|I am putting this cute little Chibi up here for reasons - among many....Cabal's cute as hell like this!|
|Just some new stuff to peruse! Sketchiness for the win!|
I have a strange fascination for a mix of Vampires, Dhampirs, Mutants and a strong flavor of Science Fiction! I love to write and draw, and projects that let me do both!
Current Residence: Central California
Favourite genre of music: Country
Favourite photographer: Ansel Adams
Favourite cartoon character: Goliath - Gargoyles
Personal Quote: "Do I look like a myth to you?" ~ Cabal
Rumors had sprung up around the clan, one Meirakat was having a harder and harder time discounting. The rumors were so rampant, all tongues, young, old, sireling, or dam, couldn’t stop wagging about it. He wasn’t even sure whether he was concerned or heartened by the things he was hearing.
Tonight he was going to personally test whether there was any teeth in the story.
“Lady Elpis,” he said, bowing grandly as his mate appeared from the bedroom.
“My Love,” she responded. “You look especially dashing this evening.”
“And you are a vision of loveliness.”
The attendants had done a splendid job of pinning her brown curls into a coif studded with stones that matched her outfit – dark stones which only shown under refracted light. Her tea length gown was a shade of blue so dark it was hard to tell it from black. When the light played across it, her curves were highlighted in baby blue shimmer. Patterned hose caressed her shapely legs and high heels lent to her already impressive height – he had to peer up to meet her gaze.
Her dark eyes glittered with mirth and excitement.
Leaving the mansion these days, even for a meal, was a rare occasion. More often than not they “ate in,” fortunate enough to have found a human family devoted to providing them meals, as needed. Mauricio and his ilk were the third generation of the Portello family to promise their lives to Meirakat and his wife. Only to them. The offer had been so out of the blue – so unusual that he had questioned the family’s motives. Yet through the centuries, no price had been discovered. They seemed pleased simply to provide for him and his family. Only those of the right constitution in the Portello family were let in on the business arrangement. All others were allowed to go about their lives, ignorant of the true nature of the relationship.
Such a privilege was rare however. Despite vampires rarely killing their hosts, humans as a whole were afraid of the race. Their fear always led to violence, and therefore vampires did all they could to hide themselves in plain sight. Most of his clan was still forced to hunt their food every few nights.
“This seems excessive for a hunt,” Elpis said, stroking the velvety cloth hugging her thigh. “Detrimental really. As dark as this is, blood will still stain it.”
“This is no ordinary hunt. We are trying to draw attention, remember?”
“We command attention anyway.”
“Ah, that we do.” He leaned closer and she leaned down so he could kiss both of her pale cheeks before offering her his arm. “Let’s see the quality of attention we garner this night, hm?”
Elpis settled her bare, dainty arm atop his sleeve, curling her fingers between his. They move forward in sync, gliding through the expansive house and into the beautifully tended garden adorning the front of the property.
A car awaited them in the gentle curve of the circular driveway. The low thrum of the idle engine cut across the sounds of the night, a purr from the beast showed contentment for their purpose this evening. Meirakat opened the closest passenger door and supported Elpis as she lowered herself into the interior. He trailed her shortly and shut the door. With that, the driver accelerated towards downtown Providence. The drive was not a long one – Providence was not a metropolis like Chicago and New York were – the place was positively quaint in comparison. The vehicle slowed to a stop in front of an intimate restaurant Elpis had been dying to visit again.
The driver opened the door, nodding to his Lord, and offering a hand to Elpis as she extricated herself from the low back seat in her tight dress. Once on her feet, Elpis thanked their driver and transferred her grip once more to Meirakat’s arm.
“I will be awaiting your call, sir.”
Meirakat acknowledged the man with a curt nod.
From the outside the eatery didn’t look like much. Drab gray stone hemmed in a simple set of concrete steps. An awning curved over the entry to protect patrons from inclement weather. Mounted on the front of the awning was a tasteful neon sign. “Moonlight Sonata” used to be a strictly Italian restaurant, but that was decades before now. These days it catered to the sophisticated palate and offered a variety of upscale dishes.
He and his mate swept into the foyer like royalty, their steps softened by the dark-patterned pile of a Persian rug. Well-tended plants occupied the corners of the waiting area, some from suspended planters while others reached for the ceiling from the floor. The air was light and crisp, a combination of a good air conditioning system and the living things filtering toxins from the air.
They glided up to a wood podium and the attentive maître d manning it. The man smiled pleasantly as Meirakat judged the reactions of the patrons already seated.
Their grand entrance had the desired effect, all patrons were now watching them. Most tried to hide it, but the eagerness to know the caliber of the entrants ate at their expressions from the edges.
“Good evening, Monsieur, Madam. Welcome back.”
Meirakat nodded noncommittally at the human. “Is our table ready?”
“Yes, sir. Right this way, please.” The maître d showed them to a cozy little table in the middle of the place. Another ploy, a way to make them the center of attention.
It was in this area of town that others of his clan mentioned their hunts had occurred and how their prey differed from the normal. Let’s see if he could get that fish – those fish – to bite.
They didn’t eat. As vampires, human food was not palatable or nutritious. They did order a bottle of wine. Sipping slowly, they made a show of light conversation, their laughter a way to subtly flash their fangs to any who might be looking. They weren’t going to overtly advertise their genus, but they were dropping enough clues for those curious enough to pick them up.
They spent over an hour in the eatery, finishing off the bottle of wine, enjoying a night away from the duties of the clan and each other’s company. For most patrons, their sometimes raucous conversation grew passé. However, he had noted several who continued to keep tabs on them.
“That one,” Eplis whispered.
Her eyes flicked to a spot over Meirakat’s shoulder and then dropped again. He refrained from looking to keep from giving their knowledge of observation away.
“He’s stealthy. But he keeps tilting an ear our direction,” she added. “Now and again I catch him glancing this way.”
She straightened some. “There may be others, but he will be the one to approach us.”
With that she lifted her hand in the air to get the attention of their server. The young lady smiled as she paused next to Elpis, her green eyes intent for his mate’s face.
“May we have our check please?”
“Of course. It will be at the kiosk directly.” She pointed to the small hologram unit to the left of center at the table. “Thank you for choosing Moonlight Sonata, and have a lovely rest of your evening.”
“Thank you,” Elpis replied.
Meirakat had already waved his hand over the eye for the unit. Without even checking the cost, he added a tip greater than the price of the wine before paying the bill. That completed, he rose and moved to his mate’s side. Pulling out the chair in a gentlemanly show gave him an opportunity to see the possible host Elpis had spotted.
The thin brunette wasn’t looking. Picking through a slice of cheesecake, he seemed unconcerned the two of them were leaving. At least on the surface. There were subtle things about the frame of his body, the way he was sitting, that said he was looking for an opportunity to depart. One leg was in the open space beyond the table, a nervous tic sending the limb to bouncing. He spurred one bit of fluffy dairy product and shoved it in his mouth before checking the time on this chronometer and settling the limb stiffly on the table top.
Meirakat tried not to smile. Elpis had the right of it. She’d always been good about sussing people’s motives out of their body language. He was going to leave on their heels and find a way to catch up to them.
Giving compliments to the maître d about the restaurant’s service, the two of them departed.
Their driver had explicit instructions to stay out of the way until he was called upon, so they were on foot for the moment. The couple began their stroll up the quaint downtown street of Providence. The place had been refurbished many times over – maintained as a national landmark and a nod to older simpler times. It drew tourist dollars, and fresh meals given the proper timing.
They might have made it three blocks when they were addressed.
The turned in unison to face the brunette.
“Would either of you happen to have the time?”
Meirakat glanced up and down the slight figure, a grin curling the corner of his mouth. The man had cleverly removed his watch and stuffed it into a pocket. He was also trying hard to control the tremors wracking his body. He was scared. He knew what they were, and that scared him.
So why was he approaching them?
Elpis quickly consulted her communications device. “It’s nine-thirty three, sir.”
“That late, huh? Well, thanks.” He began to walk past them and then paused. “You two were in Moonlight Sonata tonight, weren’t you?”
Neither of them said a word.
“I noticed you didn’t eat a thing.” A single shouldered shrug lifted and fell in a spastic motion. “That wine couldn’t have killed your hunger or anything.”
Meirakat tilted his head.
“I… if you’re still hungry…” the man extended his wrist towards them. “I’d… I’d be happy to oblige.”
Meirakat and Elpis both looked at each other, stunned to the core.
Meirakat took a step closer to the man. “Just what is it you think we are?”
“Vampires…” He didn’t even hesitate. “It’s been obvious your kind has moved in here – has been here for some time. Consider it a welcome to Providence – I mean, officially.”
Suspicion welled and Meirakat tilted his head. “Why are you so willing to offer yourself to such a predator?”
He scoffed a moment, nerves evident throughout. “No one’s ever died from your guys’ attentions, despite what the papers say. Shit, the news sensationalizes everything. There’s a group of us who aren’t scared by the idea of you all living in our town. We want to help.”
Meirakat’s brow lifted. He glanced at Elpis who had a similarly stunned look on her face.
Elpis reacted first, glancing at the man’s wrist and then into his face. She descended on him, pushing him into the bricks of the closest building. “It’s never at the wrist, dear boy. Too much sinew to get past.”
She grabbed the man’s straight, dishwater blond hair, pulling his head back aggressively and exposing the man’s throat. More gently she kissed his lips, his cheek, his jaw, until her lips settled over the thrumming pulse in the crook of his throat.
The man gasped as her teeth slid past his skin, his expression twisting as the pain of her bite overwhelmed him. Yet for all that pain, he didn’t struggle to get free, he grit his teeth, curled his hands into fists and fought his reaction while Elpis got her fill.
Meirakat watched this process with fascination. The man evidently had been sincere. Curious. This supported the reports he’d been receiving regarding his members running into willing hosts.
Elpis backed off, sealing the man’s wounds before releasing her grip. The pain ebbed from the host’s face and he remained leaned on the brick, glancing from on to the other of them.
“His blood is sweet, my love.” She grinned before licking her lips clean of any evidence of bloodletting.
“Thank you my dear, but both of our attentions would do the boy in.”
She acquiesced and rejoined Meirakat.
“How many of Providence’s residents share this shift in attitude towards our presence?” Meirakat asked.
“A hundred. Maybe a little more than that,” the man slurred.
“Do you have a person who organizes for you? Someone in charge? Perhaps we can come to a more formal arrangement?”
He nodded, but his consciousness was fading. “I can pass it on.”
“Splendid.” He took his mate’s arm. “Have your leader come to our mansion. If you know of our presence, then you are aware of our home?”
The man nodded sloppily. “Yeah, sure… I’ll let them know.”
Meirakat nodded and then led his mate away from the man, who would hopefully have the good sense to get home and sleep off Elpis’ attentions.
“And what of you, my love? Are you not hunting tonight?”
“I think I’ll wait until we return home. I got all the satisfaction I needed from watching you.” He smiled warmly at her.
She grinned back, pulling out her communications device and calling their driver.
On the ride back, Meirakat was cautiously hopeful about this newest development. A willing population? Their lives would be so much easier if he could prove its sincerity. If he could extend the regularity he and Elpis enjoyed with his growing clan…
When they returned to the house, Meirakat found he was ravenous, and as he left Elpis to her own devices, he went to visit Mauricio.
“Good evening, My Lord,” Mauricio uttered. “I was concerned when you didn’t come to call earlier.”
“The Lady and I visited town, investigated a rumor. It seems there is a segment of Providence’s population who shares your desire to help us.”
Mauricio’s hazel eyes shot wide. “No my lord, you didn’t! Please tell me you didn’t hunt!”
“What?” Meirakat asked, incredulity filling the single word. “Why wouldn’t we hunt?”
The man dropped to his knees, his curly black hair obscuring the upset expression. “There’s been an ugly rumor, my lord. My cousin was telling me today of a plot… I’ve been trying to reach you to tell you…”
“A plot? What plot?” Meirakat’s spine stiffened even as fear tightened his middle.
“Don’t trust their offers, my lord… they…”
Mauricio’s confession was cut short by Meirakat’s communicator going off. He ignored Mauricio’s blubbering as he connected the call.
“My Lord, we need you up in the main hall. It’s Dorado. He’s back.”
“It’s about time. Tell him I want a word with him for worrying his Dam so.”
“M... My Lord,” the attendant squeaked. “It’s bad. You need to get up here before he tears through any more of us.”
“What?” He blinked. “I’ll be there shortly.”
He glared at Mauricio.
“No!” the man cried. “It’s already started, hasn’t it?”