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Kael watched the thin woman intently as she went to work. [+forestgreen “I've heard of it, but I can't say I've ever tried one.”] He knew they were somewhat comparable to a long island ice tea, though it seemed Eris was determined to make it twice as dangerous with how she was pouring. That was fine by him, in fact, he would go so far as to say it was perfect, especially regarding the current situation. She toasted the drinks completion with a shot of her own. Holding his brimming cup out to her the ringing of glass sounded and they drank. Not to be completely outdone by the nymph he gulped down a couple mouthfuls of the bright blue concoction. It was definitely strong, but not unbearable so. The taste was still fine by his standards, though he could definitely tell he was going to be on the floor if he had too many of these. [+forestgreen “Perfect, I'll be having a merry time before I know it.”] He flashed a white smile her way before glancing back at Vanna and Dahlia. [+forestgreen “But it looks as though they are in the middle of something. I wouldn't want to interrupt.”] Still smirking a bit he feigned dejectedness at being temporarily tossed to the side.
Shuffling on his feet a bit, he made himself comfortable there with her. Kael was thankful for the reprieve and doubly so for the company. There was no telling how long it would last, but that was fine. He was prepared to spend an evening with Vanna so she could get it out of her system early on in their stay. She would likely be quickly bored with him anyway. But for now he had the pleasure of being able to focus on Eris who was in full drinking mode. No doubt that would be hitting him shortly as well. So for now, while he still had his head about him. Kael would hit a heavier topic before they inevitably fell into silliness. [+forestgreen “These last few days have been... a lot. How are you doing?”] His tone was different before as he inquired after her. A clear and sincere sense of concern present in his voice.
Dahlia was excited to see Vanna perk up at her presence. It made her feel like she wasn't being a complete bother, even though that was her intention in a way. Somehow, the human woman hadn't expected the demon to chose truth. She took a moment to thoughtfully mull over all the questions she could ask with a long humming sound that indicated what she was up to. [+mediumvioletred “Discluding yourself,”] she chose to throw that in there for good measure. [+mediumvioletred “Who is the most interesting person you've ever met?”] The oracle was genuinely curious to know. Vanna, Gaius, and Kael were all probably older than she could imagine, so they must have met lots of interesting people, or supernatural beings.
It was also a relatively PG question to start out with. Drunk as she was, it was not likely that would last long though. Truth and dare was made for digging up raunchy secrets and embarrassing the crap out of your friends. That would come quickly too with just the two of them. Her dark eyes flashed over to Gaius, should she invite him too to make it more interesting? Dahlia hadn't realized how intently he was watching them, nor did she really pick up on it now. She just smiled over at him before deciding against pulling him over. He looked comfortable and having a larger audience for her inevitable sloppy doom was maybe not the smartest thing ever, even if it did delay it a skosh. So, looking back to his sister she waited for an answer.
Eris was glad to hear that Dahlia would be sharing a room with her. This place was massive, and if Eris was being honest, she missed their small apartment. Dahlia and Eris spent the next few shots discussing what unsavory favor Gaius might have agreed to, and reflecting back on the start of their story and how they spiraled down to this point. Eris still couldn’t shake that regardless of how far off track they felt they had gone, they were still tied to the original events that started this. The missing people in Hell’s Kitchen, the discovery of Kara Clyatt’s ties to Hades, and that the portal token was more than a key to the underworld... it [i housed] Hades himself. Something was moving in the shadows, and Eris would wager Gaius and Kael knew more than they had so far revealed... Gaius more than Kael.
Eris was struck from going deeper into her own thoughts when Dahlia proclaimed they have fun this night. Eris smirked and raised another shot in agreement and threw it down the hatch.
[+green “Sorry to interrupt.”] Kael arrived, startling Eris for a moment and quickly tried to steady herself. She had done several shots back to back, and it was about to crash over her like a tidal wave. Kael asked for a stronger drink, and his eyes drifted back over towards Vanna who sat tonguing the top of her straw. Eris wrinkled her nose, her facial expression clearly conveying how grossed out by Vanna’s antics she was. Dahlia chimed in quickly, offering Eris’ services, and took off to keep the demoness occupied.
Eris watched Dahlia run off, slightly mortified for herself and her friend. The sound of Kael’s chuckle and his subsequent smile had Eris feeling suddenly very flush. She quickly looked down at the bar before her when he asked her suggestion. She thought for a moment looking at what was available and eventually picked up a bottle of clear rum. She gave him a look and reached for a glass.
[#b22222 “Ever heard of an Adios Motherfucker?”] She reached for several other bottles of liquor. Rum, Tequila, vodka, gin, sour mix, and blue curaçao... she mixed it all together and gave it a quick shake in the shaker. [#b22222 “It’s been nice knowing you,”] Eris teased pouring the drink in a highball glass and set it before him, topping it off with sprite. After he took his first drink, Eris couldn’t stop the grin that spread across her face. [#b22222 “I can’t promise it will make her more appealing when you finish it, but that should break down your demonic tolerance. I am a shots girl myself,”] Eris said plainly and reached for her shot glass, and poured herself another shot of Patron. She lifted her glass, but before she took her shot, she clinked glasses with Kael.
GAIUS hadn’t moved from his spot, but did continue to drink from the bottle. He was content to sit and listen to everyone else, he wasn’t interested in stopping his sister from pawing at Kael. It would be a minor inconvenience for Kael in the long run, and she was respectful enough to comply if he said ‘No’.
As it was Gaius watched Kael moved across the room towards Eris and Dahlia. Seeing the way Kael smiled at Eris and how she seemed to be reacting, Gaius had to steel a glance at his sister. She had seen it too and her lips were pursed in thought. It all melted away, however, when Dahlia offered herself as a replacement to Kael. Vanna was no longer so displeased. Gaius tensed, his hearing poised to eavesdrop as best he could. In a show to quell his tension he swigged more of the decadent whiskey and delighted in its familiar burn.
VANNA was mildly displeased to see Kael leave her, and it was only mild because she also wasn’t surprised. What did surprise Vanna was the blush on the Maenad’s cheeks. The couch suddenly moved beside her and she looked over to see that Dahlia had come to sit with her instead. Unexpected but delightfully welcomed. Dahlia was seated to face her, so Vanna turned to match and tilted her head at Dahlia’s question.
[+pink “Oh you want to play a game!”] Vanna chimed, and spared a quick cunning glance to her brother. She chuckled to herself, he was practically sweating already!
[+pink “I’ll bite!”] her tinkling high pitched voice played the field of excitement. [+pink “I do love a good game. Alright, I choose Truth. Ask me anything!”] Truth now, but eventually it would be time for a Dare.
Hearing the clinking of glass and the shaking of ice, Kael opened an eye to peek over at the others through the side of his glasses. He heard they got ahold of some liquor, he just hadn’t been expecting a whole bar. It made him smile, though perhaps it wasn’t the wisest of ideas to be drinking when they were all waiting for the next step of their plan. Still, when Eris offered him a drink, he couldn’t help but accept. [+forestgreen “Sure, I’ll take one.”] Her second question brought an airy laugh out of him. [+forestgreen “We can, it just takes a little more to take effect.”] He placed emphasis on little, to make it clear he was understating it. [+forestgreen “We’ve got our own brand of stronger stuff that get’s us there quicker, but this will work just as well.”] He gave the explanation as he stood and came over to join the others. However, Kael was not the only one to join. Vanna came swooping on in to crash the christening of the night. It was her house, so that was probably just as well, but he could tell that Eris was not thrilled at her sudden entrance.
On the announcement that they would be staying, Kael was glad to hear that some sort of agreement was made, though he wasn’t so sure about staying here. Objectively, it was a good place to be. A thoroughly fortified stronghold set up by one of the deadly sins. There was every luxury a prideful being could ever want, and she just happened to be so enamored by her brother that they needn’t worry about being betrayed… however the snake was still iffy. There were too many strong personalities in this house. They were bound to butt heads. But what did he know, maybe they would all fall into line and everything would be just peachy? He was probably just worrying too much.
Trying to shake the uneasiness, the red-eyed man lifted his glass to the others and took his shot as they did. It was a show of solidarity that he decided not to repeat. He was going to plop himself right back where he had been sitting before, but unlike his friend he did so without a bottle. Perhaps he would have felt better to loosen up and enjoy the atmosphere, but for now he was content to sit back and watch the others have fun, which was more entertaining than it sounded. Eris was throwing back shots like they were juice and Dahlia was right behind her valiantly trying to keep up, but eventually found a more manageable pace for herself.
In all this observing, he was glad to see the maenad start to perk up some. She seemed more herself. And while it might have just been temporary with all the booze in her system, it was good to know she was still in there somewhere. He’d had his doubts at first, and he felt somewhat guilty about it. But now he was able to feel a touch more at ease. His bright gaze followed her, he was definitely staring, and he even had a bit of a smile on his face. No one seemed to be paying him any mind though, so it was fine. That was, until Vanna called to him and sort of brought him back from his reverie.
Holding up his hand in an apologetic way, his smile turned to the demoness, but it wasn’t quite the same. [+forestgreen “I’m afraid I’m boring over here, I haven’t been keeping up with all of you.”] He thought that might dissuade her without actually saying he didn’t want to be her company for the night, but it seemed she was unshakable as she snatched up some drinks and headed his way. What Kael didn’t expect was her to plant herself firmly in his lap. Vanna was usually playfully flirty with him, however this was to a different degree entirely.
Managing to keep a strained smile, he took the drink. [+forestgreen “…I guess that fixes the problem. Thank you.”] It took a second for him to relax, though saying he was relaxed was a stretch. He went along with her conversation, as it turned this way and that. She really had a lot to say, but Kael wasn’t mad about it. It stopped him from having to actually entertain her, which he had little doubt he would fail to do without ample flattery. Plus, even if he was sort of being forced into this situation he could still try and make the best of it. And therefore he was going through his drink relatively quickly. Letting the remainder mingle with the ice for a little bit, he finally put it all down and decided it was time for another.
Standing, the demon took Vanna right with him. [+forestgreen “Excuse me…”] He had her about the waist so she was secure as he spun her playfully around and placed her in gently the spot he just vacated. [+forestgreen “I’m off to get another drink.”] Kael shook the glass to indicate it was empty. [+forestgreen “I’m behind after all. I’ll be right back.”] And with that he had managed to escape for a short break.
Dahlia knew when Eris wanted a drink it usually meant they were in for a night. And just as she expected they were taking the second shot before she could even feel the first one. This was gonna be a doozy. She knew she wasn’t exactly expected to keep pace with her friend, but she did like to try. An attempt at solidarity, however, while she still had a clear mind she backed off from that endeavor. That didn’t last long though. The vodka hit her like a ton of bricks. Like Eris, her mood was lifted. They were chatty and the taller of the two was even corrigible with their hostess. Well, until she split off from them to spend some time with Kael. She didn’t seem too pleased about that, but that was to be expected. Dahlia was more than happy to help distract her for now.
[+mediumvioletred “Agreed. I don’t want to be alone.”] Not if they could help it. Being split up on the island, despite being mad at the time, was a bad time. And now, after so many strange and traumatic things happened, they needed to be there to support one another.
Dahlia hadn’t noticed Gaius’ staring, but she leaned in when her friend began whispering. Nodding, she was also curious what kind of deal the siblings had struck up, probably something basically unfathomable to her mortal mind. She felt bad to be the cause of it as well, but Dahlia didn’t see any way out of it. [+mediumvioletred “It’s still a story, just not one we can share…”] Her eyes fell to the floor. It was disappointing, but she felt worse for Eris. This was her passion. [+mediumvioletred “It got out of hand so fast, I don’t think there was anything we could have done to stop it.”] Or anything now that could untangle them from it. [+mediumvioletred “I feel bad too… but I don’t know what choice we have.”] While she wouldn’t say it aloud, they wouldn’t make it on their own. It was too dangerous with how things were. The dark eyed woman could only hope that things would change and they would be able to stand on their own again. And that they could find someway to repay Kael and Gaius for everything they’d done.
She was kinda starting to get in her own head when the maenad called back to the shots she poured. Looking back up, Dahlia smiled. [+mediumvioletred “Yeah, at least there’s that.”] Taking the one meant for her, she threw it back with a shiver. [+mediumvioletred “Besides, we have forever to be down about all this. We should have fun tonight.”] While they were someplace safe enough to do it, not to mention all the alcohol was free.
[+forestgreen “Sorry to interrupt.”] Kael cut into their whispering with an empty glass in hand. He didn’t seem all that sorry though. [+forestgreen “I was hoping to get another drink. Preferably something strong and… convoluted.”] With a flick of his red eyes back to where Vanna sat, it was a clear cry for an excuse to get away from her for any meaningful length of time. His voice was low enough to where he wouldn’t be overheard outside of their small circle, but his tone was not subtle. Even the fairly drunken Dahlia caught on. And she was kind of excited at the idea. This is exactly what Eris needed. Some quality flirt time. There was just one big problem. Glancing over at Vanna it looked like she was already antsy. No doubt she would follow soon behind Kael if he was gone too long. They needed a distraction for her, which is where Dahlia wing-woman extraordinaire came in. At least, that was what she was gonna try for. Seemed like Vanity was looking for a different kind of attention, but it was worth a shot.
[+mediumvioletred “Eris can do that! She can make just about anything. You know a bunch of those crazy mixed drinks, don’t you?”] Her smile turned encouraging as she looked up at her friend. They could talk later, like they said, they’d be bunking together. There would be plenty of time. [+mediumvioletred “I’m gonna go keep Vanna company, she got left over there by herself.”] Was it a flawlessly smooth transition? No. Did drunk Dahlia think she was clever for putting together this little plan? Yes.
Seeing the wheels turn in Dahlia’s head, Kael could have laughed, but he let her go about her thinking in peace, nodding her a goodbye as she left. Looking back to Eris he smiled, humored. [+forestgreen “Alright, maestro. What would you recommend?”]
Leaving those two to whatever conversation they ended up having, the human woman made her way over to the couch. She plopped herself on the cushion next to Vanna, sitting so that she faced the demoness. The big bubbly smile from before persisted on her face. [+mediumvioletred “Vanna, truth or dare?”] It was a game, so Dahlia thought it might hold her attention a little longer than a normal conversation, even if it was a little risky… She planned to be playing straight truths on her side. Dahlia didn’t want to learn what a demon considered a dare.
Lemon Drop? Why wasn’t she surprised to hear Dahlia ask for such a shot? It was a pain in the ass to make, and Dahlia knew that, but Eris could never deny her and with a winsome grin she nodded and obliged. The Liquor cart that had been brought over was a fully stocked bar, with cut up fruits, veggies, and even things such as simple syrup, salt, and much needed sugar. Eris would take the distraction, and set to work mixing up a batch of shots for them.
Normally Eris would have moved quickly, but this time she moved slower, taking her time. She sugared the lemons, and the rims of the shot glasses. Filled the shaker with ice and added her needed ingredients.
[#b22222 “Hey Kael, do you want a shot? Can demons even get drunk?”] She asked shaking the shaker over her shoulder and moving to pour the shots.
It was then Gaius and Vanna returned to the room. Gaius looked tired, but Vanna was lively and delighted at the sight of the liquor tray.
[+pink “Oh drinks! Yes! Let’s drink the night away! I think we could all use it. Gaius told me everything about what you’ve been through. Oh, you poor thing,”] Vanna swooned to Dahlia. Eris was thankful she had made a large batch of the shots, as she was able to pour enough for everyone.
[+gold “We’re going to stay here for a while, regroup and plan our next move. So go ahead and drink up…”] Gaius seemed distracted, and instead of reaching for a shot, he simply grabbed a full bottle of Hennessy and moved to sit in a large armchair. Eris frowned over at Gaius and then glanced over at Dahlia.
[#b22222 “Bottoms up, I guess,”] Eris said and raised her glass, Vanna was grinning ear to ear and raised her own glass as well.
[+pinks “Cheers, bitches!”] Eris stilled and watched as Vanna did her shot, and quickly followed suit. It was odd to know that this seemingly bubbly, saccharine sweet individual was a Deadly Sin and Lord of Demons, or rather… Lady of Demons.
One shot quickly became three, then five, and before Eris knew it she was feeling rather good. It numbed the guilt, the uncertainty, it took away the fear, and for a little while at least Eris could be her usual carefree self. She stayed close to the liquor, taking shots, and indulging their new host by making any cocktail she requested.
[+pink Oh I’ve never had a personal Bartender before. This is so nice. Gaius! I’m so glad you brought your friends! I’m going to have to get my own bartender too. Kael, come sit with me and drink with me. You’ve been messing with that silly snake all night. I want some of your attention too!”] She pouted seductively at him. When Kael tried to refuse Vanna simply grinned and took two drinks from Eris and over to Kael where she seated herself right in his lap and handed him a drink. [+pink “I insist, my dear Kael. Don’t be so stingy with your affections. Like Gaius said, you’re going to be here for a while… might as well get comfortable.”]
Eris looked over her shoulder to Vanna and Kael, but seeing those two made her irrationally upset. So she looked away and towards Dahlia, pouring another set of shots for them and sighing. [#b22222 “I don’t know where we’re sleeping, but… I’d feel a lot better if we shared a room.”] Dahlia seemed to agree, and Eris nodded looking about the room again, and spotted Gaius staring at them from across the room. She gave a sideways glance to Dahlia and then leaned in close, her voice dropping to a whisper. [#b22222 “I wonder what Gaius and his sister talked about. What favor he had to agree to… I’ve been wondering if we should keep with them? I feel bad putting them in danger over protecting us. It wasn’t supposed to be like this… it was just supposed to be a story…”] Eris frowned and quickly took another shot, her face twisting into one of frustration. Looking at her shot glass, her eyes were turning glassy with drunkenness, and she shamelessly poured another shot, this time it was simply straight vodka. [#b22222 “At least there’s alcohol to help cope with the bullshit,”]
After Kael became more active to snag a couple bites of food, Eve decided to poke her head out. The animal curiously eyed the world around them. Her surroundings had changed a great deal since she left her tank. But as far as the man who held her could tell; she didn’t seem to mind. His guess was that between himself and Eris, the little ball python was cared for enough to be at ease. And from the way that beady black gaze followed his nigiri, she was obviously comfortable enough to try and beg food off of him. It was probably too late to demand any sort of respect, so he sighed and quietly tried to reason with her. [+forestgreen “No, you can’t have fish.”] The man shook his head, near iridescent hair glinting in the light as he did. [+forestgreen “No, not even a little bit.”] His voice remained a whisper, not wanting to be caught arguing with a juvenile. [+forestgreen “[i I] am not a ball python, I get to eat what I want... Besides, you just ate.”] He recalled feeding her a day or two ago back at the apartment. And that seemed to be the end of it. Well, for the most part. There was a bit of a tantrum being had as Eve wriggled her way up the side of his head. She was persistently nosing her way between his glasses and face, trying to remove them as a sign of protest. Sighing again, he removed them himself. It would be less of a pain than continually trying to fix them. At least until the snake decided she was done. Until then he would have a seat. Though, it was tempting to pawn her off on Eris. There was no way Eve would act up on the maenad like she was doing to him.
Sitting back, the demon closed his eyes. He wasn’t really tired per se, aside from mental exhaustion; this was just comfortable. However, in his stillness he couldn’t really help but overhear Eris’ and Dahlia’s conversation. Their concerns seemed to be on their friends back in the states. His eyes remained closed as he wondered where their conversation would lead. Really, Kael found it silly. They should be more worried about themselves. They were the ones in danger, but he supposed that was the demon in him.
To hear that Eris didn’t think it would do any good was disheartening, but to be honest Dahlia was half expecting that. All this magic and supernatural nonsense made everything confusing. Not to mention life had gotten a lot more stressful ever since they got mixed up in all this. What was one more thing to add to the pile? But as all this sort of swirled around her, the welcome distraction of food came into the picture. She was as gung-ho as the others to dig in. It really had been forever since they had good sushi. Asian cuisine was trendy in New York right now, so that meant it was expensive and they only got it as a treat. So, she savored it.
When the pair had had their fill, Eris turned to Dahlia. It looked as though she had something on her mind, but nothing came out. The short woman smiled at her all the same. The expression acting as a warm, encouraging gesture, and eventually she spoke, though it was not on a pleasant topic. [+mediumvioletred “Me too.”] She wanted to know how the others were getting along and to be able to let them know that they were okay. Or at the very least that they should stay out of it, Ross especially. He was nearly as nosy as Eris sometimes. [+mediumvioletred “My grandma is probably freaking out…”] That was a depressing thought. She was the last person Dahlia wanted to worry, but they were probably long passed that. And suddenly her wine-eyed friend’s idea of a drink didn’t sound all that bad.
Then as if this was the anticipated outcome, a member of the staff came around the doorway pushing a bar cart. How he had been able to do so silently with all that glass and metal atop it was a mystery lost on Dahlia. She just kind of blinked at the unexpectedness of it. [+mediumvioletred “Well, I suppose that takes care of that.”] It was better than getting caught snooping around looking for booze, so at least there was that.
Stepping forward to have a better look at what was there, the oracle didn’t know why she was surprised to see a collection of top shelf options and a stock of things to mix them with. Damn rich people… Still, this was for her benefit, so she couldn’t be too mad about it. Picking up a frosty bottle of vodka, the dark-eyed woman looked to her compatriot. [+mediumvioletred “Could you make me one of your lemon drops? You always get them just perfect.”] In all reality, it was probably because Eris knew her tastes and tailored it appropriately, but that was only a testament to her skill as a bartender.
Eris’s thoughts were interrupted as Dahlia came to sit beside her, the comforting warm aura she exuded helped to ease Eris unease. She gave a halfhearted smile towards her friend, as even this close contact showed a new facet to the situation. Eris could [i feel] Dahlia’s aura… was this what caused Gaius’ proverbial wrath to ease that night at the warehouse? Dahlia offered to cut Eris’ hair or braid it, and in response she let out a little laugh.
[#b22222 “Don’t bother… I think even if I cut it, it’s here to stay. Thank you though,”] Eris told her, and simply let her head rest against the chair until food arrived.
Their meal was a dazzling platter of assorted sushi. All of it smelling and looking so delicious that Eris realized how hungry she was. Hoping to improve her own mood, she tried to adopt Dahlia’s optimism and allowed herself to excited over the food.
[#b22222 “Oh wow! It’s been so long since we’ve had good sushi. I wonder if it’s as yummy as it looks…”] Eris reached for a roll drizzled in eel sauce and took a bite, only to grin and nod her head. Even Kael reached in for a bite to eat, and Eris looked over towards him as they ate in silence. She suddenly felt guilty for the burden she had caused him, and the mess they had all found themselves in due to that stupid medallion, and the story Eris had been so adamant they expose. So much for that… how on earth would she tell this story? Dahlia didn’t even have her camera. How did Kael truly feel about this situation? He'd been nothing but kind and had shown more compassion than most people she knew. She was at least glad to see that the sweet Eve was still with them, wrapped around Kael warmly under his shirt, her head laying gently on his shoulder. It brought a fleeting smile to her face.
His phone suddenly went off and Eris arched a brow at him, hoping for an explanation, but he said nothing and put it away. Eris tried not to dwell on it and focused instead on her sushi. She looked over to Dahlia and tried to make conversation about anything other than what happened to them, but there was one thing she knew for certain... she wanted a drink. a Strong one too. [#b22222 “I wonder how everyone back home is doing. Ross is probably freaking out, and I miss Mahlik’s weed…Who wants a drink? I need one after this mess. Gaius’ sister has to have alcohol around here somewhere.”]
[+pink “So what’s the real favor?”] Vanna asked as she and Gaius stepped outside onto the stone balcony that led down to a Venitian-styled garden, with towering spiraled trees, rose like swords from the ground. The garden was dimly lit by the moon and the lights of the house, but it made for a peaceful backdrop, and they were alone. Gaius frowned at nothing in particular, but snatched out a cigarette and snapped his fingers together to produce flame. He inhaled deeply before he finally spoke.
[+gold “Protection, for the women. We’ve found a big problem… have you ever heard of the Malumortis?”]
[+pink “Of course I have. They’re our version of if the KKK, and The Third Riech had a baby, and that baby was raised by all modern terrorist organizations from The Taliban to Westborro Baptist, and all the others in-between… They’re quite ambitious, you have to admire that.”] Gaius frowned at her, but made no comment towards his disapproval.
[+gold “Yeah, well were you aware they’ve been abducting humans under the guise of a Human Trafficking operation? That they intend to overthrow our government and enslave all humans?”]
It was Vanna’s turn to sigh, and she did so dramatically with a large roll of her eyes, and wave of her hands.
[+pink “Would that really be so bad? Truly? Think back to the dark days… you were a [i king], brother!”] She said suddenly turning on him and grabbing the lapels of his very worn old grey coat. He merely blew his cigarette smoke in her face, and she remained undeterred. Her face was actually awash in dreamy nostalgia. She sighed, [+pink “Demons and monsters of all kinds feared you, revered you, respected you! Even the Angels left you with a wide berth. All of Hell could have been yours, why do you want to protect the humans so much?”] Gaius frowned at his sister even as she tried to beg and plead with him. He knew he’d taken a chance coming here, and he wasn’t sure what he was hoping for… but he was also not surprised by the words she spoke.
Gaius took his sister’s hands in his own and placed a gentle kiss to her knuckles. She watched him with concern on her face, and maybe a touch of horror. Gaius simply looked sad.
[+gold “I need to know I can trust you, Vanna. That I can still depend on you as I did in those old days.”] Vanna nodded her head, and reached up to hold his face in her hands and pinned him with a look. That look was one he had seen many a time, one he knew meant she'd keep her word, she'd keep her Vow, and Gaius no longer doubted her loyalty. [+gold “It’s more than just the Malumortis, that up until now haven’t been a threat, but they’re numbers have grown, they’ve gained power, and I think they’re tied to the death of Atlas, if they overthrow the Ministry, there’s no protection for you either… all the Cardinal sins will be rounded up.”]
[+pink “How do you know that?”]
[+gold “Our brother, Greed has teamed up with them, but he’s not pulling the strings someone else is, I just don’t know who. I don't doubt he won't be here soon to try and recruit you. If he gets his hands on either Dahlia or Eris, it's game over."]
[+pink "What is it about those two that makes them so special?"] Vanna dared to ask.
[+gold “I’ve found my Femme Fatal, the short one with the pretty eyes... She’s an oracle, Vanna. The first in millennia… I can’t let her befall some ill fate like so many before her have.”]
Vanna turned away from him to hide the shock on her face and to try and think. Part of her was suddenly insanely jealous of a woman that might dare come between her and her brother. Who was she kidding though? These last two hundred years, Gaius had grown further and further away from her. She was beyond happy to have him here, asking her for favors, and divulging secrets. She knew her brother would not tell her this information lightly, and she was inherently aware of the risk in taking them in and what it meant to know these things. Her life too could now be in danger.
[+pink “What about the other? What is she? She’s is not human at all.”]
[+gold “We discovered she's a Maenad…"]
[+pink "What?"] Even Vanna had believed them to be extinct.
[+gold "I wish that's all she was. She’s the vessel of Chaos, of the Goddess Eris, whom she was named for."]
[+pink "You've got to be fucking kidding me..."]
[+gold "I believe she’s becoming a demi-god. It is not coincidence the two humans came together I believe there is something more at work, and I know I have to do what I can to help those two succeed at whatever it is needs done. Please, sister of mine, help me?”]
[+pink “Does Kael know about your clandestine beliefs?”] Gaius went quiet then and Vanna held her glare…
[+gold "He thinks we are simply doing our job. Look, I’ve got an angel wanting one of the humans, a tribe of Maenads and a Vampire after the other, and I know I have to do this because... I also know how to find Hades…”]
That last part seemed to capture Vanna’s attention, and she stepped back from him and looked him over. [+pink “That’s not possible… When Lucifer was cast to Hell, he raised his own army and conquered the Underworld. He destroyed Hades."]
[+gold “I think he tried… I don’t think he was successful. Hades is the only one who can quell the uprising of underworld creatures… and he’s probably the only one that can truly protect her…”] Vanna glared at him, seemingly angry that he was wanting to protect all of humanity over one woman.
[+pink “Your little human will be the death of you."] Vanna warned... but ultimately assured Gaius she would help him -favor or not.
The reaction to her offer was… intense. Dahlia didn’t know why. It wasn’t like she had offered up anything and everything to the demoness. Just a night of nail painting and dress up, and she for one thought that that was worth keeping Eris around. Though her face reddened when Gaius said that she didn’t understand. It sort of felt like she was a child and her guardian had rushed in to apologize for some misstep on her part.
Vanna clung to her as long as she could, which was impressive since her brother seemed hell bent on separating the two. The taller woman was able to admit she would let Eris stay before she detached entirely. And while Dahlia was happy to know they wouldn’t be separated, she was still fighting back the bit of shame gnawing at her stomach. [+mediumvioletred “I am glad to hear that... Thank you.”] Well, maybe she wasn’t too glad to hear that Gaius was basically indebted to her, but the part about Eris being able to stay was great.
The cardinal demons left shortly after that with the promise that food would come soon. Dahlia was ready to eat, so overall she was happy. Though, from the corner of her eye she noticed Eris look somewhat uneasily at her hair. Hungry or not, that commanded her attention first. And as her friend looked up at her, she smiled. She was already on her way to the sofa to take the seat next to her, however instead of sitting normally she faced her newly longhaired friend. [+mediumvioletred “If that is getting in your way, I could braid it back for you. Or we could always find someone to cut it again. I bet with all this staff Vanna has one hand, at least one of them must know how to cut hair.”] The human woman wasn’t entirely sure what her friend would want, but she didn’t want her to suffer in silence if this sudden change was bothering her. And thankfully enough, hair was one of those things you had some control over. At least in most cases, she wasn’t entirely ready to rule out the possibility that there might be some weird magic tied to her hair. There might have been a reason it grew after that ceremony.
They had been there for less than twenty minutes and Kael was already full ready to leave. Dahlia had put him on edge, maybe not quite so much as she had Gaius, but he damn near had a heart attack. So needless to say, he was tense. Even after his partner managed to defuse the situation with his sister and direct her elsewhere. It wasn’t until she was completely out of the room that he felt he could breath again. One of them was going to have to sit down to have a chat with Dahlia about the dangers of making deals with demons. Terms and conditions be damned, they would always find a way to get more than you bargained for. Doubly so if you were mortal, and that wasn’t even considering the fact that she was an oracle. Just thinking about it was tedious, so he let it be for now. Besides, she was busy with Eris. He didn’t want to bug them. The maenad had gone through a lot, and it was clear her friend was going to be able to sooth her a lot better than he could. He wasn’t going to get in the way of that. Plus, he it turned out he didn’t have the time to interrupt, even if he wanted to. The food was arriving. The fact that it came so soon told him whomever Vanna kept as her personal kitchen staff was probably on call 24/7, which was unsurprising after what he had seen with the rest of her help.
Several plates of varying types of sushi were served to them. It was of outstanding quality, not that the snake was expecting anything less. And while he probably could have gone without eating, it was tempting enough for him to snap up a couple pieces of salmon nigiri himself. Plus, there was a sense of solidarity in eating together, especially in a foreign place. He was confident enough that they were safe here to do that much.
As Kael popped another piece of sushi in his mouth, he felt his pocket begin to vibrate. That was odd… this was a new burner phone, no one should have this number. Quickly taking it out, his red eyed scanned over the screen. There was a message, instructions to meet at the nearest communal gathering place for another announcement. No doubt it was an update on this trouble with Atlas. There was no way he or Gaius were going to be able to attend. Staying below radar was the number one priority right now, so they would have to get an update from elsewhere. But this was good news in one way; his phone hadn’t been compromised. These sorts of things get blanket signaled out to any device close enough to a demon aura. No doubt Gaius and Vanna were seeing the same exact thing right now.
At Dahlia’s words, both Kale and Gaius tensed. Eris had finally seemed to gain control over her emotions and though she still looked ready to hit the Demoness, she resigned to crossing her arms and staring at Dahlia. Her arm of comfort had been a tremendous help in Eris regaining her composure, but with the Demoness having the oracle tucked possessively against her, Eris was left alone to grappling with the new sensations of her “Demi-god-hood” It was infuriating watching the Demoness snuggle Dahlia as if she was some pet to coddle. At least that was better than outright refusal. Eris knew she needed to get her shit together, but something worse was now at hand and it was obvious as Gaius suddenly stepped in and peeled his sister away from Dahlia.
[+gold “Dahlia doesn’t understand what she’s saying. I’m here to ask for the favor -you deal with me.”] Gaius warned, but even he seemed a bit tense for a moment, especially as Vanna wore a sly smirk. They stared each other down for a terse moment, but something seemed to flash between their eyes and Vanna relented a moment later with an exaggerated sigh.
[+pink “Calm down, brother. I deal with you, and only you.”] She turned to Dahlia then, and took a closer look at the little oracle. [+pink “And don’t you worry your pretty little head. I won’t kick your friend out. My brother has asked me a favor, I am honor bound to fulfill it. Just as he is honor bound to repay it in the future.”] This last part she said in an underhanded tone towards Gaius, but her inquisitive eyes never left Dahlia. Satisfied she let go of Dahlia and gave Gaius a glance of something like approval, and turned her gaze to Eris.
[+pink “Why don’t I like you?”] She asked herself and Eris. Eris only glared at her in silence. [+pink “Oh well, it matters not,”] Vanna said with a toss of her hair and turned to grasp her brother’s arm. [+pink “You all must be starving, I’ll have the staff bring you something to eat while you settle into your rooms.”] With that both Gaius and Vanna left the room to a private room.
Eris sighed in the absence of the prideful Demoness and fell into the sofa to sit for a moment before staff came for them to show them where to go. Were all immortals ridiculously wealthy? She was agitated and she couldn’t pin down why. She’d save deeper thoughts for the privacy of her own room, or in the council of Dahlia. Eris stared at her lap when the sight of her hair caught her attention. She absentmindedly picked up a lock of the dark raven strands and frowned. It was so long now. She worn her hair short since she had left the island the first time. Now it was going to serve as a constant reminder she wasn’t the same. She was something else... and who was she? Was she Eris... or was she... [i Eris, The Goddess of Discord and Chaos]? This was trippy, and Eris wasn’t sure how she was going to handle this. As it was, her emotions were a torrential cyclone of rage, guilt, frustration, remorse, elation; all constantly going round and round inside her. She kept herself calm, dropping her hair and looking over at Dahlia to see how she was dealing with this.
The shriek that preceded a smear of color that was just about too fast for Dahlia’s eyes to catch threw her into alarm. But she soon realized it was a sound of joy and not terror. In fact, the woman pasting herself to Gaius’ side seemed absolutely delighted to have her brother around. She watched as he was attempting to peel her from his person. It was funny, that was for sure, but it did not work. Vanna was stuck to him. It made the human woman smile. She thought it was sweet, even if everyone else seemed more on edge.
Then as quick as she came, she was gone. Vanity bounced from her brother over to his friend. Kael was pretty much prepared for it. That was how these rare visits went, but for once it did not bother him so much. At least so much as he could ignore it knowing that the plan to distract her from the girls for the time being was working. So, he reciprocated her banter while keeping his hands firmly to himself. [+forestgreen “Of course, would I miss a chance to see the gem of the cardinal sins?”] Flattery could get you anywhere, especially with pride herself. But thankfully, it was not so out of character for him. Kael was never looking to piss anyone with this much sway off, he went along with her shenanigans to assuage her. However, that task was a little bit more difficult with Eris seething in the background. Why she was reacting this strongly was a mystery, though that was nothing different for her. She was full of mysteries, but for now his attention had to stay on the woman curling into him. [+forestgreen “I think we both know there isn’t a force in this world, or any other, that can keep your brother in line, but I am trying my best.”] He smiled back at her, even as she blew kisses his way. She really was a lot. Definitely too much of a handful for him, though no one could argue that she wasn’t beautiful.
It didn’t take being an expert aura reader to see that Eris was upset. No sooner than she tensed, Dahlia could tell something was wrong. She knew her friend had something or other building up with the snake demon across the way, but she was also not the type to get all in a twist over a boy. There was more to it, even if she could not put her finger on it for now. That was fine though. Dahlia did not have to know what was upsetting Eris to care. So, she moved in a little closer and placed an arm around one of her friend’s. There she squeezed lightly before running her thumb slowly back and forth over her skin in as soothing a manner as possible. Whether it was actually any degree of helpful or not was up for debate, but the petite woman wanted her friend to know she was there with her, so she kept at it. At least, she did until Vanna came over to them, pointedly announced she did not care for Eris and snatched Dahlia up into a hug that ripped the two apart. She was not ecstatic about that, but the unexpected gushing over her cuteness coming from the beauty caused her to flush. Normally she wouldn’t mind too much, but in this case, it almost felt like she was being adopted as a pet to toy with rather than being offered shelter as a person. It was a little humiliating, but there was nothing to be done about it. Not if they wanted Vanna’s help. Still, Dahlia was willing to press just a little for her friend.
[+mediumvioletred “Um, Miss Vanna.”] Her voice was on the quiet side, not wanting to sound too imposing or demanding, not that she usually carried such tones. [+mediumvioletred “I know Eris looks a little rough around the edges, especially since we have been on the run without much of a break, but she is my very best friend and I am not sure I can do without her... I don’t mean to be rude, it is just we have been through a lot and we really need one another right now, so could you please allow her to stay as well...”] It was tempting to propose that she would do whatever Vanity wanted in exchange, but that was a trifling too dangerous to offer to a demon, so she settled with a smaller suggestion. [+mediumvioletred “If you do, maybe we could have a girls’ night or something. You know with makeovers and that sort of stuff.”] Dahlia hoped it might be tempting enough since she said she wanted to play dress up.
Kael on the other hand was panicking a touch. Gaius, being the favorite, got to ask favors, he was worried Dahlia was seriously overstepping. His eyes flickered from the trio back to Wrath, hoping he might step in before things took a bad turn, though maybe he was being overly sensitive. After the week they had had, he was really turning into a pessimist.
It was a three hour trip between the flight and the driving. Gaius was tired, so it wasn’t unbelievable to see how exhausted the two women were. Eris looked ready to fall over, or scream... one couldn’t be sure. One thing was certain, the Eris they had met in New York was no longer with them, she had changed in more ways than just her appearance. It was different to see her with hair so long, when he had become so accustomed to seeing her hair short. She was also still dressed for the ceremony, but the wreath of herbs and flowers on her head now sat in her lap and it seemed to be the only thing she wished to concentrate on. Always so loud mouthed and opinionated, it was unnerving with how quiet she had become.
He was relieved when the car finally brought them to their final destination. At least here Gaius knew they would all be safe. Vanna would no doubt love Kael’s company, and with time might come to accept the two women. They were led inside an opulent old mansion just outside the main city. The home was in a gated lot, guarded by large black Italian Mastiffs that were just as vicious as they were beautiful. Animals never did like Gaius, it had everything to do with his energy, and when the duo of Cane Corsos came trotting down the hallway to investigate the newcomers, they instantly began to bark at Gaius, who was quick to snarl with his own warning at them. The two dogs whimpered and hurried off to find their master.
[+gold “Good for nothing guard dogs... better than the poodles she used to keep. Those things were dumb enough to keep barking and bite at me...”] Gaius murmured to the group as they made their way into the sitting room where they were to be greeted by his sister. Gaius plopped down into a chair and leaned back with eyes closed as he waited for the tell tale shrill squeal of his overzealous sister.
He did not have to wait long.
[+pink “EEEEEEEEEEEE! Gaius! My darling favorite brother!”] She came like a blur, rushing into the room and jumping right on top of him, that Gaius was not ready for her, and she knocked him clean off his feet. He had just enough time to stand and catch her before falling back into the chair. She nuzzled him like an affectionate kitten, with a happy idiotic smile on her face. [+pink “Oh you’re here! You’re here! I missed you so much! It’s been almost fifty years! Why do you always stay away for so long? Don’t you love me? Aren’t I your favorite as well?”]
Gaius on the other hand was frazzled and irritated by the excitable affections of his sister, and minor horror at the embarrassment of what Dahlia was witnessing. Though he’d never admit it was because of her he was mortified, or that he actually cared what the little oracle thought.
[+gold “Damnit woman, I can’t breathe!”] Vanna only laughed happily and squeezed him harder until she flung him away and turned her eyes on Kael, completely ignoring the women. She moved like a flash until she was pressed up right against Kael’s chest and her eyes went hooded with lustful coyness. Her hands wandered over his chest to his shoulders until they were wrapped around him and her fingers began to play with the ends of his hair, her face moving closer and closer with every word she spoke.
[+pink “I see you came along, Kael. I was hoping you would. Where my brother is, you’re not far behind. Are you keeping him in line? He does need quite a bit of guidance with that temper of his-“] From her seat Eris suddenly went tense as a bowstring, just as red faced and frazzled as Gaius was, and her hands gripping the wreath so tightly the leaves were starting to rip. She looked ready to kill, or throw the wreath at Vanity.
Eris wasn’t stupid though, she knew Vanity was Pride, and the only way they would get help would be to stay on her good side, and feed her ego. So Eris kept her mouth shut and looked down to her feet letting her hair curtain the view of the seductress up against Kael... and why did that bother her so much? She didn’t want to think about it, besides, she didn’t have time to.
[+gold “Vanna, leave him alone. We came for a reason, and it is not so you could harass my partner.”] Vanna was suddenly pouting from where she had curled herself up against Kael’s chest and looked to her brother. Eris took a moment to finally look the woman over. She was unearthly beautiful, with large doe eyes of pale brown, and rich chocolatey hair that fell in dark waves, so glossy and so shiny it looked like doll hair. Her figure was shapely, and she was surprisingly shorter than Eris, but still taller than dahlia. A solid 5’5 with the figure of a dancer, and creamy pale skin, full lips, and impressively long lashes. It was sinful the beauty she possessed... and she knew it.
[+pink “I’m not harassing my sweet Kael,”] she winked and kissed upwards towards Kael. [+pink “So, what did you wish to ask of me?”] Vanna sighed and finally looked over at Dahlia and Eris, resting her head against Kael’s chest. Eris had the insane urge to strangle the woman.
[+gold “A favor.”] Vanna seemed to pique at that and her eyes grew large like a kitten ready to pounce a toy.
[+pink “A favor?”] She repeated with enthusiasm, favors were no light matter among demons.
[+gold “Yes. We need shelter and connections. We need a place to lay low for awhile, while Kael and I sort some things out. I need you to watch these women. Vanna, this is Dahlia and Eris.” ] Vanna looked as if she had suddenly smelled something she didn’t like and stepped away from Kael to look at the only woman who was looking at her -Dahlia. She walked over slowly and stood before Dahlia with a stern expression.
[+pink “They’re not mortals... let them fend for themselves.”]
[+gold “They’re not demons either-”]
[+pink “Since when has that mattered?”]
[+gold “Vanna,”] Gaius chided and she was forced to roll her eyes.
[+pink This one is obviously not... but that one...”] She pointed from Dahlia to Eris, who was still gripping her wreath tightly and grinding her teeth together in an attempt to quell a sudden burst of unfettered rage. [+pink “I don’t know about that one... I don’t like her aura.”] Eris looked ready to snap, but instead the wreath finally gave way under her white knuckled grip. [+pink “This one though,”] Vanna turned her attention back to Dahlia, and her cold expression flipped once more to something adoring and excited. [+pink “Is so cute! I just want to dress her up! Oh Good Satan you’re adorable!”] Vanna squealed suddenly rushing Dahlia with a tight hug. [+pink “I’m going to keep this one... I can sense her power! Plus she’ll look perfect in pastels!”] She squealed out excitedly with a rosy blush and she cuddled the unprepared Dahlia. Gaius was unfortunately at a loss of words, but with a moment’s time he would be renewed in calming his eccentric sister. Vanna was right though, a dark aura was staring to bleed off of Eris from her own frustrations.
Dahlia was anxious, and quite frankly scared. It did not help that as soon as they got far enough in that boat the buzzing in her ear got a little more prominent. It was strange, like white noise that it could be ignore for great lengths of time, but it was always there. However, as worried as she was, the woman was a million times more exhausted. They were not in the car for very long at all before she passed out with her friend. That was for the best. The two of them definitely needed some rest. Especially if they were off to meet yet another powerful demon. Having their wits about them was probably a good idea, though of everything going on Dahlia was not too terribly nervous about that. If Gaius thought it would be okay, then it would be. After everything they had been through together thus far, she thought he had proven himself trustworthy enough for her to put her faith in him about this sort of thing. The plane though, that was a different story. Thankfully, she was too tired when they boarded to overthink everything that could go wrong. Dahlia had never been on a plane before. Until recently she had never even left the state of New York. Had she not immediately fallen back to sleep, she would have eventually been excited about the experience, but this time she wound up just sleeping through it till they landed.
Somehow it turned out that getting north to Milan was the easiest thing they had done in the last week. It was a pleasant surprise. The overall luxury of it was just a bonus, though Kael didn’t know why he expected anything else when it came to Vanna. She always looked to impress, it came with the territory. Compared to Gaius’ other siblings, she was one of the more tolerable as far as the snake was concerned. He still wasn’t really looking to cross her or do anything to piss her off, but if he had to be locked in a room with either her or Greed who they had seen back at that warehouse, it was no contest. It helped that her wiles were less effective against him. He had his own set of powers to captivate, so it took the edge off hers just enough to act somewhat respectable. Thank the powers below for that.
From the plane it was straight back into another car. This one the same as the last, down to every detail. Even the driver seemed eerily similar to the last. There were some obvious preferences on Vanna's part here, but it was probably more about consistency than anything. Despite the fact that they came in on a private airfield, it was still located in the more metropolitan part of the city. Through the dark tinted windows, the hustle of bustle of it was apparent, even at night. Half the people moved quickly on the streets, all as if they had someplace to be, while the rest meandered with their eyes up on the buildings, tourists no doubt. It was not unlike New York in that way, but this seemed a little more civil. It didn’t look as though anyone was yelling angrily on the streets, so there was that.
Eventually the cityscape broke and transformed into something more historical in a sense. The buildings were well kept, but it seemed this area was all about the aesthetic of being in Italy. Not that you could forget it. Just seeing the people in the streets and how well dressed they were, you knew you had to be in someplace fashion forward. Milan fit the bill on all accounts, and doubly so in this district with all the concert halls and museums around. It only made sense that someone like vanity herself would stay in a place like this. And when they finally stopped wherever it was the driver had been directed to take them, it was as expected. The home was extravagant, every detail done perfectly. It was at least on par with Eris’ home back on the island, if not a little nicer, and that placed housed a small group of gods.
Inside they were instructed to wait for their hostess. Apparently, she was finishing something up and would be with them shortly. Until then they were sat in a very comfortable drawing room. There were plenty of places to sit, but Kael opted to stand. The idea was to be near the entryway so that he might pull attention away from the two ladies they brought with them for at least long enough for Gaius to explain what was going on... as well as that could be done. The red-eyed man was also primed to give a somewhat flowery greeting when she arrived. As Gaius mentioned, sucking up was somewhat crucial.
Eris was beyond relieved to have Dahlia’s forgiveness. She felt a heavy weight was finally lifted, but with it was the traded weight of truth. The truth of her heritage, her family, and that she was more connected to that stupid medallion and Dahlia than she ever realized. Was this all the work of the Fates? Had they woven this destiny to happen? What would greet her at the end? Would a thread be cut short before they reached the end of this woven story?
She sighed heavily and leaned her head against the comfort of Daliha’s shoulder and closed her eyes to take a moment. Dahlia’s promise that they would get through this, was the affirmation Eris needed.
[#b22222 “You’re right… We will, but this is so much bigger than the story we initially thought. We’ll never be able to tell it…”] Eris mused defeatedly. She felt Dahlia’s comfort and finally sat back up with a glance behind them. She knew that someone would come for her. They would never let her be free now. [#b22222 “Our list of enemies keeps growing… how are we going to outrun them?”] She asked more to herself than to Dahlia.
They were lucky to make land well before sunrise, and wasted no time in continuing to move. So far they were not being followed and though they had none of their personal belongings anymore, Gaius still managed to have money on him. Gaius always seemed prepared, must have something to do with centuries of living among humans and having enemies. Eris was the one to go in and purchase the burner phone for them from a late night gas station, and they went to replan behind the building. Gaius was quick on his phone dialing a number from memory….
[b [i MILAN, ITALY]]
Energetic dubstep music filled the specious industrial building, while a dazzling laser show illuminated the space. Chairs lined a fashion runway where people milled about taking their seats. The stage was illuminated with recessed floor lights making it look like a glimmering rainbow prism that the models would walk. Above on his own lift the DJ was setting the tone, camera men prepared to record the event, and fashion photographers were bull-penned at the fringes of the seats. Ushering people to their places were beautiful women dressed in black sequin dresses and other serving drinks. One in particular made her way through the crowd of spectators and to the backstage.
Behind the partition was a new world. Models hurried to their places, getting dressed by their drapers. Stylists and MUAs put the finishing touches on hair and makeup. Show coordinators began calling orders and for line up. At one station in particular sat a woman of other worldly beauty. Her skin was a warm flawless blend of caramel and cream, luminous green eyes encased in thick black lashes, and rich chocolatey hair. The woman was being tended to by both a stylist and an MUA who put the final touches on her before she would go on.
“Ms. V, Phone call for you. Said it was family.” The server informed. The woman looked up and looked to the revealed tray with a cellphone placed on mute.
V sighed heavily and took the phone with perfectly manicured hands, and picked up the call.
[+pink “Who is it?”] She asked sharply, having little patience for her family, and exhibiting an interested accent.
[+gold “It’s me,”] The woman suddenly perked up with a large grin.
[+pink “Is it really my sweet Gaius? Oh Darling brother, where are you? I haven’t heard from you in… well… decades!”] she laughed for the sake of it, but Gaius’ voice remained steady, undeterred by her personality.
[+gold “I need to ask a favor,”]
[+pink “Anything for you brother! But make it quick, I have a show this evening and I must go on soon.”] She looked down at her other hand eyeing her nails, before waving off her stylists.
[+gold “You’re more hospitable than usual.”]
[+pink “Nonsense, darling. I simply miss my favorite big brother.”]
[+gold “I’m in Greece with company. I need a lift, and will explain everything when we get there.”] Suddenly V was gleaming with joy, her eyes almost sparkling. She made a girlish squeal that had Gaius holding the phone away from his ear and wincing. V knew what company meant. Gaius would be with his adorable little friend, Kael. Clearly not her type, but his rejections had always made here that much more interested. She loathed him and loved him
[+pink “OF COURSE! Thank Dad! You’re coming to visit! Oh this is going to be so much fun! I’ll have a plane chartered for you in the next hour. Keep this phone, my assistant will be in contact. Go ahead and start for the airport if you can! Ciao! Love you, see you soon. Have to dash!”] She hung up then and stood up from her chair and turned screaming for a most unfortunate assistant.
[b [i BACK IN GREECE… ]]
[+gold “Well… my sister is…. Being helpful…”] Gaius said after hanging up the phone, and putting it in his pocket. He was a little confused. He thought he’d have to do more ass kissing, it put him a little on edge, but it was minimal. Out of all his siblings, Vanity, or Vanna as he called her, wasn’t lying when she had called him her favorite. Vanna might have been a self-absorbed little twat, but she did adore him. He looked over to Kael curious to know how the second meeting between them would go, and how Vanna would take to a literal Pandora’s box, and an Oracle. He looked over to the two women and frowned, and was about to speak further when his phone rang. He reached back into his pocket and was shocked to find when he answered it, it was Vanna’s assistant. She had called for a car to come get them and take them to a small regional airport where a plane would be taking them to Milan. Gaius hadn’t even hung up the phone after his conversation with her, when a black SUV pulled into the gas station and came around to the back of the building. Gaius tensed and the woman made a final departure over the phone.
[i “That would be your ride, Master Gaius. You will arrive at the airport in one hour and the plane will be ready to depart at your arrival. Master Vanna looks forward to your visit, and wishes to know of any requests you have for your arrival so she may accommodate. You may text such details at your leisure. Easy Travels, Sir.”] The line went dead and Gaius watched a man get out of the car and open the back doors for them to enter.
[+gold “It’s safe, go ahead and get in.”] Gaius assured the women, and he too got in, taking the front seat up next to the driver.
The driver did not speak, and for the most part no one else did either on the drive to the airport. Eris had fallen asleep in the backseat with Dahlia, both women exhausted from the event. Gaius wanted to talk with Kael, but until they were on the plane away from prying ears he wouldn’t speak either. The SUV drove up to a gate to the runways and managed to get through security and towards a hangar. As they got closer Gaius could see the small personal jet waiting for its passengers outside on the tarmac.The stopping car roused Eris from her sleep and she nudged Dahlia awake to board the plane.
The interior of the plane was high class and luxurious. The captain was already in the cockpit getting the plane started, while his copilot closed the main door and sealed them all inside. A Stewardess greeted them with a smile only Tour Guide Barbie could rival. Eris wondered if she was even human. She wasn’t trusting the things she was seeing. The stewardess made sure they were buckled in safely and the plane made its way towards the runway before it finally sped along and lifted up into the air taking them North to Milan.
Receiving a rather negative review of his plan right out the gate, Kael had a feeling he was not going to be able to convince Gaius, but he also was not sure what other choice they had. [+forestgreen “It’s not like I will be completely out, I will-“] He barely started when Eris began apologizing. That shut him up, well at least when it came to his idea. The red-eyed man was not looking to make her feel any worse than she apparently already did. [+forestgreen “No, it’s not your fault. You were just as surprised as the rest of you to discover your family’s secret, so there is no way you could have known it was going to play out this way.”] He was attempting to comfort her, but the maenad come vessel of calamity was more focused on her friend than anything he had to say, so Kael left it at that.
Having such an adamant and sorrow-filled apology directed at her, there was little way for Dahlia to reject it. Not that that was an issue, as she was good and ready to forgive her friend. Strange how traumatic events speed up the mending process when it came to this sort of interpersonal divide. The petite woman squeezed her friend’s hands tightly, tempted to hug her again, though she restrained herself. [+mediumvioletred “I was always going to forgive you, silly. I just needed some time... You really hurt my feelings before, but I have decided to try and see it more from your side of things and I understand why you didn’t say anything about your family.”] Gaius had helped her see that she was being a little silly herself when it came to that and while she was not a hundred percent over it, Dahlia knew it would come. There was no point in drawing it out forever. [+mediumvioletred “Besides, you’re my best friend too, I can’t stay mad at you forever. Who would get stuff off the high shelves for me?”] It was a bad joke, but she didn’t much care at the moment. Squeezing Eris’ hands one more time, Dahlia smiled. [+mediumvioletred “It's gonna be alright, we are going to make it through this."] Of course there was no way for her to know that for sure, that was the dark-eyed woman's shining optimism coming through. She knew she had the tendency to be a little too hopeful, but right now hope was something they needed if they were going to keep fighting.
While all that went on in the background, Kael was glad that Gaius came in to give him something else to focus on, something he found somewhat more pressing. And what was better was there seemed to be more options for them than he thought. It allowed him at least a little bit of relief though he nearly laughed at his friend’s comment about brown nosing. [+forestgreen “Half my family is in politics, I think I have the ass kissing thing down pat.”] Between his dad, his brother, and all their associates, Kael had seen enough sucking up to fill a couple of demonic lifetimes. They would probably be fine. [+forestgreen “And if it is between dealing with my sibling and yours I’d rather it be yours.”] Technically it was the more dangerous route, seeing as he knew Cornelius wouldn’t go for blood even if he went hostile, but Kael [i really] didn’t want to deal with the aftermath of doing what it would take to get passed him and use the warp point. [+forestgreen “If you think we can trust her to keep her mouth shut about those two,”] he motioned back to the ladies who were still talking about something or other. [+forestgreen ‘Then I think it’s worth a shot. It will just be a matter of getting to Milan, but I don’t think that will be too hard.”] Difficulty was not the real issue though. It was keeping a low profile. And unfortunately, between Wrath himself, a literal goddess, and the ridiculous conglomeration that was Dahlia’s aura, they were going to have a hard time with that.
Eris wasn’t expecting Dahlia to rush her with relief. To be honest after everything that happened on this trip, Eris wasn’t sure what to expect these days. Regardless, it brought a smile to her face despite the guilt she felt for bringing them all into this mess. The original part of Eris wanted to joke about the reasons why she ran from her cult-like family in the first place, but the island visit had changed her irrevocably. Even now Eris did not know what those changes would bring. For the moment she was content to hold Dahlia close.
[#b22222 “I’m so glad you’re alright,”] Eris murmured, but Kael made a call for them to hurry and move. Eris had to agree, and Gaius was the first to jump on board and help preparations to leave. Eris helped Dahlia into the boat and proceeded to take a seat with her. Eris made no move or spoke a word as Kael sped the boat away from the island, while above the sky raged and the ware grew restless. Eris looked back to the shrinking island with nervousness. She wasn’t certain fit hey would follow or not, and that made her even more anxious.
They were nearing the magical carrier when Kael began to formulate the next plan. Eris made no comment, not confident enough to offer a suggestion. Especially since the last one involved the current mess they were in.
[i [+purple -Yes, but now you have also claimed a fraction of my power. That makes you almost as powerful as our friend, Wrath.-]]
Eris looked across the boat towards Gaius who was seated near the bow of the boat, his eyes fixated on the horizon and any threat that the barrier might possess.
[i [#b22222 -Perhaps... but he has centuries worth of knowledge, which means I wouldn’t stand a chance. So I still have no power or stance to offer suggestions. I have to learn I’ve made a mistake, and the best way for me to not make it worse is to actually let these two demons handle it.-]] The Goddess could not argue her host’s logic and so went silent.
It seemed the plan Kael had in mind was to go to a new place with his wrapping abilities. Eris looked up with concern at that suggestion, her own fears voice by Dahlia... but not all of them. Kael even admitted to the inevitablility that he would be incapacitated in the aftermath. Eris had to grit her teeth. She didn’t want Kale to go through that -not because of her mistake.
[#daa520 “No. We can’t afford for you to be out of commission. Any plan that takes you off the board, is a ‘no-go’, in my opinion. We’ll find another way -“]
[#b22222 “I’m sorry!”] Eris suddenly interrupted as they broke past the barrier and were welcomed to open calm waters as the illusion of the surrounding fog and storm evaporated away to nothing. [#b22222 “It’s all my fault we’re in this mess. We never should have come, I never should have suggested it, never should have put Dahlia in danger like that.”]
From where he stood Gaius’ eyes narrowed with uncertainty on the girl. He had seen what she was capable of, or at least some of it. She was a Pandora’s box, a Vessel of Calamity, and he no longer trusted her. She was too unpredictable, but it was hard to stick to that mindset. He could see her shoulders and body tremble, her long curtain is silky black hair cast a dark shadow on her face, and over her thighs her hands fisted tightly in a white-knuckled grip. She suddenly moved and sprang on Dahlia, her hands quickly grabbing Dahlia’s and a pleading look in her wine colored eyes.
[#b22222 “Please forgive me, Dahlia! I never meant for any of this! I never wanted to lie to you, I never wanted to put you in danger. You’re my best friend.”] Eris bowed her head forward in a sign of humility before Dahlia. Gaius made no comment towards the women and instead crossed his arms over his chest and moved towards Kael to speak amongst themselves.
[#daa520 “I may have a suggestion of my own. This one will be more reliable than the last... I have a sibling who lives in Milan. She would be able to get us where we need to go... only.. it’s V...”] Gaius’ nose scrunched up, not too particularly please, but no different than asking an annoying sibling for a favor. [#daa520 “I hope your ass kissing is as good as ever... we both know how Vanity loves to be complimented...”] Gaius sighed with an annoyed expression and looked out towards the twinkling lights of the Grecian Coastline and waited to hear Kael’s opinion, or suggestions.
Upon Gaius’ announcement that they would need to go on without him, Kael was liking this whole thing less and less. They were losing half their party all because they came to this stupid island, but at the same time, he did not see what other choice they had. Whatever the Greeks were planning would be infinitely more dangerous if they had an Oracle’s premonition and allowing them to keep Hades locked away was not exactly a good prospect either. They had to escape, and unfortunately because Kael was not exactly the type to fend off an army, it was Gaius who had to stay behind.
Nodding to signal his agreement, much like his partner, Kael did not turn to look behind. They were in much too much of a hurry to waste any time with even the simplest of goodbyes. He did however look over to Dahlia who seemed to have even more qualms with the problem than he did. But before she could open up to say anything to prolong their departure, the snake grabbed ahold of her and made off through the now warped gate. There were some words of protest when he picked her up, but he did not pay them any mind as they raced off toward the ocean. With any luck they could find something faster than a ferry to commandeer.
Without worry about those who were immediately tailing them and being able to set his own pace without a human to slow him, it was not long before they made it to the docks. The red-eyed man was quick to set Dahlia down and hop into one of the sportier boats. It was nice and well-kept, so Kael almost felt a little bad when he busted the front console open to reach the wiring. He was no boat expert but hotwiring this thing couldn’t be that different from a car, and the steering mechanism looked straight forward enough as well. It would be better than trying to swim it, that was for sure. Crouched down he looked through the mess of wires beneath the dash and tried to piece it together so that he could get the boat to start. When the engine did eventually jump to life, it was quiet. Kael felt it more than heard it through the unstable floor beneath his feet. That meant it was time. Hopping back into the wooden dock he turned toward Dahlia and told her to get in as his eyes scanned the horizon, but before either of them moved something unexpected happened: Eris and Gaius materialized from thin air. [+forestgreen “… Okay…”] The flat, somewhat drawn out, word expressed his disbelief as he blinked at the pair. Perhaps it would have been better to be on edge with such a happening, but it wasn’t like Wrath himself had an aura that was easily mimicked, so at the very least he knew it was really them.
Dahlia’s reaction was much the same but mixed with a bit of alarm at the sudden appearance of two figures. Obviously, it did not take long for her to recognize who they were. A longtime friend and very striking demon were not exactly easy to mistake for anyone else, but the woman’s dark eyes wandered over her friend for a short while. She was taking in everything, all the differences that were visible in her appearance, but as unnerving as those were, she could tell her Eris was back. The terrifying glint in her eyes from earlier had faded and there was just something about how she held herself that confirmed it for her, so the petite woman rushed right up and wrapped her arms tightly around her best friend. [+mediumvioletred “I am so glad you are okay.”] Her eyes were brimming with tears, though she managed to hold them back for now. It was a little irritating. Dahlia felt like she had been constantly crying these last few days; it was childish.
Still very much ignorant to what had transpired, Dahlia made a mental note to thank Gaius for bringing Eris back, but for now she was content latching herself to the other woman. Her hug persisted right up until Kael butt in. [+forestgreen “I hate to be an ass, but we really need to get out of here. This reunion can continue on the boat."] The man felt genuinely bad breaking it up, but survival came first and if they were here that meant the search party would not be far behind.
The boat rocked on the water as three of them boarded. Kael took an additional minute as he untied the rope that tethered the vessel to the dock. Once everyone was settled in, he pushed off with his foot and jumped in with the others to take the captain’s seat. With no more immediate distractions, he hit the throttle and they were speeding away from the island. With any luck, they would be one of the only boats on the water at this time of night and he wouldn’t need to worry about any boating restrictions, seeing as Kael was no expert in all this and being tailed by some costal police was no his idea of a good time right now.
[+forestgreen “So, the immediate game plan...”] As always, the snake like to have these things thought out before hand, even if they never went to plan. [+forestgreen “We need to get as far away from here as we can, as fast as we can. Warping would be ideal, which means going back to the safehouse, but I seriously doubt Cornelius will keep any of this under wraps. We would have to get passed him in order to transport and even then, with Dahlia popping off with deity energy, our location won’t be secret for long unless we can find some way to put up a barrier.”] There were a lot of potential issues they could run into any step of the way. Biting his lip, Kael was wracking his brain for an answer that did not involve having to assault a magister, but for the time being that was his go to, unless someone else had a better idea for what they should be doing right about now.
[+mediumvioletred “Umm… not to be a doubting Thomas, but didn’t it take both you and your brother to warp us all before?”] Dahlia remembered how tired Kael had been after using the lay lines things before and she wasn’t exactly confident he would be able to do it on his own.
That was something that had already crossed the red-eyed man’s mind. [+forestgreen “It might put me out of commission for a little bit, but its better than letting those guys get ahold of us.”] He glanced back over his shoulder towards the ever-shrinking island. For the time being there was nothing but their own wake following them on the water. A nice break for them that would not last, as they soon crossed the magical barrier that was shielding their maenad paradise from the outside world.
Dahlia had already been channeling the obvious energies from within the barrier, but now that she was out in the open it was not taking long for others to lock on and begin throwing their own auras her way to make the beacon stronger and easier to target. With a little attention the others might have been able to pinpoint who all was exactly throwing their hats into the ring, but for Dahlia all this meant was a louder, harder to ignore, buzzing in her ear. It was something that would ebb and flow, as she vaguely remembered, but for now she did not say anything about it. She already felt bad enough making things harder on everyone, she did not want to complain on top of it. Instead the dark eyed woman opted to lean against Eris who was seated next to her and let the conversation about what they should do continue around her.
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