Changing of the Guard (attn:Simon)
"Meet me on the docks at twelve midnight. I'll be in a trench coat, feeding the ducks."
Kem loved the cheesy "B" movie setting. So, when it came to arranging a meeting on neutral territory, the waterfront came to mind. All right, so it was a little warm for trench coats, and there weren't any ducks, but the pier overlooking the sea was still as good a place as any to meet the Tacharans' leader. Introductions were in order; it seemed only polite, and Kem would take the opportunity if it arose to ask about the Christmastime fun in the mall. If not though, he'd already decided not to push the issue. The important thing was striking a rapport with Simon.
When it came to Clans, Kem had never seen them the way some of his fellow Evenhet or the Anantya did. He'd spent a very long time as an outcast, eight hundred years to be precise, before meeting Alfarinn and realizing where he belonged. While many of his clanmates turned their noses up at the Tacharan, Kem's opinion was that everyone needed a family and if you didn't have one, you should make one. In that regard he respected what Simon and Ellis had built, if not the means with which they'd built it or the philosphies they'd seemed to live by since.
If Simon feared Kem's attitude would be standoffish, he need not have. There was no better emissary than one who understood, and Kem thought he understood fairly well.
So here he sat, or leaned, more precisely, on one of the pillars that rose up from the water to support the planks of the long dock. The weather was warm, but Kem didn't mind. He was used to warmer climes. He wore his usual Docs, being far too lazy a shopper to worry about having several pairs of shoes when one was perfectly sufficient. Comfortable, roomy cargo pants in khaki and a white button-down collared shirt over a blue t-shirt made up the rest of his outfit. He'd done nothing with his hair, although he had considered cutting it in order to look... well, older? In the end though, he figured the rest of the Clans could take him or leave him as he was, so his odd silver hair fell, as always, straight to the middle of his back.
It had surprised him to find he had two assistants whose jobs were to help him do the things that needed doing for the clan. When he'd mentioned arranging a meeting with Simon, they'd jumped and accomplished the task with astonishing speed. All Kem had to do was show up and wait.
Hopefully Simon would be there; Kem didn't want to have to fight an uphill battle for recognition as Evenhet's temporary caretaker. It was difficult enough as it was now.
His shoes made a low clunking noise as he reached the wooden planks leading down to the docks. Simon wondered if maybe he should be more on guard, even though he had never personally had any trouble with Evenhet, Tacharan wasn't exactly high in their (or anyone's) standards. Unconsciously he reached up and scratched the back of his neck as he slowed his pace, biding time. He considered calling Alec back at the Domicile to ready back up. The conversation could very well be about the compound raid even though it had been two years ago already. Again he reached up and touched the itch at the base of his neck when his shoulders slumped and he stopped.
'What are you doing here?'
'Oooh, I got close that time.'
With a wink she let her wrap slip down to her elbows. Pulling out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter from a hidden pocket in her wrap, she lit up her death stick. Ellis was wearing a Herve Leger strapless sweetheart neck dress, a "bandage", fitted strapless style which was created from two rows of crisscrossing panels. The tiny panels underneath on the bodice crisscross as well, but in the opposite direction. It was a deep, dark red and fit her like second skin.
With a shrug she inhaled deeply on her cigarette, blowing the smoke out over her shoulder. 'I'm just curious, like you. Who is Kem'Raaisu?'
Simon rolled his eyes and then resumed his normal bland expression. She knew, of course, that Evenhet requested a meeting with him. She still had those that were loyal at Duibne, reporting little tidbits of information, no matter how insignificant, to her. It didn't even need to be said. Simon looked at her, head to toe and with an annoyed looked turned to move on. Ellis happily followed him, flicking her ashes into the wind.
They neared the agreed meeting spot and true to form, the Evenhet was standing alone, waiting for Simon. Ellis resisted the urge to step in front of Simon and lingered behind him to watch the new male. With nod she whispered to Simon, 'Oh he's a cutie.'
"Simon, Ellis, thanks for coming. I'm Kem." Kem nodded to them each in turn, offering his hand. He was at an advantage, he supposed. Both of these two were quite prominent in the vampiric community, while he was a relative nobody. Or had been, at least, until the past few weeks.
Leaning back against his comfy pillar, he tucked his hands into his pockets. Sheer stubborn pride kept him projecting his confident air, while on the inside he was about as nervous as he could be. Ellis made him uncomfortable. He was willing to bet she knew it, too, which motivated him yet more not to show it.
"I wanted to take the chance to introduce myself," he said frankly. "Alfarinn is away on personal business and I've agreed to look after things for him until he returns."
Nevermind that Alfarinn had already been gone for some time now, and they weren't sure exactly when he'd be back. Kem was trying to avoid any sort of admission that might make Evenhet seem weak. Not that the two Clans weren't on decent terms, but it never hurt to keep up appearances.
'I have to admit,' Simon started, 'pleasantries are not something our clan is used to and usually never the only reason for inter-clan communication. It is a pleasure to meet you, Kem but...what do you want?'
Ellis snorted softly at his boldness. They both knew that's exactly what she would have asked.
'So...Alfarinn is gone? My, my...are you asserting yourself, Kem?' Ellis circled behind Simon and then stood next to him, fingering her cigarette as she looked at the Evenhet from head to toe. Such long hair the Evenhet men seemed to sport. Very, very handsome, she thought.
'Assuming responsibilities, then?'
While his natural inclination was to ignore Ellis' ogling, he figured that wouldn't go over as well. After shaking Simon's hand he glanced at Ellis, brazenly looking her up and down in much the same way as she had him. Giving her the same little ghost of a smile, he said, "As I said, I'm merely watching over the clan while Alfarinn is away. At his request."
Let them make of that what they would, he thought. Dismissing Ellis, returning his gaze to Simon, who apparently was taking the lead, Kem continued, "I wish it were only for pleasantries. I've had the opportunity to meet several of your clan in the past, and they are a family to be proud of. Unfortunately what I'm looking for is information, and it occurs to me you might be able to share."
Pausing for a moment, Kem pulled an envelope from his back pocket and slid two papers from it. They were copies of the shots from the mall, clearly showing two figures running from a pack of wolves. Kem's lips twitched up in amusement as he presented them to Simon.
"I think you might remember this night. And obviously, you're both all right." He indicated Ellis with another nod, sincere in his concern. Kem wasn't entirely sure where he stood on the whole werewolf matter, but his inclination was to be glad Ellis hadn't been killed. Better the danger you know, and all that.
"Do you know who they are? And, more importantly, why they were chasing you?"
'Those,' Simon nodded toward the wolves in the pictures, 'are wolves.'
Ellis cleared her throat.
Ellis blew smoke behind him and flicked her cigarette into the water. She sidled up next to him and rested her chin on his shoulder.
In an slightly irritated tone, 'I'm not exactly sure why they were chasing us, to be honest.' He looked at Ellis who shrugged in response. Whether that was true or not he still wasn't sure, but Simon continued with his explanation.
'We don't know anything about them, except that they're here now.'
He left out the part about Marthinus being turned into one - he figured he'd save that for a second date.
He stifled the urge to levitate Ellis' cigarette butt out of the water. it was irritating him, though. Watch some innocent guppy come along and choke to death on it.
Turning his attention back to the pictures, and back to Ellis and Simon's very vague answers, he said, "Werewolves?"
Yeah, he knew that much already. There was one fairly key factor here though, he was hoping to discern.
"How does one tell a werewolf from a shapeshifted Anantya?"
Kem's curiosity was genuine; he asked the question without so much as a hint of guile. The scholarly side of him tempered the side that just wanted to get some information and be gone. Really, a name would be excellent but a description might be just as good. If Simon or Ellis would give him that, he'd call it a win.
He wasn't going to push for the reason they were being chased. Obviously one or the other of them had done something to anger them... but that answer might come in time. Kem's purpose was simply to gather a few facts together.
That was an excellent question, in fact, Ellis had thought the same thing initially. First off, she was pretty sure Anantya didn't make people *that* big, but...you never know. Ellis looked at Simon, waiting for him to enlighten them since she only took his word for it.
'One of our familiars became involved with one - rather one of theirs helped ours, so to speak. I met their leader or...Alpha I think he called himself. It was at the hospital upon our familiar's return to the country. They've established themselves as Stafford Enterprises and have a considerable amount of property here in the city. That is unfortunately all I know.'
Simon looked over at Ellis who disengaged herself from him and they both looked back at Kem. 'What does Evenhet plan on doing?'
"Stafford," Kem mused, thinking out loud, "that would be run by a one-eyed man named Hammer... I don't remember the whole thing. I remember his face though. Hard to forget. Was he with the pack in the mall?"
The other man, too, Kem recalled seeing in the news. Some kind of quasi-celebrity. A doctor, and heir to the Stafford fortune. Nachton's most eligible bachelors and all that crap. He was right up there with Arin Bjorn. Perhaps that's how Kem recalled the man's face.
With a sigh, he shook his head at Simon. "I hadn't come here with a plan in mind, not just yet. My main concern was for my own kind after seeing these surveillance pictures. But if, as you say, they were helpful to you... I guess that leaves me more confused than anything."
Between the wolves chasing Ellis and Simon through the mall, and now their claims that they'd helped their familiar, Kem was quickly assembling more questions than answers. He had names and faces to go on now, though. That was a good start.
Ellis didn't agree with how Simon described the situation, but he was trying to be diplomatic and considering what they had both been through with the wolves, there was no reason to be. She considered going into more detail with Kem but decided against it. He had enough information about them for now, at least from her. If Simon wanted to offer up anything else - well he'd be an idiot for not trying to keep the upper hand against the rest of the clans. Ellis looked at Simon, trying to convey her thoughts but he ignored her. Annoyed Ellis sniffed and crossed her arms.
'Aidan Xephier - he's their Alpha. Iov Hammerthynn, the one eyed giant is their Beta. At least that's what they told us. And she's right,' he nodded in Ellis' direction, 'they were not trying to help us. Our familiar was dying and...he made a choice.'
Let Kem infer whatever he wanted from that, but Simon was done. Tacharan owed nothing to the other clans and himself nothing to this new Evenhet. If it had been Alfarinn, it would have been different but as leader of the rogue clan, he had to look out for themselves now.
'It has been a pleasure meeting you, Kem'Raaisu, but this is as far as I go with my information. The only way I'll treat this is quid pro quo and you have nothing now that I need - till you do...' Simon nodded to Kem, readying himself to leave. Whether Ellis approved of what he was doing was immaterial, but he wasn't playing coy with Kem for her sake.
((ooc - not quite leaving, but waiting pending response =D )
"I appreciate your coming out here," he said honestly. They hadn't had to. And they certainly hadn't had to be as free with the names as they'd been. In Kem's opinion it was a fair exchange for the help Alfarinn had apparently given their clanmate in the mall.
As for the suggestion that they had nothing to offer in return, Kem simply smiled once more. Evenhet had a good bit more information on the topic than he suspected either of these two knew, at least insofar as their history and previous interactions. Evenhet always had something to offer... if Simon and Ellis considered this even and finished, Kem was thrilled.
"If we can be of assistance, let me know."
The Tacharan leader wasn't a bad sort, and Kem was inclined to aid his own kind over a band of obviously hostile werewolves. Maybe it was sort of a "lesser of two evils" thing, but sometimes that was how it went.
With one last nod of acknowledgement, Kem strolled back up the pier. As an afterthought, he located the cigarette butt Ellis had thrown over into the water, lifted it out, and floated it past her as he walked by, dropping it with satisfaction into the trash recepticle at the end of the pier.
((ooc: Kem out))
Looking back at Simon, she caught the expression on his face that he realized that Kem might have known something more. Throwing her wrap around her neck to ward off the chill, she hooked her other arm into Simon's and nudged him.
'This could be fun, right? Takes the heat off of us at least.'
There was no 'us' as far as he was concerned, even though every thing that seemed to happen to him always involved Ellis some how. Still, he had to accept that they were both involved with what was going on with the werewolves and now any investigation the other clans were initiation regarding their less than clandestine exchange with them.
Ellis had wrapped her arms around his and they strolled slowly back down the docks. His thoughts kept going back to Alfarinn and where he was - still in town or out of country. Did it have anything to do with the werewolves or was it more vampire business - maybe Meagan? Simon looked at Ellis again with her happy smirk on her face. He wondered if it had anything to do with her.
With a slow sigh he let it go, for now. Something would come up later - it always did.
((OOC simon and ellis out))