22 Signs Your Water Fountains Are Leaking

Mountainside Planetarium 

September 20th, 2018

Persephone was old enough to know that when you belonged to a Clutch, you had a little more protection than when you were a Rogue. You had a leader you could rely on and you had a place to go if you needed safety, and you had a community of people that would hold you up if you needed a hand, and overall it was just a good safety decision.

She was also old enough to know that if you met with the leader of a Clutch who had been nice enough to divulge where they gathered and offer at least another meeting, then it was a good idea to follow up that first meeting with a visit to the public hub if you were thinking about joining up.

Another point on the “You’re old enough to know this, Persephone Xenikratos” list, you had to make a good impression and sometimes that meant dressing up for the comfort of the people you were seeing instead of dressing down for your own personal comfort. While her walk in closet was vast and held a number of dresses and skirts, she struggled with what to wear until the very last minute finally settling on a shirt and skirt combo, flowy so that the weather wouldn't make it seem uncomfortable to the naked human eye, girly enough to show off what slight curves she did have, and just professional enough to make a good impression. She curled her hair into loose ringlets and tied It in a half ponytail, examining herself in the mirror one last time before setting out to Lavender Heights and the hub of the clutch she might soon belong to.

It was easy enough to find and once she’d paid the fee to get in and checked the time of the next planetary showing, she began to wander around quietly, heels giving gentle clicks against the floor while she looked around the space (pun intended). Slim fingers slid to a dial attached to a screen showing the different astrological signs and she stopped at the one for Virgo, holding the dial in place so that the picture stalled and she could study it, leaning forward against the railing in front of her silently.

black jeans and a Planetarium employee shirt

Meanwhile, a similar screen nearby that was supposed to be displaying constellations... wasn't. And Aiden drew the lucky stick to go fix it. So with a sullen face and a box of various tools he'd need at his side, he made his way down toward the front of the Planetarium. Probably something in the computer itself. Maybe overheating. Something simple, he hoped.

He nearly didn't notice the woman as he knelt by the machine next to hers. It was the rush of a power signature that alerted him, and with a furrowed brow he glanced up in her direction. There was no mistaking a fellow corpse. With a huff through his nostrils, he straightened some to regard her. She was pretty, and dressed in the way some of the older members of the Clutch would appreciate. What was it with these ancient vampires dressing like they were on their way to some snooty country club? Despite that, she didn't seem familiar. And he had a feeling Beauregard was the type to send out a text about any new members.

"Here for an interview, or something?" He glanced at her dress a second time.

While he hadn't noticed her until he was right beside her, she smelled him the moment he entered the room though, she didn't turn until he was beside her and even then, it was the smallest of turns until he spoke and she faced him head on. She raised an eyebrow at his question, tilted her head the sightest and then looked down at the dress she was wearing. Did she look that much like someone coming in for an interview? Somewhere inside she almost felt embarrassed, but she laughed, a tinkling sound that echoed softly in the quiet space.

"No. Not at all." She admitted and brought both her hands in front of her to hold her clutch. It felt out of place considering she usually wore a backpack or a messenger bag. "I came by to see the sights, meet the staff, see if I'm really interested in a membership."

She could hop right to it, ask the kid what he thought of current... management and whether or not it was worth it to join up, but at the same time she was curious about what he was doing and obviously curious about him since she was continuing to talk to him. She knelt down beside him, curling her legs to the side and setting her clutch to her other side to sandwich it between her thigh and the wall.

"I'm Persephone." She introduced, extending a hand to him gently.

Speaking in code. His favorite. She sat down on the floor beside him, and Aiden arched a brow in her direction. He couldn’t imagine any of the other well dressed members doing that.

“Aiden.” He said afer a moment, eyeing her as he took her hand. It was a firm but quick shake, and he moved his hands to pop open the tool box he’d set on the floor. “I’m far from the poster child for the group. But I guess I could answer questions if you have them. Or call the manager for you.” He glanced knowingly in her direction as he prized a scree driver from the box, but set out on removing the metal plate that covered the internal computer a moment later.

The raise of his browline made her aware that he wasn't expecting this and it made her wonder why not. It wasn't like she deserved to be in any sort of position standing over him. If anything, since she was a Rogue, she should be the one under him. This was his territory even if he wasn't the Dominus. She was merely a visitor. She let go of his hand when he pulled back to work and she contented herself just watching him work while he offered to get someone higher up to come talk with her.

"I'm more interested in talking to you, actually." She tilted her head to look at the computer before the man settled next to her, equal parts interested in what he had to do to fix the machine and whatever he might have to say about he questions she asked. "I wasn't the poster child for my last group either. Why do you say you're not?"

Okay, a little creepy, but okay. Aiden worked in silence for a moment as she spoke. The screws were tiny, but he was steady enough to remove them without issue. He gathered them in his palm together before dropping them into the open lid of the tool box, then moved to slide the panel away. It revealed a computer inside, whirring and wheezing in the way old computers did. Really, they should get updated ones. But he wasn't going to suggest that. He just had to fix this one. A hand extended to feel at the fans, and as he'd suspected it was extremely hot.

"Just not exactly welcoming committee material." He said dryly. He sighed as he stood then, moving to tap at the touch screen to navigate out of the display and to the desktop. From there, he pulled up the program that monitored the internal temperature. It was at 68, out of a max of 70. Great. Fans were definitely fucked. "You met anyone else? Or just thought it'd be safe to wander around in a group's hub until someone found you?" There wasn't so much hostility as there was amusement at how stupid that plan was.

She wondered absently if she actually looked that stupid and as was the norm when it came to Sephi and strangers, she decided that he didn't mean it as an insult. He couldn't know how old she was and how many groups she'd been in just by looking at her and obviously a Leader's business was a Leader's business and she couldn't expect Beau to tell everyone that she was expected to show up; so she could easily have been that stupid.

Especially in this dress.

"Oh no, I'm old enough to know better than that." She explain-laughed while he pulled up programs. She'd never bothered much with internal technologies. She liked natural technologies like gardens rather than computers. Social media for the business was easy, everything else was difficult. He seemed to know exactly what she was doing though and she was impressed.

"I've met with Beau before and I was extended an invitation to the planetarium if I was interested in joining. I was going to ask someone to see if he was available once I made my way around the public hub." She cleared her throat a little. "I was hoping to meet other members before I saw him, make sure I would fit in with this crowd because I kind of stuck out like a sore thumb in my last group."

"I think I have the look down, but honestly I'd rather be wearing what you are."

Well, she definitely talked as much as the other members. Aiden half listened as he worked, mostly noting that Beauregard had invited her here and she was apparently trying to test the waters.

After a few beats in which Aiden kept his eyes on the screen, clicking through a few more programs, he glanced her way. “You’ll fit in.” He said simply enough, but glanced over her figure once more. “Don’t have to try so hard. Half of us are still in their twenties. Other half are too old to care, I think. Or too proper to say anything.” A shrug.

He was a little naive to assume that she would fit in just by looking at her. They’d barely had a conversation. Judging by what he’d said though, he was young and therefore not old enough to know better. Still in his twenties. She wondered absently what her own twenties had been like, and internally shook the thought off.

"There’s an age gap then." She half asked, half stated with nod. "How long have you been apart of the group?"

He hardly knew what age had to do with it. The were all dead, and thats about all they needed to have in common for this shindig. Aligning morals were advantageous, but not entirely necessary. He’d still rather snap the neck of any bag of fleas that came too close, but it was a matter of safety in numbers over personal vendettas.

“Since the start.” He said with a raised brow. How long had it been? Two months?

“Look, as long as you don’t have it out for Weres and you know how to clean up your messes, you’ll be fine.”

If he was as young as he made himself out to be and he had been here since the start of the Clutch, he probably hadn't been apart of any clutches before. That and judging by how he stated that she would fit in just be talking to her for less than twenty minutes was very clear. He knew how this clutch worked. Not how others did. It didn't bother her - in fact it was endearing.

Don't have it out for Were's was easy enough. She employed one - honestly she probably employed more and just didn't know it - and she considered Abraham a friend, though she wasn't sure that he did the same. It was a thought for another time. She was quite honestly afraid of them more than she thought them to be enemies, if her reaction when Asha had come to the shop was anything to go by.

Cleaning up her own messes; well, it wasn't as though she'd gotten this old by killing everything in sight. She didn't feed on live humans, she covered her scent by the mass amount of flowers and herbs she worked with, and she kept her head down.

"Do you have someone teaching you?" She asked curiously, wondering about whether or not the older vampires in the Clutch went about teaching or if the fledglings were required to figure things out for themselves. If there was such a large age gap, it would make sense, but Clutch leaders didn't necessarily look at things like that.

Aiden eyed her for a prolonged moment. He knew she could recognize whatever power signature bullshit that hung around anyone undead, but for her to assume he had some sort of mentor? There was a brief moment he imagined a flame swallowing her whole, but it never came to fruition.

“No. There’s not a vampire curriculum.” He said blandly. Ophelia had made sure he didn’t fuck up. But there was no lessons to be learned from her. Nothing beyond to never let your gaurd down. Everything else had been learned on his own.

A group with this many new vampires (if Aiden's word was anything to go by) and there wasn't a single Mentor amongst them? While Bone Hollow had its faults, teaching the young ones how to live their new lives was never a concern. New vampires were taught how to control and the best ways to harness their new abilities. For a brief moment, Sephi found herself missing being able to teach fledglings.

"Vampire classes would be like really extra." She sassed back with a raise of her brow. There was no need to get bitchy with her, it was a question of how well they took care of their own. She was beginning to feel as though she was irritating him with her questions though since most times she asked him a question he just stared at her before answering or glanced her over like he was judging her and appraising her. Maybe it would be better if she just left instead of being made to feel like she was stupid for trying to understand a new dynamic.

"I think I've taken up enough of your time." She said as she stood with her purse in hand and brushed her skirt out. "I'm sorry I bothered you."

He'd been making his way up at a leisurely pace. How Beauregard yearned for some... magical ability to detect which vampires lingered nearby. For now, it was mostly chance that he happened to be turning the corner in view of the pair.

There was little missing Aiden looking like he'd accidentally pissed on his own shoes, and it did not take an empath to see some discomfort from a vampire he recognized to likely be visiting with purpose.

Could he suggest Aiden to be permanently cheerful? If only he was not a flame wielder.

Quickening his pace, he spoke out in greeting, wanting to sweep one vampire from another as smoothly as possible.

"Persephone," he said, smiling some. "I see you've met the president of the welcoming committee."

He expected the boy to snarl into a puddle on the floor and would have no complaints.

"Like, really extra" was a string of words that made him literally want to vomit. If this woman was trying to convince him that she was older than the rest of the college aged fledgeling he was being unwillingly grouped with, she wasn't doing a good job of it. She seemed to get the picture, though. Upset as she was. At least he'd given her a fair warning. Aiden was content on letting her wander away, personally proud of himself for offering a few words of encouragement before he ruined it for herself.

And of course, like a hound on a scent, Beauregard rounded the corner. At a good time, probably. A sly smirk found its way to Aiden's lips and he took a moment from doing his job to mime the action of tipping his hat and bowing the upper half of his body. With that, he said nothing else, and went back to doing what he got paid to do.

As Sephi stood carefully and smoothed out her skirt, she was only midly aware of another Vampire coming up behind them. It wasn't until he spoke that Sephi relaxed, feeling quite relieved that her original reason for coming here was putting himself out in the open rather than her having to go look for him or worse ask this child to go get him so that she could have a conversation.

"Kalispera sas, Master Beauregard." She replied, reaching out to shake his hand or let him take her hand or whichever he'd like to do. She took the movement easily, sparing a short glance over her shoulder at the boy before refocusing on the Master of the realm. "He did warn me to be fair I suppose." She shook her head a little - it was no matter, she would get proper answers now. A kind smile that reached her eyes covered her words.

"It appears you have moved in well, how have you been?"

Even better than an attitude, an exit. Beauregard shook his head some to Aiden as he left, but his attention resumed to Persephone quickly enough.

How had she been since Margaux's enforced exodus, he wondered. She seemed a soft woman, though not a stupid one. He would take an overly mindful vampire over a brash one nearly every time.

Her greeting was in a language Beauregard was utterly without knowledge in, and he would have to take her extended hand to assume it meant a greeting. His expression was warm as he took her hand to shake it, cold skin on cold skin, but genuine enough. Aiden hadn't entirely deterred her, and that was all Beauregard could ask for.

"I have been very well. The world is more comfortable in a properly settled home," he said, and with a gentle tilt of one hand sought to encourage her further into the planetarium for him to stroll beside her. "How have you been? And your shop?"

Plants grown by a vampire in the dark was a tickling concept.

It was a strange thing to be such cold beings and yet exude warmth in features and actions. The handshake was firm, the smile on the Master's face didn't hold a hint of fakeness and while Sephi wasn't stupid and knew generally that a lot of vampires out there could mask their true feelings, she chose this time to believe it if not to give herself a sense of security lost by the boy that had made her feel as though the clutch maybe wasn't her cup of tea and she quietly and respectfully leave.

She dropped the greeting to leave her hands in front her holding her clutch while stepping forward to walk about the planetarium with its owner. "I've been alright. The rogue life is not easy as I'm sure you know." She gestured a little and returned her hand down again. "Lonely if anything, though the shop is doing quite well in its new location so I suppose I can't complain." A small laugh left her toward the end of the sentence.

"Which is quite obviously why I'm here. Not Thyme doing well, but the whole lonely thing."

What was a good segue?

Loneliness was no small thing for a vampire.

A human could have a lonely day, or week, or month. Perhaps a lonely year.

Vampires could go decades once the slip into solitude began. He'd met more than one who seemed to have been lost to time alone.

Beauregard would hardly survive such a fate so long. His need for interaction was as sharp and real as his hunger for blood.

"I certainly understand. Time without a clutch is challenging for any vampire. Eventide has grown into a happy group, and quite a social one, contrary to Aiden's moping," he said.

Leading them down a corridor toward the stairwell that would take them to private quarters, he continued.

"If you'd like, I can give you a quick run through of our rules. They aren't many or harsh."

Sephi nodded in agreement, smile in place as she fell into step with hr would-be Dominus/Master. "There hasn't been a very long stretch of time between Clutches for me. My diet doesn't provide for it." A subject which she was sure would come up in one way or another so she might as well start up about it now.

Their walk took them around a corridor and Sephi felt a twinge of something human inside that told her not to go down secluded hallways with strange men. Then she remembered that she was a vampire and could defend herself with more than just pepper spray and the stress melted away. "A set of rules would be appreciated." She also had questions pertaining to what iden had daid, but figured she'fd wait until the rules were set out for her. They might be answered without her having to ask.

Her diet.

Beauregard assumed she was among the bagged blood drinkers, then. She would find good company in Edvin.

A quick trip down the stairs, his pace lively, and they would be in the lounge.

"As a whole, we do our best to keep a low profile by simply staying out of trouble. Feedings should be managed with as little harm as possible, with memories cleared as needed. Accidents happen, of course, but should be few and far between."

Explaining felt borderline unnecessary given what little he knew of Persephone, but it was best if everyone started out with the same set of expectations.

"Shifters are allowed within territory so long as they behave. If they don't, simply alert the group, and our numbers are considerable enough to put down just about any threat when called."

The key, of course, was reaching out for help in the first place. Beauregard waved with a hand toward some couches, inviting the other vampire to find a seat.

"Rogues should be introduced to me, but don't need to be chased from territory in the meantime if they seem polite. In the end, everything can simply be summed up as not seeking trouble, but asking for help if it finds you."

She listened as he told her the details of what he was offering as leader, nodding to show that she understood, but ultimately not interrupting him as he went on. Her eyes took in the sitting area, body language open and warm as she took several strides in to get a real feel for the place. When he gestured, she took his suggestion and sat down, crossing ankle gently behind the other and setting her purse to the side.

"That boy up there, he's a newer Vampire or he said as much. I'll admit that in the past, the Clutches I've been apart of don't look fondly on new arrivals to the undead, and from the sound of it, you have a fair few of them. Is there one person in the Clutch that teaches them? Are they the responsibility of the one that turned them? Is there a policy against making New Vampires, or is it encouraged?" Her questions were rapid fire because that's how her thought process hit her. Questions she'd asked Aiden and then one that she hadn't because it came to her very suddenly.

Good questions, and particular ones. Beauregard wondered if loneliness would inspire her to create additional company. Either way, asking in advance was wise, and he appreciated it.

He found a seat across from her, thoughtful as he spoke.

"We have several mentors in training, and as a group we strive to make it a village's effort, but in the end, a fledgling will be managed most closely by the one that turns them, assuming the sire is part of the clutch," he said.

Then came the more challenging question, one he hadn't truthfully decided on.

"I personally am not made giddy by the creation of new vampires. A fledgling is no small investment. But I am not wholly opposed to the idea if done with care. I imagine if we run into some flock of fledglings, that could change."

The last bit was spoken lightly enough. He didn't imagine that would become a problem.

She could get on board with a village raising the group. It made a lot of sense in a lot of ways and she was glad to hear that she could be of help if someone needed her assistance. What they would need her assistance for was beyond her because Vampires didn't need herbal supplements unless it was Belladonna for relaxation, but she would be available and that would be important.

"I've turned only one or two in my lifetime, feeding off humans directly would give my heart palpitations. You know, if it could." She gestured absently, intent on making it clear that she was not eager to bring more into the fold. "Which brings me to my diet, I stay away from human off the vein as much as possible and have a source in the city that provides me with blood bags. I won't participate in group feedings, however I will attend an event that it happens if my presence is needed."

Assuming that was okay she had one more thing to ask and then this was pretty much a done deal.

Beauregard could not imagine a world where his primary food source came from cold plastic bags. He found the idea unnatural on a deep level. But Persephone would not be alone in this preference, at least.

"Edvin, my second, often favors a similar diet. If you find yourself ever facing a shortage, I'm certain he would be happy to provide."

He could imagine Edvin would like Persephone very much.

A group feeding sounded like a messy affair, and he had no desire to create such an event.

"We prefer parties to group feedings for gatherings," he said, brightening. "I think you'll find yourself very comfortable here, Persephone."

Oh so there was someone at least a little bit like her. That was good news. Her face broke into a smile, glad that she didn't feel quite as terrible about her decision to at the very least meet with Beauregard and discuss her entry to the clutch as she had with Aiden earlier.

"I certainly hope so." She said with a nod. "Just one last question if you'll indulge me. Its no secret that there are Vampires with abilities out in the world, if I join you will I be expected to use my abilities in anyway?" She'd been apart of clutches like that before. Domini that collected powers because he wanted to have one of each. It wasn't a pleasant place to be. Her abilities were her own and she used them in the way she wished.

That was a curious question.

He thought back to Aiden, how perhaps he could have been used as a weapon if things had worked out differently. But the boy likely would have enjoyed it, apparently leaning toward more violent tendencies.

"I'd have no such expectation of you or anyone," he said simply, voice somewhat quieter. "Is there some specific concern you have about the way your abilities could be used?"

He didn't know what all she possessed, but he was curious now.

His voice lowered and had she been human she woulds have been leaning forward to talk to him intently, instead she stood her ground. This was the one topic that made her nervous. She didn't want to be used at all and in the wrong hands she could be used as a weapon. "For anyone that doesn't know what to do with it, I just make pretty flowers grow." She explained, connecting the dots between her shop and her supernatural extras.

She hesitated. Was this inviting it? Too bad now, she was dangerous, the Dominus had a right to know what or who he was inviting into his midst. She might not make things explode, but she had the power to do terrible things. She outstretched her hand and concentrated, eyes flashing lavender as several poppies grew in the palm of her hand, different types for different uses, opiates, sleep aids, just for show."Papaver somniferum to weaken humans and psychics." She closed her hand and opened it again, Belladonna seeds, leaves and berries grew next. "Atropa belladonna to weaken the supernatural community." she sighed deeply and leaned to place the Belladonna on the coffee table between them.

"I have been used before. Suggested and compelled to use my power against Domini's enemies. If I join you, I need your assurance that this will not happen under your rule by any member of your Clutch including yourself."

Such a showy display. Beauregard had always assumed such an ability required some sort of initial seed to work. Creating matter seemed like a messy process.

Unless, perhaps, it was pulled from somewhere else in the universe. The magic of it all was not something he considered often these days.

He hardly had anything memorized regarding poisonous plants, and for weakening humans, he had little interest. But the second one she mentioned, he could not deny a flicker of interest. Atropa belladonna. Atropa belladonna. Atropa belladonna. Beauregard told himself he'd commit it to memory, or at least write it down as soon as he got to his desk.

Beauregard watched the display with slightly raised eyebrows, impressed, sincerely. She was not the first to express a concern over compulsion. He had been suggested into humiliation more than once, and he knew it to be a hateful thing. He was not above it, himself, but he was unlikely to use it on someone like Persephone.

"You have my word," he said. "And if anyone attempts to compel you to do anything, I ask that you let me know, and I will immediately take care of it."

Hopefully not something he would have to deal with any time soon.

There was something on his face that Sephi couldn’t pinpoint. It made her worry a little, but she didnt expressly day so. She had to trust that he’d do as she asked with the information she was giving him else there was no point in her coming here. If you couldn’t trust your Dominus who could you trust?

She nodded at his request of her. "I will." She promised genuinely and with a flicker of her eyes from the plant on the table between them (it would likely die in a few hours unless cared for properly) and back to Beauregard she reached forward to shake his hand firmly. "I look forward to working with you, Dominus."

And just like that, the bond would be formed. A magic he didn't understand, but palpable all the same.

"Welcome to Eventide, Persephone."

The plant he would keep if she left it. He was a man prone to keeping trinkets.

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