Ysillith listens to Drake, though her gazing out at others doesn't stop.
She takes the offered glass and swiftly downs its contents, placing the empty glass upon the side board.
"Aye, well 'Squirrel' be an apt name." Ysillith harrumphs. She looks at Drake from the corner of one large, ark amber eye.
"So...there'd be a financial incentive t'be lookin' after yerself then?" She smirks.
"I can see th' shiny in Rashida, t'is nice t'know yerself be worth the effort." :)
Drake shrugs and grins at her, "Aye, m'darlin', there just might be in that but ah like ta think ah be a fun date bee-sides. Or at least I hope I'm a good date. Maybe at least fair scenery for a date."
He drinks his champagne a bit more slowly but put his glass on the sideboard as well, "You could always take out some payment in other ways." He sort of teases. What the heck. She was surely used to a bit of surliness in the men she takes upon her arm.
Ysillith's gaze lingers for a little while longer upon Drake.
"Ye should be thinkin' harder upon what ye might be wishin' for there, luv." Her voice does drop and become huskier.
"Ye've seen me nature an' yet ye are still not thinkin' of me in the right way." Ysillith sighs.
"While I do find yer self not displaeasin' to th' eye, I must admit, I've not yet been engaged enough here t' be feelin' in that right sort of mood..." Her gaze returns to watching the people outside the booth.
"Ouch!" Drake says with quite some amusement as he laughs and gives her a wink, "Well, you're not shy about anything but then again I noticed that earlier. So were you waiting for a flamingo to change it's feather colour? I could stop eating shrimp. That might just do it but I doubt it. How about you and me watch a bit of this stuff then skip outside for those giant hot bratwurst being sold down the street and a good ol beer and then be back in time for dancing?"
He watches the opera while he's talking to her and gives one gentleman a rude hand signal flicking his fingers across his lower jaw when the man tries to shush him.
Ysillith's gaze flickers to the rapid, furtive hand movements. Her eyes seeming automatically tracking such things.
"Yer terms have a lack of illustration." She replies, her gaze lingering on the gentleman who's made a sign of threat against them. She leans closer, the better to huskily whisper into Drake's ear.
"Though yer idea fer a meal does have a lot of merit." She smiles, "Some ale would be right welcome instead of this....scented water they be serving." She wrinkles her nose as she contemplates the wines they've been offered.
Drake sighs, "A big pink bird ... nevermind." He shakes his head realizing it was a bad joke to try in the first place. Most people had no idea about flamingos.
He grins, "So far what do you think of the opera?" He looks about, "We'll sneak out when the lights go down the next scene." He chuckles.
That Ysillith's eyes constantly roam about the theater is indicative enough of what she thinks of the lights and acting upon the stage.
"Actually, I'll be hunting through the corridors behind the booths, as is me task." She reminds Drake.
"You're here for your fun an' I'm hopin' t'be havin' mine." She smiles...and Drake is reminded of when the mechanika-cats have had a bowl of cream...
|Clousuk, Kobold Investigator|
Clousuk watches Cassie walk away with her over-possessive date. He taps a single clawed digit on his snout.
"Zer is zumzing familiar about la fille, Richard," he hisses.
"Yes sir, it the Lady Cassandra DuSollier. We have met her several times. She always seems to be present at the parties where the Spirit Thief has struck," Richard says wearily a low voice.
"Ah-ha! Yes, DuSollier...widow, no? Hmmm...perhaps zum observation is in order." Clousuk decisively throws the color-soaked handkerchief onto the floor where a Serv-Bot with a vacuum hose nose rushes over and sucks it into the tank on its back. He turns tail and begins to stalk after the pair.
Richard looks woefully at the Vacu-Bot that just absconded with his handkerchief and then turns and follows the kobold into the theater.
After the touch on his jaw, and the throaty purr Ralph probably would have followed Cassie to her seat even if he weren't her date. His eyes roamed over her back as he walked closely behind her leaning in to talk to her "Well a lil fuzz makes me ner'ous, my hart beats faster, I get ligh'headed an' 's hard ta tink, aint' al'ays bad."
Sitting next to Cassie, and again leaning close to her "'S 'spectors dat I don' like. 'An it looks like ya mighta gots one ta follow us." He descreetly keeps an eye on the Kobold investigator but smiles towards Cassie "My Minx, ya look pretty 'cited, ya really likes da op'ra?"
Wrapping a lock of hair around her finger, she squirms slightly in the soft satin seat; "Yes, c'est magnifique. I love the Opera, such a show, a performance." her words are giddy and filled with memories "To create something lasting like that." she replies dismissing the notion of being followed. The French woman has evaded or embarrassed the authorities that have followed her before, she's confident to do it once more.
|Spirit of Pinvendor|
A large figure makes it's way onto the stage past the large tubes and giant clockwork gears turning at the edges of the stage. It is wearing an elegant tux with tails and carries a metal wand trailing a large cable. As the lights dim and a spotlight shines on the figure. It's head and hands show that it is in fact some sort of complex clockwork contraption. It's eye seem to be some sort of telescoping devices, and for a noise it has an analog needle and dial which moves left to right to indicate the volume of its speech. And the needle waved to the right as a rich baritone slightly scratchy in a manner similar to the way a voice sounds on a record begins to speak.
"Welcome to the Thornburghaufen Clockwork Theater! Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming out tonight to see our humble performance of Mozart's brilliant Don Giovanni. This opera is sung entirely in Italian, so a brief synopsis of the story is printed in your programs."
Leporello, Don Giovanni's servant, complains of his lot ("Notte e giorno faticar" – "Night and day I slave away"). He's keeping watch while Don Giovanni seduces the Commendatore's daughter, Donna Anna. When the two appear: Giovanni is masked but Donna Anna is holding onto his arm. Something has transpired and she insists on knowing his true identity (Trio: "Non sperar, se non m'uccidi, Ch’io ti lasci fuggir mai!" – "Do not hope, unless you kill me, that I shall ever let you run away!"), before he can break free from her grasp she cries for help. The Commendatore appears and forces Giovanni to a duel. Donna Anna flees into the house. Giovanni slays the Commendatore with his sword and escapes with Leporello. Anna, returning with her fiancé, Don Ottavio, is horrified to see her father lying dead in a pool of his own blood. She makes him swear vengeance against the unknown murderer. (Duet: "Ah, vendicar, se il puoi, giura quel sangue ognor!" – "Ah, swear to avenge that blood if you can!").
The clockwork man raises his hand. "I would like to remind everyone there is no leaving the theater during the performance. The Tesla Field has been activated in order to keep the theater and its patrons safe during the performance. We all know Lake Constance can be a little dangerous when the sun goes down." The clockwork's baritone voice gives a throaty chuckle.
"Keep your theater pins on your person at all times, as they will prevent the Tesla Field from zapping you into microparticles instantly. It will give a small warning first. Trust me, you'll know it!" A shutter flaps past a telescopic eye in the parody of a wink.
"Once again we appreciate your patronage. Please enjoy...Don Giovanni!!!"
There's some more, but I wanted to break up the posts. I will get to the placement of the NPCs. I would like a general idea of where everyone is in the theater if possible. Click this to see Clockwork Theater layout.
Edit: The Mittelloge area isn't available. That is the Massri theater box.
Eleanor was delighted to spot Vorian Ritter just as the lights dipped three times to signal the laggard patrons to find their seats before the curtain rose. She managed to show him off to most of the right people on the way to their seats. "Why yes, darling, this is the real Vorian Ritter! The one and only!" Even more delightful was the way he took her hand and escorted her to the recently refurbished box, which was sure to impress. The wine was excellent, and she ordered the server to close the curtain behind them on his way out. She was torn between wishing for darkness and hoping that everyone in the house could see her with her escort for the evening.
The Massri might be here or might not. If she was, he'd be free to act. He smiled and charmed his way into one of the boxes near enough to the Massri's private space to be able to see into it when the stage lights were on. Unfortunately, there was no evidence of the 'divine' one. He'd simply have to suffer through the first act and she if she showed up later. In the meantime, his companion needed tending to, to keep up appearances and keep her distracted from the real focus of his attention.
The server's outfit was simply perfect for anonymity. Nobody looked at the nameless numbers who labored in anonymity for the comfort of the high and mighty. And the high and mighty were an interesting lot tonight, though that little kobold certainly didn't look comfortable among them. Duchess Montresor had captured another helpless victim, Herr Justicia was his usual sweating, snorting self, there was an extraordinarily tall lady on the arm of... could it be? Joey!?
She set her tray of drinks down for a second and slipped a thumbnail into a locket to pry open the halves and check the picture within. Yes, that most certainly was Drake! She wasn't dreaming! She quickly snapped the necklace shut and returned to serving, only to have a ruggedly handsome young man and his date walk by and nearly make her drop it on the floor. The guy was cute enough, but his date? THAT was Cassie DuSollier. She'd cut her hair since the last sighting, but that was definitely her. What could she be after tonight? And the jewels dripping down her back? Oh, wouldn't it be a coup if she could lift those from the woman whose exploits had inspired her own career? That would teach her to have another protégé. But she had her duty, too. Sighing, she handed round more drinks, straining to see where her idols sat for the performance... just in case.
Watching enrapt, she doesn't notice anything else that's occuring. Sub-conciously she plays with her hair. The shiny pins upon her bosom have turned into 2 small roses, one red the other pure white.
She gasps and ooh's along with the Opera, enjoying her view from parterre 13. Barely realising she grips Ralphs hand when the Commendatore dies; she certainly shows her passionate side at the magnificent acting.
Nursing a glass of wine in his hand, Vorian watches the first scene from parterre 3 with rapt attention, his expression placid in spite of him being in the Dowager Duchess' clutches. He had seen Don Giovanni several times before, but never in an opera house quite so grand. The noble had always preferred Mozart's Die Zauberflöte; tragedy had never quite befit his personality. And yet in his current standing, it was mow somehow appropriate.
A Tesla Field...? Vorian wonders, wrinkling his brow in confusion. It was a grand opera house indeed, but did it truly require such an excessive means of defense? Taking a sip of wine, he pushes away his anxiety, and continues to watch.
Ralph wasn't sure what to expect, he had been a bit worried that the opera would be dull, but it certainly wasn't, the actors made everything seem very realistic and the action was intense. He glanced towards the soft hand that gripped his, Cassie sitting next to him made it that much more interesting. He smiles leaning in towards her. "De op'ra shure brings out yer pash'nate side Minx" he gives her hand a light squeeze back. "Y'ain't gots sum o'er prote'ive fodder 'm gonna hafta duel do ya?"
Cassie barely registers her companions words so caught up in the play, then the little squeeze brings her back to awareness. Just in time for a question, that causes her to blanche and with a barely noticeable shake of her head she continues to watch the play. For the next few scenes she is still, before getting swept along again.
Ralph blinks at Cassie as she blanches and barely shakes her head and sighs to himself 'Way to go Ralphy, meet a nice girl and you go and tell her you're going to duel her father. For all you know the guy really did die in a duel. Sensitive subject and you stomp all over it.'
Seeing Cassie just sitting still next to him Ralph tries not to be too awkward "Minx... 'm so'ry. I ain't mean it lit'rally nor nothin I's jus' teasin." He does feel a little better when Cassie starts to get back into the Opera.
She pats Ralphs arm reassuringly; 'I know he didn't mean anything...' she chastises herself.
Then the French-woman asks for drink from one of the staff, a nice wine.
"Dance, later." her tone warm and placating, whilst her finger runs a line across his thigh.
Then her attention is back upon the Opera.
|Clousuk, Kobold Investigator|
Richard watched as Clousuk sulked not being able to monitor Cassie and her date from where the agent and his secretary sat on the third balcony.
"Bah! We must azk pour an increeze to cover zee expenses of watching zee nobles from a better vantage point!" Clousuk complained.
"Mmhmm," Richard murmured noncommittally. He had already noticed at least three of the theater employees were paying much greater attention to them today than when the pair was here last. Something was amiss.
Ralph smiles seeing Cassie wasn't about to hold his bumble against him then twitches a bit feeling her finger on his thigh.
"Mmm dat might d'pend on jus' wut it is yer plannin on doin with dat hand sweethart. If ya keep it movin in dat direction I might not have da eas'est time standin later." He smirks towards her "Not dat 'm complainin, jus' fair warnin."
From parterre 5 Drake sighs in boredom and looks over to Ysillith who seems just as excited as he is. If it weren't for them being locked in for the whole show he would go out and get them some of that food and beer but by the looks of it they were stuck quite well enough.
He didn't like the feeling of being caged in a place where there could be some killers around the bend but he put that out of his mind and watched Ysillith for a moment before deciding to whisper rude jokes about scenes to her to see if that would get a smile or some reaction at least.
*This were booooring...*
Again she stretched. Now the motion being used to get some feeble exercise through her limbs, this to try and stave off the sloth and heavy eyelids that prolonged inaction often brought. She turned and actually started looking about the space within which she found herself.
As Drake leaned over and began whispering, she at first payed the fellow no mind, though as his words and commentary registered she found herself chuckling and laughing at his impromptu descriptions. The rather bawdy nature of his humor definitely brightening her mood.
Her eyes, seeming well developed for moving about in darkness, had been watching those patrons which were in view about the theater. The motions of some of he servants, their weaving patterns as they performed their duties, had an elegant eyebrow arching.
"Here....I know when I'm bein' stalked..." Ysillith voice lowers, even as her tone becomes huskier. There is a barely discernible glance in Drakes direction.
"♫ ♪ Some body wants to plaaaay ♪ ♫" She sinuously slides out of her seat and disappears over into the shadows of their box seat.
Scene 2 – A public square outside Don Giovanni's palace
Giovanni and Leporello arrive and hear a woman (Donna Elvira) singing of having been abandoned by her lover on whom she is seeking to wreak her revenge ("Ah, chi mi dice mai" – "Ah, who could ever tell me"). Giovanni starts to flirt with her, but he is the wretch she is seeking. He shoves Leporello forward, ordering him to tell Elvira the truth, and then hurries away.
Leporello tells Elvira Don Giovanni is not worth it. His conquests include 640 in Italy, 231 in Germany, 100 in France, 91 in Turkey, but in Spain, 1,003. ("Madamina, il catalogo è questo" – "My dear lady, this is the catalogue"). In a frequently cut recitative, Elvira vows vengeance.
When she leaves, a marriage procession with Masetto and Zerlina enters. Don Giovanni and Leporello arrive soon after. Giovanni is immediately attracted to Zerlina, and he attempts to remove the jealous Masetto by offering to host a wedding celebration at his castle. On realizing that Giovanni means to remain behind with Zerlina, Masetto becomes angry ("Ho capito! Signor, sì" – "I understand! Yes, my lord!"). Don Giovanni and Zerlina are soon alone and he immediately begins his seductive arts. (Duet: "Là ci darem la mano" – "There we will entwine our hands").
Elvira arrives and thwarts the seduction ("Ah, fuggi il traditor" – "Flee from the traitor!"). She leaves with Zerlina. Ottavio and Anna enter, plotting vengeance on the still unknown murderer of Anna's father. Anna, unaware that she is speaking to her attacker, pleads for Giovanni's help. Giovanni, relieved that he is unrecognised, readily promises it, and asks who has disturbed her peace. Before she can answer, Elvira returns and tells Anna and Ottavio that Giovanni is a false-hearted seducer. Giovanni tries to convince Ottavio and Anna that Elvira is insane. (Quartet: "Non ti fidar, o misera" – "Don't trust him, oh sad one"). As Giovanni leaves, Anna suddenly recognizes him as her father's murderer. (Anna aria: "Or sai chi l'onore Rapire a me volse" – "Now you know who is the one having trying to rob me of my honour"). Ottavio, not convinced, resolves to keep an eye on his friend. ("Dalla sua pace la mia dipende" – "On her peace my peace depends")
Leporello informs Giovanni that all the guests of the peasant wedding are in Giovanni's house, that he distracted Masetto from his jealousy, but that Zerlina, returning with Elvira, made a scene and spoiled everything. However, Don Giovanni remains cheerful and tells Leporello to organize a party and invite every girl he can find. (Giovanni's "Champagne Aria": "Fin ch'han dal vino calda la testa" – "Till they are tipsy"). They hasten to his palace.
Zerlina follows the jealous Masetto and tries to pacify him. ("Batti, batti o bel Masetto" – "Beat o beat me, handsome Masetto"), but just as she manages to persuade him of her innocence, Don Giovanni's voice from offstage startles and frightens her. Masetto hides, resolving to see for himself what Zerlina will do when Giovanni arrives. Zerlina tries to hide from Don Giovanni, but he finds her and attempts to continue the seduction, until he stumbles upon Masetto's hiding place. Confused but quickly recovering, Giovanni reproaches Masetto for leaving Zerlina alone, and returns her temporarily to him. Giovanni then leads both to his ballroom, which has been lavishly decorated. Leporello invites three masked guests to the party: the disguised Ottavio, Anna and Elvira). Ottavio and Anna pray for protection, Elvira for vengeance (Trio: "Proteggra il giusto cielo" – "May the just heavens protect us").
The Duchess is in the back still, speaking with Jansen. "My," says Jansen, shaking his head, "This all seems a bit much. Unbelievable, dramatic. My dear Kittington, if there is anything that I can do to help..."
"That's just it Jansen," says the Duchess softly, "I need your help and the help of the performers you have. We need you to keep your eyes open for Von Ryuko and his allies... he seeks to be rid of us. I will keep in communication with you for anything else, if you are willing to help me... I do not have many allies in the world, just my kittens and your company. And once this is all done, if I yet live... I will sing for you once again."
|The Teller of Tales|
Upon the stage, there is a hiss of steam as the scenery changes the public square receeds and a huge ballroom, much like those Nobles often are seen in is formed.
As the merriment, featuring three separate chamber orchestras on stage, proceeds, Leporello distracts Masetto by dancing with him, while Don Giovanni leads Zerlina offstage to a private room. When Zerlina screams for help, Don Giovanni tries to fool the onlookers by dragging Leporello into the room and threatening to kill him for assaulting Zerlina. But Ottavio produces a pistol, the three guests unmask and declare that they know all. But despite being denounced on all sides, Don Giovanni escapes – for the moment.
The heavy velvet curtain slides closed, the clockwork man moves onto the stage. His movements slightly jerky he bows to the audience as a ripple of applause rolls through the auditorium, enhanced by the soft powered drums that enabled everyone to hear the music and singing. "Thank you; we will just have a small interlude. Refreshments and music is provided in the atrium." he announces.
Slowly people start to file out with a warm murmuring; Cassie is torn half by wishing to visit the performers and half needing some air after the emotions that run the gamut through her system.
Cassie slowly rises from her seat, eye's wide and throat thick with emotion. Through melancholic motions the French lady rises with a nod to her companion and walks with him to the foyer. She takes a flute of wine from a surprised waitress, who she vaguely recognises. However his mind is in a whirl from the beauty of the performance.
She drains the glass quickly, barely even savouring the liquid. Memories of the last time she saw the Opera roil in her mind, turning to her handsome date she gives him a wane smile;
"Could you give me a second." her tone husky as she wanders through the throngs in the atrium.
Finding the French window open she steps through onto the balcony. With a deep Gallic sigh she looks out upon the vista.
As the curtain falls, Vorian raises his glass to his lips and drains the last of the expensive wine. It had been his seventh glass since the start of the first act. He could only guess what the Dowager Duchess had against his sobriety, but her intentions were quite clear. Fortunately, the nobleman's judgment and cognition suffered no considerable loss. Pulling his arm free from Eleanor's grasp, he hands the empty glass off to the servant before turning to leave the box.
"Where are you going, my dear?" she purrs with a pout, clearly attempting to be as alluring as possible. To no avail, of course. "Let's not bother with all those people out there. I thought that you and I could stay here and..." The Duchess bats her eyelashes, as though ashamed of what she was about to suggest.
"Now, now, Eleanor," Vorian says with a weak smile, making a point of leaning on his cane, "It will do me no good if I do not stretch these old legs of mine out. They never did properly recover from my last venture. Doctor's orders, I am afraid." These last words have the desired effect of drawing an overly dramatic gasp of shock and concern from the Duchess. "I am going to go out and get some fresh air; I will be back shortly..."
With his mostly true excuses in order, Vorian slinks out of the box before the Duchess can insist on accompanying him. He sighs as he passes through the corridor, mentally admonishing himself for allowing Eleanor to put him in such a bad mood. It was about all he deserved for taking advantage of her misguided affection, a lust no doubt nurtured by his obsolete reputation. Just another dreg of the past that he had thought was no longer relevant. Just how many people had he manipulated to get to where he was today? Had casting off his mask after the party truly made him a better person?
“You still have time to change…” he tries to convince himself wearily, as he emerges into the foyer, “You just… have to give everything back.”
Ralph follows Cassie into the foyer and also accepts a drink from the waitress. It seems to him that the woman had been eying them earlier, maybe he just had that effect on some women, it was hard to say since he'd spent the past few years covered in grime.
Seeing Cassie drain her drink quickly he wonders if something's wrong, then as she asks for him to give her time he starts to protest, but she's already moving away. He tries to whisper after her "Wait I can' e'en talk ta dese people Minx... Minx? Blast..."
He tries to give her space but at least be fairly nearby so he follows, but as he bumps into people it quickly become apparent that he can't speak. Upon trying to use the paper Cassie gave him he finds it isn't working either he might know why if he actually understood the thing. Soon he had a small flock of women around him eager to help the handsome young mute man. He was tugged this way and that.
"He's hungry I'll take him to get some hors d'oeuvres."
"No, his drink's empty, he needs another come this way dear."
"Hands off girls he wants to come to my private box."
"You want every guy to come in your private box..."
Ralph sighed softly hoity toity types were such a pain, all he really wanted was to join up with Cassie he hoped whatever she was doing didn't take much longer these girls might just agree to drag him together to somewhere private. Either that or they're going to start a fight.
She moves to the balcony, the chill night air raises goosebumps upon her exposed flesh. She looks out over the still dark lake, the reflections of the city fish flitting through the gentle ripples. Cassie smiles softly...
Arms come up from behind her encircling her, the dark hairs upon his arms lightly brush the swell of her breasts, just above the lacy soutien-gorge, her body tightens reflexively.
She leans back into him wishing him to take her right there, but they had promised...
Next week and she would be his and he would belong to her. Vowed together for eternity.
His strong powerful chest, so warm. Feeling safe there the horrors of the past just melt away in his arms. The slow rise and fall of her bosom as the vista before her so serene and beautiful, like Breath blows across the nape of her neck, a light caress causing her to lose sensibility. 'The only man for me, to think I would fall so hard and fast.' A light music comes from indoors as the gramophone tinkles the airy music.
"Got the repairs done, Mon Amour?" he asks softly whispering into her ear, stubble of his strong jaw prickling her skin.
"You need a shave!" she teases, knowing how much she enjoyed the soft rasping tickling.
The smell of his leather overalls, oil and the masculine musk fill her nostrils, she sighs contently. In his powerful arms she feels comfortable, finally at home. "I've fixed the boat." her voice warm without a hint of pretence. Rubbing her oily fingers down the overalls that have been pulled down to her waist.
Sure that there's a better tomorrow with him. Cassie reaches up to touch his face once more, slowly turning around...
The hollow noise and vacant vista fill her senses. Her heart sinks...he was gone.
Blinking away the tears she goes inside.
Cassie rubs her arm across her face, glad for the waterproof mascara. Then looking through her slightly pink eyes she sees Squirrel surrounded by a flock of ladies, some young; some older. But they all have a hungry look in their eyes, the sort of predatory look of a starving pussy. Whilst the young man has a wide-eyed look of his name-sake cornered by a vicious animal.
'I know these women, they rarely take no for an answer. Especially with a young naive man who cannot answer back. And if they find out his identity...jail.' Cassie reflects; 'My fault, bringing him... I just have to stake my claim. It's the only way to deal with these nobles.'
Cassie boldly strides upto him, pushing past the women like they shouldn't be there. She clasps a hand to his buttock; "Ladies, I have to dance with my date. You may get you're chance later. If you'll excuse him, he has pressing business." The French dancer takes his hand and presses it to her pert derrière, leaning into him she dances away.
Looking into his eyes, he can see the sadness and that it seemed to take something out of her to do that. She puts on a melancholic smile as she removes her hand. Still they whirl around the dance floor; she manoeuvres him so it appears he's leading the dance with putting nary a step wrong.
As the lights rise and the clockwork maître d informs every one of the intermission, Drake rises and turns...only to realize his tall partner seems to have disappeared into the shadows.
Drake's eyebrows raise at the thought of such an imposing figure managing to become so incognito...
Ysillith was having a hard time keeping her eyes open and her mind upon her current task. Not that her herd of shiny's were anything to worry about. With the whole pack of 'em scattered all across the theater and Grandmother's horns knew where else an absent thought wondered if she'd be going back to the airship, the lone survivor of any probable ruckus and taking the thing off to pillage and plunder...
She quashes down the idle dream, even as her eyes snap open. Instincts have adrenaline rushing through her system, blood beginning to thunder in her veins. Some of the servants actions and motions were...odd.
"Here....I know when I'm bein' stalked..." She half informs her companion, her thoughts far more focused upon the actions of those who've attracted her awareness.
"♫ ♪ Some body wants to plaaaay ♪ ♫"
A life-time of hunting, fighting, raiding and worse honing her already impressive preternatural reflexes into the aggressive, Satyxian leader she was today. She shifted up straighter, no sudden motions nor movements.
Slipping our from behind the curtain of the booth she's been stuck in with Drake Ysillith's first thought is of counter stalking. Her eyes glance left and right along the corridor, even as she's taking a leather strap from within one of the pockets of her voluminous coat. She noes something about the architecture of the place they're in and a smile spreads across her face.
*Bront tugged and adjusted the stiff starch collar strangling him for the umpteenth time, even as he deftly balanced the tray of wine glasses with his other hand as he padded silken quietly along the silent corridors behind the booths. Ostensibly one of the many minions who's tasks it happened to be to keep the soft, weak, mewling...
He smothers the rage as again as the hall's coloured steam-lights fitfully begin to rise. His eyes blinking slightly from beneath beetle brows. As his hulking, six foot frame comes around the crescent of the corridor's curve and his surprisingly graceful steps bring deliver him to the place of his targets.
Though he squints for a moment, something still hidden partially by the fading gloom, the motion over before he could resolve it, he stops near to where those he'd been told to 'observe' would be emerging, trying to blend in with the other invisible servants, as a rakish figure wanders out from behind the booth's curtains.
Bront's eyes fade into the 'middle' distance, the better to not alert his mark, as he watches the man through his peripheral vision...
- Drake emerges from the booth, looking left and right and absently reaching out to take another glass of the wonderful vintage the Theater has on offer.
*Strange...* He muses to himself as he looks about along the empty hallway, *Ah well...perhaps she has retired to powder her nose?* The very thought of the Amazon being so lady like bringing a chuckle to his throat, he wanders off with the beginnings of the rest of the crowd towards the foyer.
Bront turns, his tray slowly emptying as he too moves along in the wake of one of his targets.
Ralph smiles towards Cassie with relief when he sees her come over, and jumps a bit when she grabs him, that was a little unexpected, although not as unexpected as when she puts his hand on her behind. Moving into the dance with his hand where it probably shouldn't be.
As he continues the dance with Cassie Ralph moves his hand to the small of her back in a more appropriate dance position he also sees her sad look, and gently pulls her in a little closer. "Minx tank ya... really. dem dames 're nuts, an' I couln't figure how ta tell dem ta put an egg in deir shoe and beat it. But... why da long face? Yer eyes're plenny nice eider way but where's da joyful spa'kle?" He hesitates a bit not sure what's wrong "Y'ain't gots ta dance wit me if it makes ya sad... jus' don' let dem crazy dames at me... well dat one wuz kinda cute, maybe she'd take us boat ta her box." He teases hoping for a good reaction. As they continue the dance Cassie would probably realize she doesn't need to make it appear as if he's leading Ralph apparently the little street rat knows how to dance.
Cassie spinning around the floor with the light music in the background; "Just memories. Memories." she adds her voice tight, before volunteering. "I used to live by the lakes, in France."
The fluidity of Ralphs motion on the dance-floor slowly enables Cassie to regain her equilibrium, so much so that his quip elicits a small genuine smile. "Oh, I bet you would like that Squirrel. Snuggling to a pair of ladies in a dark room." She sighs softly.
"You are a good man." She spins around the floor.
"Your coach is ready, Lady Massri," the footman said, bowing. The dresser finished the last few ties and hooks and draped the stole across Rashida's shoulders. Rashida handed her a coin and swept out past the footman, down the rattling elevator, and out of the front doors of the Grand to her waiting ride, ignoring the quiet that fell in the busy lobby and the stares that followed her progress.
The slender man in black wanders softly through the crowded entry hall of the opera house, sipping bubbly from a tall flute and observing the interplay of people in the lobby. A swift glare at any who approach too close warns them off effectively, though they do not remember why they turned away from the dapper fellow who fades entirely from their mind in a few minutes.
A rising murmur of voices from the doors alerts him to some development out of doors. He glides through the open doors in time to see the gaudy golden chariot of the Massris pull up before the long stairway, drawn by two golden lions, steam snorting from their nostrils to clear the way through the crowds if their fierce roars do not. The murmur grows as the occupant of the chariot descends and glides up the stairs, face set and gaze apparently looking through the people before her, who part like water. The 'goddess', resplendent in a cloth-of-gold gown, golden headdress representing a single ostrich feather, and twin golden serpents twined on her arms, is beautiful - even he must admit that. But people had no business being gods. The fortune spent on her acoutrements would be better used feeding and clothing the struggling populace. He slips out the door and hails the nearest hansom cab, its ancient mechanical horse wheezing and clanking, and gives the order to drive to the Grand Hotel. It was time to get to work.
Rashida holds the front of the gown with one hand, keeping it from being underfoot as she sweeps up the stairs. Wouldn't do for a divine grand entrance to be spoiled by a pratfall, would it? The attending helmetcat boldly asks for her ticket. She nearly has to focus her eyes on it, but is saved by the swift appearance of Frau Gretel Stuptsmann. "My dear Puck, this is Lady Rashida Massri of the Massri clan. She will be sitting in her family's reserved box, of course! Lady Massri, if you would... these go on your clothing... er, to be pinned on..." The doughty Frau gingerly reaches forward with pins in the shape of a 'D' and a 'G', but stops short of touching Rashida when she receives a frosty look and tiny frown from the divine scion. "Er, yes, well... we'll bring it along, shall we? It could also go on your purse or your... this way, please, Lady Massri. We're so glad you could grace our little performance with your presence! Always a pleasure. Your Clan is such a great patron of the arts."
Blathering on in like manner, she leads the golden gowned figure through the crowds, up the grand staircase, and into the Massri box, two ushers preceding them to push aside the mundane patrons. "Lady Massri, you could have used your private entrance you know," Frau Stuptsmann blathers, apparently entirely ignored by Rashida. Halfway up the stairs, the divine one pauses and turns back to look down upon the occupants of the atrium, train of her dress flowing down the scarlet-carpeted stairs like a waterfall of molten gold across a field of blood. Though she does not appear to recognize anyone, as her eyes fall upon Cassie, she gives the dancing Frenchwoman the barest of winks, then turns her impassive face forward and proceeds up the steps in the wake of the proprietress.
Rashida sits upright and alone in the luxurious, throne-like chair of the Massri's private box, flanked by a servant and a burly usher, ignoring the spotlight trained on her for the duration of the intermission. She stares straight ahead, seemingly uninterested in anything to do with the opera or the opera house or the city itself, for that matter. Frau Stuptsmann, after waffling about for a few more moments, lays the D&G pin on the arm of the throne near her and exits, closing the door behind her and bruiting about her triumph through the halls behind the box seats.
As Drake meanders through the corridors, a breathless young lady approaches him with a tray containing a single glass. "Oh, Mr. Drake... here, I brought this for you. I've been a huge fan, huge fan! I hope you like this. I swiped it specially from the best stocks." She hands him the glass, which is fragrant and very strong-smelling, then sets her tray aside. "I had this made." She opens a locket and shows him the contents - his portrait on one side, hers on the other, looking radiant with her tilted green eyes and pale red hair.
"Not to be creepy, but would you... could you... sign an autograph for me?" she breathes, holding out a pen and pulling her uniform down to expose even more cleavage, offering the curved surfaces to him to sign.
In the wake of the divine vessel's grandiose entrance, the two golden lions let out one last bellow before moving again, drawing the chariot away from the opera house. With the Massri herself out of sight, the crowd's attention follows the outrageously extravagant vehicle all the way down the road, their intrigue only further fueling their persistent gossip. Perhaps that is why it is perfectly reasonable that it takes them a moment to realize that there was in fact another late arrival.
The heavy thud of a mechanical foot against cobblestone alerts the masses to the presence of a second vehicle on the premises. To say that the walker is not nearly as dramatic-looking as the chariot would be a vast understatement. As opposed to the other’s overabundance of gold, the mecha-carriage is sleek and jet-black, each of its four limbs moving in concert with unerring efficiency. The deceptively lightweight armored plates shift with each movement, offering only those with the keenest of sight a glimpse at the blue wisps flowing between the joints, the glow of spirit energy powering the machine. The carriage itself proves to be an elegant yet strangely cetacean vessel, the smooth, dark panels around it concealing any and all moving parts. And all the while, an inexplicable blur seems to envelop the space around the vehicle, right until it comes to a halt at the foot of the stairs, stooping down to gently lower the carriage to ground level.
The crowds watch with anticipation as a careful seam opens along the side of the carriage, a section of the curvaceous structure then sliding away, finally revealing the interior. From out of the mecha-carriage steps a tall man dressed in a resplendent military uniform, an abundance of honor medals hanging from his breast. An elegant officer’s sword rests at his side, a lasting symbol of authority from days long past. The dark gentleman is clearly well past his prime and is by no means handsome, yet his confident visage and the contrasting grays in his hair behold a strange allure. Having already gone pale from the Massri’s sudden arrival, the usher on duty is practically in a panic as he scrambles to greet him.
“B-brigadier General Rabek Darkov! We were not expecting you, tonight!” he states plainly, his eyes darting back and forth between the man’s face and sword, as though he would cut him down right there. When Darkov does not answer immediately, the usher goes on, as men of his stature typically do in such a situation. “It is an honor to have a war hero such as yourself grace our opera house with your presence!” The typical drivel said to any of arrivals of significance.
Ignoring the usher completely, Darkov turns and holds his hand out to the still-open carriage. From the shadows within emerges a slender, delicate gloved hand, which gracefully clasps onto the former military man’s own. From out of the vehicle comes a pale, raven-haired woman, dressed in what seems to be nothing more than a simple black evening gown. In stark contrast to her dark hair and dress however, is the white glint of her voluminous fur coat, easily the centerpiece of her outfit tonight. In spite of the needlessness of such excess, even on a cool night by the lake, the woman seems perfectly comfortable in the ridiculous garment. Not at all befitting of royalty – and yet there she was. She takes a moment to look amongst the crowd, as though to search for a being worthy of her attention. To no surprise to her at all, she finds none. A soft smile on her lips, she links her arm around Darkov’s, leaning into his shoulder ever so slightly. He offers a brief grin of satisfaction before looking to the disbelieving usher, practically paralyzed by their combined eminence.
“We are not to be disturbed under any circumstances,” he says to him with a stern, commanding voice. Though he directs this to the usher, his words are carried out throughout the entire crowd, silencing them as though their very lives were at stake. Pouring with sweat, the poor man merely nods in response, before stepping away from the opulent duo. Having raised a gloved hand to her mouth, she lets out a ladylike giggle that one might dare to call almost childish in nature. When the silence persists, Darkov takes his cue and escorts his companion up the grand stairwell, leaning in ever so slightly.
“It would seem that we made it in time for the second act, your Highness,” he whispers into her ear, earning a far less restrained laugh from her.
“That is the one he dies in, correct?” she asks as they enter the foyer, a gleam of excitement in her eyes, “That part is my favorite…”
Drake's brow lifts as the young woman hands him the glass but he does not drink it. He simply smiles and takes the pen, signing his name upon her ample bosom and smiles at her.
"That is a pretty locket. I am sure ... oh..." He brought the glass to his lips then pointed with his hand to one of the pictures on the wall to make her look that way as he let the contents of the drink out into a vase with flowers in it while hiding what he was doing from others, "That picture was made by one of my mother's best friends. Do you know of Duke Garachane? He was famous at the pictures he made and this was put up for when I did my acting as Ramoray."
He rambles on pretending to have drunk the drink and smiling at her the whole time while still watching out for anyone he knew.
The girl closes her eyes and holds her breath as Drake writes, then gazes at him with worship shining in her eyes, lips parted breathlessly at her idol speaking to her, while she quickly tugs her dress front up over his signature. It's uncertain whether she actually comprehends what he said. Fortunately for him, she quickly picks up her tray and curtsies.
"I'm so sorry, I have to get back to work or I'll be in such trouble. Thanks very much. It's such an honor to meet you, Mr. Khoth... Lord Khoth... Joey!" She turns and bounces off to refill her tray. She slips into a side room of the atrium, where several dancers are whirling together to lilting strains from a chamber orchestra playing popular dance tunes. As she hands drinks around, she keeps her eyes on one particular couple, stopping only to watch the Massri and the Brigadier General enter. It is hard to tell whether her eyes are more drawn to Ralph or Cassie.
Standing upon the narrow cat-walk which is suspended by cables and rods from the ceiling of the corridor, itself cleverly hidden within the false ceiling which is the gilded facade that is all the theater patron's notice when they deign to look up at all, the figure stops and looks down.
Peering through the many delicate vents and gratings, which are all part of the filigree of many panels and decorations which add to the visual richness of the theater's experience, the figure pauses as it watches the interactions between the dashing, dark haired nobleman and the fawning 'groupy' which has cornered him.
The watching, lurking figure smirks at the noble-mans deft disposal of the drink as he distracts the vapid wench. The maid simpers for a short while longer before fumbling about with a curtsy and skipping off. With deft strides the figure clinging in the rafters, moves off following her motions. Flitting from vent to grating to loose panel with ease.
Cassie dancing is interrupted by the Golden figure upon the long-stair, she slides to a stop. Barely keeping from gawping with her mouth open, it takes all the French-woman’s force of will. "Magnifique." she whispers to Ralph clearly in awe.
The small wink, lifts her spirits and makes her forget the melancholy of the past, at least for the present. Her arm around the handsome man squeezes in happiness. 'She's alive and she's radiant! I wish I could say hello, but to do so would endanger us....Politics!' she pshaws.
With the excitement of the entrance, her bosom is heaving then suddenly stops at the next arrival. The thud makes her jump and she watches the vehicle break open; "Darkov!" she exclaims with a hiss putting her hand to her recovering side.
Ralph'll notice her whole stance changes to one ready to act. Subtle shift of her hips and shoulders, her leg instinctively juts forward ready to draw a pistol that isn't there. Keeping her eyes intently upon the duo, never blinking, she tries to remember where she had seen the woman before. 'Princess....Princess....'
Adrenaline flows through her system for quite a different reason.
Ralph laughs softly as he dances in close with Cassie "Well I tink dat's da first time a dame e'er told me I wuz a good man cuz I tried ta get her ta come snug'lin in da dark wit anodder g'rl, but tanks."
He looks over towards Rashida when he hears Cassie's whispered awe "Wow, y'ain't kiddin dere sweethart, dat is one smokin hoity toity." it's probably good that none other than Cassie can hear him refer to one of the Massri clan as a smoking hoity toity let alone the suggestion that follows "Ferget dat udder dame hows about we join 'er fer some snug'lin in da dark?"
Unfortunately the moment is short lived when Ralph feels Cassie's whole demeanor change. He takes a quick glance towards the man when she hisses his name, then looks back towards Cassie getting ready to move into action himself. "Who dat?"
The weary noble's legs freeze at the sight of the mercenary leader. His grip on his cane tightens, a vivid image of himself running the man through on the spot fleeting through his mind. It was him! he thinks angrily, twisting the tip of his cane into the ground, If he had not taken over my ship, then I... As the crowds clear out of the way, Vorian's mere glimpse at Darkov becomes more, the entire picture becoming abundantly clear. His eyes fall upon the beauty accompanying the Brigadier General, apprehension soon overcoming his rage.
Alexia Veritas! he realizes in a stupor, stepping back in hesitation. Any thoughts of killing the apparent 'war hero' were gone in an instant. Princess of Iceland, president of the largest geothermal power company on the planet... and a member of the League of Aristocracy! A thousand questions race through his mind, the circumstances of their sudden arrival having thrown him off guard completely.
Watching as the pair make their way to the ticket taker, Vorian slips through the crowds, quickly finding Cassie and Squirrel in its midst. Slipping beside them, he speaks with a hushed tone, straining to push his panic and doubts away.
"This is not good at all. What in blazes could he be doing here?"
Drake watches the waitress rush off and the fact that she keeps watching Cassie and Squirrel. He is not happy about that at all and stands off to the side in a dark corner, watching and waiting. He could almost taste something going on as his eyes take in the scene that unfolds with Vorian going over to Cassie and also the entrances which has caused this.
He moves slowly out of the dark feeling strangely exposed in the crowd and slaloms people ever so easily as he gets closer to his group. The doctor stops as he considers his movements then slowly angles another direction looking out for anything suspicious including his missing date.
It takes time to get to Squirrel's side and he watches behind them, "Any plans? I feel trouble."
|Clousuk, Kobold Investigator|
Richard knew the watchers hadn't made their move because he and Clousuk were right smack in the middle of the less wealthy merchants and commoners who had saved for the treat of the opera. So when the curtain fell for intermission, he was wary. Of course, Clousuk being unaware bolted for the exit almost before anyone else could even stand.
The common folk were much more accustomed to kobolds, so their cries of astonishment were more from Clousuk's insensitive dash past their seats as the League Agent rudely scrambled past them, tailing jostling those he whipped past.
"Clousuk!" Richard stage whispered in vain for the creature was already in the aisle. Sighing in frustration, Richard began his own jostling to the sound of much cursing.
Clousuk ran ahead and managed to catch a glimpse of Lady Cassandra DuSollier walking out onto the balcony. He ducked behind a colorsteam pipe to observe the aristocrat as she stared wistfully out upon the lake. He let out a low hiss when the Tesla Field drops for late arrivals and early departures. Clousuk smells something...foul now that the odor of electricity and ozone has started to dissipate. It's somehow familiar.
Clousuk snaps out of his reverie when Cassandra returns to the opera house interior and steals her date back from a gaggle of some of the more disreputable upper class ladies. He just couldn't understand humans' silly mating games. It certainly seemed that most of human behavior was pretty much a pretense for reaching the point where enough pretense had elapsed for mating to be "justified". Clousuk didn't understand why humans just didn't get on with it.
"Sacré Bleu!" Clousuk exclaims when Lady Rashida Massri enters the opera house. For a human female, there was no doubt about the beauty of her face and body's artistic lines. While not attracted to her in a familiar way, even Clousuk could understand that the noble was indeed astonishingly beautiful.
Clousuk half turns to the figure coming up behind him. "Richard...we have no evidence zat DuSollier is the Zpirit Girl Zief, so for now I zink we should keep our eyez on ze ones most likely to be zieved from. Non? Richard? Richard?" Clousuk turns fully.
But it wasn't Richard.