The Nest

East River

The East River is a dangerous place for people who fall in or attempt to swim through it, although the water is cleaner now than it has been in decades past. The channel is swift, with water speeds that can push casual swimmers out to sea, if the pollution doesn't get to them first.

Several long piers stretch out from here, but they are quite a bit fewer in number than the ones found along the Hudson River. While the river separates the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn from the island of Manhattan, bridges and not ferry boats appear to be the way to traverse the channel.


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Serafine Roche Bryn Blackwell

Serafine is back to find that nest of young vampires. For all that they're cocky and young, and have let their existence slip to those who pay close enough attention, they've managed to stay well enough hidden. Her advantage is that these sorts, the ones who want to be anarachist and pretend they don't answer to the Master or his rules, are always young. Rarely older than thirty. Usually less than five or ten, and they don't survive for long after that unless they change their ways and their attitudes.

Youth means that they're restricted until night fall, and she's come down here - with Bryn - before the sunset. He protested a bit, but didn't order her to stay put until sunset, and Sera is good at covering herself to be out. In the safety of a car, with a blanket over the window, and they really weren't waiting that long.

Admittedly, she doesn't know where the nest is, but Serafine is dressed for a hike along the beach and the pier. "They're never that hard to find," Serafine says off-handedly to her companion. "I've already eliminated some of the less likely places." Though honestly, she can't figure out why they've chosen this spot.


On rare occasions, Bryn does dress a little more casually. Tonight is one of those occasions. One cannot walk along the pier or the East River dressed in a business suit. So this evening he is wearing a pair of jeans and a blue cotton tee shirt. Atop his head is a hat, and he walks along the pier area as though he owns it.

Sensing spells are in place to detect the number and size of beating hearts in the area. He picks up a few rats, a couple of cats, and something larger which he does not want to question. He's hoping it's a fat tom cat, or perhaps a stray dog, because contemplating it as anything else is a little too much.

"In London and Tokyo, they tend to hide in the depths of abandoned warehouses. I should think that it would be much the same here."


Her boyfriend looks good in a hat. Hell, her boyfriend looks good all the time, but there's something about the hat that just adds to his charm and good looks. That and the fact that he's oblivious to it. It's a casual sort of observation, disregarded as they walk along the pier.

"But why?" Serafine wrinkles her nose attractively in distaste. "I've never really understood it." She's been rather sheltered, protected and pampered as a vampire. Lucky really, when it comes down to it, so it's difficult to imagine wanting to subsist like this.


"They are dark during the day, and typically one can find homeless living in them or passing through. Vagrants that no one will miss. It is an easy food source." Bryn does like that Serafine has a distaste for living like that. "Essentially, I believe they are the new barns or outbuildings that would have been used by young vampires in earlier times." Not everyone that was turned came from a wealthy family, or had an easy way to make a living despite what they were.

Tipping the hat forward, he nods to an older warehouse with several broken windows that have been boarded up. "We can check that one if you would like."


"May as well start somewhere, right?" Serafine tosses her braided ponytail over her shoulder. She takes a few steps toward the warehouse then gives the sorcerer a sly, inquiring look over one shoulder. "Did you pick that one at random or are you picking up something that I'm not?" She might not know how to identify spells, but she knows that he cast a few spells when they started on their way.


"There are several heartbeats in there. It could be vagrants. It could be vampires. Your lot with your human heartbeats tend to make this spell difficult. Technically you are undead but your bodies are still partially living."

Bryn reaches for her hand and brings it up to his lips. Pressing a soft kiss to it, he clears his through. "Would you like me to head in first, Miss Roche?"


Serafine looks in that direction, frowning a bit in thoughtful consideration. It is confusing. Their hearts do beat and they do breathe. The difference is that they can stop anytime and still go on existing. She's heard that their hearts can stop, along with breathing, when they 'sleep', but she's never asked anyone to test the theory. She prefers maintaining that illusion of humanity with her lovers.

"The younger we are, the more apt their hearts are to beat. Strongly so. The body hasn't figured out it doesn't need it anymore. The older we get … if we're separated from humanity for too long, we start to slip." Serafine knows for a fact that Kostas' heart doesn't beat except in the presence of humans, and she has no idea why the Master of the City crept into her thoughts. It makes her frown a bit more deeply before shaking it off and smiling up at Bryn.

"Tonight, we're going to be equal partners mon beinaime. I can handle this." The vampiress winks at him and starts back toward the warehouse.


"I did suspect it might be something of the sort. It is worth checking out." Bryn quietly steps to the side rather than in front of her. He touches her shoulder and covers her with a protection spell. She may be able to handle it, but he's not going to chance it.

"At least let me get the door." Moving toward the warehouse, he casts a silence spell on the door so that it doesn't creak open. Pulling it slowly, he nods for her to enter indicating that he'll be right behind her.


Serafine flashes him a smile of gratitude, mostly because he's not going to try and pamper her and hover protectively. It would be difficult to assert herself to a group of baby vamps if her sorcerer boyfriend is doing all the work. She's grateful for the backup, but she does need to be more vamp than human when the encounter the group.

The vampiress is as quiet as the door when she slips inside, moving with an eerily inhuman grace and ease. She cocks her head, picking up the heart beats, four strong and hale, two rather thready. A delicate sniff picks out the various scents, vampire and human, unwashed and the tang of fresh, if somewhat weak blood in the air.

Glancing back at Bryn, she gives him a short, sharp nod. A look that says this is the spot, and she moves forward further, this time intentionally making her heel click against the floor.

A pause, and she waits.


Bryn is as good as his silent words, he is right behind her when she enters the warehouse. He is standing beside her as soon as the area opens up a little. He does not say or do anything. He simply crosses his arms over his chest and allows her to take the lead.

This is, after all, her domain.


The wait isn't long. From out of the shadows to her right comes a growl and a body moving faster than humanly possible. The vampiress turns her head, braces herself and when the young vampire is close enough, simply steps to the side, and grabs the youth by the throat. Another step and a twist and he's on the ground with her heel on his throat as she gazes down at him in a curiously bored fashion. "Is that how you greet guests?"

Serafine makes a 'tsking' sound. "Didn't your Maker teach you to respect your elders?"


Increasing the pressure of her heel, the vampiress glances into another corner. Her voice is very calm, "I'd hope that your friends are planning on being careful. I'd hate for someone to get hurt." With a pause, her gaze flickers to Bryn and she glances down at her hand where she flashes him three fingers, before tilting her head subtly toward the corner.

"My friend and I just want to talk."


With a nod, Bryn glances to the corner. He doesn't need to see the others to know where they are thanks to the spell. Before any of them can bother moving toward him, he sweeps a hand in their direction and binds the lot of them together. They can still talk, but they aren't going to be able to move very far at all.

"They will not interrupt any discussion you may wish to have."


There are mixed noises of surprise and several growls from the corner. Serafine can't help that her mouth twitches in amusement at the disgruntlement of the other vampires.

"Quiet," Serafine tosses at the corner. Her green eyes cast down to the vampire beneath her heel. "I'm going to let you up now, don't do anything stupid."

Slowly removing her heel, she steps back, allowing the vampire to rise to his feet. He's young, she realizes as she takes a good look at him. Not just in vampire years, but he was young when he was turned. Eighteen. Nineteen maybe.

"Who the hell are you?" He glares her, face sliding to his vampiric visage. "This is our territory and no bitch -"

He doesn't get to finish. Serafine moves with that vampire speed again, grasping him by the shoulders and driving him up against the nearest wall. One hand is wound around his throat, holding him there. The nails of the other dig into his chest, not quite puncturing, but making it very clear that she can.

"Manners sugar. You don't want to piss me off." She flashes her vampiric visage, and then settles back into her human features with a smile that doesn't touch her eyes. "I said that we want to talk. That's all. Now, before you get any ideas about doing or saying anything else stupid, I should tell you that I'm older, I'm faster, and I'm stronger and I have taken down babies like you and your boys with the worse damage being a broken nail."


"I hate breaking nails. It makes me cranky for days."


Bryn has very little time to react before Serafine does. Exhaling a sigh, he decides that he's going to have to play good cop. While he's decent at it, in situations like this, he much prefers to strong arm the information out.

"I would highly suggest having a nice conversation with the lady, and refraining from calling her a bitch again. Frankly, this territory, the entire city, belongs to Alexandros Kostas, and you are quite lucky that he has not sent someone down here to prove that to you."

Leaning back against the post, he smirks into the darkness where the others reside. "Now if you take that tone with the lady again, I have no qualms burning up your friends from the inside out, and believe me I can make it last a long time and be extremely painful."


Serafine watches the war on the other's face. He's the leader of this gang, although time will tell how long that will last. Coming for the intruder, instead of sending someone else? That's a good way to end his tenure rather quickly. Of course, he wants to look brave and strong, but a barely five year old vampire is hardly a match for one more than a hundred and backed up by a sorcerer.

"It's not that hard a call. I can take all of you, or I can let my friend do it. Or you can cooperate."

The vampire glares at Bryn, then at Serafine and does his best to shake free. "What do you want to know?"

The vampiress lets him down and steps back. "Tell me about the rogue. And please don't waste our time with your posturing."

The leader shrugs, "I don't know what you're talking about."

Serafine gives a tired sigh, and glances back at Bryn. Carte blanc, if he wants to take it.


Keeping his eyes on the darkness, he flicks his wrist toward the closest heartbeat signature. The spell is not easily cast and requires the smallest drop of blood from his thumb as he nicks it on the pin in his pocket. "Please remember that you owe your 'friend' for this."

The pain will start slowly at first. Just a faint glimmer of what is to come, but as soon as the single droplet of blood from his thumb hits the floor the internal organs begin to heat up. It's a slow burn, but the heat keeps coming.

"The rogue who continues to create neophyte vampires. Now if you will be kind enough to answer the lady, I will allow your friend a bit of reprieve, but if you refuse to you may as well say your goodbyes now."


The agonized screams are not for the faint of heart, nor is listening to them easy. Sera doesn't like the sound but she holds herself neutral, studying her nails with detatched interest until the leader finally decides to spare the other's life.

"Okay!" The leader almost takes a step towards Bryn then seems to think better of it. His eyes flicker between Sera and Bryn, as though attempting to decide which is the more dangerous or which will take him down more quickly. "His name is Terry. Don't know his last name. He was a blood bag."

Serafine frowns and looks to Bryn. "A blood bag," she repeats quietly in acknowledgment, assuming Bryn is familiar with the terminology. A human who offers themselves up for a group feeding. Not quite the same as willing donors, or blood dolls as they're called in the brothels. They're taken care of, some are even paid and the amount of blood taken is monitored. No danger of dying. Blood bags are the humans who do it for the rush, or because they feel suicidal or want to be turned.

"How often?" The vampiress asks the younger vampire.

The young vamp leader shrugs. "As often as he could. Half the time I think he wanted someone to kill him. Sometimes, he'd ask if someone would turn him."


Vampires will heal. That is the one reason that Bryn even uses dark enough magic to harm them like this. When the leader finally caves, he releases the spell. The healing won't be immediate, as there is internal damage but the pain will at least stop. He is well aware that even though he used the spell, he used a very mild version of it. A slow burn, even a mild one, hurts worse than the spell's original intentions; burning someone quickly from the inside out.

"Well at least we have a name now." Not that they'll be able to notify next of kin, but they can at least stop calling him rogue-neophyte.

"How many other 'blood bags' were in the same predicament as Terry?"


The leader shrugs. "A few. We get 'em here all the time. No one is gonna turn down an easy free buffet." He smiles in a predatory manner, flashing fangs.

Sera rolls her eyes at the display. The youngster can't think he's being intimidating, can he?

"Who turned Terry?" Sera can read the age on this one, and he's not old enough. Turning isn't difficult, but the younger the blood, the more likely the person won't turn, but will just heal. Or stay dead.

Or …

Is it possible they wouldn't turn completely? Most young vampires don't try to turn anyone.

"Nobody here. He was a waste. Wouldn't have lasted his first month as a vamp." The leader shows his youth. Vampires don't think of time in terms of days or months, but in years and decades and centuries.

"But you've seen him and you know he was turned," Serafine points out. "Who do you think turned him?"

"Probably the same guys that took his body away." The leader hooks his thumbs on his jeans pockets and smirks. "We mighta got a little carried away. Finished him off. Good meal. He was hard a rock before he died."


"No, I suppose they will not." Bryn turns and actually looks at the baby vampire and has to suppress a laugh. "I suggest putting your fangs away unless you want to see how easily I can break them without even touching you."


"How many other bodies have been taken away by these 'guys'?"


Sera is trying to make sense of what the young vampire is saying. "Vampires took his body away?"

"No, these were humans but they must have known a vamp, right? He was on death's door when they took him out of here and now he's running around fucking up the status quo by trying to make his own little baby vamps."

Her mouth twitches. Sera wants to laugh. It's like hearing a seven year old refer to a five year old as a 'little kid.'

He looks at Bryn. "Only that one that I know. Guess Terry had what they wanted, huh?" He clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "They come back sometime. Looking for blood samples, and leave us something young and tender."



Bryn glances at Serafine, completely having not expected that response. It does make things a tad more complex, because having a mad vampire running around half-turning people is one thing. Having humans running around doing something similar could be extremely dangerous.

"I do not think that he did. Whose blood samples are they taking? Yours? Those of your 'blood bags'?"



That could be bad.

Serafine exchanges a look with Bryn that says she understands and shares his unease. If there are humans out there trying to make vampires, or controlling a vampire enough to try and make vampires, it's a very dangerous situation indeed.

"Ours." The leader says it like Bryn should have known.

Serafine blinks. "You're willingly giving blood to these 'guys'? Your vampire blood?" This is getting worse and worse. There is a reason that vampires protect the secret of what their blood can do. If it were to get out and be manipulated -

"We made a deal, sweet thing. We keep up our end, they keep us fed and no one gets hurt."


Wiping a hand over his face, Bryn exhales a sigh. "Were they alone, or with another vampire?" That is the important question here. Humans can't make a vampire, not with only small samples of blood. So far as he's aware it takes more than a drop or two to create a vampire.

"Can you describe any of these 'guys' for me? What they look like? Were they wearing uniforms? Any discernible features that might allow them to be found?"


Sera's brows rise when the young vampire calls her 'sweet thing.' Fortunately, there are more urgent things to worry about than his choice of words. Though she really wants to scold the baby vampire and give him a good ass kicking for general stupidity, she won't at the moment.

"Three humans. Two dogs," the young vampire shrugs. "I'd recognize 'em in a line up, but one piece of meat looks just like another unless you're gonna fuck it, you know?"

Serafine growls. It's a soft low sound, but it's a certain pitch and menace that reminds the younger vamp who and what he's talking to.

He swallows and continues, "I could describe 'em, but I can tell you that they all smell the same. Even the dogs. All hospital like."


Bryn flicks his thumb toward the vampire, squeezing out a small droplet of blood. The same pain that the other felt moments ago will be felt by the mouthy 'leader'. For one, calling Serafine 'sweet thing' as though he was planning on bedding her. For another, using unnecessarily vulgar language. The spell is not held long though, just enough to be painful.

"Dogs, as in actual dogs, or werewolves?" That is a very big, discernible difference.

"Your problem is that you cannot tell the difference between a human, and oh, say a magic user, or a psychic, or a necromancer. So while you may think they all look like pieces of meat, there are vast differences between them."


The young vamp isn't quite so cocky when he looks up from where he's been hunched over in pain. His gaze flickers between Serafine and Bryn, as though trying to figure out which one of the pair is actually calling the shots. As though it matters in the long run. "Werewolves," the vampire says the word as though it leaves a bad taste in his mouth. He seems to war with himself for a moment and then adds, "Usually one of them can do stuff. Magic."

That gets Sera's attention. Werewolves and magic users. "Male or female? It's very important."

"Men. Always men. Never seen a woman with 'em."


"Bloody fucking hell."

Bryn snaps his phone open and fires off a text to Callum. A few seconds later there's a ding, and he nods. They'll have the list as soon as possible.

"You are certain that it was these men who took Terry?" That is also important.


"Oh yeah, no doubt," the young vampire says. "They came by looking for a body, and they took Terry."

Serafine frowns darkly. She knows she doesn't have to say it to Bryn, but she doubts that it's coincidence that sorcerers came and took the body at a prime and opportune time. If there was a sufficiently old enough vampire available, turning an almost dead man would have been easy. A slightly insane or off vampire would do it with little or no compunction or caring of consequence. Enough magic and a vampire might do it under duress.

It just leaves more questions and Serafine doesn't like the answers that spring up.

"What's Terry's bloodline?" She doesn't know if the vampire 'leader' will know, but she asks anyway. Oddly enough, she only just now considers the bloodlines of the pack in the warehouse. "You're Kleptheros." Tamed Kleptheros, which she's never heard of, except for once.


"Thank you for the verification," Bryn replies. He knows that there are a few sorcerers in the city, not all attached to the RINC Dynasty, but he also knows that most of them will not smell like sterilized hospital. There is also a lot of doubt that Robert Knight could be in any way involved with this. He really isn't the type to pull a stunt like this when trying to keep a low profile and raise two children.

"A nest of Kleptheros children in the city?"

Another text is fired off, this time to Colonel Ashcroft to let him know that someone should be keeping an eye on this area for missing people.


Serafine watches the leader war with himself before giving a sigh. "Melambra." Beat. "Just like the big man in charge."

The vampiress swears colorfully in a variety of languages, and looks to her boyfriend. They've gotten what they need, almost. She'd rather not hang around, though she's not comfortable with a Kleptheros nest either. Given half a chance, they'll relocate too, and no one will be able to find them and keep an eye on them.

She steps up to the younger vampire, catches his face in her hand and holds his gaze. "You and your little gang are going to stay here and stay put. No changing hideouts. When these men come again, you're going to send word to Mallory at Sanguine Desires. She'll know how to reach me. The next meal they leave, you're not eat. You're to turn that over to Mallory as well. Do you understand?"

The young vampire struggles, Serafine can see it in his eyes. Then his eyes lose their focus and he nods his head slowly. "I understand." The words are slightly distracted.

Serafine breathes a soft sigh of relief. She's never tried to glamour a vampire before, and doesn't know how long it will last. But she'll have to do the others individually.

"Anything else I should tell him?" The question is directed at Bryn.


"Melambra…" Which is what they'd been expecting anyhow, based on what they'd deduced from the victims. Bryn slides his phone back into his pocket. Reaching up, he scratches his head under his hat and resumes looking like a rather unassuming man, just playing 'muscle' for the woman in charge.

"Yes, tell them not to worry if someone comes out this way in the next thirty minutes or so. I want a discreet crew sweeping this place to ensure whomever is in charge of the operation does not have bugs set up, magical or otherwise."


Serafine repeats the last and then proceeds across the warehouse to repeat the same on the other vampires. Once done, she returns to Bryn's side. "I don't know how long it will hold. I've never glamoured other vampires before."


"Provided it lasts at least enough time to get Kayla and a crew out here, it will be enough time. I will ensure that they have their anti-glamour rings with them." Bryn fires off another text, and then nods toward the back of the room.

"Your friends will be able to move in a short period of time. If any of you choose to follow us, or attack us not only will I set fire to your innards, but I will cause your brain to hemorrhage continually until you come close to bleeding out."


"It should be good for a few hours, at least," Serafine says with a nod. "None of them is over ten." Years as a vampire, which she knows Bryn will figure out.

The vampiress waits until they exit the building, and quirks a slow, sultry smile at the sorcerer. Glancing back at the warehouse and ensuring that they're not being followed, she presses up against him and whispers salaciously, "Mon dieu, but you are hot when you're all dangerous and bad ass. I could get used to us working together like this."

With a wink, she reaches up, and stealing his hat, plops it onto her head before stepping away.


"You have just never seen me work in such a manner before. Because I cannot act like that via proper Priory channels." There is a reason that, while Bryn is up for promotion in the Priory, he continues his side business. Sometimes getting what one wants, or what one needs requires less than savory methods. Teaching young pup vampires that there is a proper order of things and that they are not at all as immortal as they think they are is sometimes a necessary thing to do.

"Serafine Roque, that is my hat!" Shaking his head, he rakes his hands through his hair and then laughs at her.


"I haven't," Sera agrees. "But I do like it. It looks good on you."


"Almost as good as your hat looks on me."

There's a pause and a smirk, and she adjusts the hat on her head, though she turns a bit more somber. "Tamed Kleptheros. Sorcerers. Sterile hospital smells. I don't like it. This isn't just a rogue vampire that's gone off the rails anymore."


"No, it is something entirely organized. Callum is sending over a list of all the known sorcerers in the city, and what businesses that they are affiliated with. Granted, most of those will be RINC, but I cannot go in there and talk to any of them until I have a broader sense of who else is around." Or who else happens to work for them, or in conjunction with them, or what companies and subsidiaries they are involved in.

"You may keep the hat if you like, I will find another."

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