Y09/01/01 New Year's Gala

Cast: Ruby, Darien, Samael, Slithe, Dismas, Alexis, Cecil, Ricardo, Peggy, Ken, Ali, Martel, Carraig, Ethan, Mayfair, Raul, Marisol, Xander, Isabel, Luna
Location: Anderson Building - LACMA - Mid-Wilshire
Time: New Year's Eve
Synopsis: A Gala for the occassion of the New Year resolves in a mess as Seneschal Ethan Deshaunde attempts to kiss Prince Ali Santiago

Anderson Building - LACMA - Mid-Wilshire

Wooden floors and white-washed walls, moodily lit; the galleries of the Anderson might seem almost bland at first glance, as antiseptic as a hospital - but if this is a hospital, it's a mental one. Here are the modern art collections, the outre and twisted children of the twentieth century: Picasso's cubic sculpture "Centaur", the surreal impressionism of David Hockney's "Mulholland Drive - The Road to the Studio", Rene Magritte's contradictory "Ceci n'est pas une pipe", and many other works from the merely odd to the outright grotesque.
Here, giant pool balls are racked in the middle of the floor. There, objects d'art are arranged as if part of a city street, complete with sound effects. One piece is a hall of mirrors that must be walked through. Another, "Backseat Dodge '38", is a stylized car with working headlights and a wireframe couple making whoopee in the back. Exhibits with video screens, moving parts, flashing beams: this is not your grandfather's art gallery. To walk through it is to fall down Alice's proverbial rabbit hole, to experience the wondrous and horrific without barriers. But as much as the art might be unprotected from you, perhaps you might ponder in turn that you are unprotected from it.

Gala Atmosphere:
The modern art exhibits are unchanged however the area has been decked out with red carpet to lead the feet of the attendees to the designated area. In advance of arrival, the sounds of the event spills out, echoing off the high ceilings and distant walls. The servers and helpers are just a few discrete tuxedoed ghouls. (+view gala/ghouls)
A slightly raised platform serves as a stage and from here the various bands, soloists, electronic music and lights are coordinated.(+view gala/music) Occasional laughter and loud voices indicate a friendly party with occasional spontaneous dancing. The wooden dance floor is sufficient to accommodate 2 dozen couples.
The lighting is muted and convivial. The room has been decorated with festive banners. Hanging high up in various corners are a few special "new" art pieces which resemble piñatas (+view gala/piñatas)
There are several piñatas scattered as decorations hanging from the ceiling. There are effigies of Father time, 'mythical' creatures, such as unicorns and phoenixes and even one that seems to have the face of Ruby Forcythe. (Art IC created by Alistair Rowely).
You may NOT break the piñatas!
Until Ruby Says so!

The ghouls are unstated retainers of Ruby and Darien. May be interacted with or emitted if you promise to remember they are longstanding loyal Tremere retainers, polite, intelligent, armed and capable.

At the entrance of the Anderson a young man arrives.. who might be a bit out of place since well.. he's obviously not wearing a tuxedo. Sam stops at the entrance, blue eyes skimming the room until they find Ruby and he nods at her.

Ruby dips her head toward Sam, respectfully. "Good evening, Lord Keeper Samael. We are honored to see you. May I present Dr. Darien Marsh, my colleague." she gestures to Darien.

Darien bows to Sam. "Good evening, Keeper Petersen. I am glad to meet your acquaintance."

Slithe enters from the courtyard outside.
Slithe has arrived.

Sam stares at Ruby when she uses that word 'Lord'. Still the young man offers the lady a perfectly courteous bow, and performs a slighter one in Dariens direction; "An honor to meet Dr. Marsh." he replies; "And please.. Petersen is not my name. I don't have a clue why everybody keeps calling me that. Sam or Samael will be good. If you insist you can add 'Sir' but I'm really not so fond on titles."

Ruby smiles, unruffled to be corrected. "One of my goals for the evening is to learn to associate as many new faces with names and preferences as possible. "

Slithe steps out of the shadows.
Slithe has arrived.

Dismas steps out of the shadows.
Dismas has arrived.

Ruby is standing by the door greeting Sam. She smiles in welcome as new guests arrive.

Darien nods to Sam. "As you wish, Samael. I hope you will enjoy the festivities."

Samael nods back to Ruby and Darien. He waves his hand dismissive; "It is quite okay. I should add that the host and hostess of the evening do look stunning tonight." a beaming smile is added in order to confirm the statement; "I was wondering though. Where would you have me, and when?"

Slithe disrobes from darkness, the spidery-looking creature looking like an exhibit himself in the art atmosphere, although he probably belongs in one of the more grotesque sections of the Gala. A herd of four cats follow him, each on them riding on the back of a graying ape, who carries them like children. Slithe pauses, seemingly waiting for someone.

Behind Slithe, the shadows cough up Dismas, who follows the smaller man with a halting, shambling gait. His one larger eye watches the floor intently, as if worried it might move out of the way between one heavy footfall and the next.

Ruby answers to Sam, quickly and efficiently, just reaching for his elbow but not touching him. "When the midnight approaches, if you don't mind, and do you need the amplification system?"

Darien smiles to Sam. "Ah, so you will be gracing us with a performance?"

Sam shrugs slightly in response to Darien; "Gracing would be a bit to much. I remain one of the little people. But yes, the Lady asked and who would I be to deny after I've had so much support when I tried to organize a reception." He smiles at Ruby; "I.. don't know if I'll have all night. Might get 'beeped' sort of speaking. Mostly anticipated on the opening." He glances about; "Would be handy." He admits; "Do you have a piano here? Other musical instruments?"

Ruby nods and directs Sam to the "Stage" area which has mostly electronic instruments but there is a wooden guitar and an organ set up. "Please let me know if you need anything else. I can have them wheel it in from the other room". She turns to greet the green skinned vampires, Dismas and Slithe. "Welcome. My I introduce myself to you. I am Ruby Forcythe and.." she turns to indicate Darien. "This is Dr. Darien Marsh."

Slithe glances up at Dismas, approaching the two people slowly, his ape carrying the cats just behind him. His clawed feet scrape across the floor, leaving a trail of dead skin behind. "Slithe." The creature says in a shrill voice, picking up one of the cats into his arms. It purrs under his scaly, cold touch.

Darien turns to the two, and bows. "Good evening, gentlemen. Pleased to meet your acquaintance."

"Dismas," says the larger of the two, a meaty paw gesturing towards his face. "It is… pleasing… to meet you." Fortunately, he doesn't say much, as when he does speak he gets out about one word to anyone else’s two or three.

Sam nods back to Ruby; "Alright. That's classy." he comments; and turns to offer two slight bows in the direction of both Slithe and Dismas; "A pleasure to meet as well mister Dismas.. and hello again Slithe."

Slithe crouches down, looking oddly simian beside his ape friend. He looks much more comfortable in this animalistic position. Seemingly distracted, he titters over his collection of beasts.

There is background music, soft and non-descript coming from further within. It bounces down from the ceiling muted.

Alexis enters from the courtyard outside.
Alexis has arrived.

Ruby smiles to Dismas and Slithe, interested in their dependents. "The cats are your familiars?" she inquires of Slithe. She stands by the door to greet folks and noticing Alexis she turns and grins to her then turns back to hear the answer from the green man.

Sam starts to drift in the direction of that stage now. He proceeds slowly and undisturbed. The guitar is found and strapped on, trying out few notes. The microphone is adjusted next, aiming it at guitar-height.

Alexis is wandering in, a top hat in her hand, humming pleasantly to herself. She seems … amused at something behind her. She is looking at the brim of that hat, spinning it absently in her pale fingers. Not looking up, yet.

Slithe looks up at Ruby, and speaks slightly defensively in his shrill voice. "Friends." He says in a clipped tone, before adding, "Ghouls." Turning his head back at the animals, he runs his fingers through their mangy fur, plucking insects off of them with care.

Darien wanders a bit towards the stage, watching Sam's preparations. "What kind of music do you favor?"

Cecil enters from the courtyard outside.
Cecil has arrived.

"Not very familiar," Dismas adds to Slithe's description. "Fine company, though." He might have more to say, but nothing comes out, as his tongue just writhes purposelessly in his mouth, looking like an electrified snake trying to back out of his throat.

Cecil steps on in, dressed for the gala!

Ruby nods to Slithe, "Your affection and care is apparent. That is admirable." She smiles and as she is still standing by the door she turns again to Alexis, "Pink! Ms. Arias, you are stunning, dahling" she seems unsurprised and yet impressed.

Alexis glances behind her at Cecil, then smiles at Ruby, "Aww, darling. But he's stole my style." She glares over her shoulder at Cecil, narrowing her eyes and managing to look unpleasant, really. And then smiles over at Ruby again, straightening at her lapels, "But thank you anyway, baby." She bows, too, at the Tremere, "Truly gorgeous." There's a touch of a wicked smirk behind her eyes, too. -Then- she's going to look over the other visitors. And she takes a step back, a hint of brown clouding the irises of her eyes.

Slithe peels something, perhaps a strip of skin, from his skull, the dry flake coming off cleanly, before feeding it to one of his cats. It devours it happily. Of course, this causes jealousy, so he digs into a nub of an ear for more food for his bestiary.

Dismas' iris remains the same color as his head rotates slowly towards the new voices, his eye seeming to shimmer and the surface of disturbed milk as his gaze rolls about. A few heavy steps get the rest of his body pointed in that direction, and the words, "Good evening to you" manage to escape his jaw without being mangled.

When Alexis moves away, Ruby greets Cecil with a nod and a smile. "How nice to see you Mr. Northrup. Do you know Mr, Slithe and Mr. Dismas?" she intros.

Cecil says, "I met them quite recently actually. How are you, Ms. Arias, Ms. Forcythe?"

Alexis …hides behind Ruby. No, really, that's the only way to describe the weird sidestep and squeak that she performs, hat brought up as if that's going to protect her or something. And she peers out over the edge of it with brown eyes, Cecil forgotten.

Ricardo enters from the courtyard outside.
Ricardo has arrived.

Darien strolls back towards the others, smiling. "Ah, good evening Miss Arias." He glances briefly in the direction she is looking. "How have you been?"

Peggy enters from the courtyard outside.
Peggy has arrived.

Ruby rustles her skirt, adjusting it down. She hears the tuning of the guitar and sound system stop and cocks her ear in that direction. Before turning she mentions, "Excuse me I think its time." She shakes her head just a little with a frown at the shadowing position of Alexis behind her.

Cecil stands with the others, quiet for the moment.

Peggy enters with Ricardo, quietly but probably with some commotion. She's just put her hands on his shoulders to try and shove him an arm's length from her, while he is trying to do some kind of hip-gyrating dance with her. Even though there's no music except the heavy bass sounds from his mouth.

Alexis is hiding behind Ruby. No, really. She's staring at Dismas, and hiding behind Ruby, and her hat over the bottom half of her face. She sort of relaxes a -little-, slowly, looking towards Slithe briefly and wincing, but -forcing- herself to turn towards Darien, "Err, hi," She says, blinking a few times. "Sorry…" She looks nervously back over at the green fellas, Cecil totally forgotten. And then over towards Cards and Peggy nervously before relaxing a little again.

Cards is still trying to dance with Peggy, despite the fact that she is pushing him away. But he does stop making his own music in order to say, "What the fuck, Chuck? You're my date. You're supposed to dance with me, and then fuck me when the night's over. That's how it works, chola."

Ruby only glances at the entering dancing couple before she waves and nods to Peggy and Ricardo. "Welcome, Sir Cruz, Sheriff. I see you are ready to dance. Please excuse me" then she moves away, evaporating the shelter which Alexis had been depending on and goes to the stage area to talk to Sam.

Sam seems done with whatever installation he'd require and upnods to Ruby when she approaches.

Slithe excuses himself, for no apparent reason, gathering up his creatures and moving to the exit. He gurgles a goodbye.

Ruby whispers to Sam, "It seems your preparations are complete. How shall I introduce your piece, sir?" she asks politely"

Slithe leaves for the courtyard.
Slithe has left.

Sam hmms at Ruby's question, whispering in turn.
Sam whispers to Ruby, "I don't think I require an introduction. You know? I can do some music and the guests can dance and party on. If you would like to do an opening yourself, you know.. say a few words, you would be welcome to however."

Peggy hisses her reply to Ricardo, with a smallish annoyed frown. She does stop shoving, though, but only so that she can wag her finger at him like a school-teacher.

Peggy whispers to Ricardo, "Nobody else is dancing, so knock it off. The possibility of… romance is nill if you're an ass about it."

Darien turns in front of Alexis towards Cecil, nodding, and giving her an opportunity to regain her cover. "Good evening Mr. Northrup. I trust you are well?"

A moment too late, one of Dismas' meaty hands raises to wave at Slithe's retreating back. The motion turns into a shrug, his fleshy body quaking in a semi-gelatinous manner, before he settles back down into his slouch. Then, time to roam, heavy, shuffling, footsteps slowly carrying him towards the artwork.

Apparently, whatever Peggy says causes Cards to stop attempting to hustle a dance out of his 'date'. He glances at her askance, anger plain on his features. "They ain't dancing 'cause this party blows. I can't believe I got all dressed up for this, too." He starts to walk away from Peggy then, glancing briefly over at Sam and Ruby, then over to Cecil and the other Tremere. He shakes his head, looking to the strange Nosferatu (and the one leaving) before looking hopefully toward the doors he just walked through.

Ruby taps on the microphone. "GOOD evening" she greets the assemblage. "I would like to say Welcome and thank you for coming. " She looks around before continuing.
Ruby says, "I believe that there is only one sure means of ensuring that you are not ground up into paste by disappointment, futility and disillusion in this life.death. And that is to always insure that, to the utmost of your ability, that you are doing it to maintain your humanity."

Cecil says, "I am, Mr. Marsh. And yourself? This is a fine gala, don't you think?"

Darien nods, about to answer, when Ruby speaks. He smiles, then turns to regard the stage.

Cecil turns to listen to the stage.

With a dramatic sigh, Peggy tags along behind Ricardo, though she doesn't leave the room.

Ruby clasps her hand in front of her and says seriously, "I hope tonight to provide an opportunity for all to be comfortable, to meet and greet each other and the new year. I would begin with a small prayer." she bows her head.
Ruby continues: "When words stick in the throat and tears blind us, then, Lord, send your Strength to help us rise again, remembering that your love is within us and gives us power over death. Renewed and equipped afresh may we continue to further the realm of the night and our right relationships. Amen"
Ruby raises her eyes to the crowd. " and now, if you will greet Sir Samael, Keeper of Expo and renowned artist. I know I am anxious to enjoy his music". with this she smiles and turns to wave her hand toward Sam.

Sam quirks a brow at Ruby's words, quite remarkably not following up on the 'Amen'. The young man shakes his head slightly at the introduction, but does approach the microphone a bit; "Not so renowned please. Don't mind me." the young man smiles apologetic; "This is no concert, but I can play some in case you would dance." Stepping back again and proceeding.. undisturbed by adjusting the mic again.

Alexis is deprived of her cover! She just squeaks again and scoots back towards a wall, looking up towards the stage and Ruby in askance - apparently going to stay … quiet for the moment.

Ruby nods and moves away from the microphone, back toward Darien, "First dance with me,sir?" she requests and winks so rapidly it is hard to know if she moved her eye.

Peggy suggests to Ricardo's retreating back, "You will have to teach me how to dance, Sir Cards, it's not something I've ever bothered to learn." She sounds pleasant, in a really forced sort of way—like, through gritted teeth at first.

Darien turns back to Cecil. "I have been well." He glances around the room before returning his attention on him. "Yes, Ruby has done well." His attention is redirected as Ruby approaches. He holds out a hand to her. "By all means, Ruby."

Although he's obviously standing on that stage, Sam's gaze goes inward. Although there's some amount of presence to the young man, his behavior would make believe there's no-one in the room but him. The youths fingers search out the snares and a soft melody comes forth. It's not a known melody, somewhere between a classical dance an a musical. The theme of the melody has this bitter-sweet air and it's repeated a few times, trying out several variations before the voice joins the music.
The first reaction might be 'awkward' because this young man sings with a woman’s voice, or not quite that because it's as high but not as clouded. It's the Angelic sound of a boy, if a severely trained one.
Contradicting the melody the lyrics have a familiar ring; Emily Dickinson's Poem as quoted during the invitation;
Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
And Immortality.

Ken enters from the courtyard outside.
Ken has arrived.

Alexis startles violently and glances around wildly, hands going to tear the hat off her head again and clutch it to herself. "What the fuck?" She … demands, of no one in particular, her eyes widening, breath that she shouldn't be breathing catching oddly.

Ruby slides to the dance floor holding Darien's hand and smiling. She glances to Alexis and smirks, chuckling slightly before she attends to looking up at Darien and murmuring to him.

Ruby whispers to Darien, "Isn't it nice not to have to worry about the masquerade so seriously?"

After a short intermezzo, making way for a series of cheerful quick notes, the second couplet is voiced, a bit lower than the first;
We slowly drove, He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility

Sam is at the microphone, singing an original melody to the classic poem. Ruby and Darien are dancing together. Alexis appears to be dancing by herself or jumping like a bean, that is.

And Peggy is following an angry-looking Ricardo.

Sam seems to become a bit more aware of his surroundings now, identifying the several faces, as the young mans fingers find the notes, seemingly without paying attention;
We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess, in the Ring
We passed the fields of Gazing Grain
We passed the Setting Sun

"I can't dance to this shit," Cards shrugs to Peggy, crossing his arms over his chest. He shifts his gaze toward the source of the music and narrows his eyes. After several long moments of staring hard at Sam he says, "Oh," but it is quietly to himself rather than to anyone in particular. Well, his mood has gone sour fast, that is for sure.

Ken slips into the building quietly, seemingly going out of his way to enter unnoticed. He takes up a spot against the wall near the entrance and scans the crowd for familiar faces. It doesn't look like he went out of his way to dress up for this event or anything like that.

Darien escorts Ruby to the dance floor, and starts to dance with her, in a somewhat classic, though dated ballroom style. He murmurs to her in return.
With some cursing added in; "Fucking hell," Xander swipes a hand- as if to run it through her hair, and knocking her hat off instead. Xander twitches again, glances around as if that were someone else’s fault.

Darien whispers to Ruby, "Yes it is. I don't know if you heard me earlier, but you have done a very good job here."

Cecil listens to the music with interest, though he isn't dancing as of yet.

Sams eyes narrow slightly, finding Cards. He smiles faintly and the melody changes, gaining a more exotic touch, adding a hint of Mexican flavor and rhythm;
"Or rather, He passed Us
The Dews drew quivering and chill
For only Gossamer, my Gown
My Tippet-only Tulle.

Peggy gives up on her 'date.' She sighs dramatically again, and then turns and walks towards one of the sculptures. One that has a bench in front of it, and a good view of the stage. She plops herself down gracelessly and turns her attention to Sam.

Ruby inclines her head to Darien in thanks, She whispers to Darien, "I am concerned that the Keeper is detained. But there is a bit more time till midnight."

One can easily imagine the warning beeps as Dismas begins to back away from the piece of art he was studying, before throwing his body into drive to aid in turning around. The music seems to draw his eye, a few shuffling steps taken in that direction before he lurches back to a halt, teetering slightly.

Ali enters from the courtyard outside.
Ali has arrived.

Martel enters from the courtyard outside.
Martel has arrived.

Carraig enters from the courtyard outside.
Carraig has arrived.

Alexis stares at the hat as if it were some giant insect, and doesn't pick it up again, instead takes a few steps backwards, grey-brown touched eyes swinging wildly over the entirety of the room again.

Ken lingers near the doorway, against the wall. His arms are folded across his chest and his gaze is still taking everything, and everyone in.
Carraig enters through the doorway, and walks up to Ken with a grin flicking him on the chest with a thump of the fingers to say hello nonverbally. There's a smile on his face, "Ey mate."

Ruby looks at the newer arrivals and murmurs, She whispers to Darien, "Change partners?"

Sams gaze moves from Card to Peggy. There's a slight shrug and an almost apologetic smile before concentrating on the lyrics again;
We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground
The Roof was scarcely visible
The Cornice, in the Ground.

Peggy is seated at a bench near a particularly freakish sculpture made up of I-beams and strobe lights, watching Sam on the stage. She meets his eyes, briefly, and smiles crookedly.

Cards looks over his shoulder then, giving a dour look to—no one at all. He blinks slowly before looking around him for several moments. Finally, he turns to glare at Peggy with an accusing look.

An odd couple make their entry together tonight, Prince and Seneschal of South Central… arm in arm. Martel is the picture of dignity and seems entirely proud to have such a lovely lady on his arm and is the very paragon of the perfect gentleman as he steps deeper into the building. He turns a charming smile on Ali, and then a larger smile of greeting on the assembly at large. "Here we are," he says with more pronounced hint to his Southern drawl and less of his Latin accents. "Fashionably late, as befits a lady."

Darien nods. He whispers to Ruby, "Yes, let's."

Wrapping up now, the last couplet of Dickinson’s Poem, carrying the melody through the ages and into a much more modern tune;
Since then,'tis Centuries, and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity.
The last sentence is repeated a few times while the melody is morphed into a much more known and modern song.

As the music changes Ruby thanks Darien parts from him. She goes toward Ricardo. She smiles at him, heedless of his glare and puts out her hand. "Ever dance with a nun?" she asks with tone of good humor.

Dismas' gaze drops to the floor, his eye scanning back and forth as if making sure there are no surprises to get stomped under his boots. He seems to roam aimlessly, just a rogue mass circling the edge of the societal gravitational field at a slow pace. At least until Alexis' discarded top hat poses itself as an obstacle. One he slowly bends down to remove, by placing firmly on his head.

Smiling faintly, Ali gently inclines her head toward Martel and lifts her hand from his arm. "I hardly ever make it anywhere on time..", she notes with a roguish smirk. Turning, her attention takes in the room as both hands smooth a delicate line over the flat of her stomach, the silk of her shirt. This outfit, her garb tonight, is a step up from her usual 'Santa Monica' outfit. A loose blue silk shirt flutters around her torso and long, boot cut black slacks cling to her long legs. The Brujah, for once, -almost- looks like a lady.

Alexis was shying away from nothing in particular again, not noticing the theft of her hat for the moment because she's distracted bowing to Ali and Martel. Graceful, quick, nervous. Xander backs away again, almost right into Dismas, too.

Ken sidesteps away from Carraig and shoots him an annoyed glance. The glance breaks into a grin and he upnods, "S'up?" His attention is quickly captured though by the new couple making their way through the door. To Carraig he mutters, "Hold on real quick," and then starts to walk towards the door.

Ethan enters from the courtyard outside.
Ethan has arrived.

Peggy's attention is ripped off the stage and whatever she's thinking about, so that she can swivel and staaaaare at the delegation from South Central. Moving fast enough to be particularly clumsy and awkward, she stands and bows deeply at them both.

Cecil stares too! He joins the throng of admirers.

"I know the feeling," Martel agrees with a slow chuckle, half-bowing as Ali removes her arm. "I make it to business meetings on time, but social occasions…" He allows this to trail off and then winks briefly, before turning his attention back to the gathered crowds and flashing and *electric* smile… which is magnified and projected by his posture.

Ruby stands before Ricardo with her hand held out when the air sizzles with the elegant mein of Ali and Martel. Her hand falls slowly to her side as she looks up and smiles wider at the pair.

Carraig nods his head and says, "Yeh, sure yak at ya later."

A few more steps lead Ali further into the crowd and she grins, mischief obvious, and tosses a wink at Martel before she turns nod at everyone nodding at her. Dark hair, dark skin, dark clothing.. yet the smile she summons is so bright, so charged that it matches Martel's easily. A grand entrance, indeed..
Darien follows Ruby towards Ricardo and Peggy, turning along with the rest to regard the newly arrived pair.

Ethan leaves for the courtyard.
Ethan has left.

"..I take arrival times as a suggestion." Ali replies back to her date

Ken leaves for the courtyard.
Ken has left.

Sam holds off on the taking on a new theme, allowing Ali and Martel their entrance. A slight nod of acknowledgement is offered before his eyes search out Ruby; "That was yours miss Forcythe. Now for another interpretation your Theme." The more classical stuff is followed up by follow up by a much more solid guitar-jam copied from Evanescence.

Dismas' jaw looks like it might be more slack than usual as his eye travels between the newcomers. Clearly, this one isn't trained in courtly gestures, but as others bow he tries to as well, looking like he's about to fall on top of Alexis. At least he has her hat to doff, playing at being a proper dandy, before backing away until he hits a wall.

Ruby waves a hand and absently turns to acknowledge Sam. She moves toward Ali and Martel and curtsies, rather deeply as the full skirt allows it., "Welcome your excellencies" she greets, "Our honor for you to attend" She rises to stand not quite in front of them but more to Martel's side.

Alexis still doesn't seem to have noticed that Dismas has her hat, but that's probably because she's staring at the pair of them, twitching her head a bit still, unaware of the ugly green Noss behind her for the most part.

The focus of Cards' ire switches from Peggy to Ali and Martel—except it is not ire anymore by the time that it gets there. In fact, it is open joy. Cards smiles broadly, his sour attitude fading into the mist, and he pushes past a dancing couple to make his way over to the pair. "Hey! Orale, Jefe! Orale, chola! Que tal? Que pasa?"

Ethan enters from the courtyard outside.
Ethan has arrived.

The Brujah Prince of South Central is no less charming then her date, even it comes off completely different - where Martel strikes as suave and debonair, Ali comes off as the pinnacle of confidence - beautiful, dark, a little dangerous in that way that she glides so easily. Her head angles toward Ruby as she meets the Tremere's greeting. "Si, si..", she murmurs, her accent only slightly tempered. She lingers there only a moment before surveying the room again and finding, of all people, Dismas. A brow arches and her lips spread in a broad smile once again. "Senor.", she greets. "I don't think we've met?", she wonders as her attention drifts toward Cards.

Cecil is definitely distracted by the Brujah, peering at them.

Ruby forcably turns herself to greet the seneschal. "Lord De Shaude, Welcome, welcome" she speaks quickly and gives him a curtsy as well.

Alexis finally seems to notice that Dismas is somewhere behind her an jumps again as if someone yanked on her tail, spinning around to look at him, and her stolen hat. She dances backwards again. Twitch.

Martel is smiling as he inclines his head again in answer to Ruby's greeting, and he smiles that smile right at her once more as she moves closer to him. It is Cards he speaks to first, saying pleasantly, "Orale mi amigo! I'm doing well, thank you. Y tu?" He then allows his words to return to Ruby as he tells her, "Nice to see you again Ms. Forcythe." As she speaks, he sees Ethan as well and gravely inclines his head to his Downtown counterpart with deep courtesy.

Darien gazes at the pair, his mouth slightly open as his gaze tracks their walk across the floor.

Mayfair enters from the courtyard outside.
Mayfair has arrived.

In contrast to the spectacular entrance of Ali and Martel, Ethan simply opens the door just enough to admit himself, one hand trailing behind him to slow the door's closing. As if he were worried about it slamming. The man is, to all appearances, halfway to another planet. His eyes flicker over the room, settling.. as almost everyone's… on Martel and Ali.

Dismas' tongue writhes wordlessly in his jaw, looking like an inguana that got caught halfway through being swallowed, as Ali's attention passes over him. Alexis' hat gets perched atop his skull again before he gets words out. "We have not," he says slowly, the words being carefully formed. "Dismas." Either identifying himself, or mumbling in a foreign language.

Cards shifts his gaze between Martel and Ali, as if uncertain what to do now—but when Ali calls out to Dismas, and Martel speak to him, and even asks him a question, he responds hesitantly. "I…I missed you," and then, without further ado, he grabs Martel and hugs him tight.

"Dismas.." The corner of Ali's lips pick up and she smiles at the man in front of her. "I think I've heard of -you-…", she muses, letting the sentence stand as compliment or statement, however the man and the listeners would take it. "Where've you settled, amigo?" The Brujah drifts a step toward her conversation partner, still smiling.

The music is produced electronically as Sam bows out the back. It is modern but not not obtrusive.
I lit out from Reno,
I was trailed by twenty hounds
Didn't get to sleep that night
'Till the morning came around.

Alexis turns to bow at Ethan as well, by now completely confused, her hair tousled, her jacket askew. She doesn't seem to know where to back now, she's just standing rooted to the ground.

Martel appears to be taken slightly by surprise as he is hugged by Ricardo, but the recovery of his aplomb is rapid and a hand gives Cards a companionable clap on the back. "I missed you too my boy, it's always a pleasure to see you." He glances around the crowd for a long moment and then asks the smaller man, knowingly, "How's the party so far?"

Dismas seems to be trying to keep his answers short, which is good, as he only gets out one word for every two or three that someone else does. "No where, yet." The top hat gets snatched back off of his head, his eye looking almost surprised as he spots it in his hands, before smashing it back onto his scalp. "New here, being social." And doing so well at it.

Cards is not quick to release Martel. He continues to hold the Ventrue in an embrace, leaning his head against Martel's shoulder. When Martel questions him, he shrugs into him, muttering, "It's been pretty fucking boring. My date ditched me. I mean—but now you're here. There's nowhere else I want to be."

Ethan quirks a faint smile at Martel and Ricardo's embrace, apparently amused. He slips off away from the door, sideways, so that he is no longer in the path of anyone.

The music is enthusiastic, electric and oblivious to the room's occupants.
~Ran into the devil, babe,~
~He loaned me twenty bills~
~I spent the night in Utah~
~In a cave up in the hills~

Ruby nods to Martel still smiling widely. Seeing more guests arrive she forcably turns herself to greet the seneschal,” Lord De Shaunde, Welcome, welcome," she speaks quickly and gives him a curtsy as well. The dress flares out nicely and the overskirt floats down slowly.

"An' fan-tastic at it." Ali grins wide and casts a sidelong, amused smirk at her Seneschal as she catches him in a full on embrace. One of her brows creeps upward and she chuckles, again glancing around. "Xander.", she notes the rooted Malkavian. "Ms. Forcythe." Hmmm, who else. "Sheriff." The Brujah upnods toward Peggy and smiles.

Smiling awkwardly, Peggy returns to her bench. She doesn't resume staring into space, however, because her attention has a good focus now: the couple from South Central.

Alexis is totally wild-eyed. She stares at Ali, sort of opens her mouth, and just ends up bowing again, not half so graceful this time, almost knocking herself over with the enthusiasm of it, and jostling into Dismas again. It's about then that she realizes he has her hat, but she can't seem to wrangle words out for him, either. Just stares.

Martel smiles at Ricardo's words, the hand on the other man's back giving a pat that is fond rather than awkward as he says, "I'm glad I was able to brighten your night when it was going badly, then," in soothing tones. His eyes begin to scan the crowd again (and he hears Ali say 'Sheriff', perhaps) he sights on Peggy and gives her a special smile and an inclination of his head. "Dame Innes, good evening."

Band plays on:
~I ran down to the levee~
~But the devil caught me there~
~He took my twenty dollar bill~
~And vanished in the air.~

Cecil is too distracted by the pair of luminaries that he can't be bothered to greet the others.

"I'm surprised t'see y'here, Senora. I didn't think a Gala'd be your kind of affair.." Ali smiles, approaching with the intent of continuing her easy conversation with Peggy. Glancing over her shoulder, she twiddles her fingers at Dismas before wandering off. "Sheriff treatin' you well?", she asks.

Still, Cards does not release Martel from his embrace, even as he addresses Peggy. He just closes his eyes, leaning his head into the Ventrue's shoulder again, murmuring more to himself than to Martel, "I missed you so much."

Peggy finds herself needing to bow again, so she once again rushes gracelessly to her feet. "Seneschal M-Martel." Bow, accompanied by a shy sort of grin that she can't manage to suppress. "I'm terribly sorry that I annoyed Cards—but really, he /did/ start it. But I really didn't mean for it to ruin /your/ evening." Her eyes shift to Ali as well, and she drops into a third bow. "Thank you, Prince Santiago. That's a really different outfit! I mean that in a good way, of course…"

Upbeat music floats in from the dance floor:
~Set out runnin' but I take my time~
~A friend of the devil is a friend of mine~
If I get home before daylight,~
I just might get some sleep tonight.

Dismas stands there looking like an awestruck fan. Probably of Star Trek, given his attire and general hygiene. His tongue continues to writhes for a moment after he's done trying to speak, as if settling on the blisters in his mouth is painful. But eventually, his roving eye gets back to it, strange pupil aiming downward at the girl who bumped into him.

Appearing pleased with Peggy's grin and greeting, Martel waves off her apology with the words, "Think nothing of it my dear lady. I'm certain that I can manage to cheer the lad up. Pray do not let it ruin /your/ night." Another special smile for Peggy and then he adds, "Please do not let me disturb your conversation with the Prince." He moves slightly to the side so Ali and Peggy can talk, hand patting Ricardo casually on the back again.

Ruby turns to fawn again over Martel and pine for Ali as she moves off. Almost stepping on Peggy's final words she asks, "Would either of you care to dance. or both of you,yes..!" she nods with enthusiasm.

…"My hat," Xander murmurs, staring at Dismas now, not bothering to hide the 'holy crap what is -that-?' expression on her face.

Ethan seems quite content to remain on the outside of the entire affair, just watching.

"My hat," echoes Dismas, as he reaches up to adjust it on his head, pushing it back on his scalp an inch or so. "You threw it away."

"Cards was in'a mood?", Ali wonders as she glances back at Ricartel (think Bennifer). "Well, he looks fine now.", she murmurs with a wink toward the Sheriff. One hand plucks at her shirt and she flashes another broad grin. "Gracias. I had to replace my last outfit after that scuffle with Raul at the tourney." Trailing, she slides into her pockets and lifts both eyebrows toward Ruby. "Dance?" A wicked glint settles in her eyes and she glances at Martel. "I have to admit, I'm not much of a dancer but I'm sure Martel would -love- to.. "

Final verse:
~You can borrow from the devil~
You can borrow from a friend~
~The devil'll loan ya twenty~
~But your friend got only ten~
fading..~your friend only got ten~

"/No one dances with him, he's /mine//." Cards hisses hatefully at Ruby as she suggests the dance, clinging to Martel even more tightly, his fingers digging into Martel's back.

"It fell off!" Xander protests, in a sort of high-pitched voice. Terrified, worried, hysterical, almost. "There's fingers, fingers everywhere, invisible hands…" Xander stumbles backwards a step, then lurches forward again, hands out, confused.

Ethan's smile quirks wider as Card's hisses, sparing not even a glance for Xander and whoever else might be far from the pair.

"..that's a relative 'fine', by the way.", muses the Prince of South Central, low.

"I don't dance either." Peggy says quickly, reassuringly to Ali. "The bench over there-" She gestures at her former seat beneath the jumble of I-beams and strobe lights, "-gives a particularly good view of the stage."

Glancing at Cards for a moment (and likely glad he's dead and can't feel the fingers digging into his back), Martel turns his attention back toward Ruby with a faint shake of his head. "Now might not be a good time. I am very pleased and flattered that such a lovely young lady asked, however." His head inclines smoothly to Ruby as his hand pats Ricardo's back again.

Ruby chuckles at Ricardo. "Perhaps his Excellency will chose a tune and a partner, as this song is ending?" she looks hopefully up to the dapper man, Martel.

"Invisible hands… more resources," Dismas agrees with Alexis, his head tilting forward slightly as if he's trying to nod. "That is, cap it all ism." He sounds the word out carefully, taking even longer with it than most others. "What do you trade for the hat?"

"Ah." Ali beams toward Peggy and unfurls one of her long arms to gesture at the bench. "Might as well take'a seat then. Helluva crowd..", murmurs the Brujah as if she's uncomfortable, though she shows not a single outward sign of it. In fact, she looks quite at home if one could ignore the fact she has -slacks- on.

One of Cards arms lowers from Martel's back, sinking into coat, the other only clutches at Martel tighter. Martel (and possibly those with excellent hearing) might hear the quiet click of a safety mechanism sliding out of place.

A straight-backed tuxedoed ghoul bows his hand and gestures, and in steps the Sheriff of Santa Monica, with the Jaguar's Daughter on his arm. Raul and Marisol take in the splendor of the room and glance at each other, the corners of Raul's thin lips quirking upwards and a sparkle alighting in Marisol's eyes. "After you" the gentleman says in a low voice, gesturing towards the throng of beautifully dressed partygoers. With a delicate little bow, the two Santa Monicans enter the ball.

Ethan suddenly moves away from his wallflower position, rapidly approaching Ali and Martel. But his attention now is on Ruby, his voice smooth and only a little hurried. "Mademoiselle, I would be pleased to dance with you."

Martel whispers something quietly to Ricardo.

Martel whispers to Ricardo, "… amigo./"

Alexis is spazzing, just a tad, "My hat my hat my hat…" She says, her eyes wide a red film actually collecting on her lower eyelids. She looks about ready to throw herself at him, or burst into tears, but instead opts for shying violently into Dismas again, her head swinging over to look at Ricardo and Martel.

There is a pause in the music and into that silence is a little sound like a ticking clock coming from the speakers. It to signal the approach of Midnight.

Peggy dips her head, and hides her wide smile behind her hand, very pleased with Ali's invitation. She strides quickly over to the bench and plops herself down at one end. "I wish I'd thought of pants. They look very comfy!" She begins to cross her legs like a man, but abruptly stops that motion when she remembers her narrow hemline. She plants both feet on the ground.

Ruby drags her eyes away from Martel and Ali to answer Ethan and sputters just a little. "Yes, yes, Lord De Shaunde. MY honor." she points up to the ceiling. "In a moment there will be more music."

Ethan steps cleanly between Martel and Ruby. Also, incidentally, between Cards and Ruby. One hand extends gracefully, his posture slipping easily into something almost debonair. If he weren't dressed like a college professor, and looked older than twenty-five. "The pleasure is mine. This is quite the affair, yes? I am pleased that you thought of it."


"Y'only have to go for a run -once- in a skirt before you discover skirts aren't for running.", notes the Brujah with a low, amused chuckle that falls silent as the great count down begins. Still smiling, Ali looks companionably sideways at Ruby. "This your sort of party?", she wonders.


Ruby nods to the speaker. "It is a sort of party, sort of learning experience for me" she murmurs.

Whatever Martel murmurs to Cards, the Malkavian shudders visibly and clings to the Ventrue all the tighter—but his hand remains tucked into his coat. He licks his lips and begins to sob into Martel's shoulder, "I'm sorry, Jefe. I'm so sorry."


Martel places a gentle hand on the back of Cards' head and says quietly, "It's alright my boy, I understand how you feel. Relax, enjoy the party." He considers for a moment and then asks calmly, "If you like, I'll take you safely home tonight and help you stay out of trouble. Is that all right my boy?"

This woman does not generally stand out or catch the eye. She's of average age (thirtyish) and average height (5'4ish) and weight. Neither pretty nor overly plain, she has a long, strait nose, a receding chin, and large grey eyes. She wears a light brushing of cosmetics, and her hair is swept up in a chignon.

She wears a simple column-style dress, black, of course. Atypical for her, the dress is modernthough classicand is well-cut to show off a nice figure. There are high heels on her feet, and a red carnation tucked above her ear.

"Mmmm." Ali murmurs to herself, blinking as she drags herself back from the bring of distraction. Let it stand as a testament to her ability to project that Ruby could hear her over the din. "What about you?", she asks the Sheriff seated beside her. "I notice you picked up a new dress too, si?"

Ruby takes listens to the countdown as she lowers her hand to fit it into Ethan's. "Yes, sir" she says taking a deep forced breath.


Cecil manages to tear his gaze away from the illustrious folks for a few moments to watch the ball drop.

Of course, it is not only one, but /two/ people who have quite charismatic personas. A smile and a nod is given to Martel, though his eyes do not leave Ali. A deep bow of his head is given in her direction, as well as a smile, should she notice it. Shortly after, he turns to Marisol, asking, "Shall we join them?"

Peggy lowers her voice as she responds to Ali, in hopes of not offending the host. She whispers to Ali, She whispers to Ali, "Oh, /hell/ no. But she's trying so hard, I couldn't ignore her invitation. My sort of party… Well, I can't imagine any kind of party that I'd really enjoy being a part of."


Ethan drops Ruby's hand sharply, stalking suddenly and quickly over towards Ali. His mouth is quirked in a far too amused grin.

Peggy glances down at herself and then responds to Ali's compliment. Very awkwardly. She whispers to Ali, "I found it in a catalog. Cards was not at all amused."

With a quick smile up at Raul, Marisol's eyes scan the crowd again. She catches a quick flash of a back of a head that might be Ali (very few women are so tall and carry themselves quite like her), and a break in the crowd allows her to catch a brief glimpse of Ethan's wicked little grin. She hesitates briefly, and then indicates the dance floor with a wave of her hand. "Let's try and get as close as we can before midnight hits, to dance afterwards" she suggests. She turns with Raul to move through the crowd.

Ruby blinks further confused. She stands and depresses her chest with just as much force and her hand remains extended out in the direction from which Ethan dropped it.

Ali slides her hands in her pockets and glances Peggy over as well. She whispers to Peggy, "Well, it looks nice. To be honest, I'd love to be in jeans right now." Smiling easily, Ali glances up and notes the impending Seneschal of Downtown with the lift of her chin. She whispers to Peggy, "She is trying hard. I thought this thing was just for San Franciscans and people new to town?"


Raul very slowly and gracefully guides Marisol and himself to the gathered group, again offering nods to those present before he comments something to the Argentina beside him, with a faint smile.

Ethan continues his pace towards Ali, the countdown matching his steps. Ruby stands at his back, hand extended as he moves closer. There is no question of his timing, of exactly when he intends to arrive at the pair of Ali and Peggy.

Dismas just stands there as the countdown progresses, looking like an oblivious bumpkin, and standing out clearly among the well dressed in his drab grey sweatshirt. He doesn't seem to notice Alexis' bumping into him again as his large eye gazes about the room, people watching like a good wallflower.

Raul whispers to Marisol, "… not sure… did… must… an excellent…"

Peggy notices Ethan as he gets closer, and scoots over to open up a little more room on the bench. On the /other/ side of her, of course, since she wants to be closest to the South Central prince. "I don't think I've ever actually tried jeans. They don't look very comfortable. They touch your skin." And that's a bad thing in her universe, says her tone and expression.


Raul whispers to Marisol, "I'm not… mention,… say… quite an… clothing…"

Cards does not reply verbally to Martel, rather he just clings to the Ventrue, continuing to sob without tears into his shoulder. The arm between them, tucked into his coat, goes more taut with each second counted down.

Alexis jostles a little, her hands going to the sides of her head. Her glance pingpongs all over the room, gasping weirdly like a fish out of water, apparently unable to keep up with the goings on. "Myhatmyhatmyhat…" She's still mumbling under her breath, and focuses her attention on Dismas again, confused, as if the lumbering Noss is the only thing she can focus on properly.


Martel speaks up, addressing Ruby, and says, "Don't worry. He has a lot of things on his mind. He has a stressful job." He smiles pleasantly toward her and gives her a comforting sort of wink, hand still awkwardly trying to comfort Cards as the Malkavian embraces him. "It's alright my boy," he says soothingly to him again.

"Is that bad?", wonders Ali curiously as she stretches to her feet, still at Peggy's side as she smooths her pants. "Doesn't just about everything touch your skin?", she wonders.

Ruby watches Ethan move off then smiles, reassured and sincerely comforted by Martel's comments.


"Well… yes." Peggy answers Ali, and then falls silent as the countdown comes to an end.


Marisol makes it to the edge of the dance floor with Raul, smiling back up at him and answering through the din. "Actually, it was a gift" she confesses, "from…" But she trails off as the general roar of the countdown rises and as she catches site once more of Ali and then Martel through the crowd.

There is a moment of silence which fairly buzzes from the speakers, a second of continued anticipation. Then two of the decorative piñatas *explode!* apparently without provocation.

As the stroke of Midnight hits, Ethan's sharp motions become quite clear. The Prince of South Central is taller than him by a good three inches, so it is his hand that reaches up behind her head and pulls her into a kiss. This is no chaste affair, no peck on the lips. Ethan's kiss is one of passion, one that he surely learned in movies and cinema. It is emotive far beyond the usual character of the Seneschal, as romantic as John Gilbert and Greta Garbo, or one of George O'Brian's movie moments. At least for the first two seconds, in which Ali Santiago is too surprised to react.

From one falls a cascade of scented flower petals and from the other a flutter of light reflective multi-colored confetti.

Martel strikes as dramatic a pose as possible with Cards clinging to him, his head up and back and, as the piñatas explode for the stroke of midnight, calls out dramatically and at the top of his lungs, "HAPPY NEW YEAR LOS ANGELES!!!!!"

Cecil applauds the coming of the new year!

Peggy was going to clap, but then Ethan … did that! Now she can't think of anything to do other than stare, utterly appalled.

It's true. For the first brief moment Ali is utterly swept off her feet; charmed, maybe amused by the mischief this action will create. And then, suddenly, she is -not-. In a blur.. in one wink of a hummingbird's wings Ali goes from romanced woman, enamored by the man who sweeps her off her feet to a woman who is very definitely not pleased. Not that most people can see her first reaction, aside from the very real -shove- that slaps both of her hands against the Seneschal's chest and propels him backward with a force that can't be denied. The two break away; more precisely, Ethan is driven away, and the Prince of South Central steps back with an audible growl as blood pours down her jaw.


Ruby flourishes her hands in a florio of grace, fingers splayed and moving with tension. The confetti and the petals begin to spread out around the room, flying over heads and swirling around the dancers and the kissing couple(s).

Raul leans in to Marisol, and says, "Happy new Year, Marisol." she is also offered a wide, bright smile of his. "As soon as the music starts, would you like to dance?" Sure, he asks that, though his attentions are somewhat more focused on Ali than everything else, and frowns at the sight of blood.

Alexis screams, too, though it's wordless and terrified, rather than any particular welcome to the new year. She covers her ears and cowers, as if the yell, the explosions, the noises are just too much. Eyes squinched shut, teeth and fangs bared, she just -screams-.

Isabel gets up from her spot by the door, and her fangs flash. "Bastard!" And daggers come into view in both of her hands.

Isabel has arrived.

The air is full of screaming and flower petals and confetti as midnight has just passed.

Ethan goes flying. He is a light man, thin and small, and his grip on the back of Ali's head does nothing to slow his path across the room, skidding along the ground for several feet before coming to a stop. The entire time he is laughing, blood pouring from his own mouth and lip. The sticky, wet fluid tells quite a different tale of his kiss with Ali.. as do the fangs still extended in his mouth, and the tear in his lower lip.

With a sudden and immediate shift in emotion, the shattered, sobbing Malkavian suddenly breaks away from Martel and turns toward the commotion, snarling as he takes a step forward and brandishes the gun he had been holding so tightly all along, aiming it at Ali, "Don't you fucking touch him, I will blow your mother fucking skull through the God damned wall!!!"

Ricardo draws his Colt .45…

Isabel snarls viciously and the first knife is flung with a snap of her wrist.

Peggy /so/ does not want to be sitting right here! She jumps to her feet with way more speed than grace, the hem of her dress somehow stretching to allow for the quick movement. She'd begun to move towards Ethan—through whether to block him from Isabel's attack or to attack him herself it probably unclear.

Marisol looks as if she hasn't even heard Raul, but her fingers tighten on her arm and her eyes widen as she watches. Without lifting her grip from Raul, Marisol takes a step forward and begins rushing through the crowd towards the commotion.

Isabel draws her Throwing Knives…

"Cards," Martel says in a firm and even voice, "/put the gun away/." His look is stern and he is clearly focused on the gun and has not yet seen the flying knives, and it isn't even clear if he's heard Isabel.

Carraig never did find anything particularly moving about the passage of time on the tick of the clock. The sudden breaking of peace causes his eyes to light up and thin. Rather than move toward the fray, he lowers down to a meaty paw on the ground, like some kind of non squishy sumai. Being low helps make you a smaller target, its also a good way to pounce with claws. All this, as he just walks back in after getting some air outside… Not that he can breathe it, but the smells of the plants soothe his spirit.

What's weird is that the Sheriff of Santa Monica does not quite lose his balance as Marisol drags him over to the commotion. His free hand is clenched into a fist, though, as his eyes search around for someone — something to use… anything. Or anyone. "ISABEL!" he shouts, though not in a completely -happy- way. " Sheath those damned knives!" Another glance around, and he finds Carraig. The fist uncurls as Raul points to Ethan as he says, "PROTECT the SENESCHAL!"

One of Ali's hands comes up toward the wound in her lip - the two wounds, to be precise. Two, perfect, fang wounds. A vicious swipe of her hand sends droplets of blood spattering to the floor as she bends and spits a liquid glob of blood onto the floor as the gun is brandished at her head. She's paying little attention to Ricardo; at least until she stands, scrubbing one hand across her mouth as she growls at Ricardo. "Do what'e says, -disarm-."

Alexis is no help, though at least she's stopped screaming, she just freezes again, staring with red-rimmed eyes at the whole thing.

"You're a dead man, you fuck! Trying to blood bond Santiago! You will see sunrise up close!" Isabel snarls as she readies the second blade in her left hand and start to reach under her coat. Her moves are surprisingly fluid. "Protect Santiago, you fucking Cammies!"

Isabel's knife tears across the intervening space, thrown with superhuman force. It rips into Ethan's shoulder, tearing a great swathe through his laughing throat and out the other side. The Seneschal laughs no more.

Ruby stands with shoulders square and proud as Ethan flies half-way across the space to her. She drops her hands and thus the decorations fall as nature intends with gravity. She assesses and says loudly, 'In the absence of the Keeper, I beg for peace in his Elysium." is she imitating Cassandra or just quoting.

Raul draws his Steel Knuckles…

Cecil's fascination broken by the commotion, he moves to back up the hostess of the party.

It's really pretty amazing that Peggy can run in those high heels at all. They don't seem to slow her down even a tiny bit. No wobbling to her step, either. She's not trying to actually stop Isabel, as much as she's shielding Ethan. She has time to blurt out a, "No!" too.

The feral beast (with a little b folks) underneath the maori seems to find surface, and with crouched animal speed his feet and hands patter over the floor, leaping and bounding till he can put himself between the Nosferatu and the Seneschal, his intent to shove the Seneschal behind some object d'art to create a wall between it and him, at least for the moment…

It's true. For the first brief moment Ali is utterly swept off her feet; charmed, maybe amused by the mischief this action will create. And then, suddenly, she is -not-. In a blur.. in one wink of a hummingbird's wings Ali goes from romanced woman, enamored by the man who sweeps her off her feet to a woman who is very definitely not pleased. Not that most people can see her first reaction, aside from the very real -shove- that slaps both of her hands against the Seneschal's chest and propels him backward with a force that can't be denied. The two break away; more precisely, Ethan is driven away, and the Prince of South Central steps back with an audible growl as blood pours down her jaw.


"You fool" Marisol hisses at Raul, "/He/ bit the /Prince/." Her face twists, furiously, but she swallows her anger and jerks her head towards Isabel. "C'mon" she says tightly, throwing back the sari to reveal a band of dark brown linen against her chest retaining modesty, but freeing her arms. "Let's get her calmed down" she says in a low voice, sprinting out of her shoes and running barefoot towards the Nosferatu.

As Martel and Ali both commands Cards to put his gun away, he does so immediately, tucking it back into his coat. But, like Peggy, perhaps, he moves to protect Ethan- but not from the raging Nosferatu- rather from Ali herself, running to stand between them, as if Ali were going to attack Ethan.

Ricardo puts away his Colt .45…

The automated music overtones with "auld lang sine' in corny tin horn and orchestra.

Alexis has started forwards as well, though her hands are still over her ears and she seems to be having a hard time determining which way to go, exactly. Weaving oddly, though she's got her eyes on Ethan.

"I don't think you know what I was /intending/ to do." Raul hisses back to Marisol, and gives her a nod. Taking ahold of Marisol's hand, he races over to Isabel his own speed considerably high.

Mayfair enters from the courtyard outside.
Mayfair has arrived.

Martel extends a single finger, a burning glare turning on Isabel as he allows her to occupy his full attention. "Don't a move a muscle!" He declares in a voice filled with anger and powerful rage.

Isabel snarls more so, a guttural sound from the depth of her throat and being. The knife flips once in her hand and the frustration waxes when people move in to protect Ethan. She stomps her feet on the ground and takes to the air, brushing a few feet above the heads of Ethan's new-round guardians.

Dismas just stands there, like a piece of the artwork. His only motion is to move his hands away from his sides slightly, displayed as obviously free of weapons on the off chance anyone looks in his direction.

This here is a genuine clusterfuck. Ethan is bleeding on the ground, being pushed out of the way by Carraig. Peggy stands between him and the door, where Isabel is in the process of leaping towards him. Ali has a gun drawn, blood covering her jaw and some of her nice new clothing, and is stalking towards the Senescahl of Downtown.

As Auld Lang Syne plays just after the stroke of midnight, the party has fallen into chaos. People are running in all directions. Ethan lies on the floor near a wall, a significant blow to him and a glint of the very tip of a throwing knife protruding from his chest. Ali stands nearby, Carraig, Peggy, and Cards. Marisol and Raul are pushing through the crowds towards the other group, Martel and Isabel closer to the doorway.

"STOP." Stepping forward, Ali commands the tone with all the presence the Brujah can muster - which is substantial. She glares around; in front of her at Cards, toward the side at Raul as he charges. The hard stare stays on her clan mate - demanding, even as the Sheriff of Santa Monica rushes forward. "Stop." Again she commands it, walking forward as she points at Raul. "This is Elysia. Leave her."

Carraig makes his way to the Malkavian elder with a bounding gait and presses him back till he is behind the car. The motion is probably not unlike that which on might find by a secret service agent. His red eyes glowing and thin look about as his lower jaw drops a slight bit. He is still fairly unaware of what is going on, he just knows Isabel started flinging knives, and the Sheriff asked him to guard the Seneschal.

Into all this walks Mayfair, dressed impeccably (well, what else would he be?), and looking at first nonchalantly amused, then … well, for a flickering moment, distinctly startled. He regains himself quickly, however, drawing himself up to his full height. "Dear children," he calls out casually, "is this any way to behave within the domain of Prince Emerson?"

Ruby stands just behind the crowd protecting Ethan, protecting his rear, perhaps or just frowning at the sudden confusion and disruption.

The leaf-bladed knife, one that Martel knows OH so well, falls to the floor, clinking. She pulls her right hand from under her coat, and what a monster she must truely be. Her landing is heavy and low to the ground as her eyes glint an unholy yellow for those who catch such brief glimpses into creatures such as this.

"Who says I'm attacking /her/?" Raul asks Ali, though he complies to her demands. "I know this is a bit stupid to ask, but are you alright?"

Isabel puts away her Throwing Knives…
Isabel draws her Pair of Throwing Axes…

Alexis is still staggering in the general direction of the commotion missing her hat and her hair wild, clinging to her ears and squinting, confused, deaf. She's just approaching Ruby's end of things, trying to focus on Ethan.

Marisol stops when Ali says stop, stretching out her hand in Raul's to pull him to a stop as well. If he does not stop, she twists her hand around in his to break out of his grip. Her smooth hair is tangled from being jostled by the crowd, her golden sari is tossed back over one shoulder to reveal a tight dark brown linen band around her chest. Marisol gathers the sari up again as Mayfair speaks, tossing it over her shoulder to land airily across her chest and left arm. Now bare toes peek out from the beneath the pooled cloth.

Ethan's bloody, half-broken laugh comes from behind the chair. Oh, the art that is getting blood on it now…. unthinkable. He reaches to Carraig, patting his calf, "Oh, thank you good sir, but I think I'm alright now."

Peggy turns as she runs, leaving her back open to the attack (if there is one), facing Ethan. It only takes a few long strides to get to him, to loom over him, trying to be as big a shield as possible. She whispers to Ethan, "… Hide!"

Cards stands defiantly between Ali and Ethan, staring cold hatred at the woman who…evinces a much more heated version of anger than Cards does. He is barehanded, no weapon to speak of, and still stands before the Brujah Prince, as if he could stop her if she decided to do anything.

The music begins again, intending to entertain and provoke relaxed dancing, automated and oblivious:

Well don't you know I need a little indulgence?
Listen to the hunter becoming hunted
Everyday there's a million advances
Don't be too forceful you'll ruin your chances
Well don't you know that time is a broken glass
That splinters against the wall?
But the picture is coming back now baby
And I want to take it all

Martel extends a single finger, a burning glare turning on Isabel as he allows her to occupy his full attention. "Don't a move a muscle!" He delcare sin a voice filled with anger and powerful rage. He is the very image of the commanding Ventrue, something that not everyone sees every day.

Ethan's voice wavers as he speaks, quite obviously showing signs of agony and perhaps a bit of delirium.

Cassandra enters from the courtyard outside.
Cassandra has arrived.

Carraig twitches a bit, as his leg his touched. Head half turning like a pitbull that got momentarily sidetracked from ripping another dog's face off. It wasn't enough to get a snap apparently though, and the calmer side shifts away a couple of steps. He takes notice of the 'Champion of Downtown' a moment wondering at what it means… His eyes have a way of snapping about, as he soaks up what is going on around him. Still calm enough that his big mitts haven’t' grown bigger and more clawed. He growls, "Someone shut off the music ey?" his brow sinks forward, he looks annoyed. His jaw waggles up and down a bit.

Isabel's eyes just widen with such a fear of Martel, her fingers just tighten around the worn smooth wooden handles of her small but brutal axes. With a twitch of her head, she bows it just so, like a feral animal and starts to charge….low to the ground and shoves anyone to the side..until she enters Mayfair's circle of light. With a sharp motion, she swings around from her charge and snarls protectively at his side. Then not exactly at his side, more behind him. She sort of scuttles now like a rabid bat who has been grounded. Her axes remain in her hands and boy, is she off center…not coming or going.

"You will -move-.", growls the Brujah Prince as she storms forward toward Cards, then turns her head to spit yet another globule of blood onto the floor of the well-kept Elysia, then flicks a nod toward Raul. There's hardly time for anything more, just that, as she scrubs her forearm across her blood covered chin.

The floor is littered with flower petals and shining confetti. There is modern music coming from speakers. Two opposing groups seem clustered around the poles of Ali and Ethan.

As Mayfair makes his 'presence' known, Martel is caught by the same electricity that he himself exuded earlier. He is not fawning or subservient, his eyes do not drip love… but all the same his head turns toward Mayfair and his arm drops to his side. He is quiet, calm, and he hangs entirely on the Elder's next words.

There's little trails of blood trickling down Xander's face, but it seems to be reflexive, painful welling of tears, and she doesn't let go of her ears, either. "Seneschal…" mumbled, and she sidles right into Ruby, looking up at her blankly, confused … before her attention is caught by Mayfair, and she just stares blearily.

Marisol watches Ali, until the nod when she looks back towards Isabel, Martel, and Mayfair. She rises up on her toes…and then just hovers there for a moment as she catches sight of them. Lowering back down, Marisol leaves Raul's side and begins weaving her way towards them.

Peggy is trying to stand over Ethan, hissing an order at him (which he is, no doubt, ignoring), but Carraig's just slipped a chair in for Ethan to hide behind, and it's probably between herself and the seneschal. She whispers to Ethan, "… damnit!"

Cards' cheek begins to twitch violently as Ali commands him to move. He only steels himself and plants his feet far apart; bracing himself against an incoming freight train. He says, in a very quiet voice, to Ali, "No. You'll have to kill me before I let you touch him." He lowers his hands, fingers coiling and uncoiling in anticipation of that impending death. "I love him."

Mayfair's expression is briefly resigned and bemused, with that laughing self-mockery that touches his eyes. In a lesser man, that look would be 'why me?' but in Harrison Mayfair's mind, he knows exactly why it's him, and he seems perfectly prepared to deal with it being him. He spreads his arms apart, clearly prepared to be simply the most beautiful and most fascinating thing in the room - for good or for ill. He has the look of a Renaissance saint of an Italian vintage; Medici, touched by sin, a blatant sensual awareness of the world and its stage. "I call upon you all," he says steadily, voice calm, seeming almost compassionate, "to listen to me. The Beast is our enemy, far more than one another; not here. Not in this place. Not at this time. Listen to me." There's that faint quirk of amusement, of empathic understanding, and he lowers his arms. "Turn towards me. This is not the place nor the time for weapons, nor for bloodshed."

Isabel's nose is just twitching as she snorts before a low growl comes from her throat again. She tilts her head and eyes Marisol curiously before eyeing Martel again fearfully, nearly spitting in his direction as a cornered creature would do. But, creatures do not say things like "Fuckin' son of a bitch Ethan pullin' a fast one…"

Isabel puts away her Pair of Throwing Axes…

Ethan stumbles to his feet, another piece of his injuries fading as his voice gets stronger. But no less rambling, and still touched with that hint of psychosis. He attempts to step around Peggy and Carraig, and over towards Ali. "…oh, I'll talk to her, she's such a pretty one, isn't she? What lovely eyes, could stare into them for an age…"

Turning toward Isabel as if to give an angry retort, Martel finds his eyes dragging themselves back toward Mayfair and the rest of his attention along with them. He says in a low voice, empty of anger or rage but with a certain force behind it, "What he did was wrong, but he did not draw steel nor draw blood in Elysium Ms. Torres.

Turning toward Isabel as if to give an angry retort, Martel finds his eyes dragging themselves back toward Mayfair and the rest of his attention along with them. He says in a low voice, empty of anger or rage but with a certain force behind it, "What he did was wrong, but he did not draw steel nor draw blood in Elysium Ms. Torres." His attention never leaves Mayfair however, fixated.

Raul was just about to inquire why did Marisol simply leave his side… before Mayfair draws all of Raul's attentions to himself. The Brujah Sheriff doesn't give a step forward nor back, instead just nods empathically with all the Toreador Elder has to say.

Dismas' eye is easily drawn to Mayfair, despite the activity in the other side of the room. For a moment, his tongue is actually still, as he gazes at the newcomer.

Alexis is already watching Mayfair, and she doesn't look away, she just closes her mouth (which had been open, a little) and slowly lowers her hands from her ears, wiping at the lines of red on her face absent-mindedly.

Isabel bows her head for a moment, placing her axe back into her coat. This takes her a moment or two to adjust …things. She glances up at Mayfair quietly, but snarls each time her gaze crosses over Martel. What else is new. Her fangs remain extended and she bites at the air when Ethan starts to move. "Mayfair, let me finish him with my axes…Steel against headgames and blood for bonding and control…this is why we remove the heads of those guilty."

Ruby touchs Alexis' shoulder to support her perhaps prevent her stepping on her dress. She pulls her back slightly so the her view of Mayfair is unobstructed. The words of Ethan make her frown and she murmurs, "…. the Senechal?"

Peggy is stepped around, much to her frustration. With a fairly loud sigh, she disappears from sight.

"Oh.. you're a lucky, lucky man.." Ali murmurs in a low threat as she glares past Cards toward the rising Seneschal. Disgusted, she spits again and then sneers at him before turning her attention to Cards. "I'm not surprised.", she snaps, her fists clenching. "He give you a little kiss too?" With a snort, Ali moves tos tep around the barring Malkavian and meet Ethan's approach.

Mayfair moves further into the room, calmly beckoning people closer as he makes his way towards the current fracas. "Stay with me, my friends," he says calmly. "Don't hinder my path, but if we act, when we act, we act together. We are of one kind, however our blood may differ. Do we not all exist under the same canopy of stars and moon? What world is this, if it is not ours? This is not the time for our differences. Another year has died; let that be all that has died." He strides towards Peggy and Ali, Ethan and Ricardo, attention focused on them.

As Mayfair begins to walk, Marisol stops. She simply watches the man moving, but once again there are taller people in her way. Marisol raises to her toes again, right on the edges like someone in ballet shoes, before she lowers once more and begins making her way on a trajectory to meet up with Mayfair as he heads towards Ali.

Raul shakes his head at something, sliding his steel knuckle back into his pocket. Just like the majority of people, he draws himself closer to Mayfair, arms crossing in front of him. Unsmiling.

Peggy does not, in fact, disappear from sight, much to her frustration! She's still there, now a few feet behind Ethan, since he's walked off towards Ali. She wraps her arms around her chest, sorta hugging herself or making herself a smaller target.

Alexis leans into Ruby a little bit, though she's still watching Mayfair. She doesn't quite move, since she's already made her awkward way over to the bundle of hostilities. She doesn't coordinate to move much other than to make sure she's out of everyone's way.

Again, Cards twitches spasmodically as Ethan asks to talk to Ali, but he does not move to look at him. He remains focused on Ali, shifting to intercept her as she tries to walk around him. "I said no. I don't need kisses to remember what love feels like. You can't have him."

The modern music peters out and there is a pause again as the electronic system attempts to reset the mood with Vivaldi "Four Seasons"

Martel waits a moment, watching Mayfair, allowing the Toreador to pass him and keeping clear of his path. He turns as Mayfair passes, still watching the man, but does not move to follow just yet. Instead he takes a deep, unnecessary breath and holds his ground and his peace. His breathing ends, after that single unnecessary inhalation, and he is motionless and silent. A statue, a hole in the air around him, fixed on Mayfair.

Ethan pulls Cards towards his still-healing bloody chest, whispering in his ear as he attempts to pass the man and approach Ali on his own.

"Would someone mind," Mayfair says easily, "making sure that the music is turned off in a non-violent fashion? Vivaldi was a great composer, and I don't feel comfortable damaging the spirit of the piece. However, we've presently gone well past The Four Seasons and into Gotterdammerung." He continues to make his way towards the remaining fracas - such as it is.

Fashionably late, Cassandra steps in and pauses. "What's going on?" she inquires suspiciously, making her way further in.

Ethan whispers to Ricardo, "… at… certain… and in a…"

Ethan completes his whisper and steps around Cards, allowing the younger Malkavian to hang onto him as he presents himself to Ali. A quick glance to Mayfair as he approaches, but his focus is on the other bloody one.

Ruby blinks and bustles to the stage where the sound system is altered with a single button push…*click*. She goes back to stand between Cecil and Alexis.

Isabel scuttles after Mayfair, caught between fear and blind fascination. She remains close to his legs, snarling viciously as she passes Martel before she hisses. "Evil…" And bows her head like a turtle, skittering to Mayfair's other side, gaze falling upon his head with crooking her neck, then hisses air through her fangs at Ethan.

Alexis just watches, her hands going back up to her ears again and her forehead wrinkles, she pingpongs wide, white-rimmed eyes around all of them again.

Marisol's lips turn down in disappointment as the music finishes, just as she steps up to the edge of those surrounding Ali, Ethan, Cards, and Peggy. Her eyes sweep over the spectacle here, and then glance hurriedly back to Mayfair.

Cards blinks abruptly as Ethan takes hold of him, and whispers in his ear. He licks his lips, losing composure long enough to allow Ethan to pass -but he does not allow him to /go/ necessarily. He wraps his arms around the man, hanging on to his shoulder- but does not interfere with he and Ali. For a moment, his gaze flickers apologetically to Mayfair, as he sees the man approaching.

From half a head above Ethan the dark haired Brujah Prince sets a wrathful glare on the man and curls the edge of her lip, showing teeth as she claims a long stride toward Ethan. His blood.. her blood.. still dries on her chin, smeared across her lips and up onto her cheek in a ghoulish mask of restrained rage. "You fucked Elysia as sure as Isabel did.", she snaps. At her sides her fists remain clenched.. prepared, as ready as any weapon she could carry. "You owe me."

Peggy isn't really in the circle around Ali. She has remained back by the wall where Ethan's bloodstain is. Wishing she was invisible, grateful that she's /not/ close to the action any more.

Luna enters from the courtyard outside.
Luna has arrived.

Ethan's smile is relaxed, his voice mellow with a ramble that suggests he might not all be there, that edge of delirium. "Oh, you are just so pretty, my dear. Or you were, without that…" he motions to the blood over her face. He is leaning slightly, gesturing with one hand, "And that was as much of you in me and me in you, no? Are we not tied, now, in equal measures? Your anger and my love, twin and birthing…"

Raul grits his teeth at Ethan's comment, again shaking his head. Without taking his eyes from Mayfair, he moves to Marisol and whispers something to her.

Mayfair holds out a hand to Ricardo, offering him for a moment, seemingly his full and undivided attention. "In any light," he tells Cards serenely, "and in no light at all." His gaze sweeps to Ethan and Ali and Peggy and whoever's left closest. "The compact," he reminds gently. "Lest we forget what was destroyed before. Lest we be destroyed by our own Beasts, our own fallacies. This is a place of peace. Calm and silence. I ask that you give me your attention and your stillness; this will be untangled by degrees. Ethan." He looks at the Seneschal with simplicity. "Shhh," he whispers. And he looks to Ali. "Your highness," he says gravely, "think of for what you wish to be remembered."

Raul whispers to Marisol, "… have let… do what… wanted. And I didn't know that… was… Prince Santiago’s… made… bad…"

Speaking up again for the first time in a little while, Martel informs Mayfair, "This all started when your Seneschal made his move to share blood with my Prince. Cards drew a weapon and I made him put it away… and it seemed over." He purses his lips at that and says no more, turning his head to glare coldly at Isabel.

Isabel just roars such an obscene sound that only the invisible leash of Mayfair's presence holds her back as she finally stands up from her animalistic crouch. Her gaze just twitches between a seething hatred and a bottled up fear. And yes, indeed, she twitches.

Marisol doesn't move away as Raul leans in close enough to whisper. Instead her eyes flick back to Ethan as she speaks, and she pulls back ever so slightly even as her eyes light with deep stirring of anger. She looks back to Mayfair, but her lips move as she softly answers Raul.

Marisol whispers to Raul, "… unless we have… Monica… business…"

Raul nods to Marisol and replies with another whisper.
Raul whispers to Marisol, "…"

The small Malkavian makes an unceremonious entrance -in fact, it'd likely be surprising if anyone noticed Luna at all, given the commotion.

Alexis whimpers, vaguely, her hands creeping back up to her ears, the red lining her lower lids again. But she still stares at Mayfair helplessly.

Cards appears torn. He shifts his gaze between Ali, Ethan, Mayfair and Martel as well, when he hears the Ventrue's voice. He leans his face into Ethan's hair for a moment, kissing it before whispering into the Seneschal's ear, "I'm sorry," and he uncoils from him, to go to Mayfair. He looks ashamed, and regretful. His head is bowed.

"Tied?!" Ali rages; she rages in ways so obvious that if this scene had subtitles it would be written simply, in lieu of all her words and scrawled across a plain black stripe on the Elysia floor: <rage>. Her curled fist comes up, slashing through the air toward Ethan's face and, in the instant Mayfair moves from close to close enough, Ali's fist -stops-. An inch from Ethan's jaw it just stops, her fist bent slightly so that the first two knuckles of her hand will impact first and drive the force from the twist of her hips, through her back, over her shoulder and down her arm before impacting the Malkavian's face. The target it will never hit. She glares down it for a minute, green eyes icy as they fixate on Ethan. "No." Her eyes lid for a long moment, opening only as she repeats herself. "No. I'm sure as fuck not tied t'you.. and if we were anywhere but here..", she murmurs as her fist drops back to her side.

Ethan turns to glance towards Mayfair, words halfway out of his mouth before the fist appears before them, "I am quite cal…" The way he is looking, that fist is right in front of his gaze, and the question of who is calm and who might fall to the beast becomes quite clear. "Oh. Yes, we should all be nice and calm. And not too terribly shiny, lest we attract more lightning."

Raul has disconnected.

Luna's eyes widen as she sees Ali's fist swinging towards the Seneschal, and the click-click-click of her heels quietly tell of her arrival. "Ethan!" she calls out with no sense of formality, her eyes wide. She then spews a long babbling sentence in French at the man.

Luna says, "What is going on?" in French.

Ethan's voice at the last is quite obviously tense, a hint of fear in his voice. There is, after all, a fist right in front of his face. That he does not flinch away is not a sign of steel nerves, but that by the time he notices the impending strike, it is better to remain very still and to try not to provoke Ali.

Marisol's right brow raises in surprise and approval. She nods to Ali, an impressed nod.

Isabel mutters at Mayfair, finally speaking instead of being bestial. "Why do you not believe that the foul creatures like himself do..do not deserve to have their heads lobbed off for …..trying to force blood…and …" And she snertles to herself, mumbling. "Manipulative fuck." And louder she says. "Justice must be served! Equal but some are more equal than others."

Unfortunately, there was something jamming another pinata's mechanism and it *explodes* belatedly.

Mayfair bows his head in assent to Ethan, lightly brushing a hand against Ricardo's shoulder. He turns to Ali and bows to her as well. "I am glad that we are all in agreement, then. This is not the time or place for violent dispute. If there has been a decoupage, then the logical person to whom we must turn is our lovely Keeper and Grand Harpy, Lady Cassandra Smith." He turns his gaze to Cassandra, offering her a warm smile. "Darling, I assume I have your word that this matter shall be looked into, with the aid of representatives of the other domains involved? Perhaps Marisol and Sir Ricardo may, among the three of you, discover the truth of things, and decide upon a logical and reasonable redressal?" He turns to Isabel, murmuring, "The matter shall not go unexamined; that, I give my word to you about." He looks up, and around. "Does anyone here have objection," he asks mildly, "to this inquiring tribunal? One for each domain involved, and a third to sit in the balance."


The effigy of a unicorn bursts open at the belly and from it pours a rain of spiders….various sizes and shapes. Larger ones drop to the floor and skuttle in 360degrees, smaller ones dangle from invisible contrails.

Martel remains silent this time, not vocally arguing with Isabel or condemning Ethan. His attention remains on Mayfair as if eager to hear his next words hrrrming for a moment. Then he speaks, and actually deigns to contradict Mayfair, difficult as that may be right now. "With all due respect, Lord Mayfair, Cards is a citizen of Downtown as well. That only represents two domains."

"This is Elysium," Cassandra notes quietly, drifting to Mayfair's side, because he is the most fabulous object in the room at the moment. She seems vaguely distressed, if warmed by Mayfair's smile. "And I am unhappy."

Peggy just about jumps out of her skin when there's that POP noise. Then, feeling stupid, she pulls herself together and walks towards the knot of people around Mayfair.

Ruby coughs and blinks distracted. She only glances away from Mayfair for a second then is nodding in agreement and enthusiasm.

Mayfair nods to Martel. "Very well," he says easily, apparently not in the slightest upset, "then the third party upon this investigating body may be," he casts an eye over the assembled people present, eyes narrowing for a moment at the pop; he pauses. "Alexis Arias," he says levelly, "please deal with the mess now spilling onto the floor at once." He turns back to the matter at hand. "Will all those of the domain of South Central please make yourselves known to me who are herein present? I am aware, of course, of Lord D'Enghien and Prince Santiago and Isabel. Are there others?"

Carraig is still fairly hunched wildly, and gestures toward Raul. Despite his bulk and muscle, the big Tohunga seems comfortable in his hunch, then slowly settles into a squat once again, knuckles to the ground and he snorts. The Gangrel has little to say, and little desire to talk right now.

Marisol draws herself up, her face moving from surprise to gravity as she watches Mayfair. She nods once in acknowledgement and acceptance. Her eyes drift over to Cassandra, and then to Cards. And then to Martel. And then back to Mayfair. It seems she is as silent as her pack brother.

Ali growls. "Unhappy y'might be, Cass. But yer Seneschal -bit- me. I don't think there's a damn person here who'll argue." She states, drawing one hand up and wiping her chin in a movement that scrapes and rubs the drying blood off, sending flecks to the floor as Ali curls a lip. Her gaze follows Mayfair with begrudging captivation.

Ethan traces a hand across his chest, over the rent that goes from shoulder to throat. "If a kiss is so horrid a thing, then surely ruining my suit deserves a bit of a kiss myself." There is almost a leer in Isabel's direction, but the Seneschal looks too dazed to really pull it off. "Such an investigation seems rather excessive, my good Lord Mayfair." His eyes flicker over towards Ali, so near him, and up to her own gaze, "My good Prince Santiago. No one argues with what happens."

Alexis screeched again at the popping noise, fingernails digging into the sides of her head, startling another stream of pain-welling tears, she whimpers, but stumbles blindly off obediently, towards the falling spiders with nary a glance behind her.

Ruby florios her hands again to herd the little moving black dots toward Alexis.

Cards flinches as if struck then, looking to Ethan for a moment before his gaze passes over Ali and Mayfair and focuses on Martel. The look he offers the man is pitiable. He is crushed, and licking his lips, he murmurs something quietly beneath his breath to the Elder he stands next to.

Ricardo whispers to Mayfair, "… I…"

Luna approaches closer to the scene, eyes narrowed. She's inexplicably drawn towards Mayfair, and grows eerily quiet, in sharp contrast to her obvious mood that seems to ooze from every pore.

Cassandra places one hand on Mayfair's sleeve lightly - he is fabulous, isn't he? - and raises the other in a gesture to wait. She notes to Ali serenely, "Elysium has been broken. The peace of my domain has been violated. I expect I will hear an account or several of what has just happened."

Isabel coo's softly when she sees a spider creep for safety. Then she narrows her eyes and snarls for no good reason other than Martel's name being mentioned. "Ethan, your head should be removed or the spiders should eat you…" And she turns slowly to eye the creeping mass of spiders that scurry about.

"Reluctantly," Martel concedes, "I am forced to agree with Lord de Shaunde. The events of the evening are relatively clear cut." The look he directs toward Ethan before his gaze is wrenched back toward Mayfair would suggest he agrees more with Ali's point of view, but his expression as he looks toward Mayfair is raptly fascinated again. In the moments between he does notice Cards' expression… then offers, "I have faith in Cards' objectivity, though," as if he realizes what he has said.

Mayfair briefly turns his attention directly to Ricardo, both hands upon his shoulders. He leans forward, and very gently touches two fingertips now lifted from Cards' shoulder to his forehead, as if in benediction or affection. He leans forward to whisper to Ricardo in return, then turns to announce, presumably, his wonderfully Solomonic solution.

Marisol steps forward into the circle now. She curtseys to the Keeper, and speaks in that formal English tinted with that Argentine accent. "And you will, my Lady. But not tonight. I suggest that the Seneschal be remanded to care, he is not at all himself. My Lord Mayfair, do you think you can arrange this?" she asks him, her eyes flicking downwards and then back up his face.

Mayfair whispers to Ricardo, "… to… mansion… I sent… have a place… me,… friend…. that… no sons."

The spiders all seem to be swept toward Alexis by some invisible hand.

Cecil watches the whole incident with rapt attention.

Alexis is forced to drop her hands from her ears in some attempt to collect the spiders that …. are already being pushed and swept towards her. She just stares at them, her eyes wide, ringed with white again. She's shaking, just staring at them - less that they're spiders, more that they're being swept at her. She seems … wholly focused on that at the moment, though her head twitches oddly every now and then.

Mayfair says simply, "The third member of this board shall be the Nosferatu Santos, provided all are willing. Prince Santiago, I ask that you and those you would have accompany you withdraw, with my personal apologies for this necessity and this matter. Seneschal du Shaunde, I agree that the matter is cut and dried, but with all such matters; this is the heart of the Compact, and it must be handled with care. I will not have its fragility renewed; we serve, after all," he looks to Ethan with a faint, wry smile, "the same master. I have no doubt that this matter may be resolved peacefully, even amicably, and I shall make myself available to any who need me in this matter. I propose that this gathering now be dissolved in peace. Those who would leave may do so; those who wish to remain, may. To Miss Forcythe, I apologize for taking so heavy a hand."

Martel looks from Ali to Isabel before being drawn back to Mayfair, then by sheerest effort manages to say, "Prince Santiago, you and I should take Ms. Torres into our custody and the three of us should leave before you or I lose our tempers further than we already have." He looks back to Mayfair and then says simply, "Since Lord Mayfair has granted us his permission to go."

"You will make sure that his blood has no effect on anyone, right, Lord Mayfair?" Isabel says with a sneer across her expression but she does say it so very politely.

Ruby is waving her hand, dealing with spiders from afar. She hears her name and spins to face Mayfair, dropping her hands to her sides. "Lord Mayfair, I take my guidance from you" she says with awe and respect.

Even before Mayfair's proclamation -in fact, as soon as the Elder whispers to him- Cards shifts away from him, like an animal unchained, and makes a beeline for the exit. Woe to those who might get in his way, for that is indeed a Colt .45 he lays his hand upon, tucked into his beltline.

Peggy has a teeny wish to remain close to fabulous Lord Mayfair… but… it's been a long night. She takes the opportunity to skedaddle.

Peggy leaves for the courtyard.
Peggy has left.

Ethan's eyes are focused on Ali's, his gaze matching hers. He speaks to no one but her, his voice gone to some different place. It is now calm, focused, a brief moment of lucidity. "I am sorry if I have troubled your beast, let it pass through you and move through the other side."

Luna's arms cross over her bosom and she glares at Ethan. Almost like a woman who's found her lover has cheated on her. Or a parent who has found their child picking a fight.

"Move through the other side like my axe to your neck, Seneschal." Isabel rumbles as she turns about being careful not to step on the spider that was in front of her boot. She finally turns her gaze to Ali and fearfully at Martel.

Carraig looks over to the bloody car object his own hands, then stands up, shakes out his coat and almost like a dog kicking his heels behind him, he heads out growling a few hakas mantralike to himself on the way out. Little proverbs of wisdom serving as reminders if anyone can understand maori.

Carraig leaves for the courtyard.
Carraig has left.

Cassandra waits patiently beside Mayfair like a regal little princess.

Ruby bends to help with clean up and gets Isabel's throwing knife as part of the detris.

Ricardo leaves for the courtyard.
Ricardo has left.

"I .. uh.. " Ali blinks a few times; her body still remembers what she's doing, that's obvious - her fists are clenched and a set jaw is only slowly becoming lax as the Brujah glances around, occasionally tilting her head as she meets someone's attention or another. "Sure, um.. okay." A confused, lopsided smile pulls at Ali's lips as she nods at Ethan, then Martel. "..okay.", she replies again, agreeable.

Mayfair remains simply standing there, one hand in his pocket now, rather as if giving people lessons in how to act like Cary Grant. He turns his head to smile at Cassandra warmly for a moment, then resumes scanning his surroundings.

Alexis is covered in spiders. Yeah, not only did they bunch up around her, but they bunched up -on- her. And … Xander is remarkably calm about this, considering. She just trembles, otherwise still. Perfectly still.

Ethan steps aside from Ali, his voice still that calm, lucid tone. "I think it best you go home with your Seneschal.." He nods his head towards Martel, "And we can discuss this later?"

"I think you don't control her and you try to make it seem like you do in your own fucked up head, -Ethan-. You think it wise she go home. No fuck, you ass. Control-freak. And to think Vuldigger was so good and explaining why some Elders think how they do. And you flushed any nice thoughts I temporarily had ….right back to where they belonged. I hope you have a very painful death." Isabel says once she's at the door before Martel zots her again.

Martel offers Ali his arm then, waiting patiently, even as he looks at Isabel and tells her in a firm and even voice, "It would be better if /you come with prince Santiago and myself/ and allow things to settle down here." His smile is calm and even, though his eyes show dregs of his anger.

Ruby bends over to clean up some spiders and things.

Prince Santiago has started to wander. Having slipped her hands in her back pockets, she drifts a step away from the group before Ethan's suggestion draws her back. Silent, she considers him for a moment and then blinks and looks at Martel. With no discernable emotion, she lays her hand in the crook of the Ventrue's arm and settles an inquisitive gaze on Cassandra.

Ethan turns towards Isabel, his face flickering back into delirium, his voice taking an incanting tone, "Oh, you have such hate, little one, such violence and rage for my affection. You despair of my love, you rage against me when you know that I do not kill. Is it the monster you see in yourself that you need push onto me? Is that why you hate so much?"

Martel takes Ali's arm in his own with a slow, firm nod to his Prince and says quietly, "Thank you Prince Santiago." He then begins to lead the way toward the door and motions to Isabel to join them. "Please stay close to prince Santiago," he tells her calmly. "Just in case."

Dismas just stands there, looking like rigor mortis has set in. Except for his eye, which shimmers like a saucepan of disturbed milk. Even his usually writhing tongue has gone still as he keeps watching in silence.

Marisol finally breaks away from Mayfair to look over at Isabel. "C'mon, why don't you and Martel take her back to Florence? She can…" but she tops, as Ethan speaks. She turns her head to him, baring her teeth. "Not now, Seneschal" she says curtly, and turns back to Isabel. "Let's just get out of here" she says tiredly.

"Prince Santiago," Cassandra offers politely. "I am certain things will be sorted out soon, and I look forward to seeing you another night. Do have a lovely remainder of the evening, if possible."

Isabel starts to walk with Martel, doing as he 'asks. Upon hearing Ethan's words, she says. "You killed Dara, you fuck. And tortured her. You will have a fate no less than what you have done to others. Justice will come to you blind with claws and fangs and fire. You deserve no respect, pathetic creature who should be put out of his misery." And she continues her bitching as she flanks Santiago. From behind her right shoulder, a dagger is…removed and is fiddled with until it is disappeared into the center of her glove.

Ruby finally rises whipping the blade on the underskirt of her dress. She tucks it into her braided belt. She glances to Alexis to see how she is doing and heads for her. "Let's get you and those pests outside"

Luna strides across the room towards Ethan, and she looks up at the man.

Alexis just shivers where she is, spiders … crawling all over her pretty suit, in her hair, on her scare … she doesn't seem to hear Ruby, even.

Marisol takes a step over to Isabel, ducking in close to the girl, but not quite in her way. She whispers to the woman.

Luna says, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on thee, a sinner." in French.

The Brujah's brows flick upward in surprise as she's addressed. Drawing them back down, she shifts her eyes from side to side as if to check and see if anyone else is answering. As a result, there's an obvious pause before she nods twice at Cassandra. "..si, si. Y tu.." Murmuring this, Ali starts to drift lazily toward the exit. Her fingertips trail Martel's arm, on the verge of dropping off as each languid pace leads Ali further toward the door.

Unexpectedly, Martel wraps an arm around Ali's shoulders in protective fashion as he opens the door and steps through it, guarding the way in front of Ali and trusting Isabel to guard the way behind. Once out the door, he holds it for the ladies even as he watches the street.

Ethan's hand drifts up to wipe some of the blood away from his mouth, "Soul meets soul on lovers' lips." Then his focus is back on Isabel, sharp and angry, "Your precious warlord killed her, and let no one else say otherwise. What excuse do they need, but that I looked at them? You know nothing of this! I did all I could for you, you ignorant" he is now marching towards Isabel, the anger building on his face, "little bitch! How dare.." At this point Luna speaks, and Ethan stops in his tracks. A deep breath. "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. When you are free of death in your soul, then come to me little one."

Isabel nods in agreement to Marisol and actually offers her a genuine but brief smile.

Martel leaves for the courtyard.
Martel has left.

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Original Work is licensed under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 US License.