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Vladimir Valentin VII

Don't bury your failures - let them inspire you

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

Vladimir had to admit, the miracle of Matthew Belmont was certainly a story for the ages. Not even the young dhampir would have thought coming free from a coma lasting five years was nigh on impossible. and yet there they were. What sort of magic was involved there, he wondered? His wonderment remained internal however, as he sat next to Améa within the Drunken Roo.

Her family may have been nearby to help with the prison that was the energy, but her safety was still of utmost importance, especially to a man who had been tasked with being her guard. And, he had after all, made it clear that failure was not about to be an option. Vladimir nursed no drink, not yet - he wanted his mind to be clear. Nor did he have any desire to partake in anything alcoholic to begin with. Though the taste for vodka was imbued into his genetics, of course, it would do him no good.

Not now. Perhaps never again.

Vladimir glanced at the festivities before turning his attentions back to Améa once more. After the shared experience of expressing their failures and forlorn pasts on the porch of Stuart's mother's home, he knew that there was much more to Améa than could have ever met the eyes. Now, Améa also knew a bit more about the past that he kept buried away from the majority of the masses that were not his immediate family. 

This was supposed to be a celebration, but Vladimir's face remained as stoic as it usually was, the man seated almost stone still, sentinel, formal attire notwithstanding.

"To express such emotions openly is a strange thing," Vladimir mused quietly to Améa. Once, a long time ago when Vladimir had been but a small boy, had he considered freely showing the world how its events effected him. Now? Hardly. "Is there anything you wish to do whilst we are here?

 

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Narragyambie Guest
25* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

The burden of her role gathering energy had become heavier every day. It pulsed through her blood like an electrical current, humming day and night and making rest near impossible. Not that she needed much in the way of sleep. Améa found herself wandering the nights, longing for the thoughtless void that sleep had once brought to her. She hoped every night that she would get a break from being awake, and every night she was disappointed. Améa knew that Stuart and Mary had definitely noticed, whether they had spoken to the rest of her family about it was another thing---but so long as she appeared to keep her spirits up, and tried to rest at night, there was nothing more to be done.

Barely tall enough to see through the pub windows, Vladimir towered over her tiny frame. Her hair had grown fast, and long. her skin fair glowed with the magic she held within. Still, the softer, rounded childlike features did little to ruin her trademark solemn expression. This was a party, and parties were dangerous affairs. So many people in one location, predicting what might happen was so much harder. Améa had been reluctant to attend at all.

What if Zane chose to crash this party too? The thought terrified her. Were it not for Lei's situation, and for Nika's love, she might have slipped away in the night to give him the only thing she believed could stop him from harming her family: herself. Would it be so bad? She did love him. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't stop loving him. 

No. She couldn't. She had to stay here. For Lorelei, but mostly for Nika. She would not abandon her daughter knowingly. She worried too that, were Zane to attend and see Nika properly---he might catch on and then there would be no hell or high water that would stop him from trying to know her. Nothing short of death itself. He had always, from the first moment, wanted children.

Only for the fact that her family was here, had Améa come. So many of them that it would be difficult even for Zane to cause harm. That, and Vladimir had assured her that he would not leave her side for the duration of the night. 

She nodded to his statement, neck craning to see the goings-on around her. One tiny hand reached upward, grasping for Vladimir's fingers and curling tight around what she could hold of his much larger hand.

"There is no particular thing for which I wish," she said with a shake of her head. "Perhaps except a seat for seeing around," Améa frowned, her view almost entirely made up of legs and bottoms as they walked around the pub. The view at this height was not ideal.

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

Constant vigilance was a must. Vladimir's attention to his immediate surroundings was momentarily switched to the small hand now curling around his own fingers. Glancing downward, Améa was holding his hand, and it was through sheer willpower that he did not allow himself to tense up at the contact. However, if Vladimir spent any amount of time thinking about it, he would have realized that it was becoming increasingly easier in Améa's presence to not tense at any physical contact. After all, he had carried her once in her normal, adult form. He had let her cling to him when he had been in his panther form. Holding his hand was truly nothing in comparison.

Améa wished for a better view?

That was perhaps one of the easier things that he could accomplish. His thoughts immediately turned to Veronika, the triplet that seemed the most attached to him, always near him when he would visit Jezebel and Viktor. Vladimir could not fathom why this was the case, and though he loved all three triplets equally, there was seemingly some pull to the girl. Was it perhaps a byproduct of being present when she had been pulled from Améa's womb to that of Jezebel's? Vladimir could not know for certain, and for now, he had no desire to ask.

It was enough that the little one was alive, and well. Much like her mother.

Vladimir allowed his attention to return to the present moment, his glance going down to Améa once more. At her current height, she would not be able to see much of anything in the pub. And Vladimir knew all too well that two sets of eyes keeping track of whatever chaos could arise would be all the better.

"If the idea is agreeable to you, I could place you upon my shoulders. It would give you a clear view of everything around us," Vladimir recommended softly, his red eyes never leaving the crowds around them. "It does seem to be the one thing Veronika always asks of me." Vladimir almost allowed a fond smile to come to his face, but instead the emotion played its way through his mind and towards Améa's.

"If not, I shall see if I can find you a taller chair to sit upon. The more eyes upon the crowds, the better. We cannot be... complacent." I cannot, and will not, fail.

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Narragyambie Guest
25* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

She was glad that Vladimir understood the gravity of the situation. Expressing her concerns to Adele had merely served to have them summarily dismissed as if Zane's interference at the unwedding hadn't occurred. Sometimes she was certain that her mother lived in a bubble of denial. It was a theory that explained a lot of Adele's poor choices over the years, but still perplexed Améa. 

"This is agreeable," she replied to Vladimir with a slight nod. Existing in a child form wasn't entirely unpleasant, nor was it the first time she had done so. At least then, she'd had the ability to age-up as she wished and the inability to do that was frustrating at times. For the most part, strangers underestimated what she took in and tended to ignore her presence unless she made a point of being visible. No one would think twice about a child on Vladimir's shoulders, after all---the triplets loved to be carried in the same way.

"Perhaps I shall discover the appeal that does draw Nika so," she added, the undisplayed fondness warming through their connected hands. Though their words and appearances were functional, even cold, in manner, there was a closeness that she could feel. A strength that she felt best when Vladimir was near, and not only because he was dedicated to ensuring her physical safety.

Améa had only ever allowed her father to carry her in such a whimsical manner, she had never been one for much physical contact (with the notable exception of Zane), and though she knew that Vladimir could feel from her the subtle changes in her feelings -- this did not bother her. It made her feel strong. And safe.

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

Vladimir received the agreement with a solemn nod of his head. For a moment Vladimir thought he was imagining the sensation of warmth that began to permeate his fingers, but the longer he focused upon it, the more he realized he was not imagining it. That, and there was a sense of change within Améa’s very emotions. He could feel the change, not only through the link of their hands, but through the connection and magic that ran through their minds.

Why did he feel such an attachment to this woman? Vladimir could not quite fathom it - or perhaps, he did not want to question why his emotional guards went down when he was near her. His rational thoughts told him it was because in order not to fail her, he had to be laid bare. But, within the back recesses of his mind, he knew that was not the entire case.

He had allowed trust in Améa where he hardly trusted anyone else these days. He would not question it for now.

Instead, Vladimir focused upon the task at hand, and with a few deft and practiced movements, Améa went from being at his side to on his shoulders. His hands held tightly but gently to her shins, waiting for her to curl her arms around his neck to remain steady. This was no different than when Veronika, Violetta, or Valerian asked for their uncle’s shoulders - but it was different.

Usually another’s touch made him flinch, hide away, but not Améa’s. This sense of comfort at the contact made its way through their physical touch, as well as through the mind. “Is this acceptable?” Vladimir inquired softly, voice betraying nothing, but everything else did.

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Narragyambie Guest
25* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

From here, she saw everything. A sharp and breathtaking moment of clarity, as though she could finally view all the pieces on the board of a game too complex for most to comprehend. At least, watching the guests mill around the pub it felt that way. They moved in deliberate but seemingly-random waves, drawn to each other and then pulled apart as social obligation called them elsewhere. Noting the faces and their destinations, the patterns teased her---promising to reveal themselves, and then disappearing as she tried to grasp the details. 

"Quite." was her simple reply, one hand steadying herself against his neck---the other rested atop his head. Améa was an experienced rider, she had a strong natural balance. In most ways this was no different than that, except it was. Even the most perfect moment between rider and beast contained that sliver of separation between their forms, even if their hearts and minds were as one they were always two. Upon Vladimir's shoulders Améa felt as steady on his feet as though she controlled them for herself. It was odd to feel this comfortable, this safe. 

"Are there any here tonight to whom you would talk?" Améa asked, bending slightly so that he could hear her better. 

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

There it was. Vladimir felt one hand on his neck and the other atop his head. It was similar to Veronika’s way of keeping balance upon his shoulders, though the similarities stopped there, because Améa was not Veronika, though the latter was dear to him as well as Améa was fast becoming. He should not let his thoughts get too distracted however.

Distraction would lead to complacency, and with complacency could come damage and danger beyond repair or control.

Vladimir’s own eyes trailed the crowds, trying to see if anyone was amiss, if anyone was acting in a manner that should alert him to be at the ready to strike. To defend with his life if necessary. Red eyes skimmed every face, some he recognized, and some he did not. Dhampiric senses were turned on to an acute setting, to better detect any untoward sounds, smells, actions. He would not fail; he could not fail.

Améa’s words were therefore heard rather clearly, a crystal bell being rung right against his ear. In that moment, the man shook his head ever so slightly, to avoid disrupting Améa’s balance, but also not to make it obvious as to his answer should anyone be watching them. “No,” he verbalized at first. “There are none here tonight that demand my attention.

Then there was the other reason why he did not want to approach others. Too close, and he could hear their pulses, hear the very beating of their hearts, their blood rushing through their veins. He had not had a human’s blood in more months than he could count. His dhampiric body could survive, but tasting only the blood of a rare steak did not stave off the need for it fresh and warm, no matter how good a cook Mary was.

I can hear their life’s blood coursing through their veins,” he murmured, unafraid to tell Améa this for some reason his brain did not want him to ponder on at the moment. “The temptation becomes too high, when one has not had a human’s blood in more months than I dare recount.

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Narragyambie Guest
25* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

Her feet, rested gently against his chest, could feel the vibrations of his voice. Quiet though it was, it still contained that soothing buzz. To stand apart from Vladimir, one might question if he were at all real, so easily could he give the impression of being merely painted into the background with his minimal movements and expression. Long had Améa watched him, herself so similar in her desire to fade into the edges and make herself known only when it was productive to do so. It felt almost bizarre to know him now, in this way, so solid and real. A physical object firmly planted in reality, the both of them. No longer their own ghosts, at least not to each other.

"I see," the information was new to her. She knew what he was, and she knew some few of the details through Jezebel's stories of Viktor -- but (perhaps, thankfully) some details were left out. That Vladimir had a taste for human blood was known to her, but the intensity of his cravings were not. That it might pain and distress him to be without -- that was not something she had considered, given the knowledge that it wasn't necessary for his survival. Her petite, child-like features formed a gentle frown, before her head dipped back to his ear.

"You thirst, then?" she said. Not to confirm, but to continue her train of thought. Vladimir had given up so much to take on his role as her protector, had he also given up the source of his cravings? This she could not abide. In her limited state she was unable to help with much, but this---perhaps here she could provide a solution. Be useful for a moment in this frustrating time. Her tiny hand raked fingers through his hair, absently as she considered the options.

"Perhaps it is best to move outside, away from the crowd," she said slowly, aware of the ears and eyes around them. "Where the temptation is less, and the night air is cooler?"

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

Vladimir's eyes remained fixated on the mass of people milling about, though his ears were readily trained for any words that Améa might speak. His mind was open as well, awaiting anything she, or any others of his family, might wish to impress upon him from a distance. Her words against his ear, a question no less, was not missed. Hardly, how could it be? It harked a question that he did not want to answer, lest it awaken that part of his blood that roiled below the surface, ready to be unleashed should the occasion ever arise.

And yet, he had already admitted to Améa that the masses of people distracted him. He could hear their hearts with every beat they gave, thump-thump, thump-thump.

"Yes," he told her, a single word reply. He would always thirst - it was a curse he could never rebuke, nor would he ever want to. It was integral to who he was, and that, he would never want to change. In his staying with the Blairs, Mary and her brood, Vladimir had become accustomed to the small gathering of family members, but it was nothing compared to the throngs of parties and the general city populations. He did not need the blood to survive of course, but that did not mean his body could do without it forever.

But, that was not the focus right now. Vladimir had been tasked with being Améa's protector, and her protector he would be - he would accept nothing less than absolute success.

Failure was not an option.

A hand through his hair, Vladimir was not expecting the motion, though he found that it did not displease him. The opposite, in fact, it reminded him of times long gone, which he swiftly shut out of his mind before he could get lost in a past of ghosts and sorrows, and all manner of other problems. Her suggestion was what really captured his attentions, so much so that for a second, he held his breath. 

It would certainly do him well to be away from all of these people, but Vladimir was not tasked to care about his own needs. "Only if that is what you wish," he indicated to Améa quietly. He was poised to move, to head outside into the night hair and away from the sounds and smells of so many bodies and sources of fresh, warm blood. Vladimir had more than enough control over his innate instincts, but that did not mean it did not take him immense willpower. 

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Narragyambie Guest
25* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

"I wish that you also to be comfortable," she replied, as if it were an obvious fact. To her, it was. What sense was there in Vladimir being in this role, if it gave him discomfort? What point was there in forcing him to be in here, when she didn't need to be anyway? "A more private location will allow for us to easily assess any threat," she added, knowing that for himself alone Vladimir would not act. It was sweet, but also damnable. Améa wasn't used to such bare selflessness. Her life tended to revolve around the needs of others. First Adele, then Zane. Now, though it was largely her own fault, Lorelei. Maybe this was what intrigued her so much about Vladimir. The fact that he seemed to need nothing from her, and yet provided everything.

Outside, the sky was clear and calm. A perfect night of deep velvet blue, with just enough chill in the air to make her feel at home. Though the flat, dry grass around her was less soothing, she had come to find beauty in it anyway. Once she had believed that only the lush rolling hills and majestic cliffs of her true home were beautiful and this land, boring and dull, was a scar upon the earth. Yet she had seen now, through the burning heat of summer to the dry freeze of winter and back, that there was a stubbornness to it. This was a land that did not break. Ravaged by extremes, burned and then frozen, the muted colours of the bush around them persisted. The dry grass persisted. The flowers came back year upon year, the plants would wither but they would not die.

She directed Vladimir to a place along the outside of the building, where park bench-style tables had been set up. This she assumed was mostly for the smokers, who weren't allowed to light up inside. But those were fewer these days, and most were empty. Only a few stragglers sucked down their nicotine before ducking back in with a shiver. They would not be bothered here, she surmised. 

No sooner had he stopped, she vaulted lightly from his shoulders to stand upon one of the tables. It was enough to bring her height to match his, their eyes level. Her childlike features deadly serious, she extended her arms, tiny hands resting upon his cheeks. She wanted him to understand. She did not offer this lightly. This was something she could do and with almost no risk to her own wellbeing. 

"Vladimir," she said softly, curious accent rounding off the syllables in an almost musical way. "There is no need that you thirst. You will drink of me."

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

Vladimir allowed Améa’s words to spike the air, travel through into his ear, and lock away into his brain. His own needs did not matter when the task was to see to Améa’s safety, however, if she actively wished him to be comfortable as she put it, then he supposed he could relent and give in to leaving the vicinity.

She also was not wrong in the slightest - from a private vantage point, assessment and action could be better had, allowing for them to gain the first strike. Granted, Vladimir did hope that nothing would occur, but as he had learned throughout his years, anything was possible. “As you wish,” Vladimir responded, taking her guidance and removing them from the throngs of the people milling about, the sounds of their hearts and their pulses becoming less and less a hum in his ears.

Outside, all he could hear was the night air, and the sound of himself and Améa breathing.

Dhampiric skin aside, Vladimir had always enjoyed the night compared to the day. And the moment they were outside, there was a sense of calm that washed through him, though his outward demeanour never changed. Even though it was clear that outside, near these tables, they were now alone, now was not the time to lose composure. The wall of stone. Forgetting the fact that with Améa he found he was becoming less and less guarded.

But after the incident where he had witnessed her anguish in the form of his panther, it was inevitable.

Still, all that told, Vladimir’s facade broke ever to slightly as her hands placed themselves on his cheeks, his eyes boring into her blue ones. Whatever was about to come forth from her was serious, of that there was no doubt. Vladimir was only partly distracted when his name lilted from between her lips, until everything came crashing to a halt once he heard what she wanted. And, were he another sort of man, or perhaps more like his siblings, he would have exclaimed and questioned whether she was serious. Obviously, she was.

Améa,” Vladimir began to say, “This is not something you have to do for me. The offer, it is appreciated, but I also do not want to be of inconvenience. Nor do I want to threaten your state of being.” He gently motioned to the necklace and her status as a battery of energy.

Still, the offer of a source of fresh, warm blood, even just a taste of it... Even if it were just this once, should Améa dislike the sensation of it, it could stave off the craving and fortify his body for more months to come.

If… If it is what you wish, then I thank you. But, I must know beforehand, will you be all right?” And only Améa could answer that for him.

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Narragyambie Guest
25* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

"Distracted and uncomfortable is far more threat to mine safety if something should occur," Améa pointed out, once again invoking his sense of duty to push him toward looking after his own wants. She didn't feel that she had to. She knew she could, and that was a far more attractive reason to her. Améa herself was a watcher, a protector, a keeper of her kin. Whether she liked to or not, her own sense of duty drove her to ensure the safety and happiness of those around her before seeing to her own. So inbuilt was this, the sense of helplessness that came with her current state, even if for a larger purpose, distressed her.

For a moment, here and now, she could help. She needed to help. But it was not help given without due consideration.

"Do you not remember, a time when mine love was vampire in full?" she said. The memories still stung, the cause of those lonely nights on the rooftops of Tallygarunga. The nights she had spent listening to Vladmir play to the night air, mourning the loss of a first love who had no sooner opened her to the concept that she deserved love, than took it away. In retrospect, that same hurt had driven her toward Zane. Zane's flaws had been many, yet he had provided her with the security she felt she needed. The certainty that he wanted her. But---none of this was the point.

"Regularly did he drink from mine supply, and no harm was done. It is not by flesh and blood that I stand here. Mine wounds will close and blood replenish, until the Will is depleted entire. Only then will She be vanquished from this earth, only when her soul is bereft of any desire to Be. Until this time, She will be eternal." the last she spoke softly, a sacred quote from a text unknown. Bethianna had often recited such works at her bedside when she was a child, putting her to sleep with the gentle rhythm. She'd never really understood what it meant until recently. 

"I intend for being around a long time yet. To see Nika grow and much more," she added. "You could drain me full dry, dear Vladimir, and mine body would retain a living state. Unwell, perhaps, but determined for life and in fast recovery. You may sate your thirst without fear. This I promise you."

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

Vladimir remained silent, knowing fully well that Améa was correct. Should he falter, it would be a threat to her safety and he could not allow that - but would that it were easy for him to abandon his disposition. In the end however, he merely nodded assent. And, not long after that his attention was captured on Améa for an entirely different reason.

How he could not remember? The male had been relation to Vladimir’s first love, intricately tied in together. Vladimir nodded once again, absorbing the weight of her words. The only difference being that he had been a vampire made, whilst Vladimir was a dhampir born. Would that make a difference, he wondered? Though Vladimir wanted to open his mouth and speak, he could sense that more was coming, so his lips remained sealed and rightly so.

He could not recall hearing so much at one time from Améa. It was… markedly pleasant.

Still, any of those thoughts were soon cast out when he focused his attention on what those words were saying. Améa, Jezebel, Adele - their blood something he did not entirely understand. Flora too - the little girl was an enigma to him. They were eternal, a blood that would live for centuries should they apparently choose? It was a strange concept, though Vladimir supposed no stranger than his own blood. He too would live for centuries to come, should he will it, and should he have the blood to make it so.

He did his best to ignore the feeling that coursed through his brain when she called him her dear. There were no words he could say other than, “If that is what you promise, then I will believe it.” Améa was not one to waste words, that much Vladimir had learned in his tenure as her protector. He gently took one of her hand’s from his face, turned it so the wrist was faced upwards, contemplating the pale skin, senses honing in on the pulse that lay beneath.

He ran his tongue over his fangs before he allowed them to sink into Améa’s wrist. The moment her blood touched his tongue, his eyes snapped wide open; what normally triggered his mind to scream A, B, O, positive, negative instead cried out electricity. Sweet beyond belief, more than the purest of honey and sugar, and yet electrified. It was as though the blood had an energy of its own, coursing down his throat into his stomach and spreading rapidly to every vessel in his body. Vladimir knew then and there that if he truly wished, he could have drained every drop from Améa’s body.

As it were, he had enough self restraint to not do that. But that did not mean he did not vocalize an enjoyment; it truly was electricity. What blood was this? His senses felt as though they were on fire. He could hear Améa’s heartbeat with absolute clarity, as though it were beating right against his ear. He could smell everything, from Améa’s scents to the grass and nature around them, the lingering smell of tobacco. Good God, what was happening to him?

He managed to detach himself from Améa’s wrist with great effort, licking the trickling blood left behind on her wrist and then his lips, arms going around his stomach as he felt another pang of electricity roil through him. Eyes were still wide, dilated, fixated on Améa as she stood there. He could visualize the veins of her exposed skin, practically see each and every pulse. He could see every shade of blue her eyes contained. He could hear everything around him, even into the building they had so recently vacated.

The power was incredible, but also terrifying. “Améa, what manner of blood is this?” Vladimir asked, arms still around his abdomen as the blood continued to run its course through his body. It was exhilarating, powerful, strong; he felt himself more refreshed than he had ever been before. No human's blood had ever done this to him.

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Narragyambie Guest
25* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

Améa had learned too soon that words were often little more than air between the lips, and resolved at a very young age to speak only what she truly meant and no more. She preferred the honesty of silence to the noise of lies, and a large part of this was for the lies she herself had told. The promises and the love she had given, only to betray every last syllable. Perhaps it had not been lies in the strictest sense, but it had been for nothing. It had not stayed her hand when it ought to, and for that she knew her soul was blackened. Her deepest regret lay at the heart of her silence, a sin for which she could never be forgiven.

This was the importance of what she spoke now. These words, not because she felt comfortable or merely willing, but because they had meaning. Because they would be listened to. Vladimir's gentle quiet echoed her own, he would not throw her words to the wind. 

She flinched only slightly as his fangs sunk into her flesh. An unavoidable jolt of pain, followed by warmth. A happy glow within herself, the comforting buzz of being useful to someone. The delight that shocked his system flowed into hers as well, glad she could supply something that was more than satisfying a craving. Vladimir was enjoying this, and the niggling worry that he would sup guiltily from her faded away. She did not want him to feel bad for his needs. His energy rose and she felt that too, the air charged between them, heavy and electric. Her smile spread further, watching Vladimir pull away and bathe in the flood of sheer life that he had consumed.

And then he asked the question. Améa blinked. He did not know? She had assumed that he had been informed at some stage, otherwise why would he have been accepted as her protector? Her brow furrowed.

"You do not know?" she asked, reaching out to touch her fingers lightly to his cheek. "We are the sorceraic." as if this was some kind of explanation, and not merely a name that gave nothing more. It had been enough to stop her, bring her out of that fuzzy feeling and consider his reaction more carefully. He was satisfied, yes. He was happy, yes. But was it too much? Her tiny mouth frowned.

"Dear Vladimir, does it make you feel well?" she asked cautiously.

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

His breathing was laboured, pleasantly, but laboured. All of his senses were amplified tenfold and it was almost disorienting. It still felt as though her blood were surging electrical trails though every artery and vein in his body, to the very tips of his fingers and toes. That slight touch of her fingers on his cheek, he swore he could feel the very ridge details of her fingers against his skin.

Her answer was basic, and it rang with knowledge that he already knew. Damn, he should have voiced his question better. He knew the title of what Améa was, knew that she and her kin were different, the blood Flora had told him of years ago.

Forgive me, I should have… worded that better. I know of the title of your people.” Vladimir had to give pause as he focused his attention on Améa and not on the multitude of smaller details his senses were trying to hone in on. He focused his eyes on hers. Every shade of blue. Good Lord, their eyes were a blue he had never encountered - even more starkly noted after the feeding.

Would that he could see the changes happening to his own eyes. Wherein the blood of a human would turn the wine red to something more sanguine in shade, the outer irises petalled out to shades of blue, with his red forming the ring around the pupil - much like the rose Flora had presented him with - blue with red at the centre.

A human’s blood tastes of A, of B, of O, positive, negative. Your blood, there is a charge I cannot put words to.” Vladimir could have tried, but nothing would have come of it, thus it was best not to waste words. Another shock through the belly, and his eyes surged again, blue and red brightening. Another question from Améa, but this one was much easier to answer.

I feel strong.” And yet…

With a small cringe, he clutched at his stomach once more. “It is nothing like the blood of a human. I believe my body is… trying to adjust. My senses are amplified. I can see your veins through the skin, see the insects flittering in the distance, hear the voices of the party goers… I can hear your heart with every beat.” There was an indescribable high involved.

Forget the fact that she called him dear again. That seemed to make him feel things eve more strongly than before. Combined with her blood, he felt almost invincible.

Thank you.

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Narragyambie Guest
25* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

Concern wove it's way through Améa, her own eyes sharply noting the changes as Vladimir spoke. Her first love had fed from her, and never had such a reaction. He'd said it made him feel strong and alive, yes, but nothing to this level. To see Vladimir so animated was almost perverse. She kept her hand to his cheek, trying to give him something constant, something grounded. She could see his senses twitching at every slight movement, every new sound. An overwhelming kaleidoscope of stimuli when you could truly experience it. 

"It is most pure life," she said softly. All blood was life. Hers, and that of her family, was so supremely concentrated that it had an existence almost of its own. Alexander knew that well, as did any of their kind who had lived as half. It demanded dominance, supreme control. It fought the very flesh and bones until it won. Is this what would happen to Vladimir? Had she allowed a warmongering parasite into his body? Vladimir, unlike herself, did not create the blood within himself. What would happen, now that he had let it in? 

"Perhaps, dear Vladimir, I think it is well if you sit down," she stepped aside that he might sit upon the seat she was standing on. Worry crackled in her face and eyes. His grateful thank you only served to twist a knife of developing guilt, and Améa shook her head. "Do not thank me," she said, trying to keep her voice low and calm. It shook with anxiety all the same. "Not until it is known if I require your forgiveness," Améa swallowed, shoulders trembling. "I am sorry, I am sorry---I swear to you, never this reaction did mine first love have. So useless have I been in this way, and thought this I could do---I am sorry," but what to do about it? 

She didn't know. She could only watch Vladimir experience the world unfiltered with growing concern, feverishly trying to think of a plan. 

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

Though Vladimir did not feel as though he were to become ill, to vomit the blood he had so recently consumed, the power that flowed through him was almost crippling as it was fortifying.

And though he were distracted with the stimuli all around him, Vladimir did have enough sense to see the changes happening with Améa. She was becoming nervous, concerned - how could he not see it? The sound of her voice was enough to cause him concern. The anxiety was almost palpable on his very tongue. Sitting down would be a grand idea at the moment though.

Vladimir carefully sat himself down, holding his head for a brief moment in his hands before he refocused his attention on Améa. There was one more surge that struck through his core to his limbs before everything seemed to simply crash. If it were in conjunction with her words that he should not thank her, he could not say for sure. What Vladimir did know is that his senses came to an abrupt halt, his born blood taking over and clearing away the remnants of the blood he had absorbed. As Vladimir stared at Améa, his eyes returned to their natural red, as though the blue that had invaded had never happened.

Spent, exhausted, but yet he still felt whole, alive, and for the first time in months, he felt no niggling prod at the back of his mind that he thirst for blood. He closed his eyes, as though he were about to sleep, but his ears were still trained on Améa as she spoke. Of course it would be different - he was born with both human and vampiric blood in his veins, not infected with the vampiric blood that made Améa’s first love a true vampire. “Do not apologize. You do not need to be forgiven. You offered your blood and I took it - my decision rests upon my own shoulders.

Perhaps he could calm the nerves that now plagued the girl so, eyes open again as he looked to Améa, raising a hand until he could rest it a moment on her shoulder. Deep breath in. Then out. “Your first love was vampire made, wherein I am dhampir born. I have both human and vampiric blood running through my veins. Knowing what we do now, it makes sense that such reaction would happen when three bloods of varying strength collide.” Perhaps he ought to speak to Viktor about this - surely he drank from Jezebel?

Do not apologize, Améa. It is not necessary. Though it were not the reaction I expected…” He trailed off as he sucked in another breath. “It was not what I expected, but I do not regret it. Your blood is powerful, that much is clear… I do not feel thirst any longer. The body is sated, strong… I can fulfill my objective as your protector. I will not fail you.

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Narragyambie Guest
25* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

At least he sat down. For that, she was thankful. If he collapsed, the fall would be less and she would stand at least some chance of guiding him more gently to the ground than if he were standing. Worry still buzzed through her, staring at his closed eyes, re-assessing his situation which had once again changed suddenly. Like the very energy had been ripped from him, violently, she worried still that he might fall.

Perhaps it was for this reason that she sat herself on his knee, to anchor him onto the chair, turned slightly to one side that she could peer up at his face as he opened his eyes and spoke again. His hand on her shoulder did, in some small part, soothe her concern. The worst was over and she knew that, he was here and speaking, the words he said made sense. She cursed herself for not considering the difference sooner. Yes, perhaps it was to ensure that he remained safely in place that she curled in toward him.

Or perhaps it was something else. A lingering after effect of the sudden fear, something more than mere guilt for what she had unwittingly put him through, that made her seek the comfort of proximity. Not the functional place upon his shoulders, but the affectionate position that she, as a true child, had occupied in the company of her father. A comfort she had forbidden herself from any other, yet another punishment imposed upon herself. Her breathing still uneven as it calmed after the panic, she tried to tell herself it was for his security and safety, and therefore not against the rules she had set. 

But she knew. This was not for Vladimir.

It was for herself.

Because that panic had come with a sharp note of clarity, too. A realisation that if Vladimir came to harm from her blood, she would hurt not solely because she had urged him to partake of it. It was far simpler than that. Whatever the reason it was, by her hand or another, the thought of Vladimir in any sort of distress hurt her soul. It was not about fault. It was not something she could rightly explain, either, only that she did not want to lose him.

"Never do I believe you could fail me, dear Vladimir," she said, ducking her head downward to hide the tears that formed in the wake of her fear. "Would that I could protect you also. I promise I shall do so, when I am able. You will let me, yes? Protect you, as you do me?"

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

Vladimir sat in silence, exhausted, but strangely calm. In the very back of his mind, were this some other circumstance, he ought to have been in a panic. To be inherently concerned with the fact that Améa's blood could alter his state of being so easily. To be worried that in his exhausted state, should something or someone strike, he would not be able to protect Améa. The last of the thoughts hurt most of all, especially considering how he did not want to fail her.

He could not fail. For himself. For her. For his own sanity.

The position that Améa took upon his knee, soon curled in towards him was not something he noticed right away. Truth told, Vladimir had not noticed that he were essentially locked into his seat on the bench by Améa until he glanced down to look at her when she spoke. It made his mind turn to that moment he had locked eyes with her as a panther, only for her to cling to his neck as though he were the only solid thing on the face of the earth to hang on to. Her faith in him was admirable, and he felt a small bubble of pride go through him at the thought that she trusted him enough to one, tell him this, but secondly and most important, that she truly believed in him not to fail.

And yet.

"I failed her before. Failure is always possible... but I will strive to make sure it does not happen again. Not with you.

Vladimir had been told it was not his fault. That it could not have been a failure in his own actions that had caused his first love to leave him in a lurch, in a cold expanse where nothing could warm the hole that had been left where his heart ought to be. Viktor, Jezebel, his parents, the Twins, even Flora had told him not to shoulder the blame, the crippling feeling of inadequacy. But it was much easier to forgive someone else, than to forgive oneself.

He could smell tears brewing. He could not allow that, though he knew not why she threatened to weep.

Améa was powerful, he knew that. And now, he had more of an appreciation for the power of the blood that flowed through her veins. He had seen some of the things she had done when they had both been students. If it came down to a matter of life and death, he knew Améa would be able to protect him, Veronika, everyone else around her that she wished safety upon, should she choose it to be so. He kept his hand upon Améa's shoulder as he replied, "When you have returned to your true state, to the form that I am most familiar with, then yes. You may protect me, as I protect you."

Perhaps it was that verbal agreement of protection that allowed him to speak what he did next. Or perhaps it was the niggling in the back of his mind that told him this was safe. "To see you come to harm, I do not think I could bear it. Be it by another's hand, or my own failure. I take the oath for protection with utmost seriousness... in both giving the oath, and receiving it."

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Narragyambie Guest
25* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

Améa tilted her head to one side, disbelieving of the notion as Vladimir said it. 

"Was it failure true, or did another fail you?" she asked. "It is much easy to confuse the two. Some can only blame others for failures they create, and others fall to always assuming themselves to be the cause---you seem the latter, dear Vladimir. Unless by direct action, and with known intent, did you cause something to happen---it is not your failure. Sometimes it is only circumstance, and you cannot carry such weight."

The panic fading away, Améa felt more relaxed than she had in months. Perhaps Vladimir had drained away some of the uncomfortable excess, perhaps that burst of fright was exhausting. All the same, she leaned in against him and found a position that was most comfortable, almost as though Vladimir were her favourite chair. Perhaps, for as long as she was small enough to fit, he would be. 

"If I am say, to run from this place now. Where you cannot be find me, and harm does come---that is not a failure of you. That is a failure of me. If it should be that for all our efforts, one should come and cause me harm, that is not a failure of you. That is a failure of life," a small hand reached up, patting his cheek. "I know it is that for anything you have power to control, you will not allow harm. For long as that is true, you will never fail me. Even if bad should happen, I am knowing it is not because you wanted such, or cared too little. You want for the good, you try for the good---and so the bad can never be your failure."

Anyone observing them would have been surprised to see Améa speak so much at once, or being so affectionate. Améa herself was surprised by how easily it flowed, how important it seemed that she tell Vladimir this. Watching over Adele was the most difficult task she'd done in her life, and one that burdened her with guilt for the failures she could not control. To think that Vladimir carried similar, unnecessary, weight around with him made her sad.

"I too also say such with serious," she added. "For such oaths, some terrible things I have done---but if it is sworn, so must it be followed. Though I am believing you are not like to put me in such position, dear Vladimir."

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

Améa spoke complete and total sense. Vladimir sat still, sentinel, mulling over each word as she spoke it. It was completely and bafflingly strange to hear her speak so many words at once. But, because he knew what a rare thing it was for Améa to speak for any given length of time, he knew the words were not being wasted. He was listening, carefully, absorbing everything.

Being practically immortal set the wheels in motion for what happened,” Vladimir explained quietly, trying to focus more on what needed to be said, rather than on the affection Améa was showing him. And now, another name added to the list of those who told him the fault did not lay on his shoulders.

Vladimir was jolted from his pure focus on Améa’s words when he felt a contact on his cheek, once, twice, a third time. He realized then and there that Améa was showing him much more affection than he had ever even been witness to, let alone experienced. It was… as fascinating as it was unexpected, but pleasant all the same. More sense was being spoken, over and over the words tumbled from between Améa’s lips, and though part of Vladimir’s mind rationalized that she was right, another tried to war against it.

Inadequate. Monster. Failure.

But he did want nothing but good in this world that they lived in, though he knew it was not always possible. Perhaps it was that drive that had lead him on this path to be Améa’s protector. Of course, Vladimir was not stupid either - he knew that someone such as Stuart, or Adele, or even Viktor and Jezebel would have been more well known to be Améa’s protectors. Should Sollozo or that cretin Zane try some such, they would not know him. They would not know what power he had, should he will it.

I too have done things in the name of oath and promise that some would find… extreme. Bloody, violent. But one must do what is necessary to protect the ones we love and care for.” Vladimir gave pause before he gave Améa’s shoulder another pat, his own sign of comfort as best he could give it considering the circumstances. “I swear it. I will not fail you, nor let you come to harm if I can will it. Tooth and nail, by the vampiric essence in my blood, the power of shadows that I wield… Vladimir Ivanovich gives you his word.

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Narragyambie Guest
25* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

"It is often the thread that first comes loose," Améa nodded. The prospect of a life long beyond centuries was difficult for anyone. It cast a shadow over relationships with any true mortal, knowing that the disparate lifespans would eventually end in tragedy. Some, like her grandmother, took the fear of this and built walls. Secreted away the mortal weakness and kept him in a beautiful cage. Even her mother was guilty of clinging too hard to that which she would ultimately lose, though she was yet to take her devotion to Caleb and David to such extremes. Améa had made the mistake of choosing to live for Zane, subconsciously siphoning her own power to sustain his life force, and bringing herself to near mortality.

Others protected themselves with layers of rejection, pushing back any who might become important. Solitude was a pain more easily borne than heartache. But more disheartening than the reactions of the immortal themselves, was that of the mortals. It was not unusual, Améa had noted, for jealousy to intervene when a mortal realised that their significant other would have a life well beyond them. That they might find happiness again, another love, another life. This seemed rather irrational and foolish, as what hurt could they feel when they were gone? Was it not better to live a life of love, and hope for the happiness of those you leave behind? 

Mortals were strange. They had such fear for what they did not have. Though she wasn't especially old, and had lived but a blink of what she might, Améa had learned largely from Bethianna. Anna taught her to see the world in broader terms, to embrace her longevity from the first. To that effect she didn't see herself in the same way that Adele, or even Jezebel saw themselves. Both had grown with mortal expectations. Améa had not.

"Or to those we are duty and honour bound, regardless of cost," Améa echoed after Vladimir. Had it been simply about protecting the ones she loved, the choice would have been easier. She would have lived with it better. Allow the plot to succeed or fail, protect her father from whatever retribution came for him. In that time and in that moment, she had not the slightest affection for Adele, nor did Adele deserve it. It hadn't been for love of her mother, but mere duty to the crown. That duty stood, above all else. Should Vladimir even threaten Adele, Améa would have to act.

"And by mine honour, for centuries to come, also do I swear. For so long as none threat do you pose to mine blooded kin, and to those I am tasked to watch over, your fight shall be mine. I shall stand with you in good and bad equal, sworn to protect your mind and your body. I, Améadruella Ellazandre du Contiaea do promise you this."

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

As Vladimir sat there, sentinel, there was a sense of calm now that the electricity of the drinking had passed. His senses had returned to normal, or at least what he would consider normal for himself. As he listened, Améa was certainly correct - once it had become clear that Vladimir’s longevity would outlast her mortality, things had changed. Moods had changed, slightly, but with reflection, Vladimir acknowledged it.

He had spent years in Moscow mulling over the events that lead up to her departure from his life. But, for once, Vladimir made the elective decision to not allow thoughts of that time to take over the current moment. Or perhaps never again.

Ah yes… Duty and honour. Two other concepts that Vladimir had grown up to respect and adhere to. “Yes… we cannot forget duty and honour bound oaths,” Vladimir concurred, though he fell once again into silence. He understood well enough that Améa and her family were… odd, put mildly. And, when her oath was made, Vladimir’s face turned to a state of pure stoicism and concentration that was not often seen outside of home.

I will never deign to hurt your blood. They have my respect,” he informed her solemnly, before he realized that he could not recall even once having heard Améa’s full name.

A smile cracked through his expression, the first he had in front of Améa, and when he thought about it, the first true smile he had given to anyone in a long time. “Améadruella,” Vladimir repeated, as though he were tasting the name on his tongue. Now he understood where Jezebel and his nieces and nephew got Ruella from. Her name was exquisite, though he would not deign himself to call her that unless she told him he could.

You have a lovely name. The language is fascinating, different from my own native tongues. Vladimir Ivanovich Valentin, the seventh of my name, would be the full name given to me at birth.” He allowed another squeeze of her tiny shoulder, allowing the silence to reign again.

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Narragyambie Guest
25* year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

By contrast, the solemnity of Améa's expression fell into a softer smile as he spoke of her family. Sweet Vladimir, as yet unburned by the whims and selfishness of those Améa was duty-bound to protect. The way he said her name was musical, and his smile was a reward in itself. One that filled her heart with unexpected light. She wondered why he didn't smile more often, and resolved in that moment to encourage more from him. 

"I am named for many things," she nodded. "Mine father's first and true love was named Meadre, though Mamiere believed it was for the Meadraan, a solitary and beautiful lighthouse that watches over the waves and city. Rue is for silence, and ellar is a child. Thus, I am the silent watching child, and a love lost too soon," it was common in their practice to be named after many things, parts of the language combined to a description of what a child was hoped to be. 

"Mine second name is to Zandre, of the twin powers that hold our world in balance she is Light. In Ellazandre I am the Child of the Light, blessed by her guidance." talking about her faith and her beliefs was certainly not something Améa did on a regular basis, especially when they were so unknown out here. It just... made sense to tell Vladimir. She wasn't sure why. "Mamiere is of Reisse, named for the Dark. Fiercely protected, yet surrounded by chaos."

It was, as all things were, a matter of balance. Zandre was a generous and giving power, who sacrificed what was dear to protect the rest. Reisse on the other hand, protected her children with selfish love, allowing all else to fall into disarray. Side by side, they kept the other in check. Too many thought of light and dark as simply as good and evil, but there was good and evil in every shade. Améa knew that. She could not call herself good, yet she had always acted in accordance with the ways of Zandre. 

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Melbourne ☆ Master Cellist/Conductor of the MSOSanctusX
28 year old Halfbreed Dhampir ☆ He/Him

Vladimir understood enough of Améa’s family to realize that they came from a land unknown to him. So, because of this, he listened with rapt attention, though his eyes would coast to the building from time to time, scanning the area, wary of attention or danger. No complacency. No failure.

The language was different, but the custom was the same - a name to reflect something of value, or importance, something a parent or parents could hope that their child would aspire to. And though Vladimir did not understand in is entirety the religion that Améa was speaking of, that did not mean he gave no less importance to the information as it was given to him. “Thank you for explaining all of the components to me,” Vladimir expressed, first and foremost.

In my own culture, my name has been used often in history. Vladimir, it is derived from old Slavonic. Vladeti, it meant rule, combined with Meru, great. Or, the meaning my parents chose to associate, Miru, peace. As such, I am a peaceful ruler, in so far as related to my family, for I am of no royalty.”

Ivanovich… it is what we call a patronymic - to be named after the father. Son of Ivan - Ivan meaning gracious. And Valentin… it comes from a time long ago in history, from the Ancient Romans themselves, Valentinus. Strong. As such, when all put together… I am a gracious, strong, and peaceful ruler, though not in a most literal sense.

Though, of course, their names should not entirely dictate the discourse of their lives, but regardless, when Vladimir mulled over all of their combined details, he remarked unbidden, “It would see we have both been aptly named, Améa.

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