Blood Is Thicker Than Water

Investigating the Vignes (Part II)

Wherefore Art Thou Ventrue?

AUGUST 25TH, 2010 – 9:12PM

   The gang pulled up to the gate of David Geduld’s home in Palos Verdes Estates. Epiphany reached out to the call-box and pushed the button. After a moment, a voice came across the intercom asking how they could help. She gave the voice her name and informed it that David was expecting them. She was answered with a quiet buzz and the gate swung slowly open. They pulled into the posh estate and gazed upon the well manicured lawn, dotted here and there with topiary and statuary. The house itself had a typical California beach front look, but somehow gave the impression of being more upscale than its primitive cousins to the north along the shorelines of the Redondo, Hermosa, and Manhattan beaches. Epiphany climbed off her motorcycle, placing her helmet on the handle bars, while the others exited the VW.

  Together they ascended the stone steps to the front door. As Epiphany raised her fist to knock on the door it opened slowly to reveal a stunning woman in a pinstripe business suit. Custom tailored, it fit ever curve of her body perfectly, but paled in comparison to the powder white complexion of her skin. Her face was framed with soft, dark curls the color of her suit, resting lightly upon her shoulders. Lips colored deep burgandy and eyes showing shades of a stormy sky. Her eyes darted among the visitors and then turned on Epiphany. ''I believe he was only expecting you. Who are the rest?''

   ''My Baron decided she would attend and figured it would be a good opportunity to make introductions with her new gang.''

   The woman put her hand to her ear and leaned her head behind the door, whispering into a security mic so the others would not hear. Wolfwood focused his senses and listened to the private conversation. ''She brought four others with her sir.''

   ''Who are they?''

   ''Apparently her new Baron and the rest of the gang.''

   ''Very well, show them to the study.''

   ''Yes sir.''

   Carefully she leaned back, opened the door fully, while swinging her arm inward and said, ''Please enter and follow me.'' Closing the door, she escorted them to a small study in the northern wing. It was very tastefully decorated with bookshelves lining most of the walls and an old fashioned writing desk facing out from the single blank wall. Solid wooden floors upon which was a single wingback chair and a sitting leather sofa. In one corner, two chairs were placed at a small table, which was just large enough for the chess set placed upon it. Epiphany strode straight over to one of the bookshelves, while Wolfwood kneeled and hunched over in a corner. Chaitan and Hi Ki chose to sit at the small table and began a game of chess. Meanwhile, Alex alternated between sitting in the wingback and standing. ''Mr. Geduld will be with you shortly.'' With that she turned and left the study. Alex never took take her eyes off of her.

   After a short period a gentleman entered the room. He wore custom-cut charcoal grey slacks with a white dress shirt worn casually with the top two buttons unfastened. He stood at just under six feet tall with short curly brown hair, deep Californian tan and a genuine smile beamed across his face. As he entered, Alex finally settled on being seated in the wingback chair. He looked over the assembled visitors, then nodded to Epiphany as he took a seat behind the desk. ''Welcome to my humble abode. What brings you here Epiphany?''

   ''I had some questions concerning the Vignes...'', she began as she was interrupted.

   ''Hello, I am Alex.''

   Still looking at Epiphany, ''And she is?''

   ''She is my new...''

   ''I am the Baron of Pasadena. Epiphany and the others are part of my new gang.''

   David turned to Alex, ''Should I address myself to you then?''

   ''Yes, that would be easier.''

   ''I see. Would you like to do introductions?''

   ''Oh, yes please. This is Charlatan.''

   Under his breath, ''Chaitan.''

   ''That’s what I said. Sitting with him is my right-hand shorty, Achoo.''

   ''It is Hi Ki Cho'', as she glared at Alex.

   ''That’s what I said.'' Then points at Epiphany, ''Of course you know my Miss Information.''

   Epiphany simply nodded in resignation.

   ''And in the corner brooding is Wolfwood. As you know there were Barons controlling my Barony before I came in.''

   ''Their Barony. It’s your Barony now.''

   ''It was always my Barony. They were just holding it for me.''

   ''I see.''

   ''We are here because Epiphany says that certain people are quite capable of helping certain others into and out of the city. And we would like to know if certain people made use of certain said services.''

   ''Are you trying to ask me if I assisted the Vignes with leaving the city?''

   ''Yes! Exactly.''

   At that moment the woman from the front door entered the study and offered David a goblet that was resting on an antique serving platter. Alex eyed her hungrily, ''I would like some too.'' The woman looked to David who turned to the group, ''Would anyone else care for some refreshment?''

   Chaitan and Hi Ki both agreed, while Wolfwood grumbled in the corner, annoyed at the slow progress and lack of action in his evening. David turned back toward the woman and asked, ''Vivian, please bring the requested refreshments for our guests.'' With that she left the room again, unaware of the intense gaze upon her by Alex.

   ''Now back to the business at hand, Alex. Where is the benefit to me for providing such information?''

   ''As a fellow Baron, I will play nice. You will have safe passage through my Barony for you and your gang.''

   ''Tempting as that may be, I see no need for for such a trip to the north at this time. I would expect at least a minor boon for such a service. I may not be your typical Ventrue that you encounter in the Camarilla cities, but old habits die hard.''

   Alex’s facial expression scrunched together in frustration, ''Very well. If you provide us useful information, that proves to be true, I will agree to a minor boon owed to you and no one else at some undetermined future date. But, if it proves to not be useful or untrue, then I will waste no time in showing my displeasure to yourself or your gang. Oh, and also you have to throw her in.'' She tilted head toward the entrance to the study. ''Agreed?''

   David raised an eyebrow and chuckled, ''Vivian? I am afraid she works for me, but I am not as draconian as my Camarilla brethren. What she does on her own time is her own business.''

   ''Fine. Throw in her number and we have a deal.''

   ''That seems fair to me.'' And with that he jotted down the number on a note pad and slid it to Alex.

   ''With that I believe our business here is concluded. Let’s head out people.'' Alex stood and nodded to the others who followed her as they took their leave. Together they pulled out and onto the road.

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