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Interview with a Vampire

Kila Offline

Sphinx Queen

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#1
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Thread Status: Closed!

Players involved: Cass, Sparx

Characters involved: Kazu (Cass), Oliver (Sparx

Setting: Sleibte, in the City of Eden

Time: The evening, shortly after sunset, several months ago

Weather: Hot, but cooling off quickly, and very dry


Kazu

Without the sun blazing overhead, the city of Eden had finally begun to cool. The residential area was calm and quiet, with most people having returned to the comfort of their homes after a long day in the heat. Pale stars began twinkling in the dusky sky, heralding in a clear, cold night in the desert. At the very least all was calm and quiet in the district, with the only sounds the chattering of some women out to get water from a well and the gentle babbling of water as it flowed through the canals.

Kazu lived in the nicer part of the residential district, where the houses had sprawling estates and gardens instead of lawns. The exterior of his manor was well cared for, with nothing out of place. The stone walkways had just been replaced, the garden freshly watered, the flowers were perky and colorful--even the night blooming flowers were out in full force tonight, as if they knew their master had a very important meeting tonight. The pale stone that the manor was cut from seemed blue in the shadows, and the lights from indoors cast yellow beams to break apart the shadows.

The front porch was wide and sprawling, with chairs and tables seated outside for relaxing in the shade during midday. Columns lined the porch, giving the entire place a very open feel, and allowing the view of the fountain at the front of the garden to be unobstructed. Kazu rather liked it that way. It was stately and elegant, and he'd had a lot of time to devote to getting his estate just right, from each placement of the columns to the sphinx statues at the bottom of the stairs, guarding his home from ill intent. Even his front doors were grand--double doors with beautiful glass work and bronze knockers the had been cast in the shape of an eagle's head.

However, past these doors the manor was not kept so neatly.

It was grand, of course, with an open layout and more rooms than one man could possibly ever need, but this had also provided Kazu with more than enough room to store things from his travels. And store them he did. Some of the rooms lay stuffed with books, scrolls, and knickknacks that had gone untouched for centuries, while other rooms were clearly more lived in, with their contents spread out on table after table and piled up on top of each other. After an avalanche of books nearly crushed him, Kazu had decided it was high time for some help, and this brought him to what was perhaps one of the most important nights of his entire life.

He waited in the foyer, pacing on the polished marble floor, for his guest to arrive. He'd brought out all manner of foods for snacking, and even brought a fine bottle of wine up from the cellar for the occasion, but it still did little to soothe his nerves. Other candidates had come and gone, but the man found them unimpressive, to say the least. And he was beginning to lose faith that he would ever find someone capable of meeting his unique requirements.


Sparx Offline

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Being a vampire put a great damper on a many things. The blood requirement was a hassle, especially when socially acceptable blood was sufficient but not quite as satisfying. Operating during the day became more annoying, with skin that burned and blistered more easily. Just presenting as a vampire made people avoid you or even cast you out of establishments. And, worst of all for Oliver, it made it very difficult to get any kind of job that involved being close with other people. Since the old elf had acquired the curse, his search for employment had been more than a little disheartening. Even when he "failed" to mention that he was a vampire, families caught on one way or another and suddenly became uncomfortable with him. For a man who liked to live comfortably in one spot for long periods of time, this was a trying situation.

Because of this, Oliver had little in the way of hope as he took his first steps onto the property of the next man he had arranged an interview with. This was definitely the kind of place her had gotten into the butlering business for. The grounds were expansive, with a sprawling, neatly arranged porch and an immaculate garden decorting the front. The building itself was nothing to sneeze at, and Oliver was fairly sure that the front doors alone cost more than all the money he had acquired in his life. Oliver approached them leisurely, carefully stepping around the fancy fountain on his way up the path. There were many sorts of men who found themselves living in an estate such as this, and the vampire wondered what kind he was about to encounter.

Straightening out the sleeves of his nicest blazer, Oliver prepared himself for the meeting. More often than not he dealt with the stuffy sort, the holier-than-thou men who thought that money was the only thing that made someone worth looking at. Sometimes he encountered the receiver of an inheritance whom did not know what to do with the wealth thrust upon them or how to manage themselves now that they had it. Very rarely did he find an employer more interesting than that. Would this be different? Well, in order to find out, this man would have to let Oliver stay beyond the "by the way, I'm a vampire" part of the interview, and that on its own was unlikely.

Well, there was no use putting it off. Oliver took a few long strides to reach those shining glass doors, the clack of his shoes on the stone path echoing in the quiet of the night. With one last deep breath to clear his mind and heart, he took hold of one of the bronze knockers and gave a few sharp raps to announce himself.


Oliver

Kila Offline

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Kazu

The rapping knock of bronze against bronze broke Kazu out of his panicked pacing, freezing the man mid-step. He stared at the door and just...stared. In silence. As the seconds ticked by.

Ah, I should probably answer that, he thought, willing his legs to carry him forward, which was more of a struggle than it should have been, thanks in part to his nerves.

Taking a deep breath as he set a pale hand on the doorknob, Kazu pressed down and opened the door with as much enthusiasm as he could muster. This was apparently quite a bit, as the door went flying, revealing Kazu in a very dramatic fashion. Embarrassed and pale faced, Kazu gave a nervous chuckle at his own awkwardness and said, "Welcome to my home! You must be Oliver, please, please, come in." He stepped aside and gestured widely for the man to enter his home, his smile wide and bright.

"My name is Kazu, welcome again. This is the foyer. Thankfully it's clean. It's probably one of the few rooms in the house I'm able to keep up with, in all honestly..." Kazu trailed off as he walked into the foyer. It was a room with high ceilings and large open windows. A spiral staircase lead up to the second floor, the ornate and polished dark wood offset by golden banisters, and arranged around the foyer were chairs and a few small tables. "Can I offer you anything to eat or drink? I've got wine for the occasion, and I've also got an array of hors d'oeuvres... Or perhaps you'd just rather skip straight to the interview?" He raised a brow curiously, a hand resting on a table with a bottle of wine and a silver platter arranged with small finger foods.

"I won't lie," Kazu said, glancing up the staircase to the second floor. "There's a lot of rooms here, and I'm currently the only one living in this house. Uh...manor? I try my best to keep things neat and orderly, but I can't resist bringing things back from my travels. Things got away from me, and...honestly I don't even know where to start any more." The man sighed with a shrug. "The place is a mess, and I'm just one man with a lot to do and cleaning tends to, uh, fall to the wayside..."


Sparx Offline

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It took a few moments for the door to be answered, and when it was, Oliver found himself facing a very nervous but otherwise immaculately groomed man. He quickly invited Oliver in, already coming off as awkward and unsure of himself. Oliver noted that this probably meant that the man was the "suddenly has money and isn't sure what to do with it" type, though he didn't commit to the assumption yet. Though the vampire had become quite good at reading people over his many years of service, he found that this Kazu had a different sort of air to him that spoke of more than the first impression gave.

"It's nice to meet you," said Oliver politely as he looked about the foyer. He could tell from here that the house needed a lot of work. It was difficult for one person to keep up with such a large house when they had other things to do, but how could one person accumulate so much clutter? It was a good thing that Oliver was so fond of organizing. That was why he was in this profession, after all. It was hard to intimidate him with a mess...or anything else.

He listened to Kazu as he offered refreshments and then gave a quick explanation of the state of the house. A collector and a traveler? Well, that explained a lot. Maybe Oliver would find some interesting trinkets around the place; he didn't like owning much himself, but if other people had neat things, Oliver enjoyed them, especially if they came with a story. But he was getting ahead of himself; it was unlikely he would get this job, anyway. It would be best to just cut to the chase so that Kazu could either ask him to leave straight away or politely give him a chance before declining him.

"If you don't mind, I would like to get straight to the interview," he said, turning his red eyes back to Kazu. "But first I think it's important I make a disclosure: I'm a vampire. No threat to society or any person, but I've found most people think that's an important thing to know."

With that bomb dropped, Oliver waited for Kazu's reaction.

Oliver

Kila Offline

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Kazu

For a moment, Kazu was worried about what Oliver had to say. Just one singular all too fleeting of a moment of worry, and he didn't like it. Though once Oliver spoke, Kazu felt himself awash with relief, and gave a hearty laugh as he set a hand on his belly. "Is that all? Here I thought you were going to tell me you were a former serial killer or a cannibal or something ridiculous." The man waved away any doubts Oliver may have had with a slender hand. "I care not about what you are, dear boy, only what you can do. The fact that you're a vampire is all the better, in my book."

Kazu stepped away from the table, and his fine bottle of wine, and gestured for Oliver to follow him. "Come along then, we'll conduct the interview in my study."

Turning on his heels, Kazu walked towards the stairs, his robes flowing elegantly behind him. Any trace of nerves the man had were gone now, and instead were replaced by an air of confidence and poise. He carried himself as though he were a royal, back straight, eyes ahead and unwavering as he ascended the spiral staircase. The floors of the second floor were immaculate, at the very least. Paintings adorned the walls, vases full of freshly cut flowers sat on beautifully carved end tables--Kazu was a man of refined taste, and he liked it that way. Everything from the chandeliers to the fixtures on the doors matched, and had painstakingly been collected.

He stopped before an ornate door, left ajar, and the air that flowed through the door smelled of night air and flower blossoms. "My study," Kazu said with a smile. "Please pardon the mess, I've been working rather late most nights." With a gentle push the door opened, and he stepped inside.

The study was lined floor to ceiling in bookshelves, and each shelf was packed with books. Where there weren't books there were drawers full of scrolls held in carefully crafted canisters. While there were comfortable leather chairs within the study, they were covered in books and the occasional blanket, as though Kazu had been sleeping in the study on some nights. On the desk, or what one could assume was a desk, as it was piled high with books it was nearly unrecognizable, there was a brass oil lantern, casting gentle light through the room. Even the floor was stacked with books, though from another room, as there were no open spaces on any of the shelves.

With a sigh, Kazu put on his reading glasses and rubbed his neck. "Ah, I thought it was a little cleaner than this..." Kazu said, grumbling to himself. Weaving his way around towers of books, the man took several books off a leather chair and stacked them onto another pile, which wobbled dangerously. Without lifting a finger, he moved the chair closer to the desk, and gestured for Oliver to take a seat. With the path to his desk blocked off, Kazu gave a sigh as he sank into the shadows, vanishing only to appear in the shadows on the other side just moments later. "Sorry about that," he sighed, taking a seat while he cleared off his desk.

Papers scrawled with beautiful looping handwriting were stacked and put aside, all accounting dragon attacks over Sleibte. With those documents set aside and room for his elbows, he propped his head up on his hands and spoke in a clear, concise voice, "Now, before we begin, let me be clear. I'm willing to accommodate your needs as a vampire. I can provide you with whatever you need to make yourself comfortable." He waved a hand lazily. "Room and food will be provided to you, of course, and I pay quite well. But--" His eyes seemed to gleam. "--I'm a very busy man. I need a butler who can keep up with me and who can tell me where my documents are, when my appointments are, and where they are. Do you think you can handle that?"


Sparx Offline

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The seconds between Oliver's revelation and Kazu's response were all too long, even though Oliver was used to introducing himself this way by now. However, the response he had come to expect never came. Instead, Kazu laughed, and Oliver was taken aback by how easily his potential employer was able to dismiss the concern. "Is that all?" he said, as if being a vampire was the same as having a minor allergy. This conversation certainly never played out this way before, and it was at this moment that Oliver knew that he was in for a completely different experience than he had known in his career in the past.

Unsure of what to say, Oliver wordlessly followed Kazu as he was led to where the interview would be conducted. The nervous man whom had answered the door was gone now, replaced by someone more confident and animated, a character that better matched the refined place he lived in. Looking around, Oliver took in the expensive and beautifully arranged decorations, the trinkets that certainly came from all corners of the world, the rare and interesting trinkets. It was unlike anything the butler had seen before, even in his extensive experience. It was useless to try and predict what the interview would be like, because so far, nothing had gone as expected.

The study was a little different, and Oliver instantly became aware of why his services were needed. What a mess! There were books and scrolls all over the place, taking up almost all the space in the room. The place needed to be organized for functionality and even more importantly, dusted. Kazu hadn't been kidding when he described the problem, and gods was it a problem. Oliver could only imagine what other rooms in the mansion could look like and how much work he would be in for. Deciding to worry about it later, he took the seat offered to him and watched curiously as Kazu disappeared into the shadows in order to reach his own seat. You knew you had a problem when you had to become intangible just to access your desk.

Oliver continued his silent streak as he listened to Kazu discuss the terms of the positions. Never before had he been offered accommodations for his curse, but the rest was why he was in the business to begin with, so he nodded approvingly. Living a fairly high life and having his vampirism accepted and tended to for the price of some chores? Sold. Absolutely sold. No question. It was an added bonus that Kazu was an interesting man unlike any of Oliver's previous clients- Oliver definitely wanted to know more about this mysterious character. How could he turn this down? He couldn't.

"I've been doing this for hundreds of years," he began assuredly, relaxing in his seat as he became more and more comfortable with the idea of working here. "I am very good at what I do. I can have this place and your schedule organized and accessible with no trouble. I've never had a problem keeping up with busy clients, and really, I prefer the excitement. It isn't much fun to work for people who don't do much, you know? But anyway, you'd have nothing to worry about. I'd make sure of that."

Oliver

Kila Offline

Sphinx Queen

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Kazu

Oliver was a quiet man, it seemed. Quiet, dignified, he carried himself well. And dare he even admit handsome?

Kazu was quick to stamp that thought out.

Anyway, Oliver was a quiet man. Quiet was hard to read. Quiet was often dull and uninteresting, but Kazu found himself leaning forward in his seat to try and gauge Oliver's reaction. What was he thinking about? This man's quiet was interesting, and Kazu couldn't quite place why.

As the other man relaxed and answered, Kazu found himself smiling. It was a toothy grin that spread from ear to ear, and the man gave a quick, subtle nod. "That's what I like to hear," he said. "Perfect, you're hired. You start tomorrow. For now--" Kazu's voice was cut off as he sank into the shadows. The man reappeared next to Oliver in the blink of an eye, and continued speaking as though nothing had happened, "--we'll get you settled in your room. Feel free to write up a list of what you need to accommodate your curse, and it'll be done, no questions asked. I'm a man of my word."

Motioning for the vampire to follow after him, Kazu left the study and proceeded down the long hallways, back in the direction they came. Passing the stairs, he gestured to a door at the end of the hall. "That door leads to my room. It's rather hard to miss, seeing as it's the end of the hall. I spend most of my time in the study, as you've probably gathered." He passed by more doors, gesturing to them. "These are all guest rooms--more can be found downstairs. The rooms upstairs are meant for family, but I, ah..." The man coughed. "...don't really have any..."

For a moment, he looked sad. Aged. Clearing his throat, he was quick to perk back up, and gestured to the doors closest to his own room. "You're free to choose any room you like. They're all fabulously furnished and should be mostly clean. They probably need a dusting? Truthfully I can't remember the last time I entered one of these rooms, but the windows are all open, so they'll at least be fresh and pleasant."

He ran a hand through his hair. "Is there anything you need immediately that you can think of?"


Sparx Offline

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Just like that, Oliver was employed again. After all this time, he could finally work! And it was just in time, because he was sure that if he had gone any longer without a job, he would go crazy from the boredom, not to mention from living on the streets. Oliver enjoyed being busy and comfortable too much, but hopefully now he wouldn't have to worry about living like a beggar for a while.

He watched as Kazu rose from his desk and once again used the shadows to free himself from the prison of clutter before beckoning for Oliver to follow him out of the office. The beginning of the tour was not particularly interesting; lots of bedrooms, all unoccupied. Oliver was not exactly surprised to hear that Kazu did not have a family; what with the dangerous way of the world, it was hard to keep one around. Though, Kazu did seem a bit bothered by it, so Oliver found himself wondering why. Tragic past or just lonely? It was too soon to pry. Instead, the vampire merely nodded his head gravely, indicating his understanding.

"Any of the rooms?" Oliver repeated as several of the doors were offered to him. He scratched his beard thoughtfully as he considered his options. "Well, I'll have a look before deciding. And maybe dust while I'm at it. I'll make sure they at least appear lived in."

When asked if there was anything else he might need, Oliver came up blank. What more could he ask for? He had a job, shelter, acceptance. Oliver was a simple man; all he needed was his job and a big, fancy, comfortable mansion to do it in. Already a few bonuses had been thrown in. What else was there?

"I can't think of anything," he replied after a moment. "You've already been very accommodating, thank you. I'm sure this is the beginning of a wonderful relationship between us." He flashed a bright, charming smile. It was a good night.

Oliver

Kila Offline

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Kazu

That bright, charming smile caught Kazu off guard. For a moment he just...stared. Stared like a fool who has just realized he'd been made a fool of.

Did his heart just skip a beat?

No, no, that wasn't possible. Not in the slightest. Kazu was very certain it was just a fluke. He was tired. It was the dust. He had to clean more--that's why he had just hired Oliver. To clean away all that pesky dust that was making his heart beat weirdly and making him sick.

"Feel free to look at all the rooms until your heart is content," he replied with a smile, quick to collect himself. The shadows around them moved, and the doors to all of the bedrooms opened, filling the hallway with the night's cool, pleasant breeze. "I hope you'll find one to your liking. I'd hate for you to room downstairs in the servant's quarters. Since they're not used for that anymore. Just more storage for more magical items I've gotten my hands on." Kazu gave a shrug and moved towards his own bedroom door.

"I'll bid you goodnight, for now, and allow you to get settled. If you need me, don't hesitate to come calling on me at any hour." Why did he say that? Why did I say that? "Goodnight, Oliver. I look forward to working with you." Without opening the door, Kazu slipped into the shadows and disappeared, leaving himself to question just how sick all that dust was making him.

-----

Kazu was up with the sun, as always, though this morning he found himself particularly groggy and fuzzy. It was most definitely the dust that kept him from sleeping well and left him feeling...unusual. A cup of tea would set him right, and fend off any illness he was contracting. Burning the candle at both ends was bound to catch up with him eventually.

Among all that dust.

The man, still in his silken robes, made his way down to the kitchen, where he fumbled through the cupboards in search of something for his head and chest. "Where did I put it..."


Sparx Offline

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Oliver had spent a good part of the night going through the rooms that had been offered to him, and, though he had not meant to when he had started, cleaning all of them as well. By the time he had decided where he would stay and unpacked, most of the rooms were sparkling and ready for use. As for the room he had chosen, it had the beginnings of looking lived in. Oliver did not have much in the way of personal belongings- he didn't like having a lot to carry around- but what little he did have had been neatly put away, and the room arranged just the way he liked it. Unfortunately, having gotten so much done overnight meant that he had very little time to sleep. Being a vampire and being most energetic at night was not very compatible with needing to work with schedules that usually took place while the sun was up.

Nevertheless, Oliver made sure he was up bright and early. He had a new employer to impress, after all. The last thing he needed was for Kazu to change his mind after Oliver had already gotten so excited about having everything he could ever want all in one place for the simple price of maintaining the house. Two hours of sleep be damned.

The newly employed butler started the morning in the kitchen, one of the most important rooms in the house. It was also one of the most annoying to clean if it was not kept regularly, so he wanted to get it out of the way so the rest of the place would feel easier. Dusting, scrubbing, shining... How did anyone deal with not having a tidy kitchen? How did one prepare food with a clear conscience in a place that was not in the best possible condition? At least as a vampire, Oliver did not have to worry too much about germs- he had already contracted one of the worst infections. It would probably eat anything else that tried to enter his immune system.

By the time Kazu came down looking for something to clear himself out, Oliver had moved on to other duties. Upon hearing footsteps, however, he slipped back into the kitchen and prepared some tea with the water he had left to boil.

"This should clear you up," he said, offering the steaming cup of ginger tea with lemon and honey to Kazu. "Let me know if I can get you anything else. I've started going through the house."

Oliver


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