Calling in a Favor (attn: Cris, Xeph)
Kem leaned casually against the corner of the side street that led to the vet clinic owned and run by Aidan Xephier. Due to his status as one of Nachton's wealthier citizens it was a very popular place. Apparently, even though the werewolf was officially off the marriage market his clinic still attracted a number of clients. Many of them single women. Kem hadn't seen this phenomenon for himself but that was the rumor on the streets and in the tabloids, and he had no reason to doubt it.
The sun had only just gone down, even though it was nearing nine pm. Summer was his favorite season, but sadly, the one during which he got to enjoy being outside the least. For that reason he'd arrived slightly ahead of time and was simply waiting for Christian to arrive, enjoying the night air. It had made sense for Kem to arrange this meeting. Of all the Evenhet he probably had the best relationship with Xephier, and he wasn't sure it could rightly be called a relationship, so much as a tentative arrangement not to slaughter each other's kind until such time as that became impossible.
He wasn't sure how long that would last, given the nature of their visit tonight. Kem knew how he would react if someone came to him and told him one of his Clan was viciously murdering children and vampires alike. He did not, however, know how a werewolf might take such news. Of course they didn't know that the killer in question was one of Xephier's but he had to belong somewhere. Furthermore, when given the choice between defending a vampire and defending a werewolf, Kem suspected Xephier would choose his own kind regardless of Pack affiliation.
Then again, Xephier had always demonstrated a sense of fair play. Kem decided he simply couldn't predict the werewolf's behavior. They would just have to be on their watch. He was glad Christian would be along for this, nonetheless. The Security Chief would know better how to proceed. Kem wasn't fooling himself; he was just the door ticket. He knew that. Still... his role was plenty important. He wasn't sure Xephier would have agreed to speak with them at all if it hadn't been for their past interactions. The werewolf had mentioned, via email, that he owed Kem a favor or two. Why, Kem wasn't entirely clear on, but he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
He was worried about Rowan and hated leaving his side. At least his lover was at home and not currently at the hospital. Cris would have preferred to have brought his partner along just so he could personally keep him safe but he had to admit that descending upon Xephier's place of business with three (and more) vampires would seem like an attack.
Finding Kem on the corner outside the clinic, Cris walked over to stand next to him. "Thanks for helping with this.â€ Kem had mentioned before that he was not on the best terms with Xephier; he just was on better terms than most vampires. Which seemed to be Alfarinn's state with the Mayor. If nothing useful came of this meeting then they could try the other pack next and hope for better luck. Cris thought that perhaps having one of Xephier's werewolves working in Kem's archives might help their relations with the one pack over the other. It might be a slim difference but it something.
"So, how did you meet this guy anyway?â€ He had been away with Alfarinn chasing down their errant Elder at the time. The story was one he had not heard but was very curious about.
He stood up away from the wall and indicated the direction of Xephier's clinic, which he was sure Cris already knew. As they walked Kem addressed Cris's question, sliding his hands casually into his pockets and giving a soft laugh.
"A series of sort of random circumstances," he said. "Initially I helped Xephier's fiance with some research. Then we randomly met through a mutual friend while bowling, of all things. I was tipped off to his identity by Simon Huntington, while you were out of town, and from there we had a few interactions."
He frowned thoughtfully. Cris already knew the remaining details; that Xephier had a person 'on the inside' so to speak, that Drew worked in the Archives under Kem's supervision. So he shrugged his shoulders. "The rest you know. He seems like a decent person, all things considered."
They reached the door to Xephier's clinic. It was closed and locked but Kem could see someone moving around inside. They were quickly noticed, and the tall werewolf was soon opening the door.
He wasn't apprehensive about this meeting though, not too much anyhow. The fact that Kem had asked to speak with him was a good thing. He hoped it meant that whatever the problem was, the vampire had not yet taken any action that might strain the tentative relationship between them. Xephier could appreciate that, even if the eventual outcome wasn't ideal. His purpose here was to co-exist peacefully, not cause a war.
Although it was outside of business hours, his clinic was the best place he could think of to meet where they could have complete privacy. Kem had agreed to meet him there with another of his Clan, and while Xeph did not trust the newcomer any, he had interacted with Kem enough to know the man had a sense of honor.
He noticed them outside and opened the clinic door to let them in. "Kem. Good to see you," he said.
He realized when he saw the white-haired vampire, that he was actually now at liberty to speak of things he'd wanted to mention to him long ago, things he had been unable to even mention. Maybe he could pull him aside after this. He owed Kem that much, for the help he'd been to Nikhila, Drew, and even Reign.
Xeph looked down at Kem's companion, who was a diminutive blond man with bright blue eyes and a serious expression. Xeph knew better than to think that 'tiny' did not mean 'very dangerous' but he still did an internal double take at the size of the new person, who he could only assume was also a vampire. Sure, he didn't have it in writing, but when one vampire showed up on his doorstep with a pal, he was going to take it for granted the other would be too. Kem introduced the man simply as Christian Bern, without title or status, and left it at that. Xeph held his hand out to shake.
"Please come in," he said, closing the door and locking it once again after they were inside. He didn't think the security measure would be taken the wrong way; Xephier was reasonably certain that no one in the clinic right now would be hindered much by a simple glass door.
Once inside he led them to the small office in the back of the clinic. His desk was in there, but it was large enough for a couple of chairs. The little kitchen was in the next room over, and in an effort to be hospitable he'd made a pot of coffee. Xeph was all about friendly relations, and coffee was an international 'get off on the right foot' gesture.
"Can I get you something? Coffee?"
Did vampires drink coffee? Thanks to his unwanted guest last summer, he knew for sure that they would drink dog's blood but apparently didn't enjoy it. At least, the jackal hadn't.
((ooc: Assuming we're all good moving into the clinic so as not to stand on the street having this chat.))
He also briefly wondered who the mutual acquaintance was that knew both a werewolf and a vampire. There were bound to be plenty of people out there who knew both but Kem was not just any vampire and Xeph was not just any werewolf. That made mutual relations interesting and potentially dangerous. Could this person be a threat to their secrets? He would have to ask Kem about it later.
They were soon ushered into the clinic by a giant. Cris smiled up at Xephier when he was introduced, quietly wondering what miracle grow they had put in the man's wolf chow. With Kem standing next to him and Xephier in front of him, Cris, no doubt, seemed even shorter than he actually was.
Ah well, quick and agile. David and Goliath. The bigger they were... and all that. Hopefully it wouldn't come to 'all that'.
"Coffee sounds excellent.â€ He could add it to the lovely cup or two he had shared with Rowan before the sun went down.
He waited until everyone was settled before getting down to business. Verbal dances weren't his usual mode of expression so he came to the point. "I am sure you do not want us to take up your entire evening so let me explain. "Not long ago one of our clan mates witnessed the death of a vampire down in the industrial section. He was too late to save the unknown victim but he did find a curious note in the man's possession.â€ Cris pulled out several photocopies and slid the first note over to Xephier. "Later, our clan mate received a similar note.â€ He slid the second note over to the man. "This note involved the death of a child by fire. Our friend is a pediatrician.â€ Yes, a vampire who loves children. Cris wondered if that seemed strange to the werewolf. Rowan really liked them and, no, not as dinner. "He ran into the building when he heard screaming but unfortunately he was not able to save the girl.â€
Cris stopped the story there and explained something. "We knew based on how the poem to Rowan had been delivered that the killer was supernatural in origin. Honestly, our first thought was one of our own. He exhibits an ability to go unseen. We do not know much about your kind. The war between our people was before...â€ Cris turned and looked over at Kem, giving the man a shrug before continuing. "us. Our clan at any rate. The treaty had already been formed and whatever records the Anantya kept on werewolves were kept with them.â€ And the Anantya were not exactly the sharing kind.
Straightening up even further in his chair, Cris went on. "The man tried to deliver another note to our clan mate. As it happened, several of our people who had the ability to walk unseen were with him when this happened. He was not able to get his hand away from Rowan's pocket before he was noticed. Several of us got a hold of him to keep him from leaving and to hopefully stop him once and for all. Unfortunately, he was armed. We couldn't afford to let go of him in order to get a weapon drawn on him.â€ Cris decided that Gary and his taser could go unmentioned. "In the course of the scuffle, he changed form. That is how we know he is not one of ours.â€
Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a plastic bag with a few strands of short hair, fur to be more exact. "He was big. A lot larger than a normal wolf. " Cris looked at the Alpha across from him. "I do not know if all werewolves are that size but...â€ He had a few cracked ribs the next day to show for the encounter. "perhaps he is something of an anomaly." He hoped so because that difference might be something that could help them identify the killer. We were hoping you could help us find him or at least identify him.â€
Cris stopped talking and waited. Perhaps this man wouldn't care to find one of his own. It was possible that the deaths of innocent children meant little so long as a few vampires were being killed as well. He didn't feel that way and he couldn't imagine many people who would. Cris did not know a lot about Xephier but they were sitting in his clinic. That, to him, suggested a person who cared about animals at the very least. Someone who spent their life treating innocent creatures did not strike him as the type of person who would be okay with the death of children, no matter what else was gained in the process.
How else did werewolves ever look? All the same there was something about Xephier that was different. He seemed more relaxed, less guarded. Well still guarded but not in the same way as before... something was different. He wondered what Cris saw in the man's aura.
They followed Xephier into his office and Kem sat in one of the chairs indicated. He nodded agreeably to the idea of coffee and waited as Xephier disappeared briefly, followed by the clinking of mugs and silverware. The big werewolf returned shortly with coffee, as promised, milk, and sugar. When they were all situated with drinks Cris began to speak, keeping it as brief as he could while still detailing most of what had happened to Rowan.
He watched Xephier's face closely, hoping the big man's reaction wasn't a violent one. He could see Xephier's brows draw together over his mismatched eyes. The man didn't betray much aside from that, though, just listened with apparent calm, sipping from his mug and looking grave.
[What do you see in him?] He asked when Cris was done speaking. [Aside from good looks and charm, that is?] Was the Alpha angry? Confused?
As Christian spoke, Xeph felt his heart hammer in his chest. Damn it. He knew this had to happen sooner or later; it was bound to. But that didn't make it any more pleasant. He was angry, at the way one of their kind was behaving and because someone's foolish behavior was making things worse for them here. It was already an uphill battle, being in Nachton or in any city.
When Cris finished talking Xeph sat back in his chair and puffed out a huff of breath. "So Dr. Murphy," he mused.
Xeph worked at the hospital as well. While he hadn't exactly run in to the vampire in question very often it was difficult not to notice him, and even harder to ignore the fact that he made himself noticed. First with the Halloween charity event and then with his heroics in the fire. That particular feat had raced through every floor of the hospital faster than said fire.
Xeph was surprised to learn of Murphy's identity, but he tried to take that out of context. Vampire or not, he had worked a shift or two with the redhead and he did like him. He was a good doctor with strong ethics whose patients seemed to like him and who practiced good medicine. Those things were what mattered.
Underneath it all Xeph felt a rumbling of anger. Not toward the apparently vampiric doctor but toward the person committing these crimes. He put his cup gently down on his desk and steepled his fingers, leaning against them and sighing softly. Then he reached out and took the plastic bag Christian showed him. The hairs inside were very dark, and sure, they could probably belong to a large shaggy dog but they could be a wolf's. Any wolf's, however.
Xeph shook his head and handed the bag back to Christian. "This is no good," he rumbled. "I can't tell you who this wolf might be with what you've said so far. We are all somewhat larger than our wild cousins."
He glanced at Kem. Xeph didn't know Christian. He didn't know if he might be walking into a trap. Vampires and their kind were not to be trusted; this could all be part of a plot to exterminate them. He focused briefly on Kem, who he did know... almost enough to trust. The man glowed softly and Xeph could feel in him that urge to protect, an all-encompassing urge that Xeph understood. It was the way he felt about his own Pack.
Focusing on Christian Xeph felt the urge grow in depth but narrow in focus. It meant something to him; Kem felt a drive to shelter his whole family. Christian felt the same but he very keenly felt a particular need to protect this Clanmate of his, Dr. Murphy.
To Xeph, it made sense. If they planned to trap him and his kind, to harm them, this protective urge might not feel so strong. He might at least feel more of a violent edge to this desire. Xeph couldn't read minds or sense thoughts or anything, he just knew what a person needed. If they both needed to protect, well... they could still mean to eliminate his Kadzait but Xeph thought he would sense that differently. He nodded, a little anxious at the conclusion he came to.
"My people are not meant to kill children," he said, his voice soft with anger. "We value them. We all do. We are not here in Nachton to toy with your kind, to make sport of them, and I do not take this accusation lightly. I gave direct orders long ago, standing orders, that any man or woman who endangered their family would die by my own hand if necessary, and I will enforce those orders."
He picked his coffee back up and took a swallow. He looked at Kem again. "Give me whatever you have," he said softly. "I will help you find your man, if I can. And if he crosses me first, you'll forgive me, I hope, if he doesn't survive the experience."
Xeph meant what he said. He had killed in the past to cement his position in he Pack. Killing again to make life safer for his family, would be simple. He needed proof, and enough evidence first, but if the clues all pointed in the direction of one of his, he would not hesitate.
((ooc: permission for caretaker's twinkle))
The wolf hair that he had brought, on the off chance that there was some identifiable difference between the two packs, did not seem to help. So much for them being different colours or something. Cris doubted they ran around with handy id tags either.
Taking it back, he lifted his shoulders in a small shrug. "It was worth a shot. I had heard that you were all bigger than normal. The weight of him rolling around on top of me was enough to crack ribs. I believe there are some tigers out there who weigh less.â€ Hungry anorexic tigers but still; he was not exaggerating when he said this guy had been huge.
Xephier stated that his people loved children, honored and respected them. It was a sentiment he could agree with and his estimation of the alpha went up just a little from its base line neutral. As a person who could never have them, Cris thought they were very special and each one should be treasured.
That he did not want his pack messing with vampires and causing troubles was another sentiment he could get behind. "I am pretty sure you will find that the Elders of Evenhet feel much the same way.â€ Cris casually glanced at Kem, as if to see if he agreed that their elders, one of whom Kem was conveniently in a position to intimately understand, felt the same way. He wasn't about to out the Egyptian's position to Xephier; Cris didn't know how well Kem really knew the man. The other elder currently residing in Nachton had stated that they were going to 'wait and see' what the werewolves did after arriving in the city. That had been years ago and Alfarinn still seemed content to let them be.
Xephier asked for whatever they had on the man and said that if he found him first then he would take care of the problem. A part of Cris wanted to deal with this threat to his partner personally. He wanted to be absolutely sure that the killer was dead, not missing, not injured, not presumed dead or incarcerated but actually totally and finally dead. The best way to do that was to kill the man himself. However, if Xephier found him first and actually did as he was suggesting then the threat to Rowan would be over. In the end that was the part that mattered most but he would sleep better at night by seeing the werewolf's bloody corpse.
Kem's voice entered his head and asked what he sensed from the werewolf. Cris had watched the changing colours from the moment they had met. [He was not very anxious at first but I would say cautious, most likely having to do with our motives. The information about this serial killer has made him angry. Very angry. Killing children did not sit well with him either. It would be most accurate to say he finds it repulsive and sick. So I would say he was normal, as far as that goes. His emotions suggest that he is very serious about killing the man should he find him.]
Cris slid the list of suspected people over to Xephier. Most of them worked at the hospital, one or two were frequent and regular visitors. The list was much smaller now than before. After their encounter with the blended werewolf they were able to take off many names simply because the suspects had the wrong build. "These are the most likely suspects. We have reason to believe that the killer has only recently come to Nachton, within the last year. He had been residing either part time or full time in the industrial area of town. Possibly just using a vacant building as a private work area. Thanks to some of our peopleâ€ Namely Kem. "We were able to narrow that down to a couple of blocks.â€
"He carries, or had on him at the time, a single edged folding knife.â€ Cris ran a hand over his face and added. "Fairly large. He seems to like setting fires, every incident has involved one so far. He has short hair, in good shape, athletic build, not quite pro weight lifter but definitely substantial.â€ Looking at the man across from him, he said. "Like you...but shorter.â€ Cris had spent what had seemed like years wrapped around the unseen werewolf's waist after splatting smack into the middle of his chest. "My guess is that he is around 6'0â€ or 6'1â€. At the time he was dressed in casual clothing. All newly bought.â€ That was all they had a physical description. He could list the reasons they thought he might work at the hospital but he did not think that would really help.
He continued to keep his silence yet, having nothing to add. He had heard Cris give these details before but it never hurt to go over them again. They were all searching for a name and a face, anything to get this guy off of Rowan, who all of them apparently knew, including Xephier.
That wasn't so much of a shock though, when Kem thought about it. Xephier worked at the hospital. While Kem didn't assume everyone there knew each other, both men seemed to distinguish themselves in some way - Xephier for who he was as the prominent heir of a very wealthy family, and Rowan just by nature.
[Interesting law,] Kem sent back to Cris. [Survival of the fittest - and survival of those who don't fuck up. I can't say I blame him though. This man is unbalanced in the very kindest terms. If he were part of our Clan, well, I don't know. I'm just glad I'm not in Xephier's position.]
He watched the werewolf Alpha when Cris handed the suspect list to him. Kem didn't think Xephier would lie, but he still wanted to observe the man's reaction.
He moved down the list of names, shaking his head as he read. When he found one he recognized he nodded his head. He finished going down them all before placing the list back on the table.
Xeph raised his mismatched eyes and glanced at Kem, who had been completely silent since they'd begun but still seemed to be paying avid attention. Then he looked to Christian, who was clearly the one managing this process.
"This one, this one, and this one," he said, with a soft sigh. He moved back to the first name.
"This is my surgery tech," he said. "Adam. It isn't him. He lives with the Pack, he works with me most nights, and I see him regularly. If you can tell me when these fires and killings took place, I think he will alibi out."
Xeph knew the wolf in question here. He would bet his children that it wasn't him. The other two names though...
"These two I don't know very well," he said. "Maxwell and Brand. I know they've both been in Nachton for a few months. I've met them both but they keep to themselves a lot. Neither one lives with the Pack."
Xeph frowned. One of these two men could be killing children, and that didn't sit well with him at all. There was no doubt, however, that the killer in question belonged to his Pack. To Xeph's knowledge, the R'asa did not have the ability to walk unseen as some of his Pack seemed able to do and from Christian's words, that was very clearly what had happened.
It was one more reason not to doubt these vampires' words. How else would they know about this killer's gifts if they hadn't actually experienced what they said? Xeph sighed softly. He could always check with Vaughn and see if by some chance someone in their Pack had an amazing talent to go about without drawing any notice, but with a sinking heart he realized it must be a Kadzait.
It made him sad; everything their Pack stood for went against this wolf's actions. He had to be brought to justice. This part of Xeph's job, he hated... but it had to be done anyway.
"We narrowed these down because they all fit the physical profile while also being at work during the times the notes were delivered. Unfortunately we do not know exactly when the first one was delivered but we do have an exact time on the second one. If you can rule out one of them because he was with you at that time then that would be wonderful.â€
That would leave two people and that was easily covered. They could watch both of them around the clock. One of them was likely their serial killer so they just had to find out which one before he killed someone again. The bastard seemed to enjoy using his blending to deliver his messages so the blended vampires following the two suspects just needed to let them know when one of the werewolves up and disappeared like magic.
It was certainly cut and dry in theory. Cris hoped it was that easy. He was very tempted to gather them both up and sort it out in a direct method. Some pointed questions and some empathy should clear up very nicely which one was guilty.
[I am very glad neither of us are in his position.] Meeting out justice for Evenhet was certainly something he had done from time to time. Final justice was always the worst. Under orders, always. It was a tough job but then someone had to do it. Alfarinn and Kem might be required to do the same from time to time but worse, in his opinion, they were the ones who had to make the decision and give the order.
"We can keep an eye on the both of them.â€ Cris sighed softly. "We will try to be as unobtrusive as possible. One of them is innocent and we do understand that.â€ Which probably meant it would be in bad form to kidnap them both for interrogation purposes. Damn this public relations business; it always made his job more difficult.
"I wish there was some way I could talk to them but without asking very direct questions it might be difficult to get a clear answer.â€ Cris looked from one to the other to see if they had any different or better ideas. They did have an empath that wouldn't seem very odd asking pointed questions, if done correctly. Rowan himself. The more Cris thought about it, the more perfect that seemed. It was a shame that the ability hurt every time his partner used it but he suspected Rowan would be willing to do whatever it took to make sure no more children died. He would seem less suspicious talking about the fire to his co-workers and with a couple of questions that seemed vague to an innocent person but less so to the one who knew exactly what Rowan meant, it should be easy enough for Rowan to read the killer's automatic emotional responses. Those emotions might be odd, maybe even unexpected but they likely wouldn't be normal, no matter what response the man had.
Xephier was an honorable sort. Under different circumstances, he and Kem might have gotten along much better but as it was, they were all right with each other. Yes, the day might come when they were completely on opposing teams; Kem could not see himself siding with wolves against a vampire and he doubted Xephier would choose to support vampires against a wolf (present unusual circumstances excluded). For now, however, they had a truce that was working for them.
One thing sprang to mind, though, and he mentioned it when there was an appropriate pause in the conversation. "Is it possible," he asked softly, "that some of the names on this list are wolves from your Pack that you don't know are werewolves at all?"
Kem had no idea if they had means of identifying each other but Xephier could not possibly know every werewolf on the planet by name, or could he? He didn't know how it worked. Was there such a thing as the proverbial 'lone wolf' in Xephier's world?
He raised his eyes to Xephier to watch the man's face as he responded, but there was nothing there to suggest the question angered him or offended him.
He gave a sigh. Of course, the vampires would want to have 'their people' on the case. One of theirs was being threatened. It wasn't that he didn't trust them. He mostly trusted them. But it would reflect poorly on him if any member of his Pack, even a guilty one, was delivered justice by these people.
"I understand about keeping an eye on them," Xeph said, his tone gentle so as not to sound combative, "but I assure you, my people will be doing the same. Please let us do our work first."
These were his Packmates and his Pack, and Xeph needed to protect them. It was his jurisdiction, not the vampires'. He didn't doubt they would have their forces present, but he felt those forces should stay in the background unless the situation became dire. If either man across from him thought he was going to sit idle and let them run all over his Packmates, there would be a little bit of a wake-up call for them.
Addressing Christian's other statement, Xeph tilted his head. "I plan to question them both," he pointed out. "My way. It might not be the most direct, like you say. but I have my own manner of questioning that should give me some answers. I will gladly share my information with you."
Xeph gave a soft hum when Kem finally spoke up, asking a question that was certainly relevant. "Yes," he answered. "It's possible, but very unlikely. We are tied to our Packs," he said, trying to explain without offering more information than either Kem or Christian needed to know. "Instinctively, we want to be with our kind but there are those who remain aloof. Even with them, however, we usually know at least who they are and that they're nearby. It's just how we work."
He gave a short sigh. "So it is possible that neither of these two remaining men is our culprit, but they would be the most logical place to begin looking. I realize you're on a timer here but if neither of these two pans out then we could look into the others."
Xeph lifted his shoulders; it would be a waste of resources to send people chasing after every red herring available. "With these people being associated with the hospital," he said, "it would be incredibly difficult for one of my Pack to go unnoticed by me."
The hospital was Xeph's territory, basically. Shared territory, yes, but he was there enough that it would probably be difficult for a Kadzait to work there completely unknown and unnoticed. The two people on Christian's list were the most likely suspects.
"He will die.â€ His words were calm, his voice steady. "I will see that or see to it with my own eyes, and Rowan will witness it also.â€ Cris would not have there be any doubt in his partner's man that his tormentor was well and truly gone. "If you will promise me that then if we find him first we will bring him to you so that you may meet out the justice of your people. Circumstances permitting. If you find him first then I ask you to allow Rowan that closure.â€
"I am sure you would be better suited to the questioning.â€ Perhaps, Cris thought Rowan would be best suited to the task. He had the unique combination of suggestion and empathy that could compel someone to tell him what he wanted to know and then make sure the words were true. "We will not directly deal with either man, outside of whatever encounters are necessary.â€ Rowan, and his security intern, did work in the hospital with these men which meant that they would occasionally be around them, possibly interact with them. Cris didn't want Xephier's people taking that as a sign of interference. "We have little time for delicacy. I imagine, after his encounter with invisible guards around Rowan, the killer will hasten his twisted game. That means more poems and more dead children.â€
He listened to the question from Kem and the answer from Xeph. It was good to know that the alpha did indeed know of most of his people. He personally felt that the two new people were their best chance. They wouldn't relax their guard around Rowan or stop looking for clues to the identity of the killer but he would concentrate more diligently on the two that had been named. Cris was glad that Xephier also seemed to agree with that logic.
Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a card. "Here is my number. My cell phone is always within reach."
((OOC: The card is black with the green and silver Evenhet mark in the upper left hand corner. Cris's current name is written is bold silver print, beneath it in a less prominent font is the title Chief of Security. Down at the bottom right there is a cell number. There is no mention of the clan or Meridian anywhere on the card. ))
Rowan's Creator Henri was in town and according to the doctor, Henri had a rapport with the little mammals. Henri had pretty much said that tracking any number of people would be no problem. They had enough resources that they could keep eyes on all of he suspects without interfering in their lives or taking away valuable members of the Security detail on the current suspects.
As Xephier brought up the topic of who should take the lead on this investigation Kem could practically feel the werewolf bristling. Well, Kem thought, the situation just got slightly more tense. That was to be expected though. Xephier had a duty to his Pack; he was their leader, after all. Had the roles been reversed Kem would have taken offense to a bunch of werewolves riding roughshod over his executive decisions. Cris's expression hardened though, and Kem could practically feel determination rolling off of him in waves. Determination and the need to bring this killer down. If he had ever doubted Cris's resolve (which he hadn't), this would have surely lay any lingering doubts to rest.
What could have been a volatile situation turned out not to be as both parties apparently decided to get along well enough. Kem admired the restraint and professionalism Cris showed; his demands were not outrageous. Xephier had not expressed a desire to show his errant Packmember any mercy and there seemed likely to be very little if any conflict. He couldn't help wondering if Rowan wanted the particular closure in question. He wasn't sure if he would, or if someone else's word would be good enough for him.
Kem waited for Xephier's response to Cris's words but he didn't think, from what he knew of Xephier, that any argument would be forthcoming.
The terms the vampire set out for him weren't objectionable. They wanted to ensure that justice was met, for the purpose of Dr. Murphy's closure. Xephier could understand that. He realized now just how little he knew about his co-worker but he understood the man to be very empathetic to the plight of some of the children he worked with... having gone through such an ordeal must surely be a strain for him. Xephier couldn't imagine anyone was such a good actor as to be able to fake the level of caring Rowan showed for his small patients. Xephier wasn't naive enough to believe that vampires were inherently evil and Dr. Murphy would not have tipped his 'evil' scale a bit.
He nodded thoughtfully when Christian finished speaking. "Yes," he agreed, his voice heavy with reluctance - not because he was reluctant to agree to these terms but because he was sorry that they must come to killing. "He will die. My people came here to live in peace with everyone and these go against our ideals. Completely."
Of course he would read all the information he was given, bring himself up to speed, but Xephier didn't doubt Kem's or Christian's words. There was no reason for them to create an elaborate hoax just to see if Xephier would randomly 'off' one of his own. He didn't doubt everything they gave him would support their claims.
"Barring any unforeseen circumstances, you have my promise in trade for yours," Xephier said, this time looking directly into Christian's very blue eyes. "If I'm forced to react quickly however, or lose my man, I will take him down. He's not getting away."
If Xephier could perform such an execution as Cris had requested, with their presence, he would. He understood closure. Hell - look at what had happened to his father, then nearly to him, at the hands of another vampire only too recently. Xephier understood closure. He'd have loved some, himself, but sometimes it just didn't happen. This entire situation didn't sit well with him, but it wasn't Rowan's fault. Or Kem's, or Christian's.
He took Christian's business card and glanced at it, the sleek logo, the name and title upon it with a number. He nodded and reached into his desk drawer, withdrew one of his business cards for the veterinary clinic, a plain card with his name and title of DVM on it, the address and number at the clinic. He turned it over and wrote upon the back his private cell phone number. Then he slid the card across his desk to Christian. His private numbers were not published anywhere - that was what happened when your family was wealthy and well-known.
"You can reach me there," he said. "I'll answer."
Particularly in the next few days. Xephier didn't intend to sit on this. As Christian had pointed out, time was life.
He stood, assuming their interview was at an end, and shook his head as he tucked the black and silver business card away. "I hope you realize," he said, glancing back and forth between the two men, "this behavior is not typical for our kind. At all. I will not apologize on behalf of my Pack because they are completely innocent and unaware, as was I until you brought this to my attention. I hope we can move forward when this is over... and, for what it's worth, I'm sorry for what Dr. Murphy is going through."
He moved toward the door to his office. "He's a good man. A damn good doctor."
Xeph had no reason to wish Murphy any ill. He did his job and he did it well. Anyone who would jump into a burning building to rescue a child was fine by him, successful or not.
Taking Xephier's proffered card, Cris looked it over and the number written on the back; then he slipped it into his pocket. It was probably best not to mention that he could reach anyone at any time. Cell phone coverage had nothing on a sender. However, if it were possible to use an ordinary cellphone to convey information to the werewolf then he would take that option first. No need in having a future potential enemy knowing -everything- he could do.
The pack leader then wanted it understood that this behavior was not normal for werewolves. Cris half smiled and gave a small snort. "We do not sneak into open windows and feed on the blood of virgins either or whatever the latest legend claims.â€ The smile faded and he nodded. "Perhaps at one time this would have been held against your people. Wars have certainly been started for less, but we do understand that the aberrant nature of one twisted being does not accurately reflect the nature of their species. We all have our criminals and monsters, even the humans.â€ Perhaps especially the humans. He suspected that the ratio for demented killer to population was still smaller for humanity. They just had so many more people to pull bad ones from.
"One of the people helping to watch over Rowan has forgiven the rest of us for the sins of one of our race. She had been attacked by a vampire and then sought to hunt us all. Luckily, the next one she encountered was an Evenhet who forgave her for trying to kill him. Through patience and diligence he eventually explained to her that we were not all the same. Eventually she came to join us and is now a part of Evenhet and one of my team." Cris thought Sullivan's story, the short version, would help illustrate that they felt the same way about humanity. Every being should be protected, not just their own.
He gave a thoughtful hum when Christian was finished speaking. The fact that they seemed willing to work with people, not just werewolves but humans too, spoke volumes about these people. Thanks to some of his Pack's association with those who called themselves Tacharan Xeph had a very basic understanding of how the vampires grouped together in Nachton, what sort of Packs they divided themselves into. Clans, they called them, but whatever... it was an organizational unit no matter what you called it. These Evenhet, he'd only met one or two of. Maybe three if you counted Christian. Xeph was mildly surprised at their attitude. Oh, he didn't think they would all have the same open-minded forward-thinking approach... that kind of thing was too good to be true. But so far, they seemed to be sending that type to interact with him and it gave him a tentative sort of hope.
"Thank you," he said when Christian finished his anecdote. "It's promising, to find people who feel the same, or close. We just want to live peacefully, where we choose."
Xeph gestured to the door of his office, where he was standing, for he couldn't see any reason to keep either vampire here any longer. They'd all said what needed to be said. Almost.
As Kem stood and came toward him Xeph held up his hand. "A moment," he said softly, glancing at Christian. Kem gave a little nod and Xeph continued.
"There was a man here asking about you," Xeph said. "A while ago. Last year, at least. Short, looked young, Middle Eastern appearance. His name was Amir."
Kem's face grew dark and Xeph frowned, shaking his head. "I tried to be vague with him. But..." he sighed, unwilling to admit that the silu had had complete control over him, "he was very convincing. I don't know why he wanted to know about you but you should know he's here. He clearly didn't want you to know about him."
Would the pale-haired vampire understand any of what he said? It sounded odd even to his ears. Xeph should have warned Kem about the man before this, but it hadn't occurred to him to get involved... he lives of vampires were not his concern. Perhaps this would count as part of a favor repaid, and after this affair with the killer they could continue without having to interfere with each other's lives again.
((ooc: Xeph out))
Xephier's words, too, were honest. Maybe it was for the best to be having this conversation now - for as Cris pointed out, in the past the outcome might have been much different. Kem would not have liked to try to orchestrate some kind of wholesale wolf slaughter. It wasn't his thing.
"I know I, for one, don't have an issue with that," he said as he stood. He lifted his shoulders. "Unfortunately it's not up to me, though. Time will tell what works between us and what doesn't."
It might not be the most positive outlook, but Kem was hardly the most influential person among his own kind. Xephier seemed to understand, though, that Kem's influence was limited, as Kem understood that while Xephier might be a leader, he couldn't be everywhere at once making everyone think as he thought. At least hey both agreed on that.
As he moved to leave, Xephier held him up and glanced at Cris, his expression clearly questioning. Kem nodded; whatever the werewolf had to say could be said with Cris here. What Xephier said, however, made the hair on the back of Kem's neck stand up.
Amir. Was he everywhere? He got to Aishe, he got to Xephier, he knew Pakpao. Kem knew his posture was stiff as a board, and figured his face was probably white with anger as well although it wasn't meant toward Xeph.
"I know," he said softly, viciously, in a tone that was unlike anything he had ever used in front of either of these two men before, "just how convincing he can be."
They headed for the front of the clinic, where Xephier unlocked the door to let them out. Kem turned to the werewolf. "I'm sorry," he said tightly, "that you had to have anything to do with him."
Xephier shook his head grimly. "He has a history with my people. Which I think is over now. You were just a hobby, I think."
Kem nodded shortly. "Thanks," he said, "for letting me know. I don't think he's going to be a problem right now but... thanks anyway."
Xephier nodded in return and said nothing, but there was a look on his face that suggested he would talk further if Kem wanted to. Kem just shook his head to himself and left the clinic with Cris. He couldn't help but wish that Xeph's news was more of the 'by the way I killed the bastard who Created you' variety.
The Kadzait explained that he had a visit from someone asking about Kem, a middle eastern vampire by the name of Amir. Cris had heard of Amir before but so far they have had very little if any contact. Mostly Evenhet tended to deal with the Order of the Rose types and a little more rarely Order of the Night but he suspected few Evenhet spoke of their interactions with the Order of Hunt. Occasionally he had seen them as silent sentinels guarding this or that important Anantya just as he tended to play the same part for Alfarinn, his sister and likely Kem sometime in the near future.
Aishe had mentioned an encounter with this vampire as well. He had come to her house and had spoken with her about Kem. She said he had seemed truthful when he said he wanted to explain. Cris had wondered why then but he thought about his own duties which were similar. Perhaps Amir had been asked to do something he had not expected to come back from. If that were the case then it might explain the soul baring.
This asking a werewolf for Kem though; that was different. He didn't like it much at all and he wondered why Amir would think Xephier knew anything about Kem. Perhaps the Egyptian had played down his involvement with Kadzait.
Kem did not seem to be very happy about the news. He apologized for Xephier having to encounter Amir and then said he didn't think the Anantya would be a problem for the moment.
When they were back outside, he turned to his clan mate and raised his eyebrows. "And what exactly was that all about? Why would he go to the Kadzait looking for you instead of just trying to find you at The Towers?â€ They did occasionally let Anantya in, usually they were invited. They would have at least let Amir into the lobby and let him wait there while they tried to contact Kem to tell him he had a visitor.
"Because that's how he does things," Kem finally said as they walked away from Xephier's clinic back out toward the Strip. "He sneaks around and does what he wants without any regard for the lives of the people he might be affecting."
He huffed a short sigh and then his frown deepened. "I can't say I blame him for going to Aishe. Or Xephier. If he'd tried to introduce himself to me, I'd have tried to kill him."
And most likely gotten himself killed in the process. Kem wasn't an idiot; his Creator had been around for longer than he had, obviously. The man had some experience under his belt. While Kem could generally hold his own in a fight, he wasn't a warrior. He was a scholar, and had always been. He didn't know what Amir's experience was but he was usually willing to bet that in matters of self defense and violence, most vampires his age or older probably had a leg up on him.
Thinking further on it, though, he shrugged. "I don't why he was asking for information about me. Whether he was just trying to understand for his own purposes or for something else. All I know is that nothing's come of it."
It bothered him though, and he didn't try to hide it from Cris. Not that he would have been able to in any case. Kem didn't want to know Amir. He had held onto a grudge against his Creator for so long, it was part of him. He was trying to pry his fingers out of it but they were pretty well glued on. It was tough to hear that, after sixteen hundred years of ugly hatred and dreams of vindication or vengeance, the person you were so angry at wasn't exactly the villain you'd built him up to be.
He glanced at the shorter man beside him. "How much did Aishe tell you?"
It was a foregone conclusion that she would have. Aishe would have worried. She would have gone to Cris for advice; he was the first person she'd have thought of, particularly on a matter involving Kem. Whether she gave him the whole story or not, he didn't know. Kem didn't mind, of course. Not only did he trust Aishe but he trusted Cris as well. Having this aspect of his history come to light was uncomfortable and maybe a little embarrassing but he'd live.