A world in the near future, people looking for answers and promises of the past.
|A hush fell over the capacity crowd, in the darkened venue, as the music quieted and the stage went dark. It was time to pick up the song again and out of the darkness came the sound of the low rifts on the bass guitar. The form of the band Absent's only female artist stepped into a dim spotlight, her fingers gracefully playing across the strings. The solo picked up and the volume and intensity in which she played increased before it ended with the rest of the band coming in. She had written the song herself and it didn't fail to make her smile when the crowd erupted into cheers and shouts for more. She cast a quick glance at the others falling back into synch with them. In what seemed to only be seconds afterward the show had ended in applause. Another successful night on the road.
Seneca sat backstage now, tracing her fingers over the strings of her bass, and strumming a few chords then and again. She was in wait of people to clear out, in wait of the celebrating to end. Turning down an invitation to go downtown with the boys she watched as the people slowly shuffled out the back entrance of the venue before packing her own equipment away. She wasn't one for the nightlife, wasn't one for the idle drama and chatter. Taking her acoustic guitar with her she instead headed for the hotel after she stepped out the back door.
She waved off the tour bus driver when he honked at her, her bandmates hanging out the windows, insisting yet again that she join them or at least let them drop her off. On most nights Seneca would go with them, at least back to the hotel before they went elsewhere but tonight she chose to walk instead.. the place they were staying at, in the large city of Chiaro, was not too far.. down around the corner to be exact. She watched as the bus drove off, headed for other adventures, before continuing down the sidewalk. She had made just over half the trek before the sound of a car door shutting and footsteps behind her made her stop. She was within eyesight of the doors to the expensive hotel and there were plenty of people around. Not good conditions for a mugging or a kidnapping. She turned on her heel, just as the person had been about to reach for her shoulder. She met him with stern eyes that seemed to scream "back off." But he didn't touch her, he saw the look on her face and realized touching her would be a big mistake. Seneca would not be easily intimidated or manipulated, that was fine. There were other ways to get what he wanted from her.
"Seneca," he held out his hand, slipping it back to his side when she eyed him with a look that could not be mistaken for pleasant, or pleased, "I am a fan of yours..." His eyes assessed her in one quick sweep, more beautiful in person, and then she was just a woman after all. "...in fact I was at the concert tonight." He frowned when she didn't immediately respond, women generally threw themselves at him. "I am Alaric Morose, of course you know the name."
That name had been his weapon from the cradle. With it came the respect due to his family's legacy. However, she looked at him as if he were insignificant.
If it weren't shown directly in the quick roll of her eyes, it was clear in the very way that Seneca held herself that she was not at all impressed. She knew the name of course.. but his money didn't move her. She tapped her foot impatiently on the sidewalk. There was a point coming at some time, right? There was always a point. What did he want, and how much did he think he could pay for it? At least by being the only one of the band he was facing directly, she would have the pleasure of turning down his request.There was no amount of money this rich kid, Alaric, could offer her to make her change her mind.
"I didn't think a small band could afford a place like this, but I suppose you have done well for yourselves." Alaric spoke quickly interrupting her thoughts, "I am going for dinner, you are welcome to join me. I don't think you could quite cover a check like those they give out in LaRoche, but then I am a gentleman and I would of course pay..." His eyes went to her chest. "...for your...company."
Her eyes, moonlit in color, narrowed to slits. While he was not meeting her gaze anymore Seneca had the courage and wits to turn her back on him without having to say a word. He had some nerve, thinking that she could be bought.
Grabbing her arm Alaric yanked her around to face him.
"I didnt expect much of a girl like you, Seneca, you being a band member and all, but you have to admit that was just rude." His grip tightened on her arm and he was pulling her in the other direction, back towards his waiting vehicle, "Now, you wanted to accept my dinner, and the sooner that that is over the sooner we can get to dessert.*
"Fuck off," Seneca's voice was quiet, barely above a whisper, but it was sharp and demanding.
In the next minute her fist connected with his jaw. That would do to draw some attention from the crowd, attention Seneca was sure someone of his status didn't need. Alaric had released her when she hit him and she made a break for the hotel doors, escaping to the safety inside.
Rubbing his injured jaw Alaric lifted one hand to cover his face. There were damned cameras and paparazzi everywhere, didnt she know that? Of course she did, and that was why she'd done it, he thought with a cruel smile. He liked a bit of fight in his women. He would be seeing Seneca again, he would make sure of that. Moving toward the hotel doors himself, Alaric shoved aside a cameraman, just as the camera flashed. His face was going to be in the newspaper in the morning, he could see the label now. "Bassist Seneca Packs a Punch", and it would feature both himself and the bass player, he sporting a lovely little black eye, he thought rushing through the lobby.
"I know, I asked her to dinner....You act like I was going to rape her...I have the paper too father."
Holding the ice to his eye, Alaric pushed the blonde and her twin away from him as he spoke into the reciever. Swinging his legs over the bed he slid into his robe.
"Yes, I know why I am here...You can rest assured if such a one exists I will find them. Have I failed you before?...My point exactly...Forget about the girl, there are ten of her out there...I know...Yes.. tomorrow."
"Understand, I'm a sinner," Seneca looked up at Ty, her fellow guitarist, from where she had eventually fallen asleep, curled up next to him, her head on his lap.
Seneca had stayed up, waiting, until the others had come back. She had neither wanted to leave the haven of the room nor go to sleep. The other members of Absent, though drunk were no less willing to listen to her tell of her ordeal with Morose. There had been some laughter from the band's suite when she had mentioned she'd slugged the billionaire's son. Ty, who was like a brother to her and had stayed awake until she had finally fallen asleep, now handed her the morning paper, pointing to a picture.
"Your story made headlines.. " he joked, "I'm not quite sure this was the way we had discussed getting our name out there."
Seneca gave him a look of innocence, that arrogant creep had really made her do it. Ty messed her hair as she sat up and rubbed her eyes.
"I know," he moved fix some things up, "Next time though, you'll take the bus!"
"Wow," Pratt, the lead vocalist and guitar player pulled the paper from her hands, "You socked him good, eh? Remind me to stop hitting on you one of these days before I look like that."
"You're already ugly enough," Stone appeared, obviously hungover with one of his drumsticks behind his ear, "So where would be the harm? Enough about the rich kid," he crumpled the paper, having stolen it from Pratt's hands in a similar fashion as the singer had just moments before, "You can hit me any day Sen.. just not this morning, my head is pounding already."
And so began the harmless teasing and flinging of insults. Seneca watched them all, highly amused. It was funny to listen to them go at each other. These people were like the brothers she wished she had. Hell they were more of a family than her own was, perhaps the only ones she truely considered to be family. They at least, hadn't abandoned her. Her and Ty had even been more than friends at some point in her past, though now both recognized that their friendship was more vaulable.
The noise grew increasingly louder until Jayden, Jay as she knew him, stepped out from the other room. The look on his face made the room go oddly quiet.The final member of the band looked like hell, obviously having gotten more than drunk the previous night. Well he wouldn't be showing her the little techniques of playing the baritone guitar today, nor would she get any music writing done without him. She couldn't help but smile though.. it wasn't often Jay let himself get that way and seeing it was still amusing. The silence didn't last too long though. Pratt, as he normally did, got it all going again, throwing one of the pillows from the couch at Jay's head. And so all thought of the previous night was lost in the laughter and taunting that ensued.
Having made quick work of dismissing the twins from his room hours before, Alaric sat in the hotel lobby his papers spread before him. Names, and more names, reaching into the thousands, with random profiles. There was no method to this madness. Everyone within the city who had some registered type of abnormality had a name on the list, a profile in the pile. Deafness, blindness to any degree...this was useless. There had to be thousands upon thousands of handicapped people within the city of Chiaro alone. His green eyes flickered over a profile and he froze...that bitch! He would recognize her anywhere, his Seneca, the girl who'd made such a fool of him. His eyes scanned the profile...so she was partially mute. Partially mute, and totally heartless, he thought bitterly. Now he would have her.
Placing his hand on the counter Alaric motioned the concierge, "Seneca Lukas...a friend of mine. Can you give me her room number?" He slipped the man a bill with a smile. "She and I are together, you understand."
Seneca stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom, assessing herself in preparation for that evening's show. Hearing her name being called to hurry up, she gave her hair one last flip and went back out to where her stuff was packed. They were leaving early in the morning to hit the road again and there would not be enough time for packing after the late show and whatever would take place afterwords. Seneca gave Ty a quick smile before grabbing her bass just in time for him to shove her out the door. None of the band was remotely aware that their movements were being watched.
Alaric pushed the trunk aside, motioning for his men to enter. "Tear it apart, the girl's things I want searched for any evidence, old documents, journal entries whatever you can find will suffice."
He touched the picture on the wall gingerly, Seneca, so mysterious. She was perfect, really, for what he had in mind, for what destiny had in mind. Reaching for his cell phone, Alaric wasted no time plotting his next move.
"I want someone there. No, I want at the very least six men...don't worry about the band memebers, they aren't a threat. No, don't kill anyone, just give me the girl."
Cole wiped the sweat from his forehead, watching her as he waited. All he needed was one chance. He watched her as she moved toward the stage end. She moved slowly, dripping sensuality, all that passion wrapped up in music. He just needed one chance. He nodded to the others from where they stood. Everything was going as planned thus far.
Another sold out show, what a great finale to the week, and an even better beginning to Absent's tour. Seneca stopped from exiting the stage at the end of their set to reach and take a few fans' hands. Finally she stood again, her grey eyes taking in the sight of the venue for the first time. Flicking her last guitar pic into the lingering crowd, she turned and headed off stage, a towel draped over her shoulder. The others had gone backstage already and were waiting on her arrival before heading out to whatever the rest of the night had planned for them.
He grabbed her, grabbed her was a bit of an understatement, he lifted her off of her feet, and the others quickly moved in to subdue her struggling. Whispering in her ear Cole tried to sooth her.
"Do not worry, if you don't fight we won't hurt you, and neither will Morose."
He felt her struggles increase as he whispered the name, she remembered, and who could forget Morose? He reached for the chloroform pad, pressing it to her nose.
There should have been a scream. As Seneca struggled to free herself, she had screamed, had felt it rush from her throat. But all that was heard was silence. Nothing. A flaw she forgot in her panic. Her fight faded quickly after that, as she fell into darkness. Morose... she knew he wanted her, he had made that clear the previous night, but now.. she had never thought his money could always get him exactly what he wanted.
Leaning over her, Alaric loosened his tie, tossing it aside. He despised ties. In the last thirty minutes he'd divested himself of his suit coat and tie, his cufflinks. Rolling his neck to the side, he slid into the seat beside her bed, watching. Seneca really was quite pretty, no beautiful, he thought as she opened her eyes slowly. He brushed the back of his hand over her cheek, carressing the smooth skin, causing her to look over towards him.
"Hello Seneca," he cocked his head to the side watching her, studying her. "Won't you say hello back?...no? That's what I thought...mute. Or atleast partially, that 'fuck off' scene from yesterday is still raw." He placed one hand over his heart, pretending to be wounded, "A direct hit, my sweet."
"You're the enemy.." she muttered, adverting her eyes from his.
She hadn't needed to tell him that, her body language was quite clear in showing that she didn't want him near her.
Alaric frowned. "I don't have to be the enemy. I can be so much more..for you, Seneca."
He traced a lock of hair from her temple, soothing, like a lover, to which she cringed.
"But this really isn't the time for that." He let her go, settling into his seat. "Tell me Seneca, what do you know about the Ancients?"
His green eyes met hers in challenge, daring her to deny what he thought they both knew. A tell tale muscle in his jaw twitched, "Don't be shy, I know everything. Money you'll find, my dear, will buy anything."
Seneca turned a look of absolute disbelief on him, not believing what he was asking her. This was about the Ancients? The Eldar, as they were more correctly called? This man had her kidnapped and dragged to god-knows-where to ask her what she knew about fairy tales? She shook her head, believing now that Alaric was crazy. He had to be. If his money could buy him anything than what was the point of having her here? She doubted that she knew anymore about them than he did. She only knew what had been taught in school. The same as any other person.
The Eldar were a mythological race, said to be born directly of the Great Tree. They were the second race born to the planet after the Powers, a race that split and created the absolutes of the world today; good and evil, dark and light, and so on. Unlike those that had been born before them, the Eldar knew no such absolute. The Tree had created them with abnormalities to keep them truely pure, untainted by the knowledge the Powers had created. They knew only what they learned from each other, as their odd traits and gifts made them heavily reliant on the others of their kind. Each of the Eldar were either born blind, deaf, or mute, though they could communicate still through other means. However their gift of communication was only shared by those of their own kind and did not work with those of other races.
The Powers on both sides were split on how to receive such a race. Peoples who would neither be friend nor foe. Eventually, the Chiara, the Powers of light chose to accept them while their darker siblings, the Scuro, made the Eldar their enemies. The Scuro saw the Eldar as an obstacle in their want to overtake the Chiara and claim the gateway to paradise, and in turn paradise itself, fore while the knowledge of the gates of paradise was known to all Powers, the Great Tree had only entrusted its whereabouts to the Chiara... and as the Scuro found out later, the Eldar. Infuriated by this knowledge, the Scuro waged war against their siblings and the Eldar. Overtime, most of the Chiara, the Powers of Light left the planet through the gateway. But they were not completely vanished until the race of Man was born. Those that were left, passed on whatever they could to the newest race and so man came to know of light and all things good. Though Man was never to know about the gateway, for fear that its knowledge would sway them as it had the Scuro. And then the Powers of light were passed on.
Man came to be close with the Chiara's remaining allies, the Eldar, as at the time the Scuro wanted nothing to do with the fledgling race. The dark Power's concern was how to divest the knowledge of the gateway from the Eldar, and for a time the Scuro seemed to go into hiding. Time passed and without the Chiara around, the knowledge of the gateway lingered to only a few. And when they passed it was forgotten, except in mistold myths among the remaining Eldar. They had forgotten the way, and instead believed that a messiah was to be born among them that would be able to open the gate. This was the time when the Scuro attacked again, determined to find and seize the messiah. After that the stories were unclear, except that it is known that the messiah was never found, and the Eldar had all but vanished in the night, leaving the race of Men to thrive. No story ever told what happened to the Scuro, the powers of darkness.. or if they ever found the gateway.
But it was a FAIRY TALE! Nothing more! There was no evidence that supported that any of these older and more perfect races ever existed. They were mere stories people told over the fires in the early days. Seneca would have laughed at Alaric, had she the voice to do so, for asking her such a ridiculous question. Instead she rolled her eyes at him and turned over on the bed, refusing to deal with the madman any further. She heard the feet of the chair he sat in scrape against the floor. He sat at the edge of the bed, she could see his shadow hanging over her. One of his hands tangled in her untied hair, his lips were at her ear, she could feel his warm breath on her cheek.
"I know you know more than you are letting on, Seneca," he whispered, "The sooner you tell me, the sooner we can be done with this charade and move on.. to other.. things."
She could feel his other hand trace down the line of her throat to her collarbone, toying with the collar of her shirt. Her eyes played the emotions from scared, to shocked, to anger in a matter of seconds. She pushed herself away from him, fully prepared to show him what she thought about that, again. Her stormy grey eyes met his as she turned to face him again. She swung to get her point across, but the punch never connected, something had caught her by the wrist, a rope.