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Non Serviam

Darren West | Lillian Greer | Hadrian Evans; March 16-18, 2006

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Voice Mail: Darren West to Lillian Greer; March 16, 2006

[The background sounds deathly quiet with no street noise, background voices, or other distractions. The only sound is a cold, dark voice, somewhat changed from anything you might have recognized.]

"Lillian...

"I hope I may still call you that.

This is Darren West.

I decline to deceive myself in presuming that you don't know the reality of my current fate. I am alive and in Chicago. I have contacted the only ally I have left in New York, Bojan, and from him you learned of my current state, I'm sure.

Evans crippled my resources..and my reputation.. but no one - no one, will ever cripple my strength and my will.

I continue to pay no light fee for the Tremere's 'kindness' regarding my rescue from the Prince's decree, but nonetheless, here I am calling you.

I don't have very many things to say to you, Lillian, and the reason I am calling you will be made clearly shortly. But this is not a result of hatred towards you. It is a result of a gap that continues to exist between us due to a series of unfortunate events.

That is not to say that I do not consider you an enemy... At the very least, an adversary. Only because I believe that you would have me dead. I do not make enemies lightly Lillian, and am no rush to make you one of mine. New York is of another lifetime for me. I died in that life. Now I look to the future.

I write because, as I am sure you know, Bojan is in a series of dangerous positions. I believe I understand you better than you think Lillian. Alas that is only a speculation that has never had the chance to been disproven. Nonetheless, if there is one thing we can agree on, I believe both of us have an investment in Bojan. I will not attempt to characterize your relationship with him or relate it to mine, but I hope that you understand when I say that regardless of my fate, Bojan is my friend who I do not want to see him come to harm.

I realize this is a war and war's have casualties, but that is not what I am referring to. I'm sure you know that Bojan's enemy, the Giovanni, has come to New York. I am unable to gauge the real danger this Giovanni poses, but if there is anything I can do, with my crippled resources, to aid in protecting Bojan from this kindred, I would like to.

Bojan doesn't need caretaking, but even the strongest are made stronger if they have support (whatever kind of support that might be). I am sure that you realize that Evans would kill Bojan with the only second thought being of his personal safety. Whether that is shooting him down himself or sending him into a battle he won't return from. Bojan's loyalty marks his weakness. His devotion to the Camarilla, leads to his trust of its rulers. Evans will one day send Bojan into a situation that he won't come out of, and Bojan will go, not ignorantly, but loyally, and not return. As long as you continue to follow Evans, I hope you maintain the vigilance that you obligated yourself to by supporting him. He will always be weak, but at least his threat to the Camarilla at large will be seriously diminished with your careful watch.

Nonetheless I fear the day that something should happen to you and Evans, in his sureness, continues to rule without any watchful eyes, sends expendables like Bojan to their doom, executes the strong for their competence, and dooms the continuance of the Camarilla in New York. Until then, I remain in my fate worse than death of slavery and servitude.

It is my intention to someday meet again.

[Click.]

[Calling back goes straight to voice mail quickly after one ring with no message - 'beep'.]

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Voice Mail: Lillian Greer to Darren West; March 16, 2006

[Her tone is initially incredibly weary and fatalistic, with a touch of dementia showing through.]

West, it's Lillian. I wonder if you'll ever hear this....

...I wonder if you even expected me to call back....

Well, I did.

[The tone grows angry and serious.]

First off, West, I'll be blunt. Don't you EVER try... DON'T YOU EVER TRY AGAIN to invoke the name Bojan Petrov to emotionally blackmail me to your side. Your poignant little narrative illustrating his expendability: It didn't impress me, and however well you think you might understand me -and I can assure you that understand me less than you think- approaches like this one aren't going to work.

Frankly, Bojan has played pawn in enough peoples' machinations already. Even if you're only using him in the abstract, I don't appreciate him playing a pawn in yours.

[The tone calms down a little.]

Second off, you should be very very cognizant by now of the fact that I haven't told Evans about your calls to my Deputy. You should know very well what such a revelation could do with regards to Bojan. You should hence know, via inference, that don't intend to betray Bojan.

I also don't intend to betray my Prince.

You see...Hadrian Evans isn't weak, West. God, no. He's not even mad in the end... oh no no .. [soft laugh] it's poor little Aaron Bryce who's mad. Poor little Aaron Bryce whose mother died in an asylum... whose memories and guardians and protectors all perish in flame...that's who went mad, West. Hadrian Evans, on the other hand, is a sane, stoic, strong, and capable leader, his only small failing, of course... being that he ultimately doesn't exist... yes, that's the absurdity of the world we live, and I personally don't give a damn if he's Hadrian Evans or Gaius Casius Caligula or Oscar the goddamn Grouch! I've seen him lead, West. I've seen him fight. I've seen him in situations from perspectives... you couldn't possibly imagine seeing him, West...and he's not somebody I need to guard or watch or protect, no, he's strong enough to stand on his own... und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst... He's not a liability, West. No. He's not weak. I don't watch him. I don't need to.

--God, I'm tired-- You must think I'm mad West, following an imaginary Prince, but then again... I'm supposed to be. I did what I ultimately thought was right for the Camarilla, West. I'm not lying. [suddenly angry] You must know I hated him. You must know that I wanted desperately on some level to take Lansing's offer, to tear him to shreds for what he'd done to me. For what he'd done to Bojan. But I didn't. I didn't because: Evans. Is. Strong. I had to respect that. I had to let him live and I had to make Lansing pay the penalty. There are always penalties, West, and I'm not a creature of mercy. I shouldn't be.

[less angry, fading into a sense of doomed desperation]

[pause] He.. He said you loved him... West, Lansing did. That... you loved him. I do too, you know. He's not a very lovable person, goddamnit, and I'm not very good when it comes to words like love. But God, what was I to do West? What? [her voice starts to slowly get more frantic, rapid and increasingly disturbed]...set him on fire and trap him in a burning room and rend his mind to pieces and let you be Prince and let Lansing be Seneschal and watch the Primogen Council sit by and have New York be governed by petty squealing insectoid little Joneses and Von Sonderhausens and let poor poor wicked Lillian play lover to her Caitiff in shining armor... oh it's all great... until good Prince West finds her out or until Lansing's infatuation fades or until she just gets tired of pretending or until Bojan... until I... and Lillian... god... Bojan... [choke]

I just won't.

       [scream] I WON'T!

[You hear the phone clatter and the sounds grow muffled. Sobbing can be heard in the background. Eventually the recording time runs out and everything cuts off.]

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Voice Mail: Lillian Greer to Darren West; March 16, 2006

[Another phone message from Lillian Greer, much later that evening. The tone is solemn, stoic and calm, if a bit sad.]

West. It's Lillian again.

Ignore my last message. I wasn't myself.

I still won't betray him, though.

[awkward pause]

If we need any help with Vojislav, I'll call you.

[click]

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Voice Mail Exchange Between Lillian Greer to Darren West as Telepathically Retrieved by Hadrian Evans; March 18, 2006

[Lillian spends most of Thursday evening with her phone notably turned off, reading a book (probably some form of paperback sci-fi), and attempting to relax. At around 1:00 AM, she pauses for a break and notices that she has a voice mail. She decides to check it, but not to call back until tomorrow, as it is probably Jones or somebody bothering her about things most likely unimportant. She scrolls to the message in her phone and realizes she doesn't recognize the number. She proceeds to play the message.]

[The background sounds deathly quiet, with no street noise, background voices, or other distractions. The only sound is a cold, dark voice, somewhat changed from anything she might have recognized.]

"Lillian...

I hope I may still call you that.

This is Darren West. [feelings of surprise, confusion, a very very small amount of fear]

I decline to deceive myself in presuming that you don't know the reality of my current fate. I am alive and in Chicago. I have contacted the only ally I have left in New York, Bojan, and from him you learned of my current state, I'm sure. [mental eye roll, amusement that it was actually Bojan who originally learned this from her]

Evans crippled me.. but no one – no one, will ever cripple my strength and my will. [grudging admiration, curiosity]

I continue to pay no light fee for the Tremere's 'kindness' regarding my rescue from the Prince's decree, but nonetheless, here I am calling you.

I don't have very many things to say to you Lillian, and the reason I am calling you will be made clearly shortly. But this is not a result of hatred towards you. It is a result of a gap that continues to exist between us due to a series of unfortunate events.

That is not to say that I do not consider you an enemy... New York is of another lifetime for me. I died in that life. [This idea of multiple deaths resonates strongly with her.]

I write because, as I am sure you know, Bojan is in a series of dangerous positions. I believe I understand you better than you think Lillian. [disbelief, smugness]

If there is one thing we can agree on, I believe both of us have an investment in Bojan. I will not attempt to characterize your relationship with him or relate it to mine, but I hope that you understand when I say that regardless of my fate, Bojan is my friend who I do not want to see him come to harm.

I'm sure you know that Bojan's enemy, the Giovanni, has come to New York. [thoughts of earlier conversations with Bojan, the name "Vojislav," memories (not her own) of a young man being shot]

Bojan doesn't need caretaking [agreement], but even the strongest are made stronger if they have support. [disagreement]

I am sure that you realize that Evans would kill Bojan with the only second thought being of his personal safety. [anger]

[increasing anger at West, with a vague sense of doubt and worry] Whether that is shooting him down himself or sending him into a battle he won't return from. Bojan's loyalty marks his weakness. His devotion to the Camarilla, leads to his trust of its rulers. Evans will one day send Bojan into a situation that he won't come out of, and Bojan will go, not ignorantly, but loyally, and not return. [feelings of despair, of fatalism]

As long as you continue to follow Evans, I hope you maintain the vigilance that you obligated yourself to by supporting him. He will always be weak [rage, hatred directed at Lansing], but at least his threat to the Camarilla at large will be seriously diminished with your careful watch.

Nonetheless I fear the day that something should happen to you and Evans, in his sureness, continues to rule without any watchful eyes, sends expendables like Bojan to their doom, executes the strong for their competence, and dooms the continuance of the Camarilla in New York.

Until then, I remain in my fate worse than death of slavery and servitude.

It is my intention to someday meet again.

[Lillian sits down, initially shocked. She pauses. There is a sense of frustration and weariness, giving way to more anger. She eventually dials the number that West's call came from. It goes to voice mail after only one beep, and she begins to leave a return message.]

West, it's Lillian. I wonder if you'll ever hear this....I wonder if you even expected me to call back....

Well, I did.

First off, West, I'll be blunt. Don't you EVER try... DON'T YOU EVER TRY AGAIN to invoke the name Bojan Petrov to emotionally blackmail me to your side... [anger and a sense of being moral indignant, piteous affection for Bojan.]

...Frankly, Bojan has played pawn in enough peoples' machinations already. Even if your only using him in the abstract, I don't appreciate him playing a pawn in yours...

[thoughts of Bojan dying, thoughts of having to kill him, vague memories of her explaining to Bojan that she would have to kill him someday, thoughts of various people she's killed with Bojan substituted in their place and precisely how difficult it seems to be to envision this, frustration with a lack of guilt]

...Second off, you should be very very cognizant by now of the fact that I haven't told Evans about your calls to my Deputy... You should hence know I intend to betray Bojan...

[resolution. She places emphasis on this next sentence.]

I also don't intend to betray my Prince.

[resolution, doubt, frustration, hope]

You see...Hadrian Evans isn't weak, West. God, no. He's not even mad in the end... oh no no .. it's poor Aaron Bryce who's mad...

[bitterness about whomever this Aaron Bryce character is, resentment, the name "Lily" pops into her head briefly]

...Hadrian Evans, on the other hand, is a sane, stoic, strong and capable leader, his only small failing, of course... being that he ultimately doesn't exist... [feelings of irony] that's the absurdity of the world in which we live, and I personally don't give a damn if he's Hadrian Evans or Gaius Cassius Caligula...

[She seems to have a peculiar affinity with this reference... and briefly thinks something vague about Camus and about the moon.]

I've seen him lead, West. I've seen him fight. [thoughts of Evans about to die next to Isaac Templar and how he wasn't afraid.]

...and he's not somebody I need to guard or watch or protect, no, he's strong enough to stand on his own... und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst [Translation: For when long you stare into the Abyss]... He's not a liability, West. No. He's not weak. I don't watch him. I don't need to. [sense of vague self-deception]

You must think I'm mad West... I did what I ultimately thought was right for the Camarilla, West. I'm not lying. [growing indignantly angry as she knows that he will never believe her] You must know I hated him. [seething resentment] You must know that I wanted desperately on some level to take Lansing's offer, to tear him to shreds for what he'd done to me...

[feelings of despair mixed with hope mixed with confusion again.]

But I didn't. I didn't because: Evans. Is. Strong. I had to respect that....

...There are always penalties. I'm not a creature of mercy. I shouldn't be...

[gap in the conversation, a sense of utter and complete fatalism, feelings of doom, random thoughts of opera, of Tristan und Isolde specifically, and of the concept of transfiguration]

He.. He said you loved him... West, Lansing did...you loved him. [memories of the night Lansing proposed the coup.]

I do too, you know. [DESPAIR, utter complete horrible gaping abyssal despair, thoughts of predestination and tragedy, anger]

He's not a very lovable person, goddamnit, and I'm not very good when it comes to words like love. [increasing instability, resentment]

But God, what was I to do West? [rapid memories of killing Svetlana, of shooting an unknown frenzying Kindred in the face, of blood and something white]

What? [emptiness, giving way to a torrent of thought, She is saying some of this next sentence and thinking some of it, but her mind is getting blurry with over-emotion, and it's hard to decipher]

...set him on fire and trap him in a burning room and rend his mind to pieces and let you be Prince and let Lansing be Seneschal and watchthePrimogenCouncilsitby... pettysquealinginsectoidlittleJonesesandVonSonderhausens and let poor poor wicked Lillian play lover to her Caitiff in shining armour... oh it's all great... until

good

       Prince

               West       finds her out!

or until Lansing's infatuation fades

       or

                 until she just gets tired of pretending or until

Bojan

            and I need to...

Bojan

                           I love, I have loved, I did love...

I wish I could... I

            lied...

I will kill you. I will not hesitate.

I cannot.. Gretchen...

     Liebstod.

                     Cecily!

         Loving isn't something you do, it's something I do....

CECILY

Fuck you Cecily!!!

I WONT! I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't. I won't.

NON SERVIAM!!!!

      [audible scream into the phone] I WON'T!

[Lillian, in anguish, throws the phone against a wall, and collapses onto the floor weeping. There is the distinct impression that things like this haven't happened in a long time, there is a vague indication something similar to this happened she was mortal. She eventually stops crying and stares vacantly at the ceiling of her apartment for an hour or so. She thinks about how empty and white the ceiling is. –feelings of catharsis–]

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