Set the Town on Fire

The Cage 
#1


 The text message group fell quiet pretty quickly after the invitation to meet at the Cage went out. Alina would have been thankful for that had she been thinking about it. She wasn't, instead making a quick call to Trick and Avery each, letting them know she was on her way to the Cage. It was a bit of a drive from her house but considering that everyone else lived in North Glenn or farther, Alina was still confident that she'd get there first. Especially with a lead foot.

 Sure enough, Alina rolled up to an empty lot and parked before heading down the stairs and inside. She locked the door after herself, sure that they'd all either text upon her arrival or knock. Otherwise, the bar was entirely empty. Really, it was almost the perfect place to meet. No cameras, secluded, seedy part of town, doors with strong and secure locks. The only thing better would have been some evil mastermind's underground garage so that there was no evidence of any of them.

 Grabbing a top shelf bottle of whiskey and a glass, Alina poured a glass as she waited for each member of their pow wow to arrive.
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#2
Trrick arrived shortly after Alina did and locked the door behind him as well. He gave her a brief hello, kissed her cheek affectionately even though she made grumpy faces at him whenever he did and headed into the office to make signs for the doors.

As he set to work on the signs, steady handed calligraphy writing out "Private Event. Closed.", he thought to himself that somehow he didn't think this was exactly what Jo envisioned when she texted him. He'd apologize for that when she got here because there was nothing believable about a toneless apology over text that he wasn't sure she'd believe. He'd opted out of sweats and a punny gym t-shirt at the last moment, deciding on a dress shirt and pants that gave a good first impression.

He moved back out of the office with the signs in hand and moved to tack them to each of the doors, locking the door after him before going to sit at the bar opposite his mate so that when people arrived they weren't intimidated by his height. No need for that.
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#3

Avery didn't have a lot of time to get ready to go once the messages went out, but Avery wasn't going to go to a meeting with all of the leaders looking like a slob. She was gonna do her hair and her makeup and she was going to choose clothes that were definitively Avery, but also didn't suggest that she wasn't suited for the job that she had. It helped of course that after the pregnancy her body had mostly gone back to normal = the few shifts here and there in addition to the full moon shifts having pushed her body back into the lithe form it had been before. It wasn't quite there yet, but until her boobs shrunk, she was gonna rock 'em. She kissed Seth and Sadie on the foreheads, shoved her boobs into Joey's face affectionately and set off for The Cage.

She arrived after Trick, parked her bike next to Alina's car and once her helmet was stowed under her arm she headed into the establishment, unlocking the door with her key and locking it again behind her. She liked that she was the third one here. "I HAVE ARRIVED." She called happily. "Also, Seth asked for his God Mom today. Come over after this so he can show you his beautiful picture."
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#4


Yana wasn't here quite yet.

That was the first thing he noted as he pulled into the lot he was familiar enough with, though he hadn't been here nearly as often as he might have liked. Levka backed into the parking space, paused once to glance at himself in the rear view mirror, then exited without much worrying over who was already here otherwise. He knew he was one of the closer leaders to Cedar Creek, so he hadn't rushed it. All the same...

The heavy scents of recent passage took him straight to the door, simultaneously aware that he was welcome and expected here but also not in as comfortable a position here as he'd become in Belle Vista.

Regardless, not surprised to find the door locked on such an occasion, he rapped his knuckles on the entrance, a little amused at the sign.

Private Event, indeed.
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#5

 This was an important event in the course of her own life as well as that of the coalition. She knew it from the moment the idea of meeting in-person was pitched, from the moment she'd been dragged into the group text. She also knew there was time to change if she rushed out of work and pushed the speed limit. So, that's what she did - priorities.

 By the time that she had arrived to Cedar Creek, she was ... not early - which was not to be confused with late, but was late in the scheme of her own standards. She had parked near her usual spot near The Cage, had grabbed her phone from where it was tucked away while it charged on the ride over. The walk to the door was a quick one, hesitating for a split second as she turned the corner - she pursed her lips, assessed the situation. There was a brief moment in which she considered going back to the car, waiting for a count of fifty.

Stupid, they'd all be there.

 Instead she settled a couple strides away, focused on the screen of her phone and settled on a simple mumbled "Evening." The man was terrible at technology, and this was a serious matter - she assumed it would go unanswered until all this business was said and done.

You look hard to burn.
Yana

 And just like that she slipped fully into business, the slightest hitch of a smile dropping as she slid her phone back into her bag and snapped it shut. Her eyes focused on the door itself, narrowing her attention to await some sign of movement from the other side.
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#6
 She did indeed grumble at Trick, but she also leaned into the kiss just slightly before he pulled away. Her wolf was agitated and on edge. There was about to be a lot of powerful Weres in one place, on her territory but they didn't really have any other place to go at such short notice. Yes, it was wolf territory and they'd likely all mind their own manners but when it came down to it, they weren't her wolves and in the end, she couldn't control them short of incapacitating them. Alina actually hoped that it wouldn't come to that. With Vampires becoming such a constant and consistent threat, she didn't need to be on bad terms with any of her fellow Weres leaders. She was doing this to protect her wolves, not make more enemies for them.

 Avery's arrival was met with a small, slightly tense smile. "Will do but that means I'm crashing on your couch." Which meant Trick was also crashing on her couch. Ugh. Why did Avery have to live all the way in Crestview? She didn't have time to gripe about the distance at the moment, the knock on the heavy metal door loud in the silence of the fight club.

 After knocking back the whiskey in her glass, Alina went to unlock the door and open it, stepping to the side to let them both in and then lock it again behind them. "Welcome to the party. Hope you brought your own drugs." She led them through the hall to where Avery and Trick were and made a gesture towards the bar. "Help yourself to a drink."
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#7
It was while he was waiting, patiently and briefly, that he scented her approach--and felt it nearly as much. Not her turf, Yana's presence wasn't nearly so bold, but it was still a weighty thing. And though she seemed to hesitate as she came around, ultimately she approached. He, of course, watched her coming. Similarly assessing, he supposed maybe they could have discussed decorum and transparency beforehand, but...

Follow her lead. For now, anyway. Her quiet greeting and her focus on her phone was enough to keep him standing where he was. It was as the door was swinging to permit them entry, Alina just on the other side, that he felt his phone buzz lightly in his suit jacket pocket. This had him looking back to Yana briefly as they entered together, but without comment to her he focused on the Wolf King.

"Going to be that kind of evening is it?" he said, tone light, defiant of the atmosphere that vampire talk could easily bring. So far, he was in good company of the sort of people he liked. Yana, foremost of course. Alina and Trick he knew nearly equally well, and had nothing but good to consider them with. But there was an unknown entity on the premises, and it was her he eyed now as they joined the slowly forming group.

Not coyote, so not Jo. Must have been Hyena Queen, then? A nod to the Wolf Queen and to her as well and he offered a swift, "Добрый вечер," sincerely to the gathering. He thought for a moment to take Alina up on the offer of helping himself to something straight away, but he held off for the moment, not feeling nearly so desperate enough to feign soothing himself with alcohol.

Actually, he kinda wanted to check his phone, but he would hold off on that, too.


"Good evening."
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#8
 She stood up a bit straighter when the signature of wolf became stronger still, kept her hands in plain sight and offered the King a gracious nod of her head as a form of initial greeting. She followed behind Levka, gave him a decent birth on the way towards the bar and afforded the other two the same polite but formal sort of greeting. Neither were familiar - another wolf that she presumed to be the mate Alina had mentioned once or twice, and a particularly strong hyena. She'd heard a lot more about that one, at least.

 "Evening, nice to finally meet you both."Taking advantage of a few seconds of peace before the whole militia rolled in to officially make it a party. ... Maybe a drink would be in order after all, something to occupy herself with as she settled against the opposite end of the bar and stole the occasional glance to the liquor bottles lined up on shelves.
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#9
 Did she wish that they were all meeting under better circumstances? Eh. Not really. Honestly, Alina couldn't have cared less what kind of circumstances they were all meeting together under, as long as they all fucking minded their shit. Fortunately, Trick's calm and collectedness was helping her keep the lid on her own agitation.

 She followed them into the main area, a place normally filled with people and the scent of blood and aggression, watching as they looked around. Neither of them moved for the alcohol yet but that was fine. Their choice and all. "Yana. Levka. Avery. Trick." For once, Alina dropped the use of nicknames. This was some formal shit, right? Right. She could be formal. Ish.
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#10
Cedar Creek wasn't as far away as some of the other territories, but it was still mildly inconvenient.

Jo angled her truck into a nearby parking spot before letting herself out and rounding to the other side to pause for Alex. She was a tad more nervous than she should have been, belatedly questioning her decision to bring her bandmate. Was that a dick move? Maybe. But also everyone else could suck an egg if they had a problem with it—a thought that efficiently settled her nerves.

Moment of worry over. Now to just contend with the antsy impatience that left her feeling jittery.

She led the way to the door, trying the handle and then rapping her knuckles against it when she found it locked.
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#11
Look! or rather Listen! Another knock on the door! Alina turned from the other four and went to unlock the door for what would not be the final time tonight, unless the next two decided to show up together as Yana and Levka had. They did not. Instead it was Jo and --

Alina blinked at Alex for a moment, both surprised and not surprised. Figures she'd end up getting turned. Better a trash dog then a corpse, though. Leading them into the main area too, Alina gestured at them, inviting them to introduce themselves and get comfy. Just one more.
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#12



 She had accepted this, she was ready - she was going to go in, she was going to grab a seat at the bar, she wasn't going to say a single word. Have to use the restroom? No you don't, sit there and wait for this to be over. Have to blow your nose? Sniff, because blowing your nose would make too much noise. Not a peep, that was the plan. And maybe it would be different if it wasn't every leader in Mountainside. Maybe she would be a little more in her element if the topic of the hour wasn't arson in some form another. But that wasn't the case and her cover story for being here was a badge that she didn't even own and - that was Alina.

 The door opened, the smell of wolf hit, the face came into view, and she broke her own vow with the faintest little 'umph' of surprise. Deer, meet headlights. Heart, meet throat. Immediately she looked to Jo, raised her hand a bit as if to grab the other's arm. You know, like - 'Hey I used to sort of work with this woman - unfuck-with-able.' Or maybe something else, maybe 'Holy shit maybe I should wait in the car.' Except she stopped short, tried to remind herself not to make waves as she kept her head down and all but fell in line behind Jo.

 There was some sharp dressed lady that smelt like cat and looked like she was bored - she assumed that was cheetah lady. She smelt like Garrett, and if it wasn't for how the dark haired Queen looked her over and tilted her head a bit without so much as a twitch of a smile, maybe she would have said something about good ole Garrett. But nope, not today. She smoothed her hands over her skirt, forced the weakest grimace of a smile to the tall fellow seated and the woman who smelt like ... not dog. What the hell was that? Crestview had - oh, duh.

 And then on her continued assessment she caught the expected familiar face and stared this time - hard. She wanted him to look at her, didn't want to break her vow of silence. Instead she waggled her brows a few times, lifted her hand as discretely as she could and motioned to their surroundings - an eerily quiet version of The Cage. "Holy shit." She mouthed the words, emphasized each movement so hopefully it could be conveyed appropriately. Like someone took their trusty Labrador mix to the Oscars.
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#13
Avery. One new name to add to the box of interesting people. He had very little experience with hyenas, honestly. But that lent the woman a rather clean slate with which to build a reputation. Good for her, even if it left him studying her for a moment as he considered where to put himself in the room. Eventually he perched himself somewhere in the midst of them all, not quite going to hover at Yana, but not buddying up with anyone else, either. Back to the bar, happy to idly pull his phone out with the barest glance towards Cheetah Queen and...

Heh.

This resulted in a momentary distraction as he sent a text quickly back to Yana. Short and sweet and--

good beause yoi look ver hot
Levka

--mostly legible? No doubt Yana would get it. And he was privately pleased with himself because it was completely the inappropriate time and he would not be stopped.

Anyhow. When he tucked his phone back away inside his jacket and looked up, color him surprised because! The trash wolves were here! He nearly proclaimed this out loud, probably in Russian, or maybe not, but he managed to keep it to himself if only because King Jo was here and there were first impressions of the important variety to make.

That said. Oh no, there was no way he would miss the look of the second coyote. In fact, he'd noticed her first. Because color him surprised again... He grinned openly at her when she caught his eye, and while maybe he should have let her blend into the background like she seemed to want to, silent in her wonder, he could only keep so much to himself.

"Sasha," he said, tone clearly an easy call-out. "Didn't know you were important enough to be here."

It wasn't angry or even necessarily accusatory. If he hadn't known her maybe he would have been more cross at one of the leaders rolling up with an entourage. That wasn't how they'd planned this, and none of his were here. But this was Sasha, and making her uncomfortable was more fun than growling at another King for being presumptuous.
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#14
Avery nodded to those that she knew, shook hands with Yana briefly - glad to put the name to the face after hearing such a storyabot the Vampire in The cage. "Pleasure's mine." She shook hands with Levka as well, and when Jo walked in with Alex, she smiled at them both. Except. Levka didn't call her Alex. He called her... Sasha. She snorted into the whiskey she'd poured for himself and sputtered. Levka was very clearly Russian. An idiot could tell that. She'd spent time in Russia. They didn't call people Sasha. They called dogs Sasha.

"Sorry." She choked and then leaned forward to shake Jo's hand in greeting and also Alex's. " Nice to see you ladies again."
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#15
 Right, schmoozing - she could schmooze .. once in a blue moon she would attend some charity banquet cover with her old job. And while this was a smaller crowd and there was a distinct lack of cocktail shrimp, she imagined that this was more or less the same. Only quiet. Only not, because Levka didn't seem to understand what subtlety was as he called her out - by the wrong name. It was like one of those 'on stage with just your underwear' dreams. the sort of thing that diminished her smile.

Seriously, who the fuck was Sasha? Why was Cackle Queen laughing? What the hell?

 "I'm the big number two, Levka." She looked a bit smug then, tried to fake it until she made it as she tilted her body a bit sideways and lowered her voice as if they didn't all have exceptional hearing. "That means I'm the s-" Wait. Meeting. "Shooters? Do you want anything?" She looked to Jo and startled by the offer of a hand, gave Avery a firm and totally professional shake. "Nice to see you too." She thought to ask about the whole pregnancy thing, wasn't sure if it was private and kept her mouth clamped shut.
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#16
 Once she'd extended her niceties to the one unfamiliar face of the bunch so far, she settled back, elbow on the bar as she tried to feign interest in the decor. As if she had not been here a handful of times, as if this was new to her - even as she smirked a bit to herself when Levka pulled his phone from his pocket. She said nothing, ignored her own phone when it buzzed in her bag at her hip. For the sake of cover to waited a few extra seconds, smiled a bit to Jo when the coyote entered with ... another coyote.

 It wasn't an issue for her personally, no immediate threat to the one at her side who looked a little out of place but mostly uncomfortable. Their eyes met for a split second and she offered her only the slightest quirk of a brow, smirked as the blonde looked away almost immediately. Instead she turned to her phone, glanced at the time first and then the message, surely Red Rock was nearly the- Levka, please.

 She drew her phone a bit closer to her chest, cast a sideways glance over her shoulder to make sure she hadn't gleaned any added attention.

Thank you.

 She thought to ask him about the blonde accompanying the King coyote, didn't want to waste the time it would take phrasing it or watching him struggle with a response - instead she let it slide for the time being. Thought about sending something a little less than severe, not so professional or distant - and maybe if they weren't at the actual meeting, maybe if almost everyone wasn't here ... but that wasn't the case.

Behave, at least out loud.
Yana

The word was a tagline at this point, the rest a concession to some inherent selfishness.
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#17
"Hey, man," Jo greeted Alina warmly, grinning toothily as she privately reflected on the wolf mom schtick.

She stepped into the room, casually surveying the other leaders before making her way to the bar alongside Alex. Seriously, no one had brought their seconds? Come on, guys.

Jo turned to seek out Trick on the opposite side of the bar and direct an exaggerated frown and purse of her lips at him, not all that put out but still not fucking thrilled. Thanks for turning a casual, low-key arson into a complicated thing, man. At least give a girl some warning next time.

Then the extremely Russian bear—Levka, she assumed—addressed Alex... in a name that definitely wasn't hers, unless Jo had missed some memo, which the hyena queen apparently found hilarious. Whatever. She'd ask about that later. Alex seeemed to have it under control at any rate, and she offered only a mild hum in confirmation of the coyote's retort.

She returned Avery's handshake, still a little skeptical of the woman—if only because of the company she kept, that fuckhead who'd toyed with his knife at their brief introduction—but shelving her opinions in exchange for professional pleasantries. "We've missed you at our slumber parties," she jested easily.
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#18
 Oliver still had no idea what exactly was going on - Yana's text message had been vague, but he was able to grasp that the names of the local areas were code names for territory leaders. He just... knew none of them. At least, he didn't think so. A part of him rode on suspicion, wary of meeting up with so many powerful Weres in one building, perpetually prepared for the worst. Simultaneously, he realized that this was a good opportunity for networking. Still, he had texted each of his leopards to let them know of his whereabouts for the night, in case things should go South.

 He was used to the tingling sort of sensation that came with being on another's territory. What was really bizarre was the overwhelming sensation of multiple power signatures vibrating against his psyche. Their scents still lingered on the cool night air as he stepped out of his parked car - bear, cheetah, wolf - of course, hyena, coyote... was that it? Hm. The leopard locked his doors, straightened out the front of his black button-up, and followed the scent trail to what was apparently the back door - and was apparently locked. With a sigh, he knocked, standing back to wait.
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#19
LAST. FUCKING. ONE.

"One of you is playing host next time." She half complained venturing BACK TO THE DOOR and opening it for —

Well, here was her second surprise of the night. The leopard that had kissed her and gotten punched for it. What was done was done, though, and she harbored no ill will towards him for it. "Whats up? Just follow your spidey senses to find everyone else." And with that, she locked the door again before following him back to where everyone was.

Introductions were short and quick. They al knew each other’s animals, but not each other’s names. That done, Alina pulled a barstool closer with her door and sat on it, looking around at them all.

"Jo texted Trick earlier. A cat was attacked by a vampire on her turf. This isn’t the first time a vampire has attacked a Were. When Weres were outed, one deliberately came to Cedar Creek and attacked Trick. He barely survived. There have been other attacks as well.

Simply put, the Vampires are a problem. Namely because we don’t know a lot about them. Jo wants to burn down their headquarters. Joke or not, we need to do something."


There was a lot more she could have said but. For now, this was it.
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#20
Avery did some laughing at his comment. He decided he would probably like her, and he smiled broadly at Sasha for her boldness. "Mmmhmmm," he said, apparently not convinced about something, buuut letting it slide. Even if it would have been kinda fun to say 'my own piece of shit isn't here, argument invalid' or some equivalent.

Just... nope. No one else was raising a fuss about it and he'd put a nice little spotlight on her for a second, so he was content.

Generic greetings all around, no one getting too incredibly chummy. And while they waited for Oliver, he had enough time to check his phone again and find quiet pleasure. But his response was just plain bratty.

ok but dos this meani ca ncome touch you
Levka

That didn't require anything out loud, Yana. He's finding your loopholes.

And that was about the time Oliver showed up. Levka let his eyes take in everyone as introductions were passed around succinctly. They were an interesting bunch... And none that he found himself at odds with. Yet. Who knew what would happen when they started opening their mouths, right? Speaking of, Alina was ready to take the lead, spinning a story he already knew the better details of first, then another one he'd known less.

Vampires were a problem, indeed.

"Da," he was quick to agree in the short lull that existed upon everyone taking in what the Wolf King had said. Not afraid to put attention on himself, he added what he knew. "The ones in Cordova are a heart of the problem. Though... perhaps a few know this already." He knew Yana for certain, only because he'd been the one to tell her. "Certainly we are all aware we have been barred from Cordova as a city. On threat of death for any who go. But there was a... mmm, disagreement? Among many of them weeks back. Many vampires who disagreed with this choice were also kicked out of the city. I had one of my bears come to me with this information, refusing to tell me her source. Obviously word from a vampire. But they were also asking for asylum in North Glenn, which I refused."
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#21
Jo lifted one hand a little to waggle her fingers in greeting when Alina namedropped her.

"I've heard the same, but I'm not buying the whole exiled, innocent pacifists schtick," she tacked on after Levka. "Another were fed me the same line, but her source was a vampire we caught screwing with emotions. Like, supernaturally. So not exactly the most trustworthy source." Jo gave a small shrug.
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#22
 For a while she was content to do as head let her to a position of such power, to wait quietly at the sidelines, to watch as a more complete picture formed around her. The slight shift and disruption of Oliver's arrival allowed her the opportunity to glanced down at her phone, and while she considered herself a verifiable master of a vacant expression, there still is the faintest shift of a brow. Levka, please.

Sure
Yana

 Perhaps it was somewhat of a challenge, but she trusted at the end of the day that he would not. A bluff that she could call with very little risk involved. Besides, she didn't dare take a chance on swiping any more of a message, didn't want to seem disinterested in what made for a meeting of colossal importance. Even as she slowly pried away from the screen of her phone, she looked from face-to-face and listened with a grim sort of severity as they each regaled little tiny bits of their less-than-stellar experiences were vampires were concerned.

 "As some of you know, Belle Vista received a head in a bag a number of months ago. It was no Were, but it was an investigator I personally hired." She glazed the story, told it like she was sharing information for a particularly wonderful potroast recipe - standard chatter. "A couple weeks ago, a vampire attempted to attack one of my own in Larkspur." Her eyes drifted to Jo, a polite nod off appreciation before continuing on. "My cheetah informed me that this woman asked her if she was from Belle Vista when she caught scent of her." She shrugged her shoulders, shifted her footing the slightest bit. "The point is, they're not exactly shy - I think taking the whole lot down a peg or two would be wise."
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#23
Avery watched Jo exchange a look with Trick. The Wolf Queens expression apologetic but also at the same time, not so much. Avery strode to shake Jo's hand and following the shake and words she smiled. "We'll make plans for another one now that I'm not pregnant and in need of a bodyguard." It would be nice to go out and drink with people again. She used to enjoy having friends once upon a time.

"Not being shy is right. During the Were broadcast we had a Vampire in Crestview and it changed in front of everyone into this...grotesque form. Red and Joey would have killed it if I hadn't showed up. " She hadn't killed it either, but it was to serve as a warning. Since then there hadn't been any in Crestview aside from the one that she was pretty sure lived somewhere around that plant store. It didn't cause problems and it didn't kill anyone on her turf and she'd never managed to find it, soooo.
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#24
Trick greeted everyone as they came with a nod and a gesture to the bar fpr them to help themselves. When Jo came in he shrugged his shoulders and gave her a slightly apologetic look. So sue him for calling in the cavalry. He'd been almost killed by one, he definitely had a grudge to hold.

Once Avery was done her piece, he spoke up as well. "They came after us at the Brewery. Luckily for us it was just me that was there, also luckily for me she would have killed me if I hadn't managed to get home on pure adrenaline." There were other good things that had come from that event too - mainly Alina was now his and his alone for the rest of his days, but he wouldn't go into that right now. "She also ripped my favourite shirt." He shrugged and sipped his whiskey.
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#25
 Ah, yes. He knew this wolf. A shadow of a grin passed over his face for a brief second as she let him in, bowing his head slightly in greeting, quieting his beast's wary grumble. He moved with purpose but without hurry, easily finding the rest of the wolf's company gathered 'round. He remembered the hyena, despite her change in hair color - he recognized the blonde coyote, the bear and cheetah duo. Only the coyote boss and the towering male wolf were wholly unfamiliar, but Oliver would shake hands and utter his name to each of them all the same.

 The tattooed leopard settled on a seat as Alina started in, silently observing as words started. Tales of personal experiences with these bloodsuckers, rumors of internal turmoil. Oliver had only one, with the woman who had so easily turned him away with only a few words, something that still irked him. What were the odds that this unbashful creature was one in the same with whoever had been attacking these leaders' Weres, the bagged head? If she had come by once before, would she be brace enough to come again? What if she targeted one of his leopards? His beast hissed at the mental image, and suddenly had little issue finding solidarity among these other powerful lycans.
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#26
The stories were... not nice. Jo's was alarming in a way that had Levka frowning. Manipulating emotions sounded like the sort of problem that was not easily rectified any way other than crushing the thing that did it. But who was to say such a being couldn't... make you feel like not crushing them? No, thank you. Maybe pure rage bear was the answer here. See them manipulate that.

"Obvious problem are the bold ones from Cordova. The rest worry me also as well, though. Perhaps an action that can be taken as a message? I know we already speak of the refugees that seem to think common enemies make immediate friends--" Hahah, yeah, right. Any good mobster worth his salt could tell you that that was the biggest myth. "--but they have probably found sympathy from unrelated others. I met one early this month, in your town." A look to Jo.

He'd, uhm, meant to text Sasha about that as a heads up, but he'd let that opportunity slip by, sorry trash wolves.

"Know his name, Edvin. Not with the city Clutch now or ever. But he was very..." fuck, this word, and now Yana wasn't in a position to supply it. The flounder was mercifully brief, "...well, he was arrogant. Superior? Called himself prophetic."

That was definitely what he'd said.

"We did not part on amicable terms, though in public he kept his hands to himself." Levka could not say the same about himself, but that wasn't the point. "I have no love to lose for any of them."
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#27
 She had settled on quiet once the storm of attention (as unwarranted as it had been - thanks, Levka) had settled. Instead she headed behind the bar, made herself small and unimportant and was mindful to not cause much mess as she poured herself a beer and held down on the lever until the last possible second. Her eyes wondered to the last member, another kind of cat that remained a mystery to her - except he really wasn't a mystery, because that was silent but deadly. Except he was talking, at least a little.

What an asshole.

 Any biting remark she may have wanted to make was silenced by where they were and why, pouring a second glass instead and gently tapping Jo on the shoulder as she pushed it closer to the other side of the bar. With that she leaned in, elbows propped against the counter as each regaled their individual stories about how vampires were shitty.

 There was a lull, she considered that silence policy and took a gamble. "I've been inside Night Vision." The words merited a curious stare from the scrawny cat-lady, and she avoided eye contact and soldiered on. "Just once and not for long ... it reeks in there." She shifted her weight, held her glass near her lips but didn't take a drink just yet. "I met one of 'em, he let me go with a warning - but ... yeah." Her gaze turned to Jo, nodded her head at last and mumbling into the froth of her drink. "Burn 'em."
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#28
They went around the room and shared their stories. Alina remained quiet, listening to what they all had to say, already at the conclusion that most of them were coming to. They needed to do something. Make a show of force. Warn the vampires off of fucking around with them.

It seemed like they’d all had run-ins of some kind or other and no one here had really had any kind of decent experience. And if they hadn’t had good experiences, what about their subordinates? The ones that relied on them for protection and some semblance of safety. They couldn’t ensure that unless they stopped laying low and taking hits and instead finally hit back.

"We’ve completely banned them from Cedar Creek but they still show up and attack my wolves. I’ve issued a kill-on-sight order as a result. If they’re not going to listen..." She shrugged, having little sympathy for the corpses. Her eyes fell on Alex. "You said Night Vision smells like them?" She hadn’t heard of the place but would look it up after all was said and done. "Like it was their headquarters? Or something else?" She knew the Brewery smelled like Wolf and that Line of Fire smelled like Hyena. Each of them had their own unique scent. This was what she fell back on for comparison.
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#29
 "I used to live in Cordova." An important little preface as she straightened up a bit when Alina turned the spotlight her way. "The whole place sucks, no pun intended." Okay though - slight pun intended, but this was a serious matter so she would play it down for the sake of argument. "But yeah, Night Vision is worse - it's like ..." She rubbed her fingers together, as if she could sift and physically latch onto the word. "It's more concentrated? If that's not the epicenter then I don't know what i-"

"It is."
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#30
 She had settled in to quiet with her story said and done, roamed over the details offered by each in turn - the tangible tidbit from the alleged second in command coyote. Coupled with what she knew of Night Vision, she straightened up again and resisted the impulse to press at her temples. "It is." She waited a beat, offered the blonde the slightest nod of her head as an apology for the interruption before she went on.

 "My head in the bag, we lost contact after he went to investigate Night Vision." It didn't take a genius of a tin foil hat to turn the pieces of the puzzle until they fit into one another seamlessly. "The name on the deed isn't Margaux, but -" She raised her shoulders and then dropped them almost immediately. "That doesn't necessarily mean anything one way or the other."
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#31
A tap on her shoulder heralded a drink, and Jo murmured a quiet "thank you" as Alex slid it toward her. She nursed the glass as the others exchanged their stories, winced at Trick's and pressed her lips together to suppress a smile when Alex broke her vow to keep quiet in record time.

The bear apparently liked to talk, and wait what the fuck was this about a vampire. She gave a small tod as Levka looked to her like she'd totally already known that, lips pursed slightly. Whatever, they could deal with that later.

"I know I'm the one who suggested some casual arson, but any message we send is just gonna get kicked right back to us," Jo pointed out. "Unless the message we're all talking about is outright killing her, but that doesn't mean the rest of her vampires wouldn't pick up the mantle." A small shrug. "Just to point out the risks." Not that she was advocating for slaughtering the entire clutch or just rolling over.
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#32
"According to my bear, when the other ones left there were at least three rather powerful ones that remained behind in the city. No doubt Margaux is just one of these. Names mean little to me at this point compared to numbers." He shrugged. "But I think point is that we are getting grief regardless of what we do. Have any of us had anyone go into the city recently? And yet we have this siamese thing show up to smack... coyotes and cheetahs around. Unprovoked, da?"

A glance around to Yana if only because he knew she knew the details better than he remembered what she'd said to him.

Maybe should have clarified 'siamese thing' for anyone not familiar with that trick, but he didn't even think twice.
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#33
Siamese thing. Right. Maybe they should all get on the same page about that first.

"Uhhh, on that note, how about we step back a sec and pool together what all we know," Jo suggested, then proceeded to dump everything she knew, tapping an additional finger against her knee for each thought she ticked off. "Alex says they can make you do things if you make eye contact, Margaux can turn into a cat and Yana's heard about birds, too. Then the one who can screw with emotions."

She turned her attention to Avery before prompting, "And you said something about one changing form? What kinda grotesque?"
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#34
Avery was content to stay quiet while they broke the ice and went around the room. She spoke her piece and waited for everyone else to say their and only when she was prodded into speaking did she decide she really needed to say something here. Avery was good to do whatever the group called for, as far as she was concerned, this was the Elders council and if they could all agree on what to do then the groups would be strong enough.

"It basically looked like one of our hybrid forms except deceased. Skeletal, larger, stronger, faster. Mandible grows and teeth lengthen, their hands... basically mutilate into claws. And then they shift back like its nothing - it didn't even need to rest."
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#35
 Oliver sat in silence, listening intently to each of them speak, pitching in their experience and knowledge. He had too little of his own to contribute, though his mind flashed back to that night that he had somehow, against his every instinct, turned away from the vampire woman who had attacked one of his customers. That must be the mind control that the coyote spoke of. The tattooed leopard frowned, wise to the very real threat that posed. What person didn't value their autonomy enough to fear such an ability?

 "They're nocturnal, right?" The Scot broke in, finally. It was an assumption, but he was banking on them to know enough to correct him if possible. "This Night Vision. Do we burn it while they sleep at dawn? Or at night while they work?" Where he lacked information, he made up for with initiative.
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#36
It was information gathered together, bit by bit. Far from a clear and comprehensive picture, but more than they could have known otherwise. He didn't buy into the idea of befriending any and trusting them to be forthcoming, so incident after incident, pooling into a bigger picture... It would have to do. Levka took it all in in the same way he'd often done while being given a task, then his head turned towards Oliver.

Man didn't tend to say much, he'd realized, but it felt then like maybe particularly important when he did.

The bear had an opinion immediately. "Day, while they're sleeping. No point in making what should be an eradication into a battle."
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#37
 She had been quiet as the information was passed from leader to leader, reserved as a part of her closed ranks and focused on sorting her own thoughts. This whole thing was a mess - not the meeting, but Vampires in general. Enough so that she resisted the very real impulse to groan or huff at every little revelation that rolled in one after the other like a punch square to the gut.

 The leopard's voice was still so new to her that it pierced that self-exile, made her lift her head and quirk her brow at the question. She had been prepared to answer when Levka seemed eager to do the same. "Daytime, most certainly would be safest for all of those involved. It does, however, come with more chance of being caught." The damn thing was in the heart of the city, after all. "If we're alright with that risk ..." Well, so be it.
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