|Dramatis Personae|| |
December 12, 2020
Ariah basks in the rain and receives a visitor.
A park at midnight
It's after midnight, the night after the rather unexpected events of the Court meeting. Ariah is not wrapped in her waistcoat and culottes, nor her cape and boots. She's in something simpler, something more suited for the night life. Corset and skirt. Standing in a park. Her jacket is on a table under a little picnic shelter, but the white-haired woman herself? She's standing, arms outstretched, head cast towards the sky. She's soaked, pale skin glistening, white hair shining in the absence of the moon, but a flickering lamp instead. Either she's crazy, or she's meditative, or both, as she basks in the heavy fall of heavenly water.
From whence she came, most know not, but here she is standing with her hair down in a black tank top tucked in to black slacks and wearing those black boots that raise her another two inches to put her at that six foot market. Freya is a mountain of a woman, and now, she's just here, hands in her pockets, standing next to Ariah, and enjoying the rain with her.
"It's peaceful isn't it?"
Ariah is far, far less of a mountain. All four foot ten of tiny vampire, even smaller compared to the Nordic giant. "Madame Grimmsdottir," the icy Daeva greets quietly. "Oui, it is. It restores me. Bolsters my strength. My blood sings an the storm responds in chorus..." she says with an exultant sigh, then slowly lowers her arms. Soaked, but not bothered by it or the cold, she slowly opens her eyes and turns those dull greys to Freya. "Bonsoir, to what do I owe this visit...?"
Freya is also in no means or measure bothered by the rain or the cold, something they share in common. She turns to face Ariah head on and offers a hand, "I owe you an apology" she replies, "that's what /I/ owe this visit." She exhales, this one must have done much and more to maintain her humanity so she does all those habits that humans do. "I'm an elder, eight hundred and fifty years on this earth as a Kindred, sleeping when it was required and awake when I felt needed and you deserved much and more from me and I failed you in treating you with respect and diginity. I am hopeful, however, that you'll forgive my transgressions and that you and I can work together."
Ariah has to turn her eyes down to see that offered hand, or at the least look it over thoughtfully. "You put a lot of trust in me, Madame," she says quietly, cautiously, but reaches out to take that hand. After all, a mere twenty-four hours prior she had expelled a blade from her palm. "We are not all careless beasts, and I hope you will understand that I have been trying to do my best for the Kindred of this Praxis, and not merely those of the First Estate. Oui, we must work together, and I can see that you are aware that making such a spectacle is... not the most effective way to do so." Her hand is likely a good bit smaller than Freya's, but she gives a good, brief squeeze. "I am a soldier, and always will be, and the Seven have brought war to our city."
Freya smiles warmly and slowly takes her hand back, "I've been watching" she adds a she plants her hand back in her pockets. "Work with me Ariah?" yeah, first names, because to hell with the pomp and circumstance. "Work with me on having a Primogen Council and a Prisci overseen by a non alligned Prince whose desire is the best for our people and this praxis. VII is to large a threat for internal fighting and politics, and I can see that you're a woman of integrity, grit, and sheer will and my personal investigations show me that you truly care for your own."
Ariah returns her arm to her side and casts her gaze skyward again, drinking in the rain. Literally. Some of the drops that gather on her bare skin turn faint hints of crimson before they simply... absorb into her. "You do realize that were it any other Alder Invictus holding my position, one of you would likely not have walked out of that theater last night after that exchange of insults, oui? But I am not. And this is why you come to me, mon cher, is it not?" There's a slow nod, "The Seven seek to divide us, that much is certain. The body of a Carthian in an Invictus holding. The destruction of Elysium. It is clear they have no respect for the Masquerade, either."
She dodges the question, for a moment, closing her eyes. A few heartbeats pass, were there heartbeats between either of them, before she opens her eyes and meets Freya's gaze again. "I am but one on the council, mon cher. How would you expect me to pledge my support? To, how you say, strong arm the others? Ensure they fall in line? The Carthian may back you if only for the virtue of being unaligned, but I cannot convince the others." There is a soft noise, a cold chuckle, the edges of her mouth upturning in the faintest ghost of a smile, "I would have been willing to duel you then and there for right of dominion. All is correct, though. There is a threat that demands facing, and as one, not divided." She exhales a sigh, a decidedly human gesture, "What would you have me do, mon cher?"
"Ariah, I would ask you to support me and to work with me for the better of this Praxis as a whole." She pauses, a moment, "I'm not asking you to bully anyone on the council, and the only pushback I am certain of is Guy anyroad." She also exhales again, "I would have you stay right where you are, because it is the mark of any good leader that they surround themselves with experts and advisors."
"Good. I don't do bullying well. I may have been the Court Archon... or Hound... before sleeping, but I am not, how you say... a thug," Ariah says quietly. "I do not doubt your sincerity, non, but what will it look like to the rest if I simply reverse last night and back you without question, what will it say to my integrity? It is for the betterment of the kindred of this Praxis, I do not disagree, but I am not the one who needs convincing, mon cher. What have you to offer but promises to reinforce your claim of dominion?"
"Conviction, Experience, and Devotion Ariah" is her reply, "that, and yes, I am asking you to turn on what happened yesterday mainly because I am here offering up my apologies for my actions and showing you that I am no woman to ignore her own failings." Another pause and Freya folds her arms before looking off in to the distance.
"Then you understand that I would have fought you, as I accepted your challenge, because I, too, am a woman of conviction. Much as it was a gathering of Court, I do not put on 'shows,'" Ariah says quietly. "But while some kindred swear that they are perfection because to err is human, as they say, I am not beholden to such hubris. Mistakes were made, mon cher, but forgiveness may yet set us apart from the Beast. Tell me what you would have me do."
"Simply as I have already asked" Freya replies plainly, "Stay you. Do what you're already doing. Help me make this Praxis better for all of Kindred. We not only have the VII to worry about, but humans, the Hunters, and no doubt I would argue our diplomatic ties with the Magi and Garou are strained as well."
Slowly, the white-haired woman nods. "Another explosion like that is the last thing we need, oui. Open warfare will be the undoing of the masquerade and all of us," she states quietly. Ariah then nods, regarding dimplomatic ties. "There is.. a detective aiding the investigation. I do not know if he is a Magi, but he made no attempt to hide that he knew what I was the moment we met. Beyond him, however, I as of yet am unaware of our... extra connections. But oui, I will do what I am doing, mon cher. You have my blade and my blood, Madame Grimmsdottir."
Freya smiles warmly again and nods, "I am greatful Madame Advisor, thank you." With a small pause to make certain no one is watching the, joys of Auspex, she turns and takes a few steps, "If you'll excuse me? I think we both have a lot of work to do." She smiles, waves, and is then gone and in her place a Falcon takes flight.