Holly & Hollyhocks
posted on April 28, 2021
Deep within the Embrington Manor on a dark night a candle blew out.
"A splash of red, a bit more violet," A woman's voice rang out in a room deep within.
"My lady, must you paint in the dark? There is a perfectly usable candle right beside you."
"Who has time to do that when I can paint well enough without one, Amos? Weren't you the one complaining about fire hazards in my haven just two days ago?"
"You know I didn't mean it that way." Amos' voice echoed as he brought a lamp in. The night gave way to show a lavish yet elegant room full of creams and whites, but the thing most eye-catching of all was the piles upon piles of notebooks and paintings strewn half-haphazardly around the place. He held back a sigh at the chaotic mess he just knew he'd have to clean up when she went to sleep in the morning, but most of all, how out of sorts his lady was. She didn't even bother hiding it at all with her mussed hair, blood spots and paint stains all over her once ivory nightgown,"Another vision?"
Célimène guiltily looked up after finally getting the shade of violet just right when she noticed the spots of blood on her white clothes. Amos held his arms wide open and she ran for him, absentmindedly using a bit of vitae to mimic being human so he didn't feel like he was hugging a corpse. Sinking into his embrace comforted her, soothing the anxiety that came as she realized she couldn't understand her memories once again. For several nights now she's been nearly driven insane-
"You mean, more insane."
"That's not even grammatically correct!"
Or well, more insane than she already was, by the memories of blood, corpses, demonic feathers, weird infernalist cults, a demon and a shadow of a boy. She was close to just shouting in the Elysium about her memories just to get an inkling of what was going on in them. The only thing holding her back from doing so is that she didn't want to alert the damned infernalists. After all, for all she knew there were Baali disguised as someone of another clan hanging around London.
"Would it help if you went to relax for a bit?" Was whispered into her ear, pulling her away from thoughts of the maddening memories.
She turned, a bit unwilling to leave, when he began tugging her away from the clutter and outside the townhouse.
"Walking," she let skepticism permeate her words,"really?"
Dark blue eyes sparkling as he grinned encouragingly her way, he continued tugging her along. "Come now, my lady, going out for a breath of fresh air is a time tested method of clearing the mind."
Taking a look at the worry clearly visible in his aura, she relented and let him lead the way.
Not five minutes into their walk, Célimène paused abruptly as she felt the taint of a demon raising the hair on her arms and felt her Beast bristle. Finally, a chance to find a lead after months of nothing! Disregarding everything else, she ran, jumping on the rooftops when she realized the demon was streets away. By the time she arrived she realized her target had entered a heavily guarded mortal's house. Curious, but more interesting would be where her target was.
When she found the room she heard the tailend of what she assumed was a villain monologue from a baritone voice,"Looks can be deceiving. Well, it's oddly understandable that the king of a toy palace is a child."
Just when she assumed the owner of the tainted aura was the wannabe villain, a young teen's voice answered,"It really was you, Ferro Family's Azzurro Vanel."
She let the rest of the conversation wash over her as she snuck into the room and sensed, to her surprise, that it truly was the boy tied up with the black aura. Leaning in, she stared at the darkness around him, finding the darkest spot was under his eyepatch.
"His soul isn't his own."
"A bargain price, buy one get two free!"
Reaching her arm out, she snatched the eyepatch off his face and revealed herself,"Tell me, where did you get that mark?"
The room went silent at her appearance.
The mobster was the first to get over his surprise as he cocked his gun,"Who the fuck are you?!"
Célimène kept eye contact with the boy as she stared at the mark, studying it.
"I said," she felt the gun muzzle nuzzle her head," who the fuck are you?!"
The kine was so annoying. Couldn't he see that she had more important things to do? "Why are kine so noisy? " Turning around, she glared at him and watched as the fear that was already present in his eyes became more pronounced, his predator prey instincts telling him to run. "Stay!" Satisfied with the kine's lack of movement, she turned back to regard the boy again. As the silence went on, her patience lessened,"Well?"
The phone rang, the noise grating on her nerves. Célimène turned to regard it and well, it was no skin off her nose to end the call, so she answered it intending to put it back on the receiver right after.
"Hello? I am a member of the Phantomhive Household. I hope our master hasn't been troubling you."
Ah, perhaps this one would be more willing to answer. "Hi! Are you the demon?"
The person on the other end paused. She supposed they thought the villain wannabe was the one who was going to answer the phone.
"Who is this speaking?"
"My name is Célimène Fortescue," she turned her eyes the boy's way while doing a little curtsy,"pleasure."
Under her very eyes she watched the boy give a bark audible to the one on the other side of the phone, eyes vigilantly watching her even as his aura betrayed his fear.
"Understood, right away. I'll come for you soon, so please wait a bit longer."
As the dial tone spread through the room, she considered the boy, giving up on that useless avenue and deciding to use her words to trigger the memory she needs,"Tell me, where did you get that mark?" Ignoring whatever he was going to say, she dived straight into his mind. As the memories flashed before her very eyes, she was more sure by the minute that if she wasn't kindred she'd have had a heart attack. Holy crap, this kid is that Ciel Phantomhive! The Ciel Phantomhive from that manga she had read a lifetime ago! Oh gods, she had thought she was in the World of Darkness world not a fanfic! Before she started hyperventilating, she looked at the ceiling to calm down.
Erasing Ciel's mind wouldn't make anything better, so let's just roll with this. Besides, she already had a reputation for hating when she doesn't understand her memories or what others call her visions, so making a break for it after she hands off Ciel to Sebastian can just be explained as her being too excited that she finally found a clue to decipher her visions. Yes, let's just go with that. Ah, oh gods, she left him tied up!
She quickly untied him even as Ciel flinched away at her abrupt movement. Moving back, she sat on the table, making a gesture to offer one of the two chairs in the room to him. It might be a little late, but getting on his good side wouldn't be remiss of her. After all, Ciel Phantomhive being real means he's the lead she's been searching for this whole time. No doubt either the demon he's contracted to will bring in the infernalists or Ciel himself would lead her straight to the mastermind behind the cult that led to Sebastian's summoning. Turning to address the boy in question, the window was kicked in before even a word could pass from her lips.
"Lady Célimène!" Sticking the landing, Amos shouted her name as if she didn't know it herself. "Please, for your own sake, don't just run like that. You know your visions don't pick proper times to happen. What if you get one while running on a roof or God forbid, crossing the street?!"
Looking distractedly out the window, she considered making a break for it and heading home to try to puzzle out the Phantomhive and his butler's connection to her visions. Amos could handle this and he would no doubt paint her in the best light possible which means as a seer tortured by her visions who finally found the clue to understanding her recent spat of them. His words would certainly be more convincing if she left now. Deciding to do just that, she waved her hand distractedly before walking through the window. Right as she did so, Sebastian opened the door.
Sebastian bowed with just the right amount of flare, "Thank you for looking after our master."
Amos, being left behind, could only sigh at the turn of events. "You shouldn't be thanking me, but my lady."
The first thing Ciel could get himself to say through the fear that had paralyzed him was,"Mr. Fortescue," he grudgingly spit the rest of his words out as he realized how the fear was so much like that day,"who was that?"
"Ah," he showed a hint of shock in his expression,"pardon me, Lord Phantomhive. That woman is my cousin."
"Don't lie to me, who is she?"
Amos' gaze went to Ciel's right eye," I suppose if that contract mark means anything, telling you wouldn't be against the rules." Turning to look at Sebastian, he decided that perhaps it would be best Ciel heard it from his demon instead. Plausible deniability was something he'd learnt from Célimène, after all. "Ask your demon." He turned to head out through the window before pausing," Before I go," he turned to them regardless of how reluctant he was to do so to a demon and a bumbling mage who sold his soul to one," apologies for my lady's high-handed manner. She is a seer, you see, and a spat of visions has been frustrating her to the end of her wits' lately. The way she acted, you must have given her the clue she needed to understand them, so thank you." Seeing that he'd done his due, he flashed a perfunctory smile their way," Farewell"