Washakie National Park rotate your own (for science)

the look

What a lovely place. Perhaps it held some things of interests for him. Some animal groups maybe, some natural phenomena...

To observe, it was best to blend with the enviroment. So he decided to be an owl. How nice it felt to stretch his wings and scout the abandoned park during such a quiet evening. Jaime observed the human-built structures slowly reclaimed by nature, reminiscing about how many beautiful buildings he witnessed got either demolished during wars or just forgotten through time.

To any observers, he was just a misplaced owl, maybe even a cute one at that. And Jaime was fine with that, hoping that this time maybe he won't be bothered.


Spring was, for lack of a better word, springing forward and Sayed was excited for it. While he could manipulate plants during any season, he always felt a little bad to try to manipulate plants in the winter when they were typically not a winter-growing plant. But with the plants bursting back out with life, there was more opportunities to see what else he could accomplish with his powers.

The night was nice, and the moon was neither full nor new, meaning there shouldn't be a huge risk of running into a were or being irritable as a vampire. He found a good spot near the road and knelt down in the dirt by a large tree. He hadn't noticed the owl/vampire right away, so he placed his hands on the tree and took a deep breath in through his nose. It was there that he caught the scent of another vampire.

He turned to look around him and even stood up to try to see where this vampire was. Likely in animal form, he figured. Though maybe they also had an invisibility form- like that one psychic he met once in Ikea. "Hello?" he called out. "Don't worry, I'm friendly," he tacked on with a little laugh.
There is no rest for Solaire, is there.

Hearing someone call out to him made the small owl bristle his feathers. He notices the beetles that were waking up scuttle away and there went his observation of local ecosystem.

But Jaime found the other vampire interesting at least. Was he doing something with the plants...? Was he one of those druid vampires who could make the plants grow and wither at his whim?

Not bothering to move from his comfy perch nor change from his animal form, he turned his head towards Sayed.

"Isn't it too early to bother trees like that?" he spoke softly, then quickly corrected himself jokingly. "Oops, I mean... hoo-hoo."
The voice came and Sayed turned to look at it. Ah, owl in the tree. He gave a grin before turning into his cat form and climbed up the tree to sit next to the owl on his perch. The question about the trees and it being too early went ignored. "Hey, it's quite nice from up here," he mused, turning cat eyes to look at the owl.

He took it all in for a moment, content in the quiet sounds of the forest around them. But Sayed was never one for long periods of silence. "So, what brings you out here?"
It was quite a nice view from here indeed. And Jaime very much enjoyed the silence until it was broken once again.

But it was fine. Even though the old crusader didn't felt like fraternizing with others of his kind, there was no reason to be rude yet.

You're a new guy, Jaime. Be nice...

"I've heard about an abandoned national park and decided to see it." he said truthfully, puffing his feathers reflexively. "There's something oddly nostalgic about such forgotten places..."
Sayed cat nodded. He studied old art and literature. He could appreciate old stuff. Even his girlfriend was old. But none of it was very forgotten. Still, he could appreciate that. "I like that it's generally quiet out here. Helps me connect with plants. Just have to stay away on full moons though. Too many shifters out."

He scoffed. Damn beasts ruin everything.
"Oh, yes... Seems like a perfect ground for large, prowling animals. Luckily I can fly." Jaime murmured. And luckily, there were not bird shifters to eat the small owl.

The plant thing was interesting. There were a lot of cool things one could do with a power like that.

"You have an affinity for plant life...?" he asked quietly, head tilted to the side a bit.
The comment about being able to fly made Sayed a little jealous. Being a cat was nice and all, but yeah, being able to fly would've been really cool. But it's just the way things were and he wasn't about to fault the other vampire for having a cute little owl as an animal form.

The vampire owl asked about an affinity for plant life and Sayed gave a small chuckle. "I guess you could say that," he said, not really wanting to go into his own powers. He didn't know this man or anything about him other than he could turn into an owl. "How about you? Have an affinity for anything in particular?"
Jaime had an affinity for many things. Some days it was sword fighting, other days it was medicine, sometimes medieval history and other times he just wanted to chill with his pet... I mean, project.

But what brought him to Ridgefied was natural sciences. How sad that the two places he'd feel most useful both were in the middle of other vampire territories.

"I'm a scientist... Right now focused on zoology." he said truthfully. "Unfortunately, the magic I seem to possess has nothing to do with what I actually like to do."

Ah, psychometry would be appropriate for a detective or perhaps a hack booth psychic. Still, the elder vampire managed to somehow make it work for him.
Sayed nodded. Well, that explained part of the reason why he was out in the woods then, if he was a Zoologist. He gave a short chuckle. "Powers are so funny, aren't they? I didn't get mine until after I was turned. Never cared much for plants before. I do now. But yeah- nothing at all to do with what I was doing in life. Used to work at the Newberry in Chicago before I was turned, and then became a professor of Literature in Alder Heights. Now I'm opening up my own library in Starling Hills."

Yes, nothing to do with plants. But that was okay. He still appreciated his power. It helped him in his vampire ways and less his professional ways. "Oh, we do have some reference material in the library. Not sure how much on Zoology. You're more than welcome to come by and use whatever you like though. Even if it's just a quiet place to study. The computer lab will give you access to all the major research databases, if you wanted to do some non-field work based research."
The owl mellowed down visibly. Eyes squinted a bit, but in a rather soft way, resembling a smile more. It was nice to meet another scholar...

"Seems like we're sort of... coworkers." he hummed thoughtfully. Technically he didn't worked at the college, but he was still employed by them. "Too bad I need to send my work and samples through post office like some kind of medieval peasant."

And he knew a thing or two about medieval peasants. He was one in his youth!

"I'd be sure to visit your library then. Maybe I can find some of my books here, for fun..."
"Oh," Sayed said a little sadly. "Unfortunately I'm no longer with the Alder Heights community college. I was, uhm, kicked out of the clutch there and was banned from the area, so I had to quit. Hence the library." He wondered if this man was part of Eventide. "If you're part of Eventide though, it's no problem. Everyone is still welcome at the library."

But maybe he wasn't and that's why he had to send his work through the mail. "Or do you send your work through the mail because you're not part of Eventide?" He looked at the owl as curiously as a cat could manage to look curiously.
"Oh, sorry to hear."

One of the reasons why Jaime kept to himself was the fact that if he was shunned, he'd most likely need to abandon his work and flee somewhere. It seemed like this younger vampire suffered such fate and the old owl indeed felt for him.

"Ah, yeah, I'm all alone." he retorted now with a dry chuckle. "And I'd rather stay out of their way."
Sayed nodded. "Beauregard, my old dominus, is pretty understanding. Or well, he was. From others I've talked to, he might be a bit, ah, paranoid? These days. I'm not sure if that's the right word to use. Maybe cautious." He thought about his conversation with Renji and how he described Beauregard as not being too welcoming. "There's another clutch in Ridgefield, and I don't think they're understanding at all." There was still bitterness there for the domina. "I was actually looking for a book in Ridgefield and the domina knocked me into dead sleep without even talking to me and took me back to Beauregard and I guess told him I had caused a problem in Ridgefield. That's one of the reasons why Beauregard kicked me out of the clutch."

He sighed. Heavily. "Anyway, that's all in the past." He gave a chuckle. "Also, I'm Sayed. Sorry I just told you a major life event and didn't even tell you who I am or get your name."
Huh, this kid seemed to talk a lot. But for once, Jaime didn't mind. He got to learn more about the power dynamics around here... and it seemed like a pretty standard clutch drama. Seemed like there's some kind of bad blood between these two groups or at least they were very protective about the territory.

So, he had definitely two no-go zones. So mailing the papers and samples had to continue...

"Maybe something happened to get these two very defensive... Again, I'm sorry to hear. I'll make sure to visit your library." Jaime nodded, indeed feeling for the younger vampire. "I'm Jaime Solaire. It's nice to meet you."

Indeed it was.
"It's nice to meet you Jaime," Sayed said with a little cat bow. He didn't think there was anything that really happened between the two clutches, other than Beauregard not liking another clutch being formed. He wasn't sure what Ridgefield's problem was. But he'd already done enough talking about the clutches.

He liked the idea of a fellow scholar hanging around though, and decided to chance it by mentioning the clutch he was forming. "You seem to enjoy your privacy and I respect that. But if you're interested in having a few people to talk to- I'm actually starting a new clutch. We're not going to do any sort of territory claiming. Just something sort of low-key. Watch out for each other kind of thing. It's just me and two others right now. But if you'd rather just do your own thing, I understand. Either way, you're still completely welcome at the library."
Whoomp, there it is. Jaime felt odd disappointment, as this conversation was going so well. But still, at least his new friend wasn't pushy nor particularly nosy. And the clutch he was forming seemed to have no agenda.

No, Jaime. It will end in tears again. Like every time you get invested in something.

"I'm fine on my own, as of now." he hummed, shifting his wings uncomfortably. "But I'll consider it."

He paused for a moment.

"Though, if I were you, I wouldn't be inviting every random vampire into my safe space. It opens the doors for a lot of bad actors."
Well, it sucked having that rejection, but it was alright. Sayed nodded. "I understand, and I'm glad to hear you'll consider it. Even if you're not part of the clutch, you're still more than welcome to spend time with us."

Jaime also mentioned not inviting every vampire he meets and once more, Sayed nodded. "I don't intend to invite just anyone into the clutch, even if they show up to the library. I intend to be more in the background of the library, so there shouldn't be a need for me to interact with many patrons. For the clutch, there are certain characteristics or personalities that would clash. But I understand that it can seem like that since we've just met. Perhaps it is naïve of me to assume that everyone would get along with you. Truth be told, I like that you're a scientist. The other two- one's a photographer and the other- well, she kind of just does her own thing; has an online business and all." Oh, Zaharia. Such a smart woman. It was one of the many reasons he liked her so much.
Jaime just nodded quietly. It felt oddly neat to seem so trustworthy to a stranger. But still... He'd rather be careful. For sake of them both.

"I have my fair share of history with different clutches and free-spirited groups..." he said quietly, again shifting uncomfortably a bit. "Which is why I'd rather be alone. But if you need any help with rowdy fledgelings... you can call me up. Used to be a counselor."
It was awfully nice of Jaime to offer help as a former counselor, though now Sayed wished he'd agreed even more. "I understand, and I really appreciate your offer of help. Thank you. I might have to ask for some help in the future. Our photographer is... far from rowdy, but she is very new. Only a few months into being a vampire. I've been at this for less than a decade, and the other vampire- she's older. Been around since the 1800s, I believe." Sayed leveled eyes on the owl next to him. "It sounds like you're significantly older though. I hope anyway. It would be sad to hear that you've witnessed so many comings and goings of clutches in a relatively short amount of time."
Jaime hummed.

"Two months without bloodlust? That's a very good track record, I need to applaud her." He said, lifting his head again. Oh, his first two months were... something else completely. "Sounds like you have a pretty diverse bunch so far."

And there he already was in a bit of a mentor's skin. Analyzing, pondering... Needed to stop that.

"And... yes. I'm pretty old." he got a bit meek now. "Old as balls, one could say."
Sayed maybe would've blushed if he could. After the warning about not inviting vampires you don't know in- "Well, she might have in that time. I haven't known her too long, but yes, I think we're a pretty diverse group and I think we all have similar ideas about what a clutch should be. It's the family we've lost."

After all that heartfelt talk, it struck Sayed as particularly funny when Jaime referred to himself as old as balls. He laughed out loud at it, in quite a booming way for a small cat. But he was excited to hear more, if Jaime wanted to provide more. "So, what are some things you've witnessed? I've studied the Renaissance and Early Modern English. Are you that old?"
The family we've lost.

It mellowed Jaime down even further. The ear-like little feathers he had on his head smoothed down. Oh, they were so young and hopeful. Making this old man really consider giving them a chance.

Wouldn't say that out loud, though.

"Renaissance..." he hummed. "I was born earlier, but lived through that era. My family was brought to Jerusalem and I served in Leper King's campaign in Damascus. Was still human then."

That should give Sayed a time frame.
Sayed eagerly awaited to hear what Jaime would have to say. The owl told him he was born earlier, and before he could ask how much earlier, he already had his answer. The Leper King? Sayed had studied plenty of earlier history too. He knew the name. Didn't know a lot about the Leper King or his campaign through Damascus, but knew well enough that it was well before the Renaissance by at least a hundred or more years.

As far as Sayed was aware, Jaime was the oldest vampire he'd met. But this was because he'd never bothered to learn how old some of the vampires in his previous clutch were. Sayed was stunned into silence. He'd been nearly killed at least once already, and he was 6 years into being a vampire? But Jaime here had managed to survive for HUNDREDS of years. Sayed finally gave a short chuckle. "That is old as balls." His chuckle turned into a bigger laugh then.

After a few moments, he took a deep breath. "How do you even live that long? I nearly had a shifter rip me apart a few years ago."
Jaime hummed thoughtfully and ruffled his feathers a little bit. There were things one could learn over time...

"Had a very good mentor in the beginning. A very patient one, too..." he sighed. Oh, he missed Samuel so much. Even now, even after so many years. "There are pros and cons to the times before the age of information. It was much easier to conceal one's identity, even though it was also much easier to get ashed."

He paused and blinked slowly.

"Luck, good standing and laying relatively low helped too."
Sayed listened closely and nodded. That made a lot of sense- having someone there who could show you the ropes of being a vampire. And it sounded like he'd been with his mentor for quite a while. Obviously concealing ones identity would certainly be easier before social security numbers and bank accounts and Google. Sayed often had thoughts of that. Maybe that was why there always seemed to be a steady flow of vampires coming into the area- just people trying to start over again because they'd lived too long in one spot without growing older.

Sayed gave a chuckle about luck. It seemed as though he had a lot of bad luck. Figures that it played into a successful long life as a vampire. But even he felt that his luck was changing for the better now. Laying low had been a bit of a problem for him too, but he was getting better.

"I never had one- a mentor," Sayed said quietly. "Not really. The woman who turned me- I think she was newer. I think she had accidentally killed me, but when I was dying, she gave me blood. She took me back to her clutch, and I never saw her after that. After I was fully turned, the clutch had someone basically teach me how to vampire, and that was kinda it. Stay out of the sun. Figure out your power. Use suggestion on people to help with feeding. And then I was on my own. I think I learned a lot more being in the Alder Heights clutch, but even then- never had anyone to actually help me. Just Beauregard and a few other people who would clean up messes. And then when he got tired of doing that, I was kicked out."

Sayed frowned, though it was hard to do so in a cat face. "Maybe there's still a lot I don't know, but I think having Zaharia around to guide me will help. And I won't let Matilda just flap in the wind by a thread." Sayed turned and looked back at Jaime, doing his best to smile. "I'm glad to have met you Jaime. You've already helped out a lot and have put a lot of important things into perspective for me."
Oh, accidental murder. How nasty. Jaime knew it was the worst way one could become a vampire. It usually involved a lot of trust issues between the sire and the fledgeling... But Sayed seemed to be taking it well.

It almost seemed like the clutch residing in Alder been unnecessarily cryptic, withholding important information from the young vampire. A young vampire who got quickly abandoned by his mentor...

Ah. There it was. He was switching his counselor brain on again. Still, he needed a bit more convincing to join... even though he was slowly growing to like Sayed.

"Ah, like I said... If you need help, you can give me a call." he said quietly, shifting uncomfortably again. "Maybe we could get off this perch so I can give you my number."
Sayed would rather have Jaime in the clutch to help, but he wasn't about to push it on the older vampire. He'd said no, but said he'd at least be willing to help. And even if Sayed liked to argue, he wouldn't argue about that. At the suggestion to change back into their regular forms, Sayed nodded. "Good idea." Claws out, he gently climbed down the tree. When he was closer to the ground, he leapt off and changed back into his human form mid-leap, just because he wanted to see if it'd work.

It worked decently well, except that his foot got caught on a tree root and he fell forward. He laughed as he hit the ground and quickly got back up and dusted himself off. "Guess I should've waited until I was on the ground to do that." He pulled out his phone then so that he could get Jaime's number.


Being a bipedal bird made his transition into bipedal human a bit more smooth. He landed on his feet in his human form and stretched a little, sometimes feeling that the small owl was way too small to contain all that height of a man.

"You okay...?" he asked, head tilted to the side a bit, as he retrieved phone from his pocket as well.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Sayed said with a little laugh still. He ran his hand through his hair in a small show of embarrassment, but otherwise was fine. He pulled open the new contact screen and held his phone out to Jaime to put in his number. In the meantime, Sayed decided to ask another question. "So are you newer to Ridgefield then?"
Jaime gave the younger vampire his contact info and gave the phone back to him.

"Yes, I just moved in, basically..." he said with a nod. "In case you want to visit, you can find me in Alameda. What a nice little town..."

Quiet enough, but not completely cut off civilization. Exactly how Jaime liked it.
Sayed sent off a quick text saying who he was so Jaime would have his information.

And then promptly frowned when Jaime told him where he lived. "There are a lot of shifter groups in the area and many of them aren't friendly to vampires. Some will demand you leave. Others may try to just straight up kill you. It's mainly the two Jaguar groups and one of the Bear groups." He shifted uncomfortably on his feet. "One of the jaguar groups is in Alameda." He paused to let the information process better for Jaime, wondering if he'd accept the severity of the situation or feel as though Sayed was overstating it.

"The Alder Heights clutch was told to stay out of Alameda for our own safety. Ridgefield is where another group is, but it sounds like you avoid Ridgefield anyway due to the clutch there. There are also two groups of bears- one is in Camp Baron. Those bears are fine with vampires, though I had a shifter run me out of the area a while back. The bears you need to watch out for are the ones in Graupel Canyon. The leader of that group tried to kill me when I first moved here. Him, one of the jaguar leaders, and a cheetah leader who's no longer here all chased me out of Las Almas, even though no one claims that territory."

Sayed always wanted to make sure new vampires were safe, and this was especially true for Jaime who he'd taken quite a liking to already. The jaguars would probably just tell him to leave, but Levka might straight up try to kill him. "Listen, I'm over the border from Alameda in Starling Hills. If those jaguars try anything with you- you can come to me. I'm going to fix up the basement in the library next to have a place just for vampires. You're more than welcome to hide out there. Or you can stay in my apartment too. Just, be careful and know you have a backup place available with me, okay?"
Fucking splendid. Jaime never was good at spotting were territories, they never really concerned him as he wouldn't care to bother them at all. Chose the location on the basis of being very close to his research site.

The elder vampire pressed his lips together in a rather sour expression. Even when he wasn't looking for trouble, it seemed like the trouble would find him anyway.

"Well, shit." he huffed. "Guess I better move before I find out who pissed in their cereal enough to hate me for daring to exist..."

He paced around for a bit, thinking.

"Thanks for the warning..."
Sayed was empathetic to his situation. He definitely understood Jaime's frustration and sympathized with him. He also felt a little bad about the whole "whoever pissed in their cereal to hate me" thing because Sayed was sure, at least with one jaguar group, he'd been at least one cause of it. But that wasn't a story to share for now.

Instead, Sayed nodded at that thanks and then thought a bit. "I think Rice Bluff is alright, if you needed somewhere close to Alameda and the wilderness. I think some wolves live there, but I've not heard that they've banned vampires. It's a bit more of a sketchy area with crime, but, we're scarier than a lot of humans, right?" He gave the older vampire a smile.
"I'll look over my options." Jaime nodded and then actually returned a smile. A rare sight. "Thank you..."

It... really felt nice. Perhaps he indeed made a friend. And the clutch idea started to seem really appealing.
Sayed nodded at his answer. And when the thank you came, he smiled wide. "Hey, it's no problem at all. I'll get out of your hair now. But if you need anything, don't hesitate to call or text." And with that, Sayed would be off.
"See you. And take care." Jaime nodded, still with a soft smile.

Decided to spend a bit more time in the woods, take in the atmosphere and local flora and fauna. Exploring on foot, wondering what secrets this place could keep...
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