Disclaimer: Don't own Gundam Wing or anything WOD related. Most of the OCs are my own creation or the creation of friends.
You know sometimes my life sucks. I mean, think about this. I go around killing things that shouldn't exist, raising the dead and being an around nice guy until someone pisses me off. Then it's level a gun at the poor schmucks face with a big ole shit eating grin and hope they get the hint.
Of course there are the nights when the poor bastard on the other end of the gun doesn't get the hint and then I get to see how many points the blood splatter on the wall is worth. It's double points if I manage to make it looks like some sort of animal shape.
That's my life on a day-to-day basis. Someone once asked me 'What's my home life like?' I answered by pointing to my car and responding. 'Like that.' Needless to say, they never asked that question again.
So that leads me to my newest destination. I was on my way to a place I've never heard of before, located somewhere in the Midwest of the United States. This isolated little city was called Twilight. I thought it was a weird name for a small city. My employer disagrees. He said it described the place perfectly.
Which brings me to another odd topic to rant on during this little internal monologue. My employer was/is some guy name Treize Kushrenada of clan Ventrue. The aristocratic bastard tried to hide from me that he was a couple hundred-year-old vampire. I set him straight on that one real quick.
No fang-face was gonna try and trick me when I can tell them exactly what they are, what clan they are and how old they are by a mere taste of their aura. I do my job and just wanted to be left alone. After a bit he accepted that and then hired me to help settle in a city of his.
What do I look like, a baby sitter? Apparently so, of course, there's a nice sum of money in it for me, if I live through the next year.
Yeah, that's me, Duo Maxwell, gun for hire, only living necromancer, and now baby sitter.
Twilight City. A quiet little town where all the houses look nearly the same with a business district and a lakeside view.
Luckily, this little slice of suburbia heaven had cheap hotels just outside of town. Sure there were bigger, nicer places to check into, but cheaper is better for a long haul. Maybe I'll find a small apartment in a week or so.
As for right now, its check out the city time.
Various storefronts lined the quaint little business district of the City. There is every kind of store from clothing stores to a porn shop. No back alley dealings here.
There was a small little coffee shop on the main stretch called Dawn's Daybreak Cafe. I should know, I'm sitting there right now drinking something called an 'Irish Crème Brownie Delight'. I think it's some sort of hot chocolate mix, not quite sure. All I know is its taking care of my needed chocolate fix.
I sat there, watching people pass by acting out their daily lives. What can I say, people watching is a hobby of mine. I gave up trying to live a normal life years ago. Besides, sometimes, the simplest observations can save your life.
A young, casually dressed woman with long light brown hair slid into the seat next to me. Her brown eyes peered out at me from behind her glasses before she glanced around. Like a switch being flipped, this woman went from looking like an apprehensive girl approaching a cute guy to a straight backed, no nonsense woman.
She gave me a critical once over before she placed an envelope sealed with the Ventrue clan crest of a royal scepter at my fingertips.
"My master thought it prudent for you to show up to Elysium tonight and meet the kindred of the city. Please arrive on time; Mr. Treize has given me the privilege of presenting you to the prince, privately of course." Her eyes remained trained on me as I quickly opened the letter and read it.
If I didn't think Treize was a couple hundred years old before, I do now. Who the hell else would use parchment still? And if I'm not mistaken, this letter was written with a quill and ink. So seventeenth century.
I grumbled softly as I blew a portion of my long bangs out of my face. "Yeah, I'll be there, right at sunset." I shook my head and pocketed the letter. "Not like it would matter if I'm late, kindred don't usually start showing up till around 10:30, 11-ish."
She gave me a calculating look. I knew I had her wondering how I knew that. Just wait for it…
"And how would you know that Mr. Maxwell?"
Go curiosity. "I just do." I gave her a rendition of my best 'trust me' smile.
She gave me a sour look and decided to get up. "Regardless, I will be waiting for you at sundown Mr. Maxwell. Good Day." Again, it was like a switch flipped and she was this shy, quiet little girl making her way out of the Café.
So it looks like I get to sit in a room with a bunch of undead blood drinkers tonight. That's sooner then I would have liked. Why can't people move at my pace for once and let me deal with them when I want to?
Sunset. Well, I have to admit; they chose an interesting place for Elysium. It was a two-story nightclub that seems to be on permante renovations. The name of the joint, from what I could make out on the half finished sign, was Marie's Double. Wonder what the Double stands for.
The back alley seemed less appealing in the dying light than it did in broad daylight. Unfortunately, I was supposed to meet Treize's pet by the loading dock entrance.
"You're late Mr. Maxwell."
I looked up, my head tilted to the side with a grin plastered on my face. "Not by much. Just five minutes. What can I say, traffic was murder."
She gave me a stern look. The woman wasn't dressed casually like before. She seemed to be wearing some sort of military uniform with her hair in braided pigtails that were tied into matching buns on each side of her head. I couldn't place the military uniform, but it seemed old to me. She tapped her foot as one hand rested on her hip, the other hanging loosely at her side. She meant business.
I gave her a charming smile as I pushed up my sunglasses and made my way up the steps to the loading dock. "Since we've established that you know my name, how about you give me yours. I can't go around calling you Treize's henchwoman, now can I?"
The woman adjusted her glasses with the hand that had been at her side. "Lady Une."
"One huh? How original." I couldn't help it, the fact that she was named after a number amused me, all we needed were 3- 10 and we'd have a whole set.
"As if being named after two is any better."
I shrugged. Hey, at least she was observant.
"Touché. So now what?" I glanced around, my long braid dancing slightly behind me.
I sighed and leaned against the doorway. "Out here? Don't know if you noticed Lady, but it's cold out here. I wouldn't mind going inside."
The moment I finished that sentence, my prayers had been answered. The door next to me opened up and a woman with what I could only describe as dark purplish-black hair covering part of her face stepped out. She seemed more relaxed than the Lady and gave me a welcoming smile. I could tell right away she was a ghoul for someone powerful.
I amusingly noted she wore the same type of military uniform, only in black opposed to the Lady's red. Different ranks maybe? Who knew, I sure didn't.
"Welcome Lady Une, Treize already informed the Prince that you'd be bringing Mr. Maxwell here in for the night."
The Lady nodded as she glanced at me. Gee don't I feel loved. " I wouldn't expect anything less from his Excellency."
The new girl chuckled softly. "I suppose not." She then turned to me. "Welcome to The City of Twilight Mr. Maxwell, I'm Lucrenzia Noin." She gave me a friendly smile, so unlike Lady Une here. "Follow me and I'll bring you to meet the prince."
I couldn't help it, I had to chuckle. "Then by all means, lead the way." We followed her as the tune of 'We're off to see the wizard' played through my head, only replace wizard with fang-face and then you got it.
A few minutes later found me in one of what looked like three offices on the third level of the club. Looks like the two lower levels were a dance floor and bar complete with a DJ booth. Spiffy. All we needed now was some cheesy disco music and we could have a vampire disco. Fun for all undead ages!
The Lady stood a little off to my left at parade rest. That's interesting to note. Maybe that uniform isn't just 'cause her master likes the look. Wouldn't surprise me much.
Noin smiled at me as she stood by the large oak desk in the room. It looked to me like the chair was empty. So we're here, where's the prince? Don't tell me I was told to show up on time and then get stood up. So Unfair! I could be sleeping, or watching TV right now. Or here's an amusing thought, coming up with a survival plan for the rest of the year. Yeah, that sounds about right. Why do I get myself into these things?
I guess sometime during my internal musings, the door opened and in walked our host. It took me a moment for it to register on my Necro-senses. They tingle!
Before I could even get a look at the guy I could already tell that he was a Toreador, 9th Generation and just as old as Treize, a few hundred years give or take. I didn't care to pin point the exact number of years. I normally don't unless someone screams 'Look at me! I'm fucking old!'
Thankfully, that never happens. Well, shit, can't say never. It happened once and I'll be happy to never meet that woman again. Crazy Tzimisce.
"Welcome to the city of Twilight Mr. Maxwell."
I had to do a double take. Yep, he was definitely Toreador material. The guy was a blonde haired, blue eyed, drool worthy, pretty boy.
Now I'm not saying all Toreadors are walking wet dreams, some are just average. This clan prides itself on beauty. Most of the time art, but hey, I've heard of a few exception. Guess it depends on what someone considers art.
I smiled at the blonde haired bishounen sitting behind the desk. "Thanks. I guess it's a no brainier that you're the prince. So care to give me a name to go along with that Toreador pretty face?" Okay, so I flirted a little. I figure life's to short not to.
Blondie gave me an impassive look as he did one of those hand fold number. You know the one where you entwine your fingers together and rest you chin on it while you're propped up on your elbows. Yeah, that number. I noticed that there was a sliver of curiosity in his eyes. Looks like my Toreador comment has him wondering. What? Hasn't he heard of what I can do before? Don't tell me that very one knows my name but not my reputation! Now that just plain sucks ass. Looks like I get to educate people. So, here we go again… wait for it…
"How did you know I was a Toreador Mr. Maxwell?"
Bingo! I'm 2 for 2 already and I haven't even been here 24 hours yet. That's a new record for me.
I answered with a shrug. "It's what I do. So how about that name?" I gave him one of my charming smiles. This one was supposed to convey 'I'm a nice guy and harmless, don't mind me.' Not sure if it did or not though.
Blondie arched one of those delicate blonde eyebrows of his and finally answered my question. "Milliardo Peacecraft."
I nodded my head, still smiling mind you. "Okay then. Hello Milliardo. You already know I was sent by good ole Treize Kushrenada. Now mind filling me in a little? He didn't tell me much other than he required my services and that there was a nice little sum of money if I survive the year."
The Lady seemed to straighten up even more than she already was at the mention of her master's name. Looks to me like she's tightly bound to him and it shows itself with her undying loyalty and devotion. Gag me with a spoon.
Blondie leaned back in his chair and seemed thoughtful for a moment before muttering. "Typical Treize." He shook his head and a ghost of a smile chased its way across his lips. "Well Mr. Maxwell. As you may or may not have heard, this is a recently opened city. As such, it's slightly contested. We have both Camarilla and Sabbat representatives here, along with Independent. So far we have been at peace." He paused there. "I don't think that will last long. Already the three sects have staked their claim. A neutral zone of sorts has been set up. That happens to be this club as it is the over lapping point of all three territories." Another pauses as he leaned forward. "All three leaders have agreed to a truce, with a condition. That condition, Mr. Maxwell, is you."
I couldn't help it. I felt the look of disbelief cross my face. "Me! Why me?" Okay, so I was wrong, my reputation did proceed me, a little to well apparently.
Blondie had the nerve to grin at me as he gave me his reasoning. "Quiet Frankly, we want an outside party to keep everyone in check. We wanted someone who doesn't have affiliations with any side of this contested territory. So we tried to consider all possible candidates that could garner kindred's attention and possible fear. The conclusion was you, Mr. Maxwell."
I guess I looked slightly dazed because Noin decided to lean over and wave a hand in front of my face. "I think you broke him sir."
I shook my head. Okay, I see two possibilities of where this could be going. I'm either the over all prince or whatever of this city, or the make me the boogieman that everyone fears, the scourge.
"So that means what to me?"
"It means Mr. Maxwell, that we want you here. You will be what keep's everyone neutral in Elysium. We want you to be Keeper."
Okay, didn't see that coming. I seriously though scourge. Damn, I'm usually right about these things. Guess there's a first time for everything.
"So let me get this straight, you want me to be a supernatural baby sitter?"
"That's one way of looking at it. However, You will have to deal with all three leaders and their chains of command. I am the head of the camarilla in this city with Treize as my seneschal. Even though I am the prince, there is one above me. She is here merely to observe and to provide fire power if we need it."
I frowned, one above the prince? I didn't like where this was going. I sent out a wave of my power to get a feel for the kindred here. They must of felt something because Blondie straightened up a little. What my magic told me made me curse softly.
Blondie and his ghoulette exchanged looks. I think that they're worried.
A few hours later found me at a table near the dance floor. After the little meeting, Une escorted me to the main part of the club. The dance floor was littered with tables and chairs. The bar was open for those able to drink. Hell, what am I kidding, they had a tap going for vamps. I guess one of them had access to a blood bank or something.
As for myself, my mood wasn't improving, my little stunt earlier let me know exactly what was in this city and it didn't make me happy. There were at least two vamps that I knew from previous jobs. One was a boogieman for the Cam and the other was a man that was a whispered myth.
Well, okay so not a myth. I've met him. He's just really, really, REALLY creepy.
A small trickle of vamps and ghouls filtered in. I was amused to note the variety. Two Brujah's were stopped at the door and subjected to a full pat down. I was amazed to see what they got off of those two.
The one with green eyes and Brown hair styled to cover half of his face was packing multiple handguns, two shot guns under his trench coat, a large array of throwing knives, a few daggers, what looked to be a small aerosol can and a lighter, and finally an ice pick.
His partner was a lot simpler. This smaller, Chinese guy had on him a katana and a series of throwing knives. That's it. The other guy was over kill compared to this one.
Not far from me sat the two Sabbat leaders. Both blondes. Gee, I see a theme here. The shorter of the two blonds was male with these innocent aquamarine eyes. Don't let that fool you though, the vibes I got off of him screamed Lasombra and powerful, a 10th generation and a survivor.
His companion was female, long blond hair similar to Milliardo's. But this chic had the weirdest eyebrows I've ever scene. Yeah, Treize's was forked, but these were antenna. And just like her partner, she wasn't a laughing matter. She screamed Tzimisce. Just what I needed, another one of those flesh crafters to deal with.
My attention was drawn away from the two pack leaders and to another new arrival. Another Lasombra. Only this one had a Gangrel Body guard. And what a cutie he was. Messy chocolate brown hair, dark Prussian blue eyes, a little taller than me I think, and damn did he look good in the those tight jeans and fishnet shirt. The boy was even wearing a collar. I couldn't help it. I had to send a small wave of power their way.
Well, I was right, the woman was a Lasombra, a 9th generation. I'd say she was somewhere around 3 hundred years old. But what struck me as odd was that the beastie boy wasn't blood bound to her. He was there of his own free will. Huh, I would have guessed blood bonded. Guess I can't always be right.
Ms. Lasombra and Mr. Gangrel headed off into a corner far away from the Sabbat duo. I'm guessing she's the independent leader in this city. Or at least, the one that represents them. Who knows how they have things organized.
Next to catch my attention were a pair of girls that walked in. One couldn't have been older than 18 when she was turned. The girl had these crystal blue eyes and this honey blonde hair that went down to her mid back. Her companion was slightly taller and had this odd dark purplish hair, similar to Noin's. Only. She looked younger, more playful I guess you could say.
The blonde wore a pair of faded, torn jeans and a long sleeve shirt that hid her hands. Around her upper arms and torso were belts. The shirt looked like a straightjacket. I wouldn't surprise me if it were at one point.
The purple haired girl wore a simple t-shirt and jeans.
They tasted of insanity. Both were Malkavian, one more insane than the other.
Seems like this city has all the loonies crawling outta the woodwork.
A few others filtered in, including another Toreador and another Ventrue.
A woman came down from upstairs. She was definitely looked like a Toreador. I'd wager that she was the proprietor of this joint. She walked like she owned this place. Of course, the business suit and the twin ghouls following her around was also a huge tip off. I'm guessing that 'Marie's Double' was named after them.
A few more kindred filtered through, no one of main importance as far as I could see, just a flamboyant gothic Toreador and her rocker ghoul.
I was getting bored. Even Treize showed up after a bit and stayed by his prince's side with both of their ghouls not far behind them.
"Hello Mr. Maxwell. Do you mind if I sit by you?"
I nearly jumped out of my seat as I looked up at who was talking. It was that Toreador looking chick that owns the place. My necro-senses were telling me that something didn't feel right about her.
She sat down across from me and smiled as her ghoulettes sat down on either side of her. One of them moved in close and rested her head against the woman's shoulder. Talk about friendly. The other one just watched me. I'm guessing she the battle monkey of the two.
"So what can I do for ya?" I asked as I watched them. I couldn't place why she didn't feel right. It was like she someone completely different from what was sitting in front of me.
She just continued to smile as she glanced over my shoulder. Without me noticing, she had put her arm around the ghoulette leaning against her. I blinked. She could move fast.
"I just wanted to welcome you to Marie's Double. Named for the two beauties beside me. This is Mar…" the silent one beside her gave me a brief smile. "… And this is Ree." The ghoulette leaning against her shoulder gave me a coy smile from her position. "I hope you enjoy our bar and perhaps would like to visit my other business down on the main strip. It's called the Crimson Rose."
She owned the sex shop? I don't know any Toreador that openly own a sex shop. Then again, She didn't feel that old, maybe 10 years at the most. I couldn't help it; I sent a tendril of my power towards her.
She must have felt it cause she reeled back, the chair making a screeching noise as she quickly got up. Ree looked startled and Mar had a gun leveled at my head.
Weren't they supposed to take weapons away from everyone? I glanced at Mar and realized that the gun wasn't even loaded. Nice bluff.
"What the hell was that?"
I turned my attention back to the kindred in front of me. "Perhaps you should tell me your name."
She gave me an apprehensive look "Molly Beckett."
I opened my mouth to say something when my power quickly withdrew and hid like a cowering dog. Ya know that's a very awkward feeling? I couldn't help but turn around and find out what made my power, the thing that kindred fear, turn tail and run.
And there stood my answer in all their undead glory.
"Hello Duo Maxwell, we haven't seen you since, when was it? That little skirmish of ours in 1942." Her voice was just as I remembered, aloof and cold.
"If I remember correctly, we were the victors. It's nice to see that you've regained the use of your left arm." His voice was also how I remembered it, thick and accent less.
I gave them a faint, forced smile as I slowly got up and started to back away from them. "Yeah, how about that." I couldn't help it, I held out my left arm like a little kid showing off. "Got the full range of motion back and everything. Just needed to find another Tzimisce to fix it. Now that was a bitch."
The woman smiled at me. Needless to say, it didn't reach those cold blue eyes of hers. My eyes darted between the two of them, taking in their appearance compared to the last time I saw these two.
She was dressed in a dark wine red Victorian dress with all the petty coats and the gathering in the back. Her hair was free flowing and a mahogany brown, unlike the black it was the last time I saw her. Her skin was as pale as moonlight and had the perfect form to match. Hell, she had the means to keep that form or to change it if she wanted. Damn Tzimisce.
He was dressed in a black business suit with a dark red tie. Black short-cropped hair and a well-kept mustache. Brown eyes following every move ya make. This man radiated shadows. And he knew how to use them. Damn Lasombra.
She took a step forward. I took a step back. I knew I was already in her range, but sure as hell, I didn't want to make it any easier for her.
"What's the matter, Duo? Don't trust us to keep our hands to ourselves?" her voice may have sounded innocent, but trust me, what she said sure as hell wasn't.
This time it was her companion's turn to smile. What a scary thing that was. "Afraid we could end your life without you knowing?"
I shuddered at that though. He was right. Standing before me were two of the scariest kindred I've ever encountered. Well, to me anyway. I'm sure they scared other kindred as well. Maybe not as much as say, an antediluvian, or Cain, but still, they had their moments. Meet Victoria Winter, the only Cam Tzimisce with the backing of the big wigs of the Camarilla
And meet Johann, her associate. He's a Lasombra that can play all three sides and never get caught. A scary motherfucker that does things he shouldn't be able to do.