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World of Darkness

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Active

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The World of Darkness resembles the contemporary world, but it is darker, more devious and more conspiratorial. The dichotomy between rich and poor, influential and weak, powerful and powerless, is much more pronounced than in the real world. Decadence, cynicism and corruption are common. Humans are unwitting victims or pawns of vast secret organizations of supernatural creatures. Vampires, werewolves and wraith —among others— struggle with internal factionalism and against other species in secret wars of intrigue for control of reality. The battles in these wars may last centuries, beyond the realization or comprehension of ordinary humans. This status quo is recently threatened by the rise of a global Technocratic cabal (and/or an animistic spirit of stasis and control) intent on monopolizing the power of belief and destroying all traditional supernatural societies.

*This is not a 'by the book' World of Darkness game.  While a lot of themes and events may be recognized by players, anything and everything can and will be changed to best suit the need of the story.

  1. What's new in this game
  2. Hey, just a heads-up that I'm working on a post for Maya, but it'll be a day or two before I'm satisfied with it!
  3. "You left out the distinct lack of getting shot at." Mel added, almost despite himself. While part of him begged the implications of Ravenna D'Sombra getting a full listing of Rangers and then having the resources and pull to track them all down - it fit with everything Brent was saying about her - the rest thought it seemed like the too good to be true opportunity. So why wasn't he reaching out and taking it? Oh, right, that gut intuition and odd images he saw, which emphasized with everything else, that when a too good to be true offer was being given - ultimately from a dangerous person like D'Sombra even if Brent was the proxy here - it probably was too good to be true. Mel had little good fortune in his thirty-something years of life. One piece of it was Cecilia, and she was taken from him. The other was that deal... "This is about as good as you're going to get, Mel." Despite the pantsuit, it was the old-fashioned glasses and lines on her face that made Marsha Williams look more like some moralistic school teacher than the public defender that she was. "Oh, sure." The teen sitting across from her scoffed. "Get-out-of-jail-free card, just snitch on my dad, his associates and then automatic sign-up to get shot for my country." Did she seriously think he didn't know the unwritten rules of the community? Be a nice little boy, say I'm sorry and walk away? The vitriol passed off Marsha like water off a duck's back. "Mel. Is this what you really want? To throw away your life for a man who beats you and your mother at the drop of a hat?" Mel's mask cracked at the surprise and shock - she knew?! "Yes," the African-American matron continued, "I know about that, I take my work seriously. Mel. There are times when you feel you're trapped in a black pit, with nowhere else for your life to go. But you can climb out of it - and when someone offers you a hand, boy, you take it." Mel remembered that. And Brent was offering a hand - whatever his intuition said, his heart knew he couldn't go on like this. "All right. I'll give this a shot. D'Sombra's got herself one former Master Sergeant."
  4. Casey blinked. That made no sense whatsoever, and lent credence to what D'Sombra had been hinting at. She blinked again and couldn't understand why she felt irked that this Maya woman was with her date and how now all of the sudden her date admitted to knowing, ok maybe not knowing but recognizing her, when not ten minutes ago.... A flush of red suffused Casey's cheeks and she stormed from her hiding place with the intention of bracing the pony tailed charlatan and giving him a solid piece of her mind. But thats not what happened. Before stepping out Casey had taken her phone from her clutch and activated the recorder then blanked the screen. She transferred the phone to her left hand and her small purse to her right which put it against the large potted plant and when she stepped forcefully from hiding the clutch caught in the voluminous leaves of the plant which of course began to tip. Spinning back Casey tried to catch the tall plant but with both hands it became a trial which left her entangled and in plain view of the two she had been eavesdropping on. They in Turn had heard her first curse and the string of expletives which followed as she wrestled with the tree like plant. Neither said anything as Casey finally arrested the plants fall and disentangled herself, then smoothing her dress and brushing back stray strands of hair she marched right up to Horation and stood squarly in front of him ignoring Maya. She stared up at him but her words had been lost and he was so damn attractive and... "Are you alright Casey," he asked innocently? "Alright? Am I alright?" Casey shook her head, "No I am not alright but I am not the one answering questions here. How is it that not ten minutes ago you didn't know here from anyone else here," with out looking Casy stuck her left hand out to point at Maya with the phone in her hand, which added a few inches to Casey's reach and firmly poked Maya in the boob. "Yet here you are telling her that you have seen her at the Pot along with the security guy and you just assumed we knew each other. When starngly enough I, who am always there in the morning when these two get their coffees and lattees had never seen you before the day you came into my office. Not once and I have a dammnd good memory for the little details I will tell you." Her voice was rising as she spoke, " And for that matter how is it that Miss D'Sombra knows the 'story' you told me about your fathger and him bringing you to the Full Pot when you were a kid. That is so much Bull shit!"
  5. Ravi was young, and whilst no longer being wealthy he came from wealth and privilege. This might lead some to consider him a vapid weakling or 'chinless wonder', but such people do not realise that swimming with big fish means having to develop teeth and armor of one's own. If anything, prison hadn't so much toughened Ravi up as put the polish on his plating - besides, anyone who can survive boarding at a elite private school for their entire childhood can handle prison. So when faced with that flash of something disturbing and wicked underneath the gorgeous surface of Ravenna D'Sombra, the tall, dark and handsome young man did not outwardly react more than blinking once or twice as his face kept it's pleasant smile. "We bumped into one another at a Latin dance class." he replied smoothly in a silken tone and with no apparent discomfort at the lie as Sienna smiled nervously. He took Miss D'Sombra's hand with a practiced gentle clasp, giving her a dazzling smile and a charming eye-meet. Dark hair in a cloud, and blood-red lips forming his name / Flawless hands running up and under the nape of his hair, gripping and making him look into a dark mirror to see a bestial mask of hunger and rage... He let Ravenna's hand slip from his. "Where you are an instructor, I presume?" The woman (if that's what she was) ran her gaze down and up Ravi's lean athletic form like a livestock rearer appraising a new purchase, her lips smirking as she took in the discomfort of Ravi's date as though she knew exactly where Sienna had met the exotic manflesh she had on her arm. The young FitzCoventry chuckled, shaking his head. "Alas, merely a gifted lover of salsa." he said with a significant slight pause and an impish gleam in his eye. Ravenna laughed, her knowing dark gaze seeming to approve of his answers as she inclined her head in a faint nod.
  6. "Sorry," Horatio smirked charmingly. "I honestly thought you two knew each other. I've seen you in her shop, as well as the Grimson man, whom we mt a moment ago, the guy doing security. I've seen you all there, I'm sorry, I assumed you three actually knew the others." He motioned to her apologetically, "Please, though, I'm curious about you. Or, perhaps I could enlighten you to a few of the faces out and about around here? It may help you feel not so out of place?" "She found me," Brent replied rather suddenly, like he was prepared for the question. "The woman is connected, bro. She had a list of everyone from our old unit when she showed up on my door step. That's right, she came to me. She wanted the best, but only a few of us were could be found, or were still alive." He looked at Mel with a slight measure of disbelief and worry in his expression. "She's loaded. Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark levels of money combined and she barely looks out of her twenties. For a bit I thought she was the evil daughter of even richer parents, but I'm tellin' ya man, she's a shewed business woman. She's no nonsense and takes no prisoners." He raised a finger to Mel, still gripping his whiskey glass as he did. "Nothing illegal, before you ask, at least not yet. I mean, c'mon, we both know how people with that much power and money do business, especially when she employs a private security force like us." Mel looked around and quirked a brow at Brent. "Okay, not these guys. She's looking for the best, and that's us. Together we can find a few of the others and we can make some serious money. These guys? They're here just for this gig. I'm talent scouting, and right now only a few of them are making the cut." "It could be like old times, Top. Just with better pay." [Casey] Casey is still listening in and there's nothing wrong with that, so far neither Maya or Horatio have noticed her. Your contact is working and it may take her some time to compile and send that email. At the moment none of Casey's actions require addressing. Keep snooping or return to the crowds, it's your call (there's no right or wrong answer). Sienna wrapped her arm in Ravi's and tilted her head, trying to see in the colours what he was seeing. "Don't believe I've ever seen you look so serious." Ravi's eyes just remained locked on the painting, he didn't even register her as being there. "Ravi? Hellooo?" The modern Adonis inhaled and blinked a few times to break himself of his reverie. "Sorry," he smiled in a near perfect recovery. "It's lovely, I was just lost in a thought." "It is, though a bit dark for my taste," his date replied. "Oh, I don't know," came an unfamiliar voice. The calm, accented tones introduced themselves into the conversation as if they needed no need for an introduction. "I'm quite a fan of," as they both turned the perfect features of their hostess's raven black hair and red lips greeted them. She was everything Sienna knew she was loosing with time and age. "The dark." Sienna was caught off guard but it was obviousshe immediately knew who she was standing in front of. "R-Ravi," it wasn't often Ravi had seen Sienna flustered, which only piqued his curiosity. "This is Ravenna D'Sombra, she's hosting all of this. Raven, this is my date, Ravi FitzCoventry." "Sienna," the shadow clad woman extended her hand and smiled. "Thank you again for all you've done for this event. As always, your resources have been invaluable, as has your time." "Anything to help a friend," Sienna smiled, and the way she said it, the way her voice faltered, Ravi felt that 'friend' was a loose term from Sienna's point of view. Ravenna smiled and her face contorted and distorted into something that went from gorgeous and angelic to something demonic and predatory. Like an illusion plastered upon the fact, Ravi, for a moment couldn't tell which was the false face. What was more disturbing, no one else seemed to notice. He'd seen that face before. He knew this woman. He'd dreamt of her before. "Mr. FitzCoventry, a pleasure," the evil smirk on her perfectly red lips declared that he would not allow Sienna to keep him for very much longer. "Philanthropy? Investments? Do tell, where did Sienna find you? I may have to start haunting there myself."
  7. “It’s a simple business proposition.” The handsome red-head told him from the edge of the bed as she re-fastened her hair into a braid. The bed was large, as was the room, as was the apartment. Of course, none of them were his. Ravi let his gaze wander down the pale skin of his (current) bedmate’s back. A rich recent divorcee in her 40’s, Sienna had kept much of her youthful beauty in that well-maintained way rich women do when they don’t have to worry about working for a living. She was also, Ravi reflected, voracious in the sack. Her ex-husband must have dumped her for self-preservation rather than because he’d found a more beautiful model. “Tom will be there, with that dingy little drudge he’s seen with these days, and I refuse to play the ‘solitary woman scorned’ role.” She half-turned, catching his iridescent eyes lazily studying her and smiling. “It will be fun, my sweet.” “Well, I am supposed to be working tomorrow night...” Ravi drawled, his velvety voice even now causing Sienna’s insides to liquefy as the scoundrel pretended to ponder her idea. She scowled and flapped a hand dismissively. “Shaking that tush on a stage, however delicious a sight I find it, is not real ‘work’, Ravi.” She leaned over and kissed his stubbly cheek, smiling slightly. “And like I said, this would be paid time, not playtime. One thousand dollars to escort me to the gala at the gallery and be your too-charming self, dazzle my friends and make their own husbands pick up their game, and if Tom happens to gnaw on his liver from envy so much the better.” “Dancing is real work.” Ravi mildly protested as he swung his legs out of bed and stood, performing a full-body stretch in a very distracting way as he twisted his shoulders this way and that. Golden skin flowed over taut muscles that shifted and moved... Sienna stared for a moment, hypnotised and fighting the overwhelming urge to run her hands down his back – again. He turned his head and grinned at her, half-lidded eyes glinting green-gold. “But you’ve intrigued me. Alright. One thousand dollars. And I’ll need a tux.” The gala was, much as expected, a mixture of interesting and tedious for the easily-bored young aristocrat. Lots of glitter, canapés and champagne, of course. And art. Lots of art. Ravi had mixed feelings on art which could generally be summed up as ‘meh’. Some art was good, some was bad, and that seemed to be simple enough. However he was familiar enough with the upper crust art scene to know that it was filled with pretension. In this crowd there might be a handful of people who actually knew anything about art, fewer of whom would be experts, and the rest of them were all pretending that the Emperor was wearing clothes just because it was easier that way. He didn’t NOT like art, mind. He just didn’t see the need to stand around and gasbag about it. Appreciation of art for Ravi was like appreciating a sunrise – best done privately or with one or two others, and with a minimum of speaking about how wonderfully the colours blended. Right now he was standing by himself in front of a framed melange of swirling dark colours interspersed with lighter blotches of colour, feeling somewhat ill at ease. Not because of the surroundings, but from the piece itself. It seemed chaotic and pregnant with something monstrous, and it touched a chord in him that disturbed him. It seemed to harken to the dreams he'd been having of late, and Ravi fancied he could feel breath on his neck as he stared at the painting.
  8. Name: Ravi FitzCoventry Nature: Gallant Demeanor: Bon Vivant Concept: Disowned nobleman turned exotic dancer Age: 22 Physical: Strength ●●●, Dexterity ●●●, Stamina ●●● Social: Charisma ●●●, Manipulation ●●●, Appearance ●●●● (Striking) Mental: Perception ●●, Intelligence ●●, Wits ●●● Talents: Alertness ●●, Athletics ●●, Awareness ●, Brawl ●●, Empathy ●, Expression ●, Intimidation ●, Leadership, Streetwise ●●, Subterfuge ●● Skills: Animal Ken, Crafts, Drive ●●, Etiquette ●●●, Firearms, Larceny, Melee, Performance●●●, Stealth ●, Survival Knowledges: Academics ●, Computer ●, Finance ●, Investigation ●, Law, Medicine, Occult, Politics ●, Science, Technology Backgrounds: Allies ●, Contacts ●, Influence ●, Resources ●● Virtues: Conscience ●●●, Self-Control ●●●, Courage ●●●● Humanity: 6 Willpower: 4 Merits: Animal Magnetism 1pt (Werewolf Players Guide); Catlike Balance 1pt (VtM 20th); Enchanting Voice 2 pt (VtM 20th) Flaws: Overconfident 1pt (WW Players Guide); BPs spent 10 on Attributes (Two dots); 2 on Abilities (1 dot of Talents); 3 on Merits. (Net difference) Background: Born to a wealthy English family with aristocratic blood (his father is the 13th Baron FitzCoventry), Ravi is technically the eleventh in line to the Earldom of the city of Coventry. Or he would be, if he hadn’t been disowned and his name struck from the family will. His ancestry is a curious mixture of blue-blooded English and Northern Indian, dating back to the days of the British Raj. The family keeps close ties with their subcontinental roots, having in the past freely intermingled with the people there. It's to this Ravi owes his exotic looks and noble bearing, along with a healthy dose of laid-back insouciance and self-confidence. By the age of seventeen, he has already been thrown out of several schools for 'inappropriate behaviour' involving members of the opposite sex, some of them members of staff. Naturally, his family's wealth and connections have ensured that the details of his 'transfers' are not known. Even the most sheltered of prodigals can, however, wear out the grace of his protectors. Having had few limits or consequences levied on him, Ravi became ever more spoiled and pushed further beyond acceptable behaviour, moving from using to dealing drugs at his expensive prep school. Even that would have been tolerated... if it hadn’t been for the death of one of his fellow students from a bad batch of Ecstacy. The investigation led straight back to Ravi, and not even his family could shelter him from the fallout of his actions – not that they were inclined to. Cut off from his trust fund, denied access to Daddy’s lawyers, the young aristocrat was sentenced to two years with a possibility of parole after ten months. Life can be tough in jail for a rich boy who is no longer rich. By a combination of charm, manipulation and ruthlessness, Ravi managed to serve his ten months without getting shivved or raped, but it was a near-thing. He found no welcoming committee on the outside, only an envelope of cash and a firm suggestion that his family never wanted to see him again, delivered by a solicitor. Still proud and prickly, Ravi decided to leave England’s shores, coming to the U.S. With an unfinished education and little in the way of practical skills, the only strength he had was his charm and looks. He drifted from dead-end job to dead-end job, not having the temperament for 9-5 employment, until finally he stumbled into the exotic male dancer scene, having been discovered working behind a bar. Beautiful and athletic, Ravi was a big hit with the club’s female clientele, and found it an easy jump from dancer to gigolo – the money being better for starters. Image: Tall, sleekly muscled and gorgeous, Ravi combines the best of two worlds in his exotic appearance. His skin tone is a rich dark tan, contrasting with spellbindingly large green-gold eyes. His features are predominently Caucasian, though hints of his Punjab ancestry are not limited to his dusky skin.
  9. Casey pondered the text as she looked through the leaves of the large potted plant which stood between her and Horatio and that woman. Eighty years old? No way. This chick didn't look any older than me, maybe it was a grand daughter or grand niece. I'll have to check on that. And weird, why would she do a personal background check on the caterer that her hired guy had already cleared and then your going to make a person you have just seen and met for the very first time and don't even know a VIP on a whim and give them a column in your news magazine. And that same person just happens to be a woman who buys coffee form my shop everyday and there is another guy here who buys coffee every day as well and I can remember them but I had never seen Horatio until the day he offered me this job even though he said that he and his dad, she sighed cutting the thought short … no way something just doesn't click and that's not even throwing in the weird dream or getting stabbed in the back by a nail that couldn't have been where it was. This was just so surreal everything from the day Mourn had walked into the Full Pot to this moment. Her thumbs flew across the face of her phone [[I'll see what I can do. E-mail me anything you have on her to my gmail address, articles, bios, everything you can find. And be discreet.]] Casey texted her friend then slipped the phone back into her clutch and reached up and moved one of the big fronds out of the way so she could see better. So much was going through her mind that she decided a little eaves dropping was in order. Horatio stood slightly askew to her while the woman, Maya, was facing him. They were talking but the noise of the party made it difficult to hear them clearly, luckily Horatio's face was clearly in sight and while she was no expert lip reader she was a talented lawyer, or had been, and she was well skilled in observing. She had spoken to Horatio enough to know how he talked, coupled with being able to see his mouth move and hear some of what he was saying, her brain was more than capable of filling in the rest. At least for his side of the conversation.
  10. Mel saw Brent's point, looking around and examining the men in question. One of them was practically taking advantage of the women in tight dresses to sneak looks whenever he felt he could get away with it. A bunch of them with definite chubs, whom would probably collapse before they got halfway through a basic army training obstacle course. One at the far end - with the dreadlocks whom perhaps it might be racial profiling to say he had been in a gang, except for the hints of tattoos and the look that confirm this was a man that had done serious violence before. Mel could pick up on these things. It was a pretty sorry lot, he reflected, and Brent Connors deserved to have better. Maybe whipping this lot into shape might not be so bad. "I see your point. So how'd you meet her anyway? I thought you'd have looked at the banks for a business loan."
  11. "Miss... Mason?" Genuine confusion crinkled Maya's features into a somewhat less attractive configuration as she tried to place the name. Someone she was familiar with, in the gallery? "I don't really recognize the n-" "The young woman in the rather... eye-catching white dress." "White dress, white dre- Ohhhhhhhhhh!" Right. The boobs. Got it. On one hand, Maya did actually get it: Casey was stacked, and guys were into that. On the other hand, hadn't she been on his arm when they walked up? "I do remember her, I just don't think I knew her name. She works at the coffee shop...?" It was clearly a question, if a rhetorical one- more for the sake of trying to confirm her own memory than asking for information. She was already regretting not grabbing a fresh glass of wine before engaging stealth mode to track down Mourne, since now she had nothing to do with her hands. "The Full Pot. They make a good dirty chai." Her raised eyebrows and the faint, dismissive shrug of her narrow shoulders were more suggestive than anything she actually said. "I don't really know her beyond that, but... Why ask me to tell you about myself and then ask about her?"
  12. [Maya] Horatio laughed. "Those art history classes probably over qualify you, or at least grant you more credibility that a majority of the people here tonight. I'd offer you a job, but it Ms. D'Sombra already head hunted you." His eyes panned her frame with an almost predatory appraisal. "Shame, that." "So," He quickly changed the topic. "I've a few minutes of free time before I have to get back to all of," he waved one hand about. "This madness. Tell me a bit about yourself, how do you know Ms. Mason? You two seemed to share a look of familiarity back there. Friends? Enemies? Frenemies? Any restraining orders between you two I should know about?" He was joking and it was obvious in his tone. He'd already gotten off on the wrong foot with her and was now trying as he might to repair some of that damage. [Mel] "Mel, everything rubs you the wrong way," Brent mused. "She pays amazingly well, and c'mon, let's both address the elephant in the room... none of our brass ever looked as good as her. She might be cut throat, man, but at least she's easy on the eyes." "But, yes, please do think about it, bro. I need someone out here I can trust," he motioned to a few of the detail. "Look at these jack holes. They're either out of shape, roid ragers, or they have a record a mile long. I need people with some moral fiber, some bac bone, some..." "Professionalism?" Mel helped him out. "Exactly," he punctuated with a swing of his champagne.
  13. "Something about her still rubs me the wrong way." Mel insisted, though he personally didn't know quite what. Was it the rich person arrogance? Discomfort that for once, one's higher ups had good intelligence (in the military sense)? Or just that lingering vision he really still didn't want to acknowledge seeing? "She's no worse than any of the brass we've had." Brent replied, pressing his point. "Better, generally." Mel looked away from Brent, seeing his point, but clinging onto his stubbornness. "I'll think about it, Brent."
  14. Had she imagined it, or was there a sort of... raspy edge to his voice? She hadn't noticed it earlier. Paired with the suit, the smile, and the educated conversation, the soft, near-inaudible growl just at the lower edge of his vocal range was... Well, it wasn't just the wine heating up her cheeks, now, was it? "Well, Mr. Mourne," Maya replied, switching the empty glass to her other hand to return the handshake and re-focus on the situation before she said something she'd have to blame on the alcohol later. She was surprised to find that, far from the polite, weak-wristed grip generally offered by men, Horatio's was stronger than she'd expected- not crushing, but firm. His hand was warmer than she'd imagined, too. "Apology accepted. And, if we're being honest, I'm, ah, not really that much of an art fan, either." The newly-minted VIP's grin was all conspiracy and mischief, her confidence bolstered by the wine, the late hour, and something about Mourne she couldn't quite pin down, like a scent in a crowd that seemed familiar, but also out of place. "I did have to take a couple of art history classes in college, though, so I can pull a quick analysis out of a hat if I need to."
  15. [Casey] Casey filtered through the people crowded around the art. Most were interested while she knew some were only there to see or get seen by those far more powerful than themselves. She knew the power struggle game and how it was played among the echelons of high society and big business and this affair was one part art show and all the rest was a brown nosing session or a bragging get-together. Fining Horatio wasn't too difficult, locating him in a little out of the way cubby away from all the traffic where he was, for some reason, speaking with Maya, one of the women she recognized from the coffee shop. Were they working together? Was she in on all this (whatever this was)? Just as she built up the nerve to approach her phone went off, stopping her in her tracks where she tucked into her own cubby to look at the screen. --[[Ravenna D'Sombra? She doesn't operate in a public capacity, she's a recluse. No pics, no video, nothing. The paparazzi have never gotten a picture of her, only descriptions of what she looks like. Is she really like, 80? She's CEO of NYX Imaging and Nox Production studios (photography and movies, basically). Where are you and why was I not invited? I've been trying to get a picture of her for years! Snap me one and the finders fee is yours!]]-- [Mel] Brent tipped his drink and looked at Mel like he was a bit concerned that Mel was not too pleased with him. "Well, I had to tell her something Mel, I can't just say 'hey, I know a guy' and expect them to trust me at my word. You know how the biz is. I didn't tell her everything, but her people are..." "Thorough?" Mel asked. Brent nodded, sipping his drink again. He was the only man on detail at the moment who was knocking back Crown on the rocks like it was water. "Look, Mel, I know you're a private guy, but D'Sombra? Working for her is very lucrative. Security gigs, man, that's it and she pays us out the wazoo. Look, I know you like it simple, like it Spartan, but Mel, that money isn't gonna last forever. Costs'll go up, your health will decline, all I'm saying is that we, I could use a guy like you out here watching my back. I wish you'd reconsider your 'one job only' idea." "Honestly, Mel," Brent placed his hand on Mel's shoulder. "You can't hermit the rest of your life away, man. D'Sombra's an easy gig and she takes care of her people." [Maya] "Mourne. Horatio Mourne." The line backer shouldered man extended his hand and punctuated it with a humble smile. "Ms. Flynn, I'm sorry, I do owe you an apology. My introduction a moment ago was less than civil and I've been under a lot of stress what with setting this event and all that. I have to admit, I've not seen Mrs. D'Sombra that quickly impressed in a long time, and don't worry about feeling like you don't belong here. She makes a big deal about all of these events she throws and I'll be honest with you, Ms. Flynn only about ten to twenty of all these guests are actually art fans."
  16. Maybe he doesn't work for the gallery, or a Senator, Maya reflected, as she listened to the brief, one-sided conversation about investigations and "surveillance footage" with growing anxiety. Just who was this guy, what was he after, and why, in the name of all the holy saints and pilgrims, was he invoking her name as someone who might be associated with whatever-it-was that she absolutely, positively, most definitely had. not. done? She was just beginning to regret having followed the Park Avenue Powerlifter (seriously, where do you find suit jackets for a back that wide?!) and sort-of-intentionally-accidentally-eavesdropping when he began to turn his head in her direction. What followed was the fastest change in demeanor Maya had ever undergone, from slightly awkward spy to immensely awkward party-goer: like a child caught sneaking down the hallway for cookies long after bedtime, the tall, willowy library assistant took a too-obvious step forward in a clumsy attempt to look as if she'd just arrived by mistake. Despite the guilt written indelibly across her face, she bravely made an effort to sound surprised at his sudden recognition. "Oh, so, hey, hi. I was, uh..." She paused for a moment, pursing her lips and briefly closing her eyes before smiling and giving it another shot, hopefully with more composure. "Sorry. I was thinking we might have gotten off on the wrong foot, and I wanted to apologize. You were right, sort of. I mean, about me." She laughed, nervously, and only after taking a sip of wine did she realize she'd just emptied the glass and now had no good excuse to pause the conversation if it took a turn. "I am. Lost, that is. A little bit. A friend invited me as a thank-you, and as you can probably tell, I don't get to do this sort of thing often." ...where "often" is defined as "never." "I'm Maya. Maya Flynn."
  17. Mel continued on his duties, nothing eventful passing for a while - and then he ran into Brent. Mel gave him a nod, then finally decided to ask about the thing that bothered him more than he wanted to admit. "D'Sombra, your boss. I ran into her. Why did you tell her about me?"
  18. Casey watched as everyone around her disappeared leaving her alone with her champagne. Ms. D'sombra's words had left her head spinning and full of sudden doubts, she played the scene , the whole scene, over in her head from the moment she had run into Mel Grimson and recognized him up to now. Investigators and detectives looking at crime scenes look for things that don't belong, lawyers do the same thing, and looking at this scene the only things that didn't belong where her and the two other people who frequented the coffee shop. And Ms D'sombra made four. If she was such a big wig in Manhattan, then why had Casey never heard of her and what woman her age, outside of a fading burlesque queen, would wear black nail polish, especially to an event like this. The vision or whatever it had been came back and haunted Casey. There were too many weird things not the least the coincidence of the three of them here being fish out of water, Horatio's strange behavior all along, and now D'sombra, her monster face (assuming I am not crazy and hallucinating) and her obvious attempt to misdirect. A perfectly played trial tactic, too perfect. Casey walked back into the main gallery and found a waiter to deposit her still full glass with then glancing around to see if she could find Horatio she pulled her cell out of her clutch and texted Jasmin, time to find out just who Ms. D'sombra was.
  19. Casey had been left with a bit to ponder and Mel was returning to his duties. Maya thought it best to introduce herself to Mr. Mourne and quietly followed him, as best she could, through the people and smaller galleries. She lost him a time or two, but the place was small and it wasn't easy to completely lose a guy that had shoulders like him. Did he bench small trucks at the gym? "...I don't know." She heard his voice as she was about to round a corner. "No, D'Sombra is up to something, I think she's found one. No, not the one I'm watching, she has no idea Casey could be one, but I think she's suspicious." There was a pause in the conversation and all Maya could hear was that vague mumble from his smartphone. "Well, what do you expect? She's centuries old, has more money than god, and an army of goons out scouring the streets. We have me, you, and some guy named 'Dwayne' who can barely tie his shoes... I don't care if you owed your cousin a favor, he's an idiot. Any just run the name 'Grimson'... you know what, shot in the dark...," she could hear a piece of paper rustling around in his hands. "Hold on, I'm checking the guest list... Flynn. Maya Flynn. I don't know, it's a hunch. What? I don't know, mixed heritage... look for a hippie version Zazie Beetz, I'll text you a surveillance photo. The way she sees the world... it could be a lead, could be nothing, just run the name." His phone beeped, she assumed the call was done as he took a moment to breathe in and exhale. "I'm getting to old for this." He mumbled to himself.
  20. As everyone scurried off about their separate ways, the small crowd magically dissolving into so much superficial laughter and champagne as if it had never existed in the first place, Maya became acutely aware of the blood warming her cheeks. This was not her scene at all, and despite trying to find a relatively quiet part of the gallery to just... have a glass or two of wine and chill, somehow she'd ended up being the center of attention. So, of course, she had made a fantastic first impression as some kind of weirdo party-crasher, and... ...helped sell a painting? Gotten VIP status from LexAve Lilith? Landed a gig writing a column in the gallery newsletter? She hadn't thought she was lost when Ponytail Guy walked up with his entourage, but now, now she wasn't so sure. "At what point did I lose control of my life?" she wondered aloud, before taking another drink from a wineglass that was rapidly becoming more glass than wine. Mildly embarrassed, utterly confused, and in need of answers to such burning questions as, "Who the hell are these people?" "What the fuck just happened?" "Where is Colleen when I need her?" and "How do I get the recipe for those little cream cheese cracker things?" she reluctantly headed off in the same direction as Mourne. The other two women clearly had business to discuss, and she was not about to follow the security guard and get tased or something, which unfortunately left Baron von Buzzkill as her "best" option. Maybe, Maya tried to reassure herself as she followed him, maybe he wasn't really trying to be a jerk. It's not like I was walking around with my invitation pinned to my dress, right? There was no telltale clacking of perilous stilettos as she padded quickly down the gleaming hallway; it wasn't that she'd worn flats out of consideration for the men she'd look down on in heels, but that they were uncomfortable as hell and she hated wearing them. As for this "Mourne" guy... She wasn't sure who he was, but probably he worked for the gallery, so introducing herself might make the rest of the night a little easier, yeah? Yeah, she decided, nodding in affirmation as she peered into the smaller exhibition rooms she passed.
  21. She replied with a dismissive look in her eyes and a curl at the corner of her lips. "Pff, I care nothing for the catering, but if you must know I have to admit your people are well trained, polite and excel at what they do. A direct reflection of exemplary leadership, no doubt." Just as she expected Ms. D'Somba spoke fast, real fast, like a working woman with fifty million things to do and no time to do them all. "No," she took Casey's flue from her and set it on the tray of a man passing by. He stopped like a robot the moment he noticed her. She selected another, full flue and handed it to the buxom barista. "I did a background check on you, Ms. Mason. Standard procedure for anyone working one of my functions." "I thought Mr. Mourne set all this up. Help me understand, I'm a little confused." Casey graciously excepted the champagne. Even if she didn't intend on drinking it, she learned long ago to just pretend like she was infinitely thirsty and functions such as this one. "That is correct, but only in part." Ms. D'Sombra went on. "Mr. Mourne set all this up, yes. That's his job, but the studio, the artists, the art... all mine. We often work together to organize these little events, but where he has limits within his job for the state... I," she pressed the tips of her perfectly manicured black polished nails to her exposed neckline. "Do not. If Manhattan has a Boss, a C.E.O., a Queen if you feel like being dramatic... it's me." "But enough of that, you, Ms. Mason... you. You are the city's most over qualified barista. Promising law career, in your rather short stint in law you were undefeated, brilliant, some said, I should know, I spoke to a lot of people that worked with you. Then one day, poof. You walk away from it all," that predatory grin rose in her cheeks once more. "There is a story in there somewhere. You're a powerhouse, Ms. Mason, a woman who gets things done. A woman willing to suffer now for the pay off later and I... I admire that. We could do a lot, you and I, but first we need to spray away the stray that's following closely on your heels." She looked down, "Which are marvelous, by the way. Macy's? I saw a pair just like that there not to long ago..." She waved away the distraction she sudden;y just caused for herself and met Casey's gaze once again. "Neither here nor there, look, ask yourself something: why would a wealthy man, who has never been in your shop before suddenly come in and offer me a ton of money I just happen to need? Let me guess, he and his son, no... father used to come in there a lot before you came to run the place?" She nodded. "Yes, I would have gone with 'father'. I'll bet also that you didn't see, or hear, or dream things until the day he walked into your life, did you?" "Well, there's my pitch. Should give you a lot to think about and before you have a chance to barrage me with questions, I'm going to leave in a hurry like some vague prophet in a poorly written movie, but this is my event and I do have to keep moving. Were I you, however, I'd start wondering if my friends are precisely who they say they are." She shot her a fanciful wink and a smile. "It was a pleasure, dear." True to her word, Ms. D'Sombra slapped Casey with a bombshell and strolled off in a hurry to meet an greet even more people. It was starting to look like one more drink wasn't going to be enough.
  22. Casey's head swam. The pressure of the job, the 'date' with Horatio, and now this. The dream came back and the color draine dfrom her face, the wound in her back sent out radiating burning pain, at least she thought it did. She looked at Mrs. D'Sombra's face it was normal but she imagined as she had just seen it, a glimpse of something from hell, or the depths of her own twisted psyche. What the fuck was going on with her? She drained her glass as Horatio excused himself and stared numbly as Mr Grimson questioned the wealthy benefactor and was promptly put in his place. Then as Mrs. D'Sombra dismissed Mel from her thought and walked away she gestured, rather impatiently, for Casey to follow. Casey looked around fro a place to set her glass down and didn't see anything so she carried it in her left hand and sort of held it behind her out of sight then followed Mrs. D'Sombra to where she had stopped a little ways off. "How can I help you Mrs. D'Sombra, I hope nothings wrong with the catering service." She said shoving all her fear and sudden insecurity way down and putting her best litigator foot forward.
  23. "I see. Ma'am." Mel gave her a professional nod and turned around to continue patrolling again. Food for thought, he determined, but then again, it made sense Brent left that out. After all, this was a one time gig, not an extended contract - then again, Brent Connors probably didn't tell her that - Mel only worked for her until the end of the night.
  24. The raven haired socialite paused in attracting Casey's attention for a chat and gazed at Mel, visibly irritated. He expected no less from a woman as obviously stuck up as her. "Did Conner's not tell you? You work for me, Mr. Grimson. Who do you think set up the capital for Mr. Conner's little security business, hmm?" An arrogant smirk formed on her lips. "Oh, he didn't tell you did he?" She chuckled. "Hmph, figures."
  25. Mrs. D'Sombra's instructions caused the parade-ground reflex buried in Mel to respond, causing him to defer and step back before he realized: "Ma'am? How do you know my name?" Odd, but not like it was a problem was it? Mel just needed his curiosity settled (or was it paranoia satisfied) and then it was back to patrolling.
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