It's All Ancient History (attn: Bao)
Amir idled his way through the thinning crowds at the Arch, waiting for Bao to show up. There were almost always people here but inevitably the numbers became fewer and fewer as the stars came out and they all gravitated toward Nachton's thriving downtown life.
Bao and wanted to see him, so here he was, the time and place of his choosing. Amir had been participating in his own minor one-man rebellion. After his conversation with Mara a few mights ago he'd indulged in some experimentation and had stopped contacting Subira quite so frequently. It amused him to try and find that balance where he contacted her just enough so that she wouldn't really have a reason to complain but not quite enough for her to ride herd on him every night.
He meandered toward the back of the museum, where some of the less popular exhibits were. These were some of his favorites. They didn't have the glitter and the show of the more exotic displays, but they seemed more "real" to him for it.
He paused in front of a very simple painting, remarkable because of its age and state of preservation. It was Asian in origin and it was kept in a very tightly sealed climate-controlled display case. It was a heron standing in shallow water, but beneath the water appeared to be a serpent or a dragon - it was unclear what.
Finding his way through the museum towards Amir was easy enough though. He knew his maker well enough to know more or less where to find him. Back where the 'lesser' collections were housed, where the crowds thinned out.
It was an excellent piece Amir had chosen to admire. One Bao would quite like to have. He stood next to his maker and admired the lines and the color. The artist had been quite subtle with some of his shading, the brush strokes were extremely elegant and delicate. Brilliant. Just brilliant.
He fell perfectly still, as if he himself were one of the many statues scattered throughout the museum. Amir could be very patient when the situation called for it. So he stared at the painting. And stared.
Pretty soon he was fairly sure Bao was staring at the painting just to get on his nerves. So Amir stared harder and tried to ignore the fact that his lips were twitching with humor.
Each one of them tried to out stare the other one in an emo display of quiet contemplation.
Finally Amir turned to a guffawing Bao and spread his hands. "All right, before my eyeballs shrivel up, what did you want?"
If some one had walked by they, either would have been mistaken for art or escapees from a mental institution.
Finally, he let Amir's humor touch him and a low chuckle escaped him. The news he had wasn't good, but for the moment, this was amusing.
"I believe you have proven you can regenerate your eyeballs."Â?
How to best broach the subject? He didn't like to stall or seem evasive, but he also liked to give Amir a second to warm up to the idea.
"We lost several familiars last night. It was an attempt to recover something for the project. It went... ... poorly."Â?
Bao's next words had him breaking his stillness, turning to his middle child, and saying, "Poorly?"
Bao had said it in a tone of voice that made Amir suspicious. He had known for a very long time that Bao was a part of a group of vampires who were interested in researching the virus that made humans turn into werewolves. Most of them were scientists but they'd drawn Bao in some two hundred or so years ago in their need for someone who was savvy with the legal perspective.
It wasn't Amir's cup of tea, however. Why should he have any interest in screwing with the werewolf virus if he could Command them? Now, if they found a way to neutralize it and kill it completely Amir might jump on board that ship, but not the path they were currently traveling down.
"So you lost some fodder," Amir said mildly. "Need a change of battle plans?"
A lightbulb went on. Tactics were Amir's specialty, and that might explain Bao's need.
The other two belonged to some of the others. Bao was truly only upset about the twins' property. They were his favorite children, other than Pakpao. Not that Pakpao was his favorite or anything like that. And none of his children would have been caught flat footed by a werewolf. Well perhaps Pakpao... they would have to work on that. He didn't want her hurt.
"Rather. One of the Evenhet ancients and a were did quite a bit of damage in a very short time."Â?
Bao was acting against the will of the group here. They wanted to make another attempt, he thought new tactics were called for. What the other tactics were he wasn't sure. This was why he had turned to Amir.
He inclined his head at the older vampire and walked to a pottery display not far away. Giving Amir a chance to think and letting him take in something new.
"This display was not here the last time I visited."Â?
That part got Amir's interest. He'd had familiars before, of course, but he didn't get close to them. They were food and they could be useful during the day, but that was about it. They weren't anything to get sentimental over and if you had to throw someone to the wolves (literally and figuratively), well, they were the best ones for the job.
But a vampire working with a werewolf? "Do you know the vampire in question?"
How did Bao know that vampire's Clan to begin with, much less his status within it? Amir knew Bao didn't have very many, if any, friends outside of Anantya. Sure, there were a few who were well-known throughout the vampire community. The Triad, of course; Arin Bjorn; Ellis Duban and her little friend Simon Huntington. But if it had been one of those notables Bao would have mentioned it straight off.
He glanced at the pottery display and sniffed at it disdainfully, far more interested in knowing where Bao had come by his information.
Bao couldn't remember the youngster's name any more. He was the offspring of one of the other partners,
"Described both quite thoroughly. The wolf we've not been able to track, not really. The ancient seems to be Kem'Raaisu he's been leading Evenhet for several years."Â?
There was some debate if it was a temporary job or if it was permanent. But the man was old enough and distinctive enough that Bao's sources had -no- doubt who it was.
Of course, this made Bao leery, what if Evenhet had allied with the wolves. Not that he thought for an instant the wolves would do something like that, but it could happen. One had to at least consider the idea.
He rolled his eyes, not even trying to hide his exasperation. "Of course."
Kiamhaat, the constant thorn in his side. Amir scowled. "You know the rogue child of mine I've told you about, the first one," he waited for Bao's answering nod and then spread his hands. "Kem. Apparently, he's no longer a rogue."
This was a new development. Amir had known that Kiamhaat belonged to the Evenhet, but leading them? What could he possibly have to offer in that capacity? Then again, he mused, thinking of his conversation with Mara, everyone changed. it was an ironically constant state.
"But what would he be doing with a werewolf?" It was a rhetorical question. Amir could no more guess Kiamhaat's motives any more than Kiamhaat could guess at Amir's existence. He turned to the task at hand.
"So. Exactly what was it you were trying to recover, that would be of value to both a werewolf and your 'big brother' from Evenhet?"
There was a long pause, only silence while Bao digested that information. Amir's child... oldest child was leading Evenhet? He laughed, but there was very little humor. It was dry, ironic; of course, both his child and Amir's would wind up together. In a bizarre way Bao hoped that they did know each other, perhaps even liked each other.
There was no good way to respond to his creator, but it was going to take some time to get used to the idea. He could only imagine how 'please' Amir was at this point.
Recognizing the question as needing no response Bao held his peace.
"A dog. It appears one of the researchers went rouge and it is possible the dog contains research the good doctor took with her when she left the project."Â?
Bao was determined to get a hold of Dr. Gounder, and not just for the research, she'd taken with her. Something about the woman fascinated him, and yet he hated to admit he had any interest in a werewolf at all.
Granted they obviously hadn't been expecting to run into a pissed-off werewolf and a vampire. "And you say the familiars are dead. By Kem's hand? And because of this werewolf?"
Amir narrowed his eyes. It took a great deal of self-restraint not to reach up and pinch the bridge of his nose.
"What about the youth? He was attacked, you said, by whom?" It was an important detail for Amir. He was already wrestling with the idea of culling a vampire he'd created. If Kiamhaat was reckless enough to side with werewolves over his own kind, that would help make Amir's decision easier, perhaps.
He stopped for a moment, his favorite's face springing to mind. What would Mara do if she knew all of this had happened? Would she ever understand the need to eliminate a traitor when the traitor in question was her father?
Ugh, what a tangled web.
At this point though, Bao couldn't see that as an option it would call far too much attention to things. Two break ins and then her death? No, even the Nachton PD would catch on, regardless oh how much pull they had. With the department.
Bao only nodded.
"The familiars... from what we've been told one died by Kem's hand, one by the wolf, one killed himself as he'd been commanded to do in a dire situation and one the child killed as he could not salvage it or the situation."Â?
At least they'd been somewhat prepared for, what was the phrase?, the shit to hit the fan.
Bao understood how important the answer about Kem's involvement was. If one of his children had gotten involved with the wolves, sided with wolves, it would be near disastrous. At least he had some good news for Amir.
"No, the wolf. The child did not immediately make himself known and when he did it was the wolf that took issue with him."Â?
There was a good possibility that Kem hadn't realized he'd been fighting his own kind. Still he had cooperated with a wolf, it was perplexing to say the least.
Still, had Kiamhaat been responsible for attacking or injuring another of his kind, Amir would have found it hard to justify taking no action at all. If the youth Bao had sent said it was the wolf who was the aggressor and not the accompanying vampire, Amir was willing to believe that. However, still pressing was the fact that an Evenhet had apparently helped the wolf.
"The woman whose dog it is, is she a werewolf herself?"
Perhaps they simply had a mutual acquaintance. It wouldn't be unheard of in a city like Nachton. Perhaps ten years ago it would have been unthinkable but now, with vampires and weres vying for the same territory and resources and the unwitting humans caught in between, it was a distinct possibility.
"We aren't sure. She doesn't appear to be, she did not join in the fighting."Â?
Intelligence on the woman was limited. He had one of his own people looking into her now. Bao would know more in a day or two.
"At first glance her acquaintances are... muddy. She appears to have relationships with both the wolves and Evenhet but they could all be coincidental."Â?
"Surely she can't go everywhere with her dog," he said. "Even if she does, maybe the idea should be to isolate her away from her home."
He tilted his head. "Barring that tactic, Bao, have you ever heard of such a thing as 'advancing in the opposite direction?' There is always that."
Amir wouldn't usually advise that, stubborn as he was, but in this case he couldn't help but wonder if it was time to encourage this particular offspring of his to spend his resources on other pursuits. "These scientists are bordering on reckless," he said. "What if she belongs to Evenhet? Is this dog worth starting a Clan war over?"
If Kiamhaat was involved, there was every possibility the woman belonged to his Clan.
"At the very least you need to start by reassessing your battlefield and reorganizing your intelligence."
It sounded like Bao had begun to do just that already. Amir had nothing else to add - not just yet. But he was curious about this human. Maybe it'd be worth looking into himself.
Damned woman never seemed to do the same thing at the same time or even on the same day. And now, well she'd have to be stupid beyond all reason not to be exceptionally alert and careful. On top of that he doubted the wolf, who ever it was, would simply let matters rest and where there was one wolf there would be more. They were pack animals after all. And the scientists had made it clear the animal had to be alive or whatever virus or mutation it was in it would die along with the dog.
He nodded. Bao happened to agree with Amir. It might be easier to get at the doctor. She'd made herself nearly inaccessible, Bao could only assume she was either scared or being protected. But either way if they could get at her, command her cooperation that would be best. At this point, however, he certainly would not be suggesting that to the rest of the group. No, he was going to have to take more control. They recruited him for his legal expertise and he was going to use it, he was going to keep them and the clan out of trouble. That meant thinking that idea through very -very- carefully. Because even now, off the top of his head, it sounded like more trouble than it would be worth. It was one thing to to try and pry her out into the open and another to go try and storm a strong hold.
"The animal may just be a resource with too high a price tag."Â?
He agreed. Perhaps it was once again to phase the project out, give it a decade or two and start over. They'd done that before. Of course that had been due to some particularly nasty experiments and some information leaked to the tabloid press of the day. And a clan war was certainly worse than some yellow journalism. Unlike the scientist involved, Bao was more willing to cut his loses and start over. He was too practical to do otherwise.
"A battlefield is more than a where it is a when as well. I think you might be right Cha."Â?
It reassured Bao to hear that Amir was thinking along the same lines.
"I can check out her yard if you want me to," Amir offered. He wasn't sure what he'd find but at least he could get a feel for where she lived and who came around on a regular basis.
He nodded at Bao as Bao reached his own similar conclusions with a little encouragement.
"Some resources just aren't worth the trouble," he agreed. "What else can I help with?"
"I do have my sources, but I would not say no to some additional assistance."Â?
There was a sense in not taking advantage of Amir's help.
Bao sighed and tried to think...
"I do not believe there is anything else at this point in time Cha."Â?
The scientists were more or less his responsibility. Well, they were their own responsibility. Either way they didn't fall under Amir's duties and Bao was capable enough that he didn't need to run to his creator with every little problem. A bit of tactical advice here and there was one thing, handholding was another.
Lifting his shoulders he said, "Really, it seems like you have it under control," he said. "Maybe a little clarity of thought helped, but you know where to go."
He passed up the one exhibit and wandered to the next. "What to do with our Evenhet, that presents another problem entirely." Amir smiled to himself. "I'll work on that too. It's about time I did."
"It does help to hear another perspective, or even hear my own aloud."Â?
Bao followed Amir to the next exhibit and quietly raised his eyebrow at the older vampire. He suspected from that, perhaps Amir's relationship with his stray wouldn't develop along the same lines as his. But then again, Pakpao wasn't leading another clan nor was she assisting werewolves. Was she? He might look into that.
"That should be interesting."Â?
Bao was careful to keep his response neutral. This was Amir's game to play.
They circulated through some of the museum, discussing the various exhibits, no business for a change until they each almost mutually decided other matters needed their attention before the night was up and took their leave.
((OOC... both out with permission))