Tales of the Lost

Surf & Turf
One if by Land, Two if by Lake

A month had passed since Nigel’s death, and while things were relatively calm, there were some things that did happen. Each player is invited to add what went on over the course of the month into the comments for this session. Arianna’s month will be added within this log.

The day after Nigel was killed, Arianna left Las Vegas for Chicago, to deliver the news to Lara, who didn’t seem overly concerned by her cousin’s death. Ari returned to the city after a brief stay in Chicago, which had given her enough time to collect her thoughts. On her way out, however, she had contacted Steve Wynn to ask if he would meet with someone, and he agreed, upon his return at an indeterminate time.

Once back in Las Vegas, Arianna set up a few meetings, starting with the Mercados. She’d had plenty of dealings with them, mostly with positive results, and felt no need to hide behind the veil of the Blue Martini. Instead, she’d invited them to B+B Ristorante at the Venetian, and arranged for a private room. They shared appetizers with the owner and executive chef, Mario Batali, before getting down to business. Basically, Arianna informed Joe and Evelyn Mercado that she was by no means pleased at the fact that someone had entered each of their houses, and did his best to destroy them. While they would both recover, Ari’s tolerance had worn thin, and she needed a course of action to take, depending on Kane Kurosaki’s next actions. She was looking for weaknesses in Kane, because physically, he was undoubtedly an adversary. Evelyn indicated that his cane was definitely the source of his fire and seemed to hold magic, but Kane seemed uneducated in the use of it. She also hinted to Arianna that she may very well have kept a bit of blood and flesh… should the need arise to use it.

Within a few days of her meeting with the Mercados, Ari arranged a meeting with Han Riu. Without directly threatening the dragon himself, she did give him warning that his charge (Kane) was walking on very thin ice, and should anything else go wrong as a result of his actions, Ari told Han that she would not hesitate to tend to Kane herself if need be. While Han conceded that Kurosaki had voided the contract, but asserted that the arrangement was with Nigel and not House Raith. He went on to assure Arianna that he was deeply bothered by the harm that he inadvertently caused to House Raith, and reassured Arianna that he would take steps to ensure that the actions of he and his associated cause no further damage to House Raith.

Arianna continued to speak with Han with the utmost respect, and doesn’t want to suggest that Riu did anything wrong, other than taking Kane under his authority, and explained that she was concerned for the danger that Kane not only poses to the delicate supernatural balance in the city, the danger to House Raith, but also that there is potential danger to Han Riu.

To her concern, Han nodded with a smile and rested his hand over hers, his skin feeling thin and papery to her. “Again, I apologize, young warrior,” Han explained. “I’ve only recently awoken from a long slumber, and am unfamiliar with the ways of modern life. Although I learn quickly, I am only as I am. I remember when a ronin needed to have a sharp mind to survive without a lord. I misunderstood the tool I purchased, and I am faced with re-forging it into something more befitting of these times.”

“Riu-san, a sharp mind is necessary still,” Arianna smiled back to him. “Should the time come that you require a new tool to better perform necessary duties, please remember that we are allies in this.”

Han raised his tea to Arianna and replied, “While I appreciate your concern, and this is sincere appreciation rather than the sarcasm among you swifter kin, I suspect you will have your hands full in getting your own house in order. It is much larger than mine.”

With a bow of her head and a slightly relieved smile, Ari replied, “Yes, perhaps, Riu-san, but I do hope to have things in order fairly quickly.” Pleasantries continued for a short time, and at the conclusion of the meeting with Han, Arianna was convinced that he harbored an almost nostalgic fondness for her, which seemed unusual to her. Although she wasn’t 100% certain, it did seem as though Han wished to remain allied to House Raith.

Kane met with Han and had a discussion about the vampires they were dealing with, and asked why they didn’t just exterminate them from the city. Han told him that there were a lot of vampires and only two of them and that the math didn’t add up. When he asked whether he should contact Arianna, Han told Kane that it would be ill-advised.

As part of a punishment for Kane, Han had tasked him with reading and understanding a book: The Book of the Five Rings. Upon completing the task, Kane was to return to Han and explain what he had read, and also detail his understanding of it and what he could use to apply to his current situation.

Jump forward to session day, sometime in and around mid-December. Arianna received a text message from House Montegna, stating that there would be a meeting at the Bellagio at 11:30 am. When Arianna arrived at the meeting, about 5 minutes early, there were some members of House Montegna already there, and she was invited to take a seat in the spot directly across the table from what was quite obviously Johnny’s seat. When Johnny arrived, he explained to Ari that what was Nigel’s seat now belonged to her, and she was expected to tend these meetings on a bi-weekly basis. For the most part, it was a standard board meeting that lasted a few hours (give or take), but then Johnny addressed Arianna, asking her what she knew of the push to legalize prostitution in Las Vegas.

Ari explained that she had yet to find any House Raith involvement to the push, but was still going through things to get her position in order. She assured Johnny that while it seemed to be a natural push for House Raith to push something such as prostitution through the city council, she had as much to lose in its legalization as Johnny did. She reminded Johnny that if anyone messes with her girls, she won’t hesitate to mess right back.

While there was a degree of amusement at her statement, he wanted to know who was behind it, and that Arianna had better find out and deal with it.

While at his desk, Blake was called in to meet with his lieutenant, who seemed concerned by the fact that Blake was spending time with Elsten. Sure, officers are not restricted to friendships among one another, but the lieutenant was worried that Elsten’s alcoholic influence might rub off on Blake. Blake assured him that it was of no concern, and with that, the lieutenant gave him yet another strange case to tend to: College kids who had been partying on Lake Mead had made claims that one of them had gone missing after an attack by “fish people”.

Once at the lake, there were not only police but press and EMT crews. Blake went to meet with the lead officer on the scene – Lieutenant Cortmeyer – who told him that there were 5 kids who all smelled of alcohol and showed signs of intoxication. They’d been out on the lake to have fun, but as the weather turned cold, they decided to return to the marina. On their return, a “fish person” jumped out of the water and dragged one of the girls (Karen Southers) into the water. Someone said he tried to fight off the creatures as they came onto the boat, but the one at the helm gunned the engine. When he gave it more and more gas, they seemed to have hit something, and spit what may have been blood out from the back of the barge. Courtmeyer suggested that something happened and Karen had fallen into the water, then they accidentally ran her over, and made up a crazy story to cover it up. Blake thanked Cortmeyer and took over the investigation.

The fact was, Jason had no idea that getting as drunk as he did would result in becoming as wealthy as he had. For sure the two were related. Of course, he hadn’t considered that the naked dance he’d done at the zoo with the saber tooth penguin would have had anything to do with it. But it was quite an adventure really. Only one other person could honestly say that he’d stuck his big toe between the penguin’s large-fanged beak, and came out unscathed. Unfortunately, though, that one other person who could say it had been killed by the heffalump in a tutu.

His first interview was with a Sidney (Sid) Jackson, who explained that one of the girls said it was getting really cold, and although they teased her about being cold and her resulting “goosebumps”, they turned to return to the marina. It seemed as though they got caught up on some weeds, and then they heard the girls start screaming. A big monster that reeked of rotting meat and fish jumped onto the boat and grabbed Karen. He said it had huge glowing green eyes and a huge mouthful of teeth. He hit the creature with a billhook, which kind of “thunked”, as though he had been hitting leather. As Sit was trying to hook Karen to get her back onto the boat, Brian gunned the engine, and when it seemed like they were caught on weeds or a net of some sort, Brian gunned the engine again, and when they broke free, they hit something. The engine seemed to shudder and the water behind the boat was darker than it should have been.

In short, all the other kids had told the same story. Brian had seemed convinced there were other creatures in the water, and that’s why he booked out of there. Molly told Blake that the creature had jumped up and grabbed Karne by the throat. Despite being wrapped in blankets, Molly seemed frozen, still, and seemed a little bit nervous around Blake.

Blake asked Molly about her hobbies and she seemed a little nervous as she shrugged and said she liked to go out dancing. He then asked cautiously about fringe culture and whether she was part of it, and she insisted she didn’t get into that sort of thing because her parents were really religious; she wasn’t even part of any sort of goth scene. Although he took Molly at her word, Blake got the impression that she has a higher level of supernatural awareness, even if she might not be aware of it. He asked her “So, you’re saying that it got really cold. Did things seem … different than usual?” Molly responded with the fact that it just got really cold really quickly, she felt uncomfortable, and just wanted to go home.

Blake then went to inspect the boat, and could tell that the billhook still smelled like rotten meat and bad fish, and he did confirm that the boat looked as though something had managed to climb on board.

Kane had finished reading The Book of the Five Rings, and told Han that he would like to transform his cane to something more like a sword, or something that could be split in two, and Han magically reforged the cane into what Kane had described. He then wanted to practice what he had learned from the book, and asked for permission to meet with the detective, so Kane went to the M to see if Woo could get him the detective’s number. She informed him that the detective’s number had been programmed into his mobile phone. Kane then promptly called Blake.

Blake agreed to meet with him at the M resort, and when Blake arrived, Kane suggested getting a hot dog. While Blake didn’t want one the napkin that he received from Hot Bob read: Death Lies in Still Water. Kane handed the napkin to Blake and asked if it meant anything to him, and Blake questioned the source of the message. “Bob’s just a guy who helps people out.”

They then drove out to Overton to rent a boat and see if they could find these “fish people”. By the time they got out onto the water, it was quite dark outside, though they had the saving grace of a clear night and near full moon. As they were out, Kane drew some magical symbols on the hull of the boat and attracted the drowners. A large fight, a loss of a boat, and a transformation of Blake into the … creature he is all ensued.

They did, however, come out the victors, and although their boat was destroyed, they were rescued by the team that Karen’s parents had sent out on to the lake to look for their daughter. The rescue crew saw the body of the drowner floating in the lake, and had no interest in diving, or investigating, or ever returning to the lake again.

While the fight was taking place, Arianna had been at dinner, meeting with Pashooni, to determine how they could help one another. She explained about Nigel’s death, which the spirit had known about, and she asked if there was anything that she could do to uphold her end of the bargain even before Pashooni had a chance to meet with Wynn. Assuring her that she had already done what she could, Pashooni asked how he might be of assistance to her. She explained that she needed help; she didn’t know what she was doing, but she would figure it out. She just didn’t want the position she was in, and the spirit offered to make it so that William would be in charge of House Raith. Ari said that would be a bad arrangement at the present time, but she did ask that something be done that he can trust her again. He agreed to meet with William to make it happen. Additionally, she asked for a certain level of help in getting some dirt on Montegna – Pashooni said that he would make a few of Montegna’s more easily swayed minions more receptive to Arianna.

And It Hits The Fan
A White Court Avalanche

Arianna went to the concierge desk at the Gold Coast to look for the Goldsmiths, and they said they would be down soon, but as she was waiting, she recognized a city counselor leaving the oddly busy casino floor. Not thinking too much of it, since the Gold Coast is a locals casino more than a touristy one, Arianna was greeted by Shane Goldsmith. After a bit of small talk about business, he escorted her to the elevators to one of the upper floors of the hotel. Without knocking, the door opened, and it seemed as though Shawn had opened it, so again, Ari didn’t think much of it.

After being offered a drink, to which she accepted a water, she was led out to the balcony where she was greeted by what could best be described as a Native American in modern day attire; the only thing that really gave off his origin was the long ponytail and the warm complexion. She introduced herself and as she took his hand she noticed the color drain from her hand and forearm, and at the same time, her hunger grew within her.

Ari had a few questions about what had happened with the twins, and was more interested in the ‘how’ than the ‘what’. The spirit replied to her that to an extent, they invoke the same things in people, and he knew of her hunger. To be honest, Arianna was a little unnerved at just how much the spirit knew about her. Insisting that he knew she wanted her freedom from the people she was under, he made her an offer to help free her from the restraints of her current situation. Although she would essentially be changing from the White Court’s rule over her life to the spirit’s, he assured her it would be more to her liking. Making an offer that was very hard for her to refuse, the spirit simply asked for a meeting with Steve Wynn. Arianna said she couldn’t make promises, as Wynn was currently out of the country.

Over with Blake, while sitting at the bar, he was approached by an attractive dark-haired woman, who asked if he might like to buy her a drink, and when he does, they struck up a conversation. She asked him what’s troubling him, and he said that there were personal issues, but basically he was having problems with a friend who basically stabbed him in the back.

She suggested that he stab back, and they had a conversation. After making introductions, they talked about the possibility that Blake may be trying to harm himself, but Blake ensured her that he had no intention of doing so. Chatting about his role on the PD, when she asked him about whether he was part of the breakup of the triad ring, he said he was involved in it. “Well, you’re a bona fide hero, then,” she said, stating that he has a lot of good in him and to drink himself so silly over someone who couldn’t see that he’s a hero made no sense. Once Blake agreed with that, she suggested they go for a walk. Despite the fact that they weren’t in the best part of town, up near but not on Fremont Street after dark, Katherine, oddly enough, didn’t feel all that nervous about their surroundings.

On their walk, things seemed to be going well enough, though Blake was a little out of practice in chatter, but his drunkenness kind of made up for his contradictory lies, and she didn’t really think much of them. She took him to her place, and offered him a night cap. He declined the offer of more alcohol, but when she offered to brew a pot of coffee, he agreed to it. They chatted about things that were bothering him, and he eventually got up to leave. When he walked into the hallway as she was asking where he was going, he walked to the next neighbor’s place and tried the door, to find it locked. Concerned by his odd behavior, she suggested that she might be best to get him a pillow and blankets, and offered to let him spend the night on her couch.

When Blake awoke the next morning, he wasn’t feeling any sort of hangover type pain, but he did see a note from Katherine Pierce, as well as her phone number and a message that she needed to get to work (odd, considering how she said she was out of work). Blake then replied to her note before leaving for work, giving her the contact information for Arianna – who could possibly help her find employment as a PR rep at one of the casinos.

Kane, in preparation for the meeting, asked Woo to prepare dossiers for each of the parties who would be attending: Red Court, White Court, Black Court, Jade Court, and Ghouls. Woo said she would make those preparations, and he decided to head to the Blue Martini to speak with Bartleby and make arrangements for the meeting.

He asked for Bartleby’s opinion on the meeting, who indicated some apprehension in the intention of the meeting. But, because he is who he is and plays his role, his opinion wasn’t much of an issue. Despite apprehension from everyone to whom he mentioned the meeting, Kane decided to head home to make the final preparations for it.

While examining photographs, Arianna noticed something about one of them; a slight misalignment with the ceiling fan in the bathroom, which could have been nothing, could have been from the last time the room was painted, or could lead to something, she called Blake to ask if they could head in the direction of the crime scene to check things out. He said he would be able to pick her up in about a half hour. She said she wasn’t at work, since she was taking some scheduled time away from the club, but he could find her at the Venetian, and she would be at the concierge’s desk. While waiting for Blake, William walked into the hotel with Tina who made a slashing motion across her throat as she glared at Ari.

“We have all kinds of questions, and no answers” Jason stammered to his boss. Normally, Jason was a confident sort, but since he had claimed to be abducted by aliens, he’d become far more paranoid than one could really imagine. You see, during the abduction, the aliens weren’t looking to probe him, but rather enhance him. Instead of being your average ordinary Joe, he had become a man with breasts. He was certain that the aliens were studying him through various panes of glass (the double panes were the worst, since he could actually see them between the panes), so he was careful to not play with his newfound toys. Truth be told, he was uncomfortable – not because people were looking at him differently, but because the way he kept his breasts bound tightly to his body was starting to really hurt, and on several occasions during the day, he wondered how women could tolerate their undergarments.

Frustrated by the teenager, Arianna tried not to let it bother her. When she saw Blake, she left the desk and they took off in the car, heading in the direction of the motel and latest murder scene. They had a conversation about the recent happenings, and Ari assured him she would try to make things right between Blake and Andy, saying she didn’t think that he was a monster, despite what Han had said.

Upon their arrival at the scene, they saw that there had been a few efforts to clean the carpet, and that the furniture was pretty much missing. Fortunately, nothing had been done to the ceiling, and Arianna went straight toward the bathroom to see it wasn’t a camera blur, but in fact that the ceiling fan seemed just slightly misaligned. Blake requested some tools from the maintenance closet and pulled down the ceiling fan. Inside the duct work, there was a glob of tape to which there was a memory chip (SD card) attached. Taking it as evidence, Blake bagged it and replaced the ceiling fan cover.

With the potential smoking gun in hand, they returned to Arianna’s penthouse at the Venetian, and started examining the evidence on the chip. The card contained unencrypted information, mostly pertaining to financial records. Bruce Simpson was the apparent owner of the chip, but he wasn’t going to miss it, seeing as he was dead. One thing that did stand out with the records was that there were large transactions (not gargantuan, but large), that were transferred to an offshore account in the Cayman Islands. There was also an email address associated with the transactions: Euryale@gmail.com. Recognizing it as something from mythology, they researched it on the internet, finding that Euryale is one of the immortal Gorgons from Greek Myth.

While the pair were at Arianna’s going over evidence on the chip, Kane was waiting for the attendees to show for the meeting. The first to arrive was a beautiful dark-haired woman by the name of Katherine Pierce, representing the Red Court in Las Vegas. Shortly after, Joe and Evelyn Mercado showed, and finally Giovanni Montegna. After making introductions all around, Kane was ready to get down to business.

After explaining that they were all asked to the meeting because of their apparent association with the murders of a few of Kane’s master’s accountants. The Red Court and Ghouls denied having anything to do with the names of the accountants on the list. Johnny, on the other hand, was shocked to learn that Kane had invited him because of a business deal that had been signed between Nigel and Han. That revelation only made Katherine smile and revel in the fact that the White Court seemed to be falling apart at its seams.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Johnny left first, fuming mad at the fact that Nigel had essentially overstepped his bounds. The interaction between Evelyn and Kane was not a good one, though they did arrive at an agreement, that neither would attack the other as an act of war, but agreed to the fact that Evelyn didn’t like Kane or what he’d done to her husband.

Kane returned to speak with Han, explaining that the meeting went rather well, and Han asked what was said. After being berated for airing secrets that were meant to be kept, Han informed Kane that he probably killed every member of the White Court that was at the initial meeting by doing so.

While going over evidence on the disk, and fearing that there may be a gorgon roaming around Las Vegas (Something that Arianna is not buying into, but thinks that it was evidence planted so that people would think that was who was responsible), Ari had received a text about the round-table forum that Kane had asked Woo to set up. However, she got a text that was far more important, to the point that she had to cut the meeting short. “Family business came up, and I’m going to have to ask you to go, because I can’t put this off.”

It was a text from Giovanni Montegna – meeting in 30 minutes – and one that Arianna couldn’t ignore. So Blake took the disk and went back to the station, and she went to change for the meeting. As she drove up, she knew there were a lot of House Montegna members of the White Court in attendance. She also noticed that William – a very disheveled and beaten William – Blake, and a few other House Raith members were there. But they were, needless to say, vastly outnumbered.

The meeting began when Arianna arrived, since she was the last to arrive. As the meeting began, Johnny explained that someone within the house has been disloyal. He then motioned to have Nigel dragged out. The Las Vegas patriarch of House Raith was beaten to near death, and had he been mortal, would have been long dead. But he was still breathing, right up to the point that Johnny brought down a sword and beheaded Nigel before everyone.

In shock, Arianna simply watched as Johnny approached her with the sword, stating that she too had been tested and passed, and for that, she would be made head of House Raith in Las Vegas. But “fuck up and you’re next.” With his words, he dropped the sword at Arianna’s feet and left. The rest of the House Montegna clan cleared from the room, and William approached Arianna, saying that there was nothing that he could do to stop it from happening. Ari just nodded and said “I know, William” even though she had called and warned him of the meeting. He said he would take care of Nigel’s body, and she nodded, taking her leave and sitting in her car, crying for a short while before heading back to her penthouse.

Knowing she needed to speak with the Raith family back in Chicago, Ari made arrangements to leave town. She called Blake to inform him that she would have to leave town for a few days to take care of some family business, but would call him when she returned.

Deals Made, Questions Asked
Resolution Uncertain

If you recall, at the last session, Andy received a knock on his door and that was the cliffhanger. This week picked up with the door being answered, by Andy, who was greeted by a man in a gray duster. Yes, he was (and still is) a member of the White Council, assigned to go check out Anderson Carleston.

It wasn’t so much to check Andy out, but to inform him that there was a powerful spirit that had been let loose on the world. That spirit had been trapped beneath a leyline, one that Andy had tapped into when he performed the ritual to trap the rage spirit in the bonsai tree. Unfortunately, when Andy opened it, that spirit was nowhere to be found.

Beyond the spirit being unleashed, there was the issue of a powerful wizard residing in Las Vegas, where there hadn’t been any wizard activity, and therefore no reason for the Council to have any presence in the city. While the warden could understand that Andy didn’t want to be a part of Council politics, he saw Andy as being a contact in Las Vegas. Because of that, the warden made an offer to Anderson: He would downplay the power that Andy harnesses, Andy wouldn’t need to be shipped off to various corners of the country, BUT if there were any magical happenings within Las Vegas, the warden would be in his every last right to call upon Andy to look into it. An agreement was reached on the matter.

Andy then went on to tell the warden about what he’d heard about Blake/Leroy. It was a potential concern to the entire Council. While he didn’t immediately say Blake’s name, he did explain to the warden that Blake had been described as a “black hole of magic”, capable of swallowing magic. The warden suggested that Andy go and take care of the problem by killing him, but Andy wanted to look into the possibility of making some sort of bargain. Rather than telling the warden where Blake lived, he suggested checking with the police department.

Eventually, Andy did tell the warden Blake’s address. The warden explained that it was Andy’s responsibility to take care of the threat, and asked Andy, were the roles reversed, he would be suggesting the warden kill Blake. When Andy said he probably would, the warden responded with “Then get down to it!”

When we found Kane, he was in bed. His shoulder had mostly healed, but not entirely. For the most part, however, he was feeling a bit better than the “death warmed over” feeling he’d had the previous night. As he woke and looked around his room, he realized that the cane wasn’t where he’d left it. He searched through the house, and then went outside to speak with Han, who was tending to his zen garden. Upon asking if Han had seen the cane, Han pointed to it, it was within a dome (possibly a sphere) of flaming energy; sort of a grid whose lines were on fire, but one could see through it to the ground where the cane lay. Kane asked what was happening, whether the cane was doing something.

Han replied, “No, the cane isn’t doing anything.”

Upon realizing that he couldn’t get the cane directly, with either a twig or his own hand, both of which were stopped at the threshold of the sphere, Kane made a questioning statement: “I did something bad.”

Han nodded, and said “but you can have the cane back when you can get the cane.” Han had decided to test Kane. The test was more important than just getting the cane back. He needed to learn that there are ways to get what you want without direct blunt force.

Kane considered the energy shield around the cane, further investigating it, then considered wedging two cookie sheets under the dome to lift it out of the way, but upon trying that, it seemed as though the energy was, in fact, in the form of a sphere. His next attempt was with the garden hose. Trying to douse the flames, he saw that the water just passed through the grid of the shield, but the hose itself couldn’t breach it.

Because nothing Kane could physically do would get the cane, Kane opted to ask Han to get the cane for him, hoping that a plea for team work was the lesson to be learned. Han laughed at the suggestion.

While Kane was left to think on it, we then saw Blake. He decided, upon the revelation that he was a being of unknown origins, and was basically an entity that swallows magic, he would contact Shaw to ask about the officer’s favorite bar. They end up going to a bar to have a few drinks.

While Blake was off getting hammered, Arianna decided that she needed to figure out what the hell had happened the previous day. She knew what, but couldn’t figure out the how, and figured that the Goldsmith twins would be the first place to look for the answer. When she arrived at the casino (looking rather horrible for a White Court Vampire, if we’re being completely honest), she learned that the twins were not around the Gold Coast. Arianna asked if she could leave her cell number and have either of them contact her at their earliest convenience.

After leaving the number, Ari left the hotel and sat in her car, just looking back at the Las Vegas skyline and thinking on the events of the previous 24 hours, further prompting her decision to look into houses away from the Venetian, away from the White Court, and away from William. She made her way to Lake Las Vegas to look at possible houses to purchase.

Back with Kane and Han, Kane was considering various means to get through the sphere of energy, then thought that possibly contacting the ‘Black Hole of Magic’ would be able to destroy the shield of energy. For a moment, he considered tearing the yard apart and digging under it, but knew that Han really liked his yard. So, he beat on the sphere out of sheer frustration. The rock he picked up to smash against the shield passed through it; the rock went through, but Han’s hand stopped at the edge with enough force to actually feel a little bit of physical pain. Using the idea that the rock could pass through the shield, he thought maybe something else made of stone would work. The paver stones didn’t work however, and Kane realized that what didn’t pass through the shield (other than himself) were all materials that had somehow been worked. Natural things like water and rocks could pass through it. Once again, he considered his options. And then, frustrated, he threw another rock, hitting the cane and knocking it free enough from the sphere to be able to pick it up.

Han congratulated him and then Kane asked if Han would cook for the upcoming meeting. Han refused, saying that it would be best, considering those who had been invited, to not serve food or drink, so as not to cater to one breed of guest and deny another. Understanding that, Kane made his way to the Blue Martini to speak with Bartleby to ask him to invite the local heads of the Vampire Courts to the meeting, then made his way to the M Resort and Casino to get someone working on finding information about the supernatural community. Upon meeting Sara woo, he asked that she set up an RSS feed and forward the information to Arianna’s phone.

While Kane was setting things up to start collecting information, Arianna emerged from the Lake Las Vegas community with a few housing options, but had received a call from an unknown number. Hesitantly picking up the phone, she found herself speaking with Shane Goldsmith, who invited Arianna to join him and his sister at a restaurant at the Four Queens on Fremont Street. Ari said she would meet them, and drove off to her destination.

Once at Hugo’s, she was seated with the twins, and asked them quite bluntly, “What happened yesterday?” While they wouldn’t directly answer, Shane did say that they’d done exactly what Arianna had most needed, release. Arianna was concerned with how they’d done it, more so than what they did.

“We have someone you would like to meet, Arianna,” the twins replied. “And who can answer your questions. Meet us at midnight at the Gold Coast – actually, make it 11:45; so nobody is kept waiting.” Shane asked if maybe Arianna would want to show up earlier, for a little bit of tension release, and Ari refused, leaving the lunch instead. As she was leaving the restaurant, the first in a series of messages arrived and started flooding her phone. Looking at the messages, they were business records and other plain information about her business among other people’s affairs. There was no return number, but an IP, so she went back to Surrender to get to the bottom of it. She called Constance to see if she could trace the information, and located the IP to be from the M resort. Arianna “pinged” the IP with a message of “Thank you, and to what do I owe the pleasure?” and received a return message of “Please disregard” and the feed went dead.

Trying to figure out who she might know at the M to look into who might be probing her business records, she contacted Han Riu’s office, and left a message for either Han or Kane to contact her. Within a few minutes, and after buying a hot dog from Hot Bob (which came with a phone number slipped between two napkins), Arianna received a call from Kane, asking her if she could meet with him. When she said she would, he asked that they meet at Hot Bob’s cart, and she agreed, despite the lack of hot dogs in her diet.

When they met, he asked if they could speak somewhere privately, and they went back to the M Resort to the business office where Kane had set Sara up and where Sara had been compiling the information Arianna was receiving on her phone. He asked again that she join the meeting the next night, and explained the change in plans for the meeting; that he’d invited the heads of the vampire Courts. She gave him a warning that he was getting involved in things he didn’t understand and had no business being a part of, and explained that he should watch his neck. “Accorded neutral ground is only neutral inside the Blue Martini, and you’ll have to leave at some point.”

After taking her leave, so she could go get ready for her meeting at the Gold Coast, Kane returned home to ask Han for his take. Han basically said he should watch out, but that the threats (for the most part) would be gone by sunrise.

The Day After - the debriefing, that is.

Nights for Arianna had become increasingly restless. She knew she had a lot on her mind, and she longed for a time when all she’d have to worry about were her girls and her club. She knew those days were long gone, but it didn’t stop her from wanting them. Her wants, and more importantly, her needs had been put on hold as she ironed out politics in the supernatural world, keeping her involvement politically correct while her intentions for said involvement completely to herself. Sometimes, she wanted to throw it all away. She just knew she couldn’t. There was too much at stake.

The night’s concert had given her the “out” she needed from the dinner invitation she had received, and the day’s unseasonable heat had contributed to making it the perfect day. The fact that things at Surrender had been running so smoothly had been what called her attention to how hungry she was. Even her morning cosmetic routine hadn’t completely clued her in to how apparent her hunger had become. Instead, she resorted to the contact lenses that keep her eyes a steady shade of green to conceal the near metallic shade they had turned.

“Who has time to feed?” she asked herself, knowing full well she should have taken the time to do so. But she’d grown near obsessed with the need to uncover something – anything – related to the photos that would possibly point somewhere other than the ghouls. She knew what she wanted to find, but as of yet, hadn’t managed to see it. For the moment, however, none of it mattered to her. She had some last-minute things to take care of, and wanted to mingle by the pool for what would likely be her last chance of the year to do so. The perfect poolside opportunity had presented itself to her, so Arianna slipped into her mostly respectable one-piece lime green suit, and slid her black skirt up her legs and finished her outfit with a loose, flowing sheer silk blouse. After turning off her computer, she made her way downstairs, informing Kyle that she was going to her meeting by the pool, and she wasn’t to be disturbed.

Before she settled in to the private poolside cabana, she spoke with the technicians to ensure that the propane heaters would come on as soon as the sun’s rays hit the top of the hotel lobby, so her guests by the pool would stay warm long into the night. “Three fifty-five, Ms. Casgrain,” the tech assured her. “By four oh five, nobody here will realize the sun’s gone.” Satisfied, Arianna made her way to the cabana where she would have her business meeting.

She had been expecting the meeting for weeks – ever since Andy had trashed the room at the Gold Coast (and half the floor’s electronics). It had just worked out that the Goldsmith twins had VIP tickets to the night’s show. The warm weather had prompted the twins to contact Arianna directly, and request a poolside meeting with her.

“Ah, Arianna,” she heard an almost melodious voice speak as she entered the poolside tent. “I’m glad you’re not overdressed for the meeting.” Shane Goldsmith lay on the round near-queen sized chaise, not even making an effort to look at Ari as she entered. His eyes were closed as the sun beat down upon him, accenting every chiseled ripple of his midsection. On a lounger beside him, his sister sat, her pale flesh in the shade, sharply contrasting with the minimal black bikini that barely covered her perfect curves.

“We thought, what better a day to head to the hottest pool on the Strip,” Shawn spoke, her voice similar but a few octaves higher than that of her brother. “We have a bit of unfinished business to attend to.” She motioned for Arianna to sit, which she did after removing her sandals, skirt and blouse, sharing the more than ample space on the round cushioned chaise.

“Of course,” Arianna replied with a smile. “I’d been meaning to head over to speak with you about that, but things in this town have a tendency to get a little hectic.”

“Oh, we know,” Shane said as he rolled over to get a bottle of mineral water from the ice-filled bucket they’d had delivered to the cabana. He handed the bottle to Arianna after snapping the top open, then knelt up behind her, his hands immediately seeking out her overly tense muscles that had a tendency to knot up in her shoulders when she was stressed, and when she was hungry. “We actually aren’t all that concerned about it, are we, Shawn?” he spoke idly as he rubbed at Ari’s neck and upper shoulders.

“No, not especially,” she smiled. “Most of the stuff needed replacing anyway.”

Whether Shawn spoke the truth or not wasn’t much of a concern to Arianna, whose eyes had slowly closed as she focused on the hands that worked her muscles firmly, but with what felt like professional care. Her breathing slowed slightly as she leaned her head forward and relaxed more than a little bit. She’d wanted to respond to the woman’s words, but only managed a breathed “Mmm.”

What Arianna was unable to see was that both the Twins had the slightest of smiles on their lips. They knew Ari’s guard was up but slipping, and knew at least a few of her weaknesses. Shane’s hands just kept working their firm magic on her tense muscles, the heat of the sun’s rays also helping to relax her, and further lower her defenses. Shane shifted his position behind her, his thighs parting to either side of her hips, kneeling up to get better leverage as he worked at the knots under the surface of Arianna’s flawless golden skin.

Shawn leaned forward and took the bottle from Arianna’s hand so there would be no risk of her dropping it as she shifted a bit at Shane’s subtle insistence, his massage stopping long enough that he could guide Arianna to a prone position on the round chaise, his legs almost immediately straddling the tops of her thighs so he could continue working her upper back with his hands. “We are obviously well aware of who did the damage,” he spoke casually, his eyes on his sister as he did.

“We also know why, and we would like to thank him,” she smiled, taking a sip of the bottled water she’d taken from Arianna’s hand.

“But we don’t know the reason you were involved,” Shane breathed into her ear as he leaned over her.

Arianna made a slight effort to respond, uncertain what the Twins were getting at, but her thoughts were only half-formed. Despite her normally unflappable demeanor, Ari was well aware of her stress levels and the fact that they’d kept her from being able to control herself enough to feed subtly. What she wasn’t aware of was the fact that she was inciting emotions of those in closest proximity to the cabana. The Twins, on the other hand, could hear passions igniting around them, further amusing them. The combination of Arianna drawing on the people’s lustful desires, and the Twins’ influence of a spirit of Temptation could prove rather frightening, were those around them not so thoroughly enjoying themselves and those they were with.

Shawn slid off the chair where she had been seated and grinned to her brother before pressing her lips close to Arianna’s cheek and whispering, “It’s no secret, Ari, that you would have this entire city in your pocket if you could. So tell us… have you pocketed the Shaman?”

Ari’s response was soft and incoherent, best compared to a soft moan that neither confirmed nor denied her involvement with Anderson. Shane smiled down to his sister who had remained close to Arianna, though her eyes watched her brother even as he leaned forward to Arianna’s other ear, his hand sliding up into her hair, drawing her head back as he whispered, “That kind of power, Ari, will get the Shaman noticed, and that could be dangerous for you.”

In Arianna’s mind, she imagined that it wasn’t Shane Goldsmith tugging on her hair or whispering in her ear, but instead the all-knowing and all-feeling William. Her imagination, however, felt all too real to her; to Arianna, she was actually with William, and when Shawn pressed her lips to Ari’s, Arianna instead felt William’s warm breath against her own. With no fears or inhibitions when with him, she let her guard down completely, lust rolling from her in waves, latching on to those within a fairly wide radius around the cabana.

Although the privacy of the cabana prevented the threesome from seeing anything other than what was directly ahead of them, across the surface of the water of the pool, sounds of passion grew increasingly louder in the adjacent VIP booths. Even the wait staff that had been bringing drinks and snacks from the bars to the customers had stopped walking around, engaged in various activities with patrons – something not on the standard menu, even at Surrender.

Inside the club, where there were sound techs still making sure the night’s concert would be problem free, Kyle noted that the customers had spilled out to the pool deck, leaving the indoors of the club empty. Thinking it odd, he took it upon himself to investigate what seemed to be the attraction outside, beyond the warmth of the sunshine, of course.

The scene before him was something he couldn’t have imagined on his own, but Kyle didn’t need to see it to know what was happening. He immediately recognized the emotions rising all around him, and he drank it in like an alcoholic taking in the first sip of the day. Not only could he see and hear it, but smell and taste the lust around him. Trying to get a hold of himself, never having been so surrounded by emotion, he looked for the person he knew was undoubtedly responsible for such a high level of response from everyone in the pool area. As he walked past the cabana the Twins had been occupying, he could see Arianna for only a moment before he was drawn in by Shawn.

Seemingly unaffected by the influence of the White Court – at least by no means as affected as the world immediately around them – the Twins continued to seduce the vampires who had both grown euphoric in the emotions around them. For Arianna, it started as a feeling of slight unease as memories of her first and last fatal experience with her White Court gift, but the memory was quickly pushed aside from a rush like she had only felt once before and had denied herself ever since. It washed over and through her, taking over every one of her senses, leaving her unable to control her thoughts, her will at the mercy of the emissaries of Temptation.

The time that passed seemed to go unmeasured, save by the shadows that had grown longer along the concrete deck of the pool. Eventually, however, emotions waned and several guests in various stages of undress found themselves exhausted, but with a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment they had never felt before. Arianna, even with her high level of endurance, found herself waking from what she was certain was a dream, her naked body hidden from complete exposure by the towel draped across her feet and calves, her assistant manager in her arms, and Shane Goldsmith pressed tightly behind her, his knees cradling the backs of hers.

She may not have awoken had it not been for the hand that found its way into hers, drawing her up and away from the three bodies on the queen-sized circular chaise. The towel that had been at her feet had been wrapped around her and she looked up into the golden brown warm eyes she both loved and hated. William looked down into her eyes, noting the green color of them – a color so richly deep that he hadn’t since in them since the first time he met Ari.

When he pulled her up and into his arms, he could feel that she was somewhat weak-kneed, yet he could tell from more than her eyes that she had heartily fed. “Oh God, Arianna, tell me you haven’t,” he breathed. While William would normally have had no reservations about a fellow member of the White Court feeding so fully on an easily-incited mortal, what had him unnerved was the fact that she was at her club. Though not any sort of neutral ground, White Court vampires had never done more than sip at patrons at Surrender, and even that was limited.

He drew Arianna up into his arms, keeping the towel around her, and surveyed the damage around the pool. While there were several exhausted bodies, there was nothing that would require a call to the ‘cleaning crew’ that Nigel kept on-hand. With Arianna just slightly trembling in his arms, he brought her into Surrender, nodding an awkward hello to the one sound tech still working, and proceeded up to her office where he closed the door behind them with his foot.

As she lay on the couch, Arianna blinked heavy eyelids as she looked up at William, a slight smile on her lips, even as her tongue swiped slowly along them. Finding strength, she rose to her feet, the towel falling from her, and grasped at William’s jacket’s lapels, pulling him forward to her. One hand kept a firm hold on his jacket as the other softly stroked the burned hand print on his cheek before cradling the back of his neck so she could draw his lips to her own.

He could taste on her lips just how well she had fed, but William was already well aware of it, and even though he had wanted to give in to her, he grasped at her shoulders with his strong hands and pushed her slightly away from him. When she made a further attempt to pull him back against her, he drew back his hand and swung down, leaving an imprint on her cheek that closely, though nowhere near as permanently, matched the marks on his own cheek. His voice was stern, almost disciplinarian though level, as he barked out one word: “Arianna!”

After releasing his jacket, Ari lifted her hand to cover the stinging slap on her own cheek. Her eyes had watered, but more out of a natural reaction than one of anger or pain, and she looked at him in slight shock. With wide eyes, she let her hand drop from her face. Gaping slightly as she looked at William, she finally reeled in the realization of why he had struck her. “Oh God, Will,” she stammered with a small voice, “what happened?”

Will shrugged his shoulders, not in response to her question, but to slip his jacket from his shoulders and wrap it around hers. “That’s what I want to know.” His words were calm, but there was an underlying sense of apprehension to them.

“I…” Arianna responded before turning to face the windows that run the length of her office and overlook the pool area. People were moving, if slowly, as they tried to regain their own composure, and the cabana where the Twins had been appeared empty, as though nobody had been there at all, save for Ari’s black silk blouse that was neatly folded at the foot of the chaise lounge. “I didn’t,” she said softly, “couldn’t.” Turning back to face William, ashamed at the realization of what had happened, though still fairly certain she couldn’t have possibly done what the aftermath suggested. “I only touched three people, Will.”

“You and Kyle were the only two out there who are White Court, Arianna,” William explained as he took a bottle of water from the fridge, drew a sip for himself, then offered the bottle to Arianna. With his eyes locked on hers, he calmly demanded, “So what happened?”

Squeezing her eyes closed for a moment as she tried to clear her head, she looked back into William’s eyes and swallowed. “You were there, weren’t you?” she asked, but the sound of her voice wasn’t the confident Arianna Casgrain’s that people expect; it was a scared little girl tone that William had last heard on the night they first met. He didn’t need to say anything before she came to the conclusion, “No, you weren’t.” Color drained from her face and her mouth went dry, and only then did she reach for the offered bottle of water.

William knew there was a lot more to be said about what had happened by the pool, but he knew that there was something off about Arianna. Pressing his hand to her forehead then caressing the back of her neck, William drew her into his arms into a warm embrace. “I think you should take the night off,” he spoke softly. Despite his words that could have been construed as enticing, his tone was one of genuine concern.

For the first time since the club opened two years earlier, Arianna nodded at the suggestion that she take unplanned time away from the office. “I think you’re right,” she agreed with little resistance, knowing that she shouldn’t be around people where she could be a potential danger. After a moment of her head resting against William’s shoulder, Ari drew back with a breathed, “Kyle.” Arianna tensed a little bit before pulling fully away from William to look out the windows again. “Kyle was there and I don’t see him. You have to find him, Will. This is all my fault. We can’t …” She paused, her mind racing, then softly, urgently said, “I can’t let anything happen to him.” She lifted a hand and pressed it to her forehead, all stress from before the massage found its way back to her.

“I’ll take you home, Ari,” William promised as he ushered her toward the elevator that was all but hidden in her office, “then I’ll find Kyle.” He knew that Arianna was afraid of what happened, but worse was that he knew he was concerned as well. She insisted that she only touched a few people, but everyone by the pool had been affected, and he knew he needed to find out what had happened, preferably before any news of what happened got back to Nigel; Nigel certainly needed to know about what had occurred, but without knowing the details, everything would be speculation.

When the elevator door opened in the service tunnels a few levels below the city surface, William led Arianna in the direction of the Venetian and her penthouse suite. Little was said during the short journey, but Ari held on to William as though he were a security blanket of sorts. Once inside the security of her suite, he led her to the oversized shower and started the water before taking his jacket off her shoulders. If there was one thing the years with her had taught William it was that Arianna always felt better after a shower, as though the water washed away what had been bothering her. He set out towels and got her silk robe from the closet before venturing back into the open living space of the suite, overlooking the southern part of the Strip toward Decatur, Jones, and beyond.

He withdrew his cell phone from his pocket and looked through his long list of contacts, most of which he’d never contacted, and found Kyle Jamieson’s number. After a couple of rings, he heard the young man’s voice on the other end of the line. The conversation was brief, and Kyle had just been rattled a little bit, but nothing much had happened after Arianna had been exhausted. He admitted to not even realizing he’d been taken in by the whole scene until it was over. William seemed mostly satisfied by the conversation, and was nodding an “I’ll let her know” when Arianna emerged from the shower and snuck up on him, her arms sliding around his waist from behind.

“Let me know what?” she purred, her skin still warm from the heat of the shower. She hadn’t really cared about the answer to her question, and her bite on the William’s earlobe told him that she wasn’t looking for a response.

Taking a deep breath, eyes closed, William took the backs of Arianna’s hands and turned to face her. He pressed his forehead to hers, knowing that under normal circumstances, he would take full advantage of the fact that she wasn’t at work and they were alone in her suite. But circumstances were anything but normal. “Arianna,” he said firm but softly, “now isn’t the right time.” He wanted it to be, but he knew it wasn’t.

“Come on, Will,” she said slowly, the pout on her lower lip apparent in the tone of her voice, “When has it ever not been the right time between us?”

He desperately wanted to attack her with a comment about the last few years when she couldn’t even look at him, but he knew why she had felt that way, and she didn’t need to be reminded of her feelings when yet another mystery needed solving. “Now.” He noticed her look of rejection at the single word, and although there was a hint of regret within him for saying it, he needed to keep a level head on him. “Now that you can apparently incite people without being in direct contact with them, we need to figure out why.”

Arianna looked up at William, taking his tie in her hands and pulling him toward the couch but he looked at her sternly and stood his ground, even going as far as taking her hands in his and removing his tie from them. With a scowl she sat on the couch and looked up at him. “We don’t even know if I was the one who did that,” she claimed almost nonchalantly.

William lifted his brows and looked at Arianna in a way that made her melt; as though saying “are you serious?” without actually speaking the words. “And if not you, then who, Ari?” he asked, trying not to let his frustration show. “As sweet as he is, we know it isn’t your Kyle. He freaked out, by the way, but he’s home, and intact.” The emphasis he put on the last word almost slapped Arianna across the face as hard as he actually had at Surrender. He paused for a moment before stepping forward and sitting in the arm chair near the couch, keeping his distance from Arianna. “And of all people, Arianna, with the Goldsmiths?” The way he said their name, it was as though they were as old-Vegas – and therefore worthless – as their off-strip address.

“We had business to tend to,” she confessed. “I’d arranged to set Andy up in a room at the Gold Coast for the ritual that prepared the tree he had at that thing where we delivered that Triad guy, but he trashed…” her voice trailed off. She looked at William with wide eyes, her voice again sounding small as she stated, “Andy’s the shaman!” With her realization, she rose from the couch to start frantically looking for her cell phone.

William rose from where he was sitting and went over to her as she looked for the clothes she’d worn to work; the ones that were still back at Surrender, or at least he hoped they were still there. “Ari,” he said, reaching for her arms, “Arianna relax. Slow down.” She was breathing heavily as she broke away from him and stormed into her closet, rifling immediately through clothes she hadn’t worn. William could practically see her mind racing until he stepped behind her and wrapped his arms around her, holding her close, his position allowing him to steady her and almost painfully press his cheek against hers. “Arianna, relax,” he repeated softly, and he could practically feel her pulse racing.

Once again, she broke away from his hold and spun around to glare at him. “Relax?” she near shouted, her eyes alight with a flame that William didn’t recognize. “You didn’t almost commit mass murder inside your club, did you? You didn’t let your guard down. No! I did!”

With his hands slightly raised as though surrendering, William looked at her and resisted the urge to tell her to relax a third time. “I know you did, Ari,” he said cautiously. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m here to help you however I can.” He sighed and leaned against the closet’s door frame and rubbed the back of his neck. “Now that you’re coming back down to yourself, please tell me what’s going on. Who said anything about a shaman? Andy isn’t a witch doctor.”

Arianna shook her head and rubbed her forehead, the fire in her eyes quickly fading as she stepped forward one single step. “No, but he’s a wizard. A wizard of pretty exceptional power. They said…”

William closed the gap between them and took her back in his arms in a warm embrace, “Who? The Goldsmiths?” She nodded against him and he could feel a slightly damp warmth against his shoulder, and he knew she was finally realizing what had happened, the experience and its reality manifesting itself in the tear that left a slightly darkened spot on his shirt.

“They said that his power could attract attention,” she spoke softly, her voice returning to the normal and steady tone that was the Arianna he knew so well. “They said it could be dangerous for me.”

Although he didn’t speak his words, he couldn’t help but think that Arianna had been dangerous enough and probably attracted enough attention already, and that Andy was the least of his worries. Instead, William rubbed his hands slowly, almost unconsciously up and down her spine, pausing momentarily to give her shoulder a squeeze before sliding back down to the small of her back. His thoughts, while still on Arianna and her well-being, moved in the direction of the Goldsmith twins, why they would suggest that Arianna might be in danger because of Anderson, and most oddly, why they would consider Andy a ‘shaman’ of all things. It seemed an odd term to use. “I won’t let anything happen to you, Arianna,” he reassured her.

Arianna rested her head against his shoulder, her nod causing her to rub her nose along his collar. Although her lips curled upward at his words, and she would always be warmed each time she heard them, the events from the day had served as a stark reminder that she can’t rely on him to always be there for her; a reminder that she was the only person she could rely on for her own safety. Despite the thoughts going through her head, she breathed against his neck, “Can you spend the night?”

And the Dust Settles.... Sort of
Ghoulish Aftermath

William, following the skirmish with the ghouls, poked at the unconscious partially transformed BlakeAndy suggested it best to not poke something that could take his hand off. After suggesting they get Blake into the car, Andy refused and said he was going into the bowels of hell and run into the ghouls’ hideout after Kane. With an “I hope he doesn’t wake up in your car,” Andy turned and walked off to save Kane (who, William said that could probably take care of himself). William decided to take matters into his own hands and pulled out a taser and pressed it to Andy’s cheek, shocking him into unconsciousness, then proceeded to toss both Andy and Blake into the car.

Kane, headed into the bowels of hell, noticed the scent of a cigar as he transitioned from the wash into the ghoul’s lair. While not overly taken aback by the cigar smell, he did head in the direction of the smell, and stumbled upon a room that looked like a main security barracks, with several monitors and a cigar burning in an ashtray. The monitors provided scenes of the salvage yard above ground. While looking around the desk, he heard a soft attention-grabbing whistle, only to turn and see a lead pipe headed to the bridge of his nose. When he returned to consciousness, he found himself restrained (chained) to a cold and solid table, inside a cave. Basically, he’s been trapped by the one who clobbered him with the lead pipe.

Opening his eyes, Kane recognized the man spinning Kane’s cane in his hands as the one who clobbered him with the pipe. Although he tried to slip out of the shackles, he didn’t manage to free himself, and he found himself being questioned. When asked why Kane entered his place of business, Kane’s response was that he offended Kane’s master. While the attacker wasn’t overly offended by the fact that Kane killed the ghouls, he was definitely angered by the fact that the man in restraints has attracted all kinds of attention to his place of business. When asked about where he should be delivered, Kane suggested he just be let go and walk home, but the man with the cane refused… No, no, no. He told Kane that he planned on using the very powerful stick to break a bunch of bones. Instead, Kane freed himself from his right hand restraint, and punched his abductor, knocking him back.

As Kane was hitting the guy and trying to get the cane, the guy started straining against his suit and grew… imagine the Incredible Hulk as he turned green – but more gorilla-like. Kane flipped open the cane’s top to unleash dragon fire and spirit, and tried to vault the guy, but the guy managed to grab Kane and smash him back to the floor. The dragon spirit managed to tear into the monster, but Kane noticed that the monster was healing faster than anything he’d ever seen – as fast as the damage was being done it was healing. On the assumption that seriously harming Kane would take care of the dragon spirit, the monster swiped at Kane with his claws, but the dragon spirit flung the monster to the other side of the altar, and Kane managed to collapse the altar onto the monster, stunning him with the weight of the altar. Kane then managed to unleash the dragon fire to the point that he smells burning flesh, then gets clobbered from behind, his final thoughts were that he’d managed to destroy the person that his master had wanted.

Blake woke up in what seemed like a basement, bound to a pipe in front of him. He’d been disarmed, and his handcuff keys are within reach with his feet, and noticed that his clothes were in an odd predicament. He tried to get to the keys with his hands, then tried to free his hands from the cuffs. He was given the impression that he was put in that sort of position so that if he was thinking, he’d have little problem to get out of the cuffs. The bullets and disassembled guns are left in a position of a crude smiley face, so that he would have a good idea that the person who did it knew what he was doing.

After a brief pause and glance at the guns, Blake moved to the door to listen, but hears very little other than traffic. He took a shot at the lock to the door into the house. The sound of the gunshot woke Andy up, but he’s on a bed in the house… He was wearing his jacket with his axe leaning on the nightstand. Upon hearing the gunshot, Andy bolted (headache and all) straight out of bed at the sound. He noticed he has burn marks on his cheek, knowing full well it was from the taser blast. Andy decided to exit through a window, since he’s on a first story room. He noticed a note pinned to his jacket, which he tore off and decided he would read later on – his mind is on getting the heck away from the house where he was.

Blake moved through the house, to look make sure that it is clear. He saw that the broken glass was in a bedroom, then saw that there was a firefighter running away from the house. After taking the $50 that was folded and under the pillow, Blake left the house, looking rather disheveled, heading in the direction of the Strip and Surrender.

Arianna awoke from her nap on the couch, to find herself being watched by William, and after a “what the hell are you doing here” accusatory question, she got the skinny on what happened. He informed her that what was supposed to be a question and answer with the owner of the salvage yard turned into a major battle between them and six ghouls. He went on to explain that during the fight, her ‘cop friend’ transformed into something, and nobody knew what. He told her that Blake had been rendered unconscious during the fight, and at the end of it, Kane went in after the ghouls. The more he explained, the worse Arianna felt, but he continued, saying that Andy was ready to go in after Kane, but William promptly tased him in the face, rendering him completely unconscious as well. William then said that he’d brought the two of them to a safe-house where they could recover.

“And when Nigel calls for a report?” was the concern running through her head, and when she asked William about that, he suggested that she not tell him everything. She countered with the option of William telling Nigel what happened, and he just asked what she wanted him to tell Nigel. She left that decision to William.

Kane awoke in a small prison-like cell, feeling at least a little pain, and heard a clinking sound, and as he looked around, saw that there was what seemed to be a female ghoul tapping on the bars with her claw, then she made a “shh” type gesture, and seemed to be picking the lock of the cell with her claws. She managed to opened the door to the cage and waved for him to follow, and did so rather insistently. Kane decided it would be best to not move from the cage, but the female ghoul was insistent he follow her, grasping at his shoulder. He then noticed she pressed herself back against the wall and seemed to disappear, then found 3 ghouls poking him with a stick. After 15 minutes of poking, the ghouls get bored and leave, and the female ghoul reappeared, ushering him out of the cell again, then gives him his cane, immediately feeling a slight bit better. As she leads him out of the cell, he notices that he looks rather ghoulish, then pinches himself, feeling his clothing rather than what should be skin.

Finally freed from the ghoul area and on the surface, once again in the salvage yard, the ghoulette tossed an old carpet over the top of the razor wire on top of the fence. Before doing anything, Kane insisted on knowing who she was, and she transformed into the girl who had been there before the fight. She repeatedly insisted he go over the fence, and eventually Kane got the message, but rather than taking the route provided, he broke through the electrified fence, setting off alarms and drawing even more attention to the yard than it had already had. The girl ran off in a panic, through the hole that Kane had made in the fence.

Blake entered the Encore hotel, with the intention of going to see Arianna at Surrender, but considering his appearance, he was stopped by hotel security. When he explained he’d already called the cops about the beating he’d received, they suggested that he wait in a conference room and that she would be called. Despite Blake saying “make it quick”, the head of security contacted Arianna, explaining the situation, and said that they would be happy to dispatch the visitor. While tempted by the offer, she said she would be there within a few minutes, and to offer him water or coffee.

After ensuring that Kyle would take care of the sound check for the following night’s concert, she said she wouldn’t be long, but just in case, left the club in Kyle’s capable hands. When she arrived at the conference room, having already heard what happened from William, she entered the room, keeping her place by the door. She asked what happened, and Blake explained that he didn’t know. She insisted that they were to go in and talk to the owner of the salvage yard, not attack anyone, and Blake said that was how it started, but he didn’t know what happened; just that he woke up cuffed to a pipe in a basement, with his weapons dismantled, the pieces and bullets left in a happy face for him to find. (Good ol’ William).

Blake kept asking her what happened, and she repeatedly insisted that she had no idea, since she wasn’t there, but what she’d heard from William, disarming someone who wasn’t entirely human probably wasn’t a bad idea. When Blake said he didn’t know what she was talking about, she called William, who was out looking for the missing Tina, to see if he could come by to chat. He explained that there had been a scene along the strip with a guy dressed in nothing more than neon yellow body paint, that had distracted him from looking for the girl – mostly because he’d taken flight of his own accord. After laughing at his distraction, she told William that Blake was sitting in front of her, William said that was probably not wise. Finally, she suggested that everyone meet for a debriefing of sorts at the Blue Martini, told Blake to go home and get cleaned up, and offered William some help in finding the girl, which he refused – at least for the moment. She asked if, after he found her, he could meet her at the Blue Martini, to which he agreed.

Arianna then called Andy’s house, to try to get him to go to the Blue Martini, but he wasn’t home yet. She left a message with Cassandra, saying that she’d rather she not be with him, because she doesn’t want to get her involved. When Cassandra said “But it’s fine involving my husband?” Arianna just sighed and said that Andy was already involved. Cassandra said she would pass on the message.

Despite his injured state, Kane managed to run a dozen or so miles from the salvage yard to the door of the Blue Martini, where he was greeted by Bartleby. The fae suggested that Kane take a shower in a room that just ‘appeared’, and the shower would make Kane feel better. Before he agreed, however, he asked about a mute teenager, and that she needed help. Bartleby had an idea about the girl that Kane meant, and assured him that if he found anything out, he would let Kane know. Kane also asked that Bartleby contact his master (Han) to meet him at the Blue Martini.

Arianna showed up at the Blue Martini earlier than everyone, and spoke with Bartleby about getting one of the downstairs rooms, and said she was expecting a few guests – Anderson, Blake, and hopefully William. When asked if she and William had reconciled, she said that they hadn’t, but that sometimes they have to work together – this was one of those occasions. But also said that William was out looking for Tina, so she didn’t know if he would show. Then she asked if possibly Bartleby had heard anything about Tina’s whereabouts, and Bartleby said that he didn’t know, but that someone else had inquired about her. When asked if he could say who, Bartleby said he wouldn’t, but would pass on her concern. She thanked Bartleby and went down to the room to get it ready for her guests.

Once she was downstairs, Kane emerged from the shower, and Bartleby explained that someone was asking about the girl, and brought him down to the room that Arianna had set up for the meeting. When Kane entered the room, Arianna was caught by surprise, not having been certain if Kane had made it out of the ghouls’ lair. Glad to see him, she asked for his take on what happened. He explained a story similar to William’s until the point where he went inside, at which point Andy entered the room with Cassandra. Ari didn’t quite glare at Cassandra, but wasn’t happy she was there, since she’d not wanted to get her involved. But Andy went to the bar and Ari made him a drink (followed several more that landed him on the floor).

Eventually, Blake showed up, and Ari basically wanted to keep peace in the room, seeing as it was accorded neutral ground. Keeping them separate, she explained that they needed to resolve what happened, and figure out how to fix it. Kane had already explained that he had potentially taken out Joe Mercado – something that complicates matters greatly. Of course, Ari is looking at things from a White Court politics standpoint. Explaining that Joe isn’t the kind of guy that people mess with, she was also thinking of things from a city safety standpoint, and with the one being who keeps a fairly tight rein on the ghouls in Las Vegas taken out, that would incite potential chaos. Blake insisted that with the ghouls in chaos, it would be the perfect time to take them out. Arianna shook her head, not letting them know what was going on in her head.

Just then, a knock sounded at the door, and Han entered. Kane immediately apologized profusely to his master kneeling humbly before him. Blake thought it odd, but Ari made the introductions between Han and Blake, and Han was certain that he’d never encountered someone like Blake. Blake asked for an explanation to which Han replied that Blake was definitely not possessed; that there was a single soul within him, and that basically he was a being that essentially consumed magic. There was a ‘black hole’ of sorts that swallowed magic, and the hole was growing and therefore getting stronger. Blake replied by drinking himself to the floor, leaving both he and Andy passed out.

During the explanation of what Blake was, there was another knock at the door, and when Kane went to answer the door, he saw William and Tina. Glad that the girl was ok, Kane got the angry teenage glare from her in response. When William entered, Cassandra greeted him with a swift slap in the face. William decided he was safer behind the bar, and Cassandra took a now-conscious Andy home. Kane and Han also took their leave, leaving Blake on the floor with Tina threatening to draw all over him with a Sharpie, and William and Ari behind the bar. Arianna asked that Tina not leave any marks on Blake’s face, but the rest of him would be free. She then turned to William and asked what was wrong, to which William replied he was fine. She knew there was something, but he insisted that he was fine, stating that he had never lied to her. She replied with “Not until now.” But William didn’t press the issue and took his leave with Tina (who had colored all of Blake’s fingernails and toenails with black sharpie ink). After wrestling Blake up the stairs, Blue Martini’s security set him in a cab to send him home and Arianna eventually took her leave.

The next morning, Kane awoke in tremendous pain, but composed a few letters, one apologizing to Bartleby for the previous night’s events, one inviting G.H. Oul and guest to the Blue Martini for a meeting, and one to Arianna, also inviting her to the meeting, then returning to bed to further recover from the previous day’s beating.

Blake awoke feeling pretty horribly, but simply called out of work for the day.

Arianna spent most of the night brooding over William and what he was keeping from her (or lying to her about… depending on perspective). She also wasn’t sure how to handle what had happened with Mercado, and had more pictures to go over. Needless to say, she hadn’t fed in some time, because her mind has been occupied with too many other things.

Andy woke with his head in the tray of the bonsai tree, the tree itself just quivering. After taking some time, he called Arianna, and when she answered, she asked how Andy was doing. He said he wasn’t doing well, and she wasn’t surprised. She asked what he knew of the night before, and Cassandra had filled him in on what Blake was. Ari asked if there was something that Andy might be able to do to “plug the hole” that was Blake, and not knowing of anything offhand, he said that he wouldn’t get involved with something that was devouring magic. Arianna said she didn’t want to get him involved, but wanted to know if he knew of anything. He said that it was dealing with something completely unknown, and would take a lot of research. Ari hinted at possible White Council involvement, but with Andy not being a part of the White Council, the idea was sort of scrapped. Andy said he has no intention of being a part of it, because he doesn’t want to answer to a higher council than himself, and she knew just what he meant. Their conversation was interrupted by a knock on the door, by a Hispanic looking guy in a gray cloak.

Below the Surface and Beyond
Discovering what lies beneath

Following the conversation between Blake and Arianna, Arianna made a call and met Andy in Sunset Park. Meanwhile, Blake returned to the station to get the evidence photos and look at other evidence, not having noticed that there was a shuttle from the Bellagio at the two investigations – at Motel 6, and the murder from a seven months ago. After gathering the photos from the crime scenes and returned them to Surrender, but she wasn’t around. Instead, Blake had to leave the photos in the manila envelope behind the bar. Arianna picked up the envelope after she returned to the club, then started looking at the photos – of course, nothing shows up, at least at first glance.

Andy returned home to the angry tree, and they had an argument about TV. After ending the argument, Andy went to prepare for the ghoul investigation.

Blake decided to talk to Milton Parkston, since his shift was about to end. When Blake entered the office, Milton was playing a video game… with headphones on, so he didn’t hear Blake enter. Politely, after being tapped on the shoulder, he said hello to Blake, and continued with his game. After explaining that he wasn’t breaking regulations by playing (since some bigwigs are big on gaming, and he’s busy befriending them), he gets an invite from Blake to another dinner.
As he’s headed into the restaurant, Milton is at the end of the text conversation, then sits down with Blake. They are sort of doing what they can to read one another, but Milton knows that Blake wants something, and what he’s looking for is information on Montegna and on trying to find a warrant. He wants to compare the business records between Montegna and the construction company.

Arianna, investigating the photos, sees the light in her office blinking, looking at the monitors, and sees William. She makes her way downstairs and William hands her a tiny jewelry box. With some sarcasm, she just thanks him, and she asks if there’s anything more, and he says he doesn’t have anything pressing, then she realizes that she had one thing to ask. Once up in her office, she intended to leave the door open, but he closed the door behind them. She wanted to know if he or she had to get Blake’s schedule. William told her Blake’s schedule, but also told her that he already had bits of Blake’s hair. She then looked inside the little jewelry box to see his dark hair sitting there. Rather than immediately heading down to see Andy with the pieces of hair, William proceeded to seduce her as only William can. (The hair could wait until the next day!)

Blake arrived at home after a long day, to find that that something just felt wrong with his place. After making sure nothing more was wrong with it, he went to bed. When he woke up after having slept in, he had a doctor’s appointment, which went off with little event; but the doctor suggested a multi-vitamin, as he seemed to be deficient of … something.

Arianna woke up from a night of fiery passion, she woke up to see a single rose on the pillow in the bed, and longed to not be alone, but instead just hopped in the shower before heading to work, where she started to go over the evidence photos. Because she wasn’t able to concentrate on things, she decided to call Nigel to discuss the prospect of sending Constance to work for Montegna. They decided to discuss this over a massage, and she explained the situation with the girl. What she was looking for was information regarding whether Montegna would know the girls that the Triad had “employed”. While unable to make promises, and surprised that Arianna would be willing to send a girl into the “lion’s den” and certain death. Ari explained that she was doing so because it’s what needs to be done, and because it’s in the best interest of House Raith.
He also asked if she could detail the progress of the investigation for Han Riu. Ari explained that she was looking at the photos, but doesn’t have anything to go on beyond a hunch. In her mind, she felt that the crime scene may have been created to set up ghouls, so she is looking at clues in the photos to point toward the proof of her hunch.

The morning came easily to Andy, and it did improve (or stayed at least as well) when Arianna called to tell him she had the hair to use to figure out what Blake happens to be. She offered to drive it down to him, and asked when he would be available to go to the construction clean-up company to possibly see about the ghouls. When he told her that he would be free any time, she told him she would make arrangements with the rest of the parties involved. It gave him time to go smoke several cigarettes on his couch.

While in her car, Arianna was about to call Kane, but realized she didn’t have a number for him. So, she called Nigel to see if he had information, but the best he could do was put her in touch with Han Riu’s assistant. She called and introduced herself, and asked to pass on a message to Kane, asking him to call her cell phone. While waiting, she called William, only to hear frolicking in the background. When she asked when he could be free to investigate, he said at any time. With a roll of her eyes, she hung up and received a call from Kane. She found out when he would be available and tried to coordinate things with the others, only to find that Kane had no means of getting in touch.

Kane then proceeded to purchase a pre-paid cell phone so he might be easier to contact. After buying the phone, he stopped off at Hot Bob’s for a dog. In addition to the hot dog he purchased, he received a message from the vendor: The money man was a double agent who paid the price for his lack of loyalty. When he settled down to eat the hot dog, he called Arianna to pass on the message before wandering off to chase butterflies.

Arianna finally got to Andy’s place, frustrated at all kinds of things, but gave him the hair and passed on the message to be at the construction company in an hour. He left immediately after Ari left his house.

When she got back into her car, she called Blake to pass on the information that she’s still going over the photos, but she was sending people to go in with him on the investigation of the construction company. Delighted by the news, he made his way to the location while she returned to continue examining the photos.

Blake’s arrival at the construction company was uneventful, though he reconnected with Andy, and saw two people he’d recognized from the dinner a few nights prior. He wanted to know how everyone could help out, especially curious about the apparent 16 year old accompanying William. Assured that she could take care of herself, even vouched for by Andy, Blake did a double-take when she appeared, for just a moment, to be a woman in her 30s.

Kane decided the best means to go about gaining entry was to speak with the receptionist at the company, kissing her hand to thank her as she gave him access to look for railroad ties. The intention of the kiss was to see if there was something more than just mere mortal to the woman. Alas, there was nothing there. Blake and Kane continued into the salvage yard to look for the blocks of wood, and Andy, William, and Tina were already in the yard.

There was a significant gunshot-like sound when Kane pierced a tire with a wooden splinter he’d imbued with magic, and that seemed to awaken a small band of ghouls who emerged apparently from nowhere. A small battle ensued, and the stress of some injuries on Blake revealed his closely guarded (possibly even to himself) secret. While there were thoughts that he may be possessed, it turned out that he wasn’t entirely human, but had almost insect-like arms and was quite obviously something more than just a cop.

The Action of November 28
Who Says Dinner Parties are Boring?

Andy received a call from William to find out what nights he would be free… and would be available the day after tomorrow. “Do you own a decent suit?” was the question, leading to an invitation to dinner at the Blue Martini. He had an appointment with Brooks Brothers scheduled for just before the dinner. But Andy grabbed a pager and headed over to the store to be measured the very same day, which actually gave them more time to get the suit tailored. He returned to his house, was yelled at angrily by the bonsai tree.

Arianna also received a phone call – William’s on the phone a lot these days – with an invitation to dinner. She replied with a simple “you know we don’t go to dinner”, and he was insistent. But he did let her know that they wouldn’t be alone at the Blue Martini, at which point she was glad to go, and although she had been a little frustrated when she got a call, running a little late to work, her mood lifted after the short phone conversation, and proceeded to disappear into her closet to look for something to wear.

Kane was tending to everyday tasks and heard some footsteps behind him, turning to look at Han. With a bow, Kane asked how he might serve his master. They too have been invited to the dinner at the “Azure Refreshment” (Han wasn’t sure about the proper translation for “Blue Martini”).

Kane was then faced with the challenge of figuring out what Azure Refreshment actually is. After asking around a bit, someone suggested that it was possibly the Blue Martini at Town Square. He conjured up a spell to communicate with Han, who then explained further details about the reservation. Kane went to the restaurant/bar to confirm the reservations.

When he arrived at the Blue Martini, he noticed that something about the place wasn’t quite right. When approached by Bartleby, who introduced himself as the owner of the establishment, he asked about the building, and Bartleby confirmed his initial thoughts about Kane – he was indeed touched by the supernatural. Comping his lunch and sake, Bartleby also gave Kane his card, granting him access to more of the bar/restaurant than the average mortal could hope for.

Same time (early afternoon, Monday), Blake found himself at his desk, working on his second cup of coffee and a mountain of paperwork, and received a phone call. Ticked off, he answered the phone, greeted by someone looking for “Leroy”, which made Blake blink. After asking “who the hell are you?” he was reprimanded by the voice at the other end saying that Blake shouldn’t speak to him in such a tone after the favors that have been done for him. Apparently Goodwin hadn’t introduced himself when calling. Now, Blake’s been called to the Mayor’s office.

Once at the mayor’s office, he was greeted by Goodwin who seemed rather cheery, commending him on his fine job on the bust of the illegal porn ring. But Goodwin’s was actually a little concerned by the fact that some of the Triads who came in following the bust were in a comatose state. After making himself a gin & tonic, he suggested that the Triad members were involved in the occult – rituals that made them faster and stronger than a well-trained athlete. Finally, Blake admitted that they are possibly involved in “something”.

Goodwin wanted more information, but Blake was reluctant to give him that information. Goodwin then asked Blake to work on a murder that seemed to have some supernatural ties. It was a fresh murder case – the murder happened at the Motel 6 on East Charleston.

Blake left with a file from Goodwin’s secretary that details the murder. Inside the file is information about Bruce Simpson – murder victim. 47, divorced, children live with his wife. He was an investment banker at Bank of America. The file was hastily tossed together, but one thing that sort of stood out was that he was not local, but from L.A.

Once at the Motel 6, there was a portion of the motel cordoned off (around room 213), and a rather annoyed looking detective and a forensics team waiting to go in. The detective asked Blake if he’s the one taking over, and just handed him the case… relieved though a little annoyed.

The maid discovered the scene, and was waiting to be questioned in room 210. There were several pale rookie cops, but they seemed worse off than they would be at a standard murder scene. After one of the rookie cops disappeared to throw up, Blake entered the scene of the crime. The victim had been dismembered, and Blake’s reaction was an understated “Oh God!” At first glance, by the amount of blood on scene, it looked as though there could possibly have been more than one victim. Concentrated around the bed, it seemed as though the victim had been pulled to pieces and beaten with the limbs – each hand’s fingers were missing, some parts were still wet and most had started to coagulate, since the scene was only about 3-3 ½ hours old. Upon surveying the scene, one thing that caught Blake’s eye – a long, narrow, bare footprint in blood near the door, and that type of footprint suggested a ghoul was responsible.

After Blake decided that he would speak to the maid, as he exited the room, he was asked by the forensics team whether they could go in to start tagging the room. With a nod, Blake headed to room 210 to meet with the maid, Consuela Martinez. After describing her day leading up to the discovery of the body, and asking about her working conditions (music, vacuum cleaner, etc.), he spoke with the plain clothes cop, to find out if any of the other guests heard anything, and if anyone has collected security footage to tend to the arduous task of reviewing it.

Cut forward to Wednesday – to the Blue Martini.

At the restaurant, Bartleby greeted them and brought them down to the cellar banquet hall, where there was tasteful décor. At either head of the table, there was a place set for Nigel Raith and Han Riu. Between Nigel and Han, to Nigel’s left, Andy and Kane were seated. To Nigel’s right, Arianna and William were seated.

Nigel went through introductions after graciously thanking Han for accepting the invitation to the dinner, and introduced the group to Han. The meeting was intended to form an alliance to counter House Montegna as the White Court seat of power. Nigel seemed to feel that after the dismemberment (for lack of a better term) of the Triad, who were linked to House Montegna, there would be no better moment to take over as the leading White Court house in Las Vegas.

After introducing his plan, Nigel and Han had a private conversation, detailing the alliance and how they may be of service to one another. Following the conversation, Han returned to Kane, telling him to provide his services as they are requested. Han then retired to the upstairs portion of the bar and Nigel explained the outcome of the conversation to those remaining at the table.

Turned out that the investment banker that Blake had been called in to investigate was a money launderer for the Yakuza – a group that is tightly affiliated with Han. Nigel requested that Andy, Arianna, and William, as well as Kane participate in the investigation; at least the supernatural side of things.

Arianna met this idea with some resistance, resulting in a private conversation with Nigel. She wanted to bring in the detective that she’d re-instated as an officer, and that would be the end of things. But Nigel was insistent that she be a part of it. Counter-insisting that she has a business to run, and the best she can offer is to see what she hears at Surrender, Nigel went on to explain that Giovanni was quite upset with Arianna giving the name of his assistant to the police in conjunction with the prostitution ring. Because of that indiscretion, Giovanni is looking for recourse, in the form of a Blood Price from Arianna – all because she forced him to put an end to his assistant’s life before he was done with her.

That said, Nigel decided that directly involving Arianna would be necessary because of her extensive list of contacts and vast knowledge of the city, and while she may not be involved to the point of getting dirty, she would be instrumental in providing the right resources to get to the root of the problem. Accepting that as an answer, the conversation ended and Arianna excused herself to go to the ladies room, where she took out her anger on a mirror provided by Bartleby.

Before returning to the dinner, Arianna stopped by the bar to speak with Han, to once again thank him for the honor of him partaking in the dinner with Nigel. Han smiled and offered her a polite “you’re welcome” and told her she reminded him of a maiden he once knew, and Ari blushed and thanked him before excusing herself and returning to the dinner. Han went on to explain to the cocktail waitress, rather fondly, that Ari reminded him of a maiden who stabbed him in the eye.

While she was away from the room, Andy asked Nigel if he could have a word, and knowing that Blake was looking for information regarding ghouls, requested that Andy be invited to the conversation. Nigel obliged, and William went upstairs to make the phone call to invite Blake to the Blue Martini.

When Blake arrived, rather bedraggled and vastly underdressed, he was escorted down to the banquet room where Blake asked Nigel for information regarding ghouls. When Nigel asked why he was curious about ghouls, Blake answered that he was investigating a murder scene. Curiosity piqued, Nigel asked for the name of the victim, but Blake refused to give the name, as it was an ongoing investigation. Calmly, Nigel asked if, by chance, it was Bruce Simpson.

After a pause, completely surprised, Blake confirmed the name and asked about Nigel’s knowledge of the victim. As Nigel is very well off, he casually explained that Mr. Simpson is an investment banker, and had a number of business dealings with the deceased, and when Blake didn’t seem overly convinced, Nigel offered to put Blake in touch with his accountant so he could see the business records. Because they were so readily offered, Blake accepted Nigel’s words, insisting it wouldn’t be necessary. At that point, Nigel decided it was time to take his leave, and rose to shake hands with his new acquaintances, starting with Andy.

Ending with Andy. As soon as Nigel took Andy’s hand, Nigel recoiled in pain, his hand charred black after making contact with Andy’s hand. Immediately, William and Arianna went to assist Nigel – Arianna was tending to Nigel while William took a more defensive stance, considering Blake drew his weapon, ready to fire on Nigel for being burned.

Kane drew his cane and pointed it at Andy, while Andy was freaking out that he’d burned Nigel for being a White Court Vampire. With thoughts running rampant in his head, Andy reacted self-defensively, pushing the cane slightly to the side, but Kane wasn’t about to budge.

Blake shouted out, wondering what was going on, and Nigel insisted that it was not an attack and he would be fine. When Blake, weapon still drawn upon Nigel, demanded what was going on and what Nigel was, the White Court patriarch replied with a simple explanation – that he’s a vampire. He went on to explain the purpose of the Blue Martini and its role in the City of Las Vegas, and that the club is neutral ground.

Blake, unfamiliar with protocol and such, didn’t understand, but Nigel and William took their leave after Nigel offered his congratulations to Andy. The pair were met in the stairwell by Bartleby, who supplied Nigel with a glove for his burned hand. Then Bartleby explained more clearly about the Blue Martini being Accorded Neutral Ground in Las Vegas. After Blake holstered his weapon, Andy and Kane took their respective leave from the dining hall in the cellar of the Blue Martini, leaving Ari and Blake in a standoff.

When Blake asked Ari whether she was like Nigel, she insisted that she wasn’t – in her mind, she isn’t the same kind of White Court Vampire, so her declaration that she’s not was entirely convincing. She then went on to explain that there’s a whole lot that Blake needs to learn about Las Vegas, and offered to take him up to the bar and get him a drink or a coffee, or just offer him a ride home.

Once at home, Kane explained to Han what had happened with Andy and Nigel, to which Han explained that Andy was perhaps the luckiest wizard in the world, but didn’t offer any further explanation.

Also at home, Andy was afraid to touch Cassandra, for fear of incinerating her. He fell into a troubled sleep and when he woke the next day, with Cassandra snuggled tightly up against him, he jumped out of bed in a panic. When she asked what was up, he explained what happened with Nigel, and she broke into tears of joy, wrapping her arms around Andy, making him freak out more. But she assured him that it was a good thing, but couldn’t go into why.

The Action to Date (11/21)
Getting Started

To date, much has happened in our little corner of Las Vegas. As one can expect, the first few sessions were spent developing the city and the characters, as well as establishing their relationships. In short, we have the following groups and members of the city:

House Montegna – White Court, Greed. With the base of operations out of the Bellagio, Giovanni “Johnny” Montegna holds the primary seat of White Court power in Las Vegas.

House Raith – White Court, Lust. The primary antagonist to House Montegna. Headed by Nigel Raith, House Raith is looking to gain more than just a foothold in Las Vegas. Situated at the Venetian Hotel & Casino, with members in multiple locations within Clark County, Raith stands to create a decent amount of tension within the White Court. To aid Nigel, there is Arianna Casgrain (Sandra), owner of Surrender at the Encore Hotel & Casino, spreading the footprint of Raith-occupied properties beyond the doors of the Venetian. To add to that, we have Cassandra Monclave (NPC), a protectorate of House Raith, who was originally part of House Scavis. Their pocket ace, however, is Anderson Carlston (John), a firefighting wizard.

On the administrative end of the City, Leroy Caldwell (Nik), now known as Blake Morton, serves as a man in blue. After a decade of being virtually non-existent, Leroy awoke in a burning building in the Las Vegas Valley, and was rescued by Anderson. After a ‘discussion’ between Anderson and Cassandra, it was determined that the best course of action was to seek help from Arianna. Through her network of contacts, she convinced Oscar Goodwin (NPC) to pull some strings in public records and instate Leroy (now Blake) as a Las Vegas Metro Police Officer.

Now, on with the show …

After establishing relationships across the board, it was business as usual at Surrender, until Johnny Montenga decided to pay a visit. He wasn’t looking for the scenery offered by the club, but more interested in its less known and far more pricey side business – Arianna’s escort service. While reluctant to indulge Johnny in his request, she knew that to deny him would be a bad thing for White Court relations, regardless of how shaky those relations might be. Knowing full well that Johnny would completely feed on the girl she would send, Ari made sure that Nigel was well aware of the game that Johnny was about to play. After sending one of her relatively new girls into certain death, Arianna received a business card from Johnny’s assistant that had a number and a message. After Johnny and his entourage left Surrender, Ari went to assess the damage, and called Nigel for a cleaning crew.

When the next morning rolled around, Arianna called the number on the card, passed along the message that she needed a girl, and waited. The girl was delivered by two burly Asian men, and was obviously terrified. Ari eventually learned the girl’s real name (Constance Burnworth), and did what she could to befriend her, and get her to trust people – she was safe and no longer part of the prostitution ring for which she’d been kidnapped years earlier to be a member of.

Arianna alerted Blake to the illegal prostitution ring that seemed to have some local connection. As she was the only lead in any sort of case, Blake questioned Arianna as to how the girl came to her, and Ari reluctantly gave the name of Giovanni Montegna’s assistant, as well as the number from the business card that she’d received. Ari then provided Blake with the girl’s dress as evidence, not realizing that he would use part of it for a seeking spell by way of Anderson.

Upon performing a spell, Anderson was able to direct Blake in the direction of the Green Valley Motel, a way-off-strip motel that most people who see it wouldn’t give a second glance; seedy, dirty, and far from what one expects from a Las Vegas destination. With that location known, Blake mobilized the SWAT unit to raid the property. Because the ringleaders were tipped off about a potential raid, SWAT coming in found nothing amiss with the Green Valley Motel, and Blake’s use of expensive city resources without proper prior investigation resulted in Officer Morton getting severely chewed out by his boss.

In addition to going to the police, Arianna thought the girl would be comfortable speaking with someone about her ordeal, and put her in touch with Cassandra and Anderson. After the bust at the Green Valley Motel, Anderson knew there was more to it, and speaking with Constance did back up his suspicions from what he saw at Green Valley; it wasn’t just a gang they were dealing with, but with a rage spirit. Anderson proceeded to speak with Nigel, requesting a favor, and was granted access to the White Court’s library of information of all things supernatural and arcane (at least the Vegas branch of the library).

While a full on police investigation hadn’t been carried out, the prostitution ring did lead back to problems with the Triad – a brutal street-level gang that rules over Chinatown from their headquarters at the Sand Dollar Lounge. Although Blake could not go in and arrest any of the members for their links to the prostitution ring, they did realize that he was responsible for investigating them, and for the raid that almost nabbed then in Henderson (at the Green Valley Motel). The Triad was not pleased, and when Blake entered the Sand Dollar Lounge, he and his partner almost became casualties.

The Triad did not stop at the officers, however. While heading to Lake Mead for a day of R&R on her boat, Arianna was tailed and shot at by members of the Triad. Though not full, marked members of the Triad, they were (through coercion, of course) able to provide Arianna with the name of Bai Zhau, the leader of the Triad.

Upon receiving a call from Anderson to ask if she might have any way of getting a room where he might be able to perform a ritual, Ari managed to get Andy and Cassandra a room at the Gold Coast – far away from the Strip with no obvious ties back to her. Upon successful completion of the ritual Andy now had a Bonsai tree that would serve as a means to trap the rage spirit consuming the Triad members. All that was needed was a member of the Triad who was infected by the spirit.

Through miscommunication, Arianna brought the captured Triad member to the Gold Coast, rather than the selected ritual house (an abandoned mansion with years of Vegas’ blood inside it, secured by Blake). With her own goon and the captured Triad member in tow, she made sure that she was the only one to enter the room at the Gold Coast, only to find out the room had been destroyed. Shawn Goldsmith ensured her that no real harm (aside from financial) was done and things would be taken care of. While that was well and good, Arianna contacted Cassandra to find out why she was sent to the Gold Coast. During that conversation, the miscommunication was somewhat dismissed as “you know how guys are when it comes to details”. While she couldn’t hold onto the hostage for the 5 days needed, as the ritual was to be best performed at the time of the full moon, she needed to dispose of him, since the infected Triad members would quite easily be able to track down their kidnapped member.

Shawn helped Arianna by providing her with an escape route down the fire access stairwell, and after collecting her goon and the kidnapped Triad member, piled into the rental car and sped off to the best place she could think – the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge (officially The Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge), over Black Canyon. With a drop of more than 1000 feet, the Triad member would not survive the impact.

Arianna left the Gold Coast and made her way down the Boulder City Highway, only to find herself quickly tailed by what may have been as many as a dozen (actually 10) motorcycles, who were obviously members of the Triad. In a panic, Ari continued southward into Boulder City, hoping that the increased pedestrian and tourist traffic would slow the pursuit. While en route, she decided on the truck route, rather than the in-town route, and noticed that an odd motorcycle had joined the pack. Shortly after the odd motorbike appeared, strange things started happening to various sport bikes, causing the pack to thin slightly.

Without having much of a chance to assess the situation, the gang determined that the problems with their bikes was being caused by the one they were pursuing, not the one in pursuit of them, so they backed off slightly. In doing so, it gave Anderson a chance to catch up to Arianna, even though his bike was beginning to sputter as a result of his extensive hexing on the engines of the motorcycles. With one last epic hex, Andy managed to disable the remaining 5 motorcycles, as well as a few tourist vehicles which were unfortunately close to the bikes.

With the bike gang no longer a worry, Arianna made a U-turn at the first possible location in Arizona, and returned toward Nevada, stopping just shy of the bridge so her goon could dispose of the Triad homing beacon. The pair in the car returned to Las Vegas without incident, and Andy and his motorcycle, while tucked between vehicles, remained undetected by the armed Triad members on the eastbound side of 93.

With the member of the Triad disposed of, Arianna decided to wash her hands of any further involvement, though did not know that Andy had contacted Nigel to ask for another, more significant favor. After an agreed potential repayment plan, Nigel contacted Arianna to ask that she acquire the last necessary ingredient to Andy’s ritual stew.

Not wanting to go against Nigel, though not wanting further involvement with whatever ritual Andy was to perform, Ari agreed, but had one of her contacts at the Police Department (a former client of hers, apparently) arrest a member of the Triad; but rather than bring him to the station for questioning – so much paperwork, after all – he would be exchanged with Arianna. The next day, she met with the people Nigel promised to accompany her; one of his best assassins, by the name of William Moor, and a girl who couldn’t have been much more than 16, but who had obvious knowledge of the White Court (based on the streaks of white in her hair).

As much as she didn’t want anything to do with the ritual, or Andy in general – White Court grudge and all – she was further tossed into the fray when she agreed to let Blake know when the drop would happen, which would give the police the chance to protect the hostages held by the Triad.

At the agreed time and location, Arianna, William, and Tina met with the officer for the exchange of goods. Upon being recognized, the kidnapped Triad member, under the influence of the full moon, broke free of his handcuffs. Although it appeared he was going for the officer’s gun, William stepped in, firmly “chopping” at the officer’s neck, causing him to black out. William made certain he remained between the Triad thug and the officer. When the thug realized the situation, he darted off in the opposite direction. With it being the full moon, he was able to call upon the full spirit within, and at supernatural speed, took off in the direction opposite the White Court members.

Arianna lunged after the Triad member, doing what she could to at least keep pace with him. Caught off-guard by the huge semi with lights and horn blaring, the Triad goon slowed enough for Arianna to catch him, barely feeding on him by grasping him by the back of the neck, in the hopes of subduing him. Enter William, who’d run after the pair but not as furiously as the pair had been running, who gathered up the goon in a tight hug, then proceeded to ever-so-gently kiss the goon on the cheek, resulting in a quivering pile of lustful goo. The approaching semi disappeared into thin air. Thank you, Tina, resident half-fae changeling.

With the goon apprehended, it was just a matter of delivering him to the mansion. Arianna drove to the house, while William and Tina kept the goon secure (and still quivering) between them. Upon arrival at the drop location, Arianna remained in the car until she heard motorcycles in the near distance. It was William’s responsibility to bring the goon into the house for Andy. With the motorcycles fast approaching, she gave William and Tina the task (well, William, since she couldn’t find Tina) of making sure Andy was undisturbed, and following a quick text to Blake, drove off to be as far away as possible from the ritual.

The incoming whine of the motorcycles was getting gradually louder, and Andy knew he would have to somewhat rush the ritual that he has so carefully prepared. Despite the rush, his thorough preparation work allowed him to complete the ritual just in time. As a Triad thug was soaring through the busted in front door, William cracked him in the forehead with a bat he’d taken out of the car before Ari sped off. Because the rage spirit was now confined in the cute little red-leafed bonsai tree (an angry little tree at this point), the force of William’s blow to the head resulted in severe – a.k.a. fatal – blunt force trauma to the head.

After cleaning up following the ritual, Andy discussed an emerald necklace as a thank you to Arianna, but William offered to help out with a far better gift (still jewelry, but much more expensive). When questioned about why William would help out Andy, William revealed that considering Andy’s profession and salary, versus the wealth available to House Raith, it just made more numerical sense – It would be of little consequence to spend within House Raith, and would be a show of good faith toward Andy. Further discussions about Andy having a possible future with House Raith were also hinted at, as was a higher position within the city.


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.