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Chosen 02c: The After Party [Ravi]

Dave ST

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Sienna didn't want to go home to her place. Now, in the late hours within Ravi' humble apartment she lay naked across expensive satin sheets, one small comfort Ravi managed to steal away from his family. Through the shadows of his home he prowled with the grace of a dancer, his muscles expanding and tightening with the power of an athlete.

His eyes narrowed in the darkness as the shadows caressed his powerful frame as he crept behind his sofa an moved towards the counter... “There you are,” he said softly to himself as his perceptions locked on something out of place just a few feet ahead of him. With predatory efficiency he slowly closed the distance... and he pounced.

He held up the chocolaty disc with a look of victory on his face. He'd conquered the Thin Mints. “I knew I'd more of you tricky devils lying around here.” Cookie half in his mouth he flipped on the kitchen light.

In sync with the light came a knock at the door. It was past two in the morning and Ravi wasn't expecting an visitors...

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He paused for a moment, looking alertly towards the door, then back at the bedroom for a moment before he padded on the balls of his feet up to the portal and peeked through the spyhole.  He didn't owe money to the sorts of people who came knocking at this hour to reclaim it, so he assumed it was either one of his co-workers or, worse, another sugar mama from the club dropping by unannounced for a booty call.

What he hadn't been expecting was a picture of Victorian propriety - a neat-looking man in a well-tailored suit complete with waistcoat, set off with a bowler hat and a monocle of all things.  A small gold chain adorning the waistcoat clearly indicated the presence of a fob-watch.  Ravi took his head away from the spyhole, blinked once or twice, then looked again.

Yes: still there, still dapper.  If it wasn't for the bowler (an adornment of civil servants, solicitors, cads and bankers - or any combination of those), he'd not look out of place in the portraits hanging back home.  He glanced at the pocket watch, snapping it shut and knocked again.  He didn't seem impatient, merely a man with a task to perform.  Ravi padded noiselessly to the bedroom, plucked a pair of jeans from the floor and donned them before leaving the bedchamber and it's lovely slumbering occupant, gently closing the door behind him.

The third knock had just sounded, no louder or harder than the prior two, when Ravi shot back the bolts and cracked the door open, one green-gold eye peering at the man through the gap.

"Good morning?" he asked, his insouciant tone making it unclear whether this was a greeting, a question, or a reproof at having been woken at such an hour.  Probably all three in one - it's a British thing.

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"Ah!"  The man greeted Ravi with a warm smile.  "Good morning, Lord FitzCoventry.  My name is Thaddeus Alowishus Chadwick Mortimer Lightwood the Third, Esquire.  If you've a moment, good sir, I've come to discuss your future."

He made a motion with hand sweeping the doorway.  His accent was about the thickest Ravi had ever heard.  "Do you mind, sir?"

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The man formality was almost a caricature, especially here, in this place so far from his roots.  Bemused, Ravi stepped back and opened the door, waving the man in with a courteous sweep of the hand.

"Not at all.  Though it's not 'lord', I'm afraid.  These days you find me as just plain Mister FitzCoventry."  the disgraced nobleman said with as much dignity as his circumstance and bearing allowed - which to be fair was considerable.  After all, taking a title away does not change the nature of the thing - and generations of breeding of blue bloodlines had, in addition to luckily not leading to webbed feet or non-existent chin, blessed the scion of the English nobility with considerable poise, even wearing just a pair of jeans or when dancing on a stage for a bachelorette party.  He motioned to the closed bedroom door to indicate a need for relative quiet, then moved into the kitchen.

"You find me about to fix myself something - can I offer you a drink?"

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"Nonsense, sir,"  Thaddeus replied and Ravi could almost hear the 'pish-posh' in his tone.

Ravi turned to his cupboards, reaching for two mugs.  "Nobility is in the blood, sir.  It's not a scrap of paper or a castle on the hill."  The unmistakable scent of finely brewed earl gray filled the air and he could hear the rattle of a cup on a saucer.  He turned to look and the man was standing before a fine tea setting for two, the pot steaming and a small bowl of sugar cubes.  "Do you take it with sugar, sir?  I know it's not common but I've grown quite fond of the sweeter taste.  My own guilty pleasure, one could say."  He chuckled silently.

He presented Ravi with his cup of tea.

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Ravi accepted the cup, his eyes going from wide with shock to narrowing in thought.

"No sugar, thank you." he said, inhaling the tea.  "Smells very fine indeed, Thaddeus."  A lesser mortal might have freaked the hell out right about now, but Ravi was currently convinced that this was some manner of dream.  After all, tea services did not appear out of thin air, least of all - he checked, yes, ones made of fine china such as his mother would have kept as a prized heirloom.  "Last time I smelled Earl Grey this good was-  Well, it was a long way from here."

"You are far too kind, sir."  Thaddeus dropped a lump of sugar in his own cup, stirring it delicately with a small spoon.  Ravi sipped the tea - yes, it had the notes of a specially blended master-brew.  This whole affair was taking on a surreal quality, a 'down the rabbit-hole' vibe.  Here he was, drinking fine tea served by the Ghost of Butlers Past.  Or something like that.

Am I insane?

"Am I insane?" he asked Thaddeus conversationally.  The butler-like gentleman looked mildly shocked as he gently blew on his own tea to cool it.

"I sincerely hope not, sir.  That would put a crimp in things, yes indeed."  Thaddeus sipped, then sighed contentedly.

"Well then, I shan't be so crass as to ask where you had this tea service tucked away."  Ravi leaned against the counter, studying the other man. Every ounce of his considerable poise and courage kept his voice from trembling as he went on.  "Though you have to allow me some curiousity - you said you wished to discuss my future?"

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"Dare I say, sir," he took a sip from his tea, pausing to allow the sweet flavor indulge his taste buds.  "The chimerestry behind where the tea parlor tricks is the least of you present concerns.  Your life is about to change, sir.  You are Chosen."

"Chosen by whom?" Ravi asked calmly.

"Not by whom, sir."  Thaddeus looked at Ravi, giving him his full attention.  "By 'what'."

"What?"  Ravi asked, a bit consumed by a flood of absurdity mingled with vague half messages.

"Precisely!  Good. Now that were on the same page, sir, there are other like you.  Chosen.  Unfortunately we don't know who they are, but soon you will all need each other.  The Lady D'Sombra, knows more than most.  She hordes information and has far more time and resources at her disposal that we have, sir.  We thought, given your," he paused and offered a not so sly look towards Ravi's closet bedroom door.

"Proclivities?"  Ravi helped him out.

"Proficiencies, sir."  Thaddeus politely corrected.  After al,l a genetleman would never imply one was anything more than gentleman they appeared to be lest there was evidence to contrary.  "That you might be able to assist in that regard.  Oh, I konw you wish to know more, I do, sir, but understand that to tell you everything at once would only serve to spin an impossible yarn.  You have to see and feel your way through all the absurdities that lay ahead of you.  Find the other Chosen, sir.  All will be clear, then."

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"How the devil am I supposed to-?  No, I imagine you can't tell me.  Impossible yarn and all that."  Ravi looked down at the steaming tea in his cup.  "You have to admit, this is rather a lot to take in, Thaddeus."  When the butler(?) did not answer, the young nobleman raised his sleek head to regard him... Or rather, where he had been.  

Thaddeus Alowishus Chadwick Mortimer Lightwood the Third, Esquire, was gone.  The tea service on it's neat tray was gone.  With a start, Ravi realised that the cup he'd been holding was gone.  For a wild moment he wondered if he'd imagined the whole thing - but he could still smell the Earl Gray.  That was reassuring, in a sense.  It meant that either he was so far gone his senses could not be trusted, or at least something of what he'd experienced had been real.  And his senses had been tricky, lately, but not deceptive.  The dreams of predatory intensity, the strange flash of something malevolent and demonic under the perfect fascinating surface of Ravenna D'Sombra - something was afoot, and whether it was destiny or psychosis tapping him on the shoulder, a FitzCoventry did not run from discovery.

So...  The other Chosen, capital C.  D'Sombra knew more, hoarding the information.  He mulled that over as he made himself a cup of normal, everyday Yorkshire tea, the bags for which he'd located at a small store that dealt in British goods for expats living in New York.  A small creature comfort.  He stirred the drink absently as his mind flickered over what he'd seen of D'Sombra, what he'd observed.

 "You see, it's not a rivalry, Ms. Mason, it's a game.  You, the frizzy haired little mulatto girl, the ginger military man, hell," she gestured to Ravi, who seemed quite taken aback at the sudden inclusion.  "Even this man isn't here by coincidence.  We know things you don't..."

Yes, that fit.  He remembered the pretty girl with the ample assets, how angrily she'd confronted D'Sombra and how swiftly and callously she had been routed.  He didn't remember a mulatto girl, but there had been a red-haired man with a face only a drunken mother could have loved.  Pieces in a game.  The Chosen.  A game played between D'Sombra and 'Mourn', whoever that was.  So who had sent his polite and erstwhile visitor?  He let out a short frustrated sigh and sipped his tea.  Every answer led to another question.  Fortunately, at least one answer might lead to more enlightenment.  He knew where to find D'Sombra.

"So, if your morals aren't afraid to get too tarnished, meet me next week, 8PM, in my office at Nyx, thirteenth floor, Google it."

It was Friday night - well, Saturday morning.  Next week could not come fast enough.  Although the invitation had been ostensibly directed at Ms Mason, aristocracy was nothing if not good at assuming they were welcome at all the best places.  And besides, if there really was a game afoot, D'Sombra would not have made a slip accidentally, surely.  A test of his curiousity, or his initiative?  He had doubts she was genuinely appraising him for a dancing partner, horizontal or otherwise - or maybe she was mixing her game with a little pleasure on the side.

There was only one way to find out.

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