For those who are still reading the series I appreciate the following and will continue writing it as it comes to me. It has a slow progression as that I how I feel it needs to be written. While the tale could continue forever i will end this portion on the story when the time comes. It's still got at least a few more chapters to it, maybe more.
I decided that I needed to find an Elysium like it would be simple. The world Elysium was taken from Greek Mythology referring to the Elysian Fields or their version of paradise. In the supernatural communities it refers to sanctuaries and neutral territories. Most of these places only cater to one kind of supernatural and their locations are a guarded secret among them. On a few rare occasions, mostly in large cities with a diverse population of supernatural races, you’ll find one or two that act as a Sanctuary and Meeting ground to settle disputes where all are welcome. Those places are usually run by very powerful individuals who can keep the peace even if the clientele can’t. Violating an Elysium usually means your life is forfeit, and you’ll get no support from your faction or race’s leadership.
I knew that I could probably locate one of the locations owned by the Vampires but there was little chance of me finding the Tremere that way without leaving a trail of bodies. While that would be effective, it would also make me a target for all of the Vampires in the city. While they fight and kill amongst their own, they will band together to kill a threat to all of them. What I needed to find was one of those location where I could get the information I needed. That meant hoping that a city as large as Vegas had a true Elysium. I figured it would, but I also accepted two simple facts. The first being that it was possible it didn’t exist and second was that there was no guarantee I’d get the information I was looking for if I did find one.
I decided to start off by checking out the city nightlife. When you consider that while most supernatural beings are able to move about in the open during the daylight, the largest population of supernatural creature was Vampires. I figured that working with that in mind would help me find an Elysium easier at night. Another piece of information for those of you who are interested, all of the supernatural races try to blend in with everyone else and most of the individuals tend to be sociable. Human aren’t a food source for all of the races, only a few of them. Of those few, Vampires are the only group that actually feeds directly from the body.
Sindee and I spent the evening with her parents, taking in a show with them on their first visit to Las Vegas. After the show we headed back to her house to get dressed for a night out clubbing. We almost didn’t leave the house once I saw her in the dress she had chosen for the night, thank the world for self-control. She was wearing a Sapphire Blue dress that followed her body as though it were a second skin, the skirt ended around mid-thigh, sheer stockings of the same color sheathed her legs and she wore a pair of six inch stiletto heels. The neckline was cut deep down the center ending between her breasts displaying her Infinity Loop pendant framed perfectly between them. I dressed in black slacks and once I saw her dress a Sapphire Blue silk shirt to match hers. I wore my boots to allow me to carry a couple of knives in them; I wasn’t willing to go around unarmed when Sindee was with me. We headed out for a night of music, fun and searching for the elusive.
I’ll admit that during the first half of the night I was completely distracted by dancing and spending time out with Sindee. I’ve told you in the past how beautiful she is and I’ve gone on about her heart and we all know she’s intelligent or she wouldn’t be a doctor. What made tonight special is the look on her face as she relaxed and let the walls down. When Sindee was out dancing and the music really got her going, looking at her was like seeing an angel made flesh. Her smile was infection and you couldn’t help but have fun and enjoy your life with her around. We had hit three clubs off the strip that night before deciding to head in. The reason I wasn’t looking on the strip is they were to exposed to be an Elysium as the only people that found a club like we were looking for were awakened. In an Elysium vampires would feed in the open on those who were willing and other supernatural beings didn’t need to hide. Most mages still hid what they were or at least the amount of power they could wield because once you left the place all bets were off concerning neutrality.
I was driving us home through an industrial area behind the strip when I passed a place I’d not noticed earlier when we headed out. It looked like a small bar from the front, but the line outside the door suggested otherwise. I pointed the place out to Sindee as I pulled over across the street from it. “You ever see or hear about that place before?”
Sindee looked it over for a minute before replying. “No, the girls and I have been to pretty much all the clubs in town over the last few years and I’ve never heard of a club in this area.”
I was looking the place over more carefully when felt something from my avatar, there was magick in use at the place. Wards and other passive magick can be sensed if you are looking using your mage senses, on the other hand all Mages as well as a few other races are capable of sensing the active use of magick. “I’m going to stop; we should check this place out.” I suited action to words as I pulled into the parking structure next to it.
“You know I’m always up for new places and tonight has been fun.” She gave me her wicked little smile, “besides it’s too early to go home to bed.” I felt another burst, stronger this time through my avatar and Sindee’s look changes to one of concern, “What was that?” Her tone was excited and confused at the same time. This was the first time she had sensed active magick that she wasn’t involved in.
“That was someone actively using some form of magick nearby,” I explained. “You’ll start sensing it more and more in the world and get used to the sensation. Sometimes you’ll feel what I call wild magic which happens when the world corrects something that didn’t went wrong or that a magic user changed from what is consensual reality.”
She flashed that smile at me again, “I never dated any of my teachers or professors before now.” I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was having her fun teasing me.
“You’re the first student I’ve ever had the desire to seduce,” I teased back. The look she gave me almost got me to start the car and drive home. The teasing however was as fun for me and felt we could have more time out. “However young lady, you have more to learn if we’re going to get your grades up.” I got out and walked around to open her car door for her offering my arm. I had to laugh at the game as I was the younger man in our relationship which just made it all the more fun.
We took the elevator down as I wasn’t going to risk Sindee breaking her neck on the stairs with the heels she was wearing. How she even walked let alone danced in them was beyond me, but I loved the way her legs and ass looked in them. I took a fifty out of my wallet on the elevator and folded it in my palm. I walked with Sindee on my arms straight past the line and stepped up to the doorman. I shook his hand slipping the fifty to him, “My names Graves, it should be on the list for me and a guest.”
The doorman withdrew his hand having slipped the fifty back to my palm, “I’ll check the list and we’ll see what is says.” He looked insulted by the attempt to bribe him. I knew it wasn’t the amount because he never looked at it.
I raised my opinion of this man immediately. While he was checking the list I spoke again, “My apologies for insulting you, I should know not to make assumptions about people.”
He finished checking the list before looking up at me. While he had been checking, a stunning woman who could have stepped out of the renaissance era leaned out the door and whispered in his ear. He smiled genuinely as she stepped back into the bar. “Though your name isn’t on the list, it looks like we had a few spaces open up. Since you apologized so sincerely I’ll let you in with group.”
I could tell by looking that he wasn’t human, but not what he was. “I appreciate the consideration, thank you.” We walked through the front doors, the name Existence painted across the inner set and were in a place like none I’d ever seen. The front room area was a typical bar upon first look. It had the required long bar along the back wall lined with stools. Off to the right in a side room was a couple of pool tables. There were some booths along the wall and tables scattered around the room. At the middle of the room was an empty table with a reserved sign sitting on it. There was the usual bar decorations, neon signs and the requisite mirrored wall behind the bar itself. Hanging there on the wall above the bar plainly visible to everyone who entered was a sign:
The use of weapons is strenuously discouraged, violators will be Penalized. For those who don’t have two brain cells to form a thought the above means “YOU PULL IT, YOU EAT IT”, This policy is strictly enforced.
I liked the place immediately. Then I saw the rest of the place. The back wall was made of what I assumed to be Soundproofed Plexiglas, and beyond it was the largest dance club I’d ever seen. It would be better described as a permanent rave with number of people and size of the place. I looked around and two more things stood out to me, the armed guards walking around on the catwalks and a man on the Catwalk between the Bar and Club standing with his hands on the rail looking down. He was tall, and well built. I can’t give you specifics because of the distance and how he was dressed. From the distance I could see how he scanned the room with his pale eyes, he was wearing a pair of worn boots and a full length leather duster. The duster stood out to me because of the heat at this time of year. A coat like that could hide several weapons. As I was taking all this in his eyes met mine for a moment and I felt a chill. Those eyes had seen more than I ever wanted to know.
Sindee drug me through the bar out onto the dance floor, even in this place her beauty and personality stood out. I’ll admit I am biased when it comes to her, but the looks and stare she was getting spoke volumes. I held off using even sensory magick here, until I knew exactly what this place was about I was playing it safe. We danced and drank for a while, just letting loose and having fun which was pleasant after the last few days. I notice a few vampires feeding; however they weren’t killing those they fed from. The look on their dinner’s faces was one of ecstasy and not pain. When done, they withdrew the fangs and licked the wounds. When this had been done the wounds disappeared as though they never happened. I filed that away as a useful piece of information as well as realizing that I may have misjudged Vampires by placing the entire race into the category of Evil.
After a little while on the dance floor we went back out into the bar area to grab a table and get something to eat. We placed out order for some appetizers and sat taking in more of the place. I decided that I would use the opportunity to teach Sindee about using her sensory magick in a passive manner. Most of the time a Mage uses magic to affect the world around them, even when using it to sense things. These are all active uses because you are extending the Magick beyond yourself. The technique I was showing her was commonly referred to as Mage Sight. You drew only enough magick and focused on your eyes overlaying the spheres into your normal view of the world. How this overlay appeared varied between Mages as spells are always shaped by the individual casters mind. Sindee was one of the fastest studies I’d ever met and picked up techniques quickly. Teaching her to access the Sphere she didn’t already have a connection to would be difficult but not outside of my skills as an instructor. She had Life and Correspondence into her Mage Sight quickly; both spheres being important to a doctor after all, knowledge of living things and spatial relations are required skills in that profession. She was having issues with matter because of the unstable nature of even solid materials. I told her to blend it in with her correspondence to eliminate the visual movement of the atoms that make up the mater around her. In order to assist her in this I used a little active Magick on the table to remove a one inch cube from it. I then caused the individual elements that made up the table material to separate into clusters of the element itself. Once she had the matter sight into place I reassembled the original materials pattern and replaced the cube I removed. I used the absolute minimal amount of power and controlled the spell as to keep it from flaring too many people’s senses as I possibly could. I knew some people would feel the active use of magick, but the effect on reality was so minimal it would be almost impossible to pinpoint who used it in this place.
Our food was delivered a couple of minutes after we finished getting her Mage Sight trained. The woman who brought it out was petite like Sindee but that was where the similarities ended. First off she was a vampire and well-armed at that. Using my own mage sight I could see the weapons she had hidden under her clothing, what caught my attention however was the sword on her back. It had the glow of a Talisman, there was a spirit bound to the hilt as well. She placed out plates down on the table along with an additional plate we hadn’t ordered at the seat across from us and pulled out the chair. After doing so she stepped back instead of sitting down. The man I spotted when we walked in stepped up to the table. On closer inspection he looked as though he stepped out of the old west. I had to drop my Mage Sight the moment I looked at him as the images that showed Magick and Spirit put my eyes into overload and almost blinded me with their brightness. I blinked a few times as her sat and pulled the chair in. He looked to be in his late twenties, but his eyes told you he was far older than that.
He tipped his head to both Sindee and me before speaking, “Pardon my intrusion into your meal, however as I’ve not seen either of you in here before I wanted to introduce myself and meet you. My name is Arthur Masters and as is my custom, I welcome you both to my place.” He reach out and shook my hand, he had a firm confident grip and didn’t play any games like testing my strength. After releasing my hand he turned to Sindee and took her hand in his. He leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on the back, taking no more time or liberty than proper etiquette demanded, “It is a pleasure to make you acquaintance my dear.” He released her hand and sat across from us. The woman who brought the food didn’t step more than a few feet from him after he approached.
Sindee was the first to speak, “Thank you Mr. Masters. You have such a wonderful and busy place here. How do you manage to know all your customers on sight?” Sindee was very sharp and asked the question that was on my mind as well.
“First off, call me Arthur as Mr. Masters makes me look for my father. Second, I thank you for the compliment as I think of this place as my home and prefer my guests to enjoy it. To answer your last question, I have many tricks for that, among which is an excellent memory, security cameras in the entryway and a computer specialist with facial recognition software he wrote himself.” Arthur’s expression remained neutral but the eyes despite the years in them were friendly as her turned his towards me.
“Well Arthur, I’m Andrew and I have to agree with my lovely fiancé,” Yes I was acting a little territorial; I’m a guy so sue me, “that this is an incredible place. I almost drove past it as we headed towards home. It’s my pleasure to meet you as well.”
Sindee elbowed me gently in the ribs, “My name is Sindee and I am enjoying the…diverse atmosphere of your establishment.”
Arthur and I both let out a burst of laughter before he spoke, “That is about the most benign and political way anyone has ever described the clientele here.” He reached back over his shoulder toward the Vampire that brought the food out. She placed a small item in his hand which he then sat on the table. I felt magick come from the device as he touched it. My reaction was counter magick from the Prime sphere. While not as easy as using the same spheres that the spell you countering does a general counter spell can be more effective due to the skill it takes to learn how to do it. The only problem was that I was stopped cold in the middle of casting it. I felt the magick within me, but it wouldn’t form into the spell I was using. “Don’t worry about the fact that your spell just failed before you could finish forming it, that was me.”
I gave him a somewhat hostile expression as I replied, “That’s supposed to make me feel better. You were activating a Talisman that I’ve never seen before right in front of us.” As I screamed this at him, I noticed that no one other than the three of us reacted to my raised voice. I reached for my Magick with a shielding spell in my mind when I realized I couldn’t touch the power I’d come to count on as being there.
“You won’t be able to cast any spells for the time being so sit and relax. I’m not here to hurt you, this is a sanctuary and you are under my protection within it,” he stated in a calm tone of voice full of authority. He sat patiently, not saying or doing anything but sit there.
I noticed the woman standing behind him had shifted her body to present a profile to our table. Upon looking around I spotted some of the other staff members watching Arthur with the look of bodyguards. I sat down, “We came here with no intention of causing trouble. What is it that you want?” I let an edge creep into my voice because this wasn’t the type of behavior I expected to find. I looked over at Sindee to see a pissed off look on her face as she stared Arthur down, to took her hand in mind and gently squeezed it.
“You said you wanted to welcome us as guest and yet you try to use Magick on us without provocation.” Sindee’s tone was knife edged as she tore into him. “That is not the behavior of the host you tried to present when you approached. If that is your idea of respect and etiquette we’ll be going and will not return.”
“Please calm yourselves; my intentions with the talisman and anything else are simply privacy.” He took a breath and then continued, “The talisman acts a lot like a white noise generator. Anyone not at this table can’t hear us and we can’t hear them. I have people of all races that frequent this establishment and I prefer to keep peoples secrets when I converse with them. As for stopping your spells, it was necessary as you were about to trigger a response from Sam,” he gestured over his shoulder to the vampire standing behind him. “She is one of my oldest friends and takes my life and safety seriously. Now to answer your first question more thoroughly, I know all the patrons of this club as they have been brought here by someone who was already a guest and I met them when they arrived or they were meant to find this place out of some need or another. The two of you needed to find this place and you have since none of my staff knows of you at all. I came here to sit with you instead of inviting you both to my private table for a few reasons, primarily of which I recognized Andrew’s resonance when he was working with you a few minutes ago.” He turned to look me in the eyes, “the spell you cast the other day was sensed by everyone capable of doing so within at least 500 miles. You have a very subtle resonance which is your only saving grace as not many people would have picked up on it. If you’re here you need something, information of some sort is the common reason people are drawn to this place specifically. While that’s not always the case I’m almost positive it is in yours.”
I calmed myself and sat down in the chair before replying, “Yes I do need some information, I need to find the Tremere. We’ve had a…misunderstanding that I wish to resolve.”
“That is something I may be able to assist you with, however there are a couple of things that must come first. I act as a facilitator and middle man and therefore information and assistance have a cost related to them. There is also the matter of no violence in my place so if you intent to resolve this misunderstanding in that manner you are going to have to leave without your information.”
“I simply want to end the situation peacefully before it escalates any further; there is no need for more violence. As for your price for the information and assistance it depends upon the cost.”
He smiled genuinely before replying, “The cost is not money or anything so boring. I’d like to know the spell that sent such a pulse of power out and what the cause of its use.”
I sure the look on Sindee’s face was a mirror of my own, which was one a surprise. I tripped over my tongue a few times before managing to speak, “That can’t be all that you want, a simple story and rote that if you read the resonance, as you said, you could figure out on your own?”
He smiled and chuckled at me, “That’s all I want. A story is always interesting and provides insight into the person telling it and those involved. I’d rather have the rote described as it also gives insight into how the caster thinks. More importantly, you’re here in my place and see that I have no need for money or influence and my so called staff are more family then employees. Information and oddities are now my preferred currencies.”
I hate to admit it, but what he said made a lot of sense. I didn’t want to like the man but his upfront and straightforward nature made it hard not to. I related the story of how the spell worked any why I used it, leaving the fact of Sindee’s awakening out of it as much as possible. I also chose to tell him about the first encounter with the vampire in my hotel that started the issue in hopes he could use that to help resolve the situation.
He left us to eat our meal while he started looking around for a contact. I watched how the people interacted with him because while I expected he was something other than a Mage I wasn’t sure what he was. The sheer power he held within from what I saw before being blinded was immense combined with the fact that he somehow stopped me from even drawing on my connection to Magick. The people he spoke with seem to either like him or respect him as he moved through the area. I lost sight of him as he walked deeper into the dance club area. I turned to face Sindee, “What do you think of him?”
“I’m not sure what to think. On one hand he is arrogant and rough around the edges and on the other he is charming, friendly and seems genuine. I’ve met doctors like that; those are the ones who usually have the worst god complexes. Most of them don’t have the skills to have any right at having that attitude. I think that Arthur has every right to his complex after using the Mage Sight you taught me to look around. There are so many different types of life in here, more than I thought existed and there don’t seem to be any problems among the patrons here.” She continued to look around trying to determine all the different race and or species she could spot.
“I agree with you on that. There is something different about him and I couldn’t tell you what it is. I say we enjoy ourselves while we’re here and see if things can be resolved without bloodshed and bodies.” We settled into a conversation about the wedding plans while we waited and ate…