RP PotHN: Nighttime Negotiations [1x1]


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The ship had grown still, all her occupants set asleep in their hammocks and beds, the lanterns dim, a gentle creak passing through as whoever was on watch adjusted to keep them on course. Lucien had finished the requested charts hours ago, delivering them to the quartermaster’s cabin before returning to his chambers once more. There he sat, and brooded. Something had not sat correctly within him since he learned of her death. No, since her comment about killing her first. Not even then, earlier still, to his first order before their raid on Fen Manor. Perhaps he had taken it too lightly, simply believing it an aspect of her paranoia. Perhaps if Lucien had taken his role more seriously, dogged her steps, haunted her shadow, his Captain would still grace the helm with her touch.

These thoughts sat with him, festering, brooding, as the light faded from his cabin. Not that the vampire required light to guide his steps. THe lanterns went unlit as he continued brooding, mulling over O’Cain’s recent comments, his recent decisions. There was no love lost between the two, and their disdain for each other was clear. But he would not simply give up his role on the ship because an opportunity fell into the quartermaster’s lap. A new agreement would simply have to be wrought, and Lucien had much experience with negotiation.

The gloom-soaked halls of the Hard Nox gained another shadow that evening, the very boards seeming to hold their breath, not wishing to disturb the shadow’s movements. Once, Lucien had preferred to smash doors open, to let the residents fill with fear, to let them try and run. The chase always made the hunt more thrilling. But as the years drew long, he found that fear tainted the blood, made it bitter and acrid. He had adopted a more subtle approach, and while the fledgeling had honed the craft to a razor’s edge, Lucien still retained some of his old skill.

The door silently shifted, just enough for Lucien to slip in and close it behind him, quietly turning the lock. This was a conversation best had privately, and Lucien scanned the moon-dappled room to ensure they are alone, noting the sole winged form sprawled upon the bed. Lucien loomed over him, watching for a moment as the quartermaster slept. After a few moments, a clawed hand lashed out, fingers wrapping around the dark skin of the fairy’s neck, claws pressing lightly, not enough to pierce, but certainly enough to be aware of their presence. Lucien’s fangs glinted in the moonlight as he offered the quartermaster a smile.

“Good evening, Caleb O’Cain.”
It wasn't a pleasant dream he was having, but not something he'd remember the following day either. Caleb's brows were furrowed as he slept, and when a cold hand touched his neck, his first instinct got him to reach for the pistol beneath his pillow before he even opened his eye.

When he did, it was Lucien he found looming over him. His eye patch had dislocated slightly to the right, revealing a small portion of scarred tissue of his bottom eyelid. He didn't fix it, placing one hand on top of the vampire's, while the other held the gun aimed at his forehead. Wasn't Naveen supposed to protect him? Where the fuck was he?

"What do you want?" His voice was weak and hoarse, but firm. If Lucien wished to kill him he had the perfect opportunity to do so, but Caleb wouldn't give him the satisfaction of seeing fear in his eye.
To the quartermaster's credit, he did not scream. Lucien had received far worse reactions from far better men than O'Cain. He had also suspected the quartermaster slept with a weapon, and his suspicions were confirmed when said weapon was leveled at his head. Lucien chuckled darkly as the quartermaster questioned his actions, his voice hoarse and thick with sleep.

"What do I want?" Lucien echoed. "A simple contract renegotiation, seeing as someone new appears to be making decisions for the ship." Lucien's free hand slipped up Caleb's face, a single claw finding its way under the eyepatch and flipping it over, exposing the scarred flesh beneath.

"Or am I mistaken, Captain O'Cain?" Lucien rolled the title around in his mouth as though tasting it and, having found it not to his taste, spat it out. He shifted, inching his head closer to the gun. Time to see if O'Cain would bend or break.
Feeling Lucien's touch made him nauseous, and when he tried to remove Caleb's eyepatch, it triggered something in him.

Caleb didn't shoot, instead he tried to strike the vampire in the head while simultaneously tackling him to the floor. The loose eyepatch rolled out of his face, revealing the scar he tried to keep hidden at all times.

"Get the fuck out of here or I fucking swear, I'm tossing you off this ship!"
As Lucien’s finger slipped under the fabric of the quartermaster’s eyepatch, the fairy unfroze, lashing out at Lucien’s head. The vampire took the blow, rolling with it as they both crashed to the floor. The eyepatch fell loose anyways, revealing the ruined eye that lay beneath. Fitting that King would leave behind his pet who similarly hid his injury. As they hit the floor, Lucien threw his head back and laughed darkly.

“You’ll do no such thing, quartermaster.” Lucien spat out, a wicked grin curling his lips. “That is, unless you wish for another to join poor Sierra in her fate.” The moonlight glinted off his fangs as Lucien smiled wide, awaiting the quartermaster’s decision. Would he respond with anger, or would Caleb O’Cain be reasonable for once in his miserable life?
Caleb froze for a full second. The name Sierra for the first time made him think of someone else, someone he would not stand to see under Lucien's claws. He touched the barrel of his gun to the vampire's forehead and pulled the hammer.

"I'll shoot, the entire ship will hear and King's pet is gonna run in here and rip your guts out." His voice was cold and calm, and his hand didn't shake despite the fear. "I gave you a chance, Lucien, to leave at the next port. Your words mean nothing. Making a deal with you means nothing."
Lucien cackled as the cool metal pressed against his skin, the hammer's click a funeral bell for any who were not Sinead Oiche's attack dog. Lucien remained unfazed by the threat, staring into the fairy's eyes with gleeful malice.

"That is where you are wrong." He growled, a lopsided smirk staining his face. "My word means everything, Caleb O'Cain. I never broke the deal I made with the Captain, despite having multiple opportunities presented. Perhaps it is your words that mean nothing."

A clawed hand lashed out, not knocking the gun away, instead wrapping tightly around the barrel and pressing it firmly against his head.

"You can shoot, quartermaster, but you had best hope whatever shot you have loaded is enough to truly kill me, or you have my word that whoever next opens that door will only find me feasting on your corpse."
You never broke the deal because I betrayed her first, is what he wanted to say, but Caleb bit his tongue. Lucien wasn’t wrong, he was just as untrustworthy as the vampire was, but Caleb soon realized it wasn’t a matter of trust, but a matter of Power. Power Caleb lacked despite the title he stole. And there it was- fear. Caleb let go of the pistol.

“What do you want?” He asked again, but this time, completely defeated.
Lucien knew that look in the quartermaster's eye, the slump in his shoulders, the way his gaze shifted off and away as the gun slipped from his grasp and fell to the floor. It was the look of prey that understood neither flight nor fight were valid options, and instead gave up, accepting death and praying to whatever god would listen that it would at least be swift.

Lucien ensured those prayers went unanswered.

"What I want is simple," Lucien growled from beneath the fairy. "My agreement with the Captain extends to you: a position as navigator upon this ship. In exchange, I serve loyally and stay my fangs from the neck of any crew." Lucien paused for a moment before a look of disgust spread across his face.

"There is one other matter that must be dealt with: the newest vampire on the ship." His voice trailed off as he looked at Caleb expectantly.
Loyally. What Lucien and Sinead had was never loyalty, the woman got off on feeling threatened which was likely the reason she'd also kept him around. She liked knowing Lucien could jump at her throat at any time, and it would be no different with him.

Caleb would've laughed at the absurdity of the proposal, if it wasn't his only choice. It was supposed to be Naveen's job to protect him but he wasn't there, and he would be stupid to trust one vampire over the other. They were both threats he'd have to deal with, but if he had to choose it'd be better to stick to the one he already knew, even if it was the one he hated the most.

"Talking about me?" The captain hadn't noticed Naveen standing by the door until he spoke. His lips and fingernails were red, and there were small droplets of what was clearly blood on his vest. Caleb picked up his pistol on his way up.

"Get out of my room, both of you." He growled.
The quartermaster extricated himself from Lucien, scooping his pistol up as he rose, like a child absentmindedly reaching for their favorite toy or security blanket. Lucien rose as well, just as the subject of his concerns arrived in the doorway, finally making his appearance. Lucien turned to face him, pointedly turning his back to Caleb. Let the boy try, it wouldn't be the first time he had pointed a gun at the back of someone's head.

"I was wondering where you had hidden yourself." Lucien sneered, noting the red that stained Naveen's lips, nails, and clothing. "A messy eater, and one with no taste it would seem." Lucien refrained from the crew, partially due to his agreement with Sinead, and partially because using them for sustenance was akin to surviving on hardtack and water. One could, but it was a miserable experience.

"I am not going anywhere, O'Cain, until we reach an agreement."