CLOSED Said the Spider to the Fly

Ben Honee

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#1
They had jumped him somewhere on the street as he wandered the night, his head had already been in the wrong sort of place...the shadows churned and threatened him, twisting into visages of his past as well as a future he wasn't so certain of. These were the nights where he was reminded of his own frailty, his own doubts...where did the madman end and the prophet begin? Supposedly that was something historians wrestled with proverbially for ages...

He just wrestled with it literally, as he fought like the devil against the undead thugs who tried to hold him down...there was no honor there, he screamed in tongues, scratched and bit, never knowing when to give up and stay down. A cornered animal who had been long under attack before a few Brujah decided to rough him up, but he didn't make it easy for them. By the time he was drug half unconscious to wherever they delivered him, they were almost as bloody as he was.

"Sir, we found this outsider in your protectorate."

Ben felt his joints buckle as he was pushed down on his knees, a heavy grunt escaping his throat as he landed on his torn hands. Still, there was fight to him, he looks up at the figure he was gifted to, eyes afire in defiance...his mind was buzzing, like an electric scream of words he could only perceive, and yet he couldn't make sense of it. But all of these things, forced subservience and wicked doubt, they were hated but familiar. Now it was time to see how this would play out.

@Marcus Valerian
 

Marcus Valerian

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#2
In as much as Marcus welcomed a classy diversion from these endless account books he was forcing himself to examine over and over, the proprietor of the Raven was not amused by being interrupted by a small flock of Brujah, dragging in some bloody scrap of what appeared to be a man. Well, to a degree, anyway. It was a vampire alright, but clearly not one of his and definitely not warlock scum.

Pursing his lips in distaste, the Lasombra slammed closed the book he was perusing only moments ago and pushed away from the desk, still seated but slightly curious. Elegant, long legs crossing one over the other as he pondered a myriad of ways to deal with the wretched trespasser. One of them at least - was off the table - as Marcus took in the roughed up figure, not really knowing what to make of this whole thing.

"Wonderful. Well, he doesn't look like much, and I have already dined."

He frowned as the captive was forced onto his knees, ignoring the man's grunt and noting that even though he was clearly overpowered, he must have given his boys a scuffle to remember. Interesting. And still, he did not look like much. But looks could be deceiving. Well, first thing was first. The scene was as distasteful as it was boring, bordering on annoyance. Time to shift gears and change the setting.

"You may leave."

Benjamin's oppressors shuffled their feet and vacated the premises with all due haste. As the door closed behind the last one, Marcus drew to his full height and canted his head at the man as he came around his desk to lock his black gaze with the intruder's.

"Who are you, and what do you seek here?"

Right hand shot out toward the stranger - a distinct offer to help him rise.


@Ben Honee
 

Ben Honee

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#3
That flitting dark part of his mind wanted him to goad the man, no... monster to do it. Drain him dry and let him bring down the ire of his peers for breaking kindred law. Then Ben assumed something good would come of his death.

"I'm no one."

His voice rattled as the blood in his body worked diligently to mend him. The hunger gnawed nearly as much as the call to the void the shadows whispered to him. "But you can call me Benjamin. And I didn't want to be here...your henchmen brought me here.". There was a distinction it wasn't even subtle...in fact it was plain as the broken nose on his face.

Still he was polite as manners required, he accepted the hand up with a grunt as his body protested to stand. "Thank you." Though a moot point he attempted to straighten himself out, but his clothes, like himself were simply in ruins.
 

Marcus Valerian

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#4
I'm no one.

Well, that's not true, the brooding Lasombra thought to himself, wondering if the stranger was trying to sell himself short on purpose. What are you hiding, hmm? Everyone has some secret they like to keep close to their heart; what is yours, I wonder? His ears picked up a faint rattle in the stranger's voice, as he gave out an alias. Better that, than having to make up a name, the vampire thought. Most people did not care for the names he chose.

But you can call me Benjamin. And I didn't want to be here...your henchmen brought me here.

Watching the man closely, Marcus nodded, releasing Benjamin's hand as soon as the man was able to stand. "Benjamin. Ben. Good name. Biblical," he pointed out the obvious. Mouth curled in a faint smirk before the vampire nodded in acknowledgment.

"Given the manner of your 'entrance' I am well aware you did not care to pay me a visit. But you were trespassing on my turf, so naturally - these henchmen were only doing their job - which I'm sure you understand. Now, I could turn a blind eye and pretend that your presence on said turf was an error made in genuine ignorance or.... we could make things a little more interesting. First though, do enlighten me if you would - where exactly DID you want to be, instead?"
 

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#5
It was sad, but true that everything Ben had said was truth. At the very least how he believed it- however questionable his perceptions were. His name was truly Benjamin, and he was strictly no one of any merit to bother with. Yet here he was, immensely bothered. Story of his fucking life (and subsequent unlife). He sighed, "Religious family." He offered as he got his footing, strangely that wasn't the first time he had heard that statement...strange really, since he never considered the biblical nature of his name before, yet he couldn't help but wonder if people were simply saying that, or somehow his mind had slipped into a loop of new dementia he had never considered before.

He supposed in the end, it didn't really matter.

"I was coming back from the Cybermachine." And no local to the area, he had in fact, gotten lost. Not that this guy was about to believe, him...instead he poked his tongue around his own teeth, trying to push anything loose back up so they could heal should he survive the night. "Some guy named Vittorio hired me to do some coding for him...I got lost." Not a lie in the bunch, he was good at telling the truth. But the truth was usually the hardest thing to sell when it came to blood sucking parasites.
 

Marcus Valerian

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#6
Marcus nodded slowly. The Cybermachine was a Limbus Elysium. He would have Benjamin's story checked out later, but in the meantime...

"You are talking about Vittorio La Guardia, the proprietor of the Cybermachine? He is an old friend. I am glad that you two got acquainted, and impressed that he allowed you to do programming for his club. Victor is known for being very particular with his things... His trust is not given lightly or easily. And so, if you claim to have secured a job from the man, then your prospects are already looking up, I'd say."

Nodding as Benjamin finished his spiel, the Lasombra thought it made perfect sense. Of course, the man could have made it all up but what would be the motive? There wasn't any that he could think of, right off the bat. If Ben was new to the city, getting lost was not at all far fetched. It was expected.

"So you are new in town; have you got any lodgings?"

If push came to shove, the stranger could always stay here, but then he would have to be watched and be okay with being watched.

"The Raven is an Elysium for our kind... you could always spend the day here, in safety, if you have nowhere else to go for the time being?"
 

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#7
The raggedy vampire grunted in affirmation- one in the same. Fact of the matter was it wasn't a permanent gig, at least to his understanding- he couldn't commit to anything long term. Not with the way things we're.

"I do."

Ben's words were succinct only because the pain of the nights previous proceedings was still digging deep. That and he was out of his goddam mind tonight and it was starting to get to him. He twitched slightly. "Though...I appreciate your hospitality.". More like...beware Greeks bearing gifts.
 

Marcus Valerian

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#8
Well, that was interesting? New in town but already had a place to stay. More than likely it was temporary and probably nowhere in Riverside or St. Francis Village. For Benjamin's sake, anyways. But what if he were a Maledictus plant? Taking another look at the roughed up fellow, Marcus wondered if his 'guest's' being here was purely a coincidence or part of some bigger (and insidious), plan.

"An elysium is made for a strict purpose," the Lasombra smiled wryly. "As I am sure you are aware. And now that you have found this one, you are welcome to come and go as you please. Just give my name at the door - it's Marcus."

Now then - what else were they to do here? Not much. Not like Benjamin could deal him much harm; he could barely stand. And he was certainly not too forthcoming with conversation. Marcus was not in the habit of forcing things, he'd much rather just get rid of them if they got too boring.

"You're free to go," he announced, walking back to the seat at his desk and delving into the top drawer from which he procured an envelope containing an undisclosed sum of money. This, he tossed on the desk, intending for the man to take it. "For your trouble," he gestured to the latter, then took up his seat yet again. "If anything, you can buy yourself a new set of clothing with it. Frankly, I don't care what you do with it - it's yours now."
 

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#9
"Ironically, they're safe places."

Ben wasn't about to pussy foot around the fact that he looked a bit like over tenderized meat, but the time being? He felt anything but safe. But what did he expect? Kindred were practically animals...of course, he'd have never say such an opinion out loud, but a queer part of him smirked just the same as he took Marcus' blood money. He had just been ready to grab and go, when he hesitated....a strange feeling coming over him, like a stepping over his own grave he shivered and let it go of the envelop. "Keep it, you're going to need it more than me." There was a seriousness that came over his tone that hadn't been there before. A war yet to come, still he had felt it once before.

His expression emotionless he allowed the shadows of his mind absorb him, as he recited a grim, bloody portent. "Your enemies are your only friends, and your empire will fall." Ben gasped, and clutched his chest, still speaking in tongues until he he collapsed in a heap at the Lasombra's feet.
 

Marcus Valerian

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#10
"Good man."

Marcus did not care too much about the fact that Benjamin looked like a raw steak - he was more into the fact that the Caitiff was trying to ascertain his position, make himself somehow feel 'safe'. "Work for me." The words came out quicker than his thoughts did, the actual mechanics of vocalization preceding the brain. "I could use someone to work my security system against my enemies."

The Lasombra listened as the last prophetic formula fell from Ben's lips, only to lock his gaze with the Caitiff and nod, "Rise.... RISE, now." His finger cut across the wrist, exposing a bleeding vein, as he pressed it quick and determined, to Ben Honee's lips.
 

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#11
With a few quick jerks, it was easy to see whatever had come over Ben was more than any fainting spell, he was made of tougher stuff than that by far...but a vision in the middle of his waking hours always was soon followed by a seizure, his teeth clenched, his lips locked, Marcus' gory offering slid down his chin only to be lost among the sanguine losses from the nights other festivities.

Fortunately, being dead, the caitiff didn't have to worry himself over a swallowed tongue or a battered head, and he came too in a rather...awkward position. With a man he didn't rightly know hunched over his person, one who...hours before had some goons who had beat his ass. "Get off me fruit cake!" He grumbled and pushed his arms out, a weak gesture...it wasn't as though he was trying to do any thing but get some space.

He played the stoic well enough, but he knew he only got more cantankerous when he was scared...what was that guy trying to do? Rape him? Or whatever it was that passed as such among vampires that he knew. He shuddered and wiped his mouth with the edge of his tattered sleeve- freedom was the only thing he had going for him, and he wasn't about to lose that to some pompous pretty boy with a power struggle problem. "You don't even know who your enemies are." His eyes squinted, he could remember his own words in bits, and it seemed as true as anything right now. "So I'm not who you think you're looking for..."
 

Marcus Valerian

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#12
Fruit... cake?

Not that Marcus was unfamiliar with the phrase, but it dawned on him that Benjamin was a bit 'light of mind', so to speak. Not a true Malkavian, no - but slightly deranged, just the same. "I know exactly what I am looking for, or who - for that matter - and I want to see what you can do." Releasing Honee at present, he laughed and walked over to his desk, pouring a glass of vitae into a waiting glass from a nearby decanter.

"And I am quite aware of who my enemies are. You would not be one of them." Pause. "Unless you possess the blood magic craft, that is. And I doubt that you do. If I am incorrect, please - feel free to demonstrate the extent of your ...enmity, toward me. I am prepared."

Standing back against the wall, Marcus took a drink from the glass then set it down, folding both arms across his chest... waiting.
 

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#13
Ben simply grumbled, his eyes rolling as he got himself back up to his feet. "Well, tah-dah, you saw it..." He put his hands out and let them drop to his side like the worlds most lazy ringmaster showing off the lamest trick in recorded history, because for the caitiff his real power these days was apparently passing out and talking shit...which for whatever reason kindred got all hot and bothered over.

If Marcus thought he was crazy, even if it was true, Ben had to say the feeling was mutual, because here this guy was talking about magic and all he could do about it was slow blink. "...Ok?" Maybe he should have spoken with more deference but he had never been taught the courtly ways as most of his kind were, Concordia let him run wild, and it showed. "You know I didn't mean me...right?" A scoff, and the confused and disgusted expression to match it.

"I meant I doubt I'd be able to save you from your troubles. Security only works when you let the right ones in." The irony wasn't lost on him, he got a feeling that just like Concordia, something had gotten in, something had already endangered the status quo here, so he wondered if he should have ever come here in the first place, Erebus couldn't save itself, so it sure as shit couldn't save them.
 

Marcus Valerian

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#14
"No, I know you did not mean... you."

Pondering over Ben's last statement, Marcus thought the man's logic was nothing short of brilliant - even in its simplicity.

"Since you know so much, then perhaps you could devise something that works the way you suggest - for my club? That would be the Raven, downtown."

The Lasombra went on, describing the amenities, painting a virtual map of the place with his words. "It could just be your thing, Benjamin," Marcus said evenly, dark eyes closely watching the man for reactions - even the most minute body language, at that - attempting to gauge the man's interest if there was any to be had.

"I don't need anyone saving me from anything, but I can always use more talent in my employ. Or do you feel yourself unequal to the task?"
 

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#15
It wasn't in his nature to mince words, he said what he meant. Damning whatever consequences that would bring, in a dark part of his mind he liked to think of that as part of his 'charm', but Ben knew well enough he was nothing if not absolutely abrasive. "Good, I didn't want you to get the wrong idea." He replied gruffly, not wanting to incite some stupid vampire feud or whatever else was all the rage among the old timers...this group hated this group, that one hated this one, he didn't know why, and to be frank he didn't care.

His brows knitted in consideration. He was a computer programmer...physical security wasn't exactly his forte, but the wheels were turning to some extent, even though his head hummed like a swarm of angry hornets. But he was used to that. "Slap a security feature tied to a UV light, maybe retina based...if they aren't who you've chosen, they'll get a hell of a rude awakening." He offered with a shrug.

"I'm a computer guy, I'm not exactly the one you want to manage..." Well anything really, he had to be honest that he wouldn't trust himself with much in the ways of important things if it meant him being consistent, his sole problem was that he wasn't consistent, it haunted him from childhood. "I mean besides, aren't I already working for your man or whatever? " Ergo wasn't he already tangentially working for Marcus already?
 

Marcus Valerian

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#16
Slapping retina-based security features tied to UV lights did not seem like a bad idea. Simplicity was often the best way to get straight to the point. "Good thinking," he said, observing Ben's shrug with a raised brow and wondering if he had some kind of schizophrenia or some other advanced form of psychosis. His guest certainly did not act normal, but a Malkavian - he was not.

"Yes, I've heard all about you 'computer guys'," the Lasombra remarked carelessly, shifting his weight from one foot to another for no apparent reason other than boredom. "But I was also under the impression that you were eager multi-taskers - or was that just idle gossip? Stereotypes aside, I don't care who else you work for - your deal with him is separate from your deal with me. If... we can come to an understanding, that is?"

Still waiting on that unequivocal affirmative.

Ben could be working for the devil, for all Marcus cared, and there might have been some marginal logic to what he said - but Valerian was not a kitten that followed an unraveling ball of yarn to see where it led - he had others to do that kind of work for him. Many minions. Many more balls of yarn. His head was beginning to throb. Strange - vampires did not really get headaches? Hopefully Ben was not a carrier of some Kindred contagion; Marcus was not in the mood to deal with yet another unexpected cluster-fuck among all the ones already closing all around him.
 

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#17
Ben shook his head, his instincts rarely lead him astray, but he had a feeling like someone was tiptoeing across his grave...and he wasn't about to ignore it. "You might want to double check your sources." Because while he liked a challenge now and again, he wasn't here for work. No he had already pledged his allegiance to another, and he wasn't talking about some bit job with Victor and his loose slots.

"I can't."

Or he wouldn't, maybe one in the same, but he owed the Concordia his life, and he wasn't about to do them any level of dirty while he was out and about, after all...sure he could multitask, but he already was. "So thank you, but no thanks...not right now." With that, he straightened himself once more and gave Marcus a curt nod, he meant no disrespect, but he also couldn't commit to something he didn't feel comfortable with.
 

Marcus Valerian

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#18
"Double check my sources? You have only just arrived on my doorstep. Give me a moment - I'm not like you hackers who seem to know everything about anyone long before you meet them face to face."

The man had a point though. Was Marcus just offering a 'beyond serious' security job to someone he had only just met??

What the fuck with it with you and strays? The Beast inquired within. First this mortal girl and now this pathetic specimen of a Kindred.

"Alright, fair enough," Valerian conceded Ben's point, seeing that he was outnumbered - as his own mind was now working against him as well - or so he was considering the Beast to be. "I can see that you cannot be swayed. Loyalty is very hard to come by, these days. Especially true loyalty that never wavers, no matter the cost. So... given that in spite of appearances, you seem to be a man of impressive character, I am inclined to let you go. Under one condition."

Tapping his lower lip for a moment, the Lasombra flashed an intense look at the fly he was about to release from the confines of his net.

"Who do you work for now? The employer that holds your leash, then one you will not leave, for my offer? Your freedom for some information."

Information was knowledge - and knowledge - was power.