Ultima Ratio Regum, Scene I

   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Father Birch
"Is this your first sojourn among the Blessed Damned?"
"It is, yes." Underwood nodded politely. That runup had all sounded rather satanic, but again: deal with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Father Birch
"Ah, you are already acquainted with Ms. Darrow, then?"
"Oh, yes: proud to know her. Spectacular photographer; I'd be glad to count her as a friend even if we hadn't collaborated on some projects together."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Father Birch
"May I congratulate you on your ward's elevation."
Underwood raised an eyebrow and gave an approving glance, joining in the general sentiment. "Oh! My congratulations as well, Miss Mack. And yes, don't sell yourself short, either, Mrs. Lamothe -- mentoring does help. I know from experience."

"If you insist, then, Father Birch. I accept your congratulations, and thank you kindly for them," Erin deferred, with another small curtsy. She watched with some interest as Lauren attempted to snatch Mary off for a private toast.

"May I ask what the will of Longinus is, at this Lady's Court?" she asked, still watching the two young vampires out of the corner of her eye.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauren
"We can do so now, if you want? Maybe a toast?"
"Sure... uh, if that's alright, Erin, Father?" Mary said, looking from Erin to the Black Bishop awkwardly. Leaving without the permission of either the leader of her Covenant or the person she got room and board from would have been the height of rudeness. It was simply not Mary's way.

"Far be it for me to hold you back." Birch said, his eyes rich with amusement. He made a grand sort of gesture of dismissal. Mary glanced at Erin for confirmation, and upon receiving it, trotted away after Lauren.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
"It is, yes."
"Then I am curious as to how you find us. I cannot imagine we are much like our American brethren." The Black Bishop said, looking up and down Underwood. On the one hand, it was entirely possible that Birch knew what exactly Hudson's Rest was. On the other hand, Hudson was associated with the Americas, and in any case, Underwood absolutely dripped American-ness. The accent, to begin with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"May I ask what the will of Longinus is, at this Lady's Court?"
"Primarily, Mrs. Lamothe? To show the colours. To see and be seen, and to observe such Court business as occurs." Birch said, and then laughed. "Though I am not without petitions of my own. A matter of a territorial dispute between myself and some of the Mara. Troublesome, though not, I hope, serious."

In short order, Lauren had secured a private room and two wine glasses of blood. She handed one to Mack when they were both inside.

"I'm happy for you," Lauren said with a smile. She remembered what Mack had said, about having a place she belonged. "What's your rank now, if you don't mind me asking?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
"Then I am curious as to how you find us. I cannot imagine we are much like our American brethren." The Black Bishop said, looking up and down Underwood.
"He has met them for all of five minutes, Father Birch," Erin whispered, with something approaching black humor. "Even if Mr. Underwood is a quick study of character."

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
"Primarily, Mrs. Lamothe? To show the colours. To see and be seen, and to observe such Court business as occurs." Birch said, and then laughed.
"Aha. You are here to stand about and look pretty. Very good! I am also here for this." Erin straightened up and gave a sharp, prim nod.

St. Bartholomew's Hospital, despite the grand function room where the Elysium was being held, was still fundamentally a hospital. There were patients, quite a few, in the building, and in fact some of the Kindred who cared for a quiet meal slipped out to feed on the sleeping patients. Not many though, for fear of disease or breaching the masquerade (while Kindred could not become diseased themselves, they could become plague carriers, an unpleasant fate). One of the Kindred guards gave Lauren and Mary a room number, and told them to check back in after they were done.

The room in question was a small private office, with medical diplomas on the wall and a variety of knick-knacks nestled between research journals on the shelves. There was a small couch, presumably for sleeping on, and a few comfortable chairs as well. It was onto the couch that Mary sat down, looking all prim and proper.

"I'm a deacon. It's... not much of a rank, really. Entry-level." Mary smiled shyly. "Mostly I help out just before and after the Midnight Mass, and sometimes I run errands for Father Birch." One had only to wonder what kind of errands a super-strong, super-fast Ancillae such as Mary would run.

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The Black Bishop gave a loud, booming laugh, and then tipped his head to Erin. One of his hooded attendants gave Erin a long look, a feminine face cloaked in the shadows. "Well then, we must undoubtedly allow the Ambassador to make his own judgments." Birch said with another laugh. Some of the nearby Kindred turned to see just who the 'Ambassador' was, marking well the grey man they saw. A few, those who could see beyond, must have wondered just who this apparent mortal was.

"In any case, I wish you luck on your efforts to look pretty." Birch said. He wouldn't grant a blessing for something this minor, but he could certainly wish Erin good luck.

Lauren sat down next to Mack. "Well, it's a promotion none-the-less, right?" She smiled and raised her glass. "To your well-deserved promotion to a deacon of the Lancea et Sanctum!" Lauren clinked her glass against Mack's, then took a gulp of the blood inside.

"I was kind of surprised," she admitted after a moment. "It doesn't seem like you've been with them long. But I guess you've made an impression. Anyway, I'm impressed, and very happy for you." However Lauren felt about the Lancea et Sanctum, it was good for Mack to have some kindred allies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamothe
"Aha. You are here to stand about and look pretty. Very good! I am also here for this."
Underwood chuckled, too, repressing the strong urge to ruffle Erin's hair. "Hey, in one sense or another, all of us are. You're doing a good job of it, Mrs. Lamothe."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Father Birch
"Then I am curious as to how you find us. I cannot imagine we are much like our American brethren."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamothe
"He has met them for all of five minutes, Father Birch. Even if Mr. Underwood is a quick study of character."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Father Birch
"Well then, we must undoubtedly allow the Ambassador to make his own judgments."
"Thanks for that, Mrs. Lamothe, but Father Birch has got it right. New York's supernatural community is a bit more stratified, Father -- to its real disadvantage, I think, considering that I've got somewhere more open to compare it to now. Hudson's Rest has started a round of outreach programs since I've been stationed here, though: not due to my recommendations alone, understand; that kind of bridge-building has been a long time coming. Our Spring Queen's been very enthusiastic…"

He gave a polite shrug. "That said, I'm here in London eight months out of the year, so I only get to see so much of it firsthand. This being my first time at an Elysium…well, 'impressed' is too simple a word, but it's sincere."

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
"In any case, I wish you luck on your efforts to look pretty." Birch said. He wouldn't grant a blessing for something this minor, but he could certainly wish Erin good luck.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
Underwood chuckled, too, repressing the strong urge to ruffle Erin's hair. "Hey, in one sense or another, all of us are. You're doing a good job of it, Mrs. Lamothe."
"Do you think so?" Erin asked, making a tiny pirouette. "Thank you for saying as much, Mr. Underwood, but I think I need what luck I can get. It is why I came with Miss Mary, the competition is very stiff. See, there's Mr. Niall, he looks rather dashing, does he not? And there, the lady in the sari, she is quite pretty. And the woman there in the watery dress, she is very pretty."

"You look very dashing as well, Father Birch. Your vestments are quite striking. Did you make them?"

"I saaaaaaid it was entry level." Mary made a face, though she was smiling. She sipped at the blood in the glass, licking her lips. Food was always a nice thing to have, even if that food was hemoglobin. "It's like being promoted to being a mail-boy or something. It's not thaaaaaat impressive."

"But thanks. The girls at the shop threw a little party for me when they heard." Mary grinned. She rather liked the three bug girls, and the feeling was mutual. "Martin was there too, and they sort of made a blood-bag cake. I think it was Bat's idea. But it's nice to hear it from someone who actually knows what the Lance is about."

"Anyway, I mostly got to be a deacon because Father Birch likes me." Mary said, looking away from Lauren.

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"Outreach programs?" The Black Bishop said, a tip of a smile on his face. He was an old vampire -- hardly the oldest present at the Elysium tonight, but still a dead man since before Underwood had been born. Outreach programs were definitely a thing that came after his time. "And here it is generally thought that the supernatural world are too close, claustrophobic, squabbling forever like dogs for scraps from a table. I would be curious to hear more of your experiences with New York."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"Do you think so?" Erin asked, making a tiny pirouette. "Thank you for saying as much, Mr. Underwood, but I think I need what luck I can get. It is why I came with Miss Mary, the competition is very stiff. See, there's Mr. Niall, he looks rather dashing, does he not? And there, the lady in the sari, she is quite pretty. And the woman there in the watery dress, she is very pretty."
"It says something about our kind, I think, that so many Kindred are Embraced when they are young and attractive -- women more than men." Birch said quietly, pursing his lips. He certainly looked older than the average Kindred, being in his early forties physically. "The poets say that it is the urge to preserve beauty, to press a flower between the pages of time so that it would never wilt.

"The lady in the sari is a newcomer to our Court, from the Far East." Birch said, following Erin's gaze. "I do not know her name. The woman in the watery dress, however, is Cynthia of the Mara, a water-witch of the Thames. I understand she is an ally of some of the Lost."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"You look very dashing as well, Father Birch. Your vestments are quite striking. Did you make them?"
"Ah, no, Mrs. Lamothe, though I thank you for the thought. Tailoring is not among my talents." Birch said, holding up a hand with a rueful smile. He was a large man, and he had very large hands, heavily calloused with work, and covered with a thousand small nicks and scars. "I prefer to work with wood or metal, more durable materials. These vestments were made by mortal hands. Ones that believed they were outfitting for a very exclusive masquerade, it so happens."




 

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