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  1. #1
    Thomas Boyle's Avatar
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    Thomas Boyle

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    The first word that comes to mind when visiting the Temple is 'raw'. When arriving through the main entrance, one directly enters the ritual room, as is usual with churches. Aside from several wooden benches against the walls and the altar, this main room is mostly empty. The walls are decorated (or 'decorated') by what remains of the graffiti crafted by previous occupants. There are hundreds of etchings on the altar, and upon closer inspection they are revealed to be the names of gods revered across the world.

    But perhaps the most distinct element of the decor is the inscription painted in red, above the altar:

    "THAT IS NOT DEAD WHICH CAN ETERNAL LIE/AND WITH STRANGE AEONS, EVEN DEATH MAY DIE"

    A simple wooden table and two chairs occupy the center of the room, one of which is taken by Thomas, clothed in a plain dark shirt and slacks. The Ventrue's long, pale fingers shuffle a Tarot deck and spread it adeptly across the table, his gaze transfixed on the cards as if talking to them. Absent-mindedly, he hums a tune. A chess set lies nearby, forgotten.

    If one wishes to breathe, they'd detect a faint smell of incense and sage. There's little light in the Temple, provided by several candles placed at just the right distance from one another to make the Beast aware, but not stir it to any... violent action.

    Alessandra @%1;



  2. #2
    Alessandra's Avatar
    Presence
    (Commanding)
    Striking Looks
    (Predatory Beauty)
    Blood Potency
    Status
    (Criminals)
    Retainer
    (Hell Hound)
    First thing you will notice about Ale is the abundance of her tattoos. They go from her face all the way to her feet, and not much is left bare. The second thing? Her strong Italian accent.

    Known as Sofia De Luca

    Has a more corpse-like appearance(Humanity 4)
    (Lords Danse)

    Health:
    WP:
    Vitae:

    Resilience[2] Active (Stam increased to 4)
    [][][][][][][][][]
    Alessandra Scenes
     
     -1 Vitae Blush of Life, 
     

    4
    BP
    +1
    SL
    3
    PRE

    While the temple of the Crone wasn’t her ideal place to spend any amount of time, she was making an effort. And she couldn’t bring Cain, being a Hell Hound meant he didn’t look like a regular dog. And good luck explaining that one. So while she felt exposed, she knew damn well she didn’t need him.

    Walking into the temple, her boots sounding on the floor, she takes a moment to look around. Noting the graffiti and state of the building. Was it on purpose they hadn’t cleaned it?

    Shrugging, she continues in, spotting Thomas and feeling the weakness of his Beast. Her own growled, licking its maw with thoughts of violence. But she wasn’t here for violence, and as such, shoved the Beast back into its corner.

    “Mr Boyle,” says the Savage, “Good evening.” Her tone was fairly friendly. The Prince was casual in black jeans, black tank top and knee-high steel toed boots. Her was a red color tonight, the only color one could see. “Thank you for meeting with me.” The candles were noted not only by her, but her Beast as well, who eyed them wearily. "How long as the temple been up and," looking around, "running?" was it running? She wasn't sure.

  3. #3
    Thomas Boyle's Avatar
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    Thomas Boyle

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    PRE

    He hears the boots, echoing on the Temple's stone floor. A steady, heavy sound of incoming danger - of a predator superior to Thomas, whose Beast cowers and hisses before regaining a measure of resolve. This is his home. His haven. He will be a gracious host.

    The lack of Cain was surprising, but on second thought it sent a powerful message - 'I could still end you with my bare hands, hound or no hound'. Duly noted, thank you very much.

    "Thank you for gracing the Temple with your presence" He could almost hear the spirits whispering in excitement "But we are not in Court, Prince Antinori. The honorific is empty, devoid of meaning. If it's all the same to you, 'Thomas' will suffice. Or, if you feel like stroking my ego, the Crone title of 'Haruspex Boyle' would be appropriate" He smiles in a friendly manner, mimicking the Prince's disposition "Although I cannot imagine you doing that" This particular Prince, for all her subtleties, didn't seem like one for stroking. Breaking, more like.

    He notices the Prince looking around the Temple, apparently not impressed. Could he blame her, though?

    "Not particularly breath-taking, is it? But I like the ambience" He says "I've discovered and reopened it in January, and then-just-Whip Jack and Seneschal York have been kind enough to visit me here. In the past, we had meeting rooms, storage, a library. Apparently, it even held Court, once" Sounds like a story from ages ago. But, what once has been will surely happen again. That's how history works.

    "Really, thank you for coming. Playing chess against yourself can become very tiring, and the cards..." He taps one of the pieces of the Tarot deck "... have been less than cooperative"

    A look of sudden enlightenement crosses his face like a shadow, and then is gone, replaced by the default politeness.

    "I am talking too much, am I not?"



  4. #4
    Alessandra's Avatar
    Presence
    (Commanding)
    Striking Looks
    (Predatory Beauty)
    Blood Potency
    Status
    (Criminals)
    Retainer
    (Hell Hound)
    First thing you will notice about Ale is the abundance of her tattoos. They go from her face all the way to her feet, and not much is left bare. The second thing? Her strong Italian accent.

    Known as Sofia De Luca

    Has a more corpse-like appearance(Humanity 4)
    (Lords Danse)

    Health:
    WP:
    Vitae:

    Resilience[2] Active (Stam increased to 4)
    [][][][][][][][][]
    Alessandra Scenes
     
     -1 Vitae Blush of Life, 
     

    4
    BP
    +1
    SL
    3
    PRE

    The Invictus training screamed in her mind to stick with what she knew. But, she was trying here, “Very well, Thomas.” Damn, that felt wrong. But, this wasn’t Court. “And feel free to call me Sophia.” It wasn’t the same as her name, but, she was making an effort. “Stroking your ego?” she chuckles, “Lets see how the night goes and I might surprise you.” It could happen.

    “Well, I suppose that depends on what you consider breath taking. I’ve never been in a temple, so I have nothing to compare it to. And I’m not here to judge the place.” Nope. But Vivian had been here? Huh. “It held a Court?” she sounded surprised. “It must have been before my time here, I don’t remember one being here.” She didn’t even remember Alice talking about it. “It has the space for a Court.” She says looking around once more, “But I’m surprised I never heard of it from Alice. She was a member of the Crone, but never mentioned it.” Weird.

    Gesturing to the other seat, “Mind if I sit?” she asks. “Thank you for having me. I realized that we’ve never really sat down and talked, and I wanted to fix that.” Which was true. Eyeing the chess board, “Afraid I’ve never been good at chess. Played it a few times, but never learned the tricks to being good.” She says with a laugh. “Tarot cards?” which she was pretty sure they were, but wasn’t sure. “Haven’t seen those in years. Are you skilled with them?” at least she guesses skill is needed.

    A tattooed hand waves dismissively, “You’re fine. Talk as much as you like, as long as it’s not business.” She adds with a wink.

  5. #5
    Thomas Boyle's Avatar
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    Thomas Boyle

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    PRE

    "My oh my, do I love surprises" He practically purrs - it's true, Thomas loves to be surprised, and there's been enough unexpected revelations about the Prince to keep him on his toes this time.

    You got questions, Thomas has answers for you, spoken in the tone of a museum guide "From what I found, the Temple was established by one Chris Wooding, who used to be the local Hierophant" and Vivian York's paramour, although that description probably fit a lot of people "The dates are a bit sketchy, so might as well have been before... Alice's time. Was that a friend of yours?" The past tense in Ale's words makes it pretty clear she is no longer around. Probably hasn't been for some time, or Mable or Krieg would have mentioned her.

    He blinks when Alessandra... or Sophia asks for permission to sit.

    "Of course I don't mind" In fact, he was surprised she didn't take a seat without invitation. Must be that damn Invictus protocol. The Ventrue's gaze follows Alessandra's own onto the chess board "We could play if you want. Or not. They can be kind of distracting" And require focus. Not the best activity if the Gangrel Prince wants to just chill out.

    He nods to her. That is, indeed, a tarot deck.

    "Skill is not the right word - you can learn the card meanings and how to shuffle them in a single night. But to read them you need intuition - conscious thought is a burden when trying to see patterns and connections. It's like learning to ride a bike - overthink the fact that you only have two wheels, and you will fall. Focus on the movement instead, and all of a sudden you have no difficulties" Of course, it's more complicated than that. Nietzsche was right that the abyss has a nasty habit of staring right back at you "Unfortunately, like I said, the cards make no damn sense lately" And, because a Malkovian's speech just wouldn't be complete without one off-hand bit: "Do you believe in predetermined Fate? That it can be known, and thus acted upon?"

    Okay, seems someone doesn't mind him talking. And despite the Gangrel's relaxed demeanor, something tells him that someone needs a break.

    "Oh. Business weighs you down? And people wonder why the Circle has so few Princes - like we need more massive headaches in our lives..."



  6. #6
    Alessandra's Avatar
    Presence
    (Commanding)
    Striking Looks
    (Predatory Beauty)
    Blood Potency
    Status
    (Criminals)
    Retainer
    (Hell Hound)
    First thing you will notice about Ale is the abundance of her tattoos. They go from her face all the way to her feet, and not much is left bare. The second thing? Her strong Italian accent.

    Known as Sofia De Luca

    Has a more corpse-like appearance(Humanity 4)
    (Lords Danse)

    Health:
    WP:
    Vitae:

    Resilience[2] Active (Stam increased to 4)
    [][][][][][][][][]
    Alessandra Scenes
     
     -1 Vitae Blush of Life, 
     

    4
    BP
    +1
    SL
    3
    PRE

    The Italian laughs, “Good surprises right?” she asks with a smirk.

    “That name is familiar, I think I’ve heard some talking about him before.” Maybe Vivian? Probably Vivian now that she thinks about it. “She was the previous Seneschal and a member of the Crone. We were close, I think you would have enjoyed talking with her.” The Haunt had always been a pleasure to speak with. Her words helped Ale through a few rough patches. “Have you considered improving the temple?” why have it if you weren’t going to invest in it?

    “While I think it could be fun, lets put it off for a bit.” Not to mention she didn’t feel like losing yet.

    The Italian listened, interest clear on her face. Nodding, “The same can be applied to shooting a gun, overthink it and you miss your target.” She was trying to connect what he said to something she knew. “You said intuition, would you say that each person who takes the time to study and read the cards would see a different meaning? Or are they more universal meanings?” she asks.

    “Make no sense lately?”
    an eyebrow raises quizzically. “Why do you suppose that is?” yeah, she was curious. “Predetermined Fate?” there was a thoughtful look as she thinks over the question, “Personally? I believe we all make our own Fate. I don’t think we all have something or someone we are destined to be or do. But even if we did know, wouldn’t that mean that other factors would have to fall into place? What if someone or something acts differently, wouldn’t that change the outcome of our own Fate?”

    There was a chuckle, “You could say that. I don’t get the chance to just relax and have a night off very often.” She then laughed at the comment about Princes, “But what night wouldn’t be complete without at least one massive headache?” she jokes. “Jokes aside, I was curious about you. I realized we never really talked.”


  7. #7
    Thomas Boyle's Avatar
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    Thomas Boyle

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    PRE

    "Good, bad. Even if a surprise is not pleasant, it still allows you to challenge yourself. Tribulation brings Enlightenment" Amazing how everything eventually boils down to the Crone's two maxims "I plan to bring some books in here soon, to help with my studies. Beyond that I pondered redecorating, but to make it truly notable I'd need your green light" The word 'Tenancy' is a bit taboo for him at the moment. It's been flowing from his mouth so many times lately, and if anything endless repetition brings him farther from it.

    The tactic is familiar - familiarizing a new topic with well-known examples. Alessandra looks like she's plenty of experience firing a range of guns "Really? Interesting. I suppose that's what differentiates a craftsman from an artist - in that the artist's tools are a piece of him just as much as any other body part" He says "I suppose shooting is no different, but - lacking experience - I'll defer to you on that"

    Then she asks about tarot, and Thomas takes a second to form an answer. Curiously, not many were interested in how it worked - just that it did "I'd venture the meanings behind tarot are universal. Divination is, after all, like telling a story, and all stories - beneath the veneer of superficial differences - ultimately tell the same lessons, because human experience is fundamentally similar everywhere. All cultures need to know why they should honor their parents, obey their rulers, tend to their crops in a specific way" Realizing he's free-flowing from topic to topic, Thomas clears throat "To see the universal meanings and connections is to find harmony between time, mind and perception. Frankly, it is a sliver of enlightenment" There is that word again. The very reason for being. Enlightenment

    "... But that is also the problem. Maybe with everything that's been going on I'm just too anchored in the present? Maybe the powers that be play their cruel tricks? Or maybe the image I'm getting, that of an inescapable darkness, is right after all?" Technically, it could be. Entropy conquers all "We'll see, I suppose"

    It wasn't really surprising to hear the Gangrel Prince didn't believe in a set fate. To accept that there are cosmic forces greater than will would be contrary to everything the Invictus teaches "That's a very common mode of thinking. Oedipus, Macbeth, Faust, Kronos and the Norse gods... all of them tried to outwit fate, and fulfilled their prophesised demise even as they sought to avert it. How could it be otherwise, if we are all pawns in the grand schemes of an uncaring Universe, a single breath on a glass window?" An outlook some could describe as 'grim'. He preferred 'realistic'

    "Aw, see? You're stroking my ego already!" He laughs, wondering in the back of his mind just how sincere and selfless the Prince is really being "If I may ask, what makes me so curious? Is it the fact that I am relatively new? Or are there other factors?" Is he being vetted? Screened? Thomas is pretty sure the Sheriff has a neat file on him in her office, but an interest from the boss of all bosses is something else altogether.



  8. #8
    Alessandra's Avatar
    Presence
    (Commanding)
    Striking Looks
    (Predatory Beauty)
    Blood Potency
    Status
    (Criminals)
    Retainer
    (Hell Hound)
    First thing you will notice about Ale is the abundance of her tattoos. They go from her face all the way to her feet, and not much is left bare. The second thing? Her strong Italian accent.

    Known as Sofia De Luca

    Has a more corpse-like appearance(Humanity 4)
    (Lords Danse)

    Health:
    WP:
    Vitae:

    Resilience[2] Active (Stam increased to 4)
    [][][][][][][][][]
    Alessandra Scenes
     
     -1 Vitae Blush of Life, 
     

    4
    BP
    +1
    SL
    3
    PRE

    Was that phrase branded into all the Crones minds? Like they have to say it so many times a night to get a gold star or something?

    “I much prefer things to go as planned with as little surprises as possible.” Surprises meant something didn’t go as planned.

    That’s right, Tenancy. Nodding, “Perhaps that’s something we can discuss at some point.” She wasn’t opposed to the idea; Thomas had kept his nose clean as far as she knew.

    The Italian nods, “That’s very true. I’ve trained for many years with my guns, and in a way, they’re an extension of myself.” Not that she used them as much anymore. “Shooting isn’t that difficult to pick up and learn. If you ever want to, let me know.” But guns weren’t everyone’s thing.

    “So if the meanings behind them is, as you say, universal, does that mean that someone could expect to get the same reading from two different people? Or is there something else that goes into it?” she was truly curious. “I agree with what you’re saying, you and I grew up in different cultures, but I’m sure there are many things we learned growing up that are the same. Like you said, honoring our mother and father.” She then smirks, “That’s seems to be a favorite word for you, enlightenment. Is it a Crone thing, or something you picked up over time?” she looks at the cards again. Thinking over his words, “Well, no one would call me philosophical,” humor in her voice, “but perhaps the power that be are placing the decision or question in your hands? I know most use those cards to help guide decisions, maybe it’s telling you that you have all the information you need. Or maybe I just have no clue what I’m taking about.” She says with a smirk and laugh. “But I try.”

    “Our lives are what we make of them. If Fate believes I have a predetermined demise, then I welcome the challenge. But we are not machines and programs that are made to act and work in a predetermined way. We are complex beings with freewill and the ability to shape our lives. Death is not something we can escape, even we, as Kindred, cannot escape that we can die. Is it Fate? I don’t think so, but probably some bad planning or a grave mistake.”
    HA. That could be funny.

    The Savage laughs as well, “I am? I wasn’t aware it was that easy.” She never tried to stroke egos. Ale then shrugs, “You’re just one of the few I never sat down with and just talked to. You’re a member of the Crone and a Lord, yet I haven’t seen you take sides in Court. Something I find intriguing. You’re well spoken, so that tells me you’re educated, yet I rarely hear you speak out. Not that I think it’s a bad thing, it just made me realize I didn’t really know you. Well, as much as our kind can know each other anyways.” They were a secretive bunch. “So I wanted to know who you are. We’re all more than our titles, Clans and blood.” her tone honest, she was really curious about him.

  9. #9
    Thomas Boyle's Avatar
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    "What was that famous saying? Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth" The Lord smiles "There are some things that are beyond our control, we can beat ourselves over it or accept it. I appreciate a good plan, but there is only so far you can go with it"

    He nods to Tenancy being discussed in the future. As long as they don't evict him now, he can wait and amass brownie points. Hurrying never did anyone any good.

    "I thank you for the offer, and one night I might take you up on it" If only for the thrill of learning a new thing "Pushed by necessity I acquired some experience with knives, but..." He looks at his hands and turns them around, as if to check "...lack of practice"

    When she inquires about tarot reading "It is certainly possible to have the same reading for two people, perhaps even more. It might appear differently because there are layers of deception placed over everything in Creation. They... distort perspective, much like viewing a person through several fractured mirrors"

    "Enlightenment is one of the two core things all Acolytes strive to achieve" He explains "It is my favorite word. In fact, it is the entire reason for my existence. That being said, I understand it differently than most, and I mean both - most Acolytes, and most others" The Prince has been kind (or, at least, curious) enough to show interest in his pursuits, but that was something different, something he wasn't going to delve into unless she wanted.

    When she speaks about the powers placing a decision in his hands, Thomas simply smiles. Alessandra might just be onto something here... if she is right, and people do have as much agency as she claims.

    "Are we not programs? To place it in context: are you not determined by all your parents have taught you? Your heritage, upbringing, the people that have been placed in your path? The way your body and soul has been shaped? How is any of that within your control?" He taps his fingers on the table, and just as it started sounding like a melody, the tapping ceases "Some Invictus elders guide their dynasties even from torpor. There are entire Domains worth of vampires that would kill anyone suggestin their choices are not their own, and yet all they are are pawns in the game of a mad tyrant"

    At the mention of him not taking sides, Thomas responds "I'm not sure whether to be relieved or disappointed that my little diatribe at the latest Formal came unnoticed, but it is correct: the only 'side' I take is truth. I believe everyone is better off when it reigns supreme, and if someone wants to shoot the messenger... well, there are worse causes to die for" He shrugs "Nota bene, we had a talk with Priscus Simmons about it, and she recognized her... flaws in method. To think all of the hell that broke out could have been avoided if she just called me and asked" He sounds genuinely genuinely amused. Talk about mountains and molehills "Also, I am not educated, not in the strict sense. Herald Jack is an academic, all I know about pretty much anything came from experience, mentors or stealing books from libraries" He smiles, clearly there are some fond memories there "Not even a high school diploma to my name"



  10. #10
    Alessandra's Avatar
    Presence
    (Commanding)
    Striking Looks
    (Predatory Beauty)
    Blood Potency
    Status
    (Criminals)
    Retainer
    (Hell Hound)
    First thing you will notice about Ale is the abundance of her tattoos. They go from her face all the way to her feet, and not much is left bare. The second thing? Her strong Italian accent.

    Known as Sofia De Luca

    Has a more corpse-like appearance(Humanity 4)
    (Lords Danse)

    Health:
    WP:
    Vitae:

    Resilience[2] Active (Stam increased to 4)
    [][][][][][][][][]
    Alessandra Scenes
     
     -1 Vitae Blush of Life, 
     

    4
    BP
    +1
    SL
    3
    PRE

    She had to chuckle with a nod, “In my experience, everyone has a plan until someone fucks it up. I’ve learned over the years that I can plan everything, but there will always be that one person that doesn’t do what they need to. Thankfully, it didn’t alter the outcomes too greatly, and the Brood were still defeated.” Except the fall of Alice.

    “Just let me know. I have some smaller guns that I let people use to practice on. And sometimes it’s nice to just get away from the city and alone with your own thoughts. And a few loud bangs.” She says with a laugh. “Knives huh? I wouldn’t have figured you a fighter or weapon type. Perhaps you should take up practicing again.” Always good to keep skills honed.

    She looked thoughtful again, “Interesting.”

    Ah, so it was a Crone thing. That made sense, it was mostly Crone she heard saying it. “I have to say, you’re the first person I’ve met who has a favorite word.” She didn’t realize it was thing. Though maybe it’s only a thing for some people. “I’ve never given much thought into the word myself.” But that was her.

    Shaking her head, “Not really. See, my father had two businesses, the legitimate one, a winery, and the Famiglia. My mother was a socialite, charities and the whole nine yards. As the only child, I was pulled in two different directions. Go into the family business, or take after my mother. My father never pressured me, but my mother was dead set against it. I never enjoyed the socialite life, it’s stuffy and boring. Crime is in my blood, there is no denying that, but it wasn’t forced onto me. It was within my control to walk away from it and forge a different path. Free will. We all have it.” The Invictus was full of Dynasties. “We are only pawns if we allow ourselves to be. Sure, there are blood gifts to force people to do things, but even those have limits. So we are only pawns if we allow ourselves to be.” She’d left Domains where she didn’t like what was being done.

    “Then we are of the same line of thought. To have stones thrown without all the facts is just stupid. I’ve worked to not pass judgement without all the facts in front of me. I know it’s difficult sometimes, but there are always two sides to a story with the truth somewhere in the middle.”
    She says with a shrug.

    “A lot of things could have been avoided if things had been done differently. But perhaps there is something in it we can all learn from as we move forward.” That’s all she wanted, to move forward. Take a vacation maybe? An eyebrow raised, “Well, you had me fooled. You’re very well spoken for someone without formal education. Not that I can say much, I graduated high school, but that’s it. I much prefer to learn from experience, it is, after all, the best teacher.” She laughed, “Stealing books from libraries? That’s some serious crime right there. I best watch my empire.” She says with a smirk, just playing with him. “Even without a diploma, does that mean what you know is less important than another with a fancy piece of paper?” she shakes her head, “Not at all.”



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