<Zane Calbeni> and Isabo are both out sitting at a gazebo in one of the small park-like areas on campus full of benches for students to meet or study.
<Zane Calbeni> reaches out and pats Isabo on the shoulder before going back to leaning against the railing, looking over the side at the roses below. “I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Maybe if you ignore it, they’ll get bored and quit.”
<Isabo Kali> rolls her eyes a bit and crosses one leg over the other, hands resting in her lap. “Easy for you to say. You live on jokes. I however, have some reputation to maintain.”
<Conrad> parks his car in one of the faculty lots and begins wandering the campus. One of the other Tremere had told him Isabo had headed out here, though not why or exactly where. He considered using a ritual to help him find her, but it wasn’t like he was in a hurry. After a while he spots a couple figures at one of the gazebos. Figuring it’s as good a bet as any he heads over,
focusing his sight as he does to make it easier to see them from a distance. He quickly recognizes Isabo and smiles at his luck. Conrad approaches slowly, heightening his hearing as well to see if he can catch any snippets of conversation.
<Zane Calbeni> shrugs, shoulders rolling under the heavy leather jacket. “I could break Brandon’s legs or something. You guys don’t have any like anti-baseball bat magic, right?”
<Isabo Kali> shakes her head. “See? Everything is a joke to you.”, she sighs and then mumbles something in French before leaning back against the bench.
<Conrad> slows even more, suddenly unsure if he should wait for them to finish before approaching. He feels a little guilty eavesdropping on his mentor, but such things were not quite as frowned upon among the Kindred, where intrigue was the name of the game, so he was sure she’d be at least a little forgiving. Or at least he hoped.
<Zane Calbeni> shakes his head, one hand comeing up and running through his short dark hair. “I tried to be reasonable. If you don’t want to take it up with Cass then your other options are ignore it or retaliate somehow.”
<Isabo Kali> sighs again. “I can’t ignore it. It happens even here at work. I know it has to be him, he’s the only one with that path to control electronics.”
<Conrad> finally crosses the rest of the distance to the pair and and stands behind them, his hands resting on the small of his back. “Is there, perhaps, some way that I can help you with your problem, Isabo?” He puts on his best disarming smile, hoping both Isabo and her companion overlook his eavesdropping.
<Isabo Kali> looks over at Conrad and crosses her arms, still obviously agitated. “I do not think so, Conrad. That is likely something you do not want to be in the center of should it start going bad.”, she looks back to Zane. “Which I do not get either… He’s never gotten this bad before. Yes, he likes pranks, but this is way over the top.”
<Zane Calbeni> looks between them and turns around so he can watch Conrad. “Well, are you even sure it’s Thaumaturgy? Don’t you have like a detect magic spell or something?”
<Conrad> gives Isabo a concerned look. “Is this about the way that song always plays when you walk by anything with speakers?” He frowns. “Obnoxious to be sure, but I hadn’t thought it seemed like something overtly malicious. Is there something I am missing?” He glances over to Zane and shrugs. “There are ways to detect the presence of magic but…they often don’t provide as much detail
as one might like. At least none of the ones I have heard tale of.”
<Zane Calbeni> looks over at Conrad. “I do believe that it is drawing undo attention. Which could be bad in the long run.”
<Isabo Kali> nods in agreement with Zane, “It is not the only thing being done either. A few of the others have had things happen, though this ‘prank’ has followed me even outside our walls.”
<Conrad> looks at Isabo with wide eyes. “I see, yes that is indeed very problematic. You seem to know who it is behind it though, am I right?”
<Isabo Kali> sighs and shakes her head. “Brandon’s primary path of study is a technological one. He can control machines and cameras and such.”
<Zane Calbeni> nods, “Or you annoyed one of the Mages perhaps?”
<Conrad> frowns. “Mmm. Yes. Technology and Thaumaturgy are not an easy mix. I am learning that lesson the hard way. Just trying to get this ritual that shuts machines down to work is proving challenging.” He pauses, weighing Zane’s words for a moment. “Perhaps if it turns out not to be the Mages, one of them might be willing to help? Though, I do not know what cost their assistance
might incur.” Conrad frowns and shakes his head, not sure what other options there are. “Regardless, you are my mentor, and you have been of great assistance to me in my studies. I owe you a debt, and I will help you.”
<Isabo Kali> sighs again. “I may just have to bring it up with the Regent. As for owing me, I was instructed to tutor you as needed and so I have. It is what makes our clan strong.”
<Zane Calbeni> chuckles faintly at that. “You saying my largely disorganized if passionate comrads don’t watch out for each other?”
<Conrad> smiles. “Perhaps, but you have done a marvelous job of it. I was an outsider, sent here as a punishment, and you have made me feel welcome, and devoted a more than fair portion of your time and effor to my improvement. Whether you were instructed to do so or not is irrelevant. You have my help, however I can provide it. That too is what makes our clan strong.”
<Zane Calbeni> makes a bit of a face, then quickly hides it. “Do they give you guys little air fresheners when they wash your brains?”, he stops and takes a breath. “Sorry, that one was uncalled for.”
<Deveraux> steps out from behind a large tree about 50 yards away from Zane, Isabo and Conrad. He rests both his hands on a simple black cane in front of him and is obviously watching them.
<Isabo Kali> looks over at Zane, but being used to him just shrugs it off. “I suppose we could go to the Tri-“, she stops as she notices the unusual figure and glances to Zane.
<Conrad> smirks at Zane. Then perks up and looks around. His senses still heightened, he has little trouble noticing the new figure. “We have company.”
<Zane Calbeni> follows the gaze of the other two, and settles on the newcomer with an unusual and confused expression. “What the hell?”
<Conrad> mutters under his breath to Isabo, “An idealistic Kindred. Somehow I find that more disconcerting than comforting.”
<Isabo Kali> actually laughs and looks over at Conrad, thinking, then speaking in Greek as she is pretty sure Zane doesn’t know that one. “I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Ask Zane about the Brujah sometime.”
<Conrad> replies in the same language, “I’ll be sure to do that.” His voice is dripping with playful sarcasm, he knew better than to ever give a Brujah a chance to get up on their soap box.
<Zane Calbeni> looks over at the pair of them and shakes his head before moving toward the steps of the gazebo. “Cute leaving me out guys, way to make a guy feel wanted.”
<Conrad> chuckles and turns to Isabo, speaking in French. “Well, shall we go greet our new…” He searches a moment for the right word. “…acquaintance?”
<Isabo Kali> pipes up in French, after nodding to Conrad. “Zane, do be cautious.”
<Zane Calbeni> doesn’t glance back, instead putting off an aura of friendly and familiar nature (Presence). He does whisper back over his shoulder, “If he kicks my ass, no pictures please.”
<Deveraux> focuses on Zane as he seems to be about to head toward him.
<Isabo Kali> motions to Conrad to hang back in case this is something that might go bad. There were known Sabbat lurking about town afterall and she hadn’t gotten a deep read.
<Zane Calbeni> steps forward, confident about himself and his abilities should there be an issue, even though this was not his forte. “Hey, we weren’t disturbing you were we?”
<Deveraux> looks at him with a piercing, analytical gaze as he replies in a very calm and cold tone, “Not in the slightest. Did I disturb your conversation with the other two back there?”
<Conrad> nods to Isabo and holds his hand out slightly to the side ready to speak the words that will summon his sword cane from the specially prepared circle in his Chantry quarters. He still hasn’t quite mastered Thaumaturgy to the point of overt combat application, but he is not quite helpless.
<Isabo Kali> uses her heightened hearing to listen to the pair, just making sure there is no trouble. This place was public and that could be problematic.
<Zane Calbeni> tilts his head as he watches Deveraux, more curious than anything. “Only a little, think we were pretty done with the current topic though. My name is Zane, the other two…”, he looks back a second. “Actually I can’t remember if the other guy is a professor or not. But at least two of us are anyway.”, he smiles as he looks back at Deveraux.
<Deveraux> “Zane.. I have recently heard this name. You do not happen to own a drinking establishment by the name of The Devil’s Trill, do you? Also, are you one of the two professors that you speak of?”
<Deveraux> “Forgive my manners for not immediately introducing myself once you gave me your name. You may call me Deveraux.” He takes off his tophat and bows slightly in greeting before replacing it on his head.
<Martin> cuts through one of the parking lots on campus, but upon spotting Isabo he pauses and approaches carefully and quietly. His scraggily hair falls to one side as he cocks his head, looking at the unusual man he doesn’t know.
<Zane Calbeni> nods a little, watching him and his mannerisms. “I do own the Trill, and I am. I give lectures on history, specifically different cultures and how they have adapted over the ages.”
<Conrad> quickly whips his head around to look at the newcomer. He’s not quite as adjusted to having his senses heightened as Isabo. He’s younger, and doesn’t often find need of the power, being such a bookworm. Feeling no threat from the new presence, he turns his attention back to Zane and Deveraux, listening in as best he can.
<Isabo Kali> looks over to Martin and nods politely, but stays focused on Zane. Finally she decides it seems safe enough and approaches as well.
<Deveraux> seems to slightly perk up, but almost imperceptibly, at the mention of history and cultures, “Splendid. I would like to attend one of your lectures sometime if that would be permissable. History is a passion of mine.” He then looks toward Isabo and she makes her way over and removes his tophat again to bow at her when she gets to them. “Good evening, miss. My name is
<Isabo Kali> nods to the man, glancing between him and Zane for a brief moment. “I’m Isabo. What brings you to New Orleans?”
<Martin> follows Isabo, after studying Conrad for a moment as well. He then nods politely to Zane, and the other stranger.
<Zane Calbeni> nods, glancing back toward the others and nodding to Martin as well. “I don’t see a problem with it. We do monthly philosophy meetings at the Trill too.”
<Deveraux> looks to Martin and bows slightly to him as well in greeting before replacing the tophat on his head. He looks back to Isabo, “I tend to wander about wherever the wind or my instinct takes me. I felt the need to stop in this area and have decided to observe things for a time.”
<Conrad> waits a few moments after Isabo moves, watching for any sign of trouble. Seeing none, but still feeling a bit suspicious, Conrad sticks his arm behind his back and quietly mutters the incatation, summoning his cane to his hand. Putting on a smile, he approaches as well, standing slightly behind and to the left of Isabo, but remaining quiet.
<Martin> looks at Deveraux for almost a full minute in silence, then looks around them in general without saying a word.
<Deveraux> repeats the process of greeting by removing his hat and bowing slightly to Conrad when he gets to the small assembly and again gives his name, but this time follows it by looking between them all and saying, “It is nice to make your acquaintance.”
<Isabo Kali> nods and smiles to Deveraux. “It is nice to meet you. So you haven’t been in town long?”
<Conrad> nods to Deveraux and smiles. “Professor Conrad Austenveidt. The pleasure is ours.”
<Zane Calbeni> glances back toward Martin for a moment, watching him a moment. “You doing any better? I have some files for you to take a look at later.”
<Deveraux> “I arrived the other night and had a rather plasant conversation with another of our kind before deciding to investigate the University.”
<Martin> “I am back in control, if that was your concern.”, he says quietly. “I will take a look at them.”
<Zane Calbeni> nods and looks back to Deveraux. “Funny how that works, this is not a usual meetup for us. We just happened to be crossing paths here.”
<Deveraux> glances at Martin now for a moment before looking back at Zane, “What would constitute a usual gathering?”
<Isabo Kali> glances between them one last time before nodding politely to the group. “I am gonna go try and find Cassian to talk to him. I will see you all later.”
<Zane Calbeni> glances to Isabo and nods. “Be safe. See you later.”, he looks back to Deveraux. “Well a lot of people meet to talk at the Trill. But it’s public so gotta watch it a little bit… though we do have private meetings there too sometimes.”
<Conrad> looks to Isabo. “Should I accompany you?”
<Martin> “Goodnight Isabo.”, he says as he watches her go, resettling an unblinking set of eyes on Conrad.
<Deveraux> nods to Isabo, “Be well, Isabo.” He again removes his tophat to bow slightly as she departs before replacing it and looking at Zane, “So the Masquerade is to be in place unless otherwise signaled it is unnecessary. I understand.”
<Zane Calbeni> winces inwardly as Conrad speaks up, but too late now. He then nods to Deveraux. “Yeah, pretty much. As long as everyone is cool, then people can talk and share ideas without issue. It’s a neutral place to speak and share knowledge.”
<Isabo Kali> doesn’t look back as she heads toward her red convertable. “No, Conrad. I’ll be fine.”
<Martin> waits until she is well out of earshot, even for heightened senses. “She is sensitive about her gender within the bloodline and does not like to agree to masculine assistance.”
<Deveraux> looks at Martin somewhat curious, “Is her bloodline commonly gender biased or is this an individual situation?”
<Conrad> looks at Martin with surprise. “Oh? I would never have guessed. It never occurred to me that gender would be such an issue among the unliving.” Embarassment overcomes him, it really had never occurred to him that offering his assistance might be offensive. He certainly didn’t see her any differently because of her gender, indeed her rank as Primogen and mastery of Thaumaturgy
as well as position as his mentor had given him every reason to defer to her. “I…I will have to make amends.”
<Zane Calbeni> tries very hard to hold back his laughter, and his joke about wands and Tremere that play with them. “I… oh my, I can’t. I can’t answer any of that.”
<Martin> “I do not know if it is merely perceived or not. But of all of the ones i have met, there is a much larger number of males to females than other bloodlines i have seen.”
<Conrad> frowns and then slowly nods. “I had never really paid it much mind…but you are not wrong.”
<Deveraux> nods, “Interesting. I am now curious about this bloodlines name, but out of etiquette I of course will not ask.”
<Zane Calbeni> nods. “Tremere. Isabo is well respected, and I won’t air out her dirty laundry here. So lets just drop that, shall we?”
<Conrad> smiles. “Yes, enough of such unpleasantness.” He taps his cane on his toe.
<Deveraux> “I assure you, sir, I had no intention of asking about anything of that nature. I do thank you, though, for sharing the name of the bloodline to sate my curiosity.”
<Martin> “Noted. Though i had thought he (indicating Deveraux) might be one as well.”, he then looks over at Conrad and looks him over again with those unblinking eyes.
<Deveraux> looks over at Martin, “What leads you to that hypothesis?”
<Zane Calbeni> shakes his head softly. “You’re welcome and I hadn’t thought you would.”, he then raises an eyebrow at Martin.
<Conrad> looks over at Martin, a little unnerved. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”
<Martin> “So far in my experience if it possessed magic and was not living, then it was Tremere. I apologize for the assumption.”
<Deveraux> shakes his head slightly, “No need, and no harm done by it.”
<Zane Calbeni> nods to Conrad. “Conrad, this is martin, he’s uh… different. Not like us.”
<Martin> nods in agreement. “I am not a Kindred, as you call yourselves.”
<Deveraux> “Not Kindred but able to sense the presence of magic. Interesting.” He looks at Martin again appraisingly, like a researcher might look at a subject, but his eyes make only a single, slow pass over him.
<Conrad> nods slowly. “I see. Clearly not one of the shifterkin either, as we are not all currently bloody paste.”
<Martin> “Yes.”, he studies Deveraux with the same unblinking gaze. “I am merely a ghost moving about a shell.”
<Zane Calbeni> pats Martin on the back. “He’s a zombie.”
<Deveraux> “I have heard stories about spirits but never bore witness to this sort of occurrence.” He looks at Zane but then back to Martin to see if he reacts to the zombie remark.
<Martin> “Mythologically speaking, I am more of a Revenant. I came back for a reason.”, he says. “Some of those here have been assisting me and so i return the favor.”
<Conrad> blinks in surprise. “Fascinating. So…Wraiths can find their way back to a mortal shell then?”
<Deveraux> “The reason must be a deeply powerful one.”
<Martin> “It is not easy, or really allowed. But I needed to find them, and i need to finish things.”, he says as that gaze turns back on Conrad. “I was murdered while working a case. I need to finish it. I need to find her. I need to make things right.”, for the first time there is emotion in his voice.
<Conrad> tightens his hand around his cane so tightly that his knuckles audibly crack. His returns Martin’s gaze with one of pure steel. “Find who?”
<Deveraux> listening intently as the discussion moves on around him.
<Zane Calbeni> stands back and just listens as well, though glances about their surroundings from time to time.
<Martin> “Mary. The little girl… not little anymore. It’s been a while.”, he pauses and gathers himself after his hand reaches into his jacket to touch a gun there lightly. “And the men… they will pay.”
<Deveraux> “How long ago did you die?”
<Conrad> relaxes his grip and shakes his head. “I am sorry to hear that. I wish you luck, I can understand that need for closure.”
<Martin> “It has only been a decade. They murdered me and left me to rot in a shallow grave. When I came back it was the Tremere that assisted in preserving my body so that it does not decompose while I finish my work.”
<Conrad> chuckles softly. “A lucky thing you weren’t found by a Giovanni first then.” His eyebrow quirks and he turns to Deveraux. “You’re…not a Giovanni, correct? I would presume not by your…everything.”
<Deveraux> looks at Conrad and raises an eyebrow slightly at the direct question to confirm his clan. He responds simply, “I am not.”
<Zane Calbeni> coughs. “Well, I can’t say I wouldn’t share a bed with Isabella… once.”
<Martin> shrugs his shoulders. “Most of the Kindred think that is what I am. I do speak to Isabella. She and i have a working arrangement as well, since she assists in keeping the local authorities off of me.”
<Conrad> smiles slyly at Deveraux’s dodging of the true intent of his question. He hadn’t expected for him to fall for such a simple ruse, but still, the game could be fun.
<Martin> “Conrad, do you have experience with wraiths and spirits?”
<Conrad> looks Martin over very closely for a moment before answering. “Not directly. Though…” He stops and swallows a lump in his throat. “I do believe one has been following me around of late, perhaps longer than I’ve known.” He sighs and shakes his head. “But I haven’t figured out a way to make real contact. Wraiths and the like are not the Tremere’s forte.”
<Zane Calbeni> chuckles briefly. “Just because something is not… standard practice doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. Lets not get into stereotypes.”
<Deveraux> “Assumptions such as those can be most dangerous.” He nods at Zane’s comment.
<Martin> nods. “I asked because it would appear that one is following or keeping tabs on you.”
<Deveraux> “What makes you delieve a spirit is following you?”
<Conrad> smiles sadly. “Because Martin here is the second person with medium like abilities to ask me about her.”
<Martin> “She must be versed in Argos because she is hiding herself. But being from there I can readily see across the shroud.”
<Deveraux> “I have observed spirits before but not without a great effort to shift my consciousness.”
<Zane Calbeni> nods his head. “Auspex will work in a pinch but it’s not easy and leaves you open to attack from their side if you do it that way.”
<Conrad> gives Martin a curious look. “Interesting. I..” He pauses and looks at Zane for a moment and then turns his attentiont ot Deveraux. “Ah yes, I’ve heard that some have had success using methods that don’t involve blood magic. My own mastery of Auspex is somewhat lacking, however. It is only recently that I’ve gotten the hang of seeing auras.”
<Martin> looks up, and then shakes his head. “Perhaps later i can be of assistance in communication. But for now I must depart.”
<Zane Calbeni> nods to Martin. “If you come by later, just ask Erik and he’ll give you what we found.”
<Conrad> nods to the Revenant. “I would appreciate that. Safe travels and good fortune.”
<Deveraux> again removes his hat briefly to bow at Martni, “Good evening.”
<Conrad> turns to Deveraux and Zane as Martin leaves, a somewhat sheepish smile on his face. “My apologies for that tangent. I can be a bit distractable at times.”
<Martin> nods to each of them and then shambles off in the direction he was going before.
<Conrad> “So Deveraux, I believe I heard you say that you were a student of history earlier?”
<Zane Calbeni> smiles. “It happens.” He pats his pockets and then manages to find a piece of paper which he writes something down and offers it to Deveraux. “Here is the address of the Trill, and my number, if you want to get in touch with me.”
<Deveraux> takes the paper from Zane, “Thank you. I will stop by your establishment in the near future.” He pockets the paper and looks at Conrad, “I am rather well versed in historical events, yes.”
<Conrad> gives Deveraux a sly grin. “Would this be, perhaps, the sort of well versed that comes from first hand experience?”
<Zane Calbeni> looks over at Conrad and just shakes his head. “Just because someone likes history doesn’t make them old. I’m not even two hundred and I enjoy studying it at length.”
<Deveraux> “I have experienced my share of things, let us say. Are you trying to ascertain my age because it would frighten you or it would entice you to try something ill-advised?”
<Conrad> chuckles and holds up his hands “No no nothing of the sort I assure you. I find the entire concept of…well you know…to be ghastly.” He puts his hands down and tips his head. “I apologize. You’re just somewhat of an enigma, and I do so enjoy puzzling things out. I do hope you will forgive me, I spend much of my time absorbed in my studies and haven’t quite gotten the hang
of Kindred etiquette.”
<Deveraux> “What are the subject areas of your studies? I have done quite a lot of research in my time.”
<Zane Calbeni> listens to them as he scans the nearby parking lot and flexes a little bit under his jacket.
<Deveraux> asks idly to Zane at his actions, “Do you fear we will have unwelcome guests?”
<Conrad> smiles, glad that his faux pas seems to have been forgiven. “Linguistics is my first passion, carried over from my mortal life. In fact I recently took a job here teaching nighttime foregin language classes. After that I, like all members of my clan, am a student of the Occult. Both as it applies to all supernatural entities, and more specifically the use and development of
<Deveraux> focuses on Conrad again, effortlessly sharing his attention between the two of them, “If your clan studies the occult and on developing Thaumaturgy that would make me believe you are also of the Tremere bloodline. Is that so?”
<Zane Calbeni> shakes his head faintly. “Ehhhh, with all the weird stuff going on in the city, never can tell. Just prefer to be alert. Don’t mean to seem nervous or anything.”, he glances back over toward the other two and listens.
<Zane Calbeni> “But… I should get back and check on things at the bar.”, he says with a nod to each of them.
<Deveraux> again bows with the brief removal of his hat, “Be save, Zane. I look forward to future conversations with you.”
<Conrad> nods to Zane, “Perhaps I’ll see you there later. Take care,” then turns back toe Deveraux. “Indeed I am. Though by no means a sorcerer, I did also begin delving into the occult as a mortal after linguistics led me to some interesting discoveries. That’s what caught the attention of my Sire.”
<Deveraux> “I have two questions for you, then. First, what are your feelings of Kindred of clans other than your own using Thaumaturgy? Second, what is your favorite language and why?”
<Zane Calbeni> takes off, hopping over the fence and quickly disappearing past the bushes that line the park.
<Conrad> seems a bit surprised at the first question and mulls it over for a while. “Well…the party line is that we discourage such things, as Thaumaturgy that is not practiced within the well defined discipline of clan Tremere cna prove to be an unpredictable threat to Kindred society but…” He lowers his voice and looks around them for a moment. “I’m not so ignorant as to truly
believe a clan as young as ours invented the practice, and I also don’t feel we’ve the right to govern who can and cannot study anything, including blood magic.” He clears his throat and returns to a normal volume. “As to your second question, I am partial to German, as that is my native tongue, but such is true of nearly everyone. For modern languages I do adore French, the way it flows
off the tongue, and there are fond memories as well. For ancient languages perhaps Sumerian, yourself?”
<Deveraux> “Have you ever heard Sumerian spoken?”
<Conrad> frowns a bit before answering. “Not by a native speaker no, and I’m not sure I would want to. Although the experience would be novel, meeting a Kindred of such advanced age would be hazardous at best I am sure. So my only experience with it as a spoken language are the best approximations we’ve been able to come up with in the modern era.”
<Deveraux> “You are of course welcome to your assumptions, but those do not befit a researcher and student that should strive for fact over fabricated opinion even if the fabrication has some basis in ones longevity.” He reaches into his jacket pocket and retrieves a watch on a small chain. It looks very old but well cared for and checks the time before snapping it gently shut
and putting it back, “I must take my leave, but perhaps we may speak again on languages past and present?”
<Conrad> smiles at Deveraux. “I would very much enjoy that. I frequent the Trill, so I will likely see you there. And I shall meditate on what you have said. You are right, I should not let my past experiences color my perceptions so deeply.”
<Deveraux> again bows to Conrad, “I bid you a good evening, sir. Until we next meet.” He walks behind the large tree that he stepped out from behind earlier but doesn’t walk out the other side.
<Conrad> raises an eyebrow at the exit. “Well, that was interesting to say the least.” He looks around at the empty air. “Keeping an eye on me, eh Elena? You always did watch out for me.” He smiles and heads back to his car, driving back to the Chantry.