The Spies are Monsters and the Traitors Human (Derren + Igraine)
From the outside, towering structures of granite and steel rose to intimidate the glaring sun. Windows heavily tinted reflected nearly all of the cruel dawn's rays, blazing out amongst the grey like tiny stars of their own. A latticework of suspended hallways and covered walkways wove between the buildings, upon the ground and through the air, ensuring that no matter where one walked, the sun was nowhere to be felt.
A city of spires and tunnels, hiding a population of millions from the light and radiation from that horrid star. Light that would turn power and speed into crippling agony, that would obliterate acute senses, that would turn immortality into sudden, painful death.
For the beings known as 'vampires', there was no cost too high, to protect oneself from the sun.
'Kat' strode down one such hallway, high in the air, not a hint of the outside light showing through heavy walls and blackened glass. Heels tapped silently upon heavy carpet as they always did, maroon eyes shifting left then right as each window passed her by, quietly observing her reflection from behind thin-rimmed glasses, as she always did.
Black hair curled and twined around a pale, sculpted face, a stray lock bouncing teasingly beside full lips painted a brilliant, inviting red. A high-collared shirt of rich blue clung tightly to her figure, gloves of bright white peeking out from beneath it's voluminous sleeves. It's hem hung teasingly above the waistline of a pair of black pants, both veiling a slender belt of simple leather, and daring to flash pale, flawless skin should it's wearer make the mistake of leaning over. Black boots trimmed in the same rich, royal blue as her shirt completed the ensemble, tapping silently upon the rich crimson carpet of the hallway.
Perhaps her attire was too serious? Would a dress fit the 'flirtatious' Ekaterina D'Vaulle more? Maybe low-cut in the back, fit across the chest to accentuate her bust, maybe a slit up one side to... make it easier to walk?
Of course, she was supposed to be walking home from work. And even the 'vacant' Ekaterina D'Vaulle, who gained her position as head of genetic testing and matching for overseeing the pairings of useful humans due to her age alone would know better than to wear a dress at work. Much more practical to wear pants and a shirt, cover skin to prevent any chances of contamination should you be down in the labs, avoid wearing anything that might catch or snag while you walked through the maze of crowded cubicles and overflowing worktables.
Not that her current attire was really appropriate, either. Rich fabrics tailored to be a bit more inviting than was really necessary in a work setting... the heavy makeup and obviously-unneeded glasses didn't help either. Even in 'practical' clothes, could the 'vacant', 'flirtatious' Ekaterina D'Vaulle ever dress in anything not intended to attract attention?
Well, no. 'Kat' had spent far too long cultivating the public image of 'Ekaterina D'Vaulle' to make a mistake in manner or dress. Let her kinsmen think her shamelessly flirtatious. Let them consider her airheaded and vacant, all the better for her. Age was an intimidating strength for a race of immortals, one that only grew with time. The young bowed and knelt before the old, quietly raging against their 'inexperience' and where it landed them. Likewise, the old lorded over the young, quietly terrified that they might be cast down and replaced as the number of 'children' swelled. So the old sought to tighten their rule while the young continued to balk and chafe, both using humans and whatever hapless pawn they could find to further their own agenda and sabotage the other's.
And as an ancient, well-recognized vampiress who held a high position but was apparently rather dim and easily manipulated, Ekaterina was everyone's favorite pawn.
Kat couldn't help but grin at the thought.
The hallway ended at a pair of heavy oaken doors, opening up into a vast library of winding shelves and dim, musty light. A quick glance around noting none of her kin around, Kat strode purposefully through the maze, turning left and right apparently at random, before ending in a deserted corner, alone but for a trio of overly-stuffed, dusty chairs.
Then she jumped.
A slight crouch, a brief tensing of the muscles in her thighs and calves, and then she was airborne, flying straight up to grab a ledge of deceptively strong crown molding nearly thirty feet up. Without pause, her arm tensed, muscles hauling her form up and over, through a hidden gap in the walls and into a large room occupied by two other vampires like herself.
"M'lady Kat!" A cleanshaven gentleman bowed, classic black-and-white tuxedo creasing at the waist with the movement, his own dark red eyes meeting hers as he rose, brow furrowed in concern upon a pale, boyish face. "What did you call us for? Is something the matter? Did anything-"
"No, no." White-wrapped fingers plucked the glasses off the bridge of Kat's nose, hooking them onto the collar of her shirt as she spoke. "It was past time we reconvened, if only briefly." Her eyes drifted over the two before her, resting finally on the woman lounging in a chair by the wall. "And I should probably check up on what I've been doing lately... anything interesting, 'Ekaterina'?"
"More boring than anything else..." They could have been twins. The same black, curly hair wove its way around the other woman's sculpted features, the same deep red adorned both their lips, the same type of clothing clung tightly to both of their forms. Only the other woman wore a shirt of deep red, color matched on the accents of her boots, the top button left carelessly open to reveal the pale flesh of her throat.
"Everyone at work looked like they were doing their job. I spilled something probably dangerous on my shirt, so I left early to change." She nodded slightly to Kat's own choice of colors. "Rafael Castello threw a party last night, so I wore that black dress you had laid out, the one with the lace? It was pretty boring, and I drank a little too much, so I can't really remember what happened."
"You can't remember anything?" Kat raised an eyebrow, one that arched higher as a grin spread slowly over the lips of her double. "Castello knows how to entertain, you can't mean to tell me there was nothing worth remembering, even for me."
"Well..." Her double held the pause as long as she dared, before the amused smile on Kat's face began to fade. "Alright, Rafael 'might' have had a servant deliver an additional note with my invitation, asking if I might... ah...." She cleared her throat before speaking again, her voice now a close mimic to that of the man in question. "'If I might be interested in attending a more private venue after the main party was over, so that he might enjoy my pleasurable company whilst his wife was away on buisness.'"
"Oh...?" The smile didn't return to Kat's lips, not yet. Her words marched forth expectant, almost daring, eyes holding an even stare as she waited for her double to finish the story.
"Indeed, it was most eloquent." To her credit, the double managed to keep her own grin in place, watching the real one expectantly as she delivered the end of her story. "I refused, of course. But as I had a few too many drinks in me and couldn't find dear Rafael in the party, I asked his trusted maidservant Miss Michelle to curry the message for me."
Kat stared at her double.
"You what!?" The young gentleman from before shouted more than spoke, the words ringing harshly through the room before echoing down into the library below. He caught his mistake quickly enough, words dropping to a cold, shaking whisper, fear and anger battling for supremacy in the contorted features of his face. "Trusted by his wife you mean, even Ekaterina wouldn't make a mistake so obviously, blatantly stu-... M'lady?"
Kat had fallen to her knees, shoulders trembling, tears rolling down her eyes as she tried in vain to stem the hearty mirth roiling up as she burst into laughter from behind the cover of both gloved hands. The young man's expression changed from outrage to shock at the sight, stunned into silence, while Kat's double merely watched, a smile of genuine pleasure stretching across her painted lips.
"So." The double spoke up after a moment enjoying the sight. "Was that an appropriate response, Ekaterina D'Vaulle?"
"Oh-.... Oh yes-" Somehow, she managed to choke the words out, another minute passing before she began to get the laughter under control. Hot color flushed Kat's cheeks as she rose once more, water glistening around her eyes, breath heavy with satisfied exertion. "I wonder how he'll deal with the rumors this time, especially when some of the younger ones catch wind of it."
Her double nearly purred. "I did well, then?"
"Very." Kat offered both of her underlings a wide grin, reminded once more why she had chosen these two 'children' as her closest conspirators. A spy for the ruling party couldn't ask for a better team.
Or a more amusing one.
"So much so, that I believe you can keep up the act for a bit longer." Kat's grin only widened as her double's smile fell. "Don't be like that. I need to check up on a little human girl. On the surface it's all business, but I might need to drop off the radar for a bit."
"A woman?" The gentleman spoke up once more, curiosity dominating his gaze. "Is she suspected for treason?"
"Not yet." Kat moved back towards the gap in the wall as she spoke, already planning for her next 'meeting'. "But she's a bright mind who's partner was found unfit recently, which means it's better to make sure she isn't too disgruntled sooner, rather than try to deal with the aftermath later."
"Good luck then, M'lady." The man bowed once more. "I'll be here if you need me."
Kat flashed a smile in response, then dropped down, landing lightly in the same corner she had leapt from before. A moment to dust off and straighten her clothing, another to wipe her eyes and put her glasses back on, and she was off.
This little girl's residence was a bit of a walk away, and while there was a transportation terminal a floor down, she didn't really want to be seen by her kin if she didn't have to be.
After all, Ekaterina D'Vaulle might not be the smartest lady of power, but even she understood that some mistakes held ramifications too great to ignore. And even someone as 'simple-minded' as her would take care not to be seen, if she was to visit a human at their own home, and ask them for help.