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Adventure! RPG: Dark Tidings - Chapter 1: The Long Night

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December 21st 1928

The evening sky was already dark the first of the nights stars beginning to sparkle and twinkle in the night sky. With the setting of the sun the temperature on the harbor quickly plummeted into the teens. The waves were whipped into whitecaps by the on shore breeze and the sound of them slapping against the hull of the ship was steady as the craft cut through the murky waters of Boston Harbor. The ferry held a great many passengers all headed to the same location; the island estate of the Able family. Carolers sung to entertain the passengers as men came around with mulled wine, spiced cider, and hot toddys for the passengers. The ferry’s engine chugged along pushing the craft through the icy waters until the Captain rang a brass bell. Passengers quickly moved toward the stern to watch as the craft pulled up to the dock at the Abel Estate.

The craft was tethered and its passengers disembarked to the path cut through the waist high snow that wound its way toward the manor house. The way was lit with lanterns in colored glass that festively illuminated the trees. Garlands of silver and gold, glass balls in every color and design made the grounds appear as though a great forest of Christmas trees. The house too was lit with colored lights and decorated with great boughs of evergreen and holly. The guests were met at the door with the sounds of music and the smells of all manner of treats and delicacies. The scent of gingerbread cookies, pies, and roasting meats all mingled in the air with the smell of pine and incense.

The living room and dining room were decorated with Christmas decorations including a great green pine strung up with twinkling electric lights and topped with a silver and gold star held aloft by and angel in white. The ballroom however displayed a banner proclaiming “Happy Birthday!” and along one wall was a table with champagne and a cake decorated by the finest bakers in Boston. At the end of the table the guests placed their gifts, some great bow topped parcels, others small oblong shapes wrapped in fine decorative paper. Others were not wrapped at all instead being contained in ornate boxes carved in fine woods or stone.

As the guests arrived Benjamin Abel greeted them personally, his sister and parents also thanking their guests at this party to celebrate both the season and his birthday. As Marion welcomed yet another socialite she looked behind her at Daphne who was on her best behavior. The hellhound Spot was elsewhere most likely sleeping in the room set aside for he and Daphne.

With only a single ferry to bring guests to and from the island there was a lag between guests and both Ben and Marion had been forced to entertain stuffy businessmen, lawyers’ wives, and members of the wealthy upper crust of Boston. As more guests entered Daphne and Marion were both pleased to see the Count Rakozi enter the room and behind him the Apache woman Catori from the Arkham society. Ben meanwhile was more than happy to greet both Archibald Bannister and Ms. Mia Foster who had also arrived on the last ferry to the island.

At last the guests were all assembled and aperitifs, hors d'oeuvres, and drinks were brought around while guests mingled.

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Arch's evening wear consisted of a midnight blue double-breasted tuxedo with rolled collars faced in silk and to complete his attire he has donned a top hat and walking cane. (You can use this a reference as to what his clothing looks like Vintage Clothes

"Salvete," he says to Ben and Marion, "Fortuna dies natalis!<Happy Birthday> my friend." Smiling broadly, "I trust this evening finds the both of you doing well?" Scanning around he grabs two glasses of champage, offering one to Mia. "I must say there Ben you've really outdone your self with this setput. Well catch up a bit later though, I have a bit of mingling to do first. So Mia, care to join me?"

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It may have appeared that Daphne was on her best behavior, but in truth, she was scared stiff. The dress she'd been cajoled to wear was making her nervous, so the wan little smiles she was giving everyone was very unlike her normal self. She wanted nothing more than to rip the dress off her body, but she'd learned just how unacceptable that was here. And while she didn't care so much, it'd been gently explained to her that Some Things Were Acceptable and Some Things Were Not, and the Some Things that Were Not would embarrass her hosts. And Daphne liked Marion and Ben enough to relunctantly agree that tonight dresses Were Some Thing Acceptable. And the shoes... so painful and hard to walk in; she couldn't imagine running in them.

The straight-cut blue dress hid some of the changes that had undergone the young lady; her skin and bones appearance had disappeared with regular food and her hair had grown a couple of more inches. Soon, she'd have enough for a fashionable bob, though with her wavy hair, it probably would need chemical help to look right. And she overall had a look of better health: consistent hygene and sleep had given her a veneer of Modern Woman.

But there was still a Wild Woman in her dark eyes, which darted around looking at everyone and everything, waiting for an attack. Her hand occassionally reached for reassurance from a hellhound who wasn't there. Strangers talking to her flustered her so much she usually didn't try to respond, just staring away from them. In short, she looked good, but created a vast void of awkward around her.

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Mia takes the proffered glass of champagne, and smiles at Ben. "I very much would, Benjamin." She looks around, noting the guests present and running through the who's who list in her mind.

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Catori walked carefully to Daphne, avoiding any conversations or people trying to intercept her on her path. She was dressed as usual in her traditional native american corsage-like top and skirt but added to that some handmade jewelry from her ancestors.

She didn't say a thing when she reached Daphne but smiled warmly at her. Then she looked around keeping close to Daphne in case she felt intimidated or in danger. Catori scanned the room trying to learn as she watched the formal behaviour of the invited guests. The melodic chit-chatter, the gestures and looks... it was as if an informal game was played and she didn't know the rules.

Catori kept an watchful eye on Daphne all the time and hoped this meeting would soon be dissolved.

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Janos' suave manner more than made up for his rusty understanding of the rules of etiquette. Being dressed in the most fashionalbe tuxedo tailored to his masterful physique didn't hurt either. He was certainly an attractive bit of eye candy for all the unattached ladies at the event.

Janos met Ben politely, gave a warm smile to Marion and a nod to Catori in what he hoped was mutual respect. His face really lit up when he saw Daphne and he walked up to her as quickly as social politics allowed.

"You look stunning, Ms. Walton," he began then he whispered. "Not that you don't look a bit constrained, but these get-ups aren't supposed to be easy to move in, eh?"

He resisted the urge to push a knife into her hand, forgetting for a few seconds that he had left his lethal instruments with his Man. Instead,

"Daphne, you can survive this, I know, but if you need some help, don't be afraid to come to me for it."

Then, he adds a little louder,

"Were's Spot? I brought him a Christmas Ham. It's in the car. I figured he would want a gift this season too."

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The smile Daphne gave Catori was warmer than the ones given to strangers; she was truly pleased to see the darker woman there. She seemed to relax a touch with Catori there. Similarly, when Janos arrived, he got a warm smile as well as seeing her stop fumbling for the absent Spot.

At Janos' question, her face darkened into an angry scowl. "Dress stupid. Shoes stupid," Daphne hissed softly, glancing to make sure only Catori and Janos heard her. To Daphne, wearing dresses Was Some Thing Acceptable, so complaining about them was probably Not Acceptable. Still, if she didn't get caught complaining, she could do it freely. It was a matter of careful balance.

His offer of help brought a smile as well as, oddly, her reaching up to stroke his head. It was, he realized after a moment, the same way he'd seen her quietly praise Spot. Another hole in her social education that would have to be plugged, no doubt. "Thank you," she said happily, actually forgetting about the dress for a moment. "And Spot is in room; he is secret tonight," she added, pressing a finger to his lips. "Marion said so." She leaned a bit closer, removing her hand. "Sneak out together later, yes? Give it to him? Or will he have to wait for Christmas?"

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There were worse things to be compared to in Daphne's World than Spot, Janos mused. He worked hard at not chuckling, not wanting to hurt the girl's feelings.

"We can get it later this eveing. No reason for Spot to have to wait, seeing as he is being so good this evening."

Janos looked out over the party. What was the likelyhood that the party would be 'Dry'. If so, it might well be a long night.

"Well, I need to mingle a bit, Daphne. Come find me if you need me."

With that, he moved off purposefully into the gathering.

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Marion comes out of the crowd, smiling graciously at the various people and doing a credible job of it even if it's mostly for show. Clad in a rather scandalous, yet elegant gown that shows her off to excellent advantage and complements her green eyes, she spies Catori and Daphne and hurries over to them.

"Catori! I'm so glad you could make it. Daphne's been missing you."

She beams at Daphne and reaches out to smooth back an unruly curl of the younger girl's hair.

"And how are you holding up? All right?" 3d9149.png

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Ben, ever the gracious host, swanned around, champagne flute in hand, talking to everyone and anyone in the vicinity. Ben had dressed in a fashionable, but admittably rather conservative tuxedo and black tie, with immaculately clean shoes. He'd dressed up a little for the occaision with his cufflinks (1 red gem stud and one green gem stud, both in a simple but elegant design in gold). His crystal pendant had instead become part of his pocket decoration, peeking out from a white hankerchief, and of course his hair had been patted down for the evening.

Ben was well-versed in exactly how to entertain guests you didn't necessarily care for for exactly as long as was needed not to give the impression you didn't necessarily care for them. After all, Ben was a guest of honor, and he always enjoyed the December Abel Birthday/Christmas party, but a party was always better spent with one's friends.

As he greeted Arch, he replied back "And a felix dies Nativitatis <Merry Christmas> to you too!". Ben had been impressed at Arch's progress in past two months - learning any language was a long process for most people (Ben being an obvious exception), but Arch was coming along quite well with his Latin.

Ben waited as Marion talked to... Catori, that was it (Ben's prodigious mind also included a prodigious memory. Extremely handy at parties such as this). Over the last two months Ben had only met her occaisionally, and had looked forward to talking to her. As Marion moved away, Ben moved into the fray.

"Catori!" Ben called out. "I'm glad you managed to make it!" Ben noticed Catori's discomfort at the surrounds of the party. Ben was sure that more quiet surrounds might be more appropriate. "Would you care to accompany me out to the gardens? I feel a need for some fresh air, and I would love some company..."

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Catori smiled at Marion glad to see her here. It took off some of the responsibility she felt for Daphne. These kind of meetings weren't her forte and she thought that Marion or the Count would do better than her.

Just before she could answer a man almost yelled her name, at least she felt like it. She faced the young vibrant Ben Abel almost flinching at his approach. A nervous smile crossed her face but she knew she had to be polite around these people. As he offered to go outside Catori wasn't quite sure what to think of it. She looked at Marion and to Daphne making sure someone would take care of the little girl when she was not around and then nodded to Ben. "I... gladly would, Sir Abel". She proceeded towards the doors not waiting for him to follow her.

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Daphne nodded, though she didn't look entirely sure. She watched Janos disappear into strangers, then Catori and Ben. "Long night," she said, through Marion didn't think she was referring to Yule itself.

She was already waiting until she could slip away and return to the room she shared with Spot. Maybe they could go play in the snow for a bit.

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Manuvering around the crowd, Arch looks around at the gathered guests. He spotted Ben making his way towards Marion, a indian woman and the strange lady Daphne. Arch hadn't really had a chance to speak with her, as she tended to stay away from any of Ben's or Marions guests.

His astue sight also brought a rather well dressed large man into his view, walking away from Marion and Ben's litle crowd. His look was as unacustomed to the atomsphere, much as Arch's was. He made his way over to the gentleman, "So you a friend of the Abels to? My names Archibald Bannister, and if your wondering these things are always this stuffy" he says with a grin.

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"That's a bleak forecast," Janos says with a grin. "All dressed up and nowhere to hunt, eh?"

Janos remembers his manners,

"I am Count Janos Rakozi, Graf von Kadar.<heels click> It is a pleasure to make your aquantanince."

He switches his champagne glass to his left hand and offers to shake Archibald's hand.

"I'm here - sort of - as a guest of Marion's. I take it you are here with Benjamin?" he lets that trail off waiting on a reply.

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"Please to meet you Count, and yes I'm here with Benjamin" he says giving Janos a firm handshake. At the mention of Marion, Arch nods. "So do you think that Ben and MArion may went a little overboard with the party preparations? Seems like the whole city is here."

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Janos looks around, studying the room.

"I doubt it, Herr - Mr. Bannister. This is probably a normal Gala for their house, for people of their station in the city. That's my guess, anyway. This is my first time to such a gathering since ... well in many years."

Janos examines the man in front of him.

"What is it that you do Mr. Bannister, that condemns you to such a function, but in such interesting company?"

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"Ah yes, that's a good question. I'm a private investigator, working here in the city. Me and Ben just recently worked together a few months back on a case for the Aeon Society."

"I myself haven't been to a gathering such as this ever. It's all to new to me." as he looks around to replace his empty glass with a full one.

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Marion chuckles sympathetically. "I know it seems long and boring. It's not really my favorite way to spend an evening either...but it's Ben's birthday, and he's important to me, so..."

She shrugs. "Here I am."

Her smile fades a bit. "Or is there something else bothering you?"

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"Aeon Society? What do they do? I haven't heard of them before."

Noticing Archibald's cause of distress, he angles the two of them to intercept one of the waiters moving through the crowd. He finisehs off his glass and takes another one as Archibald does the same.

"I'm happy the party isn't dry. I can't make sense of this countries Prohibition Laws. They seem foolish to me, especially witht he way everyone is drinking here tonight."

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It was somewhat reassuring to Daphne that Marion wasn't happy at the party either, but her words carried the young outsider to a conclusion. Quickly, she put it to the test. "But... isn't we important to Ben? Why isn't he realize how much we dislike?" she asked, looking a little distraught at the idea that Ben may not like them enough to not have a party they didn't like.

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"Yes I never understood that myself." A surprised look quickly goes across Arch's face, "You've never heard of the Aeon Society? It a "gentleman's club" in a sense, their dedicated to helping and improving society. I had thought it was a well known organization. Mayhap you would like an to come to the next meeting as my guest?"

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Janos chuckles at some inside joke.

"Forgive my ignorance. I've been asleep the past ten years. It may very well be well known. My the majority of my contacts have been with the Arkham Historicial Society. They've been ... helping me with a matter."

He eyes Archibald for a moment than asks a few questions in deadly earnest.

"Do you allow women in your Society? In particular, have you ever met a woman named Lady Ammura Rakozi? She is a studier of things occult, but also a lady of some stature and vision. She is the reason I am in Boston. She is tall and elegant with long black hair and eyes the mirror of my own."

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"Sleeping for ten years you say...hmm that is quite remarkable!" Arch says. "Yes there have been plenty of women invited into the Society, but I don't recall anyone by that name."

"I could make some inquiries if you would like. There maybe someone there that knows of whom you speak."

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Marion shakes her head quickly.

"It isn't that at all, sweetie. This is a special day, just for Ben. He didn't even ask for the party. Me and our parents...we decided to throw it for him because we knew he'd like it. He's not having the party because he doesn't like us. We're having the party because we like him."

She smiles and searches Daphne's face. "Does that make sense? Sometimes, when you love someone, you want to do things for them even if you might not enjoy it just for yourself."

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"Love?" Daphne asked, tilting her head. "Sounds bad, if it make you do unhappy things." She was silent. "Is Ben liking? Is that why he take Catori outside?"

She wished she could go outside, into the cold, quiet night. There was fresh snow on the ground, and she loved to hear it hiss and melt under Spot's feet.

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"I think he just wanted to talk to Catori by themselves for a bit," Marion assures Daphne...careful not to add sarcasm or wryness. She had a pretty decent idea of why he might want to go on a walk with Catori...and hey, more power to him.

"As for love...think about Spot. You love him...and sometimes you might do something for him, or with him, that you don't necessarily want to. Like, if you were feeling sick, but Spot needed some food, or a bath...well then you'd still do what Spot needed. Because, when you know it's for him, you want to. No matter what."

"So, with me...I don't usually like big parties. But when the party is for Ben, I like it. Because he's my brother."

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"That would be most generous, Mr. Bannister. You may call me Janos, by the way."

Janos looks out amongst the crowd then over to Marion and Daphne. Janos gets an idea.

"Bannister, have you met Ms. Marion Abel and her ward, Daphne Walton? Why don't I introduce you?"

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"Hey it's not a problem at all Janos. It would be my pleasure."

Following Janos gaze, Arch nods. "I've seen Ms. Abel and Daphne around the house though I haven't meet them formally. Why don't we go over there and do just that."

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With Janos leading the way, sort of, the two single men cross return to the entry way. Seeing that they don't have glasses, he deftly snags two more off a tray on the appoach.

"Ms. Abel," Janos offers her a glass and bows slightly, "Ms. Walton," he offers her the other one, bowing again, " may I introdice Archibald Bannister of the Aeon Society."

He takes a sip from his glass then leans in to Daphne.

"It tickles on the way down," he whispers to her.

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"Count," Marion greets Janos with a nod. She gives Archie's hand a shake. "Mr Bannister. A delight to have you both here."

Her mouth drops open in surprise when she realizes that Janos just gave Daphne a drink.

"Count, I don't think that's..." she says hastily. "Daphne, Janos is playing a joke. Don't drink that."

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"Ah Ms Abel, Ms Walton it's a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance. I'm sorry that I had taken the time to speak with you early, but Ben had me knee deep in books."

Arch is quite puzzled when she tells Ms Walton not to have a drink. "Something wrong with the drinks Marion?"

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Janos looks like he is about to say something to Marion concerning Daphne and the Champagne, but stops himself. While he has been drinking fine Hungarian wines since he was a boy, this must be some American custom he is unfamiliar with. Janos reaches to take the glass back and says,

"As you wish", to Marion then, "Sorry Daphne."

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Ben followed Catori out into the cold night air. The lights on the trees gave a soft glow to the landscape, almost giving a sense of magic to the air. Ben had to admit, his mother knew how to decorate for a party, and she'd gone above and beyond the call of duty this year.

Ben was not unversed in American Indian customs - several field trips to Indian-held territories had allowed him to meet with quite a few of different tribes, although never in anything more than a professional capacity. Now that he had given her the excuse to be in more comfortable surrounds, Ben had to consciously switch gears - what little he knew of American Indian Etiquette told him that small talk would probably go nowhere.

"Ah, nothing like fresh winter air. Ben started. "I'll be honest, I had noticed that you were rather uncomfortable in those surrounds, I expect that Black Tie is probably something of a new experience for you. Also, to be honest, I have a great deal of curiosity about you - I would like to know a little about you. Marion and I have not really had conversation about you either."

It was actually rather refreshing in a way, to throw away Boston High Society and talk openly and honestly, without care for social face. Ah, for the love of new experience!

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Catori braced herself once they stepped outside trying to keep as much warmth close to her body as possible. She smiled briefly at Ben listening to his words.

“My life has changed a lot recently so you shouldn’t blame anyone of not knowing too much about me. I usually don’t talk that much. You should know that I still grieve the loss of my father and I can accept courtship only once the chief has said that my time of grief has ended.”

She looked at the decorated landscape and tried to understand the reason for all this. It must’ve been a strange custom she wasn’t aware of but she couldn’t think of anything suitable. Winter had never given reason to celebrate and her tribe had always suffered when they couldn’t hunt enough buffalo during the summer.

“Why do you celebrate this day? I wasn’t aware of any hunt or marriage.”, those were the only reasons she could relate to.

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Ben looked at Catori, his eye raising a little. "I was not intending on courting tonight - I honestly just had a desire to learn more about you. Learning is an important part of my life - it's why I enjoy celebrations like this - you can learn so much about others if you just keep your ears open. You however, have kept yourself a mystery each time I have seen you." It's interesting, the callisthenics that the mind goes through. No lie had been spoken, but later Ben would probably admit that the truth had been a casualty there. Ben had always been attracted to mysteries. Ben smiled at Catori as he continued. "I thank you for the knowledge, I will make sure to keep what you've said in mind for later encounters."

"As for the celebration, this party has two reasons - Firstly, very soon will be the day of Christmas, where we celebrate the birth of a very important person in our religion, named Jesus Christ. Of course," he said as he waved around the area, "How we celebrate his birth these days doesn't really have much to do with the man himself. The decorations I'm fairly certain we've picked up from various other traditions we've encountered along the way. It must look very... strange to an outsider.

"As for the second reason, It will soon be the anniversary of my birth, and it is the custom in our society to celebrate our birthdays, usually with a gathering of family & friends and a giving of gifts. Normally we would have a party for each celebration, but one of the curses of having your birthday so close to Jesus Christ's birthday is that your celebrations tend to merge somewhat."

Ben looked down for a second. "You know, now that I think about it, my society has a great deal of love for anniversaries of events. Remind me to show you my anniversary calendar some day...

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"She's never had...this sort of drink before," Marion explains lamely. "Daphne has had a...sheltered childhood. I'd like to introduce this particular concept to her under more controlled circumstances."

She gives Daphne's hair an affectionate ruffle.

"I promise you'll get to try it. Just not right now. That stuff can make people act...inappropriately, when they're not used to it."

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Daphne sighed, looking dejected as well as bored. There were so many things in this world that Were Not Acceptable, and she was getting a bit tired of it. It made her homesick, a little. She didn't miss the struggle for food, shelter or survival, but the restrictions here were starting to chafe.

For a moment, she considered what the succubi would say to her thoughts, and found herself chuckling. They would be Very Not Acceptable Daphne believed.

Suddenly, she realized what Marion was "protecting" her from and she started to giggle. "I drink lots in He-home," she chuckled. "The suc- sisters make very potent brew. Sometimes, water not safe to drink, all to drink brew."

Then she remembered Her Manners. "Mr. Archibald... no, Mr. Bannister, hello." She refrained from the traditional daemon greeting, which translated roughly into 'I offer you only the violence you offer me.' "How are you, tonight?"

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Originally Posted By: Lee Deity
Ben looked at Catori, his eye raising a little. "I was not intending on courting tonight - I honestly just had a desire to learn more about you. Learning is an important part of my life - it's why I enjoy celebrations like this - you can learn so much about others if you just keep your ears open. You however, have kept yourself a mystery each time I have seen you." It's interesting, the callisthenics that the mind goes through. No lie had been spoken, but later Ben would probably admit that the truth had been a casualty there. Ben had always been attracted to mysteries. Ben smiled at Catori as he continued. "I thank you for the knowledge, I will make sure to keep what you've said in mind for later encounters."

"As for the celebration, this party has two reasons - Firstly, very soon will be the day of Christmas, where we celebrate the birth of a very important person in our religion, named Jesus Christ. Of course," he said as he waved around the area, "How we celebrate his birth these days doesn't really have much to do with the man himself. The decorations I'm fairly certain we've picked up from various other traditions we've encountered along the way. It must look very... strange to an outsider.

"As for the second reason, It will soon be the anniversary of my birth, and it is the custom in our society to celebrate our birthdays, usually with a gathering of family & friends and a giving of gifts. Normally we would have a party for each celebration, but one of the curses of having your birthday so close to Jesus Christ's birthday is that your celebrations tend to merge somewhat."

Ben looked down for a second. "You know, now that I think about it, my society has a great deal of love for anniversaries of events. Remind me to show you my anniversary calendar some day...


"You are celebrating your birth day? Hardly an accomplishment. You should celebrate the woman that gave birth to you.", Catori shook her head but smiled briefly.

"Maybe there is a reason to my mystery. I shared the knowledge of my tribe with your wise men but they haven't earned my trust... yet. And what Prof. Walton did was irresponsible. For now I give as much as I have taken and let the Great Spirit guide me.", she turned around to face him and looked directly in his eyes. "You seek knowledge you say? You don't look like a wise man, more like a warrior or hunter.", Catori held back with what she had in mind waiting for his response.

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Mr. Richard Slate wandered through the party like a ball bouncing between the bumpers on a billiards table. He moved from conversation to conversation offering greetings here, a joke there, and witty anecdotes there. Dressed in a tuxedo with long tails and ebony cane he cut quite the figure as he maneuvered through the crowd.

As he slid away from the Mayor and his wife he noticed Archibald and Mia standing amidst a group; a striking man, a woman and either a girl or a young woman. He smiled as he came up on them and realized that the woman was one of his hosts, Ms. Marion Abel. “Good evening to you all! I do hope I am not interrupting anything personal. I just had to say hello to Archibald here, and of course Ms. Foster!”

He shakes Arch’s hand warmly and then offers Mia a kiss on the back of her hand. The man seemed genuinely jolly and not at all fake, either he was truly having a good time or he was a lawyer … maybe both. Turning to the others he introduces himself, “Richard Slate, Esq. at your service. A pleasure to meet you all I am sure!”

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Janos can't help but give a knowing smirk when Daphne goes a bit into her drinking history. He doesn't return the glass though. How many times in his life was the only safe thing to drink coming out of a bottle or flask? Too many and most certainly Daphne had it worse than he did.

He turns and meets the newcomer.

"Good evening, Mr. Slate. Count Janos Rakozi, Graf von Kadar," indicating himself then he steps aside so that the ladies may make introductions as well.

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