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MASQUERADE - DEC 10, 2022

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DECEMBER 10, 2022; 8:15pm

Open to all; VIP would be those of higher power or who are "close" to Bakkhos, Guests can be anyone else!

Posting Order: Chaos Order, ie you dont have to wait for an order of posts before you can repost, just for the ones you are interacting with directly

 

Once the elevator opens, guests are greeted by two black velvet roped lines, crystal snowflakes strategically placed along its sweeping curves as wreathes encircling glass containers line the hallway, glimmering with the flicker of candles inside. The wider line has a beautiful sign marked "Invitation Only Line", the second line, nearly as nice, has a matching sign marked "Open Public".

 

The invitations had gone out a week ago with no advertising to the general public. This gave priority to their VIP list of guests, allowing them time to plan for the night. The advertisement had only gone out yesterday. This had been strategic, it meant many would not see it and therefore they would not be flooded with a hoard of thousands vying for the 30 spots that were open to first come first serve general public. The club wasn’t a warehouse, it only held so many comfortably and Gaspari was not about to throw a fancy party where people couldn’t breathe walking through the crowd.

 

As always every patron both VIP and guest are checked for weapons before they enter by the two bouncers at the door, their black suits decorated only by a lace mask over the eyes to hint that there was something special going on inside. The low lights of the club flicker with candlelight as crystal icicles and white snowflakes drip from the ebony ceiling. Downy white fluff drapes like snow delicately over the backs of ebony leather couches and around beautiful trees lit in small white lights, the only decorations on them are simple glass balls and white icicles that seem to shimmer through the club as music thrums through the air. The outdoor patio has the large fireplaces roaring to bath it in warmth, the hottubs inside filled with several patrons who keep their masks on, enjoying the voyeur nature of it all. Throughout the club the attendees wear a full range of basic elegant cocktail wear with a masquerade mask to full Venetian masquerade costumes and everything in between.

 

The night's host mingles among the guests almost invisibly, only the family knowing which one he is, behind the metal feline mask that completely covers his features, deep purple tails and cane completing the old world masquerade charm.

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The silver wolf turned to watch the latest New York elite enter the club, the sultry amber brown eyes glistening inside the deep set sockets, surrounding skin charcoaled to trick they eye into believing the amber glowed. Grin half hid behind the long snout. The club looked stunning, a winter wonderland that was both elegant and mysterious, the liquor almost overstocked as people clamored to get in. Considering the short notice Gaspari had given for this exclusive event, the family had pulled off one hell of a party.

 

Supple leather brushed against his calves as he turned to the bar, sliding the short glass of dark amber that had been poured for him by a female "fawn", Sophia's costume impeccably perfect as she winked at him, the silvery icicles that hung from her horns swaying to catch light. Not everyone had recognized yet the Senior Capo but Sophia had shared his bed more than once and recognized the strong hands immediately, not to mention the sharp jawline. Glass trailed at his side, hung deftly from fingertips as he wandered through the crowd that was slowly swelling into a good time. Wind caught the tails of the ebony silk scarf around his neck, billowing it up and back against the silk covered chest as he stepped out onto the massive balcony. Not many patrons had wandered onto the deck yet, likely concerned for the cold, but soon those who braved it discovered the two massive roaring fires were flooding the space in heat and the silver and pale blue decor only made the city skyline more dramatic from the glass railings.

 

Ok…. So maybe this wasn’t such an insane idea..

 

Quiet words spoke to the silver feline masked figure at the rail whose velvet plum suit heralded something from old time New Orleans. Gaspari's laughter behind his own mask was too much and the Capo had to break into a wide grin of his own.

 

So.. you admit that sometimes I actually know what I am doing…

 

I wouldn’t go that far....

 

The laughter was clear in the tone as he raised his glass to the head of the family and moved back to the doors to mingle. Scattered among the revelers were far more family muscle than anyone could have imagined, blending in with such ease that they could not be picked out from the average elitist who had come out of pure curiosity. No chance was being taken that this would be more than a good time for all. There was something oddly relaxing in that fact. Thumb lightly pressed under the edge of the mask, lifting it just enough for the glass not to be awkward at his lips. Smirk still lingered as the glass came up to bathe lips with the heat it held. Index finger slid over the silver edge again, dropping it back in place as he surveyed the entire club. There were a few family members still missing that he was quite curious to see in their party "finery".

 

Yep… was going to be an interesting night.

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Pale fingers ran down the silk collar of the coat and then the dress a last time to ensure there was no way it would move and expose painted secrets, aware that dark disapproving eyes were fixed on her from the doorway.

 

Hayato: Suki janai.

(I do not like it)

 

Wakatteru. Shikashi, watashitachiha shōtai sa remashitaga, konomu to konomazaru to ni kakawarazu, Bakkhos wa koko de kazoku o kizuite kimashita

(I know. But we were invited and like it or not, Bakkhos has been a good ally as we have built our family here.)

 

Her Wakagashira had never liked the alliance but from the very beginning, the Oyabun and Gaspari, the head of the Bakkhos syndicate, had found a mutual benefit in their alliance. They each had different territories in the city and they respected those boundaries. They also did business with eachother now that the small Kaminari clan had grown a foothold in this new world, particularly with the expansion into tech her family had done two years prior. They were working on technology that didnt self destruct around magic and that was something Bakkhos had great interest in. 

 

Green eyes flicked to her second in command, appraising a moment before the faint quirk tugged her lips upward. Even now he believed that the gaijin had no honor.

 

For all your protesting, you do look good.

 

His silk hakama brushed the floor with a whisper, the matching top and haori all such a dark green that in most light they seemed black. Only the narrow keko obi at his waist picked up the lighter green of her own attire. The faint exhale of air from his nostrils almost drew laughter from the head of the Kaminari clan.  He never changed. Her unmovable mountain.

 

Turning from the mirror, the small steps glided over the floor as though she floated, Hayato stepping aside to let her pass and following just behind her shoulder as they headed for the car that waited for them below. Silence lingered between them as they sat together in the back of the ebony sedan. It was she that finally broke it.

 

Nagaku haira remasen.

(We will not stay long.)

 

Hazel pulled from the window to look at him.

 

Shōtai o jitai suru no wa shitsureidesu. Tadashi, Gaspari to no tetsudzuki o koeru hitsuyō mo arimasen.

(It would be disrespectful to decline the invitation. But we also do not need to linger beyond formalities with Gaspari.)

 

Hayato: Suzaku-ue.  Watashitachiha busō shite imasen. Kare wa watashitachi o uragiranai kamo shiremasenga, kare ga shōtai shita mono wa nanidesu ka? Karera wa shinrai sa rerubekidesu ka?

(Suzaku-ue We go in there unarmed. Gaspari may not betray us, but what of those he has invited. Are they all to be trusted?)

 

She was quiet a moment, hazel meeting his dark scowl of concern without wavering. The answer leaving no doubt where she stood.

 

No… they are not.

 

Car drew to a halt at the back entrance of the hotel. Gaspari had long ago permitted her access to the more secluded doors of the building to ensure their dealings were kept a bit more private.  Hayato gracefully slid out of his side before extending his hand for her. The Asian beauty slipped out of the vehicle as though she walked on air, rustle of silk soft as the coat fell back into place.

 

A bodyguard at the door instantly recognized the woman and inclined his head slightly as he held the door open and let them pass inside to the elevator. When it was picked up from this floor, it didn’t stop on any others until it reached the club at the top. The rest of the world would have to wait its turn.

 

Emerald eyes moved around the club with a casual gaze that didn’t betray she was marking every exit, every hidden corner while secretly studying each patron. She knew her second in command was doing the same. Jaw beneath a wolven mask was marked instantly as one of Gaspari's seconds, she didn’t miss him glancing to the bartender and inclining his head towards her to ensure appropriate drinks were started before he began to walk over. Her head inclined with a smile of her own as she noted the glimmer in the dark eyes behind the silver mask.

 

Ms Kagami, you look stunning.

 

She had become accustomed to the western formality of names. It still felt odd but it no longer made her cringe the way it did her second in command. She could almost feel him bristle beside her. Before any comment could be made she returned the greeting.

 

Matteo-kun, it is good to see you again.

 

The junior honorific used to denote his lower station to herself. She reserved the formal honorific for Gaspari only, though in truth likely none of them understood the differences. He grinned before looking to Hayato and nodding a greeting. The Bakkhos inner circle got used to not addressing her second in command who rarely deemed it necessary to speak to them directly.  A smartly dressed female came by with three drinks on a tray. Matteo picked up the Matcha Hai for herself and Hayato holding them out, for himself there was from the smell of it a simple congnac.

 

Taking the glass she politely sipped it. Truth was it was not half bad, though hardly what would be served in her own establishments.

 

Thank you. It is unfortunate that we will not be able to stay very long due to another personal engagement,  but I did not wish to decline such a wonderful invitation.

 

The stiff mountain just behind her shoulder accepted his glass but chose not to honor it with a sip as she hooked an arm into Matteo's offered elbow.

 

Well then best we see to it that Gaspari gets to say hello.

 

With that the Capo began to escort her through the crowd towards the balcony doors. She intended to keep her word to Hayato. They were not staying long.

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Continued from Bashes and Betrayals...

 

“I can dance quite well, thank you. The ones that are worth the artistry anyway."

 

Tom smirked slightly. Of that, he had little doubt. It might be something worth exploring this evening. Tom had every intention of making this an enjoyable evening, regardless of whatever business needed to be taken care of.

 

“Second thoughts?”

 

Tom mirrored her smirk as he noted the crowd standing on tip-toes observing the pair. The show had already begun. Tom leaned down, lips less than an inch from her ear.

 

“We are so far beyond second thoughts by now.”

 

Tom stood upright and chuckled openly. The entire point of this was to put on a show…to be noticed. Calloway had just threatened everything the two of them held dear. No doubt he was anticipating an immediate retaliatory strike…what would be his reaction when he got wind that they were red-carpeting a masquerade ball? Predictability was a death-sentence with someone like Calloway.

 

“My show started five minutes ago, where have you been?”

 

Tom exaggerated a laugh, slightly, as they approached the club. Mouse and Toby were in good hands with Tex. Time to get focused on the evening at hand.

 

Leading Eris toward the door, Tom slowed down to take note of the dozens, perhaps hundreds of people outside the club door. He smiled and nodded at a few he made eye contact with. As they neared the door, those who were within reach of Tom and Eris made as if to do just that, but then recoiled suddenly, thinking better of it. Tom has always observed this effect passively…never quite like this. Interesting. Tom smiled at a young woman who recoiled in such a way and nodded to her briefly…then stopped dead in his tracks.

 

That woman…was a werewolf. This was not particularly interesting to Tom in and of itself. She was different…familiar. Tom knew her, very well…like she was a part of him. There were too many people, too much noise, too many mixed smells in the large group of people in such a small space…but Tom knew her and couldn’t place why just yet. He’d have to solve this mystery later.

 

The pause was brief, likely unnoticed by most. Not Eris…she noticed everything…he imagined a conversation to be had later. Tom placed a warm hand on the shoulder of one of the door guards and whispered to him, “Let that girl in, but keep eyes on her. Keep her away from me unless I send for her.”

 

The guard nodded a silent affirmation and wouldn’t move to let her in until Tom and Eris were well into the club. Back to matters at hand…

 

The club was not quite as loud as other nights, the added formality of a masquerade muted the party atmosphere slightly, but it was still quite loud. Club music vibrating every surface nearby and the smell of vomit from under a nearby table obscured by the dim light assaulted Tom’s senses. The Beast within Tom was still pulling toward the door. Control was beginning to lapse. No. Not now!

 

Forcing a smile, he led Eris toward the bar to get a couple drinks. The crowd parting around the pair was welcome and helped to give Tom the needed seconds to recompose himself. The crowd was buzzing around them, taking note of Tom and Eris with whispers of curiosity, but none dared ask directly. It was as private as one could be in the middle of a crowded club. Tom had a whiskey in his hand the moment his arm began to rest on the bar. The bartender knew enough already, and slid a rum along with it for Eris. Tom nodded thanks and began to survey the occupants.

 

Immediately, he spotted Matteo and Kagami. Wordlessly, he raised his glass toward the bartender in thanks and began heading in their direction. Undoubtedly, they would lead to Gaspari.

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“We are so far beyond second thoughts by now.”

 

Neck bristled, canines prickled at his words, his proximity or the realization of something that had been in the back of her mind; something that didn’t have words or thoughts yet slid in between the plates of her armor. It lingered deep, dark eyes watching him keenly as he straightened and laughed… most certainly no clue what was moving through the Viceroy’s mind at the moment. The sensation was short lived, metaphorical wall back up as they moved past those outside the club. Her façade was tight and brilliantly delivered, even when her escort took pause.

 

Instinct took over, immediately sliding into business mode. The aloof and intensely confident arrogance snapped across her features as the man nodded to what she was dead certain was a Were. Calloway plant? Even though dismissed by Gallo, her ears didn’t miss the words he uttered to a bouncer at the entrance. A narrowing of her eyes was imperceptible. Either scenario was unacceptable; Calloway, or something else. The fact that the something else bothered her so much was strange. Angry almost, tinged with a sensation that she hadn’t felt for a very, very long time. It was an emotion that brought rage and most certainly ire of the most vindictive kind.

 

Jealousy.

 

She was livid it even could seep into her thoughts anymore. Eris London did not get jealous, of anyone.

 

Façade never slipped, though dark eyes glanced at him with the soft quirk of the Sheut gauging his mood when she’d found him in the warehouse beating on idiots that deserved to be pulverized. She felt it, the hum in the air from the Were. Closing the proximity between them slightly, her index finger discretely found the delicate skin on the underside of his elegantly dressed wrist, making small circles with the barest of touch. She knew about distraction, about finding focus that could drown out the world; she was deliberately trying to give him something to center on.

 

Once at the bar, she took the opportunity to slide off the viper. She’d been able to wear it as long as she could and it was now time for it to be an accessory, the full striking make-up of her eyes on complete display as she surveyed the crowd much like a predator securing their position, and warding off any curious conversations.

 

She picked up the rum with a nod to the bartender and retook his arm, the mask in one hand and rum in the other would make it almost certain she wouldn’t have to shake hands with anyone. When they started moving toward Matteo and Kagami, it was quickly apparent she was actually going to have to talk to people.

 

Fuck.

 

"Gaspari thinks he can ask twenty questions, then Gaspari's gonna get bit," she murmured quietly before taking a delicate sip of her rum. Eyes "innocently" blinked up at him, then returned to surveying the crowd.

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Tom was keenly aware of the touch on his wrist. He locked eyes with the delicate-seeming viper. A warm smile of gratitude spread across his face as they approached the bar. He was so grateful for her efforts to keep him calm that he almost missed her bristle outside the door. Almost. No doubt she heard what he said at the door. They’d have to have a chat about that…just as soon as he knew what to say about it.

 

"Gaspari thinks he can ask twenty questions, then Gaspari's gonna get bit.”

 

Tom managed to catch Matteo’s eyes as he approached so that he’d be able to make introductions properly between himself and Kagami. Formality was important to her, and he didn’t want to put Matteo in an awkward spot by sneaking up on them.

 

On the way over, Tom noticed that Matteo had the same wolf mask as him. Tom, following Eris’s lead, also removed his mask and held it in the hand of the same arm Eris was on.

 

“Pretending to be a wolf is something only one of us should do.” Tom knelt down and whispered to Eris, clearly indicating Matteo.

 

Truth be told, he wasn’t sure if Kagami would interpret the same mask being worn by two people, one a subordinate to the other, would be a faux-pas or not. He set the mask on a table in passing as they approached. A man sitting at the table looked at the newly appearing mask and looked up at him. Tom nodded quickly and continued leading Eris toward where Matteo was entertaining Kagami.

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“Pretending to be a wolf is something only one of us should do.”

 

The wicked side eye was accompanied by a rather amused smirk. If he only knew.

 

“I think it would be quite amusing to pretend to be a Capo,” she whispered quietly before taking a drink of her rum. His discard of the mask wasn’t missed; curious as to why he’d done it. Kagami? Kagami was someone she knew about, had never talked to, and didn’t give a shit whether she did or not. The woman had no use to her at the moment, if ever.

 

First the girl at the door, now Kagami.  Seems the wolf got around.

 

She was already tired of the party, not sure if anyone really understood how absolutely exhausting it was for her to maintain appearances. The façade would be held for as long as necessary, but it zapped the energy from her. The Viceroy wanted to find a quiet space and watch everyone, not be the center of attention. By herself she could call the shots, being attached to someone made it nearly impossible to do what she wanted without affecting him as well. She was a zoo exhibit, one that couldn’t remove themselves from the audience. It was a terrible place for her to be. She had the patience for it, even then it was still limited. The Sheut wanted to go somewhere quiet; green canopies of trees and silence. Her thoughts had been wandering back almost fifteen years as of late. A simpler time, when the difference between right and wrong was stark and she never forgot who were the good guys. A moment in her life when she'd outgrown the bitterness of her childhood and embraced the success of the present, before everything when to absolute hell.

 

She wanted to go back to it, had thought about it over the silence of her flights down to Megildur.

 

Watching the canopies of green on those long trips gave her the itch to leave New York behind.

 

Eyes floated quietly back to the woman he’d acknowledged on the way in. That would have to be investigated later. She didn’t see any of her people at the moment that she could speak to; merely a whisper from her would send her resources into full investigation mode. The curiosity was gnawing at her but it would have to wait.

 

 A slow, aloof sigh was brought in and released, presence quiet and formidable. If anyone thought they were going to make small talk or pump her for information, they were wrong. She would be observant and as visually polite as she felt necessary, for Gallo's sake.

 

It was going to be a long night.

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