The Williams Building - Penthouse
In a building otherwise full of offices, this penthouse might seem dramatically out of place if any who would wonder were allowed within. The first thing that is likely noticed upon entering is the bank of windows in place of the exterior wall, allowing an unparalleled view of the cityscape, the nearby river, and even the lush forest atop the nearby plateau. It is only through careful study that one might spot the sliding blinds designed to cover those windows, their design keeping them unobtrusive until called upon.
The main room can best be summed up as a rich man's place of relaxation. A light blue-grey carpet, so thick as to muffle all footsteps, stretches from wall to wall, leaving only the darkly-tiled kitchen area uncovered. A massive desk constructed of nearly-black mahogany rests near one wall, aligned so that whoever sits at it would have not only an easy view of the rest of the room, but unrestricted access to the windows as well. Along the walls are various paintings, sometimes interspaced with small sculptures on pedestals, hailing from nearly every culture and time-period known to man, as well as one corner completely dominated by a deeply upholstered sectional couch. Comfortable seating dots the remainder of the floor space, giving the impression that the owner of this place is probably in the habit of hosting parties.
There are some invitations you just don't turn down. And while Bianca is more inclined to make people wait for her, she shows up at the Williams Building on time all the same. After a short conversation with the ever so charming receptionist, she steps into the elevator to head to the penthouse. She's dressed flatteringly, and yet modestly in a femininely cut three-piece suit. There's even a hat!
The ride up is completely uneventful, the ride smooth, the cab plain, and no muzak piped in to get stuck in your head. When it arrives at its destination, there's a soft tone to herald the opening of the doors, and the first thing anyone sees upon stepping out is the city, laid out like a glittering sea of stars against the night sky through that wall of windows.
"Ah, miss Mikhaylov, you're right on time." The Prince is seated behind his desk, features highlighted somewhat by the glow of his computer screen as he stands and looks the woman over with a bit of a smile, "Please, do come in and sit down. Can I get you anything?"
Well, he certainly seems personable enough, doesn't he? He's even going to trouble to remember to blink and breathe for you.
Bianca glances over that view, giving it an appreciative nod before she turns to approach the Prince. "I wouldn't mind something to drink, if you don't mind." She does sit, apparently without apprehension or worry. She even smiles. "And the favor of you sating my curiosity as to how I merited an invitation."
Aaron chuckles, lips quirking up to one side as he steps out from behind his desk to move to the little kichenette area nearby, "All in due time, miss Mikhaylov. Cream or sugar in your tea? Or would you prefer just water?"
"Cream and sugar, please." Bianca tilts her head to watch him walk off, a bit of a crooked smile on her face for a few moments before she straightens up and puts on a more neutral expression.
There's the quiet sounds of tea being put together from the kitchenette, the soft clink of spoon against mug, and before too long Aaron emerges again with a simple white ceramic mug which he sets on a table near Bianca's seat, "There, I hope it is to your liking. Now, as to why I have invited you here tonight..." The man moves off a little ways before folding himself into a chair of his own, crossing his legs at the ankle and leaning back a bit, "Do you know who I am, miss Mikhaylov?" You obviously must know his name and public persona, or you wouldn't be here at all. So what he's asking...
Picking up the mug, Bianca takes a sip to taste and at least isn't disappointed by the tea, as she doesn't actually react much. "Let's say that I don't for the sake of conversation," she says with a hint of an amused smile.
An eyebrow quirks, that lopsided smile from before touching the man's face again, "Very well. Let us say that you have been conducting some inquiries among those that work for me, in a fashion." Fingers lace together in Aaron's lap, his thumbs tapping lightly against each other as though he were carefully considering his words. "Inquiries that have established you as one of those that sees more than what the rest of the world knows. And yet you are not one of us." He hasn't stopped smiling the whole time, but his eyes have never wavered from where they have locked on your face, "Are you with me so far, miss?"
Bianca watches him, her hand holding gently onto her mug while the other rests on the arm of her chair. "In a fashion?" It seems to be a rhetoric question, and an amusing one for the woman before she goes on. "I'm sure I follow well enough. Does this mean you know who I am, Mister Godwin? Or at we both puzzled as to the other's... origins?"
"Oh, I have no doubt you suspect my origins, miss Mikhaylov," the man chuckles. "Yours, on the other hand... well, it brings one to wonder." A beat, and then Aaron turns his head to look out the windows, expression calm, almost introspective, "We are aware of your association with Mr. Grey and his people, so We think it unlikely that you are a part of the Inquisition." Did you hear that capitalized plural in there, Bianca? How many people use a royal We in this era?
Bianca notices, for sure, and she chuckles a little. Still not worried. "I'm loosely associated with Grey and his kind. I'm... more levelheaded, I'd like to think. And more interested in information and mutual benefits than getting... dirty. This city is quite unique. It intrigues me."
Aaron nods, "It is indeed." Another moment, spent in thought, and then Aaron simply turns back to face Bianca, still with that slight smile resting on his face, "Very well, miss. Either you are playing coy or you truly do not know you place in the scheme of things. So, allow me to introduce myself." A hand lifts and turns palm up as he bows from the neck, the entire gesture somehow conveying the sense of a full courtly bow, "I am the vampire Prince of this city, and I have something of an agreement with Mr. Grey and Mr. Akana. I /hope/ that they have discussed this little detail with you?"
"Ah," Bianca says, looking him over for a long moment. At least she does seem respectful when she speaks again, though. "The treaty? Yes, I'm aware. And I have no intention of breaking it. I hope your people didn't mislead you there. As I said, I'm more interested in information. I've found in the past that open and at least semi-honest lines of communication between my people and yours have been to everyone's benefit. And moreso here, where we're all actually trying to play nice."
"Hmm... is that so?" Aaron cocks his head a little to one side, blinking blandly before continuin, "My colleagues in Buffalo don't seem to agree with your stated views, however, miss Glaskov." That isn't the name he used a moment ago... "On the other hand, the City of Angels seemed to agree with you rather more. Enjoy the climate better, perhaps?"
That name makes her take in a breath of surprise and she looks over at him, more wary this time. There's a pause while she considers how to proceed from there, a finger tapping against her mug. "Aleksandra Glazkov was foolish in her youth. Bumbling and clumsy. I'd like to think she learned a thing or two in the years that followed."
Aaron simply smiles. Not a smug or vicious smile, instead a polite one, a public mask so carefully crafted and well-worn that the edges are practically invisible. It even reaches his eyes. "We would like to think the same. Still," and only now do those depthless black eyes turn away, back to the night sky, "provided nothing serves to upset the little balance your people and mine enjoy, I find myself unconcerned with the childish antics of the past."
"You'll find that nothing from me will upset that balance. After all, I wouldn't want to go against /my/ people's policy. That leads to nothing but trouble. They're so emotional, as I'm sure you've noticed." Bianca smirks just a little before she takes another drink of her tea.
Aaron snorts a laugh, nodding, "Rather. In particular I've noticed Mr. Grey's... troubles, lately. That ghastly display on the Hamilton Campus. Caught on film, no less." A sad shaking of his head and a soft click of the tongue speak volumes of the Prince's opinion on the subject. "One hopes things will begin to quiet down soon. What with all the troubles lately, it's been increasingly difficult to keep track of what's important in this city."
"I try not to get too involved in my cousin's troubles. I'm more of a support figure. Leaves me free to... operate as I like." Bianca looks over at him, her head tilting a bit. "Although, if both my people and your people are looking for things to settle down... perhaps we could work together to /discourage/ those here that like to be distracting. This Hamilton fellow, for example."
Aaron twitches his brows upwards in silent agreement, "There's actually been some talk of that, recently. Before that odd outbreak of terrorism, that is." A grin touches the man's face, teeth glinting a moment before he sobers, "I was tugging a few strings to perhaps get some tax inspections aimed towards Mr. Hamilton at Mr. Grey's request. A little favor between friends, as it were."
"Sweet of you," Bianca says, her tone somewhat wry, but she does seem to like the idea all the same. "I'd like to help, if I can. I have some resources at my disposal and if I can help keep him from bouncing back from his misfortune, all the better."
Aaron opens a hand towards Bianca, "All assistance is, of course, appreciated." Then, apparently struck by an idea, he tugs open the front of his suitjacket to reach a silver business-card case out of an inner pocket, extracting a card and snapping the case shut again before reaching out to offer the card to the woman, "You are free to contact me at any time, my receptionist screens all my calls and you should feel free to tell her anything that you would tell me." The card is a simple affair, with his name, phone number, and email on one side in a plain copperplate font. On the reverse is the embossed design of an eagle with a crown hung around its neck, facing towards the left.
Bianca takes that card, looking it over for a moment before she looks at the back. The design there gets a curious look, and she turns that questioning look to the Prince. "I'll be sure to keep in touch," she says as she pulls out her own cardcase, hers looking like a vintage, artfully tarnished brass. Her card is tea-stain colored and has much the same information. Although, no fancy emblem on the back. "I take my own calls, mostly. It's much harder for me to find loyal help," she says with a crooked smile as she passes it over.
Aaron offers no insight towards the design, simply continuing to smile somewhat enigmatically as he takes Bianca's card in turn, tucking both it and his case back inside his jacket, "I suppose that I am blessed in that regard. Loyalty has never been a question when it comes to my underlings."
"Yes, it's one of the bonuses your kind has. Always been a little jealous," Bianca says, her tone almost impish. Is she teasing? Could be. She looks over that card a little longer before she tucks it away and looks back to the Prince. "I have to say, you are one of the most pleasant Princes I've ever met. The fellow in Los Angeles is so severe."
Aaron waves his hand in an offhand gesture, as though brushing away smoke, "We each have different situations, different stressors. Here, I find myself in a rare position of security, with no large-scale, looming threats to burden my sleep with. My kind's greatest foe," and he quirks a brow towards Bianca, "has agreed to, if not an alliance, than certainly a cease fire. All that remains are little cleanups and the occasional youngster with more bravery than sense. I find it remarkably relaxing."
"Caught you at a good time, then. Well, all the better." Bianca continues to sip from her tea, looking rather comfortable actually. "Let's hope that it stays relaxing. Seems to be a rather rare state of affairs."
"In a manner of speaking, yes, a good time. And yes, I do fervently hope that events maintain their current low ebb." Rising from his chair, the Prince wanders over to that wall of windows, idly folding his hands behind his back as he looks down on the city below, "The dark cousins of your associates seem to be rather stubborn in their attempts to secure a foothold within the sewers. Up until now, we have been reminding them that this is easier said than done, but..."
"They like to do that. Stubborn lot." Bianca scowls at the mention of Spirals, a bit of a darkness clouding her expression. "They're using the sewers? Hmm. Widespread, out of sight, access points all over the city. Yeah, I can see why. I guess we can't just flood the place and have down with it."
Aaron chuckles softly and shakes his head, "No, no, that simply wouldn't do. After all, my people make regular use of them." Think about /that/, as well. "But for now, we have kept their incursions to manageable levels. Attempting to hide within out own hunting grounds is not an easy task, I assure you."
"Ah well. We'll have to pick them off, then." Bianca stands up then, coming over to look out the window as well. "Believe me, I know. I suppose I should ask if anyone's poked around down there on our side. Do we have numbers? Your people been able to get a headcount down there?"
Aaron shrugs a shoulder, "Part of the agreement between the garou and my kind was that we would not infringe on each others' territories. I have allowed some of the garou areas of the city to pursue their lives, and I do not intrude upon their woods. As such, the only werewolves to intrude upon the sewers are the... what did Roman call them? Spirals?" A hand lifts to tap lightly at the Prince's chin as though trying to remember, and then he shakes his head, "Regardless. I could have my people work up an estimate, I suppose, but it's nothing we can't handle currently."
"Black Spiral Dancers," Bianca says with obvious contempt, "They've... seceded from the union, so to speak. I'm sure your people can handle them, but the real question is... what are they up to and why? If they're gathering more and more numbers, then you can bet the farm they've got some kind of plot going. They're twisted, sure, but still intelligent. Especially the leaders. Intelligent and ruthless in the purest sense of the word. No qualms, no moral code, or honor, no inhibitions. Just, ah, have your people be careful."
Aaron nods soberly, "Your warning is certainly not falling upon deaf ears, miss Mikhaylov, I assure you. Your furry brethren have always been a terror to my kind, and one we do not engage lightly. If one of these Dancers intrudes upon our territory, we do not toy with them or ignore them." He lifts a hand to rest fingertips lightly against the glass of the window, before his fingers curl into a fist, lying lightly against the glass, "We destroy them. As quickly and ruthlessly as possible."
"Good." Bianca eyes that skyline a little longer, then turns to head back to her chair, but only to grab her drink. "And if you notice and fluctuation in numbers, up or down... If you could let someone on this side know. We'll try to figure their game plan out and warn your side if there's something impending."
Aaron nods again, this time with a smile, turning to watch Bianca and putting his back to the windows, "Oh, certainly. Unlike most of the garou, /my/ kind merely wish for peaceful coexistance, for the most part. These Dancers threathen what we have built here, and if the garou are willing to help us maintain our safety? So much the better."
"The garou are more likely to be willing to fight the Spirals. Your safety is a side effect." At least she's honest. "But /I/ am willing to help you maintain your safety. Call it a soft spot."
Aaron chuckles, "Well, yes. Much the same could be said of us, really. While we do not mind the garou in principle, they tend to be rather violent. Unhealthily so." But then he steps away from the window, offering his hand out towards Bianca with a smile that has probably appeared in magazines, "Still, it is good to know we have at least one ally among those they call friend."
(OOC) Aaron decides to crack off Awe. Because it fits. :3
>>> Aaron rolls 4 dice (Awe) -- Result: 4 5 4 7 | Successes (Diff 7): 1
(OOC) Bianca: Oh snaps.
Bianca steps over to take his hand, looking up at him with a softer smile this time. "They do. It's a sad fact when you've been chosen to be one of the few, one of the proud. Their entire existence is about the fight. But that's why they have us. We're more equipped to be the voice of reason." She may even step a little /too/ close, come to think of it. "I look forward to a long and pleasant relationship between us."
Aaron's smile is warm, and his handclasp is firm without ever resembling a test of strength. "I do not envy your position, miss Mikhaylov. But, here's to hoping for a brighter future for all of us." Lifting the woman's hand, he quite simply touches a light kiss to her knuckles, apparently thinking nothing at all of the gesture, "Please, do feel free to call upon me if you feel the need."
"I happen to enjoy this position," Bianca says with a sly, crooked smile. "It's a challenge, and a life without challenges is just boring," she continues. Ahem. When he kisses her hand, she watches with a lifted eyebrow, clearly not as put off by the gesture as her brethren would be. Not by a long shot. In the wake of it, though, she lifts up onto her toes to press a kiss to the Prince's lips in return. Ballsy. "Mm. I absolutely will," she says to his words before she steps back, disengaging a bit before she turns to sashay her way to the exit.
If Aaron's at all surprised by the maneuver, he limits his response to a slight raising of his brows, lips curving into a smile. Oh ho~ Still, he allows Bianca to step back without fuss, releasing her hand and bowing slightly as she turns away, "Take care, miss Mikhaylov, and a pleasent evening to you."
Bianca turns to look his way from inside the elevator, her smile still crooked. "It certainly has been so far," she says, her hip cocked out to one side as she hits the button to go back down, "Until next time." And then the doors slide closed and she's off. The security team getting a nice shot of her fanning herself in the privacy of the elevator before she leaves.