Anastasia sits outside of Zaluut’s home, in a moon drenched clearing, eyes closed but other senses heightened as she sought the stillness that let her Inner Voice speak to her clearly. She sat with her legs folded under her on a rock, wearing a tight pencil skirt, a simple but elegant corset that came up her torso and ended just under her breasts that were covered by a diaphanous top with strategically placed straps

that hid her nipples from view.

⋠Cian⋡ exits the house with a bored look on his face. Or the monstrous equivalent at least. His footfalls Avery almost soundless as he approaches Anastasia. Cian’s mouth opens to let loose a smart ass remark but quickly closes. It seems the past few nights with Zaluut have imparted some self restraint, if not necessarily manners.

Anastasia notes Cian’s approach, recognizing the patterns of his quiet footfalls and the scent of his body. She makes no sound to acknowledge his approach, but when his mouth snaps shut she chuckles, and stretches her arms high above her head before executing something of a tumble-flip to end up standing on her feet. “Why hello… ready to leave all this clean air and sylvan pulchritude behind, Cian?” She asks in a

light tone.

⋠Cian⋡ cocks an eyebrow at her and grunts. “Dunno what the fuck that last part meant but sure. This woodsy shit ain’t really my scene. Too quiet. I take it you found us a ride out of here then?” He cracks his neck on each side, grasping at the dirt with his toes as he does so.

Anastasia nods and chuckles saying, “you pretty much translated the unknown phrase correctly.” Then she starts walking from the clearing to where Mikov stashed a car for her. “I figured it was the least I could do, I forced you into the house after you thought it was best avoided,” she says gamely then asks, “do you drive?”

⋠Cian⋡ snorts and shakes his head. “Died before I was old enough and cars were one thing I didn’t like to steal. Too many complications.” He shrugs then, and scratches a scar. “Don’t worry about last night. I was just being a bitch cause the old fiend has been on edge and it makes my Beast nervous. Makes me nervous too. Ain’t ever seen him like this, but I have seen the hallway where people that p

issed him the fuck off are hung. As paintings. He turned them into fucking paintings.” Cian grins, shaking his head in a mixture of amusement and admiration. “So where to?”

Anastasia chuckles and says, “if you want to learn, I’ll put my unlife in your hands.” Then nods as he talked of complications and such. “No, you were making the best choices you knew to. Hell, if it weren’t for the fact that there’s really no reason to refuse a Vaulderie ever, I might have ended up decorating that hall,” she admits then slips into the driver seat. Turning over the engine and backing up

onto the dirt road she say, “Baton Rouge, no? Let’s paint the town red.”

⋠Cian⋡ walks over to the door and stares into the side mirror for a long moment. When he finally climbs in he no longer looks like a monster. Instead he appears to be a somewhat average looking man in his early twenties, with dark hair and hazel eyes. “Well, that worked better than I thought.” Though still deep and a bit rough, his voice no longer has that raspy quality that makes it so creepy. “Dr

ive on, Jeeves.”

Anastasia noted Cian’s display of power and nodded at him. “It’ll do for a dark night. Just don’t turn me into omg

Morgan freeman Ms. Daisy”

⋠Cian⋡ looks at Anastasia with confusion. “It’s Obfuscate, not Vicissitude. I can only do it to myself. It’s not even real, just an illusion and shit. You could probably see through it if you tried, since you could see me coming last night.” He shrugs and leans the seat back slightly. “This feels fucking weird. Usually I’m hiding in the back.”

Anastasia nods smiling at Cian but not doing anything to clear up his confusion. “Good to know, and I enjoy seeing your artistry. You need a bit of practice, but made a good start,” she says as she drives toward Baton Rouge, keeping an eye out for encroaching enemies.

⋠Cian⋡ nods, inspecting his new face in the mirror with what appears to be mild disgust. “Yeah…this is the first time I’ve done this shit since I figured it out.” He scoffs and flips the mirror back up. “I like my real face better. Took some getting used to at the start but personally, I think it gives me an advantage.” He shrugs and gives Anastasia a sly look. “I mean

sure, sometimes being the sexiest fucker around can be a burden, but it has its perks.”

Anastasia reaches over and tussles Cian’s ‘hair’ saying, “it’s best to embody ones Monster as completely as you can, but camouflage can be a predator’s friend too.” They make it to the city limits and she starts cruising. Looking around to get a sense of the lay of the


Anastasia (cont) land and its people.

⋠Cian⋡ seems to perk up quite a bit once they make it to the city. Since his Embrace he has only been back here a few times, two of which he spent in the sewers. “Oh hey I used to sleep in that alley.” He sticks his head up and watches as they drive by. “Huh, Soda Can Sam isn’t there anymore it seems. Guess that crazy old fucker finally kicked the bucket. Crotchety bastard.

Made good hooch though.”

Anastasia looks at Cian and says, “I can park and you can play tour guide. Though I am feeling hungry, I was hoping to hit a club…”

⋠Cian⋡ smiles, nodding his head. “Yeah that sounds good. I ain’t got an ID though. Not for this face anyways. You think you can get us past the dickhead bouncers? If not I can slip in through the back or some shit. Used to do that all the time. Be even easier now.”

Anastasia waves at herself and nods. “yes, trust me, even before my death I’d’ve had no trouble getting you in. Now?” She laughs as she speaks, pulling into a spot near a club called the Splash where various pale faced people in black finery lined up to enter The Chamber. “Shall we?” She asked Cian as if they were on a date, though her smile was wry and eyes were dark and mischievous

⋠Cian⋡ grins at her and for a brief moment his eyes flash with green light before fading back to the hazel illusion that he created. “Fuck yeah. I love this place. I got a blowjob in the bathroom once. Goth chicks fucking loved me. I had the whole grunge melancholy dark bad boy thing going on cause of…ya know…being a homeless criminal.” He laughs and looks down at his

clothes. “Uh…shit…I forgot to put on shoes. And a shirt. All I got is these ripped up ass jeans and this trench that really needs washed. Wanna lure some horny asshole into an alley and take his shit?”

Anastasia nods and says, “I was going to say, you may be my next project, Cian… I can custom make you goth boi wear that will have the girls throw themselves on your fangs and the bois wanna be you.” She speaks with a certain measure of pride and playfulness as she selects their victim de jour from the crowd. She then slips out of the car and makes sure to pass within eyesight of a tall, lanky, wiry guy in buckles

and high leather books, long coat and a striking cane. She shoots him a ‘grovel at my feet if you wish to sample the delights of hell’ look, and he slips away from his friends and follows her into the alley behind the club.

⋠Cian⋡ shakes his head, chuckling at Anastasia’s back and slips into an alley, fading out of sight then stalking his way back out and following after Anastasia and her prey, snagging a couple wallets on his way over.

Anastasia snaps her finger imperiously and points to her right boot, raising her right one to have him kiss it. The Goth boi shivers and blinks then kneels with his back to the opening of the alleyway as he brings his lips to the top of her foot. Anastasia looks meaningfully at the emptiness around her, telling Cian with her eyes it was time to strike.

⋠Cian⋡ sneaks up to the back of the goth guy and grabs the back of his head, bringing it upwards and then slamming his forehead down on her boot. “Jesus fucking his mother dude, have some pride.” He pulls his head back up and looks at his face. “Ooops. Shit, still awake.” He wrenches his arm and smacks the guy’s head against the wall. “There we go. Sleepy time bud.” He

giggles and gives Arlekina a satisfied look. “Deveraux was right, I really gotta work on getting stronger. Still not a hundred percent sure how that works for us but what the fuck ever.” He looks down at the guy and frowns at the large gash in the side of his head. “Oops…mi-i-ght have over did that a bit.” He laughs and drags the guy down the alley and begins stripping off his clothes

and putting them on. “Better take his wallet too. Ya know…to make the mugging thing seem more viable.” Cian winks and pockets the wallet, leaving the goth’s ID sitting on his ass. “You wanna get a sip before I drag him off to a different alley?”

Anastasia notes Cian’s lack of grace in his attack but also his vigor. “Maybe, but for now, you got the job done,” she says in an almost complimentary tone. She nods and feeds from the Goth, licking the wound closed before rising to her full height and offering Cian her arm. “Let’s see what the club holds,” she purrs then leads Cian back to the front door of the club.

⋠Cian⋡ looks down at the body then shrugs and follows Anastasia. He had intended to dump him in a different alley but he was far enough down this one that it should be alright. “Let’s do this shit.”

Anastasia nods and after a quick chat with the bouncer the two are allowed in. She flits through the crowd, making a few ‘friends’ scoring them free drinks, both booze and vitae.

⋠Cian⋡ ends up having quite a good time. He can’t drink the booze of course but he does get a nice buzz going from one of Anastasia’s little friends. Though he doesn’t really know shit about dancing, his vampiricly enhanced sense of coordination ends up making up for the gap in his technique. He snags another couple wallets, goths made easy targets with their chains. Of

course, he doesn’t need the money, but habits can be hard to break, and you never know when you might need to bribe someone.