When I Snap My Fingers, You Will Wake Up (Invite Only)
It was a Wednesday night and she'd made sure to let her staff know she was off until next Monday. After all ThÃ©rÃ¨se had no idea what was going to happen. Hypothetically this mulo would release her from his commands and she'd have her mind and her life back. How long that would take, she had no idea. What would happen after that scared her. There was simply no way to know if there would suddenly be a huge gaping hole in her memory, if her personality would change, of if she'd just pick up and carry on like nothing had ever happened.
This had to go well too. It had to and for some reason she couldn't shake the feeling this was a trap. If that was the case she would fight him, and who ever else might be with him, to the best of her abilities. She'd not be made to fight her own pack, not if she could help it. Although, it was likely she'd not be able to help it.
Sighing softly ThÃ©rÃ¨se left her office and made her way to the back of the museum, the staff only area and the loading dock. It wasn't typically part of the day to day operations that ThÃ©rÃ¨se had a hand in but she'd quietly worked to ensure all extraneous maintenance personal was off tonight and there were minimal staff up front. Even if things went to hell in a hand basket they should be left alone and no one should be caught up in this mess or do something silly like call the police. Other than knowing she wasn't alone, ThÃ©rÃ¨se had no idea what Vaughn had up his sleeve. What she knew was that she didn't trust the mulo and should be ready for anything.
The loading dock had a very industrial feel, they could handle three large trucks at one time after all. There were huge cement piers extending from tall rolling doors, and over hangs so that shipments could be taken even in bad weather. Typically this area held a sense of excitement for ThÃ©rÃ¨se who loved to see a new exhibit come in or go out to be shared with other cities and museums. Tonight, however, it felt cold hollow and foreboding. A minimal amount of lighting right now as well which only emphasized how lonely the docks were and did nothing to put her at ease. There was a huge knot in her stomach that she simply could not shake or get past and all ThÃ©rÃ¨se could do was think of what might go wrong.
Making her way outside where the night air still held a bit of the early summer/late spring warmth she scowled up at the moon. Of all the nights not to be full, of course if it had been full this wouldn't work. Praying the spirits would be kind for a change ThÃ©rÃ¨se nervously scanned the area, there really wasn't much to do but wait now.
Well, actually, his range with a wolf was fairly good. He didn't trust them nearly as far as he could throw them.
The point was, he had every suspicion that they were walking into some kind of trap. That had been confirmed just a few minutes ago in a literal fly-by from Evan and a meow-by from Mara, both serving as scouts, as back-up, and as potential ambushers if it became that nasty. Amir was scowling at the idea that they had actually come in good faith and they had been betrayed, but at the same time he couldn't say that he wouldn't have done the same in this position.
Looking at Bao Amir said, "So here we go, into the lions' den. I just have one thing to say to you before we go in."
He regarded Bao for a few seconds. He'd been very angry with his middle child initially but as he'd cooled off, the usual protective instinct had kicked in. There was no way Amir was going to let Bao be injured or killed if he could help it... and, well, he had pissed off a lot of werewolves. So he had come up with his own brand of insurance.
He looked Bao in the eyes.
"You will not drop your Commands on Therese. You cannot drop your Commands on Therese. You may speak to her, or to any other werewolf, and you may let them know why you cannot release her and who is holding you now. No amount of pain or torture will convince you to undo what you have done."
His words were suffused with two thousand years of willpower. Amir knew that Bao could not withstand his Creator's Command, although he'd never truly had cause to use it before. Amir nodded. Let these wolves negotiate through him.
If he were wise he'd walk away now, lead the wolves on a chase. But he would be there for Bao, to face them now and for whatever came after. Perhaps they would both be killed, but no one could say they hadn't had to go through Amir to get to Bao.
((ooc: permission to Command Bao))
At this point, however, he wanted nothing more for this to be over and to mitigate as much damage as possible. He didn't relish the thought of sacrificing himself but if that was what it took to protect the clan and Amir he would do that. Bao had known there were risks when he started commanding the she wolf, he just hadn't accurately calculated the potential costs. Perhaps he should take up a new line of work, or a vacation when this was all over. He had bungled quite badly and had no one to blame but himself, it might be time to do things differently.
Unusually he didn't say anything to Amir, instead he held a respectful silence. He only twisted a small plain silver band on his right ring finger. It was no kind of weapon and even had limited value in self defense, but he had it any way. He'd leave it without hesitation if Amir said anything. Bao, after all still keenly felt Amir's disappointment in him. It was hard for Bao to live with, even more so was not knowing how, when or if he could earn his creator's respect back.
The sensation of command was unmistakable. Even if he could have fought Amir's command, he wouldn't have and didn't even consider doing so now. Knowing exactly what had been done to him and that Amir had now put himself in just as much, if not more danger, Bao nodded solemnly.
He didn't know if it was a good thing that Amir was playing this card or a very bad thing. Bao waited to be told to go into the snake pit alone, but, other than his command, Amir didn't seem to be deviating from the initial plan.
"If you are ready?"
Waiting for an affirmative from his creator Bao absently, more out of habit than anything, adjusted his cuffs and tie before starting to the meeting place. He and Amir easily fell into step with each other as they had done many times in the past.
"I do not suspect I will be much welcome at the Arch after this evening."
It was gallows humor. Even Bao under his stiff facade did have something of a sense of humor after all.
The protection he had given his cousin since his arrival wasn't much use tonight. He was getting very mixed signals and that probably had to do with the fact that the Legion was planing on removing ThÃ©rÃ¨se from the equation as soon as possible. He was having trouble seeing beyond that. It made Navid nervous. He could only hope that once she'd been hit he'd be able to get a clear sense of her again.
Until then he was hidden on a rooftop near the entrance to the loading docks, waiting. Out of the Legion's way but well secreted yet still able to keep an eye on his cousin and the road. As he waited there motionless he finally saw two figures approach. There was very little remarkable about either of them, they didn't even smell different. From what little was known it was the one in the suit that was the problem. They stopped in front of his cousin who didn't move, didn't flinch. He couldn't quite see the expression on her face but she could her the sharpness in her tone.
"Who is he?â€
The mulo in the suit didn't say a word, he only shook his head.
She shifted her weight slightly and waited for a response. When she didn't get one she spoke again,
"Do you intend to undo this or are we going to stare at each other all night?â€
Stress and apprehension were barley concealed in her tone, but she apparently wasn't going to beg or back away. Navid wished that something would happen soon, the tension was palpable and it seemed to him that ever second that passed meant there was less chance for a successful conclusion to this meeting.
Those words made her chest tighten. ThÃ©rÃ¨se didn't understand what he meant by that. This had been specifically arranged -to- drop the commands. She took a deep breath and willed herself to remain calm and keep her face expressionless.
"That was not part of our arrangement."
She didn't beg or plead only stated a fact. At the same time she felt the hairs on the back of her next stand up, expecting at at second he would issue another command, another order. There was no reason for him to release her, truly there wasn't. And from the sounds of it some other mulo had decided she was worth keeping.
Calmly she turned to the other one, the younger looking one and asked him.
"Undoubtedly you are here to take over where he left off."
ThÃ©rÃ¨se wasn't sure that she could fight another set of commands. She hoped that this one's appearance was somewhat accurate, that he was young, younger than her keeper. Maybe she could fight his commands better. But the very idea of having a new 'master' made her tired
She desperately wished for some sign she wasn't alone that this was being monitored, watched, that Vaughn or the Legion would intervene somehow, and soon.
"I don't like it, Boss. There is something wrong.â€ Antoine never shifted his gaze from his scope as he spoke but what he was sensing had nothing to do with anything he was seeing, at least in the conventional sense. Vaughn did not have the same ability but Antoine said it was more of a feeling.
"What do you sense?â€
The Frenchman pointed to the building to their left. "Something over there. I sense a threat to Adam and Guillaume. It is not death...not yet. A fight, minor physical harm.â€
He quietly asked the others to stay alert, wait for his signal. "There are probably more. Adam, trouble is headed your way.â€ They couldn't trust the mulo obviously, which is why this meeting was going to be done by their terms, if at all possible. Now he didn't feel so ridiculous for bringing so many of the Legion. Right now Vaughn just hoped he had brought enough.
Therese spoke to the suit and his companion. The man responded to her question by shaking his head and saying that he had been instructed not to take the commands off of her. Oh, really? Well then it was a good then they brought a few vampire motivation aids along with them.
"Make sure you have a good shot and then fire when ready.â€
He trained in his own sight on the one in the suit. If nothing else went right tonight then at least that bastard would be going down. Next to him, Vaughn heard Antoine's weapon make its muffled report as his friend fired a tranquilizer round at Therese. On other rooftops several other rifles fired at the targets below.
"Be ready to move in."
They were waiting for the moment to act. Amir had warned her not to kill, just to take a hostage for collateral. He was doing his best, as they all were, to get everyone out of here alive and relatively unharmed. She held perfectly still, watching the big man she had chosen as her hostage. She scuttled back an inch or so as he suddenly turned and looked behind him but he didn't appear to see her.
Then her keen ears picked up the unmistakeable sounds of silenced weapons... multiple shots. If that wasn't a sign Mara did know what was. Rising, she ran forward two long, bounding strides, and leaped at her victim's back. Digging in with claws and teeth to the protective vest he wore, she held on as he reacted with a shout, big hands reaching back to grab her.
Seamlessly she shifted, arms around his neck and legs around his waist, clinging tightly. In her right hand she held a silver blade, and like Amir, she was dressed in clothing lined with silver. There were silver rings upon her fingers.
Mara held the blade close to the big man's neck, not touching him. She didn't mean to injure him. However, she leaned close and gently bit down onto his ear, her fang piercing into it. Murmuring around the tiny bite of earlobe she felt him go very still, his hands poised around her head but not grabbing.
"Not a move," she whispered. "You want to stay very, very still."
He had hoped that they wouldn't find anything and that Guillaume's cousin had come alone as requested. Sadly, she hadn't. Evan couldn't really blame the werewolves. After all, one of his kind and been playing mental twister with Therese's head. It didn't exactly inspire a lot of trust and they had no real way of knowing whether, after the meeting, if he had done as promised or not. Why would he? Evan trusted Amir to take care of it as he had said he would but he could not explain to the werewolves that the cute middle eastern kid had a reputation for keeping his word.
The man Mara had targeted was close to Guillaume. The magpie heaved a tiny sigh and looked down at his room mate. He didn't want his friend to be involved but he couldn't let Guillaume have a chance to hurt his clan mate either.
He figured it would be for the best to take Guillaume hostage. It kept his friend out of trouble if all hell broke loose and it left him as the one in charge of what happened to him.
When Mara pounced, literally, he dropped down onto the ledge next to Guillaume and shifted form. He doubted that his room mate wanted everyone to know that he was friends with a vampire, at least not right this moment, maybe not ever. For the sake of appearances, he wrapped his arms around Guillaume's shoulders, engulfing his friend in a bear hug and spoke in a quiet, and hopefully menacing sounding, voice. "Don't try anything stupid.â€ He backed them both away from the ledge. "We're just going to take a little trip.â€
He glanced pointedly upwards to where Mara and Evan had relayed the snipers' whereabouts to him. Therese spoke directly to him next, her tone sounding skeptical. Amir tilted his head into a nod of acquiescence.
"I am here to make sure the Commands on you are properly, and completely dropped. However, you're going to have to call off your army. We will walk out of here alive and unharmed or you will remain under our control."
He wasn't above threats. What he didn't expect, though, was for Therese to simply roll her eyes. Only, they kept rolling. And then slowly, she crumpled into a heap on the ground.
It took Amir a moment to see the dart in her shoulder. When he noticed it he swore. "Bao..."
He turned to look at Bao just as he felt, and heard, the telltale clink of a dart against the silver plating in his collar. "Go," he said to Bao, but Bao was already staggering sideways, then falling.
Growling, Amir felt a prick at the joint of his shoulder as a dart managed to get between the plates of silver in his clothing. They weren't all over, obviously, or he wouldn't be able to move or fight. They were meant to protect against wolf jaws, not little darts.
He bent to pick up Bao, intent on using his child as a shield, hoping to get them both out. Something else caught him in the ear and he swatted it away. His vision fogged a little. He'd been drugged before though, thanks Xephier, and it took him some time to go down thanks to his hearty nature. He heaved Bao up and winced as he heard another bolt hit the younger vampire.
Moving Bao and turning made the loading dock swing around a little more than Amir had expected. There were several more clinks. A dart bounced away from his forearm. Another hit him in the back of the knee.
"Damn it," he muttered. He took several running strides toward the road. Suddenly he felt much lighter.
Turning, he realized Bao had slipped off his back. This wasn't good. He staggered backwards, trying to focus. God, he hated being drugged. Damn wolves. If he could get away he might buy some time while they looked for him to release the Commands on Bao. But his legs weren't working. Another dart hit him, high on his neck above his collar this time. Really?
Amir went to his knees in the gravel. Yet another dart hit him. He wanted to tell them enough already. Another prickle. Okay. I'm down... leave be. He was going to look like a porcupine at this rate. There was one last twinge as the loading dock faded from sight and he uttered a long sigh, almost peaceful, as he drifted away.
(ooc: Amir, Therese, and Bao out. Figuratively and literally.))
Speaking of Evan... Guillaume suddenly found his arms pined to his sides. It was an instinct to fight back. He elbowed and kicked, was about to drive his head into his attacker's face and could feel his change beginning, in a second he'd be able to bite as well, but then he recognize the voice and scent. While he had to keep up appearances, there was no reason to try any further to injure his friend.
"Not until I see her safe."
He'd go where ever Evan wanted and trust his friend to be reasonable and keep him somewhat safe, not uninjured, just safe. But he wanted to see his cousin retrieved and taken away from this place.
"What do you sense, Bird?â€ He slung the rifle over his shoulder and watched members of The Legion move toward the three crumpled forms in front of him. The kid had been a tough target; Vaughn had been a breath away from switching to live rounds but it did appear that the darts were working. They were just taking longer. He wondered what that meant. Was the kid actually older or did he just have a stronger vampire metabolism or something? There was so much about the undead that they didn't know.
"They are unharmed.â€ Antoine tilted his head toward the other building. "I do not sense much danger to either of them now.â€ He shrugged. "I believe that means it is up to you.â€
In other words, no harm was currently befalling their brethren but should something happen to the men down there then that might, and probably would, change. He did not like the compromise that seemed inevitable. The suited bastard had harmed Therese and had killed his child. Vaughn wanted him dead, a long and painful death, if he had any say about things.
However, he could not let two pack mates die simply for the sake of revenge. And Therese would probably never forgive him if Guillaume got hurt in all of this.
Speaking into his comm, he said. "Let's make this clear, vampires. When we are certain that our pack mate is no longer being controlled then we will return them to you. If you harm our people then do not expect to see them again as anything other than a pile of ash.â€
"Let's get on with this before people start waking up.â€
They had more than one safe haven in Nachton and, for now, he split the vampires up. Sending a team with the suit to one location and Therese and the 'young' guy to the other one. The bastard already said that he had been instructed not to release the commands. Vaughn would deal with the vampire who appeared to be in charge.
((OOC: Everyone Out ))