When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie

It was the night of the full moon, and Sayed decided the best place for him to be at that moment was in the middle of a bustling city. He was still healing from his wounds from the last encounter with a shifter, and not wanting to incur more, he felt that the safest place would be right in Cordova.

And so, he sat, looking through his phone at houses and apartments in the area. He couldn't go back to Avondale. Not after what had happened. He needed to be as far away from the shifters as possible.

While being pledged to the clutch and Guardian and a dam besides left her busy, it was not as though she couldn't take a night off to scout about. She was no fool to go into the were heavy areas, but it was worth it to stake out the once heavily-dominated city. Some question on the mind if Bone Hollow still existed, if someone else of those powerful vampires had assumed the mantle.

It appeared not. This was free land once more. Perhaps the Dominus already knew, but if not she could break that news to him.

Now, though, it meant the land was free for hunting in. At least until some brutish beasts moved on in. So hunt she would — at least until she caught sense of another vampire lurking.

Didn't take terribly long to find him. She approached at an amble, not primarily focused on him, not intending to startle.

Pandora had been kind enough to let him stay with her, and he felt better for that. Especially after he found out that Amy, Holly, and Regina were moving. He didn't care to do that personally, so he'd stay in Mountainside, being more careful. Larkspur, he was sure, had a small community of weres. And he refused to stay there on the night of the full moon.

Cordova was definitely the safer bet, and he sat underneath the street lamp hanging over the bench he was at, still going through the paper for new places to live. It was then that he caught the scent of vampire and looked up. A woman was walking nearby, and Sayed was sure she was the vampire, since the area was a little empty.

He was glad for the turtleneck he'd decided to wear underneath his coat, as it covered up the injury he'd received from the shifter. Even though he generally trusted other vampires, including ones he didn't know, he knew well enough that not all were friendly, and it was better to keep his injuries hidden from one that may not be particularly friendly. He smiled at the woman, and looked back at the paper, showing that he was friendly and that he wasn't interested in interrupting her night.

He didn't do much other than smile at her, keeping himself to himself. She had to figure that was rather boring of him, and so, Raziyya would be the one to initiate.

"Ah, I thought you were one of us," she smiled, pausing before him. "Mind if I sit with you? If... the paper is not more interesting."

She would only approach his bench if he gave the okay. Otherwise, she would remain standing. Raziyya could sense no clutch signature around him and no others were in the vicinity.

So perhaps, thinking long term, she could bring back a new vampire for Safiya to befriend. Better than another Ionely rogue.

The woman spoke again and seemed friendly enough. Sayed looked back at her and chuckled as he scooted down the bench a bit to make room for her. "Sorry. Wasn't meaning to be rude." He folded the paper up neatly and stuck it in the messenger bag next to him. "I was seeing what places are available to rent or buy in the area. You wouldn't happen to know of any, would you?"

He smiled at her once more and held out his hand. "You don't actually have to answer that. I'm Sayed."

She appreciated the conscientiousness that came with his apology, and shook her head in easy forgiveness, and gave him a handshake in return. "Raziyya. A pleasure to meet you, Sayed. Truthfully, I only know that this place used to be home to some old clutch, but it seems they've disbanded."

She said it with a playful widening of her eyes at the end, shaking her head. Clutches rose and fell all the time.

"Are you looking to stay alone?"

"Raziyya," he repeated, smiling. "هل تتحدث العربية?" The name certainly sounded Arabic anyway. Though it could be Persian or Indian. He didn't know everything about Arabic, and that entire area tended to share names anyway. Still, it'd be nice to maybe know someone with a similar background- if her background was similar. It was entirely possible that she was ancient.

She mentioned the clutch that had once been in the area- something he'd heard mentioned several times since he'd moved there, but still didn't know what exactly had happened. "Right, yeah," he said, his eyebrows creasing together in thought. "Do you know what happened there? I moved here about a month ago and I keep hearing people mention this clutch in Cordova, but no one really seems to want to talk about it."

Her next question caught him a little off guard. He considered it for a moment, not really sure on his own thoughts and feelings. "I don't really know what I want to do," he said quietly, deciding to be honest. "I definitely want to be with a group, but, I don't know." His eyes went back to the vampire next to him. "Are you a part of the Lavender Heights clutch?"

Translation: "Do you speak Arabic?"


"Aiy," she nodded affirmatively in her own dialect, smile widening for a language from home. So beautiful, and such a rarity in this part of the world.

"What a shame, it is a lovely lesson in hubris," Raziyya smiled with some twinkling mischief in her eye. "The prior Domina made a habit of antagonizing shifters. Apparently she made enough enemies of them that one foray out of town had her ashed between two cats. It seems anyone else here didn't care to take up the mantle, and so," she brushed her hands to each other, as if wiping off dust.

Satisfied with her own answer, she posed a different one to him as well.

"'Ana min Sourya, min 'ayna 'anta?"


I am from Syria, where are you from?


Sayed was glad to hear some Arabic. It was possible that Pandora knew some as well, but he'd yet to ask her. Even if it was easier to talk in English, he was still happy to settle into some Arabic. It reminded him of being back home in Chicago with his family. The warm thoughts went away though as Raziyya mentioned that the former leader had been killed by antagonizing shifters. He froze suddenly, wondering now if the ones he'd run into thought he was like that too. Is that why he'd been attacked? Were they planning on ambushing him? That settled it; large group or not, Sayed would need to join a clutch or leave the area.

His head was focusing on that rather than the woman when she start speaking again, and he shook his head, thankful that his ears had at least heard what she'd said. It only took a few moments for him to translate and process. "Eayilati min Misr, lakani nashat fi Chicago." He noticed that she hadn't answered whether or not she was part of the Lavender Heights clutch, but assumed it was maybe because she was excited to actually get to speak in Arabic with someone. If it wasn't because his neck still hurt and he was scared of shifters, he might've been the same way.

My family is from Egypt, but I grew up in Chicago


Another Egyptian; that was wonderful. Safiya would likely find kinship in him. She'd absolutely abandoned the question on her clutch, but on this thought would circle back naturally to it anyway.

She also realized this was Sayed, named by Beauregard in his dealings with Amy. But if he was the same vampire, was he alone now? It seemed so, given his other words.

"To answer you before, yes, I am," she broached the topic of others again. "I can tell you that it's safer and more secure, under a proper Dominus, rather than alone, or with a partnership lacking territory."

Carefully, she'd tread.

He listened closely to the woman this time and frowned. He knew she was right, and with everyone else but Pandora gone, he knew he'd have to join the Lavender Heights clutch. It wasn't that he disagreed with Beauregard or had anything against them. He just thought that a smaller clutch would be better for him. But as he listened to Raziyya, he wondered if he would've truly been safe in Avondale with the clutch.

And he also didn't know if Beauregard would even allow him to join. He'd dropped the Dominus's name when he'd been surrounded by the three shifters, and he wasn't sure if that would get back to him. Sayed sighed and rubbed his chin in thought before he looked back over at the woman. "Taearadat lilhujum," he said softly, feeling safer saying it in Arabic. "By three shifters," he tacked on, before letting his hand go from his chin to the top of the turtleneck to pull it down so Raziyya could see the damage that had been done to him.

"'Ana khayif minhum, wa'ana la 'urid 'an 'asbab almataeib limajmueatik." He frowned and let go of his turtleneck and looked away from Raziyya. "Most of my friends left after that, and I've been wondering if I should do the same. I like this area, and I don't have any sort of problem with the shifters. I just... I don't know, got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess." He looked back to the woman for a moment before looking at the ground between them.

I was attacked

I'm scared of them, and I don't want to bring trouble to your group


Then he was the same man they'd mentioned. Raziyya looked to his throat, inhaling a small hiss. Those wretched animals.

"'Ana asifa," she sympathized, wishing she might have been a healer only for this. Power she'd likely never touch. She almost hazarded a reach with her fingers, but stayed herself.

So his friends left him here while he suffered. Raziyya genuinely felt for him. It also meant there would be nothing for her to find in Avondale. Biding her time for nothing, it seemed, but this was a suitable payoff.

"Come with me to the Heights. It is safe there; the shifters do not seem to take issue with him. Moreover, a true Dominus can help to heal you, if you share in the clutch bond. It is a wonder I have felt recently myself."

I'm sorry.


Raziyya was kind, and Sayed was glad for it. She had sympathy for him and told him that he should go with her to the Heights, and honestly, he felt as though he had no other choice. It wasn't exactly like Chicago, at least. He'd been able to say no to the Dominus for the Heights clutch when he first met him, and he'd been able to express interest in the formation of a clutch. It was just that it had dissolved and there was only one left.

"Okay," he said quietly, standing up. The idea of being healed was also a welcomed one, though he didn't know if it was something that could happen that night. He grabbed his bag and wrapped the strap around his shoulder. "You did mean right now, right?"

The decision was quick. She allowed herself to feel very convincing for it. Rising with him, she nodded in confirmation.

"This city is full of ghosts. Let's leave it to them."

Readied, she would lead the way to her car and drive him to the planetarium.

It didn't fail to dawn on her that this might have been a trap, that he was simply going to inform
on the clutch for his little Avondale friends. But the Dominus could handle deciding that.

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