<Deveraux> heads to Zaluut’s again wearing his combat attire as he was expecting to see Cian there. This time, though, the scimitar at his back is replaced with a khopesh. Also, there’s something hanging under his left arm that looks like a coiled metallic whip but with a sword-like handle. He knocks on the door and steps away from it so as not to seem pushy when it opens.

Mikov gets the door, standing upright to do so. The little creature regards Deveraux carefully with his deep brown eyes before speaking in Romanian. “You can wait in study if it pleases you.”, it hisses out of its thin, needle-filled mouth.

<Deveraux> nods and steps past it and heads to the study. His first thought once there is the chess game that he left off and he again looks for the table to see the position and think on it more.

Mikov looks around outside after Deveraux steps in and then closes the door before dropping to all fours again. His shaggy blonde hair then hiding most of his face. He follows Deveraux, but is mindful not to get too close. His usual mischievous streak not about to start with someone covered in sharp things.

Zaluut comes downstairs and Mikov rubs against his leg in a feline manner as he enters the study. He reaches down and runs a hand over Mikov’s blonde hair before nodding to Deveraux. “Good evening, Deveraux.”

⋠Cian⋡ sits in a corner of the room that Zaluut has provided him, quietly reading a book. He had quite the enjoyable night yesterday, and hopes that Anastasia takes him out again soon. A few pages later he hears the door open and close and, curious as to who is visiting, sets down the book and slips out of his room to go have a look.

<Deveraux> nods to Zaluut, “To you as well, Zaluut. How does this evening find you?” He of course turns to face his host, respectfully giving him his full attention.

Zaluut frowns slightly, his expression grave a moment. “I am worried, for obvious reasons. Kitt is still lost, and the other to be lost with her happens to be a Tremere.”

<Deveraux> “Your concern is understandable. I have not spoken with Cassian at length yet so I have no opinion yet. Is he a typical representation of his bloodline?”

Mikov growls at the mention of the Tremere, and moves off to sit by the door. He sniffs a bit down the hall and grins to himself.

Zaluut shakes his head at that. “I will admit that he is not. Else I would not have agreed to work with him at all and rather see him as food for the garden instead. Kitt knows to be wary, but she has been getting visions. During which she cannot control her eye.”

⋠Cian⋡ creeps up to the door of the study, listening for just long enough to identify the voices within as Zaluut and Deveraux. Deciding that eavesdropping on the two oldest Cainites he knows is probably not the best of plans, he backs away from the door as quietly as he can.

<Deveraux> “I have enjoyed conversing with Kitt. I hope she makes it through this ordeal as unharmed as possible. What has she seen in her visions?” I would assume they’re talking in Romanian, too, just for the benefit of the eavesdropper. 😛

Mikov giggles and pounces into the hallway, tail lashing before Cian can get far. Though only the size of a small child, Mikov looks like he’s been around a while. He’s not like most of the other ghouls and in fact, they seem to take orders from him. He grins at Cian with those tiny needle teeth, rasping in English, “What little boy blue doing?”

⋠Cian⋡ makes a face at Mikov and puts a finger to his lips before replying in a low whisper. “I am TRYING to QUIETLY get back to front room you nosy little bastard.” He watches Mikov’s tail with some interest, wheels turning behind his gleaming eyes.

Zaluut nods and glances off toward the hallway only briefly before looking back to Deveraux, still speaking in his native language. “They seem to be having to do with this Demon. The last time she had them it seemed a reaction to the presence of a Baali. They are dark and have given her a lot of grief. I have had little answers for her on them. I do not know if it comes from her blood or something else.”

Mikov snorts and arches his back, as he does so his body ripples with Vicissitude and spikes protrude from his skin all down his back to the end of his tail, which then bursts into a rattling group of porcupine like quills. “Mikov no bastard.”

<Deveraux> “Her line are some of the most staunch I have encountered when it comes to the threat the Baali present. Some will say they are extinct but we are old enough to know better. True evil can never be permanently extinguished, merely contained for a time before it finds a way to be free again. I hope she is free of this ordeal soon.” He turns his head toward the doorway at the sound of the rattling quills.

⋠Cian⋡ watches the transformation with morbid fascination. “Well that’s fucking cool. And you are totally being a bastard. I was very obviously trying to be quiet and here you are making noise and shit like a narc. Tell you what, you put the spiky things away and I won’t call you a bastard anymore. Deal?” His fingers flex a bit, the cuticles bulging slightly in response to

the threat. Cian refrains from popping his claws at the moment though, preferring not to get into a fight with Zaluut’s favorite pet if he can help it.

Mikov remains arched a moment as he seems to work that out before nodding. “Mikov no rat. Mikov eat rat.”, he seems to preen a bit at his obviously impressive display of force.

Zaluut nods in agreement. “It is why I believe her visions may be related to her lineage. We can speak more of it later, when there is more privacy available.”, he says in Romanian before swapping to clear English, “Perhaps you would like to join us, Cian?”

⋠Cian⋡ shakes his head, chuckling. “Yeah. Mikov no rat. You hungry Mikov? We can go find a deer or something to munch on later if you want.” The bulge in Cian’s fingers slowly goes away and he shakes his hands a bit to relieve some of the tension then looks at Mikov with a mixture of curiosity and, to his own surprise, a bit of admiration. “You got any other cool tricks like

that?” He freezes when Zaluut switches to English and shakes his head, a shit eating grin on his face. “Ah shit. Stuck around too long and got caught.” He approaches the door and opens it confidently. “Sounds good to me Zaluut. Hey Deveraux. So what are we talking about?”

Mikov grins and still covered in those nasty looking quills he follows Cian back toward the study, ever so proud of himself. He keeps quiet though as the vampires start talking amongst themselves and goes to sit by the fire where it is warm.

Zaluut watches Cian enter and nods to him. “Just the current situation of things. How are you this evening? Bored yet?”

⋠Cian⋡ grins, shrugging. “A bit yeah. Was thinking about taking Mikov out hunting if he’s hungry.” He gives Deveraux a curious look, taking in his outfit. “We planning on killing some motherfuckers tonight or something? I’d be down for that.”

<Deveraux> regards Cian but remains silent so far. He does nod to him as he walked into the room, however.

<Deveraux> “Killing should serve a reasonable purpose. Do you know anyone that reasonably needs killing?”

⋠Cian⋡ shrugs again. “Sure, loads of dudes. Gangbangers mostly, also that monster thing we were supposed to hunt, and the demon fucker that abducted us and anyone that works for it. But I just thought that maybe you two had someone in mind since you look like you’re about to go to war, and if you two want someone dead then they probably deserve it.”

<Deveraux> “The location of the demon fucker escapes me, and rushing to do battle with any foe that powerful is foolhardy. Careful planning should also be given to dealing with the creature that we hunt. Mostly I came dressed like this to show you more bladed weapons as I said I would. Perhaps this time you might get to feel them if you are unlucky.”

Zaluut shakes his head softly. “That will come in time. It is obvious we require a different strategy in dealing with this particular foe.”, he smiles faintly as he hears Deveraux mention something similiar once more.

Mikov lifts his head briefly to look over at the vampires, and then stretches and curls back up again. “If parts fall off little boy blue, Mikov eat them.”

⋠Cian⋡ stares at Deveraux unblinking for a very long moment, clearly shocked. “Did…did you just…cuss? Holy shit.” He stares for a moment longer then stifles a laugh as best he can. “Ok…we will come back to that, because it was the greatest thing I have witnessed, but moving on…you have a point there. I was hoping you guys had a plan but…I guess a week really isn’t

very long to figure this crap out.” He looks at Deveraux’s weapons a bit more closely and nods approvingly. “Nice, although I feel like luck won’t have as much to do with me ‘feeling’ those as you having half a bazillion years more than me to practice.” He shoots Mikov a dirty but playful look. “Wouldn’t do that if I were you. Might turn you blue, and I might have to eat parts of Mikov

to even the score.”

Mikov doesn’t even look up at Cian, “You choke on Mikov.”, he snickers.

Zaluut looks between the two and shakes his head, the storm that surrounds the old house finally starting to subside. “Well, that should prove interesting. And practice is a good way to spend your time.”

<Deveraux> “Years to practice certainly grants me an advantage over you, but another critical aspect is the desire to learn and the ability to focus on the task. We have not even touched on the abilities I possess that you do not give me a further edge in combat against you, which brings me to a very important lesson that you should never forget. What you know about your opponent is not as important as what you do not know. What you do not know

could easily be your undoing.”

⋠Cian⋡ makes a face at the szlachta. “Fine, no hunting trip for you. Ass hat.” He chuckles and looks back at Zaluut, noting that the weather noise from outside seems to be dying down a bit, then turns to Deveraux and scrunches up his face for a second, thinking. “That makes sense. Like how until just a little bit ago I didn’t know Mikov had those thorn things. Which, if he

was an actual enemy and not just a pain in the ass,” he says playfully raising his tone to make sure Mikov notices, “would mean that he played his hand a bit too soon and handed me an advantage right? Because now it is no longer an unknown and I can plan around it?”

<Deveraux> nods, “That would be a correct assessment. Countermeasures could now be planned to minimize the effectiveness of the quills.”

Mikov looks up and growls faintly, “If little boy blue was enemy and not ass pain, he be dead already.”

⋠Cian⋡ rolls his eyes at Mikov then turns to Deveraux, looking rather pleased with himself. “See? I can learn. Should I go get my sword?”

Zaluut chuckles and then gets up, nodding to Mikov to follow him as he moves to follow the other two outside. “Antol and I spar quite often for practice. Though I still owe him a good beating for the last one as he cut the spikes right off my head while reciting the Jabberwoky.”

<Deveraux> looks to Zaluut, “I would be rude to leave our conversation without your approval since we were speaking already.”

<Deveraux> nods and starts heading out after Zaluut, “An interesting choice. Was he reciting that piece to distract you?”

Zaluut shakes his head. “I am not entirely sure. He is Kaisyd and so I believe that the fae nature of his blood might have had something to do with it.”

⋠Cian⋡ runs to the room he has been staying in and grabs his sword before following the elders outside. “The fuck is a jabberwocky? Sounds like some Star Ward alien.”

*Star Wars

<Deveraux> nods, “Marconius’ line are tricksters to the core, but their hunger for books and knowledge is as vast as it is commendable.” He looks to Cian, “The Jabberwocky is a poem about the killing of a fictional creature called the Jabberwock.”

Zaluut smiles and walks outside with the pair. “He seems to think that my Zulo shape resembles said creature.”

<Deveraux> “Perhaps. Jaws that bite and claws that catch.” He’ll head off about 20 feet away from the house and wait for Cian, drawing the khopesh from his back.

Zaluut nods and stands just off the porch while he watches, with Mikov staying closeby. “He is quite knowledgeable though, and an avid collector of lore. He is also an experienced Thaumaturge. Perhaps I will invite him over and we can all converse together sometime.”

<Deveraux> “I would very much like that if it would not be much of an imposition.” He focuses on Cian, “I will strike you this time if you let me.”

⋠Cian⋡ draws his sword, frowning as he looks at the khopesh. He is unsure if he needs to change his technique to compensate for the difference in blade shape. He spins the weapon in his hand a couple times and nods to Deveraux. “Let’s do this.”

<Deveraux> nods, “Very well. I will graciously give you the first swing. Impress me.”

⋠Cian⋡ approaches slowly at first then dashed across the last few yards and swings at Deveraux’s side, watching his arm to see how he parries, trying to notice differences in technique with this weapon.

Zaluut watches with some interest while Mikov disappears into the trees to watch from a higher vantage point.

<Deveraux> angles the axe-like sword blade and lets the incoming sword slide down it and away from his body. He spins with more grace than his stoic nature might lead one to believe he possesses and brings the blade down much like one might chop with an axe. It pushes right through Cian’s attempt to block and bites into his shoulder with enough force to push him down to his knees. Deveraux pulls the blow, however, and doesn’t carve him in two

but it’s clear he easily could have.

Zaluut notes and observes, hand resting on the hilt of his own sword at his hip. An old blade that while in good condition, looks like it was forged back in the Dark Ages.

⋠Cian⋡ snarls in pain as he hits the ground and grips his sword tighter. Growling with the effort, he lifts his left arm up and grabs the blade imbedded in his shoulder right near the hilt. He know he hasn’t the strength to prevent Deveraux from ripping it out and blocking the incoming thrust, but he hopes to slow him down and throw him off balance just enough to ruin the parry. Letting out a grunt

, he jabs towards Deveraux’s torso with his own blade.

<Deveraux> nods down to Cian immediately after his shirt is cut open by the counterattack. “Good.” He then pulls his blade from Cian’s shoulder easily and shoves Cian down and away with his boot sending him a few feet back.

⋠Cian⋡ rolls backwards kicking upwards to flip himself onto his feet. His left arm hangs at his side, the wound slowly closing. He grins at Deveraux, his eyes gleaming wildly for a moment before turning to sharp focus. “This is more like it.” He lunges towards Deveraux’s dominant arm as though attacking but pulls the blow and sidesteps, trying to get just a bit behind him to limit I’d reach and tak

es a swing at his back, hoping the blade connects before Deveraux can turn and parry.

Zaluut moves a little further away from the porch, circling around slowly as he watches the pair. This was a decent enough distraction for the time being, though the back of his mind still wandered and searched for ways to handle what had happened to Kitt.

Mikov licks his lips and moves down the branch like a monkey, incredibly nimble. He watches and waits for a chance to steal some tidbit should something become dislodged during the fray.

<Deveraux> spins and catches Cian’s sword in the curved part of his khopesh to stop it from striking him. He then decides on a brute force approach for his retaliatory strike and just pushes his blade down toward Cian’s chest and right into it, opening his flesh easily before quickly removing it after the damage is done.

⋠Cian⋡ grunts in pain but follows right after the sword with his own, aiming for Deveraux’s shoulder. Though unlikely, he hopes that the quickness of his retaliation will give him the element of the surprise and let him connect again.

<Deveraux> lets Cian’s blade make contact again and nods in response, “Not bad. I think this will do it for now, though.” He steps back from Cian and takes a cloth from his left cargo pocket and wipes the blood from his sword before returning it to the sheath on his back.

<Deveraux> then offers the cloth to Cian, “Another lesson for you to remember: Be very wary of your vitae and who has it.”

⋠Cian⋡ takes the cloth and nods, stashing it in a pocket. “Cause blood magic and shit right?” He takes a step back. “Well, that was fun. Again soon, yeah?” He checks the blade for dirt then sheathes it on the belt Zaluut provided. “You want a turn, old man?” He looks to Zaluut with a mischievous gleam in his eyes.

Zaluut watches with half a smile on his features. He nods to Deveraux and then looks to Cian, “Perhaps you should go and feed. There is stored vitae in the house, Mikov will show you.”

⋠Cian⋡ scrunches his face a bit then looks at his chest and arm. “Yeah. Good point.” He heads towards the door, waiting there for Mikov. “Thanks.”

Mikov sighs and jumps down to the ground with a rattle of his quills before moving toward the house. Growling slightly and muttering something about precious and treats.

⋠Cian⋡ rolls his eyes at Mikov but smiles, amused by the creature’s annoyance at not getting to eat any of his parts.

Mikov leads Cian through the house to a storage room full of inscribed clay jars and points. “There. Unseal wax and drink. Then go get ass pain from Master.”

<Deveraux> nods to Zaluut, “I see potential in him. I hope he transcends his current situation.”

⋠Cian⋡ snorts out a laugh at Mikov and shakes his head. “You’re not gonna let that go any time soon, are you?” He chuckles and does as instructed.

Mikov hisses out another laugh and takes the jars Cian finishes, licking the insides of them himself and rattling his tail happily.

Zaluut looks to Deveraux and nods. “I do as well. But let us see how he adapts to different opponents.”, he flexes slightly and thorny scales cover his hands like gauntlets, and his clothing becomes tighter at whatever changes were made underneath.

⋠Cian⋡ shakes his head in amusement. “You’re a cool dude Mikov. The other Ghouls are always too much of a bitch to mouth off.” He heads back outside, forcing blood into his muscles as he goes, both having learned his lesson from the match with Deveraux and knowing Zaluut wouldn’t be as gentle.

Zaluut is almost unrecognizable as Cian returns, his feral features covered in hard protective plates, like living armor… or dragon scales. He draws his sword and steps forward, waiting for Cian to come at him.

<Deveraux> “The ability to adapt is critical to surviving any ordeal. I must go for a short time, but I will return later.” He bows slightly before doing his usual “no you see me, now you don’t” exit routine.

Mikov grins a needly grin and follows again, and sits on the porch to watch. Far enough not to get hit by accident, close enough to maybe snatch up anything that might get cut off.

⋠Cian⋡ walks outside and seems to be practically floating. His body is swimming in Vitae enhancement and it takes him a few moments to adjust. He looks at Zaluut with surprise. “Oh so that’s the game then?Am I still going sword or do I get my claws now?” He grins, feeling excitement building st the challenge, but also a bit of trepidation as his self preservation instincts advise caution.

Zaluut indicates the blade and moves his back and forth a bit with a smile… that armor moves with him so perfectly as to not impede him in the slightest. “No claws, unless you would risk the same.”

⋠Cian⋡ shakes his head and draws his blade. Sword wounds he could heal but claws, especially Zaluut’s, could have him down for weeks. Assuming he survived. He watches the armor with admiration, trying to find a weakness but doubting he will. Cian slowly sidesteps, studying Zaluut’s form, trying to spot how it is different than normal, hoping perhaps the extra bulk will make him slower or less flexi

ble. He knows he needs to strike eventually regardless though, and better that’s strike first than risk letting Zaluut wound him and hobble further attacks. Darting forward with blade held in front, Cian stabs out and tries to connect with Zaluut’s arm and rake the sword backwards for a deep cut.

Zaluut stands firm, only shifting his weight slightly at the incoming blow. The sword glides across his scales, revealing them all up his arm to the shoulder as his clothes are cut up. He moves around to take a swing in Cian’s direction, but clearly misses him whether on purpose to throw him off or not remains to be seen.

⋠Cian⋡ is clearly a bit surprised that Zaluut’s counterattack misses and for a moment he believes it to be a feint. He shifts his weight to the back leg and holds his sword defensively but, seeing no second strike, shifts forward again and lashes out with the blade at Zaluut’s arm once again, feeling that his best chance is to try and gobble his sword arm.

Hobble*

Zaluut laughs and switches his sword to the other arm to come around and strike at Cian again, going for an opening. He watches as Cian manages to avoid the blade narrowly, and smiles, fangs showing.

⋠Cian⋡ lets out a growled “Shit!” As he ducks under the sword, feeling the wind off the blade as it passes. Grinning he switches tactics and jabs his sword towards Zaluut’s belly, thinking perhaps a piercing blow will be more effective against those scales than a slash.

Zaluut grins as Cian’s steel meets the bony plates of his belly. He tsks, “Boy, I am armored everywhere. I have but to outlast you.”

Zaluut raises his arm to push the sword away before mimicing Cians move to his much softer middle.

⋠Cian⋡ grunts as Zaluut’s blade bites into his stomach. He swings out with the sword, less worried about connecting than trying to get some distance between them. The old fiend was right. Even with all the blood he had burned, Cian wasn’t likely to get through that armor, and it didn’t seem to have gaps. Except for…Cian grins evilly and shakes away the pain. If he can’t get through the armor he’l

l just aim for where it isn’t: the eyes.

Zaluut turns his body and passes the blade back to the other hand before quickly swinging around and clipping Cian’s ear off.

⋠Cian⋡ snarls but represses the urge to grab the wound. Instead he kicks the ear over behind Zaluut. If he was lucky, Mikov might go after it and Cian could try to drive Zaluut back into him. Doubtful but worth a shot. He lunges towards Zaluut but slips in his own blood and has to drop to a knee to avoid falling flat on his back. “Fuck.” He holds his sword up, hoping he can get out of this position

before Zaluut can chop more pieces off.

Zaluut steps forward as Mikov does run off with Cian’s ear, he tries to kick Cian prone but it is evident the armor does restrict his legs a bit and he is deflected before he can knock Cian down.

⋠Cian⋡ makes note of the restricted leg movement and rolls backwards, putting some space between them to give himself time to think. The eyes still seem like his best option but the problem is hitting such a small target on a more skilled opponent. If Zaluut’s legs are a bit restricted perhaps he can dart in and out, forcing Zaluut to have to move forward to attack and perhaps giving Cian more time

to react. He steps forward and stabs, but the blow glances off of Zaluut’s armored cheekbone, a few inches off the mark. Cian rocks back into a defensive stance, taking a step back.

<Zaluut> growls low as the sword bounces off his face and his stance changes slightly, putting him in a more centered stance. He darts out with the blade fast on Cian’s next rush toward him, nearly catching him in the inner thigh. He shrugs, “If we are going to the sensitive areas…”

<Mikov> chews on Cian’s ear and giggles at that, a high pitched kind of growling before darting back to the porch.

⋠Cian⋡ grins, weaving his sword back and forth. “Smart fighter doesn’t hit mother fuckers where they are strong. If I can’t through that armor I’ll go around!” He jabs again but the blade gets caught on a bone plate and he loses his grip, dropping the weapon to the ground. “Well that’s fucking bad.”

<Zaluut> takes a single step toward Cian and uses his weapon to cast Cian’s weapon out of reach before moving in and again trying to knock him to the ground, but fighting Cian is akin to fighting Mikov bouncing around. Still, Cian was now disarmed and would have to get past Zaluut to get it back.

⋠Cian⋡ debates popping claws, his cuticles even bulging, but the last thing he needed was Zaluut doing so as well. All he can do now was stay out of the way of that blade until he can recover his own. He try to stay outside Zaluut’s reach but that was predictable. What he might not see coming is Cian staying so close that Zaluut doesn’t have room to use his sword. So, he darts forward tossing a wil

d punch as a distraction as he tries to slip by Zaluut to get behind him.

<Zaluut> does look surprised as Cian darts in very close, and as Cian swings wildly, Zaluut grabs him by the arm and lifts him up sharply off the ground toward his face. Keeping him off his feet so he can’t get any leverage, he looks Cian in the eyes. “That was a mistake.”

⋠Cian⋡ grins at Zaluut. “Was it though?” He leans in just a bit and flicks out his overly long tongue, licking Zaluut right across his eyes. Once Zaluut can’t see, whether from the slobber on his eyeballs or from closing his eyes Cian reaches up with his free hand and jabs his fingers into Zaluut’s eyes as hard as he can.

<Zaluut> doesn’t drop him and instead sheathes his sword so he has both hands on Cian and pulls him closer. His jaw unhinges and starts to expand, just kind of starting to shove Cian’s head into his gaping maw.

<Mikov> dances around behind Zaluut. “Eat the blue boy! Swallow him whole!”

⋠Cian⋡ “Fuck fuck fuck!” The sudden danger has Cian’s Beast roaring inside of him. He wiggles, trying to break free of Zaluut’s grip and, when that fails opens his own mouth and bites down on Zaluut’s tongue, flipping Mikov off with both hands as he does.

<Zaluut> blinks, doesn’t help his eyes are sore and he completely engulfs Cian’s head and slaps him lightly in the side when he gets bitten. He waits to see if Cian is going to stop before showing any signs of releasing him from this unusual hold.

⋠Cian⋡ pauses as he gets slapped. It wasn’t hard enough to hurt, and the action confuses him. Without releasing Zaluut’s tongue from his teeth Cian tries to speak. “Ifch I let go aww you go’a stah ea-ing ‘e?”

<Mikov> moves around to behind Cian and starts poking at the backs of his legs, teasing him.

«~Daedalus~» While Evasion Training was still a thing that was on his mind, and a thing that was to be addressed, hopefully soon for that matter, he did.. Recall an offering of sorts that was made to him some time ago; the possibility of training in his war form, with a similarly-sized opponent. If Cade was awake at the moment of departure, he’d tell his friend that

while he was still interested in evasion training, he was going to visit the cabin in the woods for another sort of training.

<Zaluut> doesn’t release Cian just yet, though he alters his grips to Cian’s sides. As Daedalus comes into the clearing he looks over, Cian’s head totally engulfed in his mouth, his form otherwise human-ish… he is covered in dark, armored scales. He lifts an arm away from Cian to wave at Daedalus to let him know everything is alright.

⋠Cian⋡ kicks at Mikov as he is poked in the legs, though not too hard as he doesn’t want to impale his foot on a quill. He does not release his grip on Zaluut’s tongue yet, not having gotten confrontation that doing so will get Zaluut to stop eating him, and also not quite ready to give up just yet. Cian curls his legs up to his stomach and then begins pushing against Zaluut with both his arms and

legs, trying to free his head from the maw.

«~Daedalus~» This was.. quite the thing to walk on in.. and as Zaluut waved to him, he relaxed a slight, though watching this occur did give him ideas regarding his proposal of Evasion Training with Cade. The only real question there, was if it could occur without .. problems. In the present moment, he waved back to Zaluut, choosing to not speak up for the moment,

given the other could not really speak anyway.

<Zaluut> snorts and simply lets his tongue wither away to nothing so that Cian doesn’t have anything to keep hold of, and squeezes his hold around Cian’s throat more. Finally he makes this noise like a cat about to yarf a hairball and casts Cian to the ground as his jaw resets and he returns to his normal visage, except for the scales still covering his face and

<Zaluut> body. “Unusual defense.”

⋠Cian⋡ glares at Zaluut for a moment as though angry, then his features soften and he snorts, before finally bursting out laughing. “Oh my fucking god I can’t believe you stuck me in your mouth. You’re almost as bad as Mikov.” He grins and shrugs. “I had to do something. It was what came to mind.”

«~Daedalus~» “I’m sure it could have been worse.” He offers from the sidelines, his arms down at his sides. He’d smirk a slight at his own little ‘joke’, before turning his attention to Zaluut, “Speaking of ‘worse’, I would hope I am not interrupting anything, as it were?”

⋠Cian⋡ is a bit startled as Daedalus speaks. “What the fuck? When did you get here. Also, who are you?”

<Zaluut> reaches down and picks up Cian’s sword before offering it to him. “We were just having a bit of distraction. A little sword practice that took an unusual turn.”\

<Mikov> runs past Cian, with his ear still in his mouth, quills rattling as he heads for the house.

⋠Cian⋡ takes his sword and stands. “Shit. Growing that ear back is gonna take a while. I should probably try and get it before he swallows so you can reattach it.” He looks to Daedalus then Zaluut. “Who’s your friend?”

«~Daedalus~» “Distractions are always.. interesting, at least in some regards. As to who I am… well.. .. I cannot really think of any fun way to say this, so I shall simply state, that my name is Daedalus.”

<Zaluut> looks at Cian, then Daedalus. “Daedalus came here before a couple of weeks ago. He was here when the storm took everyone as well.”

⋠Cian⋡ nods slowly, clearly not remembering. “Ah, okay. Well uh…nice to officially meet you? I gotta try and get my ear back. So…” he takes off towards the house letting loose a string of curses at Mikov once he crosses the threshold.

«~Daedalus~» “Aye, you as well, though while we now appear to be alone, so to speak, I have a request, apart from a related request. The related request is a spar, but the main request is that a moment is given for focus, if not meditation. I realize I should have done so before heading here, and thus I apologize in such a regard. I do not wish to waste your time,

I mean.”

<Zaluut> nods his head to Daedalus even as he glances off toward the house. “Go ahead.”

<Mikov> is hiding in the study, up on the topmost bookshelf, just that tail full of quills sticking down.

⋠Cian⋡ checks a few rooms on the way but heads almost directly to the study, knowing the creature feels comfortable. He enters quietly and creeps up to the bookshelf. Once close enough he quickly presses the blade of his sword against the tail, pinning it against the shelf but not cutting it yet. “Gimme my damned ear, Mikov, or I’m taking your tail.”

<Mikov> looks down and hisses, then blows a puff of air at Cian. “All gone little boy blue. You take Mikov tail, Mikov do something that you no heal.”

«~Daedalus~» After a moment of focussing his thoughts, Dae returns his attention to Zaluut, “So then… I would assume the distraction was some sort of training or the like?”

⋠Cian⋡ glares at Mikov and presses on the blade a bit more then releases. “Fine. I’ll just ask Zaluut to give my your ear then.”

<Zaluut> nods and pats the sword on his side. “It was, yes. Are you familiar with swords or do you prefer to change forms to fight, when you must?”

«~Daedalus~» “I am familiar with steel, at the very least, as well as its use, and care. However, at the present moment, I do not own any steel to speak of, therefore when battle calls, I must shift to fight on the same terms, I would say.”

<Mikov> sticks his tongue out at Cian and then pulls his tail carefully up onto the shelf with him.

<Zaluut> frowns a bit but then starts to walk toward the house slowly. “Oh, well that will not so. I am sure that I have a couple of spares around. I’d be fine parting with one in exchange for the satisfaction of my curiousity. So, how long does your kind typically live?”

«~Daedalus~» “I would say that such depends. The length at which we are able to maintain length is of course dependant on the battles we survive, as the others likely experience as well… So, I guess, the normal, reasonable length, is the answer to such a question.”

<Zaluut> blinks a bit at that and looks back to him once more. “The same could be said for me, however I have managed to avoid said fate for roughly two thousand years. Are you saying you would do the same?”

«~Daedalus~» “I am not saying that our rough lifespan is of that length.. I am more saying that it is of the average length for the others who are like myself, but not. .. And that for such a length, battle is of course figured in. To answer your question in another way, I would at least try to survive, but I would not not seek battle; while battle is not precisely

my purpose, it is also not my purpose to exist without battle.”

<Zaluut> raises an eyebrow as he reaches the steps of the porch. “And so why did you come out here, precicely?”

⋠Cian⋡ sticks his tongue out at Mikov in return then heads back out to the main room. He finds a chair to sit in and begins cleaning his sword, checking it for nicks.

«~Daedalus~» “To be clear, let me at least thank you for such an offer, regarding your curiosity. I know not if I have.. met it, but if I have not, I shall try again. .. But to answer your most recent question; I recall a time ago, when we first met, that you offered a method of training regarding my battle form, and yours.”

<Mikov> perks up all of a sudden and climbs down from the bookshelf, running through the house and then carrying a sword bigger than himself back down the hallway toward the front door. When he gets to the door he stands upright and uses his hands to open the door, then drops to all fours again to bring the sword out. Even though he is small, he lifts the steel

<Mikov> blade with no effort at all. He then offers it to Zaluut.

⋠Cian⋡ watches Mikov through squinted eyes, not looking up from him as he speaks to Zaluut. “Since Mikov ate my ear, can I have his?”

<Zaluut> takes the blade from Mikov and offers it to Daedalus. “Here. You can use this for now, it’s good steel, and taken care of.” He glances inside and shakes his head before moving back out toward the clearing again. “I do recall that, I am guessing that your teeth an claws are quite damaging as those of other Shifters?”

«~Daedalus~» He’d carefully take the blade, inspecting it to get a feel for its length, weight, grip.. “.. I thank you for this..; I was uncertain if I had managed to adequately answer your curiosity, as it were. .. Though in regards to your other question, that is an adequate guess.”

<Zaluut> nods again as he contemplates this. “We shall have to be extra careful then. Seeing as we have a rather dangerous mutual enemy, either of us having wounds that take longer to heal than normal could be a disadvantage in the long run.”

⋠Cian⋡ scrunches up his face in mild irritation at being ignored and goes back to sharpening his sword.

«~Daedalus~» “.. Aye; tis a grand point, if not a highly important one. To such an end; what if blows were completely pulled before contact was made? Of course, there is also the possibility.. perhaps, of a form of combat to exist without.. using said weapons.”

Anastasia has been near by, silently watching the goings on. Not exactly hiding, more present without demanding attention or interrupting the conversation going on.

<Zaluut> looks thoughtful at that and then nods. “We will work out the details and try this perhaps later. I am expecting other company soon this evening, but we could try tomorrow if you stop by. I am sure Antol would find you fascinating.”

«~Daedalus~» “Very well, I shall see if it is possible for me to stop by tomorrow then, I wish you a pleasant evening with your company. Until such time, good eve, and thank you for the steel.”

Anastasia nods and favors Daedalus with a bright, moonlit smile dipping her head to him as a goodbye.

<Zaluut> smiles and bows his head slightly. “Goodnight, Daedalus. You are welcome.”, he then looks back over at Anastasia as Mikov walks about his legs. He looks different than usual, with dark scales covering his face, neck, chest, and arms.

⋠Cian⋡ waves to Daedalus absently as he leaves and inspects his blade, nodding in satisfaction that the nicks from Zaluut’s scales are all gone now. He sheathes the weapon and looks up to Anastasia. “You missed me sparring with Deveraux, and then Zaluut. And then Zaluut trying to fucking eat me.” He chuckles and sticks out his toungue. “I can still taste your tongoue by the

way.”

Anastasia openly admires the form Zaluut now wears, and as her eyes widen her lips pull back in a dangerous and hungry smile. Clearly, she finds him monstrous, powerful and magnificent. “Bishop,” she almost purrs dipping her head to him as a humble greeting

⋠Cian⋡ looks up at Zaluut. “So…can I have Mikov’s ear to replace mine?” He rubs the spot where his ear was removed, healed but not yet regrown.

<Zaluut> shakes his head a bit at Cian, “I wasn’t trying or I would have. You rushed a Tzimisce, there is a reason most people avoid letting us touch them. Vicissitude, that power that changes my shape, can be used on others… by touch… and it can’t be removed except by another with that power.”, he smirks a little. “No, you cannot. You tossed the ear for him

<Zaluut> shakes his head a bit at Cian, “I wasn’t trying or I would have. You rushed a Tzimisce, there is a reason most people avoid letting us touch them. Vicissitude, that power that changes my shape, can be used on others… by touch… and it can’t be removed except by another with that power.”, he smirks a little. “No, you cannot. You tossed the ear for him

<Zaluut> to get, hoping to use it, you deal with the consequences of that.”, he then turns to Anastasia and looks down at himself, his clothing shredded from the earlier fight. “Perhaps a change of clothing is in order.”

«~Daedalus~» He’d give a wave before heading off completely, soon disappearing into the foilage of the forest.

Anastasia chuckles as Cian makes so public his ‘loss’ to a ghoul. She leans in a little as Zaluut shares about his clan’s discipline and Cian’s faults. “Depending only on what the rest of the evening hold, Zaluut. You pull off the Gladiator chic quite well,” she says playfully making his shredded attire a fashion statement.

⋠Cian⋡ “Pffbt. Fine. Little scavenger will get what is coming to him. Next time you cut a piece of me off I’m poisoning it before he eats it. Don’t ask how…I’ll figure it out.” He shakes his head but a grin is plastered on his face. “Definitely need to learn that Vicissitude thing at some point. Noted about not rushing Tzimisce, though in fairness it did surprise you. I

just wasn’t fast enough to get out of reach.” He scratches the wound a bit and looks at Anastasia. “You should have come and watched. I did a lot better today. I usually lose more than an ear.”

<Mikov> rattles his quills and then gets the door, holding it open for the vampires. He grins at Cian with his needle teeth.

<Zaluut> smiles at Anastasia and then looks back at Cian before heading inside. As he does, the scales fade, folding into his pale skin. “You flatter me, we were enjoying a bit of sword practice is all. Always good to keep skills honed so they do not lose their edge.”

Anastasia blinks as if dazzled by Zaluut’s smile then follows him back into the house. “Perish the thought,” She chides lightly when spoken of as a flatterer. “Definitely, given the situation we are now in. We will need to be sharp and ready,” she says resolutely then smiles at Cian and adds, “good, then you are more likely to enjoy the sight of many more moon rises.”

<Zaluut> walks into the study and writes out a message before putting it in an envelope and sealing that with a mixture of wax and a drop of his own vitae. He then offers it to Anastasia and Cian. “I would like for you to take this to the Communal Haven for me, deliver it to Antol or to Atanya only. I am going to make some more preparations here and see you

<Zaluut> tomorrow evening perhaps as I am sure they will wish to issue a response.”

⋠Cian⋡ gives Anastasia a somewhat dopey smile and follows along, honestly not sure if he had just been insulted but figuring a backhanded compliment did at least mean there was something there to compliment. He looks at the letter that Zaluut hands them and nods his head resolutely. “Got it.”

Anastasia follows Zaluut into his study, perhaps a tad puppyish in her attentiveness and nods, accepting the folded message saying, “of course, Zaluut, thy will be done.” She nods when he speaks of when they might see each other again, then turns and nods at Cian as she makes a beeline to her car. “I’ve yet to meet Antol and Atanya, do you know them?” She asks as she makes the car’s engine come alive and takes

them down the dirt path to the main road.

⋠Cian⋡ nods, giving Anastasia a curious look before replying. “Yeah I know them both. They should be easy to find. Antol is the only other blue motherfucker I’ve met and Atanya is…well…a voodoo lady. So yeah.”

Anastasia listens, though her attention is focused on the roads. She doesn’t want to stumble into an ambush or a speed trap and have to deal with an uppity kine. “Given the choice, let’s stop in on the Voodoo lady. Not that you smurfs aren’t cool, but I haven’t yet met the real local color,” she says in a light and playful tone.

⋠Cian⋡ nods his head and smiles. “Yeah that works. Neither of them is usually hard to find, Antol almost never leaves th library and Atanya is usually in the little side house thing where that pack stays.”

Anastasia nods and as they enter the city limits she looks to Cian for directions. “So, really, they’re neighbors,” she says as she works to memorize the way to the communal haven.

⋠Cian⋡ shrugs, “I mean…I guess technically everyone at the Asylum is neighbors? Look, no worries I’ll find them one way or another. If they aren’t in their usual spots I’ll just cheat.” He grins and fiddles with the radio a bit.

Anastasia nods then smirks as Cian plays with the radio in her car. He’d note it’s an older Mercedes with no modernization. Just elegant aged wood and leather with bright chrome accents. “That where I pull in?” She asks pointing to something that’s either an alley or a driveway.

⋠Cian⋡ looks up and nods, then gives her a sly grin. “Yeah that’s it. Good thing you found it because I honestly had no idea how the fuck to get here.” He laughs and directs her to where the rest of the cars are parked. “Ok follow me. Atanya shouldn’t be far from here.”

Anastasia laughs and then punches at Cian’s shoulder, maybe playfully, maybe not as he owns up to his deceit. “Good to know I’ve a good nuthut homing system,” she muses wryly then parks and locks her car. She pats the hood of the black Benz, silently saying good night to it as she waits to follow Cian, then stops and asks, “are you SURE you know 5he way THIS time?”

⋠Cian⋡ sticks his tongue out at Anastasia. “Yes I know the way now. I’ve lived here for a few months with nothing to do but read and explore. I just don’t really know how the fuck to GET here from other places because I have only ever left like…four times now and I had to hunker down and hid for most of those. And when they brought me here the first time I was fucking

dead.” He laughs, leading her towards a side building. “Atanya will most likely be inside. Like I said, she’s a fucking voodoo lady. She helps me with the whole ghost thing.”

Anastasia snakes out a hand, working to catch Cian’s tongue between her thumbnail and that of her index finger when she spies him sticking it out at her. She’d hold it for a second if successful, then let go so he could answer her, nodding as he spoke. “Ghost thing. Big Patrick Swayze fan, are you? I would seek help for that!” She teases wryly.

⋠Cian⋡ slobbers all over Anastasia’s hand when she catches his tongue. “Oh ha ha very funny, this coming from Beetleguese’s girlfriend.” He rolls his eyes at her and laughs, then knocks on the door of the Angels’ haven.

⋠Cian⋡ delivers the letter and introduces Anastasia, rolling his eyes at Atanya when she calls him ‘stupid boi’ and getting smacked upside the head for it. They take the reply and borrow one of Sascha’s books for Anastasia, after which Atanya promptly shoos them away. “Well…that was easy enough. Baton Rouge?” He rubs the nub of his partially regrown ear. “That’ll be fun

to cover up. Little fucking scavenger.”

Anastasia laughs and takes the new appellation as a compliment. “Winona Rider was one of my first girl crushes,” she admits in a low, purr then enters with Cian and smiles as she’s introduced to the voodoo queen. She thanks her for the book and looks at Cian like he earned what he got, then exits. “Hmm, you could go all Jack Sparrow… do rag and a jaunty hat,” she offers, nodding at talk of hitting the town.

⋠Cian⋡ nods slowly, considering her suggestion. “That works. But only if we find a proper hat. No hat, no Jack Sparrow. Just would not fucking work.”

φCadeφ gets into the car and fiddles with the radio again until he finds a station playing some metal. “Let’s blow the top off this fucking town!” He cackles maniacally as they speed off towards Baton Rouge.