And Many More!!!

Mae's Mazes 
#1


With everyone coming to an actual event for her, it was easier to be excited about her birthday. She put to bed the depressing fact that this was her first dead birthday, and exchanged it for excitement that this was her first birthday as a vampire. A step into eternity, which would unfold to her a path to strength and growth. For now, she'd focus on the path at hand. Paths, really. Confusing, twisting paths. Mazes! Surely not going to send someone into bloodlust, right? And, definitely, definitely, going to be bypassed by a few winged members of the group.

The attendees were trickling in now and Safiya made herself present in the midst of the set of tables she'd rented out by the ticket booth, and designated on for gifts if anyone had brought one. She'd even managed to suggest a guy that was trimming a hedge to act as their punch bowl for the night. He was lingering a ways away, but looked content and not awkward. Of course, he wouldn't remember anything out of the ordinary when he got home tonight, and he'd enjoy himself while he was here. His name was Mark!


@Suc Sucs
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#2


What did one where to a birthday party held at a maze? Normally he wore suits, he was most comfortable in them. Yet the idea of wondering through a maze in one of his pristine ironed pants was enough to make him decided that no one would mind if he dressed down for the night. Imagine trying to get grass or blood stains out of silk. Instead he had opted for about the most modern outfit he owned. He didn't remember who had gifted him the jacket or the pants, he was positive he had not bought them.

He arrived as soon as possible. Unlike apparently many of the clutch he could not rise before the sun had fully descended. Though he did have a very nice car that allowed him to traverse to the outer area of Avondale.

Safiya was standing just beyond the ticket booth next to an array of tables. What they were for he was unsure. Maybe a place to deposit the gifts?

He parked his Royce and made sure he had the bag with the present in it before walking up towards where Safiya stood.

"Good evening, and happy birthday Safiya."
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#3
bat form


Raziyya had cheated, of course. She'd come earlier in the day, before Safiya could even wake, and settled into hiding gifts all along the maze. Each was relatively small boxes, wrapped in black wrapping paper with "صفية" written on one side with gold metallic ink. On the other side, it would simply say "For Safiya." Five presents in all.

She of course had told no one of this. It was her way of making it her own brand of special. Certainly others would find some, but that was fine with her. They would simply give them to the birthday girl.

She returned to bat form and had lingered at the far end of the maze. But she was making her way forward now that night had fallen, scrabbling cutely along a hedge wall towards where the others would gather.
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#4
Beauregard drove, at least to start. Lavender Heights to Red Rock was a rather lengthy trip by wings alone. But after he parked, he tucked the small present he'd gotten for her into his pocket, gathered and set aside a few other important things, and...

In the end, he was a bird, fluttering out to the slowly growing group, and naturally singing quite noisily as he approached.

"Bonne fête à toi! Bonne fête à toi!"

Held in little bird claws was a very light plastic bag, a hole torn in the side. Within, of course, as much a quantity of bat-shaped sequins as a mockingbird could possibly carry. (He'd tested his limits and found them more impressive than first hoped so long as it wasn't especially gusty outside.)

"Bonne fête à Safiyaaa!"

Sung to the greatest capacity of his ability to stay in tune, and at the end, he naturally tilted the bag of sequins over in his claws to dump it out over her and the table as he swooped low and then high again.

"Booonnnne fêteeee à toiiiiii!"



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#5
"Ceri!" She exclaimed as he came into view, dressed nicely and carrying a bag he didn't haaaave to bring. She greeted him with a side hug if he would take it. "I'm glad you came, you kind of inspired me to do something." She said with a little laugh. Ceri was so sweet, honestly. And fitting that he was the first to arrive! Well, the first to show their face. She definitely did sense some other presence, but it was hard to pinpoint. "You can just put that-" And then there was singing. Very distinctly Beau singing, in French, from the air. Safiya gasped as she looked up to the sky, spotting the bird as he swooped down with a bag in his feet. And, what was raining down? Glitter? Confetti? Safiya squealed as it showered her, her cheeks hurting from her grin as she lifted a hand to shield herself from the downpour of what she now saw was bats.

"Beauregard, oh my god." She exclaimed gleefully as she reached up to scoop some from her hair.
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1

#6
She went in for a hug, which he returned. It wasn't like Beck or Beauregard was trying to hug him. He was a tad surprised that he was the one who had inspired her to do something. Surely her sire or the Dominus would have suggested a party to her? His cheeks would have colored if it was possible, but being a cold undead corpse meant that sign of embarrassment was gone."I'm rather surprised I'm the one who inspired you. "

He began at least until he was interrupted by the sound of someone singing. One glance up confirmed that it was indeed the Dominus of Lavender Heights, Beauregrad the song bird. He was still in key, although Ceri couldn't say much except that there was definitely effort put into the performance. Singing as a bird was probably difficult. And then came the confetti.

Thousands of small cut out bats came cascading down. Unluckily for Ceri he was still standing right next to Safiya and there for got a wonderful downpour onto his hair and shoulders. As great as bats were, he was not keen on the little images and brushed his hands roughly over his shoulders sending several of the pieces out onto the ground.
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#7
Arriving at the maze, it didn’t take Tikanni long to spot where the party was. Gift bag in hand, he walked up as the sight of somethings of shimmering black fell from a mockingbird above, surprising the vampires below.

Laughing at the antics, he set down the bag filled with a gift, perfect for dressing Osiris up for any dress occasions Safiya had in the future. Making his way over, he noted the attendees that were already present. Beauregard no doubt was the bird, Safiya was here, there was some lingering presence of someone about, but his gaze ended up on some stranger. With things being a bit tense kicking up his own unease about new vampires again, he made sure to keep some distance between them while coming up to Safiya. No offense to him, this was just a personal comfort zone and Tikanni was sure if they got to know each other he’d warm up eventually.

”Howdy do, Safiya. Happy Birthday,” he said enthusiastically. He wasn't entirely sure if she was cool with hugging, so he offered a wave for now.
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#8
 Lazarus would arrive via Uber, after what felt like hours trying to figure out the smartphone app and connecting a debit card. It was more money than he'd anticipated, but at least now it was his own. Not having to buy things for supper made a big difference, anyway.

 He could hear them all just before he could feel them, not all of them but enough to act as a magnet of sorts. He approached with an easy gait, dressed in a black button-down and his usual brand of pants and boots, holding a simple gift bag that contained something he'd spotted in a store window.

 Upon arriving, he'd spot Safiya covered in what appeared to be glitter, an unfamiliar man - Ceri, perhaps, was that the name he'd seen in a text recently - Beauregard, Tikanni. He felt like he was missing someone. The gift bag would come to settle among other presents on the table, and he'd linger there, turning just so to catch sight of Greta strolling toward them.
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#9


 Greta was indeed just moments behind Lazarus, mouth framing its typical shadow of a smile as she inspected the scene. A singing bird and a head full of glitter, what a lighthearted moment. Setting a petite gift box among the others, she moved to join the birthday girl, greeting any other who might look her way.

 "Happy birthday, darling." Her smile grew just so as she spoke to Safiya, and her eyes would move to the man beside their guest of honor. "I don't think we've met. Greta," she said to him, and would extend a hand to shake.
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#10
The all descended, and Safiya could not have been more overjoyed. Ceri was momentarily forgotten as she moved in quick steps to make up for the distance between her and Tikanni. Of course, a hug was definitely in order, and she would pull him into one with a little squeak, "Hiii," She greeted. She let him go, and turned to face the others incoming. Lazarus, whom she greeted with a catlike grin and squint of her eyes, lifting her fingers to wave at him. Greta, too, whom she greeted with a warmer smile and a squeeze on her elbow. "Thank you!"


Honestly, this was so great. She loved being paid attention to.
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#11
Samuel timed his arrive again, parking a small ways off and waiting until he heard the smattering of other voices before stepping out. He went around back to pick up the dollar store gift bag from the trunk. The purchase was an impulse buy after messaging Tikanni on what the birthday girl was like. "A boisterous young lady, who likes to put on a show," sounded exhausting to manage even for short periods, but he'd been encouraged to make an effort with meeting fellow clutch members and Samuel wanted to start off on the right foot. Holding the bad from the bottom, he followed in after two other familiar looking vampires.

The woman at the center was greeting the guests and upon further scrutiny appeared to be actually sparkling as she moved, as did the dapperly dressed man beside her. That must be the birthday girl and she wholly lived up to Tikanni's description. Samuel got into the greeting line, if that what it was, silently practicing Safiya's name in case she offered more than a polite nod in acknowledgment.
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#12
Ceri was not offended as Safiya moved off to greet the other visitors. He placed the gift bag he had brought on the table and turned to the woman who had introduced herself as Greta. She had long white hair but didn't seem that old, although with vampires it was impossible to tell.

He gave her a warm smile and took her extended hand in both of his for a firm shake.

"Pleasure to meet you Greta. I am Ceri Evans."

He might have to introduce himself to everyone here. After all the only familiar faces was Safiya and the bird that was Beauregard. Most of the others seemed to be keeping their distance and paying more attention to the birthday girl, which he thought was best. Being crowded by vampires was not something he particularity wanted.
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#13


Of course Sayed was nervous about being back in Avondale. He hadn't been back since the incident, but he told himself that tonight would be fine- pretty much the entire clutch would be there for Safiya's birthday, and he definitely didn't want to miss out because of stupid shifters. He pulled up to the maze, happy to see that there were already a few others there. Grabbing the card (one he found appropriate given the fact that they were vampires) he got for the birthday girl, he tucked it inside his jacket pocket and made his way over. As green eyes swept over the table with a few gifts already present, he paused and deposited his card with the Stardust Salon and Spa gift certificate inside.

He didn't recognize the one male vampire standing next to Safiya, but as he approached everyone, he overheard him introduce himself to Greta. Okay, so he was the new guy. Sayed smiled wide at Safiya for now, pulling her into a quick hug as he happily gave her a quick Egyptian-specific birthday greeting: "Kol sana wenti tayeba."

He released her quickly and smiled at the rest of the clutch. A birthday party was a great way to feel normal- like a human and not like a vampire. It was nice.
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#14
Greta peeled off to meet Ceri, and Safiya let Tikanni free to wave at the guy’s who’s name she was pretty sure was Sam? She wasn’t entirely sure. But she grinned and waved anyway. Then, Sayed caught her eye, and her grin doubled in size as she sauntered toward him.

They hadn’t seen one another in quite a bit. Not alarming, since he’d been trying to lay low and both had likely been busy. But she was comfortable enough to pull him into a hug and push onto her top toes to press a kiss to his cheek. “Ya ghurayb.” She hummed as she let herself back onto her flat feet. “Thanks for coming.” She added, then would look about to everyone in attendance. Was that everyone? Everyone that had said they would come, she guessed.


“Hey stranger.”

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#15
It was a cheerful thing, Safiya's laughter reward enough for the effort. He could sense the mother guardian but not immediately spot her until his gaze passed over the hedge.

A little, slow, crawling bat was an easy target. Rudely, he swept in with the intention of dropping the empty plastic bag loosely onto her as he then made a slight crash landing nearby, sinking a bit further into the hedge than planned.

"They grow up so fast, don't they!" he said chipperly as he hopped back up from the branches.



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#16
There was everyone. She kept her approach slow, not necessarily wanting to mingle. She wanted to keep an eye on the gifts, see who found them first and all.

That was until someone tried to murder her. She let out a short surprised yell and scrabbled a wing at the bag; it managed to fluff off her and drift elsewhere.

Naturally, the Dominus.

"Indeed," she sighed with some annoyance. "You'll be aging soon too."

The use of the word was intentional.
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#17
 Ceri Evans. Greta would do her best to secure the name to memory, smiling just so at him as their hands released. Her eyes wandered to another arrival, and her eyebrows rose some - Sayed, was it? It had been some time since she'd seen him around. She was quiet for a moment, considering the smattering of vampires here. She wondered if they'd all be gathering here tonight, or if the rest would occupy Lavender Heights for security purposes. Not everyone could have fun out of town, perhaps.

 Her eyes wandered off, spotting what might be an easily missed bat in the dim light if not for the sharp motion of it ripping a bag off its head. Raziyya, surely, and their feathered leader who seemed to be in high spirits. She considered wandering over to them, but in the end would stay put, happy to wait for whatever instruction might be bestowed by their honorable birthday bat.
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#18
He received the coveted wave of acknowledgement and was further saved from having to make a stiff introduction by another vampire swooping in and capturing Safiya's attention. Taking his chance, Samuel slipped to the side to deposit his gift on the table. He had signed the small tag with 'From S.' which served to be vague enough so if it was ill received he could feign ignorance.

As far as he could tell, no one had ventured into the maze yet. Perhaps there would be a buddy system in place, heaven forbid, or a secret objective once they were let loose into the maze. That would be interesting. Alas, everyone continued to congregate at the entrance, so Samuel quietly watched from the tables. He might go over and greet Tikanni or introduce himself to another member, but they looked busy right now, so maybe not. Samuel busied himself with fluffing up the tissue paper, keeping an ear out for when the festivities would start.
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#19
A hug was initiated and he happily gave her a squeeze back before letting go as she did. So many more people were coming up and he offered a smile to all, stepping to the side a bit so everyone could say hi to the birthday girl. Rocking a bit back on his heels, he spotted a rather more quiet figure going on about.

Heading on over to the familiar face, he offered a wave. ”Glad you could make it,” Tikanni beamed to Samuel.
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#20
The reaction was a delight, and Beauregard couldn't have been happier with it. Her comment, however, how rude! He fluttered out his wings with perhaps the intention of buffeting her with one.

"Vampires do not age, Raziyya, though-"

Beady eyes turned to her, head tilting as he intended to peer at her batty face.

"Perhaps I see a wrinkle or two..."

Were they maze-bound, yet?
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#21
He too was rude! Perhaps ruder. She turned her face away at the abuse of his feathers, and then at his further abuse she somewhat lost her temper.

"You would not see a wrinkle on a bat face!" she protested, and with it she swung her wing out, attempting to use her greater dexterity to shove him off the hedge in retaliation.



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#22
Beauregard saw several wrinkles as she talked, but he had little time to counter as he was knocked by some unpleasant, leathery club clear off the hedge with a surprised chirp.

Luckily for him, flight could be achieved nearly instantly, and he would flutter up and off, rudely thinking the phrase "ancient, ancient, ancient bat!" as he unceremoniously fled.

This would at least give him time to stop by the gift table as the handsomer version of himself, pulling from his jacket pocket a small parcel wrapped in brown paper and tied neatly with string, a folded notecard atop it.
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#23
Sayed couldn't help but grin at the kiss to the cheek. It was nice; especially for someone who generally felt rather alone. He'd have to spend more time Safiya. But for now, this was her party and there were more people for her to play host to, and he wasn't selfish enough to try to command her attention. "Wouldn't miss your birthday," he murmured to her and then looked over at a particular bush that seemed to have a bird and bat fight. He chuckled a bit, not exactly sure who they were, but knowing they were two vampires.

As Safiya needed to continue on, Sayed moved over to the other vampire he knew in the group: Tikanni. He liked the other vampire a lot too, based on their conversation in the planetarium before. "Good day for a party, yeah?" he said quietly to the other man. Tika had been standing next to another vampire he didn't recognize. With a smile, he held out his hand to the newer vampire. "Hey there, I'm Sayed."
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#24
Sayed was atrociously sweet. As he should be, for biting her shoulder so bad Beauregard had had to come and clean her up. Ugh. Speaking of Beauregard, her attention as drawn to his mocking voice and the rustle of movement from the nearby hedge. There was Raziyya! They were totally both cheating on wing, but whatever. Everyone was sort of gathered, grouping up and greeting one another. All except! Don't think she didn't notice him.

With a grin, she swaggered up to Lazarus, and placed her hands on her hips as she peered up at him for a moment. A deep breath, and then she raised her voice louder than she needed for just a one on one conversation, to address the entire group. "Thanks for coming, you guys!" She said, then moved her gaze away to turn on her heel toward the rest of everyone. "I think we should head on into the maze. Pair up if you wanna! The last ones out have to coordinate a birthday song and dance for me." Not serious, but also sort of serious.
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#25
She would kill him, one day. Not for any reason other than he deserved it. What sad loss.

The vampires seemed geared to start with the maze. For her part, Raziyya wanted to stay airbone so she could keep an eye on the gifts she'd hidden around the maze. She could have perhaps told the others the reason, but... the thrill of a surprise! And for the sake of being able to grab any accidentally left behind.
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#26
Authoritative little Safiya! He was in a good enough mood not to mind entirely. The suggestion of pairing off was a good one, and Beauregard scanned the group, noting that Raziyya was still choosing to pout on the hedge. It would have been kinder to bring Edvin!

Looking through the assembled vampires, Beauregard tapped into a sense perhaps possessed by teachers and professors everywhere to determine who was least interested in accompanying him to the maze.

The realization came with a borderline mischievous smile.

"Samuel!" he said, then sought to summon the boy further with a waved hand.
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#27
Samuel relaxed in the presence of Tikanni, opening his mouth to greet to the only vampire here he had the beginnings of a rapport with. However, he didn't get the chance as another vampire burst through Samuel's safe space, making their own introductions. Disoriented from the sudden attention, Samuel blinked harshly before schooling his expression into something polite. Taking the hand, he returned the sentiment, possibly even meaning the words. "Samuel. Nice to meet you." He sent a nod to Tikanni and a silent plea not to excuse himself just yet.

Trapped into making small talk, Samuel ran through a list of agreeable topics. There must be something they all had in common. Blood. They all liked blood right?

Another interruption halted him again. The look of exasperation was slapped off his face upon seeing the smiling Dominus waving him over. No rabbiting heartbeat or sweaty palms in this undead body, but it didn't take an empath to see the fresh apprehension rolling off Samuel in waves. "If you'll both excuse me." He said to his companions, lips tight and drawn up. With a short bow of his head, he stepped around them.

"Dominus." Samuel approached with outward confidence, but feeling much like a skittish colt, unsure whether to expect a sugar cube or a cattle prod. Maybe both as the Dominus seemed the type to enjoy keeping people on their toes.
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#28
 Lazarus watched them all mingle from afar, having enough of an understanding about how birthday parties worked to know that he was not being an especially exuberant guest. Introductions abound, and sensitive ears would put a name to the newest face, Ceri. Greetings for Safiya, a kiss on the cheek for one man that left him feeling a twinge of envy. Which was absolutely a stupid feeling, and he banished it as quickly as he could - even so, there was some ugly pride in her approaching him and not the other way around, like the rest of them had.

 He regarded her with an expression a few shades lighter than his usual stoniness, nearly scoffing as she shouted. There was a temptation to shuffle away as she turned to address everyone, but he stayed put until she was done. Then, not keen on being the last one out, he'd begin to make his way over to the mouth of the maze, casting the birthday girl a glance over his shoulder.
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#29
Sayed suddenly approached and he offered a warm smile to the hello. "Yeah! It should be fun."

Watching as the two vampires introduced themselves, a sudden call for attention from Safiya had him looking over. It was a good plan to pair up and he looked to the two with a questioning glance. Maybe, they'd go with?

He was just about to ask as much when one Dominus decided to call out for Samuel. Tikanni gave a thumbs up in an effort to root him on before turning towards Sayed. "C'mon let's get going, don't wanna be rotten eggs."

Onwards into the maze! They'd be right on the heels of Lazarus from the looks of it.
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#30
Like magic! Beauregard appeared and summoned Samuel, and Tika snagged Sayed as a partner. Lazarus went off toward the maze, and trusting that the rest would pair up or find their own way, she started in a skipping gait after Lazarus. "Don't make me go alone!" She called after him, falling into step beside him and offering a crooked elbow, mostly not expecting him to take it, but doing so for comedic affect nonetheless. "Into the woods to Grandmother's house!" She chimed cheerily.
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