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[Evil] For Want of Power - Not to be Missed

Edward Mansfield

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Edward paused briefly, glancing at himself in the large mirror that hung in his dressing room. Too large to be considered a mere "closet", it was outfitted with a very elegant arrangement of custom-built rods and drawers specifically tailored to his needs. A plush, deep-pile off-white carpet offset the dark crispness of the cabinetry that housed an assortment of Italian-leather shoes and crisp, button-down shirts. Neatly pressed designer suits hung on thin, flocked velvet hangers next to some of the more casual offerings the closet provided - jeans, polo shirts, and khaki pants. A few t-shirts and exercise clothes were folded away out of site, in drawers with brushed nickel hardware, as if the appearance of them would distract from the professional, distinguished look that the rest of the closet presented.

Not that some very undignified things hadn't happened in this room.. Edward's lips lifted into a satisfied smirk at the corners as he pictured the times he and Tomas had ravished Saori and each other in this room. He had a fondness for the space.. though each of them had their own rooms in the mansion for when they preferred privacy, Edward's suite was the master suite, and it had been designed with all of them in mind and suited their combined preferences, for most of the time it was where some or all of them spent their nights together. The closet, however, was his - it suited both his personality and his vanity nicely, and the large mirror was perfect for watching his lover's faces as he pleasured them.. or vice-versa, of course. After all, his family was so beautiful.. it would be a shame not to enjoy that beauty from every angle possible.

But he didn't have much time to linger here tonight, though the thought of calling Saori and Shae up to the space was as tempting as always. Tomas, alas, would be unable to attend tonight, and had removed himself from the vicinity in order to avoid even an accidental sighting. Considering his persona-non-grata status in London, being spotted at such a high-profile event could ruin everything before it had even begun. Still, Edward was sad that he would be missing Tomas's devilish quips and speculative observations tonight. He had a way of making the most tedious occasions quite enjoyable.

He straightened his bow-tie and smoothed out the non-existent wrinkles of his tuxedo. Tonight he had other things to focus on, an event that would set into motion his newest idea if handled properly. He smiled slightly, the faint smirk at the corners of his lips still lingering as he contemplated the evening's eventual goal. He knew Saori would be downstairs already, checking on the last of the preparations before the party started. Once his wife was in party mode, she didn't like to be bothered with the details, and she made sure the staff that they had hired for the occasion knew it, too. She wanted to have a good time, and hell hath no fury like Saori when her social events didn't go as planned. It was, as well, the first gala since the newest addition to their family, and Edward was looking forward to seeing Shae enjoy herself tonight too.

To the outside world, Shae was Edward and Saori's adopted daughter of six months. Not that everyone believed it - to the gossips and the media whores, the girl was probably Edward's newest lover, a situation that his first wife seemed perfectly comfortable with, and that they had attempted to cover with a phony "adoption" story. After all, what kind of couple would actually adopt a sixteen year old girl, riding the line of womanhood so closely? Defenders spoke fiercely of the mysterious estrangement between parents and child.. Edward and Saori's oldest daughter had moved in with her uncle, Michael Mansfield, and it was rumored that she hadn't spoken to her parents in well over a year. The Mansfields had obviously adopted this child in order to share the love their oldest child refused to acknowledge.. or perhaps, more cynically, to dull the pain and rejection her estrangement had caused. Whispered debate about their reality of the situation had been popular since they'd made their official adoption announcement, but so far - wisely - none of those who imagined themselves "close" to the Mansfields had dared to confront the wealthy businessman and philanthropist about it, or his beautiful but sometimes sharp-tongued wife.

Edward made his way downstairs about fifteen minutes before the black-tie gala was set to begin. He knew guests would start arriving soon, and he wanted Saori and Shae to help greet them and make them feel welcome. Tonight was a night for making friends and bolstering public opinion. And everyone in London knew that a gala thrown by Edward and Saori Mansfield was an event NOT to be missed.

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Shae was standing admits the last minute chaos of servants and organizers, her boyish frame accentuated by a Regency-era man's formal wear. Her soft features and long, flowing white-blonde hair under the top hat made her gender a guess to any who hadn't already been introduced to the Mansfield's adopted daughter, but then she seemed to delight in the confusion she caused. She been watching her mother with amusement for last half hour as the Asian woman tallied the number of mistakes to be corrected in less than ten minutes or else. Saori Mansfield was known for her grace and charm, but also for her rapacious venom when crossed. It was something Shae adored in her.

She clacked the dragon-headed cane she'd acquired to complete the outfit on the marble floor, spooking several of the servants and bowed to Edward. "Father," she spread her arms out with a jester's grin. "Are we ready to begin the dance? Mother is quite beside herself with anticipation. I believe she's looking forward to sharpening her claws on society's latest nitwits."

Click to reveal..
Style of clothing:


Shae's outfit is of darker shades of blues and golds, and she has a top hat on of the same color as her coat.

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Edward grinned fondly at Shae, giving her and her outfit a brief, appreciative glance up and down.

"We are indeed ready - the early guests should start arriving any minute, my dear. You look absolutely dashing in that outfit - almost like your Papa is here with us."

He stepped close and gave her a light kiss on the cheek - whether it was intimate or fatherly was sure to be the discussion of the night between people hired for the event - but all of them had been hired with the stipulation that they sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding anything seen or heard during their employment. And all of them were informed by the agencies that had hired them out that Edward Mansfield meant business regarding his NDA's. The few foolish people who had dared to spread tales had been promptly found out - no matter how discreet they thought they had been - and quietly sued to the point of ruination.

"Tell me, is your mother in a very tempestuous mood this evening? Much as I enjoy watching her make mincemeat out of the some of the more frivolously foolish, I was hoping for a somewhat tamer evening tonight, all things considered."

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"What is this?!" Edward's question was answered by his wife as her voice carried across the room. The staff person she was cornering was cowering into the wall; the rest moved more rapidly but also in greater silence, in defiance of all laws of nature. "No, don't explain, because I can tell you - it's la shi! I wouldn't feed this to a dog, much less my husband's distinguished guests! No, no excuses! Fix it!"

As Edward and Shae exchanged bemused smiles and walked over, Saori pressed a hand to her temple and shot exasperated air out of her mouth. "Darling," Edward said as Shae slipped arms around her waist. Her handsome husband planted a delicate kiss on her forehead and murmured, "Are you going to continue your rampage of terror throughout the party? I was rather hoping to tantalize rather than terrify our guests."

"If I rampage now, everything will be perfect later," Saori said, her tone full of wrath.

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"Well, I can hardly disagree with you there, my darling... after all, your methods have always produced such excellent results in the past. Your parties are always impeccible, no doubt a direct result of your firm direction."

No one could compliment cruelty quite as smoothly as Edward - he spoke of Saori's ruthlessness towards the hired help with the smooth approval of a tutor examining a model student's test scores.. though his tone was somewhat more familiar.

"I'm going to go perform a quick walkthrough myself. I hope you ladies will excuse me for a few more minutes.. unless you'd rather join me, Shae? People should start arriving in about fifteen more minutes but I'd like to check security first."

The androgynous young woman started to speak, but then Saori's beautiful (if perhaps just a bit shrill at the moment) voice cut through the air, making several of the servants jump, and one of them spill a tray of h'orderves. Anticipating what was coming next, Edward slipped an arm around his "daughter's" shoulder, leading her off towards the room towards the back of the home that housed the general security systems for the house.

"Come along, darling.. I think your mother is best left to her own devices at the moment."

Shae glanced backwards briefly at Saori, seeming to consider, then nodded softly in agreement. The two of them made their way into the room, and Edward glanced around briefly to take in the preparations before his gaze settled on his hired head of security.

"Well.. how's it going? Are we all ready for guest to begin arriving?"

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"Almost." The red-haired man's voice, naturally gruff and harsh, conveyed this, as well making it clear that he would tolerate errors from his batch of contracted security guards no less than Edward's wife did. Of course, Mel Grimson had made sure that Edward had went only to the recommended companies, and used Grimson's special list of extensive criteria to evaluate the subjects.

It was a wonder to see the man out of costume, though of course, his not quite pretty face seemed hardly less intimidating than behind the mask and coat of Bloodmoney. Though the super-villain mercenary had concealed his legal identity as best he could, someone of Mansfield's resources and willing to put in the time and effort and expenditure could reasonably connect the dots. Edward Mansfield has wanted as much a legal paper trail as possible.

Though less than pleased to be contacted through the less than usual ways, Bloodmoney had been willing to provide security and bodyguard on the caveat that Darkling provide him with some of the Daemon Prince's dark magical artifacts as payment. It was not so secret in the underworld of villainy that the Mansfields were quite inextricably linked to the monster who rampaged in London at the turn of the century, after all.

Grimson, having made his one-word statement, visibly holstered a heavy pistol into his coat in full view of his charges, and scooped up what at a quick glance appeared to Edward to be communications gear and a (iPad sized) computer tablet that combined portability and easy access to the security systems.

Turning towards father and daughter, Grimson smiled nastily slightly. "Now we're ready. You're the principals. I'll be keeping a closer eye on you, and if the men do their fucking jobs right, we should be set."

As Grimson joined them, he chose to seriously add, "And as head of security, I fear the lady of the house is on the verge of homicide."

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Edward glanced briefly over at one of the monitors that the security detail was using to monitor the home, and his expression flickered into one of mild bemusement as he watched Saori haranguing the unfortunate oaf who had dropped the beautifully prepared tray, even as two other waiters knelt next to them, gathering up the mess as swiftly and silently as possible, hoping not to be noticed.

"Yes, well.. I wouldn't worry. If Saori were going to kill someone, they'd be dead already."

It was hard to tell if Edward was jesting - his expression was calm but serious, though his eyes sparkled with amusement. He guided Shae out of the room, Bloodmoney falling into step beside them as they made their way back towards the front of the mansion. It rested on one of the higher levels of the Arcology reserved for the elite in society, and had large enough grounds surrounding it to grant the Mansfields a pleasant degree of privacy from their neighbors. As they approached the room where Saori's latest tirade was starting to wind down, the elegant businessman glanced briefly at the mercenary, his brow arched just slightly.

"And you're quite certain you wouldn't prefer monetary compensation?" Shae could hear the undercurrent of amusement in Edward's voice, see the same wry smirk tugging at the corners of his lips that had been there when he'd told Tomas of Bloodmoney's requested payment. "I can assure you from personal experience that the use of the items you're requesting can have.. unexpected repercussions."

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Bloodmoney laughed lightly, though it was far less melodious than Tomas', rough and grating, though Shae and Edward could tell a strange similarity to the darkness in Tomas. It could not reach the heights of depravity that sheltered within the Night Lord, but it spoke quite eloquently for itself in terms of bloodshed in eternal war, stone men, and the like.

"Considering what I've put myself through all these years, I'm more than willing to take the risks. And I have more than enough money for my purposes, gold lost its luster to me. My interests... tend to be ones that call for certain kinds of challenge."

Bloodmoney continued behind the kin of Darkling, adding deadpan, "War is my trade, and not much more."

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Shae's own smirk echoed Edward's; she laid a hand on her father's arm, "Let him have his desires, Father. It's more fun that way."

The light blue eyes that gave Mel a quick once-over were not as ancient as Darkling's, but they were just as malicious. "Trade or passion, it matters little. You'll be given exactly what you've asked for once the evening is finished satisfactorily. What you do with it - or what it does with you - after that is not our concern, unless it crosses us." Her voice was cold, but it wasn't a threat, just a statement of fact. Darkness flitted in minute shadows across the blue as the changeling caught Bloodmoney's eyes with her own. "There are many other things you might have asked for that are more valuable than coin or credit. War may be your trade, but you are stumbling near the utter destruction of the Void. Step carefully, lest we swallow you whole."

The moment passed and Shae smiled up at Edward, the shadows gone as quickly as they had come. "But wouldn't it be terribly exciting if someone did try to attack us, Father?" She gave a girlish laugh, "You could be so brave and everyone would cheer and other people would die and then there'd be such talking and wonder! Mmm! Much more fun than dancing."

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With Shae's omnious statement setting the mood for the night, the first of the guests arrived. Saori's pre-party rampage ended the second a guest showed up, but the terror she'd instilled lingered well into the night. All it took was one quick glare from her to bring the wait-staff or cooks back in line.

Before another thirty minutes had passed, there were enough people there to make it official a party. People were drawn by curiosity as much as anything else; Edward was well-known in London's circles, but his wife was less-so and his new daughter not at all. Those two found themselves the center of many questions and polite stares.

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  • 4 weeks later...

"Edward, darling, look who I found." Edward turned from his appreciation of a shrimp cocktail to find his lovely wife leading over an older couple. Edward's glance took them in at once: they had removed their masks to speak. He was smiling and confident, dressed in fine clothes that spoke of money. She was also dressed in a richly unstated way and was confident enough to let her hair go gray naturally. "This is Cecil and Phyllis Churchill."

"How do you do?" Cecil asked, shaking Edward's hand robustly. "I've heard much about you."

"All of it good," Phyllis stated, and her breeding was fine enough that her voice was perfectly modulated.

"They have been talking to me about some of their hopes for the Archology's future," Saori said, her eyes gleaming as they locked with her husband's, "and I though you three might enjoy talking."

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