On Dark Tides, Scene I

On Dark Tides, Scene I


"So many vows... they make you swear and swear. Defend the king. Obey the king. Keep his secrets. Do his bidding. Your life for his. But obey your father. Love your sister. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. Respect the gods. Obey the laws. It's too much. No matter what you do, you're forsaking one vow or the other.”

George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire


Friday, October 30th, 2009

For certain understandable reasons, Halloween was always one of the most popular holidays among the supernatural population -- this didn't matter if you were a witch in Bogotá, an ogre in Yokohoma, a vampire in Belgrade, or a werewolf in London. Anywhere that Halloween was even a little celebrated, the supernatural world snapped it up and enjoyed it to the hilt, because when else could some shadowy horror say "I'm a werewolf" and have people smile and congratulate you? In Britain, with its old links to All Hallow's Eve, the celebrations were just that much bigger. All of the major supernatural communities were holding parties of one sort or another -- the Unseelie were celebrating Samhain, and doing it in style, tricking and treating with abandon, and the Michael had a standing invitation to a Carthian 'Mischief Night' on Saturday, which involved throwing rotten eggs at police and drinking as much blood and booze as one could hold.

With that in mind, Bo had opted to throw a little party of his own the night before Halloween, since everyone had other commitments the next day. It was a relatively modest bash, in the sense that there were only about a dozen people present, but when one realized that this group consisted of precisely one mortal, and everyone else was some manner of ghost, goblin, or thing that went bump in the night, it got rowdy fast.

Cedric and Whim had taken over the living room, which was rapidly turning into a no-man's land given that both of them were necromancers, this was Halloween (or the day before Halloween, anyway), they were from opposite political factions, and both were just a little bit tipsy on absinthe (Whim had brought half a dozen bottles of the green liquor). Currently, Whim (who was wearing an emerald miniskirt and a black tanktop that left little to the imagination) had constructed some kind of very complicated cat's cradle of black string on the floor, using a bunch of sticks and some chewing gum, and Cedric (who was wearing something that vaguely resembled a black-and-purple zoot suit) was dribbling a mixture of unleavened black bread and unfermented grape juice onto the floor. As a result, the living room was rife with moans, clattering chains, spontaneous bleeding from the walls, and cold spots.

Seventeen and Chavez had retreated to the kitchen as a result, where Seventeen had broken into Bo's brandy supply and Spike was having an extremely awkward conversation with Nicole Chavez. It wasn't that Chavez was being mean or overly menacing or anything like that -- as a matter of fact, she'd come in wearing a t-shirt and jeans -- but Spike had been raised to be suspicious of the cops. DS Chavez acting like a normal person seemed to confuse the youth. Seventeen had a snifter of brandy and was enjoying the show.

Martin and Light were in deep discussion in the hall, the topic in question being Martin's decision to join the Dawn Court, which of necessity meant that he had to talk with Light, even if these conversations always made him fear for his tail. It wasn't anything about Light-in-Darkness, really. He was just hyper and on fire all the time, and Martin was convinced he was going to get his tail burned someday. When Bo had last passed by, Light had been positively gleeful at getting a recruit.

"You are having far too much fun," Bo murmured to Seventeen. He decided Martin could hold up with Light on his own for a little longer. Dealing with the fire-fae would be good for the Lion. If Martin was to join Dawn, he'd have to get used to Light sooner or later.

"So was it your idea to send your girlfriend at my apprentice?" he asked, "Or was this completely innocent?"

He glanced over the counter toward his living room. Cedric and Whim would be brought back to clean up. They could have their fun tonight, but they'd be paying for ruining his living room.

"Aren't you worried they'll conjure up a terrible ghost or Abyssal monstrosity or something?"

Since it wasn't technically a Halloween party, Michael had not dressed in costume for the occasion. He was saving that for later - he'd charmed some theatre friends into helping him with a costume for the Carthian do. Instead he'd come in tight fitting jeans and a red and black checkered shirt. Not exactly the height of fashion, but he was sure most people at the party had seen him in worse.

He was in the living room, watching Whim and Cedric work their magic. Both of their methods were very different from Illkin, the only other mage Michael had ever watched perform magic for any length of time. He was well aware that the smart thing to do would be to leave. But Michael would be the first to say he wasn't particularly clever. And this proved to be interesting.

After a few minutes, however, he did feel the need to give voice to a question. "What are the two of you doing? You know Bo will have your hides if you wreck the place."

"Likely playing the mystical version of mine's bigger." Avery said with a smirk, looking over the rim of a glass of something likely alcoholic. "Next thing you know, Anne Boleyn's severed head will manifest out of room detritus and offer competing foul prophecy with Mary Queen of Scots' head from under the couch."

Avery had apparently had a great deal to drink, which might go a long way to explain why he had misplaced his shirt. Fortunately perhaps, his pants were still present. But shirts were optional.

"And if that isn't what's about to happen, it damn well should be." He said, looking at the wizardly whatever that was going on, as if sovereign will alone could make what he stated into a reality.

Bo, Seventeen, Spike, Chavez

Originally Posted by Bo
"So was it your idea to send your girlfriend at my apprentice?" he asked, "Or was this completely innocent?"
"You seem to be under a false impression as to who gives the orders around here, old boy." Seventeen said, sipping at the brandy in his hand. The curious thing about Seventeen was that the wizard was always drinking but never drunk. Either he simply had a constitution like a sponge and a remarkable tolerance for alcohol, or his fondness for holding brandy exceeded his fondness for drinking it. Either way it was probably for the best, given that the man was an electrokinetic wizard. "Nicole has a talent for sniffing out people with insalubrious backgrounds. Long experience, I expect."

Originally Posted by Bo
"Aren't you worried they'll conjure up a terrible ghost or Abyssal monstrosity or something?"
"Not in the least." Seventeen smirked, and he reached out to clap Bo on the shoulder. "I have full faith and confidence in your ability to handle it when that happens." He did not say if that happens.


Michael, Avery, Whim, Cedric

Originally Posted by Michael
"What are the two of you doing? You know Bo will have your hides if you wreck the place."
Originally Posted by Avery
"Likely playing the mystical version of mine's bigger. Next thing you know, Anne Boleyn's severed head will manifest out of room detritus and offer competing foul prophecy with Mary Queen of Scots' head from under the couch."
"Anne Boleyn never died, she just turned into a vampire." Whim said, altering a few of her pieces of string to rearrange the configuration of her black strings. Irina had once asked just how Whim's magic worked, in Michael's earshot, and the closest that Whim could explain it was that 'it just did', though there were also heavy references to laws of similarity. Whim had worked out her magical system when she was seven or eight years old, really, and the justifications were tacked on afterwards.

A pair of grasping hands reached up out of the floor, as though the wooden parquet was nothing more than plastic gloves. The hands were perfectly detailed, with hair follicles, fingernails, even a small scar on the left thumb.

"Bravo." Cedric said, and proceeded to mark another sigil with some black powder. He was an alchemist by training, and not nearly as necromantic as Whim, but he kept up valiantly.

Suddenly, Michael's phone rang. It was Irina. "Hey Mike, some girl just called trying to find you."

Michael listened to Avery, shaking his head a little. He couldn't tell if his fellow werewolf was serious in this desire or not. Thankfully, he was saved from making comment as his phone rang.

"Some girl?" he asked, curiously. "Didn't she tell you her name?" If she hadn't, that wasn't a good sign. But then, lately, when had Irina passed on a happy message for him?

"Uh, she was all sorts of cagey... but she said her name was Maddie, from the bar? She said you'd know what that meant." Irina reported, and from the shuffle of papers in the background she had presumably written down a message. "I told her you were out and she wasn't really happy about that... I told her I'd take a message and she said that it was important that you meet her at the corner of Cable Street and Gadsbury Close at ten."

It was nine-twenty now. Michael knew Cable Street, it was only a twenty-minute walk away, fifteen if one turned it into a brisk jog.

"She sounded kind of desperate... but she wouldn't tell me anything else." Irina said.

"But won't you be duty-bound to intervene when the paradoxes rip a hole in my boat?" Bo asked. "Or will you be too inebriated to handle it?"

The immortal watched Chavez and Spike talk. He smiled, but felt a little sorry for his apprentice. "I'd best say something before someone gets arrested."

He picked up his drink and smiled at the detective. "I see you've met my apprentice, detective," he said. "How are you two getting on?"

"Yeah, I know who she is," Michael said, rubbing a hand over his eyes. He could imagine any number of reasons Maddie would sound desperate, most of them revolving around her Pack. She didn't seem like the type to rock the boat, however. Speculating wouldn't do any good. "Thanks for letting me know, Irina," he said. "I'd better get a move on. I'll talk to you later."

He sighed and slipped out of the room, looking for Bo. It was only polite to inform the host, after all. But on poking his head through the door, he seemed to be involved in his conversation. Michael shrugged and made for the door, writing a quick text as he went. Got a message from Irina. Gone to meet someone. Important. Back later. xxx

Avery moved to stop Michael before he slipped from the room, though he did have to tsk tsk at the revelation that certain royal figures were now fanged figures.

"Michael, wait up a moment. Do you want some backup just in case things go truly sour? I can throw a shirt on quick." Avery had a sneaking suspicion that this wouldn't be an ordinary sort of trouble. It after all, never was, but as long as it didn't involved evil old money ghosts, tomes of polisurgic necromancy, or spiders, it would be fine, right?



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