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Around Sunset, Bedlam City

Very few who live in a blighted urban landscape like Bedlam wouldn't suspect that it had much in the way of magic. The founders of the city had made sure that several convergences of ley lines meant the city was brimming with the stuff. Like the city, the magic was icky and blighted, though many still argued which caused the other.

 

Away from the prying eyes of many a superteams and powerful mystics, Bedlam made a perfect place for those who practiced the less savory styles of magic to meet up and exchange, or more often sell, rituals and artifacts that were unpleasant if not outright evil...

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Doctor Rosa Thorne, Pier 6
Doctor Rosa Thorne was not happy at all! More at home in a library or lecture hall than attending such a pit of iniquity she was already uncomfortable, then there was a very pricey dress she was wearing to look like she belongs here. It wasn't that she looked bad in the thing, quite the opposite and she had little energy to deal with anyone who would react to her. Plus she was very aware that the dress would need to go back to the shop tomorrow, as it was probably worth more than what the detective agency was worth.

 

To her surprise and no one else she made it into the club with no effort and made her way to the bar, trying and failing to look effortlessly cool as she did so.

 

 

"Please tell Mr Lebeau that a Doctor Thorne wishes to talk to him about a business proposition."

 

It was a calculated risk based on the fact that in a small occult community like Bedlam everyone tended to know everyone else, which was why she knew a little about his existence in the first place.

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The blond barkeep turned around and gave Rosa an appraising look, and he broke out into a smile that lit up his green eyes.  "What sort of proposition would you have for Mr. Lebeau?" he asked, turning back around to pluck a bottle of wine off the rack and pouring a glass that he set in front of Doctor Thorne.

 

"He is a busy man," Chance continued, resting against the bar.  "I am sure you understand that he won't see just anyone."

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Dr Rosa Thorne

In the fields of the occult few could come close to the skill of Rosa, in the fields of subterfuge she was a rank amateur. And none of her books has anything useful like a picture, or even a woodcut, which was a shame with her near perfect memory to make the connection. She sipped the wine, not thinking how he knew what she liked, before finally answering.

 

"I can't go into all the details but I've discovered one of the highest stakes poker games you can have! I have no skill in such things, the statistics are child play but I seem to lack in the poker face department, so I'm forced to find the best at such things in this city."

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"Ah."  Chance stood up from his leaning position and gestured at another employee to take over.  "Right this way Doctor Thorne," the blond said, as he moved out from behind the bar and indicating that she should take the wine with her.  He lead her to a set of stairs that lead up to an office that overlooked the club.  It was richly decorated with memorabilia that seemed old-fashioned compared to the club's modern stylings--there was even a set of old revolvers in a glass case!

 

The office was also conspicuously empty of anyone but the blond barkeep and the good doctor.  "Tell me more about this poker game," Chance said, settling into a chair behind his desk and indicating a seat in front of it.  "Just how high are the stakes are we talking here?"  From the way posed the question, the higher the stakes the more interest he had.

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Dr Rosa Thorne
Rosa wasn't sure what to expect when she met Chance, but it definitely wasn't like this she'd expected someone older. Which if the rumours were true was actually nearer the truth.

 

If you want me to help with the discussion just say the word Liam added in the mind they shared

 

 

I suppose he is a very attractive man

 

I hadn't noticed! she could almost hear the smirk.

 

The real thing that interested her was the occult item that she was here to try and get his help in recovered and her eye sparkled as she talked about it and she paced the office in excitement.

 

 

"Have you ever heard of the Dead Man's Hand Mr Lebeau? Well someone has gotten hold of the entire deck and its legend has imbued it with power."

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"I have not, my dear Doctor," Chance said, leaning back in his seat and watching Rosa pace.  He couldn't help but smile at the energy and enthusiasm on display.  "Please, educate me.  You will find I am a most eager student."

 

His thoughts briefly turned to another card game played a long time ago, one that altered the trajectory of his life--for good or ill--forever.  If this Dead Man's Hand was anything like the Hand of Fate, then there was significant cause concern.

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Dr Rosa Thorne

It didn't seem possible but Rosa became even more animated as she entered her lecture mode, waving her hands around to punctuate her explanations.

 

"Back in the 19th century there was a renowned lawman was killed whilst playing poker, he was holding the black Aces and Eights which became known as a Dead Man's hand. The final card has been of much debate..."

 

She managed to stop going too far and kept things on track.

 

 

"The aces and eight have gained a certain amount of power in certain occult rituals, so the actual hand itself even more so. Someone has managed to get there hands on the entire original deck!"

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"Makes sense," Chance mused, leaning back in his chair and gazing at a spot on the ceiling.  "Death has a way of warping what crosses its path.  Mix in superstition that eventually becomes belief and you get yourself a talisman of sorts."

 

He snapped his chair back up, and favored Rosa with a smile.

 

"I imagine you want to.. liberate.. this deck and ensure it doesn't fall into the hands of individuals of dubious character?

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Dr Rosa Thorne

"Normally I'd be content to allow it to remain in the hands of those who understand the potential harm something like this could reap. But my contact has mentioned some of the names of those who have been invited to possibly receive the artefact, and it leaves me with some concern."

 

She paused briefly as she was about to do something that she really didn't like to do, admit that she wasn't able to do something well.

 

"I am not a gambler Mr Lebeau and whoever is offering it has in their wisdom decided to offer it as the reward in a high stakes poker game. I need someone good enough to sit at that table, and with the right reputation to be allowed to. I believe you Mr Lebeau are just the right person for this task!"

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"OK," the gambler said, dropping his eyes from the ceiling back to Rosa.  "I'm your man."

 

He rubbed his chin.  "How much time do we have, and what do you know about the other players?"  He briefly toyed with the idea of taking out the players before they ever reached the table but he wasn't sure if the tiny, and energetic, woman in front of him would be open to that.  She didn't seem the type.

 

He thought about reaching out to rest of his.. whatever the hell they were.  Might be too conspicuous though, so he dismissed the idea.

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Dr Rosa Thorne

"I only discovered about the game today, a minor demon, more an imp really, owed me a favor..." she dropped the fact in a matter of fact way "The game is tonight starting at midnight because these kinds of thing have a certain method to them!"

 

She understood the power of rituals, and the game was just an elaborate ritual really, but for those that didn't understand them found it difficult to believe.

 

"I know that at least one minor demon lord will be attending and my source believe one of the minor Greek Goddesses would be there. Medea of Eris would be my guess."

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Chance looked thoughtful.

 

"Never met one of them," he said.  He didn't elaborate on which one, but Rosa knew the rumors that surrounded the gambler, so he could only be referring Medea or Eris.  "Should be fun," he said, flashing Rosa a grin.

 

"We should have enough time before the game for me to freshen up.  Helps to make a good impression for these sorts of things."

 

By that he meant get them to see what he wanted to them to see.

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Dr Rosa Thorne

In reality, Rosa wanted nothing more than to go straight to the place and begin to find out who they were facing. But a little voice in her head, that of Liam her soul linked partner.

 

We want to keep him sweet, we need his gambling skills, and I admit he has quite a lot of charm!

 

"Of cause, we have to look our best after all!" Rosa replied through slightly gritted teeth "Please take your time I'll wait for you..."

 

That includes you as well, we're going to have to get you into a dress for a change! With a sigh to herself, she added.

 

"...at this address, in shall we say an hour?"

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