<Durmah> is sitting in the room she shares with Phillip, dressed in her casual lounging outfit of leggings and tunic style shirt. She’s arranging items on a small table she has near one of the walls – a vase with a white rose, a bottle of rum, and a cigar.

>|Altaryn|< returned to the estate after sunset, wearing a black haori with blue and grey shimmer that made it look mist-like as he moved. Under this he wore a black silk shirt with a large blue rose entwined with silver thorny vines. Quietly he slipped up to the Lost Boys’ common room and looked around. No one was there though, so he pulled out his phone and sent off a text.

Altaryn txts Durmah: You free to talk?

Durmah txts Altaryn: Sure just relaxing.

<Durmah> checks her phone when it beeps and will send off a reply, then straightens and heads to the door. She’s startled when she opens the door and Altaryn’s already in the public area, but after a blink she’ll just motion him on into her room with a graceful wave. “Come in. Phillip’s not here right now.”

>|Altaryn|< was just checking his phone as he heard the door open and looked up. He smiled softly and would approach with a small nod. “Sorry. Not ready for festivities yet,” he explained and accepted her invitation. “How were things after I left last night?”

<Durmah> laughs softly, “I’m not sure I’m up to watching someone else get Embraced, really. Getting stuck in the dirt was… harrowing.” And she’ll move to sit on the bed, pulling one of the pillows around to tuck under her chin and hug. “And I’m not sure I’m up to being around all of Montreal’s visiting elite.” Her nose wrinkles, “One at a time is twitch inducing enough, but three or

more…” She shudders.

>|Altaryn|< “Who is getting embraced,” he asked curiously as he moved closer. He would grab a nearby chair and slide it over so he could sit conversationally close. “As for the ranking visitors….they each seem more…animated than Zaluut or Micheal. Not sure why that Bishop Widow decided to take interest in me,” he said with a shrug as he took a seat. “Did they trouble you much or just they affect the mood of the room

beyond comfort levels?”

<Durmah> smiles, “Mostly, other than Beatrice – Santos’ date – they don’t talk to me at all. I just haven’t gotten over the knee-jerk terror of being in the presence of high ranked vampires of either measure. Rose probably took attention of you because you’re good looking and you have a presence of your own. As far as mortals are concerned, she runs the largest brothel in Montreal, but

she’s a high ranking Catharist in that she likes trapping people in their vices. Or that’s the rumor.” Her brows arch a bit as she goes back to the first question. “Keenan. There’s a local Palla grande custom where a mortal is chosen, and he’s granted a couple of wishes, then embraced. He’s a chef, too, though with no real business training, and had approached Gavin about getting investors

for a food truck he wanted to start.”

>|Altaryn|< frowned at the news. “And so they reveal themselves truer to reputation. I can not regret my embrace. My mortal life had ended. Time and time again I would choose to cheat death than surrender to the black nothingness.” Or worse…. Too many ghosts and zombies and who knows what else that he had no desire to become. He grew quiet for a moment, closing his eyes as he seemed to focus on his breathing. “And it sounds

like those who serve the Tower are dying by the sword across the continent.”

<Durmah> spreads one hand slightly, “I suppose it depends. If he manages to make it out of the grave, they really will grant those wishes. One will probably be something they can do for him whether he survives or not. But the funding of his truck? They’ll do that. And I’ve seen his portfolio – he’s decent but he doesn’t have any business plan or organization that a bank would be willing

to put money behind.” She’s silent for a moment at the latter statement though, and leans forwards to brush fingertips across his nearer knee, even though she knows he doesn’t really care for the contact, and she’ll retreat almost right away. “It sounds like it was pretty well known at the higher levels. And it makes more sense why Santos had me staying at his place earlier in the week since

it meant that his troops would have been deployed elsewhere. I am sorry that it means people you know are dying or hurt, but I am not sorry you are here. I imagine, too, that it’s part of the reason they had you focus on the setites… you had indicated you weren’t comfortable fighting against the tower, so they put you and your pack on a different task.”

>|Altaryn|< reached for Durmah’s hand just as she tried to pull away. If he managed in time, he’d just place his hand over hers on his knee. “It was one thing to be angry at my sire, and feel like to be free of him I need to kill him. But to hear he is likely dead or soon to be, or fleeing across the ocean…. The entire world I knew is burning to ash. It means I’m not here by choice, but necessity. And I wonder how well I truly

belong.” He smiled softly though and looked up at her. “But you Durmah. You seem to be blossoming . I’m happy for you.” In a way….He still missed what had been taken from him.

<Durmah> is -surprised- but doesn’t pull away. She’ll scoot closer on the bed to make the reach more comfortable. And with an uncertain glace to his expression, she’ll lean forwards to rest her forhead against his shoulder… ready to move if he so much as twitches that he’d want to be somewhere else. “…. He’ll… probably blame you. I doubt he’ll ever believe you didn’t give details

about his security to the Sword. And I don’t know him well but I don’t imagine he’ll be in a mood to listen to explinations.” A small huff of a laugh then, “How you belong? You belong better than I do, Altaryn. I have a pretty bloodline, but right now I feel all ajumble and illfitting. Thank you for the compliment last night. It gave me some confidence that I quite needed.”

>|Altaryn|< did shift as Durmah placed her head on him, but only so that he could stand up and sit beside her on the bed. To make it clear his intent, he slipped his arm around her waist and invited her to lean against him again with gentle pressure. “It was nothing untrue,” he insisted. “It might feel strange now, but at least you have known of this world longer than I’ve been alive. You are better connected than I am, among

the sword.” He let out a soft sigh and if she had leaned against him, he’d lean his head against hers now. “If my sire still lives, he will no doubt send word to the assassins to finish the job. It was a fool’s dream to think together sword and tower could be stronger. There is nothing but death and conquest.”

<Durmah> is again surprised, but not going to argue, and she’ll lean into him almost eagerly. She’ll wrap an arm around him as well and tucks herself into his side. When he leans back she’ll let out a soft breath and nearly melt against him, relaxing as if everything was suddenly okay with the world. At least this moment. It takes a moment before she can swallow and mentally rewind enough

to get his words. “Swords and sheaths aren’t always forged at the same time. The same artisian might not even work on both, but they’re compliments and work together. You have the opportunity to build connections here, in many ways more easily than in the Tower. As for that dream…” she rubs her cheek against him, “Most of the sabbat here remember before the divide of Sabbat and Camarilla.

They remember before the code of Milan. It may not be something you can achieve now, but it could yet still happen in the future. But as a vampire you measure in decades or more, not months or years.”

>|Altaryn|< “In decades, there will be those who remember these nights.” He frowned but didn’t move so that she would see it. “Sascha wants me to go to Montreal to learn how to face the demon. But from what Widow said last night, from what I am seeing, the demon is already among us, and it is all about making friends. I have to be careful who I admit such too, but I feel lost. The line of what I want, what the beast inside

wants, and what my sire wanted is blurred beyond recognition.”

<Durmah> considers this a moment, “Montreal can be… overwhelming and frightening, but it’s also a place meant to help others find their paths and learn about the histories of vampires that are older than a few hundred years. Everyone who stays there is very strong on their respective paths. They have to be or the demon can influence them, and not all of the paths are pretty. My first

masters, for example.” She clears her throat to push away the momentary thought of horror, “I would not want to be in the sacred halls of their paths.”

>|Altaryn|< “How can you be certain the demon does not influence the leaders of the path who reside there, guiding the rest astray? I’m not sure how to tell the difference any more. The only advice is to blindly trust those I know nothing about. And yet such is the very thing my sire warned me against.” Durmah would feel his shoulders slump. “Everything about the sabbat is a contradiction. Freedom in submission. Trust in false

feelings. Believe and do as you want, so long as it’s what those above you decide….”

<Durmah> tilts her head and straightens gingerly to turn towards him. She might even straddle one of his legs if she needs to to look at him directly, gaze serious and thoughtful. unless he moves or stops her, she’ll reach up to comb fingers through his hair in petting strokes, “I’m not sure. Except to say that aside from an actual person on a crucifix in one place, and mind you I don’t

know if he was doing some form of pennance or was a kine found guilty of some crime they decided not to tolerate, there were not things I would generally associate with Demon taint. When someone tried to push me past my comfort zones, one of Bishop Widow’s pack mates stopped the man and took him aside for instruction. When I was frightened, Father Marc – a very creepy man by the way – was

careful not to crowd me, and sent for Sascha so I would have someone I knew present. In many ways, they were very… considerate.” She’ll lean forwards to press her forehead to his breifly, then give him a small, wary smile, “Contraditions, perhaps, but also perhaps because you are used to how the Tower views things, and the change in perception is jarring. Truthful in a way… but jarring.

You can do as you want, but if it causes too many problems, you -would- be called to heel by a higher ranked sabbat.”

>|Altaryn|< didn’t seem to mind her touch nor her closeness. He listened to all she had to say and nodded quietly. “To survive, it is best if I keep my head down. Do not over reach, and just try to learn. As you said, I should focus on ten years from now, not tomorrow. Still….I’d rather put an end to the Setites this week then attend more parties to hear about the slaughter of everyone I knew….”

<Durmah> chuckles, “I think we just had to show up to one night. Double check with Kitt, but I think if you want you can skip most of the other festivities until the ending night.”

>|Altaryn|< “What is so special about the ending night, anyway?” Kitt had mentioned something of that as well. “I suppose I should at least come back to meet Gavin. He was the Toreador with the great singing voice you were telling me about? What was his deal about last night anyway? Sascha seemed quite protective of him. Was there a need for her to be?”

<Durmah> hums a bit, amused, “Yes, he sings and plays guitar, and writes poetry and does art. It’s sort of disgustingly super Torreador. And he…well, my understanding is he painted a mural of the arch bishop of Montreal. She -apparently- asked for it, literally, but the subject matter turned out to be salacious and embued with a certain amount of her own actual emotional energy and she

sort of wants him dead. Father Marc asked Sascha to bring him down here so she wouldn’t decide to do something horibly painful. He’s manning some of the drug trade in baton Rouge and the Dracula’s Daughter and Golgotha bars. He’s an okay fellow.” Since he hasn’t stopped her, she’ll continue with the small touches, savoring the moment and trying to get her fill before he decides he doesn’t want

to put up with her touching again.

>|Altaryn|< “That’s possible,” he asked surprised. Obviously it was, and so the question was more rhetorical. “I have a lot to learn about being Toreador… But who to ask? How long before they kill Tansy? How can I even face her knowing what they have planned?” He made a derisive chuckle at himself. “Well at least you have your baking, decorations, and party skills. I always expected you would be turned off by food and

drink as I was after embrace. It’s for the best, you had another embrace you. Did you ask to be Toreador?”

<Durmah> tilts her head, alarmed, because she liked Tansy, too. “That hadn’t occurred to me, but it is something I can ask Santos about. And no, I didn’t. I did ask Santos to go ahead with them Embrace. I suppose he could have even found a Lasombra who wasn’t related to do it, but he chose to keep me Toreador.”

>|Altaryn|< “Keep you Toreador,” he asked with an emphasis on keep. “I didn’t realize revenant families were tied to the clans. Or at least, I didn’t realize there were any tied to my clan.” He considered that thoughtfully. Another detail obscured between Tower and Sword he assumed. “You know…I’m not even sure I can embrace someone. I haven’t successful ghouled anyone either. I seem to lack the artistic talent of the

clan, but I didn’t exactly have it to begin with. Do you think the bloodlines of the Tower are naturally weaker than those of the Sword?”

<Durmah> chuckles to him, “No, no, I meant that you are Toreador, so I’d be- ” She pauses, closing her eyes with a shudder as she fights off the momentary horror. Her weight shifts to sit beside him on the bed again, squinting and shaking her head a little to try and clear the vision faster. If he lets her, she’ll lean into him again, her voice sounding strained, “You can. Emily misses

your touch. You just … keep choosing stronger than normal people to try.

<Storyteller> There is a haunting voice that grips deep into your souls like the call of a siren off in the distance singing softly as if only to you.

>|Altaryn|< watched her with concern when she pulled away. The moment she leaned back in though, he wrapped his arm around her and rubbed gently trying to relay everything was okay. “You make it sound like they planned for us to be together still,” he remarked though it was clear he didn’t share such sentiment. “And Emily is addicted to the kiss, thanks to the setites who held her against her will. That is not the same thing.

That she trusts me over other cainites was through me proving myself to her. In fact…” His voice trailed off as he filtered through his memories. “I’m not sure I’ve managed much with Auspex…” he started until the voice called to him. “Just a moment,” he said distractedly as he gave Durmah’s arm a light pat and extracted himself and started for the door as if entranced.

<Durmah> shudders at the sound and slides off of the bed to follow him cautiously.

>|Altaryn|< follows the voice to the Great Room where the Palla Grande was in full swing.

<Durmah> considers the room beyond… and whatever is going on below, but will softly close the door with a small shudder, staying curled up in her room.