That's why he had brought Nova.

Looking down at the ironically bronzed beauty next to him, he wondered if her tastes actually suited his heathen woman's needs. Carol was picky and feminine, Nova...picky yes, but feminine - far from it. Still, he smiled at her as they stood at the entrance of the outdoor section of the mall. At the far end, the large Harold's retailer stood under construction. Reaching up to scratch his lip, he noted the that all malls shared one thing in common.

The loud and obnoxious Christmas music.

Have a holly jolly Christmas
It's the best time of the year
Well I don't know if there'll be snow
But have a cup of cheer ...

Simon closed his eyes and sighed. 'Ok, where to?'

Ellis Duban 17 years ago
'What the hell is he doing?'

Ellis thought to herself out loud to no one in particular, despite Tai standing next to her on the rooftop across the multi-laned roads in front of the Nachton Mall. Twenty four hours of all you can eat, so to speak. The mall stayed open into the wee hours of the night as a courtesy to the uncommon nightlife which was so common for Nachton's residents. Ellis stood, perched on the edge of the building railing, leaning forward onto her knee with utter confusion.

'Is he going to Christmas shop?' Ellis' eyebrows knitted in further annoyance and dumbfounded...ness. Muttering she said in a wounded voice, 'He'd never do that for me.'

She waited, watching Simon and his child Nova talk briefly before entering. Maybe it was Nova's idea - not like Simon looked too anxious to go in. Ellis had been stalking Simon around the city the past couple of days. Normal day to day things or rather, night to night. Out to dinner with his lovely human, her ex-human - drinks with Alfarinn, cutie patootie Alfie and the occasional hunt for food. Simon always hunted alone, he preferred it and Ellis hoped it would be to his downfall. Travelling alone at night...tsk tsk.

Muttering again, to no one in particular,
'Nova is young...but her pops there isn't an ancient, so that should be a good test for your skills.' Tai's abilities stemmed from Ellis' old blood, but he wouldn't be able to control the strength this early on still. Possible fizzles as well, so Nova would definitely be an excellent first vampire kill.

Ellis never really liked her anyway.
Ichiro Taiji 17 years ago
Ellis' words floated down to Tai from where she stood, mingling comfortably with the little echoes and resonances of her voice that were always there in the back of his mind. He was crouched beside her on the rooftop; his eyes, which had been glued to the slutty blonde next to Simon, now snapped to the athletic-looking woman with them.

He measured her quietly as best he could from this distance. From Ellis' words he assumed she was a vampire, but beyond that he didn't question. Tai didn't labor under the illusion that Ellis would provide him with any more information. He had suspected for some time now that Ellis regretted turning him so quickly after taking him as a familiar. He was a means to an end for her, and Tai didn't care one way or the other.

But means or no, he was still here, like a dog at her side, because he was compelled to obey. Tai's loyalty might be misplaced, but he certainly didn't suffer under any false definitions. He was loyal to Ellis, for the moment, and Ellis knew it as well as Tai knew that she would associate with him only insofar as it suited her to do so.

Sink or swim then, for him. He narrowed his tawny eyes and watched the way Simon's child moved. Balanced, poised. He wondered if she were trained to fight or if she was simply athletic. It didn't matter. Tai didn't plan to die here. He'd expected to be sent after Carol. He'd studied her in as much depth as possible in the past week or so. Nova would be better. He'd rather test his strength against one of their own kind than an easily breakable human.
Nova 17 years ago
Nova pulled her trench coat tighter and rubbed her gloved hands together, finding that she missed the Arizona climates more than she expected at this time of year. Global warming what?

The idea of growing old enough to witness geological ages that most scientists could only theorize about was actually, she thought, pretty cool, even if it meant she’d be around if and when Nachton sank beneath the sea. And speaking of geology…

“Bling.” With a firm nod, she led them down the cobblestone walkway to Ehrlich’s, one of the premier jewelry stores in Nachton. “You just can’t go wrong with it. It’s shiny, it goes with everything from…well…nothing…to…dresses and stuff…” Realizing she wasn’t making that great of a case and was getting disturbing mental images of Carol walking around with nothing but gemstones and a smile, she cut herself off and shoved the door open, cringing a little as some rather loud chimes signaled her their arrival. Fumblingly presented or not, jewelry was still a good idea. Okay, so there were other things she might like more than something shiny but no one could say no to a pretty useless thing that cost a lot of money. Hell, it might even get a body laid!

She -really- needed to stop thinking about Carol and Simon having sex. Definitely sick and wrong. Forunately, there was a dancing reindeer singing, naturally, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, set up as part of a Christmas display inside the store that served as a perfect distraction.
Simon Huntington 17 years ago
Simon literally snorted when Nova finally spoke. He had planned on getting her something sparkly, but he wasn't sure what kind of 'bling' it should be. Diamonds usually implied something...definite. Nova pushed her way into a jewelry store and Simon reluctantly followed.

'Well...I suppose that would do. Earrings or...something,' he mumbled as they were approached by a sales woman wearing nothing but bling. It was subtle bling though, not crunk bling. Her outfit was Christian Dior and her earrings were flawlessly clear solitaires with a matching gold choker. Her hands were beautifully manicured but not over done with tons of rings. One ring adorned each hand and by the size and quality, that's all she needed.

Simon gave the woman a small nod and then looked at Nova with a hopeful yet lost look.
Ellis Duban 17 years ago
'That asshole!'

A jewelry store? He never bought her jewelry. Well, of course whatever she wanted, she just bought for herself. Maybe she never gave him the chance? Shaking her head, Ellis dropped off the roof and onto the sidewalk with a rather damage filled landing. The cement cracked beneath her feet as she continued to bitch none too quietly.

'You know seriously, I spend how many years...' Ellis walked out onto the multi-laned highway, ignoring the screeching of speeding cars around her. '...I give and give and what do I get? I get thrown into a fiery pit of metal. Honestly.' One car in particular got a little close and with much annoyance, slammed directly into her.

Ellis turned just as the screeching sounded just a tad too close and she leaned forward, putting her hands on the front end of the car, crushing the hood in, crumbling the sedan into an accordion. The windshield buckled and bits of glass flew forward, including the occupant who was subsequently thrown into their air bag. Once the car settled back onto the ground, Ellis peered into the car.

'Female drivers.'

Wiping her gloved hands together, she continued her war path towards the mall and Simon.
Alfarinn 17 years ago
Alfarinn hummed absently to the Christmas carol that was being piped through the mall. He had come to pick up a few presents for the people that he wanted to personally gift. There were loads of presents sent out in his name. He added what he wanted bought for various people when he thought about it and MARI dutifully noted it. He trusted that some junior aid of Dani's was given the task of online shopping and a service was responsible the excellent gift wrapping. MARI and Dani made sure that no one was slighted in case he forgot someone. Truly having a team of expert organizers was the best way to handle the holidays.

The time of vampiric rule was coming to a close as the winter solstice drew near. The long nights would once more grow shorter and the humans would have more of their precious sunlight that made them feel safe enough to be out later in the evenings. He sighed and thought of the festive occasion that had been erected around the old traditions. Imaging multi coloured Christmas lights hanging all through his childhood village made him smile. Filled with an odd sense of longing, Alfarinn wished there was at least snow in Nachton this year but alas it looked like there would only be rain.

He turned his attention to the electronics store and wondered if he could find Thaddeus something new and impossibly shiny within. It had to be of use to the Anantya and Alfarinn wondered what might be of interest.
Ichiro Taiji 17 years ago
Tai watched, his only reaction a slight widening of his eyes, as Ellis proceeded to wreak havoc, literally, on the streets of Nachton. Ever conscious of watchful onlookers, he made his way down from the rooftop in a much more refined manner, discovering handholds and grips as he went, a silent shadow dripping down the corner of the building like an ink spill.

On catlike feet he made his way around Ellis' mess; certainly, he belonged to her, but only for the moment. His plans for the future did not include being caught on camera, or stuck in her crossfire. He had himself to think about.

Even that had her whispers in his mind growing stronger, and he hurried to follow her as quickly and quietly as possible. Surprise was an assassin's best friend and Tai intended to use every advantage on his unknown opponent.
Nova 17 years ago
Nova nodded in eager agreement with Simon’s somewhat reluctant mumbling, hoping he’d work up some enthusiasm as he went. A saleswoman was quickly approaching and she hoped the elegantly dressed woman wouldn’t make Simon uncomfortable…not that she would have to try.

“Earrings are nice, or a pendant…are her ears pierced?” Nova didn’t usually notice that sort of thing and come to think of it Simon might not have either. Perhaps they were safer with a necklace in that case.

She was pleasantly surprised to find that the saleswoman greeted them with a deep, almost soothing if slightly snobbish tone of voice. Marta, as her nametag indicated, (not Martha or Marty or Mary, which were names Nova had at least heard of), pleasantly asked if they were shopping for a gift this evening, and Nova felt it perfectly appropriate to answer in her creator’s stead.

“Ya, we’re looking for something for his –girlfriend-,” she said, sounding immensely pleased. Marta raised both penciled eyebrows at Simon, then gave him a secret sort of smile.

‘I –see-. Well you’ve certainly come to the right place. Can I show you some of our more personalized gifts, perhaps?’

Nova tried to sneak behind the saleswoman and give Simon an alert of some kind; it sounded like she’d pegged him as money and was trying to steer him toward the expensive stuff first. She tugged firmly on one ear, but at that moment Marta turned around and gave her a ‘well aren’t you peculiar’ sort of look. Embarrassed, Nova let her hand drop to her side, suddenly feeling rather conspicuous.
Simon Huntington 17 years ago
Simon cleared his throat as the saleswoman began her spiel. He looked curiously at Nova as she begun to give him what he could only describe as baseball signals. Apparently he was suppose to try and steal second base...or something.

'Yes,' he began to nod but then Nova's look made him quickly reconsider,' Yes NO...actually.' Again clearing his throat, Simon proceeded to turn in a slow circle till finally something caught his eye. He had no doubt that Carol had no intention of ever going anywhere without him, literally and figuratively, so he made a bee line to the counter that caught his eye and then pointed straight down.

'I would like that.'

The saleswoman, a little disappointed, moved over to behind the counter and when she saw what he was pointing at, her eyes lit up with glee
. 'Of course, sir.' The woman, Marta, opened the back counter door and reached inside, pulling out a delicate diamond ring. Two rows of princess cut diamonds set flush in a wide comfort fit band.

You're girlfriend will appreciate the flawless quality of these colorless diamonds.'

Simon moaned quietly to himself. Just his luck, he probably picked the most expensive ring in the store. Closing his eyes and nodding, he murmured quietly to her.
'Wrap it please?'

Turning to Nova, he whispered out of the side of his mouth,
'Let's just go.'
Nova 17 years ago
’Arghle! Merble! Goo!’

Nova shook her head in an attempt to make room for slightly more coherent thoughts, but by the time she was able to raise objections it was too late.

A ring? Oh boy, he’d better be –damn- sure Carol was ready to accept something like that. If it were her getting a ring (not that that was likely to happen) she’d totally freak and she hoped for Simon’s sake that wouldn’t happen to him. At this point, though, there was nothing to do but be supportive and all that shit.

And being supportive meant making sure pops wasn’t getting ripped off. Not that this seemed like the sort of place one someone would get taken for a ride; the back of someone’s trunk this was not. Still, she demanded paperwork, certificates of authenticity, insurance, free cleanings, the works. Plus there was sizing to consider, and a close inspection of the setting.

In the end, though, her head was still spinning at how quickly everything had come together. She supposed that was how things happened when you weren’t buying on credit…and you were the type of person who could snap your fingers and get anything in this town. She wondered if Marta knew who he was, or if her attitude was just salesperson instinct. Of course it would take time to get the sale together but they were told to feel free to browse, or continue shopping and come back when all the forms were drawn up. Taking her cue from Simon, she agreed heartily to the latter option and led the way out of the store and into the cold evening air. The Christmas carols were in full swing out here and she resisted the urge to sing along as she turned to her creator.

“So…wow. She’ll…sure like that. Like….-really- like that.” She was starting to feel at least partly responsible for this purchase, and seriously hoped it didn’t backfire in a bad way. Maybe she shouldn’t be so cynical about this stuff but…well, she was, it couldn’t be helped.
Ellis Duban 17 years ago
Ellis walked up the parkway towards Simon and Nova when she looked over her shoulder. Tai was making his way silently behind her, doing what he did best. She stopped for a moment and considered her surroundings. No reason to be stupid, although she'd rather go with her current war path of rage - still, she was letting her jealousy get the best of her and that wouldn't do. Ellis looked north past the outer ring of the mall and towards the center anchor that was being built. The large high end retailer Harod's was covered in plastic tarp and still under construction. The smaller businesses and eateries were in full swing, twenty four seven. Ellis gathered that working retail was what happened to suicide victims...or maybe that's what people who worked in retail should do.

Giving the jewelry store a side glance, Ellis turned towards Harod's. Looking over her shoulder again at Tai, she whispered,
'Keep up, darling' and then blended into the night.
Simon Huntington 17 years ago
Simon reached over Nova and pushed the door out and held it for her as she exited the store. He wondered if his decision to buy Carol a ring perplexed Nova at all, then her awkward stammering seemed to confirm his thoughts. He looked down at Nova and shrugged.

'I never bought jewelry for Ellis.'

He was suddenly at a loss for words, so he left the statement to hang in the frigid air. Ellis never seemed interested in receiving 'baubles', as she put it, from him. He had to give Ellis that, she used her body for grander, loftier goals, definitely not for material things. Besides, he always thought his love was enough.

His last thought made him clear his throat, hoping Nova would change the subject.
The Pipers 17 years ago
Cold glittering eyes watched as the the male and female walked into one of the establishments at the city's mall. The dark brown eyes were joined by three more pairs and all four watched from the the grassy knolls in the simulated park that spread across the center property within the U shaped mall exterior. As expected, the dark haired female made her way north to the construction site, her eyes on the tall male. If she had looked 20 yards to her left, she might have seen the four wolves, belly down in the grass, stalking her quietly.

They were simply called The Pipers. Their union was unspoken but clear, their objective precise and usually quite violent. The wolf who stood slightly taller than the rest was LT, second in command to their commander. Their job as of late had only been reconnaissance. Stalk the human male called Huntington and he would lead them to her.

As the dark haired female passed, unconsciously LT's lip snarled - a deep seeded hate reared its ugly head and this distinct emotion was confirmation of their target. Turning his head slightly to the left, he dismissed the three other wolves who immediately backed up and retreated back towards their higher recon site where the CO would be waiting. The other wolves gave their female a final look, feeling the same need to satiate the hate rising up.

The pipers were not only a team, they were blood, all sharing the same ancestral memories. Cousins, brothers, nephews, uncles...all direct descendants of Hammerthynns and Jamesons - both families who shared in this uncommon and violent distaste for one particular female. It made their mission easier, their bond stronger. The Pipers functioned as one entire spirit, one entity...but mostly they were just mean motherfuckers.
Alfarinn 17 years ago
Alfarinn shook his head at the Cingular sales woman who waved a sleek thin phone and started forward with a spiel about 'great any time minutes'. He moved further into the store and considered the plethora of gadgets before him. He wanted something truely unique and special.

There were several chairs with covers that performed various massage functions each with a remote control to change the rhythm and speed secured within arm's reach. Pausing half a second, Alfarinn rejected the idea as something he would rather do himself, despite the novelty it might have once or twice.

It was easy to bypass the high tech toy section though one little robot with a round tray caught his attention. Alfarinn chuckled to himself and picked up one of the white little servitors with his guileless red blinking eyes. Tucking it under his arm, he moved on, an idea forming in his mind.

He really hoped that Skodde wouldn't try to eat the poor little guy.

Finding another couple of things that he wanted to add, Alfarinn placed them all on the counter to be rung up. The salesperson gave him a dubious annoyed look that suggested that his time was being wasted by a kid with delusions of wealth and that he would soon need to be putting half the purchases back on the shelves.

"Mr Björn! How good it is to see you!"�

Looking up in mild surprise, Alfarinn saw a tall well dressed man quickly moving towards him and leaving a rather dumb founded customer behind. The little golden name tag on the man's shirt read Alexander Ansley with the title Manager written in smaller letters underneath. The man maneuvered the sales clerk aside and started ringing up the purchases.

"The gentleman over there would like to see our selection of monitors, Harry. Please be so kind as to help him out."Â?

Turning back to Alfarinn, Mr Ansley gave him a bright smile and proceeded to make small talk. He could feel that the man was nervous and excited and in return he felt a small bit of sympathy for the man's situation. Responding with more patience than he felt, Alfarinn said.

"My holidays have been very good so far. Thank you. Has it been terribly busy for you here?"Â?

People were lining up behind him and the first bits of annoyance could be sensed like small jabs of daggers in his back. The manager seemed willing to continue talking as long as he was willing to let him. Alfarinn picked up his bags and gave the woman with two kids standing directly behind him an embarrassed grin. Stepping aside, He smiled once more at the manager.

"Have a good evening, Alex."Â? Because he had insisted that Alfarinn call him Alex. "I hope you get some time for yourself and your family this year. Don't work too hard."Â?

The manager stared after him until the woman rattled her package under his nose to demand his attention. With an inward sigh of relief, Alfarinn made his way out of the store, purchases in hand.
Nova 17 years ago
With Simon's explanation, buying the ring made a little more sense. Except that it totally didn't; what was -that- supposed to mean? Nova made a brief effort to call back on her relationship experience to see if she could muster up a little empathy for her creator's frame of mind, but she couldn't honestly say she had many dealings in ending relationships with psychotic killers who want to use and then dispose of her entire family. She could, she supposed, appreciate that Simon wanted to do things differently with Carol, and that was enough explanation.

“Well it's sure to be a hit! Damn, and I was thinking I would get Evans something...leather and manly. Like a wallet. Is that lame?”

She breezed right by the fact that she didn't usually get boyfriends Christmas presents. It was just a thing, was all. More of an 'I acknowledge that I've put you through crap' sort of present that the celebration of a holiday, at least in her mind. The timing was coincidence.

Besides, she felt a little shitty about leaving him dateless on New Years, whether she would admit it or not. She'd gone back and forth on that and had ultimately decided that if she -could- leave for Arizona before the end of the year, she would.

Thinking of arrangements sparked another thought, and she turned to Simon as they continued along the walkway.

“Hey, do you think I could give Marthinus a call? He's still out of the country but...well it's Christmas and stuff, you know? When's he coming back, by the way?”

Realizing she'd peppered Simon rather liberally with questions, she paused for air and thought to look where she was going. Further up there was some construction, which she figured they should probably avoid. Even so, she slowed a little, her eyes narrowing, her expression disturbed without really knowing why.

After a moment, she flicked her hair, frowning, and picked up her pace again.
Brig Jameson 17 years ago
Brig watched the recon group return, LT bringing up the rear. He knelt down and put his hand up into the fur along LT's neck, rubbing him. LT began to shake his head but Brig's hand pushed down on his shoulder.


LT's brown eyes blinked and the wolf sat back onto his haunches. Brig did not want him to change back, not just yet. None of them were old enough to be able to really handle shape shifting like himself or Hammerthynn. He nodded towards Larue, a medium sized black wolf who barked softly and stepped back. Brig and the other wolves watched Larue's body start to shift back; the painful transformation took several minutes until finally the freckled, seemingly young teenager was covered in sweat and breathing like he had just run a marathon.

Brig stood and retrieved Larue a jump suit. He looked at the kid who seemed no older than 16 but in actuality was in his late twenties. Red curly hair and freckles, he stepped into the suit and zipped it up.

Larue spoke softly, 'The woman, she entered the construction area, ahead of Huntington and his female. Want me to head up the second team?'

Brig nodded, 'Do that, LT will take the first wave.'

'What about Huntington?'

Brig looked at Larue and a steely expression crossed his face. Hammer had been specific, kill the dark haired woman - all other objectives rescinded. Brig had asked about Huntington and he replied with the same words Brig said now to his team.

'What about him?'

The Pipers nodded and LT's group stole back into the night.
Ellis Duban 17 years ago
Ellis blended quietly into the construction area, watching Simon and Nova approach from the south end of the mall property. There would be no sneaking up on Simon. That fucking perception of his would force her to keep at least 50 yards between them without him noticing something was different, so as she crept closer to them, skimming the edge of what she figured he'd notice, Ellis was surprised to see Nova look up. Figures, Ellis thought. Her ability would be weak at best, probably like a fly buzzing by her ear. God she never liked that one and the urge to rip her head off was overwhelming.

Ellis blended closer to them as they passed. Simon should be feeling her now, like a little niggling in his neck - that all too familiar feeling of something thought lost. She took a deep breath, trying to control her agitation, just giving him enough to be curious. Tai had disappeared into the half built structure, waiting for his chase.

Closer. So close she could see the hazel of his eyes and then suddenly, there it was. Ellis laughed and backed into the structure again, just as Simon turned his head.
Simon Huntington 17 years ago
Simon gave Nova a side look glance and permitted himself a grin. 'I thought Evans wasn't your boyfriend...so he is now?' He enjoyed Nova's company but he worried about her strange love life at the same time. Of all people Evans, but then you can never tell with love.

'If you're going to get him something, I would suggest something red, skimpy and with a thong - for you, not him of course. That would be disgusting.' He shuddered and grinned again, waiting for Nova's reaction when she asked about Marthinus.

The happy feeling had been fleeting and it was replaced with that usual burden of guilt on his shoulders. He'd have to tell her, he'd have to tell the clan. There was no stopping the changes in Nachton, and putting off his duties to protect that clan were unacceptable.
'Actually Nova, about Marthinus...'

She wasn't paying attention to him. Nova was looking off, suddenly distracted and had slowed her pace as they passed the construction site. 'Nova?' He watched her eyes narrow and then suddenly there it was, that razor thing ice pick digging into the back of his head. Adrenaline immediately started to pump inside him, his sense telling him that something was near. Something...familiar. The same feeling he had with Carol when he inadvertently pushed her against the alley wall when he felt something pass him. Only this time it was coming from the unfinished structure.

Nova turned away and picked up her pace again.

Alfarinn 17 years ago
Alfarinn exited the store and looked around at the various shops along this wing to see if there was somewhere else he should go for his Christmas shopping. The jewelry store made him think of Dani and he wondered if he could find something in the shop that suited her. It would have to really strike him as something she would like and wear because jewelry was not an easy gift to give to a friend. He would want it to be something that wouldn't collect dust in a jewelry box if at all possible.

He was about to head towards the store when his pager went off. Setting the bags down, Alfarinn looked at his belt clip and then flipped open his phone.

"Are you checking up on me? I am getting a little Christmas shopping done."Â?

He smiled and reached down to pick up both bags. Heading towards a nearby bench where he was out of the way, Alfarinn set the bags down on the seat and continued his conversation.

"Your lump of coal has already been picked up so no need to worry. Was there something you needed?"Â?

Listening to the reply, Alfarinn looked around the mall. Squinting down towards the unfinished department store, he focused on a man and woman standing in front of it. Was that Simon? The woman looked familiar as well but it was hard to tell from this distance. The leader of Tacharan was someone who was easily recognizable. Perhaps when he was finished with his telephone conversation he could catch up to the pair.

"I can get to that tomorrow. Send me an email to remind me. Well you know... I might forget about it after a few cups of your finest."Â?
The Pipers 17 years ago
The first wave of Pipers moved across the park like shadows, blurs of dark reddish brown and black. Reaching the security fence on the opposite side of the construction, LT bit at the wire fencing, creating a whole big enough for them to squeeze through. Six in all, a straight line along the perimeter and past the plastic tarps covering the northern part of the complex. Upon entering the building, LT halted, sniffing the air - the five other Pipers immediately came to a stop behind him.

LT looked behind him and then flicked his ears. He could smell her, on the lower level. He made eye contact with two Pipers, then nodded towards the installed elevators. With a tense snarl, the remainder fell behind him, following his lead. Slowly, the made their way down to ground level, closer to the figure radiating the foul and somewhat familiar scent.