Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  industrious on Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:07 am

Nicodemus

Entering the hotel restaurant, Nicodemus takes the table he is lead to, and orders his dinner. Eating was one of his (many) vices, after all. One wonderful thing about the modern world was the variety and quality that it offered. He had killed people over food most would have thrown away without a second thought, after all.

Ivy

By the time he's finished, he can hear her softly snoring (which she'd deny until the end of time, mind you). She's a good kid. She really is.

Of course, seeing as how she's been his primary source of income for ten years, he might be a bit biased.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Cracklord on Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:08 am

Marcone
Hendricks returns, Sigrun in the back seat. She gets out, silver flashing on her wrists and ankles beneath her well pressed slate grey business suit, tailored to make best use of her figure while retaining formality. She pauses a moment to stare up at the stars, and then glides through the doors and into the office. Marcone reaches over the desk and shows her the form, already signed by three members of the accords. She stares at it, and then shakes her head. "I don't plan to rescue you again." She says, making no move to sign the paper. The last times they had met the denarians, the result had been… predictable.
Marcone only sighs. "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." He replies. "I have enough enemies for the moment. And it could be useful to do this."
"Yes it could.” She looks at him. She doesn’t care for him, exactly, but she does respect him, as she had respected the heroes of old who had fought the monsters of Old Night and won through bravery and courage. “Of course, Vanderung would tell me to sign it. He'd then tell me to ensure you both died in the process of fulfilling it, preferably before you actually take the coin. More for him, you understand." She is always very frank with him. He is paying for her advice and recommendations. So she always gives it, whether he asks for it or not.
"I have no intention of taking the coin. It is a fallback. A failsafe if you will. Not an avenue to power."
"Pride goes before the fall." She replies, then takes the pen and signs it in tiny, blocky runes. There is still an empty line beneath her signature. "Well then, the other point of interest?"
"Yes. Talk to your contacts. I want to find out Mab's plans for Chicago. And I want to know why she still hasn't chosen a new winter knight."
She hadn’t been expecting that. "May I ask why?"
"All will be revealed. For now, just trust me."

Kincaid
He sighs, and hangs up. He suddenly has a much more positive outlook on life, and feels good about things. He knows she knows what he is, and it saddens him, because if there was anybody in this world who could make him want to be a better person, it was Ivy.
He parks the car, and walks into the place, holding a satchel full of books bought and delivered from Bok. All that he needed.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  industrious on Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:48 am

Office of John Marcone

Suddenly, the door crashes open, flung outside the doorframe.

"Where is he?"

The demon that emerged was more or less human, resembling nothing so much as a Medusa, with razor-sharp metal replacing snakes for hair. The metal strips writhe around the Denarian, as four glowing, blood-red eyes stare at the Crime Lord and the Valkyrie.

"Where. Is. My. Father?"
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Cracklord on Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:11 am

Marcone
Miss Gard athletically leaps across the desk, pulling a broadsword from nowhere, and points it at the demon, eyes flashing ice blue. She parries the hair with a sweep of her blade and a flash of sparks, not giving an inch. In the same instant, Marcone twists like a snake in a zillion dollar suit, and snaps up a gun from his drawer, which he points at her professionally. It's a very, very big gun. Hendricks staggers, face and shoulder a mass of blood where the metal strands of her hair caught him when she burst past. If he wasn't deceptively fast and agile considering his bulk, he'd now be very dead.
For a moment, there is a standoff, then Marcone speaks. "Might I assume your interest is hostile then? Because I'm sure we would be better discussing this like reasnoble people."
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  industrious on Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:24 am

Deidre

"He's going after her. And I'm not going to let him. Get in my way, little mortal, and I'll kill you. Tell me where he is."
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Cracklord on Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:41 am

Marcone
"And then I won't be able to tell you anything." he replies, unruffled. He might be a criminal, but he's not a man even a being like her can intimidate. "Not that you'll be able to kill me, of course, this might be an office, but I am confronted by a wizard so wearisomely often, that I have made provisions, and had several agencies combine forces to give this place not only a considerable threshold, but several subtle wards, that have already sapped your strength considerably, you will note. Which is why you failed to kill Mister Hendricks, of course. No doubt were circumstances more in your favor, he would be dead, but you are weakened here. Now if I were to meet you in a dark alleyway I would be in rather more trouble, but here the tables are reversed, I am afraid."
He clicks the safety off the gun, and levels it. He practices shooting twice a week, and can snap of a perfect bullseye nine times out of ten at five times this distance. Targets don't move, of course, and aren't attatched to anything as intimidating as Deidre, but he's still confident he can fill her full of holes if she tries anything, take out all her vitals, and keep her out of action long enough for Miss Gard to step over and remove her head, which would almost definately kill her.
"Sit down, and let us discuss this matter like civilized beings. If you want to stop your father, you will have to go about it in a more stable way."
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  industrious on Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:55 am

Deidre

With a shudder and a ripple, Deidre reverses her transformation. The woman has long, sleep-tousled dark hair, dark eyes, and a face a little too lean to be conventionally pretty.

She's wearing black lingerie. And nothing else.

"I grow very impatient. Where. is. he?"

Obviously, Nicodemus didn't keep her around for her strategic thinking.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Cracklord on Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:03 am

Marcone
He takes another look at her, then puts the gun away, flicking the safety back on. Sigrun lowers the sword, but she doesn't put it down. Her scowl makes it clear she is more then merely upset with you, and is in fact considering disembowling you in the heartbeat you'll be defenceless now that you're human. She could do it, too.
"I'm afraid he doesn't trust me, and didn't leave me an adress." He lies smoothly, so smoothly Nicodemus himself would be half-convinced if he was to hear him. "So I have no idea at all where he is. Instead, I left him a number, and when he is ready to meet again he will call it, and get into contact. But if you need to see him, I can allow you to acompany me to our meeting. In the meantime, do you need acomodations? Perhaps a new wardrobe?" She's a little young for his taste. He doesn't even think anything that could be construed as inappropriate despite her attire.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  industrious on Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:23 am

Deidre

"I'm not human most of the time. And when I am, this is appropriate attire."

She turns her back, and begins walking out of the office. No. More like stalking. It's actually vaguely ridiculous; it resembles nothing so much as a cross between a teenager's sullen stamp and a dangerous predator tracking its prey.

"I've tracked his scent this far. He was here. And I'll find him."
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Cracklord on Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:30 am

Marcone
He feels vaguely responsible. Besides, she had the potential to be too valuable a bargaining chip or asset to simply allow her to walk out. Either she would have to be restrained and held as a captive, or an accommodation would have to be reached. It was only good sense. It was only sound business.
"Your choice of clothing is your own business, of course. But may I suggest that he will remain a few steps ahead of you, no matter how diligent your search. He is taking steps to hide from me as well, after all, and is very good at it, so even if he doesn't expect you he still will prove very hard to locate. At least allow me to offer you somewhere to stay for a few days while I wait for contact. After all, why spend several dark nights stalking through the rain and sleeping in the open, when you can spend them in comfort, taking some well earned rest, and still find him long before he makes a move?"
He spreads his arms placatingly, and Sigrun puts down her sword with a snort of disgust, then walks over to check Hendricks. She knows he's not in any danger, of course, at least in the death department, but she doesn't know what condition he's in, and if wants to check on him.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  industrious on Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:16 pm

Deidre

She doesn't bother responding; ignoring Marcone, she turns back into her demonic form and prepares to leap onto the rooftops.

Apparently, she took more after her mother than her father. Short-tempered, and very bad at long-term thinking.

Nicodemus

His meal finished, Nicodemus heads back to his room (the presidential suite), and indulges in the complimentary bottle of wine the hotel had left for the couple that was in the honeymoon suite.

He then picks up the phone, and dials a number.

"Hello. I'm calling in the favor owed three-hundred and seventy-nine years ago."

The Chambers of Lady Maeve

The Courts of the Fae are harsh places. There is the constant, ever-present game of favors and bargains, of tenuous alliances and those who were mighty have oft found themselves alone and stripped of their power within the span of a few minutes. Yet there is a rush to this game that every Fae knows in their hearts; they are born for this game, bred to admire and weave their own threads in the intricate design. And for all the continuous change of the Courts, there are three individuals whose presence is virtually constant. The Winter Mother, the Queen that Was. Mab, the Queen that is. And Lady Maeve, the Queen yet to be.

So when Maeve came to Chloe Frostfall one night and took her to sport, it was a sign of some sort. It might have been due to attraction, or petty jealousy from one of her former pursuers. It could have been a whim. But it was a sign that Frostfall was to be entered more deeply into the game. That she was to be watched by those watching their own backs and those who sought to plant weapons in hers.

The Queen Yet to Be stared at the Court Assassin, pale lips curled in what might be termed a smile.

"I have a task for you, daughter of Winter."
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Cracklord on Sun May 01, 2011 10:47 pm

Marcone
He doesn't let her. He'd much prefer not to have a wildcard running around the place, and besides, if a confrontation was inevitable anywhere he'd much rather have it here, in controlled circumstances.
As she turns and prepares to shift, he lifts the gun and fires a single shot. There is a noise no louder then a man clearing his throat loudly, and a shot hits her at the back of the neck near the base of the skull. A tranquilizer dart, loaded with enough to put an elephant to sleep. She could shrug off bullets in her demonic form, but as a human she was no more durable then any other wisp of a girl. Marcone believes in being prepared, and while he cannot claim to have forseen this situation, he is prepared for situations like this.
She collapses before she's quite aware what happened.
Marcone steps over, not lowering the gun, and checks her breathing and pupil dilation to make sure she really is out of action. If he's not convinced, he'll shoot her again. He intends to be safe.
That out of the way, he drags her to a holding room, more of a vault or safe, and handcuffs her hands behind her back, then working over her limbs with ducktape to make sure she can't move or wriggle too much. He then draws a circle around her, and seals it with his blood, willing it closed. He doesn't have any magical talent, but the effort is so minimal anyone could do it.
He doesn't know if that will actually hold her. It depends on how human she is, he supposes. But it's all the restraint he can manage here. That in place, he steps back to his office and makes a few calls. Murphy is about to have a streak of good fortune.

Nicodemus
The maître d arrives without your order, but with a bucket of ice and a silver bottle within, as well as two elegant, crystalline flute glasses. "Sir, this is Dom Perignon White Jeroboam, 1990. Compliments of the lady at the table over there." He indicates a woman in a white pressed suit just a touch too tight to be strictly formal that seems to caress her curves. She turns and gives you a smile that does very interesting things to her lips.
Lara Raith is nothing short of gorgeous, and though none of her features were individually above exceptional, she herself was far greater then the sum of her parts, and her miniscule flaws only served to increase her beauty, and draw attention to her, make her real. Her eyes were a touch to large, but they only served to give her an appearance of over-indulgent sensuality. Her lips slightly lopsided, but that only made her quirking smile that much more inviting. It was a beauty that ignored all personal preference and social standards, and demanded you paid attention. And she knew it.
“She asked if you would join her. She said something of a proposition.” He is polite, and proper, but you detect more then a little jealousy in his gaze at that moment. He envies you, envies that he can’t attract the attention of a woman like that, and you do it without even taking notice of her. It’s quite sad, really. But it could blossom into something far more brutal if properly tended.

Kincaid
The hotel had been bought and paid for long before Vlad had come here, and was currently closed for renovations, so that he and his court could act as they wished. Already, the building was in a state of disrepair, and no doubt would soon be destroyed completely. Whether Vlad would order it rebuilt, or move onto another place like an enormous locust was an even chance.
Kincaid arrives, and sighs. He felt faster. Stronger. And he knew he was recharged, like a demon returning to the Nevernever, or a man sleeping to regain his energy. All spirit beings needed this, or they could not sustain themselves. Vampires needed blood, or sex, or power of some sort over people (he’d once met a white court vampire who made his victims die of laughter. Really funny guy). For him and his kind, it was Vlad. He was the fount of power that gave them their abilities, a wellspring of it, and his presence invigorated them. Without him, well he really would just be average folks, or dead. One of the two, anyway, he wasn’t sure which.
He felt his pulse quicken and his breathing speed up as he got out of the car, absent-mindedly checking his sidearm and adjusting his clothes, then grabbed the bag of books and stepped in. He’d put this off long enough. He’d talk to the old bastard.
Because he didn’t like Vlad. He had power, and Kincaid owed him everything, but that didn’t change the fact he was a psychopath, and more then that, he was kind of a dick.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  industrious on Sun May 01, 2011 11:20 pm

Deidre

She's out like a light. Of course, once she wakes up, things will change, but until then, she's contained.

Nicodemus

"Yes..." he says distractedly. Not that he was distracted, of course. Two thousand years of seduction and sin had made him, via experience, used to White Court charms. He still thought she was one of the most beautiful women in his experience, but he didn't have the urge to grovel at her feet.

"Bring the bucket over there, then will you? There's a good fellow."

The man would fester on that for quite a while. It would be the low point of his night. Well. At least until he saw his tip.

"Ms. Raith."

He takes the seductress's hand, kisses it.

"A pleasure to see you at this establishment."
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Cracklord on Sun May 01, 2011 11:43 pm

Lara
"Well, I heard you in town, and who could resist? I just had to come over and meet you in person." She replies, removing her hand and gently resting it on yours. There is a tingle on your skin, a delightful shiver, as she does.
Lara is a member of the White Court, who live by strict rules, which has led them to find elegant ways of working around them, usually by manipulating others around them. Lord Raith was particularly skilled, and if the whispers are true, she deposed him, which alone is enough to earn your respect.
It also makes you wary. It’s clear she wants something, and you’re perceptive enough to know it’s not just sex. She could get that anywhere. What they don't say is often more important than what they do say.
She tossed her blue-black hair, and leaned forward just a little. It was provocative camouflage, leaving it all to the imagination. Most of the White Court tended to be a lot more direct with the ‘come-hither’ routine, and in many ways her less obvious approach is far more effective, because it is harder to expect or anticipate.
She gestures to the maître d, and he pours your glasses. You note he gives her a lot more then he gives you, which seems rather unproffesional. She raises her glass.

Marcone
The holding wasn’t perfect, but it would do. The demon couldn’t escape the circle. The girl couldn’t escape the restraints. And later, he could take her somewhere more secure, and decide what to do with her. He had several ideas on that length.
In the meantime, he had to mobilize his empire, and prepare to negotiate, or make a fight of it, with Vlad. And he needs to keep his word with Nicodemus.
Difficult, but not impossible.
His first step was to ensure the loyalty of his immediate leitenants. Then they would do the same for their followers, and so on, all the way down the chains of command. They didn't need to know what they were facing, but they did need to learn that their was the distinct possibility of an underground war in Chicago.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  industrious on Mon May 02, 2011 12:07 am

Nicodemus

He wasn't petty; the man would get his due soon enough.

"Oh? And why would the daughter of the White King wish to meet an old and decrepit man such as myself?"

He raises his glass, proffers a toast. Their glasses ting together.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Cracklord on Mon May 02, 2011 12:20 am

Nicodemus
"Don't be coy. Anyone who has been in the game as long as you must be overflowing with the most interesting things." She replies. She takes a generous gulp, then lowers the glass. It's good, but hardly the best you've tried, it was the sort of champagne you bought because it was expensive, not tasty. It was a form of showing off, letting people see your power.
“Marcone was kind enough to tell me about your wife. Tragic, to see that happen. Just tragic.” She pauses. That was as close to a direct offer as she would come, the next step was in your hands.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  industrious on Mon May 02, 2011 12:33 am

Nicodemus

"Oh, yes. We were together for over nineteen centuries, you know."

He pauses, sips his champagne.

"Deidre's going to be so disappointed when she finds out. And it really is very hard for someone of my age to go out and meet somebody new."

A blatant lie, and both of them know it.

"I don't suppose you'd be willing to...help me with that particular problem?"

As close to saying yes as he would. It had been some time since he had been with a member of the White Court.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Cracklord on Mon May 02, 2011 12:41 am

Nicodemus
She smiles, and it would be the downfall of every saint you have ever met. It is gratifying to her to see her effect on men, yourself included. "Why, nothing would please me more then getting to know a man like you a bit better." She says, not exactly frank, but particularly unabashed about the proposition. "No doubt it would be very exciting, and I like a bit more experience and energy then most men can provide. Of course, you should do something about finalizing your divorce first, wouldn't you agree?"
She leans down, her jacket giving a tiny hint of creamy white flesh at the base of her throat down towards the hollow of her chest, leaving almost all of it to the imagination but suggesting enough to entice.
"Interested in making a date of it?"
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  industrious on Mon May 02, 2011 12:53 am

Nicodemus

"Oh, I see no reason not to. Tessa has such a temper; I really should be around others when it's finalized."

The man leans forward, meeting her eyes squarely.

"In fact, I have a group of acquaintances ready to help me. For moral support. Do feel free to join us."

Playing a man such as Nicodemus is always a challenge. But there is such potential for reward.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Cracklord on Mon May 02, 2011 1:01 am

Nicodemus
"Then it's settled." She replies. "I can only offer you my company, if you need a shoulder to lean on or someone to talk to... well, feel free to visit while you wait. I know what it's like to be lonely." She's positively flirting with you now, in her own way.
"And I'm very happy to know you think so highly of me. And if you need help, well perhaps I can provide it. I have many talents." She says the last word in a way that is very nearly wicked, and even you can't help but find yourself wondering just what these talents might be.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  industrious on Mon May 02, 2011 1:19 am

Nicodemus

"I'll be in Chicago for a few days before we set out to find her. I might drop into your villa for a visit..."

Lara can feel something creeping up her leg, cold and sinuous. The sensation is not unpleasant.

"But it is getting late. For now, Ms. Raith, I must wish you a pleasant evening."

The tendril withdraws as Nicodemus smoothly stand up, shadow pooling at his feet. He strides out of the restaurant, seamlessly putting a wad of bills that came out to $1 more than the cheque down the waiter's front pocket as he does so. He turns to corner and Lara is alone at the table for two.

It's a slow dance, between two very, very skilled players of the game. One born into it, and the other with less natural talent compensated by millenia of experience.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Cracklord on Mon May 02, 2011 1:28 am

Lara Raith
Well, Nicodemus was many things, and quite as dangerous as she was warned, but one thing he most definitely was, was interesting. It had been a long time since she met anyone she actually wanted to seduce, and to feel it again is invigorating. She half suspects by this point that even if there weren't so many benefits in doing this, she'd go through with it anyway. It wasn't everyday you met someone like that.
He was handsome, which of course was important, and he was charming, witty, and very quick on his feet, which made him desirable, and of course he was powerful, and there was nothing better then that. They fed on lust, but what they really needed, what they really craved, was power over people, and power over those who themselves were predators... that was best of all.
Of course, it wasn't about Nicodemus. Not really.
She looks down at the champagne, nearly full, and looks at her empty glass. Then she looks at the ceiling and sighs contently as she sees a young man she thinks she recognizes as a baseball player walk in with his girlfriend. Crossing her legs, she catches his attention so that he forgets the girl at his side, and she stretches before beckoning him over. "Join me?" She asks indulgently, and he's lost in her eyes. "My date seems to have run off."
She suspected, in the near future, it would be important to keep her reserves of strength up.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  industrious on Mon May 02, 2011 2:02 am

Nicodemus

Lara Raith. The new de facto leader of the White Court. An alliance with her would be useful, to say the least. She would play him, and he would play her; Nicodemus was nothing but honest to himself. It was, like all relationships, about power. Both desired something from the other.

And now...it was time for research. The White Court had shifted its policy subtly since her ascent nearly half a decade ago. That being said, their touch was obvious if you understood the signs. They loved subtle, intricate plans; patterns and catspaws. And, they were not adverse to repetition. The seduction of Bram Stoker just over a century ago had allowed them, via mortal proxy, to destroy the Black Court almost entirely. Their current endeavor was the reverse; an attempt to glorify and make tame their own Court. To make the sheep they were so fond of easy to manipulate.

Book in hand, Nicodemus sits at the desk in the suite, and begins to read.

“I’d never given much thought to how I would die – though I’d had reason enough in the last few months – but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this...”
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Cracklord on Mon May 02, 2011 2:30 am

Nicodemus
It goes on, and you have to have the patience of Job to endure it. It's only your appreciation for the well-crafted outside hiding an insidious nature that gives you the stregnth to keep on reading it. It's not well-written, but that is by design. The tense inconsistent, the prose unbearable, the description woefully inconclusive, and so lit with purple prose and needless tangents that it's almost impossible to follow. But then, the masses were not litterate. Education was wasted on most people. And by keeping it simplistic, intelectuals will never read it or take it seriously, and thereby miss the underlying message. A subtle hand had planned this. Subtle indeed.
Docile. Defencesless. Unable to do or achieve anything without her vampire lover, and with no real desire to. And also, presented as the paragon of humanity, the everywoman whose one great desire was to attract the interest of a thing that lives in the darkness and hungers, the human who all humans should aspire to. In short, throughly domesticated and incapable of independence. Wasn't that interesting...
The sex is ignored of course, but it's there. Underwritten with a sort of nominal religious irrelevence, but there. And the constant description of beauty... but a spiderweb can be beautiful, intricate and impressive, but beautiful. The vampire craze that has sprung up around this, it's all to one point, and you can see it. You wonder if the rest of the world appreciates the nets artistery.

Lara Raith
She is lying in a hotel with the kine draped over her, exerted past the point of endurence, the rise and fall of his chest so slight it was barely present. Or at least, he is exhausted. She'd considered draing a bit more, but really, her brother was quite right. No need to go overboard unless the situation called for it, not a good use of resources at all. She feels sated and full, his lust and desire swirling within her, like a bright light, banishing the cold and giving her life. However, as a woman, she is unsatisfied, as she tends to be. She had high standards (thanks to her father, who had used her and made her long for his touch above all else), that almost nobody could meet. This one, for example, had turned out to be a boring and unimaginative lover, only interested in his own pleasure. The famous and rich tended to be that way, more interested in being told they were good then learning how to be good.
She had decided, on a whim, to ruin him, and made a note to leak the affair to the papperazzi, so he'd spend the next six months plastered over tabloids and a laughing stock. It would be a long time before anyone could look at hm as an athlete again. Petty? Vindictive? But then, he was the one who had approached her. Why shouldn't he reap the concequences? And she encouraged such things, they were good for the Court's image. If people's heroes were tainted by associations, then their own lusts and perversions seemed more attainable. Little steps.
She got up, straightened her hair, and dressed. Her clothes were rumpled, but she'd change when she got home. For now, she had a surplus of energy to burn, and work to do. She had grown into a power to be reckoned with, and intended to remain that way.
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Re: Dresden Files: Caught in the Undertow

Post  Colesign on Mon May 02, 2011 9:18 am

Sanya

Freshly arrived in Chicago, Sanya ponders his next move.

Nicodemus is here...again...in Chicago for a reason. Always a reason. And the hell of the matter is that he wanted Sanya here as well for some reason. Otherwise he would have tried his best to kill him.

He needed information. And after that, a plan.

First he'd go to Father Forthill's. Then...to more unsavory sources of information.

With a smile, he heads down to St. Mary of the Angels in Logan Square.

Bartholomew Dee

So, Dresden had received a communique of desperate importance, and left with a harried air. And it wasn't like he was going to do anything rational like tell people about an impending danger to the city.

Hence Bartholomew heading down to Lincoln Square, and stepping into the Oldtown School of Folk Music.

There was a kid's ukulele lesson going on in the main room, and the sound of them trying to plink out "Cockles and Mussels" made Bartholomew grin.

Then he sighed and made his way down to an office in the corner, where one of the instructors...and a friend of sorts lived. Who happened to have some prophetic abilities.

She's been hard used in the past. Bartholomew thinks to himself. So if she doesn't want to talk about her visions, don't press the issue.

So Bartholomew knocks gently. "Lydia?" he asks in a nervous voice.

(I thought this would be a nice, real life place for her to end up: healing power of music and all that.)

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