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.