Logs:Stories in the Backroom

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Stories in the Backroom
Dramatis Personae

Claudia, Levi, Lucian, Desmond, Katherine, Marjorie, Morana, Nadya, Seraphine

05 Apr 2016


Werewolves telling stories

Location

The Crosscut


Main Bar - The Crosscut

"I'm not too picky about where I go eat." Only how much she eats, as the plate arrives with only a single egg on it. One egg and coffee? Breakfast of champions. She listens to the other options, "A gallery and a hike both sound good. One for soaking up creativity, the other for relaxing in the woods. Thanks." She lifts her coffee in a little toast toward Lucian, "It's usually not wise to talk to strangers, but you're a polite-enough one." She chuckles. Claudia and Lucian are sitting at the bar, discussing tourist-worthy places. Her voice is quiet, but given that there aren't many people in the establishment currently, her words might carry.

Lucian laughs softly, eyes glinting a little "Oh, I wouldn't say I'm exactly safe to talk to. But yes, I try to be polite at first. Lures them in" he winks playfully, taking another deep draught of his coffee. "Mmm... that's better. STarting to feel human again."

Jori steps through the door with Desmond, the woman's imperial posture making it immediately clear she's a little out of place here. She's dressed today in an impeccable and expensive sapphire blue dress that compliments her figure but is modestly age appropriate, got off at a few inches above the knee to show off golden tan legs in shoes that probably cost more than the staffs monthly salary here. She looks over her shoulder at Desmond with a twitch of a smile that doesn't threaten to wrinkle or crack that beautiful RBF. "So which would you like to attend to first?"

Desmond doesn't look uncomfortable on Jori's arm, though they do part once the older man has led the woman inside. He's dressed in matching business-casual fashion. A black oxford button down shirt, a green striped tie along with black slacks and black boots. Given that everything fits him rather well, it would seem he almost seems comfortable in it. As he slides his arm from Jori's though, the pull back on fabric at his forearms is shows tattoos along his skin. Which probably hints enough that this isn't his normal attire. "Food works for me. Here, the back, whatever." The Iminir looks over the interior of the bar as he answers her, giving a nod of greeting to the recognized face of the bartender at work.

"Hmm." A nod, "Best to stay in public places then. Uncle would not approve if I got into to trouble before he arrived. Terrible temper about it." Claudia touches a piece of her red hair, "Some say it's the hair, but it entirely runs through the family." She chuckles, seemingly at her hair jest. Her head turns as the door opens. Her jaw drops slightly seeing the woman in blue arrive. About to stare for a moment, she drops her gaze and reaches for her own coffee again.

Not arm in arm, but together, come two more arrivals. Seraphine is wearing a hooded jacket of black that holds close to her form, long enough to reach to her knees. It gives away only the black leather of her boots beyond it, and the gloves on her hands. One of which lifts up, pushing her hood back as she holds the door open, with a hip, for Morana. A smile is flashed to the woman, along with a hopeful, "For what it is, they do have a decent cup of tea most mornings." Dark eyes hold a brightness in the gold and amber flecks within.

Lucian chuckles ever so faintly "Well that -is- a pity. I almost..." he trails off, following Claudi's gaze and studying the elegant pair entering. Both are studied with eyebrows lifted, though if he's staring he's a little better at hiding it. "Huh..." he opines a little weekly. "Seems the day for out of place people in here..."

Claudia glances back at the door, taking notice of all the new arrivals. The redhead seems to like to know who is walking in when her back is to the door. Her free hand moves to comb through her hair, discreetly rubbing at the hairs raising at the back of her neck. Her posture shifts slightly showing she is more alert. Looking back to Lucian, her tone is a little distracted, "They must have been lured in by the smell of food, too?" As for whatever Lucian, almost? She shakes her head with a slight smile, thinking it an amusing joke.

Marjorie looks back over Desmond's shoulder and then back at the taller man with a twitch of smile. "Hmm. Well we've got company so that might change our plans some." Then she calls out, Sera Darling, and Morana what a pleasure to see you." For the shorter woman in the black jacket she pauses welcoming her with a sweep of an arm for a half-hug and a kiss to her cheek should she accept the greeting. Despite being out of place, the place knows her, so that's a bonus. "Morana have you met Mister Greene?" She wonders of the woman who had arrived with Sera.

"You never had Rain's danishes." Mo's evidently in a mood to be contrary, comparing beverages with breakfast food. There's at least a half-hearted smile to go with the remark, though it looks more sleepy than sincere. The lanky brunette's bundled up for the lingering chill, a wool-lined denim jacket worn over a grey sweatshirt which reads I'D RATHER BE SLEEPING in white letters which likely hides another layer or two of tees or tanks. Her old blue jeans show slightly less wear than her beat-up black boots. Even her ring-count is lower at this hour, the wolf too tired this morning to bother donning her usual assortment of jewelry. China blue eyes settle readily upon Marjorie, standing out as she does, a waggle of those barely-ringed fingers offered in lazy greeting. As Mr. Greene is mentioned, that attention drifts Desmond-ward. "I have not. I'm /told/--" Brief side-eye to Seraphine. "--that I need to get out more. Meet people. Hi."

Lucian nods faintly as his gaze flickers occasionally between Claudia and the new arrivals, eyes glinting faintly with amusement, but also sneaking glances at the glamorous couple as if to commit them to memory. "Lucian, by the way" he introduces himself to the redhead, giving another salute with his mug.

With a nod of greeting, Desmond apparently answers Marjorie by offering a hand to Morana. Should she take the handshake in greeting, his hand is rough but not completely callused. "Desmond," he responds to the new arrival. "And Seraphine keeps mentioning people I should speak with." The unfinished part, left to the air between them, would be that Morana is perhaps one of them. After the potential handshake his attention returns to Marjorie, while the older man runs fingers through his too-long hair to brush back the strands off his face. "Shall we sit here, or in the back?"

Marjorie smiles, "Why not out front, it's a lovely morning, breakfast is on me. Sera, lovely, would you order me tea an fruit salad?" She wonders of Sera as her phone rings, the insistent chime of Riders on the Storm playing from her pocket. Sera recognises Nic's ringtone. "Business, I'll be back. She smiles brightly, a hand brushing Desmond's shoulder and she's answering the phone and heading for the door already pulling out a cigarette. "So, how much this time?" Comes as she heads out the door.

"Woefully not. I love a good danish," Seraphine muses. Someone's in a good mood. Maybe it's the fact that she looks like she's gotten some sleep, for a change. Her hair, wild as it is currently, is brushed back from her face as Marjorie draws near. "Marjorie, what a fantastic surprise." The half-hug, cheek kiss, both returned. Her eyes crinkle, and she looks to Desmond with a warm smile. "And Desmond. It's always good to see you out and about." And off of that damned mountain in the snow. The side eye from Morana is met only with a grin. "It's good to meet people. Especially ones that aren't horrible. And are less greasy than Telly." Marjorie's request is met with a nod, and a glance to the others, to see about their requests. "Tell Nic I say hello," is chirped.

Claudia moves to stand. Too many people at her back, it seems. She takes her last bite of egg and leaves money on the bar. She looks to Lucian and offers her right hand, in response to learning his name, "Claudia Zabek." That watered down Polish accent kicks in a bit stronger when she says her surname. It fades again as she continues to speak, "It was good to meet you. Thank you for your suggestions. I'm certain to find entertainment. Meanwhile - I must tell her I adore her outfit." She chin-points toward Marjorie. Thus, she takes her coffee and heads toward Marjorie. However a small purse is left at the bar, indicating that she'll be returning to it. She follows Majorie for a few paces, and then stops. She's not going to stalk the woman outside. Cue a pretty model having an uncharacteristically awkward expression. "Um." She turns in place. Practically a twirl of confusion, as her free hand rubs the back of her neck again.

Lucian blinks a little as Claudia moves off to chase after Marjorie, a rather wry smile touching his lips. He watches the general gathering with bleary eyes, then pays for his coffee and slips outside.

Morana accepts the offered hand, the rings she wears carrying a enough of the cold with them to suggest they've only recently been set upon her fingers, not quite long enough to acclimate to her warmth. Her grip possesses just enough firmness to communicate confidence and counterbalance the laziness otherwise innate in her movement. She offers, "Mo," by way of introduction. The decision to stick up front receives no direct response, but she's already drifting toward a table large enough to fit the lot of them, leaving it up to the others who'll join. "Nothing wrong with greasy. Nothing wrong with Telly." Beat. "Well. Nothing that isn't /endearing/." She angles a grin back at Sera. "Coffee?" It's a request, not a question.

Seraphine seems quite pleased by the fact that Desmond and Morana are meeting, as if this were Something Important that Needed To Be Done. A breath let out, and then a quick flash of a smile. It extends towards Claudia, before she moves over to the bar to see to the ordering of things. "He's very endearing, of course," the woman offers, that thick New Orleans accent drizzling over her words. Definitely not from the seaboard, most certainly not Maine. "And I'm fond of him. But, well." A gesture to Desmond, over shoulder. "I'm fond of him, too. Even when Mars apparently stuffs him into a button-down." A crinkle of eyes comes with her smile, before she's talking to the man behind the bar.

Claudia turns to head back toward the bar, only to see the person she conversed with before leave. The mention of a business call, makes her look toward the voice speaking. When she looks to Desmond, she shakes her head, "I wanted to compliment her outfit. Beautiful, and evoked a happy memory. Father used to buy Mother's clothing. They both would have approved." Her accent points toward the west. Oregon. With a hint of watered down Polish. Her eyes look infinitely sorrowful when mentioning her parents, but her face and posture remain strong.

Since she already revealed why she'd follow a stranger, she walks her coffee to where Desmond is, "I'll tell her when she returns.." She practically keeps a hand at her neck, as if guarding the side from a vampire in a film. She keeps a distance though, from the good that's forming. She only smiles when she notices one from Seraphine, "Pardon my rudeness for interrupting your gathering. It looks like you were all planning an indoor.." Um "..picnic."

"Breakfast," Mo offers helpfully to Claudia. "Happens most days for most people all around the world." She doesn't look like she's one of those people, in part because she looks pretty thin under all those layers, but mostly because the way she's poured herself into her chair with so exquisite a slouch suggests that this is an hour during which she prefers to still be horizontal, eyes closed, dreaming. Looking back to Seraphine, she offers no commentary, simply studying the woman for a moment before that inspection is turned toward Desmond.

Having rolled up the full length of his sleeves to his elbows, Desmond returns his attention to the women discussing things. He holds quiet while each of them speak, only returning with a response after Claudia's apology. "I never took myself for the picnic-type, but I suppose." And with that offered, he looks from the youthful redhead to Seraphine and Morana. An explanation is given even if one isn't asked for. "I met Marjorie earlier at her office. I felt it would be inappropriate to show up in my usual attire." With his sleeves rolled up, the tattoos on his arms are fully visible now. A wolf and a bear locked in combat on one forearm as a center piece amidst a storm of lightning. Opposite it, a wolf's face with chains in the mouth, muzzling it. And in the crook of each elbow, a pair of egyptian-styled eyes mirrored with lightning where the irises would be.

Familiar face, and clearly one of the Crosscut's exclusive VIPs, it doesn't take Seraphine long before she's coming back towards the others, carrying a tray. Two teas, one coffee, a glass of water. Fruit salad. Scrambled eggs, pancakes, and bacon. She sets it all down with care, and the sort of motion that gives away that she did this for a living, once upon a time. And, since she didn't get to earlier, she leans down to place a quick kiss on the Iminir's cheek. The seat beside him is left empty, however, as she slides into the one next to the slouching Mo. "I'm Seraphine," is offered up towards Claudia, as she passes out drinks, food, the like.

Claudia nods toward Morana, "Breakfast." She repeats the word, "The smell of food is how I got here myself." She quietly says to Desmond, "Quiet picnic in the woods might bring a feeling a peace now and then." The movement of his sleeves being rolled up, catches her eye. No cards hidden up there. Check. No visible weapons. Check. Ink. She murmurs, "Very cool." There's a nod as a hand makes an indicating gesture toward the tattoo with the animals in a storm. She starts to bend at the waist slightly to lean toward Desmond for a closer look, when Seraphine introduces herself, "I'm Claudia. Zabek. Claudia Zabek." The watered down Polish accent strengthens to cuddle her surname, before fading again with her other words, "The coffee is good here. My first cup is already waking me up."

In a relatively short, for a phonecall with her son, period of time later Jori steps back inside pushing her hair over her shoulder before gliding her way back over towards the table where the others are. She smiles - in so much as the ice queens elegant features allow - at the group spotting they've a new addition and she inclines her head to Claudia, "Good morning." She finds an empty seat, apparently next to Desmond thanks to Seraphine to fluidly drape herself into the seat immediately crossing her legs. And there her tea and fruit salad and Sera's given a benevolent look that warms the Cavanaugh woman's demeanor slightly for a scant few seconds. "Nic sends his love and says he's sending you something bigger in a few days and he hopes you'll enjoy it." A mild roll of her eyes at the innuendo behind it.

A nod toward the bar comes with a quick movement, before Desmond's eyes settle on Claudia. Even as he speaks, he rotates his wrist to allow the small but striking redhead to look over his tattooed forearm. "I think your friend left. If you want to get your purse, I am sure you can join us." He looks to Seraphine as he speaks, with an emerging smile crossing his expression. "Marjorie did want us to stay out front anyway, right? I wouldn't mind more comp..." And then Marjorie's back from her quick phone call. The Iminir man lets his words fall quiet, as there's little point in finishing them. Instead, he awaits for Marjorie to take a seat, before pulling out one opposite her at the table and taking his own.

Morana might take a peek at Desmond's ink, but she leaves the commentary to Claudia, the subtle dip of her chin possibly indicating agreement with that appreciation. The tray Seraphine brings over garners a lot more of her focus, conjuring a small, strange smile from the elodoth. It's too wistful, too sad to be just about the food, but she's not volunteering any insight. She takes her cup from Sera with a murmur of thanks then grins at Claudia's comment. "Well, shit. /That/ sounds like the wrong direction." Waking up, she means. It doesn't keep her from doctoring the coffee with some cream and sugar and taking a tentative sip. It'll get more attention once it's cooled. For now, she's grabbing a pancake, syrup less, and eating it as if it were some sort of breakfast bread, totally acceptable to eat with one's hands. She watches the others as she munches, agreeable enough to the more-the-merrier concept that she offers no protest.

"Oh my," Sera muses with a flutter of her lashes. "He does know how I love big packages." The innuendo there, she can't help following along with it. Playful, more than anything. She leans over, pressing her shoulder lightly to Morana's for a moment, affection given in the wake of that wistful expression. And, well, it helps her snag a piece of bacon as well.

Claudia shakes her head, "He wasn't a friend. Only just met him, and I couldn't tell if he was joking or half-serious.." She shakes her head and shrugs. "I'll get my purse." She walks to the bar to get the bag while still talking, "I've been wanting to get a tattoo. Something petite." She says it like she's choosing something random, but her face hints that's it's been a deeper though than some piece of vanity. "I'm waiting for my Uncle's approval on the matter." Purse retrieved, she turns back to the group and pauses seeing Marjorie. That impeccable and expensive sapphire blue dress. She approaches, "Hi. You look stunning." She practically whispers. Her eyes look like they're seeing a ghost, "That outfit is amazing." She makes herself smile, hiding something mournful behind it.

Marjorie settles into the chair and nods to Desmond before she 'smiles' at Claudia, she is not a modest woman she inclines her head. "Of course I do." How else would she look? "Your hair is lovely." She pushes hair over her shoulder and reaches to take her tea and fruit salad placing them in front of her before taking a meticulous bite of her fruit salad. It would look stiff if every motion weren't fluid and mindless. "Mister Greene is right, please join us. My name is Marjorie Cavanaugh." Velveteen brown eyes drift back to Sera to see if she's done expanding on her son's tasteless sense of humor though the corner of her mouth does tick up with a devil tail point before dropping back to her usual ambivalent elegance.

While the women eat, Desmond does not. A sip from a water, and everything else is left in its place as he turns focus from woman to woman seated around him. That gaze settles on Morana, after he gives the rest of a room a quick-enough once over. "So tell me Mo, about yourself? There's agreement that we must have met before now, so it seems fitting if we do more than just shake hands, right?" And even as he asks that, his eyes linger back towards Claudia and in turn Marjorie. Striking women sitting together has its own demands, apparently.

Claudia nods and finds a seat that is with the group, but a little distant at the same time, "Good to meet you, Marjorie Cavanaugh.." Her head turns, "Seraphine," Her brows furrow as she looks at Morana, "Mo?" Then to Desmond, "And Mister Grene." She smoothes her outfit with one hand as she is seated. "My hair comes from Mother's side. The posture comes from Father's." A surreal mix of sometimes wild, sometimes elegant. Her purse buzzes from where it hangs from her arm. Her hand slips into the bag, retrieves a cellphone as she murmurs, "Pardon.." She sends a quick text reply, before the phone is stashed once again.

Morana rolls her eyes at the utterly unveiled innuendo, but there's a grin on her lips to balance it out. Ya know, around the mouthful of pancake which might actually be the cause of that pleasant expression. It's impossible to tell. Despite forsaking utensils, she has enough manners to swallow before urging Claudia, "You should," probably in reference to tattoos, uncles be damned. Her blue-eyed attention settles on Desmond, his inquiry met with a smirk. "Open-ended, shifting the demand to the one questioned and giving so very little away about the one who asked." She doesn't seem to mind the shift in his visual focus, though hers stays on him now. "I'm a fortune-teller by trade, a linguist by education, small business owner by whim." There's a nod to Claudia to confirm her monosyllabic moniker before she continues. "I like sleeping in and ink and pancakes and long road trips to nowhere in particular." Beat. "Your turn."

Jori falls into a contented silence for a moment as she takes another bite of her breakfast. She does muse to Claudia after a moment when her full name is repeated, "Ms. Cavanaugh is perfectly fine if you want to be formal, Darling. But I will accept someone calling me Jori." A quick possibly accusatory glare is given to Seraphine before she sips her tea. She is distracted however by Desmond and Morana's conversation and she quickly lifts her tea and looks the other way as if disinterested.

Seraphine looks as if maybe, just maybe, she's considering further innuendo. But in the end, she picks up her tea, sipping from it smalley. "Ink is a lovely thing, I wish that I could get more. One day, maybe." She adopts something between Mo's languid slouch and Marjorie's posture, a slight slump and a stretch of legs beneath the table. "Lovely to meet you, Claudia." Marjorie's glare is met with a little duck of her head, but her lips curve upwards, a brief flick.

Something in the answer from Morana makes Desmond break a smile on that otherwise calm visage. Given that it sprouts so quickly into her run-down and lingers pleasantly upon his features throughout, it is probably safe to assume all of it. All of it makes him smile. When she reverses the tables back to him, Desmond merely shrugs and slides a hand into his pocket. His chair creaks and calls out as he pushes slightly away from the table. He's not standing up, he's just moving somewhat away from the group. As his cigarette-pack is deposited on the table in front of him, it might become apparent as to why. "Desmond Greene. I've heard some call me a, or the, man on the mountain. But really I'm just a man who has done his time and is looking to do something else." Time is stressed, as though that four letter word means more to him than it might normally require.

Claudia listens as she learns about Mo faster than expected. She looks surprised at the fortune-teller bit, but the rest of it all is interesting to her, "Linguist? Do you speak any Hebrew or Polish?" The question is quietly interjected as soon as there is space to do so without talking over anyone. She looks to Jori, "Your nickname is much more pleasant than mine. I prefer Claudia over Claws." She chuckles. Trying to get a reading on Jori, and can't so she politely pins on, "Ms. Cavanaugh might suit best until we know each other better." She looks to Seraphine and smiles, murmuring, "Likewise, thanks." Lovely to meet her as well. She listens to Desmond's full name, but her gaze falls to the cigarettes. Disapproval. At least she doesn't preach it. But it's in her gaze while she looks at the pack.

Jori makes no comment on tattoo's simply glancing again around the room before her attention drift back to her table mates and Claudia's choice of address causes her to incline her head graciously. Claudia's question does pique her interest and she nods, "Yes, what languages do you speak, morana, I've need to be learning a few more soon." She smiles to her polar opposite down the table though there is clear quiet respect in her gaze. Desmond's drawing out of the cigarettes cause the other nico-addict's perfect manicure to tap the table in a brief moment of fidget.

Morana doesn't add a surname. She doesn't even expand upon that single-syllable name she's offered. Maybe she's just somehow missed how the majority of the table prefers full names. Unlikely, but maybe. Her eyes narrow faintly at Desmond's reply, considering the words. After a moment, there's a little breath blown through her nose that might pass as mirth. "Aren't we all." She lingers just a second, offering the man a smile, then turns her focus to Claudia as she lifts her hand still holding a half-eaten pancake to wobble it a little. "Hebrew's used a lot in divination. Qabalah. Tree of Life. Compelling blend of linguistics and numerology. It's on my list, but I'm far from fluent." Shifting her gaze to Jori, she grins a little. "French. I can mangle a few others fairly passably, but most of my studies have been in English." Another pancake wobble. "Which means there's a background of varied etymology in the back of my brain, but that doesn't make me particularly conversant in, say, old english or latin." Finally, she looks to Sera and presses, "Why can't you?"

Marjorie says, "Well Latin isn't a far leap from French. If you'd like to learn in exchange I'd rather like to be able to order my own food the next time I'm in Paris. I don't meet many people who are Dialectologists, an interesting hobby." Sera's comment and Morana's question makes her regard Sera with a flat intentness, eyes hooding in anticipation of Sera's answer. The expression looks almost clinical and maybe a littlegleefull though she drags her gaze away to look at Desmond, "Should we consider going home another time? I'm interested in staying for a little longer if you don't mind?""

Disapproval or not, Desmond draws out one of those cigarettes. He leaves the lighter atop the pack though, tucking the newly revealed Marlboro red behind one ear. It disappears beneath the long strands of hair, save for a little glimmer of revealed white paper under the brown and greying strands. The Iminir's attention drifts between the women, though the newest addition and Marjorie draw longer looks than the other two. At the end though, he does focus on Seraphine to hear her answer as to why she can't do something she wants. And while he is looking at her, a small nod is given in slight response to Marjorie. Desmond obviously isn't planning on heading out from the breakfast gathering anytime soon.

"Always good, to have an extra language or two at hand," Seraphine muses with a curve of a smile. Her gaze flicks to Desmond, watching him. Not wary, more...interested. Maybe it's really for the cigarette in his hand. There's a bit of a deeper slump into her chair, as that question comes. There's consideration given to her words, before they're finally let out. "Because, in the end? I made a promise and those are nasty things to break. Painful, in their way. If I get another tattoo, it needs to mean something, and I must be certain for it. The body is a temple, after all." The smile that quirks her lips isn't exactly mirthful.

"I can recite the alphabet, say a few terms of endearments, words from the book The Giving Tree. That's about all the Hebrew I know. Polish, I can say household items and a few extras. I should actually pick one and study it." Claudia is clearly fascinated by languages but hasn't gone into the deep end yet. Her head turns quickly to look toward Majorie, "Paris is wonderful. I was very lucky to go twice. I hope to again in the future." She smiles more brightly than before. A cheerful memory, Paris is. When she hears the pack of cigarettes being opened, her smile disappears. All that's left is is relief that it's not lit immediately.

Morana gives Seraphine a pursed-lipped look that suggests she has something to say, but there are other things to address at the table before she starts down that path. With a nod to Marjorie, she accepts the proposal before urging Claudia to, "Go with Hebrew. And--" This to the pair of Paris-fans. "--go to Toulouse. Or Marseille. Or, if Paris has your heart, go in the fall, when the heat's subsided enough that the stink's barely noticeable. Or, if it's cold enough, replaced with vin chaud and churros and soaps and leather at the Christmas Market. Never in the summer." Her nose crinkles at an unpleasant memory of the stench emanating from the port-a-potties dotting the city. Then her blue-eyed attention settles right back on Seraphine. "Everything has meaning. That's the secret. If you're waiting for something that's meaningful /enough/, how are you to judge? Even a transient emotion, some fleeting feeling that might never be significant again has meaning /in that moment/ and isn't a terrible thing to immortalize. And, even then, nothing's permanent. /You/ are not permanent. Neither is your skin. The weight of significance isn't going to anchor it any more than levity might lift it off of you."

Marjorie reaches up and leans back in her seat letting her head fall forward a touch to somewhat hide her cool expression as she reaches for a cup of tea. But no doubt her eyes are on Sera too, hooded and curious as she explains and she lifts her cup of tea to her lips. Apparently above it all anyway even though as the cigarette is drawn she looks over to Desmond for a moment quizzically. The warmth in Claudia's voice draws Marjorie's attention from him though and she inclines her head. "It is always lovely. It's strange to say I haven't met many others who've gone to Paris. We should talk about it some time over tea." Given to both Morana and Claudia. It's not long before she's reaching into her purse to pull out a cigarette case and plucks one of the expensive black cylinders from it. Morana's words to Sera make her smile, genuinely, wrinkles appear just for a moment but they're gone and swept away by a seconds passing. "Desmond would you like to step outside?"

While Morana speaks, Desmond's fingertips idly trace out patterns against his own forearms. In some small movement, it seems the Iminir male approves if not wholeheartedly agrees. It's at the close of Marjorie's words that he chimes back into the conversation, leaning slightly forward in his seat as he answers her. "No, I think for now I will stay here. At least for a bit longer." Even as he says it though, he looks from the Cavanaugh at the table towards the back door, that leads the private room he more frequently spends his time. "But if you wanted a cigarette, I think we could take it back there. Surely there we could at least have some.. privacy." And as he lets loose the last words, he doesn't look at Claudia but rather the handful of other souls in the bar at this hour.

Claudia nods, "Eventually it'll be both. But I can start with Hebrew. It'd be just as useful in New York as Spanish would be. I went the route of my uncle and only picked up a bit of this and that instead of committing." She smiles at Morana, "It'd be nice to visit Paris without being stuck with only taking the tour. But there was little time when not on or preparing for the runway." She nods as Mo speaks of impermanence, "Get the ink if it feels right to you. My waiting for my uncle's approval is mostly a formality. I think he wants to be here when it gets done." She looks to Jori, "Tea would be wonderful. I'd like to talk about Paris sometime." She nods to the ladies. Her expression fades a bit when even Jori grabs a cigarette.

"Everything has meaning, but it's a matter of it having the /right/ meaning. An acceptable one. Or else, well, in the end they'll go away. Fleeting emotion, whim, can linger on the inside in its way. It's everything else I have to consider." Seraphine's lips purse, and she looks over to Mo with that expression. "Maybe we can talk on it, later. I could...admittedly, use your help with insight when it comes to something regarding that." Is it mildly cryptic and ominous? Yes. Maybe that's why she's looking over her shoulder, to the door, as if waiting for someone to step through it at any moment. As if mere thoughts would summon a person forward. But she shakes her head, and looks back to those at the table. "Formality." She seems to have understanding with that, as she nods to Claudia. "Of all the places Father was stationed, it was never Paris. Shame, I'd like to see it one day. In the Fall. France in general, really." The suggestion of the backroom has her glancing to it's door, and she offers out, "It is nice to be just around the right People." That uppercase P, always stressed. Ahem.

Marjorie's brows tick up at Desmond and then back down before she nods, "Of course. Privacy. Would you ladies mind moving to the back room? It is about to get very busy in here for the breakfast rush and I hate the thought of someone spilling oatmeal on my Louboutin's." She practically shudders at the thought. She moves to stand and is quick to head that way with her purse, giving a gentle squeeze of Sera's shoulder on her way past towards the private door. She looks like she could care less if she's followed, her cigarette is already in her lips

Morana scrunches her nose at the very idea of one meaning being more right than another, but her expression settles into grudging acceptance of Seraphine's explanation, a little nod given to confirm that she's consultable on matters of meaning and ink. Another nod follows to the other ladies, agreeing to the proposal of future tea-talk about France, but she's distracted now. Talk of moving to the backroom has her looking toward Ishmael behind the bar, a little tip of her head toward Claudia met with a nod from the Shepherd, confirming the redhead's suitability to slip back there with them. In preparation for moving, she straightens a bit, snags a couple slices of bacon with one hand and secures her coffee with the other. "Sounds like we've got a vacation in the making. Let's aim for November."

Desmond gives Marjorie a look, though he still stands when she does. Gentlemanly manners at least, though the Iminir does not immediately follow the blooded to the back. He instead looks to the other three woman still remaining at the table. "Seraphine, Mo." He looks then at Claudia, a little narrowing of his eyes as his gaze goes from red-hair to bright eyes. Though he continues speaking, it seems he doesn't directly address her. Or completely invite her. "I think the back is better at least for getting to know each other, right?"

Seraphine's shoulder is pet, and she gives a sliver of a smile up to Marjorie. Silence is held, for a moment, as she rises up to her feet. Gathers tea and the remaining breakfast, and makes her way towards the back after a nod to Ishmael.

"Shall we?" Where others might not make the direct invitation to Claudia, Mo does. The girl's been given the okay from Ishmael, and that's good enough for her. She nibbles on her bacon as she joins the exodus, her pace entirely unhurried.

Claudia lets her gaze bounce around. Is everyone leaving to the backroom? She looks a little confused, other than the mention that the crowd can ruin Louboutins. "There's more space in the back?" She catches the tip of Morana's head toward herself, but obviously reads it as an invite instead of a vetting from a Shepherd. She stands, taking her now-cold coffee with her. The purse is retrieved, and she moves to follow Morana, murmuring, "Thanks." For the invite. For including her. "I'm new in town. Hadn't expected to get along with people so quickly. Especially people who didn't recognize me." She looks to Desmond when he speaks. Given he doesn't seem to speak much, she pays more attention when he actually does. She narrows her eyes, gently mirroring him before she drops her gaze to one of his shoulders for a moment, "If considering a trip to Paris, it'd make sense to get to know each other better. You can tell us about your tattoo. Do you have a fondness of storms?" She asks that question almost playfully for some reason. Nancy Drew on the case.


Back Room - The Crosscut

Marjorie had seen the look that Desmond had given her, catching it with a side long glance. Her reaction had been as perfectly poker face as it always is save for the upward tick of one brow. Her cigarette is lit before the door shuts behind her and she's just finding a seat once the others arrive.

"Oh, I don't think I will be going to Paris anytime soon. With security being what it is." Desmond lets a small throaty chuckle come as he finishes the statement, walking only after Claudia has begun to make her way to the rear of the bar as well. Before the door closes behind him, his own cigarette is lit. The Rahu at least shows some consideration for the other company though, settling in a seat beside Marjorie but far away enough from the table so as to keep the scent of burnt tobacco from reaching others. At least, as much as he can, given the confines of the smaller meeting room. "But yes. I am ... fond of storms. I had not known Ishmael gave approval. You are welcome back here, then." Left out from Desmond's remark to Claudia, perhaps noticeably, is an apology that he didn't give her an invitation himself.

Once her bacon's devoured, Morana brushes her fingers against the small of Seraphine's back as she moves past, making her way to the far side of that long table to settle in at the head, sinking right back into that perfected boneless slouch of hers. With the pancakes momentarily out of reach, she can focus on the coffee she's left mostly untended, succumbing to the reality that she's awake and might need a little help looking the part. She watches Desmond a moment, possibly curious to hear what meanings he might attach to his tattoos, a grin shaping when he doesn't provide any direct clarification. Turning her attention to Claudia, she explains, "Members only sort of thing. No inviting others back without approval from the fine gentleman at the bar." She pauses a moment, head tilting back a little, and asks, "Do you know what kind of club this is?" Sure sounds like a trick question.

And as soon as the question's asked, there's a muffled chime from somewhere upon Mo's person that has her drawing up a single finger to beg a moment as she sets down her coffee and fetches her phone. The look she makes upon catching the caller ID falls somewhere between warm and somber, delighted and concerned. It's difficult to precisely place. Either way, there's no further excuse, no explanation, just a sinking into quiet conversation, half-turned from the others, distracted.

Claudia steps in the backroom and noticing the absence of televisions she comments softly, "It's quieter." She approves of that more than the cigarettes in use. She walks away from any wisps of smoke, but doesn't flee the room. She turns and looks back toward Desmond, "Good to hear. Father was also fond of storms. I find the sound of thunder to be surprisingly soothing." At the mention of approval though, she looks to the main room door. A hand rubs the back of her neck. "Hmmm." She chuckles quietly letting it fade as she looks to her cold coffee and seeks a place to put down the cup.

Jori welcomes Desmond's sitting next to her with an incline of her head and a smile as he shifts an ashtray between them seated as she is closest to the ventilation. She looks after Morana with a soft Oh and notices that Sera's headed of for tea as well. Her lips twist a little bit before looking towards Claudia with mute curiosity.

Desmond's form of smoking isn't the casual french-spy. He pinches lightly the filter betweeen thumb and forefinger, and cups his other digits against the white filtered paper. It's the way a military man or a felon smokes. Given the tattoos, Desmond could be either. Some of the ink looks faded and unprofessionally done, though the wolf and bear in combat is obviously the work of a talented tattoo artist. As Claudia sits, Desmond pushes the table forward with the flat of his foot, giving her a place to put that coffee. "Tell me about your father, then? You say he was fond of storms. And back here, we can talk without others hearing." While speaking, he takes another inhale off his cigarette and settles that hand against his leg. A second inhale - no, a sniff - comes before he blows out the smoke toward the ceiling (thankfully) away from the conversation.

Apparently, Seraphine had to catch up with the man at the front bar, considering the fact that her arrival to the back room is delayed. But she has not only a cup of tea in hand, but refills for the lot. That breakfast food is all gone, though. She sets things down where they go, before curling into a chair, fingers wrapped around her own cup. Listening, thoughtfully, quiet.

Claudia lowers the coffee mug to the table that conveniently just found itself beside her. "I grew up with my father telling me that the thunder wasn't something to be afraid of. When my uncle visited, he told me similar stories. Anything from angels bowling to beasts having a drunken bar brawl." She chuckles, "The latter were funnier, in context. When I had nightmares, my uncle said the thunder would ward away the bad things. Stories like that. My mother's stories were more morbid. Death. That sort of thing. How it's part of life, and to not fear it. I heard more stories from my father growing up because she was," She breathes, "..more busy." Her head tilts to see where the smoke goes whenever someone exhales.

Sera is granted with another small warm smile, "Thank you, Darling." Her chin inclines up to Sera as she takes her cup and blows across it lightly. She wears her social status as well as her designer dress, straight backed and her wrist draped artfully to the side with her cigarette braced elegantly between her fingers. She considers Claudia's words and her brows lift aa bit in the wake of the redhead's tale though the middle aged woman doesn't voice anything still and she seems confortable and intent in her silence.

Desmond nods at first to the words Claudia speaks, settling into his seat. He's not slouching though, as he instead rests both feet firmly on the ground in front of him. It's enough of a relaxation though that he puts both elbows on his legs, leaning lust slightly forward. One cupped hand holds the cigarette idly by his knee, the other is brought to his lips in pondering thought. When he does speak, it's murmured through that cupped hand, and absent the speed at which his casual conversation outside this room had held. "They sound correct, each of them in their way. From thunder and strike to the reaper, all have their place, right? And now, where are they?" As he mentions the image of Death, his gaze looks from Claudia to Seraphine, as though the Witch-From-The-Bayou needed the clarification of imagery.

"Death is very much a part of life," Seraphine muses. Leave it to the voudon to say something like that, in a tone that is distant. Her voice is soft, but it holds a draw to it, despite that, now that they're away from the noise of the main bar. "The cycle goes, on and on. Sometimes we linger, others, we don't." She shakes her head, as if to clear it, but not before adding, "And Angels are terrifying." Desmond looks to her, and there's a slight dip of her head. A very small smile. Tea is sipped, and dark eyes track those speaking.

"Like pieces of a puzzle or a tapestry, yes they have their place." Claudia replies with a considering tone before nodding. Agreeing with Desmond and thinking of Seraphine's words as well. When asked where they are, her face becomes carefully guarded. She has had practice not crying in front of others. Slow, deep breath, "Their graves are side-by-side in Bend, Oregon." Her face stays calm, while her eyes threaten to water up. Her chin lifts in self-defiance hiding the weakness as best as she can. She attempts to continue casually, "My uncle is in New York until he heads this way." She swallows, "I should get more coffee."

Marjorie's brows lift, "Of course dear, take your time." About th story? About the coffee? It's hard to say but there's a little crease of worry that dimples between her eyebrows for a moment. her expression though doesn't go any deeper than that. A glance to Seraphine and she mentions idly, "We need to speak soon." She says thoughtfully but the regal woman does not falter in the cold bitch demeanor.

The admission of their deaths from whatever unnamed source might have brought it, and the kept but not quite hidden vulnerability of emotion from Claudia is met by a nod in return from Desmond. He takes another inhale off his cigarette, both hands resting now idly on the arms of his chair. When he lets out the smoke, it's blown downward now, spiraling toward the floor. It's to that cloud more than the redhead that the Iminir speaks. "We all have loss. What is best, what works for me at least? To remember the things they brought out in us. To be inspired by them." Another drag, and that cigarette is finished. With a pinch of his free hand's forefinger and thumb, he sizzles out the cherry tip. The cigarette's filter is slid into the pocket of his slacks. He might have on business attire, but the werewolf is still all Desmond. With that handled, he moves forward in his seat back to the table once more. "As I said earlier. I am Desmond Greene. Rahu of the Iminir. The Storm Lords if you do not know the word."

"Of course. I'll come by again, soon," Seraphine murmurs at those words from Marjorie, giving a dip of her head. She looks into her tea, before another sip of it is taken. Watching Desmond and the play of smoke around him. Jori, as she sits with that regal resting bitch face. Over to Mo, in her conversation on the phone, and finally Claudia once more. "Seraphine D'Amour," the Creole woman offers more fully, "Blooded of the Bone Shadows, Priestess of the Loa." A quirk of lips.

Claudia stands quietly, leaving her purse, but reaching for the coffee cup as she intends to get a refill. "Oh." She nods, "It's been years, Mister Desmond. They did not get to see me in college or on runways in New York, Paris or Tokyo. Thankfully I have Uncle. He is the only relation still among the living." She whispers, "He was one of yours. My mother.." She furrows her brow, "Bone Shadows." She nods. She thinks a moment, "Full moon? I'm out of practice, but I know more than some might expect. Less than I wish." She looks to Seraphine, "Oh. Formality. I suppose." She actually curtsies before saying, "Claudia Zabek, niece of Elijah Zabek. Due to.. complications, I suppose I'm more of Kamduis-Ur's blood. Though Uncle has brought me up, otherwise. Born under the crescent moon. I have not changed. But Father changed very late. I don't know what will come of me." She looks to Desmond, "It's been a while since I've been able to speak of such things other than with Uncle. I hope my manners are not too rusty. Pardon me, as I get more coffee?" If any indication of being excused is made, she'd run off to get a refill and return. With the polite introductions going around Jori is still quiet for a long moment inclining her head to Seraphine as she sips her tea before speaking simply, "And I am blooded to the Iminir." Comes Jori's blatedly continued introduction in her local but cultured accent. "And your manners have been impeccable." She assures as Claudia heads off to get her coffee.

The murmur of one-sided conversation dies off as Morana draws her phone down to her lap, held between both hands for a long, silent moment as the others talk of death and loss and make proper introductions. In profile, it's difficult to get a good read on her expression, on how that call has left her, but the pensiveness in that long post-call pause is pretty clear. Eventually, she shifts in her seat, pocketing the device again and reclaiming her cooled coffee. With Claudia heading off, she opts not to throw her own introduction into the mix, opting to instead keep silent at the head of the table, watching the others. There's something almost regal about her in that quietude, the proud lift of her chin perfectly balancing the relaxed slouch of her posture, her pale blue eyes studying the group with sufficient distance to suggest superiority. She might just be distracted, lost in private thoughts, but there's something studious in her attention which might imply otherwise.

With the introductions given, Desmond returns to his seat, shifting his attention now from the newest one amongst them to the other two women. He watches Claudia disappear to go get more coffee, before motioning with a quick movement of his head at the older-blooded female and looking to Seraphine. "She asked me this morning to take her out to the mountain again. To teach her of the land and making use of it. You should come along, if you can." He stops talking just after Morana's return to the group, though given his words it's probably not on her account.

"We never know, when or if Luna will decide to call us," muses the woman, as she looks over the redhead. Seraphine's gaze, more critical, at news of their shared Tribe. "She called my brother, Jacques. He's of the Tribe as well. There aren't that many of us in the city, unfortunately. But it's quality, not quantity, right?" Trying to lighten, well, herself, with a flick of a smile. Morana's return to them has her reaching out, a brief touch given to the woman's arm to welcome her back. But her eyes go to Desmond, and she lets out a breath. "I will try," is what she offers in return. "To at least come by."

Claudia is only gone a moment. Entering the room is the mug of coffee, then Claudia's arm, followed by the rest of her. She slips in like a gentle breeze and pauses to look at the group as if expecting that the invitation to be in the backroom might have expired. She has been alone long enough that outside of her profession it's less fluid to be among people. She moves toward Seraphina, "I see myself as both. I don't know if that's officially possible. But, I have traits of both my parents. I was taught more by my mother in the end, for protection." She whispers, "Some things find more more attractive than even the paparazzi do. As a last resort, things must be kept in place while I run for help. I've not even attempted it without supervision."

Marjorie laughs quietly, "He said I don't get to complain much." She tells Sera as a brief aside with a hint of laughter in her eyes as she finishes her cigarette and gently rolls out the cigarette in the ashtray in front of her. "So there goes that excuse." She teases the other Blooded quietly. When Claudia returns and continues she inclines her head, "It sounds as if you've had a lot to overcome in your short life, Darling. No doubt you'll be made stronger for it."

The touch to her arm draws Morana's gaze down toward those digits, her empty hand lifting to briefly touch fingertips to knuckles, reciprocating the contact in silence. Then her attention's back on the conversation, her expression reserved, her tongue still.

"Blooded, I imagine, do not make full oaths to the First Born. But I myself changed young, decades ago. Who knows how things change in the modern ages, right?" Desmond shrugs, and spreads his palms flat against the table in front of him. Fingers drum idly back and forth on his right hand against the hard wood. As they do, he looks from Claudia to Morana, a lift of his right eyebrow given to the other wolf present as though she might offer clarification. If there's anything about her demure or withdrawn nature to notice, the rather oblivious Rahu doesn't. Maybe he's not in tune with Morana. Or maybe he's just not the socially-aware type.

Claudia smiles and there's a slightly playful tone, "Thanks. I were sunscreen. I'm about a year-and-a-half from 30. But, I'm alright with people thinking I'm, like, 21." The tone sobers, "But yeah. That which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Right?" She sips her coffee. "The good days are good. That's what to focus on." Speaking of focus, her attention goes to Desmond's drumming fingers. She moves closer, sipping her coffee before asking, "Will you tell the tale of your tattoos?" Cue a genuinely curious expression.

Seraphine gives a soft chuckle at Marjorie's words, dipping her head. "It's not that I worry of you complaining, dear. It's just that some things must be kept. You know how I am. But I'll at least say a hello." She keeps up that small bit of contact with Mo, casual as it is.

The middle aged woman gives Claudia a look when she says it's sunscreen. "It's the bone structure." She replies idly as she sips her tea again and takes a slow breath, "Of course, Seraphine. I wouldn't want anything left unattended. Still please if Desmond is all right with it, feel welcome." The group is sitting off to the table, Claudia just settling with Coffe,Jori under a vent having just finished a cigarette if the lingering scent in the air isa tell, Desmond next to her sitting with his arms rested on his knees in an opposite posture. Morana has also just come back to the group and is just settling in.

Morana offers a shrug up to Desmond as he looks her way. "Their experiences are not mine." She doesn't quite manage to keep the hard edge from her voice, and she knows it, a dip of her head offering silent apology for the tone. She sits at the end of the long table in a regal slouch, the cant of her chin granting her a poise otherwise lacking from her posture. Seraphine's close, a hand on the elodoth's arm. Trying to close the distance she'd taken from the conversation, she looks from Claudia to Jori to eventually settle on Desmond. "You're hiding more?" She /probably/ means tattoos, but she doesn't bother to clarify.

Desmond traces the pattern of one line of ink on his forearm, the wolf with chains in its' mouth. He shakes his head casually after a moment, looking from that exposed skin to Claudia and Morana as he speaks. "Inspirations, aspirations, and reminders. That is the point of them, at least. What their tales are goes on for a long story. Best told by fireside in a snow covered campsite, no?" With all of that said though, his words after he leans back against the chair seem to run counter to the answer. "It's a long story, all the same. If you want to hear it now though, I will give it. It's just one the other women have heard before."

Claudia watches as Desmond traces the pattern of ink on his own arm. She's curious. Definitely wants to hear the tale. But her head turns to look at the other women. Someone might be bored hearing a story again. "I enjoy stories. Also a good fire." She smiles, "We can do that sometime. Though, perhaps today, do you have a tale you have to told?" Her posture remains straight, but her watered-down Polish accent flickers in and out of her speech. A clue that the talk of stories as comfortably unarmed her for the moment.

"It's perfectly all right, Desmond, if it's not trouble I'm fine with hearing it again." There's no pandering in her tone, it's more clinical interest than anything at least outwardly. It's rarely easy to read much off the poised Blooded. Morana is given a sidelong look and her brows spike a bit before her attention turns towards the clock staring up at it for a moment with a long deep breath. Expecting something perhaps?

Seraphine's fingers play along Morana's arms, lightly. Sometimes they're still, other times they trace out vague designs. She keeps it there for long moments, before she lets her hand lift, reaching out to take her now cool coffee from the table. "I never mind hearing a story twice, if it's a good one," she offers. Her jacket is still kept on, as if the winter cold hasn't quite let up, despite being inside for a while now.

The backroom at the Crosscut's busier than usual today. There's a little bit of breakfast left on a tray on the large table, though it's grown tepid by now: a couple of pancakes, some crispy bacon, a little bit of fruit salad, some fixings for tea and coffee. Morana keeps to a regal slouch at the far end, comfortable at the head of the table, watching the rest of the room. Beneath her open jean jacket, she wears a grey sweatshirt which declares I'D RATHER BE SLEEPING in blocky white letters, but she looks awake enough now despite that easy lean she maintains. Seraphine sits close, a hand on the elodoth's arm. Claudia's next to her, focused on Desmond's ink, the man nearer to Marjorie who has strategically situated herself near a vent, a lingering hint of cigarette smoke leaving a telltale hint as to why.

The blue-eyed brunette at the head of the table grins at Desmond as the others urge him on. "Think we've already established I like words and meaning and ink. Seems it's decided." There might be a hint of sadistic delight in Mo's eyes.

Levi is dressed to the nines today, well any day he goes into work really. The bespoke suit speaks of class, taste and refinement. The man inside of the suit speaks of the wild, untamed and raw. The Gypsy's vividly green eyes sweep over the gathering in the backroom and he ends up smiling slowly. "Well, this will cut out a lot of the middle men, Nadya. Most everyone I give a shit about is here." Arm in arm with the tall gypsy - is another gypsy. Only this one may just be a bit prettier, but only by a margin. Nadya is guided into the Backroom until they're good and inside before he finally slips away from her after planting a kiss to her cheek. "Nadya, that's" and he begins pointing to speed things up, "Jori, Sera, Mo, Desmond," he gets to Claudia and pauses, head tilting, "Dunno her." A shrug comes and he points back to Nadya, "Everyone, this is Nadya, a long time friend from the caravan, looking to try the whole putting down roots thing as well."

Introductions done, the Gypsy has some greetings to attend to. Morana's shoulder is briefly touched, a simple gesture that means a lot. Makes it easy to slip to Sera next, his hand creeping from her shoulder to her middle to hug her back to his chest, his nose nuzzling into her hair briefly. Last but certainly not least, Jori's cigarette is stolen by quick fingers, a drag is taken and then it is replaced between her lips gingerly. "Hello, all."

Marjorie sighs and makes a face, "More Gypsy's." it's really, really hard to tell if she's serious or ot though since she and Levi are at least acquainted she could be joking. Maybe. She sips her tea and sighs reaching for another cigarette as if her reward for being so patient with the world at large, the regally postured woman inclines her head, "Nadya." She greets taking a drag off her cigarette with a sigh just before it's stolen from her. "Could you at least try to be professional while we're in public." She eyes Levi distastefully. "This is Claudia Zabek, a name I am just now recalling i've heard on the lips of some people around the Club." She reaches up and takes her cigarette back from the Mienna blooded and takes a drag before looking back towards Morana with a twitch of a smile before looking towards poor, outnumbered Desmond.

Nadya is guided into the room by Levi, the last of her words caught making a comment about his fancy suit. But they trail off once they're inside, dark eyes widening a bit at the sight of so many people sitting around the table. As introductions are made, her gaze moves from person to person, filing away names and faces. She must have stopped in the main room before letting him lead the way to the back, seeing as how she's carrying a plate of fries in one hand and a bottle of soda tucked under her arm. The free hand lifts, waving to the assembled crowd. "Nadya White. It's nice to meet all of you. I was here last night, actually, but there was only one other person around."

Kat arrives, nudging open the door, head down to gaze at the smart phone in one hand. In the other hand, a rather large travel mug with the scent of coffee escaping the lid opening. Like a few of the others, her upper body is swallowed up in a black hoodie. lower body in jeans and a pair of Uggs. Lettering on the front of the garment imitates a dictionary entry for the word Programmer: An organism that turns caffeine and pizza into software. Lifting her head, blinking, she looks over the room and it's population of people that is a bit intimidating for the blooded at first glance. A nod to those who are familiar, mostly the man amid the women, Desmond. The woman near the vent is given a glance and Kat positions herself in a neutral between spot between vent and door. Putting down her coffee down, she pull a vape pen from a hoodie pocket and pushes the button on the side of the cylinder. Soon, she takes a drag and while she exhales smoke there is little to no smell of whatever she is smoking.

Desmond nods at the approval from the others, touching his left hand against his right forearm. The image of the wolf and bear in combat. The wolf is oversized, but even in it's girth is not quite a match for the bear, monstrous as it is. When he speaks, his voice loses the hints of softness and comfort it had earlier. This story is important to him, and with it comes the more demanding and tougher tone of a lecture. "After the First born were given to the world, before Pangea had broken but after the decline of Father Wolf, the totems of all the tribes hunted as a pack. Few could stand their might, and in that world spirit and physical were kept in harmony. Amongst that few was Wrathful Bear." As he starts the tale, the Iminir pauses to nod to Levi's arrival. "But the wolf must hunt, and so they tried to cow the huge spirit. Intimidation was not scaring the Bear off. The wolf must hunt. Scions of the tribes, titans in the Hisil that they were though, the bloody fight ended without the defeat of either. The bear was wounded, but so were each of the first born. And as they leapt for a final strike, a roar that pierced both worlds erupted from the bear. It would mark the first time these wolves could not fell a foe. The first flight they suffered." Only then does Desmond pause the story left unfinished, standing up from the table and turning his attention to Nadya. A nod of greeting, before he retakes his seat. Even the histories of the People must be set aside for introductions.

"Don't do it," Mo casually warns Nadya, likely of putting down roots. "The cake is a lie." She hides her amusement at her own little joke behind a swig of her coffee, draining the last of it before setting the mug down. And exchanging it for bacon in lieu of popcorn for impending storytime. That bacon's waggled toward Levi in greeting. She has no need to appear professional, even while in public.


Claudia raises her left hand in a minor greeting as a new arrival points out everyone, but doesn't know her name. About to say her name, she hears Jori say it. She dips her head in a bow of a nod, "Correct." She looks to Jori, "Thank you." She looks to Levi and Nadya, "Good to hear I'm not the only traveller trying to put down roots somewhere new." As someone else enters, she looks to Kat as well. Seems she's more distracted by the vape pen for a moment. This is someone who doesn't like cigarettes of any variety. But then, Desmond is going into story-mode? Claudia turns her attention to Desmond with a hyper-focus. Both of her hands hug her mug of coffee and she leans ever so slightly forward. Clearly she was ~craving~ a tale. Each time he says, 'the wolf must hunt,' she ends up a millimeter closer. Her eyes widen slightly. She can't hide that she is enjoying hearing a story. When he pauses the tale, she blinks thrice and looks to the distraction. Polite smile. Then back to Desmond. Her head tilts before she gently nods hoping it might encourage him to continue if she demonstrates he has an audience.

As Desmond tells his tale, Mo smiles, even while she's downing that breakfast meat. Whatever had stolen away her good cheer has absconded, banished by the strength in his voice and the meaning in his story. Briefly, her blue-eyed attention tracks to Kat, considering the unfamiliar woman, but it doesn't linger. Focus shifts to Levi, a little cant of her head to her side not currently occupied by Seraphine silently invites him in. Then it's back to Desmond, interested to hear the rest of his tale.

When the door opens, Seraphine's eyes flit that way. Seeing Levi, the smile that comes is warm, if soft. She leans back into that embrace as it's given, her eyes half-lidding. "Pleasure," is offered towards Nadya, along with a similar smile. Friendly, if not holding the same degree of warmth. But then Desmond is story telling, and she's looking to him. Listening.

Levi chuckles some at Marjorie's resentment of his greeting. Claudia is given a bit of a wave and a smile, "Levi Grey, pleasure to meet you." Jori's hello didn't involve proper greeting and she knows it, giving the high-born a quirked brow he finds a chair to drag over so that he ends up somewhere near the gaggle of women. There's two packmates, an employer and an old friend to watch over, and make no mistake the alert Blooded is very much paying attention to all of them. At the nod from Mo, he settles in beside her, a hand falling to her shoulder. Just a light touch. Desmond is telling stories though and that is one thing the Gypsy can get behind so he listens. Now and then, those bright eyes flicking to find Jori, Sera or Nadya.

Marjorie's head tilts as she listens to Desmond her expression thoughtful though perhaps having heard it she has some allowance o remain more alert to the room, as he tells the tale of his tattoo but becomes mildly distracted again when more people enter and she inclines her head to the second face she's never seen before. While there's a pause Jori murmurs to Levi, "Did penny tell you to take today off? I had meetings with India this morning." She says as a muted aside to the well dressed Gypsy bodyguard which no regard for his reproachful glance. Her attention then falls bak to the Iminir to await his tale continuing.

Nadya seems happy enough to listen to stories that are being told. Finding an empty seat, she drops down into it, allowing her to set the plate of fries and soda that she'd been carrying onto the table. An odd choice for breakfast, but it doesn't seem to bother her too much. Dark eyes settle onto Desmond, waiting for him to continue on with the story, her attention lingering there for the time being.

"Shamed by their defeat," Desmond continues the story as he sits down, though his attention does shift from Claudia to the arrival of Katherine and her vape pen. A curious eyebrow lifts even through the continuation. Out as long as he's been, this is the first time apparently the Iminir has seen that sort of contraption. "The wolves returned soon after. The wolf must hunt. Again the fight was bloody but left undecided. The bear, nearly beaten and destroyed bellowed out with a rage that shattered all will amongst them. Each wound they had taken over their battles, each broken bone and shattered limb. Everything ached in the echo of that Bear. The world split soon after, as our First Born chose action over inaction, duty over passivity. Father wolf was put down, and the world lost itself." Here Desmond breaks the cadence of his words, pausing only long enough to light a cigarette. He doesn't inhale beyond the first puff though, choosing instead to conclude the story. "When they came to him again, the pack was as shattered as the world we see now. The bear was old, ancient but still deadly. And Scarred bear, as the wounds from the First Born never fully mended, was beckoned by Skolis-Ur. Winter Wolf asked - not demanded but asked - this relic of the old times to teach the Urdaga the pain and honor that comes with age. As I said, my tattoos are aspirations, inspirations and reminders. Where I have been," he remarks while touching the wolf with chains in its mouth, quieter now that the story is finished. "And where I will be."

Kat looks away from her phone, now and again. Eventually, around the third drag from that vape pen, the phone disappears into a pocket. Content to lean shoulders against the wall, she too is listening to the conversation surrounding Desmond. A word here and there, she is content to observe and collect the data as it passes. Needless to say, as Desmond speaks the ending of his tale, she is listening. Taking up her cup of coffee with that now phone free hand, she takes a sip, a brief expression of contentment on the face that usually wears a rather expressionless mask. The blue light that beeps a steady sequence on the side of her vape pen flashes as she draws it to her mouth again, taking another drag.

Levi gives Jori a slight shrug before smiling crookedly, "You know me, I don't really ever stop working." It's half a promise to the high-blood. His fingers are curling, gripping at nothing in one hand and Mo in the other until he finally slips hands into his coat pockets. Coming up with a cigarette and a brass zippo he sparks it to life against his lips to exhale a slow cloud up to the ceiling. Desmond's story continues and his eyes flick back to the Iminir wolf for the conclusion of his story. He didn't notice Kat was there until the cloud of vape finds the air along with the nicotine. Giving the hacker a chin up, he splits his attention between the wolves and blooded he calls his. The ever watchful Hunter.

Seraphine does enjoy a good story. What blooded born under the gibbous moon wouldn't? And, for an Iminir, Desmond weaves it well. She keeps reaching over to Mo, stealing touches very now and then. Her gaze wanders, though, from face to face. Familiar and not. It lingers, though, longest on her packmates. Studying Mo's face, or the curve of Levi's fingers around his cigarette. Holding a now empty cup, she's silent. And as Desmond gives the end of the story of his tattoo, she dips her head, flashes him a quick smile.

Claudia murmurs in Levi and Nadya's direction, "Pleasure." A small gesture of her coffee mug indicates most of her attention is on Desmond. Time to get to know more people after story perhaps. And as soon as Desmond resumes the tale, she's focused on him again. She leans forward unconsciously a millimeter or two. Her brow furrows and she nods slowly. She leans away as soon as a cigarette is lit. However a hand moves away from her mug, leaving it in her right hand. She reaches toward Desmond's arm with her left hand, fingertips just barely within reach when she stops herself, freezing in place. As if she was in a museum and about to get in trouble for touching a masterpiece, "Powerful story, Greene." While it looks like she is curious enough to touch his tattoo, she carefully pulls her hand away. She looks to Desmond and then Jori. The two had arrived together, "I didn't mean disrespect. I was swept up by the tale."

Morana tips her head toward the fingers which find her shoulder, cheek not quite connecting with knuckles her she lifts her head again, chin angled slightly upward. The intermittent contact from the pair on either side of her is welcomed, if not overtly reciprocated. As Desmond's tale draws to its end, her blue-eyed attention shifts about the room, taking in the reactions of the gathered wolfblooded. Mostly. The pair flanking her are excluded, the less familiar among the group earning more of her curiosity. Once she's made her assessments, she turns her head just enough to indicate her words are meant for the witch, or maybe the more familiar gypsy, even if her gaze is centered on Desmond. "We should do this outside next time." With a little nod to the Iminir, she adds, "Fire and all."

Jori takes another drag blowing it towards the vent as the Iminir rahu continues on with the old muse to his art. She reaches to roll out her half finished cigarette carefully. "Disrespect." She looks at Desmond and then Claudia and laughs softly with a dry wry wit, "I don't know why you're trying to apologize to me Darling. They're his arms." Jori smirks little as she uncrosses her legs turning her legs to the side and stands, all in one gracefully choreographed motion that has become second nature. "I've got a call I have to make. Ladies.." She gives to the greater group. "Levi, Desmond." She inclines er head to the men and then chuckles at Morana, "Maybe during survival training. A nice night of stories and introduction? It's been a pleasure." it's dubious to whether it has been because Jori's face has returned the it's bitchfaced glory; serene and beautiful.

Nadya has been silently devouring her fries while listening to Desmond speak, both brows lifting just slightly as the tale ends. As Marjorie stands to leave, she lifts her free hand to wave to the other woman. "Nice meeting you." Then she's half leaning across the table, giving herself a better vantage point to look at Desmond's tattoo'd arms. "Nice. I only have a few, but keep intending to get more. I just never get around to it."

Desmond doesn't at all seem to pick up on why Claudia might be offering an apology. That same crooked eyebrow that had quietly questioned Katherine's vape-pen is returned to the redhead across from him. All the same, as she reaches he lifts his arm slightly, turning the tattooed skin to be more visible from various angles. It's only after Marjorie has interjected that the realization comes to the Iminir. He doesn't deign to speak on the subject though the look of curiosity does fade from his features. "I think that is a fine idea, Mo. I have been spending time at the mountain, outside of the city to the west? I have made camp there a few nights. Any who wish to hear more stories, or tell their own, is welcome."

Morana smiles big and broad at Jori's words to Claudia about that ink on Desmond's arms. "Sounds like a plan. Good seeing you again." To Desmond, she suggests, "Give us a date. Make it happen," urging him toward action. When Nadya suggests that she, too, is interested in getting a tattoo, Mo's gaze slides sideways toward Seraphine and her voice drops a little, possibly teasing, almost certainly smug. "Sounds like maybe we should have an ink party, too. But that might take more planning." Like, ya know, arranging artists and art work and aftercare and all that nonsense.

Amid the crowd, Kat finds the head up from Levi and her face warms with a petite smile and a nod of her head to him in return greeting. Watching the storyteller once more, the vape pen's slow blinking light finally stops and she slips the mechanical smoker away into her pocket and is left with travel mug to warm her hands. Lingering there in her eyes is a warming twinkle, noticing the rapt attention Desmond is paid as he tells his tale to the gathering. "Just check the weather before you go." She says, loud enough that the words of subtle amusement meet the gathering's ear. This in response to his remark of his camp on the mountain. Another sip of her coffee, which hides the amused expression until it can fall back into something more neutral.

"Yes, we should," Seraphine says of doing this again, around the fire. "I do enjoy a night out, under the stars." Her gaze slips over to Levi at that, in his suit, across her alpha. When Jori makes to leave, she lifts her gaze to the woman, smiles. "Take care, darling. And I'll see you soon. On the mountain, or otherwise." The mention of an ink party has her lips quirking, head dipping. "Meaning," she says with a soft chuckle, "Still must be certain. But yes, that's something that could be arranged as well."

Claudia blinks, confused, "Oh. I thought you were on a date. I don't flirt with someone who isn't single. I've had my heart broken by a cheater in the past. It has made me more vigilant in my own actions." When Jori stands, "Tea and Paris, in the future still, I hope?" She looks back to Desmond when his arm turns to show more of the ink. She confesses, "I do like your tattoo, though." It's not quite hitting on him, but he even told a tale - she's a new fan. She looks to the others, "It's been a while since I went camping. I'd need suggestions on what to bring, if going for a night of stories." She quietly speaks knowing it reveals that there are definitely some categories she hasn't been trained in. As for ink? She says as an aside to Morana, "Once my Uncle nods, I'd tag along. I'm working on the design."

Levi follows the conversations as best he can, but at the end of the day the Blooded runs more on instinct than anything else, and his gaze is caught flicking this way and that through the small gathering. A smile comes when Jori moves to take her leave, "I will see you soon, Jori," it's somewhere between a threat and a promise. He works on his smoke with his free hand, the other maintaining that link to Morana. "Campfires and ink parties. I can call Kilo, see if she has enough artists to accommodate. As for camping, Desmond knows the area as well if not better than I do at this point. There are plenty of spots up there." There's a fond memory or three for the Blooded and he glances back at Jori and her sashaying ass as it leaves the backroom. The Hunter smiles towards Claudia, "We can get you taken care of, don't worry about it."

Marjorie pauses to murmur something straight faced and professional to her bodyguard before sauntering on. Ahem. Claudia's given a little smile and a lift of her shoulder as she slips out, "Of course, Darling. I am everso sorry to hear of your losses. AllenCo is a few blocks away, you can't miss it, come by some time with some of the ladies and we'll have a spa day, after th camping day. Soot." She wrinkles her nose and sashays on her way.

Again Desmond gives into the demands of proper propriety, standing as Marjorie moves up from the table and in turn from it. The Iminir only retakes his seat after she has left, his attention turning back to Katherine and, in half-taken glances, Claudia. "The cold is the best time to see the mountain. As it is, as it will be after we are all gone. There's a silence there even amidst the snowfall or lightning strikes. And the cold brings that silence to easies recognition." As he finishes clarifying, he does offer a small aside to the redhead beside him. "Though at your size, you may want a jacket. I think the mountain would understand." Not that the Rahu is imposingly large himself.

Kat is watching Desmond, still. As he looks to her, she smiles at him, but she doesn't rouse from where she leans against that wall near the entrance. Nope, she leaves him to the pretty masses with a twinkle in her eye that says she's enjoying it. Sipping her coffee, she moves at last but it's only to move and glance over the meager pickings of what was once breakfast. Finding nothing, she rakes a hand through her hair as she moves to find a seat. Settling, she crosses her jean clad legs and checks her phone, before stowing it back into a pocket.

Nadya reaches into the pocket of her coat to pull out a cellphone, turning it on briefly so that she can check the time. The slightest of frowns is given before she gets to her feet, "I hate to skip out when I haven't really had a chance to talk to any of you, but I'm meeting someone to look at a place to live and I still have to figure out how to get to the address. Stupid city map I bought is worthless." The now empty plate is picked up, along with her half empty bottle of soda. "Levi, I'll catch you late? It was nice meeting everyone else. Hopefully we'll get to talk soon."

Claudia looks to Levi and smiles, "Thanks. Seems to be a safe room to admit to a lack of perfection." She chuckles quietly. When Jori moves, she has Claudia's attention, "Time heals." She says in reply to her losses. It's the thing she has repeated to herself enough that it almost sounds like it has no meaning now. "A spa day sounds refreshing." She lifts a hand to wave to the departing woman, before she looks to Desmond, "A jacket. Will bring one. Wool, so it doesn't make as much noise as a trenchcoat. Wouldn't want to disturb the silence we're trying to hear." She looks to Nadja, "Grab a map at a gas station, they seem to be more reliable. Some of the roads are like a maze." She adds, "Then again, I arrived just this week."

"Now's the time, then," Mo poses, even if Desmond wasn't talking to her. "I'm assured that spring's going to win out soon enough, but the cold's here now." Not that it won't be back again come fall, but the fortune-teller doesn't bank on the future very much. The, "Much luck," she offers to Nadya as she takes her leave is fairly grim, damned near foreboding, as if she sees something ominous in the woman's future. Ya know, like being stuck one place and getting comfortable and feeling restless and... and... yeah. She turns her gaze toward the table, sinking inward for a moment.

Levi leans his ear up as Jori leans over to speak to him. A low noise comes from him in some amusement before he simply nods and returns to his cigarette. Eyes glance around to find Nadya and he offers her a lopsided grin, "I know lots of people at first, but you'll get used to it, darlin'. They're nice folks and kinder to our kind than they ought to be - at least most of them." There's no accounting for Hilda. Kat moving about has his attention briefly, but it's Mo and her predictions that has the Gypsy focusing on his Alpha. The fingers on her shoulder slide down along her arm until tips graze over the back of her be-ringed hand. Desmond is focused on afterwards and he smiles, "Thank you for the story, sir. And the invitation, I know Ginger is looking forward to catching up soon."

With his attention on the woman against the wall checking her phone, Desmond only turns towards Morana after she speaks. A second's pause comes before he answers her, his hands folding into one another atop his lap. "I think you are right. Sooner. This coming week would be best, perhaps." He straightens himself in his seated position, retaking proper posture and nodding in turn to Levi. "I would rather like that. Seeing her again, I mean. The coming weeks will be long, and friends around is always welcome, right?"

"It will be a good thing, to gather like that. I suspect it's been far too long since those here have done such," muses Seraphine, a bit inwardly as well. Perhaps Mo's mood is catchy. Maybe the vodoun just cycles frequently. Because soon, she's smiling up towards Desmond. Agreeing, on the matter of friends. There's something thoughtful in her eyes, pensive, before she looks back to the Iminir. "Come by, tomorrow? I have someone I want you to meet. But it's best done...not somewhere like this." A look to Morana. "And I'll bring that someone by for you, soon, too."

Claudia nods hearing Morana speak of the cold, "Spring will stop hiding soon enough. She's right, that if wanting the cold - now is the time. If not wanting to wait for seasons to pass." She looks to Desmond, "You told a tale. What sort do you like? And do you want to hear one today or wait for the campfire?" Her purse hanging from her shoulder buzzes, and she reaches into it to glance at the latest text, "Mister Greene, would you mind if I told my uncle your name? Surely he'd want to know if I was going into the woods sometime within a week, with a group of people I just met."

"I'll be there," Mo offers quietly to Desmond as he confirms sooner rather than later. Her fingers flex beneath Levi's, turning just enough to briefly squeeze his hand before settling flat again. Seraphine's words have her looking up again, a shallow grin taking shape. "Always more, isn't there? Maybe we should just sit down and make a list?" That's /definitely/ teasing. When Claudia starts talking tales again, Mo looks toward that side of the table again, keeping to the outskirts of the conversation, but clearly curious.

The girl in the geeky hoodie finishes up her coffee. You can tell because she pops the lid off the oversized travel mug and looks inside with a mournful expression. "Damn." Kat mutters, tossing hair out of her face and straightening in her seat. Pushing the lid back into place, she glances at her watch and once more stands, but this time she moves towards Desmond. Now that the gathering has thinned a little, the rather introverted woman approaches one of the werewolves in the room. Moving forward she gives Desmond's hand a brief squeeze, releasing it and moving to the empty seat that was once Marjorie's. "I just came out for some coffee, and sunshine." She can walk to this meeting place from her house. "I see you were entertaining."

Desmond's thin lips curve at the right side, ever so slightly, at the brush of contact from Katherine's hand to his. "She asked about the tattoos. One story as means of introduction. Fitting, right?" He lifts that same hand up to brush back his too-long hair off his face as the woman sits beside him, his attention going from her to Seraphine and in turn Claudia as he speaks. "Tomorrow? I can do that. If in turn you and yours come by next week, whenever we make this fire?" And as he returns to looking at Claudia, the open palm and spread digits of one hand invite the tale, even before his words do. "I've given my stories today. Ask your uncle of me later, or if you should come, but you are welcome to tell a story now?"

"It's amazing, how many interesting people there are about, isn't it?," Seraphine teases back to Mo, those dark eyes regaining a bit of warmth, of amusement. "I think you've met most of my list, now. Just that one that shares your Tribe, that I'm always wary about." Her eyes move to Desmond, and over Katherine, but it's the Iminir she holds eye-contact with. "I can only promise myself, Desmond. But I can at least give directions to those that have not been to your campsite before. Fair enough exchange?"

Claudia tucks her phone away and places her coffee beside her. "I can tell a tale. It's not as old as yours." She looks to those still gathered, "It has been a while since I told a story. It won't be as powerful as Mister Greene's, but to me - there is sentimentality." She closes her eyes a moment, "And then I will have to recall another one for the campfire." She lifts her head, "Once upon a time.." Such a cliche beginning, but she had to start somewhere. Her eyes open, "There was a gravedigger. He had the misfortune of having to dig one very rainy night. He raged and cursed the skies. He mourned the one he'd soon bury. There was no good for him that night." She sighs, "Except, someone foolishly going for a walk. She danced in the rain instead of cursing it. Rain Singer took the shorter path: through the graveyard, and found Death Cursing Rain." Claudia looks around, trying to gauge if how she is speaking is capturing the audience or too child-like.

"Astounding," Mo deadpans to Seraphine, her lips curled in a sharp little grin. It looks, for a moment, like there might be some other quip on her tongue, but it doesn't come, her blue-eyed attention shifting toward Claudia as it seems she might do some storytelling of her own. "It'll be yours," she tells the girl. "It doesn't need to be anything more." With that, she falls quiet, watching the redhead with all the same interest she'd paid to the previous orator. The naming of the characters inspires a smile, a little nod offered to encourage counting.

Kat sinks into her seat, for the most part, disappearing on the other side of Desmond. Her phone buzzes in her pocket and this time, it is she that draws her device. A swipe, a few buttons, a tilt of her head in a rather canine expression of curiosity... then the rings. The ring tone is some space cowboy movie and she's sliding the phone icon to the green side to answer it. Turning a little, she speaks into her phone but she's readily interrupted. Giving the man beside her an apologetic smile, the sound of a voice is heard through the device, shouting from the little phone: The website is not working! Do you know how much this is costing me?! FIX IT! -- all the while, Kat's face is growing slightly more agitated and impatient. Raising up to her feet, she's inhaling a breath for likely a barbed tongue rebuttal.... Thankfully she spares the ears of most, as she glances over her shoulder at Desmond and waves a hand at him as she steps outside to finish her call. The words drift in as she departs, "You need to tell me what isn't working, before I can fix it..."

As Claudia begins speaking, offering apologies or excuses for her story before it starts, Desmond waves a hand as if to bat the words away with such a casual dismissal. He holds quiet though as she turns to the story. The only time his attention drifts is when the woman beside him gets up abruptly. When she touches his shoulder and offers a smile for the interruption, he stands and shakes his head in a manner to imply 'no harm done.' And then she's gone from the room, and Desmond is back in his seat, his attention now fully focused upon the storyteller.

The grin from Mo has Seraphine's own smile growing, those dark eyes dancing. Her hand on the wolf's arm makes the touch a little more, and she scoots just a hair closer to her Alpha when the new story begins. Again, she's clearly listening, but watching the others as well. "Stories were meant to be told," she murmurs, towards Claudia. "Heard. As long as they're given voice, there's no bad story."

Claudia widens her eyes as Kat's phone is soon yelling at her. She murmurs, "My goodness.." Sounding like she'd have trouble not growing angry yelled at. She silently admires the departing woman's composure. Then she looks to the group, "Poor thing. Um.. Where was I? Oh!" "Little did they know, that each had a bridge in their names. The rain." She stopped dancing. He continued his labors. The more it rained, the more difficult it was to remove the earth from the grave. He raged so exquistely, that he invented curses that would shake the earth. Unwilling to break in the face of his anger, Rain Singer approached. She asked, "Will you be able to control your rage if the water stops falling?" She looked to the skies and uttered her wish for the rain to stop. Together, Death Cursing Rain, and Rain Singer, dug the grave. When the earth covered who was lost the two fell asleep guarding the grave." She reaches for her coffee and takes a little sip before finishing, "In the morning, the sun was shining. They saw that flowers bloomed upon the grave. How long did they slumber? I was never told. But their sorrowful work forged a bond. The two families decided they would be allies for eternity." She smiles, "And so, my parents said, it continued for a long time until a compatible couple fell in love. My mother said Death Cursing Rain was her great-grandfather, and father said Rain Singer was his great-grandmother." She politely shugs, "Who is to tell if it is real or not?" She whispers, "But I choose to believe it was." A beat, "Um. The, end."

"Perfect." Morana's easy smile confirms her sincerity, deeply pleased with the tale. "Only love story I know involves pancakes." There's a little shift in her expression immediately after those words are uttered that suggests they might be a lie, potentially accidentally, some other memory bubbling up as reminder to the contrary. Lifting from her lazy lean just a little, she snags one of the remaining, undoubtedly cold pancakes, eating it one torn-off bite at a time. "I wonder what kind of flowers they were..."

The Iminir Desmond nods and leans against the chair's high back. He settles but doesn't slouch into new posture, his hands comfortably resting atop his lap. "It is a good story, worth telling. True or unknown. We are all parts of the bigger whole, correct? Or is there something more it means to you beyond that?" At Morana's offering, Desmond chuckles just a little. It is a throaty sort, more evident by the smile on his face rather than the escaping sound it gives. "I think that means it would be your turn first, at the fire."

"Belief is part of what makes anything true," Seraphine muses, as she stretches her legs out in front of her. "And I think that Morana telling the first story at the fire is an excellent idea." She leans, presses her cheek to her Alpha's shoulder, and starts to rise up from her seat. "I've got to get running, but it was lovely seeing you all. I'm glad that you two," a gesture between wolves, "Finally got to meet."

Claudia looks to Morana, "I never asked. Maybe Uncle would know. I'll let you know if he has the answer." She then looks to Desmond, "It was told to be as a fairytale before I knew, before I knew-knew about the family. So, once we had that talk, it gave a bit of context. Which, strangely helped when Father Changed, and.." She looks to her coffee, "They could only remain allies after that. If the story is true, then it means they were the best of allies, because it was in the blood, I'd say." Her eyes water slightly, and she turns her head while keeping her expression as plain as possible. She murmurs, diversion, "The coffee here is good." When Seraphine moves to leave, she looks that way, "It was good to meet you." Definitely a better diversion than the coffee, she manages her polite smile.

Wait, there were fucking pancakes? Why did no one inform the Gypsy?! That's just messed up. Levi is sitting there staring at his phone or the ceiling for the last several minutes until he blinks suddenly - dragged from his revery as he watches Mo scarf a pancake. "Holy fuck there's food," and all that decorum and manners flies out the window. Nimble fingers reach out to take up a cold pancake and he mimics his Alpha by tearing off a chunk and chewing through it. Sera stands up and he blinks towards the swamp witch with bright greens, an eyebrow lifting even as he moves to prop his chin on Mo's shoulder, giving the 'no don't goooo' face. Desmond and Claudia are not ignored...they're just not in his focus right now.

"/That/ one," referring to the pancake story, "isn't for sharing." Given the way Mo smiles all wide and dopey, it's almost certainly a very personal story. "But yeah, I'm sure I can offer something a bit more appropriate for all audiences." When Sera presses cheek to shoulder, she presses her own cheek to the witch's head, though the look she gives the woman is a touch less forgiving when it seems she's ditching the elodoth here after insisting that she get out and be social. It was a trap. She's at least got a Levi left, the gypsy getting a sidelong look as he leans in close. "I'm not moving yet, puppy." To Claudia, she notes, "I'd be curious. If he knows. Details like that..." She draws in a breath. "They tend to be relevant to mythology and weave themselves into reality. Though... I suppose myths usually work the other way around, reality informing the story as explanations take shape. Maybe I should ask if your parents had any particular fondness for some sort of flower. Were there always lilies in the house or something?"

Seraphine fixes her jacket, and then brushes her fingers over Mo's shoulder, giving her a look that doesn't quite beg forgiveness, but, well. Might be a bit smug in the fact that she's succeeded in springing a successful trap. The Face from Levi is a force, and she has to call on her will to not succumb to the gypsy's ways. Still, she crouches down so that she can place a kiss at the corner of his mouth. Then cheek. Two kisses, to make up for her departure. A third by his ear, for her own sake. And then she's straightening, moving over towards where Desmond stands. Giving his arm, the tattoo of the wolf and the bear, a brush of fingers. "Thank you for the story," and then, with a smile to Claudia, "Both of you." With that, she's making her way out of the back room, lifting the hood of her jacket once more.

Claudia tells Morana, "If Uncle doesn't know, then the knowledge is lost. We're the only one left in the family. Both sides. Things got hectic in Oregon before he and I ended up in New York." Hectic. Sounds understated. There's a slight shake of her head when she says it though, not wanting to delve into it at the moment. "There were always many flowers. Quite the variety. The house smelled like a garden, always. My father always insisted that we needed more flowers, because Mother liked them so." Her parents were romantic types. She looks to Sera, "You're welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I haven't had much practice telling a tale, in quite some time."

Wanna be confused about what's what and who's what to who? Watch the Gypsy interact with people. Levi leans up to meet Seraphine's affections, just a hint aggressively returning each one before nosing her nose gently. And then there were only two Dropouts. A chuff is given to Morana and he nods, satisfied that the support system isn't being pulled yet. Which means that Mo is now the sole recipient of his fingers as they wander along her arm and hand idley. Those green eyes of his finally flick up to meet Claudia and then Desmond in turn, moving back to the new person in particular. "Well, welcome to Fall Coast, I'm sure there have been offers already, but if you need anything, let us know - there are plenty of helping hands."

A hint of that earlier distance that Mo had adopted starts to creep in again as Claudia starts talking about her family again, the elodoth's gaze straying. Right to the door. "Actually." That word's spoken at a normal voice, but what follows is whispered in a lean right into Levi, her forehead pressed to the side of his head while she murmurs. There's a squeeze to his hand as she gets to her feet, but then digits are untangling and she's catching up with the witch. On her way out, she asks of Desmond, "Just tell us when," with less urging in her voice this time, more assurance, a willingness to be involved whenever that campfire springs up. Then to the both, there's a finger-waggling wave. "Until next time."

Claudia quietly tells Levi, "I'm waiting for payment for the latest commercial I worked on. Then I should have enough for a small apartment. Just need a place for my uncle and I to stash a few things. I'll remember the offer though, thank you." She exhales a sigh, "He's a smoker. So I need an apartment with more than one room so he can have a makeshift smoking lounge." She looks around, "Is this a usual meeting place, when not wanting to be in a crowd? And perhaps to speak more freely?"

"One of them." Desmond chimes in, returning from whatever reverie had pulled his attention and left him out of the conversation. He still of course has the good sense to stand at the departure of the two women, nodding an agreement to Morana. "I am sure we can find way to get word back to you," he states, as she makes her exit. And then he's back in his seat, looking between the last remaining blooded in the room. "Levi is right though. If you need help with anything, as far as adjusting to the city, let us know. And be mindful of where outside of the civilization you go. Not all of these lands are ours."

There's almost a frown, "What else is in the woods? I have had some of my best photos shot in wooded areas. It's the best place to go to think." She reaches into her purse for a tiny notebook, which has a pen already tucked in it, "Alright." Disappointment, "Tell me where not to go, and I'll mark it down. I really should avoid trouble. At least until my Uncle is in town." She looks up from the notebook, "Afterward too, don't worry. I have enough complications without wanting to be a problem."

"For now, I would say it might be easier telling you where to go rather than not." Desmond shrugs once, a little release of motion coming as his eyes move from the woman to the table. Cluttered as it is, the Iminir apparently isn't finding what he's seeking. The mutter that leaves his lips afterward explains why. "Must have left the pack out by the bar. I imagine Ishmael might have thrown it out." Desmond lifts a shoulder in a shrug of defeat or indifference, refocusing again on the redhead. "Unfortunately the last few months have not been kind to the People of Fallcoast. The Anshega - the Pure, if you know those words. A few losses." And that simple explanation is all the Rahu offers for the moment.

Claudia tenses up when she hears the word Pure in the context of which it is said. Her voice is a little thinner than usual, as she attempts to say calmly, "Yeah, I know the word." The sentence is mixed with fear and anger all wrapped into one. "I'd like to avoid those areas. Where is safe to go? Or should I avoid outside town when not with others?" It wouldn't be the first time she was 'grounded,' "Most of my work brings me further into cities, not out of them. It won't mess with my livelihood to stay out of the woods."

Levi has been left alone, his packmates and companions finding their way out of the backroom. Which means he is resorting to his cigarette to keep his fingers from wandering where they shouldn't. A pack is dropped on the table, another long death stick pulled so he can light it. Exhaling to the ceiling in a slow stream he focuses on the conversation more intently. "The borders have been fought over for a long time now, before I got here, before Desmond arrived. Even now the peace is tenuous at best. There is talk and rumblings from wolves like Desmond here, and Elon about doing something about it. Truth be told, I'm not sure how it will pan out, but there is a shadow lingering over the mountains. Yes. Unless you know how to kill a wolf, stick to well known paths, and trails and bring people. Thankfully they can't just sense us so we're not in as much danger as our wolves." Our Wolves. Levi is very adamant about caring and tending to the Forsaken.

A moment's pause is given after Levi's rundown of the city and the prior remarks from Claudia. It's to the latter that Desmond offers his first response. "That said, there's no reason you can't go to the woods, in the right areas. Especially with the right people. I would not be inviting you or others to the Mountain if it weren't safe enough for me." For me. There's an inconsideration there, as the Iminir is a werewolf, and Claudia is ... well. Not. To Levi, he continues: "I have not heard from Elon after our disagreement. Has he got the ball rolling on putting his plan together?"

"I haven't met an Elon. I don't even know how to swing an axe to chop wood let alone go after a wolf. I'm already looking into self-defense classes. But that's mostly for just surviving in the city." Claudia looks to Levi, "It doesn't help with wolves, or spirits. So, I will stick to the paths that look well-worn, and avoid the woods.." She looks to Desmond, "Other than when the group goes for a campfire. I'm looking forward to that." She reaches into her purse and pulls out a business card. With a little flourish it's offered to Desmond. The card says her full name, email, a cell phone number, and the measurements often asked of a model. It concludes with 'Portfolio available upon request.' Her photo isn't on the card.

Distractions. Small as they are, they pull Desmond's gaze away from Claudia's words. Which makes it all the more apparent when he perks his attention back to the woman in front of him at the mention of Self-Defense classes. He shakes his head at the remark, though he does have the good manners to hold off words until after he's taken her card. The Business-Casual attire he's been wearing this whole time finally has a purpose, as that card is slid into the pocket on his dress shirt. At least it won't get lost there. "I've been working with Seraphine on her training. You are welcome to join. Actually classes can be good of course, but there are a few things about our way of life that your local Krav-Maga teacher might not address, right?"

Claudia watches as the business card is stashed, "Right. That's why it's mostly good for surviving in the city. I'd be more than willing to tag along for some training. How can I repay you for that though? Do you need anything a bit crafty? I'm a little crafty. Even better at helping others with that sort of thing." She looks to Levi and back to Desmond, "I'm glad I walked in this place this morning. I hadn't felt anyone's presence.. is the best way I can describe it.. around since I arrived, until today."

Desmond initially starts to shake his head to answer her, but after a moment's reprieve the Iminir stops himself from completing the motion. He settles a predator's gaze instead on her as an answer. For a non-wolfblooded, it would be less than fun. Not that he can help it, of course. "I am sure we can come up with something. In the mean time, enjoy yourself in the city, and good luck on finding a place for you and your uncle." As he speaks, the Iminir undoes the rolls of his sleeves, bringing them back to fully covering his forearms. "And if you need something, don't hesitate to call." ... Not that he gave her a phone number, or for that matter an actual formal goodbye, as he starts walking back towards the exit of the meeting-room.

Levi recovers from being buried in work emails and pings on his cellphone. Pushing the device back away he looks up and nods once at Desmond out of respect. "See you around." And then he's back to his smoke and his green eyes flick over to find Claudia more directly. "You mean the Spidey Sense? The tingling, nausea that comes from being around Wolves?"

Claudia leans ever so slightly away from Desmond when his gaze is on her. She tries to look at his face, but ends up looking to his shoulder instead. Not going to win a staring contest with a wolf. She murmurs, "Thank you." In resome to coming up with something and wishing her luck. She nods her head, "I'll leave a message with the gentleman in the other room if need-be." Perhaps she didn't expect a phone number. "Be as safe as you can be." She looks to Levi, "Yes. I don't experience nausea though. More like.." She tries to figure out how to describe it, "Hair goes up on the back of my neck. It's almost annoyingly-ticklish."