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  1. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR Dominique watched Dan and Karen leave with the bones stored inside the bag she had made for them with a faint smile. "What are you smiling about?" Darrik asked. "Oh, just glad that they're actually listening and keepin' 'em bones stored in those bags I made." Dominique replied with a shrug. "Safer that way, for all parties." she added as she moved to the trunk to gather more supplies. "We're gonna need to resupply too. Done more magic today than in the last month." she commented, only slightly exaggerating. Darrik watch what Dominique withdrew from the trunk and nodded. "Good idea." he said approvingly. "You want in on it?" Dominique asked with a grin. Knowing full well how Darrik would answer, she handed him some of the components to prepare the spell along with her. They were always more powerful together. DE LE CROIX RESIDENCE The iron gate permitting entry through the short, red brick fence creaked Dominique slowly opened it and stepped through onto the brick path leading to the front porch. The yard was simple, mostly grass, with a few weeping willows and several bushes, devoid of leaves, with empty bottles of various colors placed over limbs. Most just viewed it an old wives tale or tradition to keep evil spirits and bad luck at bay, but the two witches knew the truth to it. Dominique stepped onto the porch and with her keys still in hand selected the one of the lock. She entered with Darrik right behind and paused; looking, listening, even smelling for anything unusual, but the house greeter her with little but the usual smell and a soft ticking of the antique grandfather clock that had been in the family's position for several generations now. Dominique nodded to Darrik and they both relaxed a bit. Though the house had been left to her, it still did not quite feel like it was hers. She knew the place well, having spent much of her childhood within its walls or yard, and it had been the first place she was exposed to magic and, as a child, had been drawn to the very bones they now sought. She remembered where she had seen them last too. As Dominique moved up the stairs she paused and turned to Darrik. "Hey. You on better terms with the Regent. Maybe you ask her to text the photos so we can check the grimoire while we are here?" she suggested to Darrik, leaving it to him if he wished to or not as she went to retrieve the bones.
  2. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR "Of course. It will just take a few minutes before you go." she said to Dan with a nod. "I would advise against touchin' 'em bones if you see visions like that. I already did a spell to do just that an' saw things I'd rather not." Dominique advised as she poured Karen another shot. "But you are a big girl, so do as you will." she added with a shrug. If people failed to heed her warnings, then the repercussions were on them. She warned them after all. Dominique though about the situation for a moment, considering her option and the likely fallout from Erica's success or failure if they stopped her somehow. She could just leave, but that would be leaving her magic, ancestors and centuries of family history behind. So no, that really wasn't an option. The alternative meant staying and fighting, opposing this Erica even if it meant saving a bunch of vampires in the process. Now came the hard part though, as Dominique was still not sure about how much she could trust the others. Cara had seen the results of her locator spell and Colby had just revealed a bit of a bombshell about the bones. He knew they were given to the werewolves, Lillith and the first Regent and that a fourth set was hidden. So that meant that either Mama Sue was the first Regent, or at the very least so trusted and respect by the witches they entrusted them to her themselves. Either way, it might be good to hold back some of the information and keep some of the bones in reserve, just in case, but that would mean Cara, and possibly Colby would have to play along, though unbeknownst to each other. Still though, did she want to risk it? The would need to think about it... "We know the skull is in Erica's possession. I'd assume, and it'd seem, that she has the skull hidden from my magic, especially considerin' that she seems to have some witches, or at least a rather powerful one, at her beck an' call." she said, taking in a sigh and pouring Colby and herself another shot. "As for the rest of 'em bones... We have two sets right here. I know that, as of a few minutes ago at least, a set is at Lillith's estate, the ones given to her at the signin' of the accords I would assume, so I am not sure how we go about collectin' 'em, if at all.". Dominique considered the rest of what she knew about the location of the rest of the bones and shrugged. "Fuck it. Au moins en enfer, je serai en bonne compagnie1." the beautiful, young, black woman said, more to herself more than anybody at the table, having made up her mind. "The fourth set, the ones given to the first Regent?" Dominique said as she looked to Colby, "Yeah, I have 'em." she continued, noting some of the surprised looks from the others. "I said come from a long line of powerful witches going back centuries. Granted, I didn't fully realize just what they were 'till recently, but regardless. I have 'em, though not on me." she added. "An' the set hidden in the city? I know where those are too. They are probably the most accessible and least protected, so gettin' 'em should be a priority. So we can, potentially, not have two sets of bones, but three to five, dependin' on how things go." she suggested as she sat back in the booth. "But like I said, when this is all done, I want all the bones so as to finally put this witch at rest and be rid of this dark magic," she said to the table and then looked to Cara, adding, "Which I doubt is something the vampires would object to." She then looked to Karen and Dan, her eyes serious, but not confrontational. She knew that the wolves liked their staredowns and such, but she wanted to make sure that they understood she was serious and not playing games. "And let's face it, the werewolves wouldn't tolerate the existence of such items that could wipe out entire werewolf bloodlines either." Dominique said matter-of-factly to the pair of wolves. She then sat back and shifted her gaze from one person at the table to the others. "These bones are too dangerous. If the peace is to be kept, then these bones need to be dealt with when it's all over." she explained flatly. "Agreed?"
  3. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR Dominique held out a hand toward the box, but never came close to touching it, but wanting to verify what it was. She could feel the dark magic, the same she had felt just minutes before, emanating from the contents of the box and nodded. "That's more of them." she said flatly. "I knew either you or Mr. Walker hand them since you both arrived at the same time." she added. Dominique twirled the shot glass on the table as she let out a small sigh, looking at the box and considering things. "Here's the thing. The rest of you look at 'em bones an' see an item of power, or a weapon, or whatever. And that is what they seem to be, so no judgement from me 'bout that. But they are items of dark magic... very bad juju that one does consider usin' lightly." she said reassuringly, holding up a hand in a 'calm down' gesture to cut off anybody who might have seemed slighted. The young, beautiful black woman continued after giving a moment to make sure nobody was getting upset, twisting her head to the right and then left, to whip her dreads over her shoulder and behind, careful not to hit anybody. "But that's not all they are. As a witch, I look at 'em an' see the bones of a fellow witch, one that was never laid to rest, never allowed to return to the earth. She met a horrible end, one that nobody should face, an' now for over four centuries this woman's spirit has endured, her curse an' hatred and the time of her death fuelin' 'em bones with a dark magic. She deserves her peace. So, if we agree to work together to stop her, an' survive, then when it's all said an' done, I'd like to do just that... put her at peace and be rid of this dark magic. I hope the rest of you can agree." she explained, leaving it at that. She took in a deep sigh and let it out, shifting her thought a bit to the more direct matters hand. "Now, I am not sure how these came to be in your possession..." she said, looking to Dan and Colby, "..but I can tell a few things. However... novel... it may be to keep the bones of the dead in a small tin box, it's not particularly safe. So I can only imagine that they were kept stored away. If you have a few minutes, I can make somethin' that is not only a bit more respectful of the dead, but can also help protect the bearer from the bad juju radiatin' from 'em bones." she offered to Dan. "Oh. And I know where most, if not all, of the rest of the bones are too." she tossed in almost as an afterthought. "So a few things." Dominue said as she pulled out her phone and typed out a text to Darrik one handed as she spoke. Text to Darrik: "I'm not sure of the exact nature of Marko's curse, but judgin' by what he said earlier, I think it is workin' in our favor for the time bein'. Unfortunately, I'd bet that she had 'em cursed in the first place, knowing he would come back here and that, for whatever reason, would bring out the twins, maybe to help him? Anyways, if she had 'em cursed, she might be able to have it broken too. And that would be bad." Dominique turned to face Colby more fully, letting him take her in, in all her beauty and resemblance to her grandmother at the same age, and asked, "So Mr. Walker... Colby... Do you know anythin' about the ritual that was foiled last night or of a witch called 'Mother Walters'?"
  4. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR Dominique tossed back the second drink and raised a finger of the hand holding the shot glass as she swallowed and sat the glass down on the table. "Ooo.. Ooo... Lemme try this one. Hmmm... Maybe some sort of several hundred year old, werewolf/vampire hybrid that using this one..." she said nodding to Cara, "..and/or her brother to lure out the last two Originals so she can finish her matching set of Original heads? And probably the same one that turned you too." she suggested and then sat back in the booth and looked over to Karen, gesturing to the shot glass in front of the werewolf. "And you really should have that second drink, 'cause you're wound up tighter than a two dollar watch." Dominique chuckled to Karen, shaking her head with a grin as her dreadlocks danced around her shoulders. "So how did I do, Mr. Walker? Pretty close to the mark?" she asked.
  5. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR Dominique sighed again as Cara's questions to Colby, though she caught herself doing so and tried to hide it. For some reason people seemed to want to antagonize Colby, like they were pushing for a fight. Why, Dominique had no idea. So far he had been nothing but polite, at least on the surface, and had only now just made a thinly veiled threat to Dan, which was just as likely simple dominance bullshit between werewolves. But one thing that seemed pretty certain was that the Bayou pack was not happy about Colby's return either. "Of course. We can use one of the private lounges in the back, through those curtains there." Dominique said, gesturing to the curtained doorway with a small "PRIVATE" sign on a post in front of it. "Make yourselves comfortable while I grab us a bottle and glasses." Dominque walked over to the bar, leaving the others to head in back. She fetched a fresh bottle of Jose Cuervo from the shelf and set it down on the bar as she let out a frustrated sigh, rolling her eyes and reaching in her her back pocket to pull out her phone. She unlocked it with one hand and looked at text Darrik had sent as she stuck a finger into 5 shot glasses and pulled them together. She paused, staring at the text, reading the same six words again and again several times before typing back. You haven't got their attn yet. Maybe play casual and keep it that way for now? She slipped the phone back into her pocket, grabbed the bottle with her newly freed hand and headed back to the lounge.
  6. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR Dominique sighed and shook her head at Karne's outburst and watched Colby's response with keen interest. She did not know this 'Ms. Gaunt', but considering she seemed to have met privately with Darrik and clearly know who Colby was, certain base assumptions could safely be made, and she clearly held some animosity for Colby. "This club is neutral ground, but a certain level of politeness and civility is still expected." she said in Karne's general direction, ensuring that Colby would hear too before addressing him specifically. "And thank you Mr. Walker, for your condolences. This is not the first time I have heard mention of your name, so it is a pleasure to be makin' your acquaintance." Dominique replied with a polite nod as the smartphone in her back pocket chimed, which she recognized as the chime she had assigned to Darrik's number, though she let it go for the moment. "I understand that you're recently returned to the city?" she asked, changing the subject to lighter fare. "If so, then welcome to the Simon Magnus Burlesque and Absinthe Bar. And what, if anything, can I do for you?" she asked and then chuckled. Shaking her head. "Where are my manners?" she chuckled "Can I offer you and your... friends... a drink? I doubt you are one for mixed drinks. though..." she said, looking him over with an evaluating gaze. "Hmm. No. I bet you like to drink with four old friends... Jim, Jack, Johnny and Jose?" she thought aloud, politely gesturing to the bar.
  7. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR (back office) "Okay..." Dominique said as she looked over the locations of the drops on the map, "These aren't the exact bones that were in my grandmother's possession, but they're clearly from the same set." "How are you so sure now? Your spell?" Cara asked. "Sort of." Dominique replied as she began to point at the drops on the map, one by one. " We both know that's Lillth's mansion." she said, pointing to one drop. "That's St Vincent de Paul Cemetery No. 1, where I would guess some of the bones are interred." she continued, pointing at a second drop. "An that one..." she said, pointing at another drop, "...is, or I suppose was, Mama Sue's house. Now it belongs to me. The bones she had, the ones I saw as a child, would seem to still be there, which makes sense. That house has been in me family for some time, an thus has generations of wards and protections placed on it. I mean, when I saw these bones, I couldn't fathom how somebody managed to get past them all and steal the bones. One would be a fool to even try. But now we know that these bones here are not them, but part of the same set, so even if you return these, we'll have access to others." she explained. "Like I said before, I am from a long line of powerful witches datin' back to long before you an your brother were even created, so now knowin' just what these bones are now, it doesn't surprise me that some of these bones were in me family's possession. Mama Sue certainly knew what they were, an even as a child, long before I knew what witchcraft was, I could feel their magic." Dominique reminded. The beautiful, young witch tossed her dreads over her shoulder and pointed at the moving amber drop. "So... my spell might've garnered unwanted attention..." Dominique thought aloud as she looked at the amber dot moving closer to their location on map. "But for the white-haired, blue tattooed, seemingly immortal, wolf woman to have detected me spell, she'd have to be a witch too." "An no, I've never heard of somebody actually bein' two of our kind, much less all three." she said with a shrug before rising from the floor. "But, if they seek a confrontation, then there is no better place than here to have it." Dominique said with a bit of resolve as she walked over to the antique steamer truck and removed a few items before continuing, "Because even though Marko didn't see me an Darrik enforce our will by force, we absolutely can." Dominique emptied a small, leather bag of marbles into the glass ashtray on the desk and then sat down on the floor again where she tried to quickly thread a rather large needle with the thick, old spool of thread. Cara could see though that Dominique's hands were shaking a bit, which only made her task more difficult, and thus frustrating. Despite her seemly calm and confident demeanor, excitement, anxiousness, fear... or a combination of all three still affected her. She was still human after all, and Cara thought it unlikely that she had faced a possible threat such as this before. "May I?" Cara asked, holding out her hand. Dominique paused, having realized that Cara was acutely aware of, and possibly slightly irritated by, her state. She sighed and placed the needles and thread in Cara's hand and then took a deep breath to calm herself while Cara threaded the needle with ease and handed it back. "Regardless of what may come, these bones need to be stored more safely. This'll just take a few minutes an should be done before whoever that is," she said, pointing towards the moving, amber drop, "...gets here." She un-spooled a length of thread and dragged it along her mouth, snapping it off when her teeth. She took in another breath and added, "I hope you're not hungry." before she began to chant and poked her thumb and forefinger with the needle, causing a small, crimson drop formed on each. She pressed the two fingers together around the thread just behind the needle and began chanting as she dragged the thread between them and through the blood. The candles flared for a moment as she crudely stitched some symbols on the small leather bag over the next few minutes. When she finished, Dominique stood up and placed the bones within the small bag, cinching the drawstring tight. "There. That should help keep you, and anybody else, safe, or at least safer, from their bad juju." she said as she held out the bag, offering it to Cara. She glanced at the map, watching the moving drop almost at the location of the club on the map. "Now, let's find Darrik and wait to see who comes a callin'." she suggested with a nod to the office door. Dominique exited, leading Cara, or letting her wait in the office if she really wanted to, and went looking for Darrik, hiding her urgency from the staff until finally she came to the dressing room door. She sighed and knocked on the door. "Damnit Darrik. You better not be bangin' one of the gir-" she said, teasing her 'brother' as she opened the door and poked her head in, pausing mid-sentence at the sight of a young woman she did not recognize. "Oh. Hey there." she said to the woman and then looked to Darrik. "Hey, you know those... antiques... that I was just examinin' and lookin' into the history of, back in the office? Well, somebody is about to walk in our door with some more of 'em... from the same matchin' set. Just thought you should know as you might like to be out here when they do." Dominique explained politely. "Just a thought." she said with a shrug, closing the door before returning the bar, standing by the office door where she could glance back and forth between the map and doors.
  8. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR (back office) Dominique Stood there silent for several moments, gathering herself back together after such a power spell and vertigo inducing vision, letting her brain process what she had just been shown. The woman burned at the stake, a witch, who had brought forth such such a curse with her hatred and drying words as to kill an Original, the magic so powerful as to linger in the bones, able to repeat the feat if one knows how to properly harness it. The vision revealed more about the Originals as well, namely that there were not just four Originals, as had been believed, but now at least six given that they witnessed the death of two and 'the twins' were not among them. Dominique had never bought into the whole "they are un-killable" mystique. Nature sought balance. With magic one could push the limits and bend the rules, but in the end Nature always wins and vampires were no exception. They were always at Death's door, more so than any living person could be, and sooner or later, be it years, decades, centuries or even millennia, Death would have his due. For a moment she contemplated a world without vampires. Would it be a bad thing? Psychopathic vampires like Marko would certainly not be missed, that was for sure. He was broken, she figured, based on what she had seen of him and if Cara's statement about their age was to believed. The human mind was not meant to endure such, and who knew what he had seen and experienced in that time. A person could get seriously messed up over the course of just a few years, even a single experience in some cases, but centuries? That was plenty of time to messed up and grow ever more broken. She thought it was doubtful that many asked to become vampires, and instead it was a state thrust onto them which they had to cope with however they could. Cara, for example, seemed quite the opposite of Marko. She was calm, thoughtful, polite and seemed to have endured the centuries far better. That, or she was even more of a monster and simply hid it far, far better than he did. But if she were what she appeared to be, then didn't vampires like her still have a right to exist if they didn't asked to be what they are and tried to live more or less peacefully? Sometimes those who did not deserve help still ended up getting it in order to help those were actually deserving. That was the nature of compassion, she supposed. And sometimes being shown compassion it what took to break through to a damaged loner like Marko. Dominique took in a deep breath and slowly exhaled, centering herself and bringing her focus back to the here and now and the problem at hand. "Okay, but a few things. I'm gonna use these to find the rest of them bones." Dominique said as she walked over to the old steamer trunk again and removed several items. "Second," she said as she unfolded a map and set it on the ground, "lemme make somethin' safer for you to keep those bones in. They radiate powerful bad juju that you do not wanna be exposed to any more than you already have." "And third... What 'old grudges'? Who are 'the girls'? How do you two think you 'are being used'? What do you know about your brother's curse?" she asked as she collected the candled from the table and set them at the four cardinal directions on the map. Dominique picked up the bones with her left hand and knelt down in front of the map. With her right hand she held out over the map a small stone that taped to a point and hung from a leather thong. She dipped the leather in her shot glass and grasped it in her right hand, holding it out over the map, chanting and slowly swinging the stone around over the map as she squeezed the leather, causing droplets to slowly trickle down the the leather to the tip of the stone where it collected.
  9. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR (back office) "An he wonders why he's cursed and why nobody want to help 'em break it?" Dominique said as she rolled her eyes and shook her head. "I mean, ya would think for bein' five hundred years old that he would know common courtesy better than most. An how has he even made it this long without being taught a proper lesson?" she added with a shrug. "Hmm.. I suppose that's where the curse came in." she considered. Marko was not the first vampire who thought they were an unstoppable killing machine, and would likely not be the last, but she learned long ago that it was the weak and frightened that had to boast and threaten like he did. He had manufactured a facade of strength to hide his own fears behind. It was so one-dimensional though as to be painfully obvious to anybody who had the presence of mind to look objectively. Just a series of boasts and threats designed to inspire fear in others, or at least distract them from what he really was. Dominique turned her gaze back to the bones, thinking hard as she leaned closer, examining them for a moment before straightening up once more. With a whip of her head and tosses her small dreadlocks over her right shoulder and let out a small sigh. She was confident, but not utterly certain about the bones. "I did not say they were they were me grandmother's remains. But they do look and feel, just like the ones she had though. An I was not aware of 'em bein' stolen, and I doubt she'd give'em away." she said as she walked over to an antique steamer trunk. She unlocked and opened the trunk, pulling out a book to thumb through it, searching for something only to replace the book and pull out another, doing the same. "Ya see, among witches, honorifics like 'Mama' and 'Mother', they mean something. They are a measure of respect, knowledge, wisdom and power. My grandmother, Suzanne de la Croix, was know as Mama Sue. She was a very powerful witch, the women of my family typically are, but also respected by the witches an the others here. She helped people who needed it, a... tradition... I suppose, that has been passed on to me, hence why we are here now. So... your brother bein' cursed by a "Mother Walters" is not a good sign for him. Not to say that the curse cannot be broken, but if he think he gonna break that curse himself, then he's a fool. It sounds recent, considerin' he's still lookin' for her. But he'll need help, be it breakin' the curse or confronting Mother Walters. Though, he's sure not encouringin' anybody to help." she explained as she thumbs through the books for a couple of minutes before finally stopping on a page having found what she sought. She looked over the page and pulled out a several items from the trunk; a few candles, a large piece of blue chalk and a small glass jaw containing some sorts of powder. Dominque closed the trunk and took the items over to the desk where she drew a circle around the bones already encircled in the ruddy powder, adding several symbols around the circle, along with the candles which she lit. She looked up to Cara who was watching with a mixture of concern and possibly a hint a distrust. "Don' be worryin'. Just a spell to give me more information about the bones and their magic. It will take just a few minutes. Have a seat and help yourself if you like." she said, motioning to the sofa and small liquor cabinet besides it which, along with the office, was much like the rest of the club, rather luxurious with a mixture of modern and antique vibes, drawing on the burlesque roots, but modernized a bit to keep the younger crowd at ease. "And then I should be able to make you something safer to keep them in." she added, looking over the page one more time. Dominique exhaled to focus and opened the glass jar. She withdrew a pinch of the dust with two fingers with a finger of the other hand she broke the circle of ruddy powder around the bones, followed by her sprinkling the dust on the bones. She focused on the bones and began chanting something softly which seemed to made the flame of each candle flare slightly.
  10. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR (back office) "Somehow I doubt this'll be the first time you've heard this, but you really should listen to your sister." Dominique said as she made a gesture wit her hand, and then muttered a few, strange words as she tugged on her earlobe. "Don' be worrin'. T'is jus' a spell to make sure our private conversation remains that way. We don' need more eavesdroppin' like him did." she explained, her normally very light, Haitian accent becoming much more noticeable for a bit, though began to gradually fade. "Now, a few tings..." "This is neutral ground for a reason. We enforce it. Don' ya think that other vampires, werewolves and even witches have tested that? Seriously, just because we haven't overtly displayed any power doesn't mean we lack it. So don' come in here an disrespect us in our own place, just like we wouldn't walk into ya home an disrespect you. It's basic respect. Ya get what ya give, someting your sis understands. She came in here, approached us, was polite, as were we, and asked for our help. Now she has it, free of charge, which is fortunate, as dem bones are not new to me." Dominique said, nodding the bones on the desk, encircled by a ring of ruddy colored powder. "An don' worry about that ring. The red brick dust wards off, or in this case contains, evil." she added. She then looked to Marko, addressing him specifically, "As for help your curse, this is a two-parter... One, have ya considered that ya own behaviour might be why people aren't inclined to help ya? I mean, insultin' people, talking down to dem and callin' dem "food" is not all that endearin', or encouragin' them to help. Ya can get more with honey than you can with vinegar... or threats. And two, we..." she said, gesturing at herself and Darrik, "...haven't refused to help ya with shit. The Regent might've, but she doesn't speak for us. We.." she said gesturing at Darrik and herself again, "...are independent. We're all on our own and have what we have because we've fought tooth and nail for it, despite the rest of the witches. Many of them want nothing to do wit' me, and the feelin's mutual." Dominique thought about it for a moment, rubbing her chin with a finger. "Though if ya are cursed, there's probably good for reason for it, likely the result of ya own actions, judging by the display here and now. But," she said, holding up a finger, "there are some spiteful witches out there, so it's possible, though probably unlikely, ya might have been needlessly cursed. So if you ask us for help, we might be inclined to look into the matter. Hell, hexes, curses and wards against them are me specialty. But this shit..." she said, gesturing to the door and office in general, "..has to stop. Nobody is telling ya to bend knee, kiss the ring or anything like that. Just show some respect for us and our place. You get what you give." she explained as she looked him over from head to toe, focusing on him intently for a moment as she does. "I'll give ya this for free though..." she finally said, relaxing a bit, "The longer you're cursed, the harder it is to remove, likely more so if the one that cursed ya has died since then." she offered. "Witches are a good thing to have on ya side when shit goes down. You've seen what just one did to ya with a single spell. So, what'll it be, Marko? Ya want our help with these bones and what is apparently on the horizon, and ta maybe see what we can do for that curse? Ball's in your court."
  11. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR (back office) Dominique turned and looked at Marko, sizing him up for a moment as he spoke and complimented her, assuming this must be the vampire Darrik had mentioned earlier. As far as first impressions go, this certainly was far from the best one he could have made on the witch, which became immediately evident. "I am Dominique de la Croix, one of the owners and proprietors here." she said, introducing herself to the vampire in a somewhat flat, displeased tone. "Now, you can show us, and our establishment, proper respect, step outside the office and knock on the door politely to request entry," she said in a bit of a firm, matter-of-factly tone as she walked up to Marko and gestured to the door, adding, "...with some respect." in a much more polite tone and with a faint smile on her nude lips. "Your sister has been very polite, and it has resulted in mine, and likely Darrik's, aid, free of charge. I am sure you would not want to spoil that and sour the beginning of our relationship with by being ill mannered." she explained with a genuine smile and nod toward Cara. "And I asked questions to gain knowledge, like how she came into possession of my grandmother, Mama Sue's, bag of bones." she said, her voice gradually growing more firm, "So you can take your Madame Cleo bullshit, step outside this office, and leave it at the door while you knock with some respect." "And thank you for the compliment. It was very kind of you." she added as she walked to the door and opened it for Marko.
  12. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR (back office) "Do you know where he got 'em? From this new 'master' he serves?" Dominique asked, looking closely at each bone. She thought back to that childhood memory, from long before she even knew what witchcraft really was, trying to tell if they were the same ones she remembered. She could not be entirely positive, but they sure looked and felt like the same bones she saw and handled all those years ago. "An' for that matter, why'd he give 'em to you? You can't even use 'em." she asked, peppering the vampire with more questions as she grew more and more confident that they were the same ones from years ago. "An' did you get the impression that he knew what they were?" she added to her queue of questions.
  13. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR (back office) "Sure." Dominique replied as she moved some of the folders aside to clear a place on the desk. Dominique watched at Cara spread the bones on the desk and seemed to freeze in place, her gaze focused intently on the bones. They looked very familiar, the sight of which conjured up a very, very old memory in the witch, one of the scant handful of times she had truly made her grandmother angry, more angry that ever seen her before or since. They could not be the same bones from all those years ago... could they? The beautiful, young black woman snapped back to the present and looked back to Cara, her previously playful demeanor pushed aside. "Okay..." She said as she paced back and forth in front of the desk for a moment, clasping her hands together and holding them in front of her mouth. "For me to help you," she said, lowering her hands and composing herself a bit, "I know to know what you know about them. And I mean the truth, not some vague, evasive or flowery explanation or response like, no offense, your kind seems so keen on givin'. I'm talkin' the straight truth. No BS. Because these seriously radiate Dark Magic and that's some bad serious bad juju that you don' wanna be messin' with blind." she stated firmly. "Let's start with how in the world did these come into your possession?" she asked as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a small baggie full of reddish powder which she carefully poured around the bones on the desk, encircling them in a ring of the powder. "And were they in a small bag with symbols all over it when you got them?" she tacked on, seeming to relax ever so slightly once the ring of powder was complete.
  14. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR (at the bar) "You left them at at home?" Dominique asked. to which Cara nodded in response. She looked over Cara for a moment, her gaze drifting over each curve of the undead woman before her, while Dominique's other senses brought other concerns to her mind. "Then you might want to fire your stylist or re-think how you accessorize," she commented, half jokingly, "... because I can sense the Dark Magic radiating from here." she added, noting Cara's reaction to her observation. "Lucky for you, this is probably the safest place in the city when it comes to bad juju like that. So how about we step into the office, you spread'em and let me have a nice look, getting all up close and personal." Dominque offered as she grabbed the bottle by the neck and nodded to the office door, adding, "...your figurative cards, that is. Though, dinner at your place I'll take you up on sometime." for clarification with a wink.
  15. THE SIMON MAGUS BURLESQUE AND ABSINTHE BAR (at the bar) Dominique downed her shoot and shrugged. "Probably because they're not 'in on it', as you put it." she said nonchalantly. "This is mine and Darrki's place." she added, nodding to her partner with a glance, noting the woman now speaking to him, who stood out like a sore thumb. She smiled as a thought crossed her mind and shrugged again, turning back to Cara. "Anyways. He seems a bit... preoccupied... at the moment. But anyways..." she said and offered her hand. "Dominique de la Croix. I'm from one of the oldest lines of Hoodoo practitioners in New Orleans, if not the New World, for that matter, so I think I fit your bill." she explained as she closed her eyes for a second and muttered something, only to open them once again and give Cara a more noticeable once over. "So what's the problem? Restless spirits? A bad hex? Help with some revenge?" Dominique asked and poured two more shots. "Or does this have something to do with the fiasco last night that somehow spilled into my club this morning?"
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