<Storyteller> The past night and part of the day (Sascha sleeps late and wakes early) has been a lot of Sascha scanning Cian’s thoughts from time to time, giving him a chance to calm down enough to talk before restoring his voice or letting him move. She has gone so far as to repair the damage done by Zaluut to his bones, though, even while lecturing him.

⋠Cian⋡ has moved from volatile anger and defiance into a more simmering mix of frustration, shame, and hurt. His self preservation instinct has dulled his combative tongue, but there is still quite a bit of dissonance in his mind. He seems filled with inner turmoil. A spark of rebellion still flares from time to time, he’s always hated lectures, but he does not interrupt.

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° has been there, assisting Sascha and keeping watch so that they would not be interrupted. He was quiet, as silence was definitely one of his strong points, and he was hard to read emotionally, because human expression was something he only bothered with when around humans, if he needed to.

<Sascha> goes back to Cian after her evening prayers, and restores what she took the night before with her vicissitude before putting her hand on the wooden stake in his chest. “I am going to remove this now, so we can talk.”, and she pulls it out of his chest, freeing him.

⋠Cian⋡ coughs as the stake slides out. His eyes remain fixed on the floor, his head turned slightly to the side. Despite being freed, he makes no movement. For a moment he is silent, and when he does finally speak it is on a low mutter only barely loud enough to be heard. “Now what?”

<Sascha> sits down across from him on one of the pews in her chapel. “Well, I’d like to hear your point of view. Not cowed, but polite-ish would be refreshing.”

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° nods to Cian, confirming that’s what he was hoping for as well. “Your rage needs checked. Now is your time to speak and to listen, and then to change.”

⋠Cian⋡ sighs and nods his head slowly. “Fine. What do you want to fu…what do you want to know?”

<Sascha> “Who was the other girl, and whose idea was it to begin with? That… leads down a dark path, something there is no coming back from. That little voice inside you, that gnawing, only becomes worse with that sort of behaviour. Eventually you don’t even think anymore, like a rabid animal.”

⋠Cian⋡ nods slowly. “She said she was here on contract or some shit. Sabbat from out of town.

⋠Cian⋡ shrugs before continuing. “Her name is Chelsa. She seemed to take a shine to me and said she was gonna bring me a present. Didn’t say what.” He stares off at a wall and sighs. “Didn’t think it would be a fucking kid. Normally not my thing but that Beast thing has been like a pounding ache in my head lately. It wanted to hunt. I thought maybe it would shut up if I pretended to go after her a

nd the kid. I could slash her up a bit, scare the kid, and be done. He wasn’t supposed to die.”

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° “A contract. Interesting.”

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° “Even if the child did not die, the child was brought here and tormented on this property. What did you think would happen to it?”

<Sascha> glances back toward Talwar and nods. “Easy enough to validate.”, she looks back to Cian again. “At this point it is just important to take responsibility. What is done, is done. It’s a human, and while it was a life that had no business being destroyed for anyone’s boredom, they are also not in short supply. But there are much better targets if you must engage in such

activity in the future.”

⋠Cian⋡ shrugs. “I dunno. The Revenants are Ghouls basically from birth so when the kid put up a fight I thought maybe we could keep him around and train him to be one of us eventually. If not…I guess I just figured someone could wipe his memory or something. I didn’t think it would be that big a deal. I hear the others talk all the time about doing way more fucked up shit.” He turns to Sascha. “Y

eah I’d have preferred some dirtbag but…I’ve been stuck here for months, bored off my ass. The kid trying was fucked, I’ll admit that, but it’s frustrating being just some unProven piece of trash stuck on house arrest. I had more freedom and power as a street rat.”

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° “You need to admit what you did was a foolish endeavor. It could cost repercussions and we have to deal with a body now and your crime. Stop saying ‘but’ and adding an excuse. Own up that you did something without thinking and stop with the excuses. Excuses make you look pathetic and weak.”

<Sascha> “Probably the ones you hear are nomads passing through. Shovelheads… shock troops. And it hasn’t been months. Though it can be hard to tell the passing of time in such a case. This place is huge… it has an underground tunnel system and complex… it’s miles across. It’s not like you are kept in a cell. Mistakes happen. You at this point are more in trouble for causing

the shitstorm in the hallway at this point.”

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° nods in agreement.

⋠Cian⋡ sighs and drops his chin to his chest, looking defeated. “You’re right. I fucked up. Shoulda just told her to take the kid back where she got him or come and found one of you to deal with it. I know I lost my head in the hallway. I was pissed and scared and that’s my bad.”

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° “Now we are getting somewhere and seeing the man without the front. Good.”

<Sascha> nods. “Even if you hadn’t done anything but kill the boy, it was losing your head that pissed most of us off.”

<Sascha> “But if we did not see potential in you still, we’d have just finished you off there in the hallway. Zaluut would not have hesitated to kill you.”

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° nods. “He handed you to us to help you find your worth or to put you out of your misery. Thus, he hadn’t entirely given up on you.”

⋠Cian⋡ clenches his fist for a moment then relaxes it. While the boy’s death was weighing on him, the truth was that Zaluut’s disappointment was the thing that hit him the hardest. Cian had spent his whole life with no one seeing anything in him other than a worthless street kid, and to disappoint the first person to tell him he had potential was eating him up inside.

<Storyteller> There is a firm knock at the door to the Chapel.

<Sascha> blinks and glances back toward the door, then gets up and goes to check on it. She goes out and closes the door behind her a moment, speaking with whoever it is outside.

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° “It seems that gets a reaction out of you.” He’d comment to Cian. “Why is that?”

⋠Cian⋡ gets a defensive look and tenses up but hesitates. He stares at Talwar for a moment, looking up for the first time since the stake had been removed. After a pause he sighs and shakes away the tension in his muscles. “Zaluut. He’s…the closest thing I’ve ever had to a role model.” He looks down at the floor again as he speaks, clearly embarrassed by the admission, unaccustomed as he was to s

haring his feelings.

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° nods. “You can look up at us. You have no reason to be ashamed of what you actually feel. I do not have to be your enemy, Cian.”

⋠Cian⋡ hesitantly looks up. It is clear that he had a hard time maintaining eye contact while feeling so vulnerable, leftovers from a lifetime of abuse.

<Sascha> comes back in, with a slightly bewildered expression before it returns to seriousness. “I will exaplin that later.”, she says before looking to Cian. “We should go into the main hall, you really should apologize to Zaluut directly.”

⋠Cian⋡ audibly gulps but nods his head. “You’re right.”

<Sascha> nods and then opens up the door. “Come on then. Lets go talk to Zaluut.”

⋠Cian⋡ stands slowly, joints cracking as he does. For a brief instant the Beast tries to get him to run, but he shakes it off and walks through the door.

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° nods to Sascha, unsure of what just happened. He’d follow after Cian, out the door and then close the door after he exitted.

<Sascha> quietly passes an envelope over to Talwar as she walks with Cian off toward the main hall. The door finally repaired from the damage done the night before.

⋠Cian⋡ heads towards the main hall in front of the two elder Cainites, determined not to be escorted to Zaluut like a reluctant child.

<Sascha> calls up slightly ahead. “Upstairs, second floor, second hall. Long hallway full of paintings. Big double door at the end. Good luck.”

⋠Cian⋡ nods silently and gives her a thumbs up. He takes only a short moment to steel himself upon arriving at the door before knocking.

<Storyteller> As Cian walks down the long hallway toward Zaluut’s private quarters, Atanya’s words ring back in his mind about how those paintings are likely made from people who angered him at one time.

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° accepts the envelope and looks it over briefly and then pockets it somewhere. He followed Sascha and Cian along, returning his focus to the task at hand.

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° then would stop where Sascha did after and watch Cian head to Zaluut’s private quarters.

<Storyteller> (Inside the envelope) It’s an invitation to a private gathering… in New Orleans. At the Trill.

⋠Cian⋡ stares at one of the paintings in morbid fascination as he waits, a mix of fear at being turned into one and awe of the ability to do so.

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° looks over at Sascha and nods. This was going to be interesting. Zane had to have a pretty good reason for this.

<Zaluut> answers the door and looks down at Cian, his expression neutral. “Well, I see they did not introduce you to the sun.”

⋠Cian⋡ shakes his head and forces himself to look Zaluut in the eye. “They did not. A small mercy, since my fate is in your claws now, and I’m sure you can think of worse shit to do with me.”

<Zaluut> “No one considers that a mercy. What did you come here for?”

⋠Cian⋡ “To apologize. My behavior was out of line. Screwing with that kid was for someone playing at being a monster, not someone who really is. A smart monster would never have taken the risks involved just to alleviate boredom. An evolved monster wouldn’t have been so easily swayed by his Beast. A mature monster would not have let such base human emotions as anger and fear drive him to that outbu

rst in the hall. I should have been a better monster. The kind of monster the Orphans saw when they scouted me. The kind of monster you saw in me when I clawed out of the ground, and when I fought that ghoul dog thing. I want to be better. More than human, not less. I’m sorry I disappointed you, but more than that I am sorry I let myself down.”

<Zaluut> takes an unneeded breath and nods. “It takes time. My first couple of centuries I experimented a lot, most do. I hear Sascha was rather naughty herself as she transitioned away from her human nature.”

⋠Cian⋡ nods but remains silent so as not to interrupt.

<Sascha> might have the urge to kick Zaluut’s ass for bring that up. Dammit.

<Zaluut> “I will help you start on the Path, but it is up to you to be self-reliant and grow. Each of us is different, each Beast a reflection.”

⋠Cian⋡ nods. “I understand.”

<Zaluut> nods and smiles faintly. “Good. Then we begin practice tomorrow. You are going to learn how to handle a sword.”

<Zaluut> nods and smiles faintly. “Good. Then we begin practice tomorrow. You are going to learn how to handle a sword.” (repost)

⋠Cian⋡ raises a curious eyebrow at Zaluut, unsure why he’d need to use a sword when he has claws, but is smart enough not to voice the question. “I look forward to it.”

<Zaluut> leans down and smiles. “Because unlike claws and teeth, it requires discipline to use properly.”

⋠Cian⋡ smiles sheepishly and makes a mental note to remember that Zaluut can apparently read his mind, and then of course realizes that he probably heard that too.

<Zaluut> nods at that and withdraws. “Yes, but do not fret on it. I do not do it often. I only wished to be sure of your intentions in coming to me. I will speak with you later. Goodnight, Cian.”

⋠Cian⋡ nods. “Goodnight.” He quickly turns and walks out of the room, sighing in relief as the door closes behind him. Smirking, he looks up at a painting. “Looks like I won’t be joining you. Not tonight at least.” He then quietly heads back to where he left Sascha and Talwar.

<Sascha> is sitting at the bottom of the steps lightly chatting with Talwar.

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° looks over as Cian approaches. “I see you still move of your own volition. This is a good thing.”

<Sascha> looks over and smirks a bit. “Well the fact you have all your parts is a good sign.”

⋠Cian⋡ chuckles, trying to let off some nervous energy. “Yeah. No missing or new orifices either. So I guess it went well. Tomorrow he’s going to teach me how to use a sword apparently.”

<Sascha> looks over to Cian. “Oh that is gonna be painful. But it’s a useful skill.”

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° nods. “It is good to learn. You will gain more control and understanding. Also, Zaluut is very good. We have sparred occsaionally.”

⋠Cian⋡ nods. “Yeah I should definitely eat before I meet him tomorrow. I have a feeling I’ll be needing to reattach more than a few body parts.” He frowns and shrugs a bit. “Still seems a little weird to learn when I have claws and teeth, but I get the point. Plus it does sound pretty fucking cool.”

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° “You will see why it is important.”

⋠Cian⋡ nods to Talwar and grins. “Or die trying.”

<Sascha> nods and then starts to head back toward the Chapel. “Well, you should go tell your pack the good news. I have work to do. Goodnight.”

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° nods. “Yes, you should. Congratulations. Hopefully, your future journey proves fruitful.”

⋠Cian⋡ nods and turns towards the hall that will take him to the Orphanage. “Thanks. Both of you. For all of it.”

°¥ Talwar Khanna ¥° nods again and then would step among shadows and vanish. ~