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Necromanteion of Acheron, Mesopotamos, Greece

 

Through the doorway the sun again streamed down and the sky was a deep blue, with a squint (or with magic) you could make a fain barrier that was here to provide some privacy from any and all forms of aerial spying. Those that had check the reconned could see that everything was as before, and it seemed you were free to wonder the site away from the gala if they wished.

 

The space for the Gala was fenced off with large ionic columns covering a large clear area, looking through the columns you could see an area that was somehow larger than that the columns should cover. Those with the knowledge would know it was a pocket dimension, and out that would allow those covered by the Pact to visit this plane of existence for the party. Despite some rumours to the contrary the pocket dimension was tied to this place and not Hades underworld as some had suspected.

 

Just inside the pillars there were a series of white marble statues, done in classic style by a well known Freedom City artist. They showed some of the most famous of Freedom Cities (and other placed) heroes, head of them all looking down on everyone that entered was of course Centurion.

 

The rest of the place was a fairly traditional entertainment space, with touches of Ancient Greece thrown in, there was two bar on regular and one juice for those who didn’t (or couldn’t drink) and a buffet that was a mix of traditional fair and classic Greek dishes. Serving staff, mostly human it seems, were wondering around offering drinks and snacks. They seemed to have been hired from the nearby town in a once in a lifetime gig!

 

Think were still fairly early and only a few you recognized were milling around in conversation. Most were superheroes or there friends and family, with a smattering of other well known people from a variety of fields. Most of the major guests, including the hosts, weren’t here yet, as was the fashion they would of cause be fashionably late to there own Gala!

 

This is the third of an open social threat a chance for player characters to meet and greet each other and some NPC's. Only one of you characters can be active in a thread at a time, but you can move them through the threads as to have one in each at a time. If you want to spend more time focused on something you are welcome to spin off into another thread, or a vignette or even ten questions!

 

You are free to create and use minor NPC as needed, the more important character will need a Ref's permission.

 

Player characters with suitable job are welcome to work in there civilian roles before going off (or not) to the gala itself.

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Copycat and Predator's arrival was neither particularly discreet nor particularly showy. They walked down between the pillars together, were announced as they entered by a Greek operatic tenor hired for just this occasion, and then they were down among the crowd of people. Ashley stayed close to Jean, giving the illusion of a couple of friends on a platonic date, even as she scanned the space carefully. The rather dour agent that had met Jean had been replaced with a figure of feminine, feline beauty who moved with an athlete's grace inside her fancy dress. It was hard to know which was the real Ashley. 

 

She'd given Jean a short, sotto voice briefing as they made their way in - all of Hades' minions had at one time or another fought the heroes of Freedom "even the dog!", but for the most part had played the part of a once-awkward woman comfortably grown into her skin. She introduced Jean to a few of the heroes she met as they went, most of whom she seemed to know primarily from high school. She made sure to avoid the food that looked to be provided by Hades himself, sticking with sealed bottled water from the table. 

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Predator 


Jean smiled from Ashley’s arm as a herald announced their arrival. She admired the pillars and statues as they entered the party proper, but her gazed scanned the attendees for minions Ashley had briefed her on.

 

Agent Tran had filled her in on the government’s standing with Hades and his subordinates before meeting the ‘too well timed’ taxi that had carried them to the waterfront. They made small talk as they rode along, not chancing the the loyalties of the driver. The duo avoided the media circus as they were guided to the boat that would transition them across the ocean. As they rode along with a few other guests and their silent pilot, Jean recounted a tale or two of her own interactions with self proclaimed gods and deities. A woman calling herself Ishtar had set up a small temple in her own city and offered help to the romantically inclined. And a minotaur with reality warping powers had claimed a chunk of land just outside her city for his labyrinth. She had started to describe how her best friend’s husband claimed to work for a manifestation of Destiny itself when the boat had arrived and they disembarked.

 

Once among the party goers Copycat, as Jean was told was Ashley’s cover for the party, introduced her to a few old acquaintances. She pleasantly greeted them each, filing them away in her mind for later reference. She would most likely spend some time later researching them all out of both curiosity and a need to know more. She didn’t get nearly as many stares as she had expected, which was fine with her. The hero community seemed much easier to integrate with despite her appearance. Tho after seeing some of the other attendees, it wasn’t hard to understand why.

 

She followed Copycat’s example, choosing a bottle of water for herself. She offered a smile to a man with slightly disheveled hair, that he had obviously attempted to reign in but only barely so, in a finely cut black jacket covered with what appeared to be arcane runes. He smiled back as he waved a hand over two flutes of wine, wisps of color trailing his fingers as he did. Seemingly satisfied he picked up the two glasses and gave her another smile as he produced a card from seemingly nowhere. She accepted it politely and thanked him before he turned and carried the drinks over to a woman in a thigh length forest green dress and half jacket, who handed a black wooden staff to him as she accepted one of the flutes. Jean glanced at the card, private investigator and wizard it stated. She raised an eyebrow but tucked the card away for later inquiries and returned her attention to Copycat.

 

“There certainly are a wide variety of guests.”

She commented and chuckled.

“Almost makes me feel at home.”

Jean’s eyes swept over the crowd.

“I suppose our gracious hosts will make a grand entrance later.”

She mused and took Copycat’s arm again as they moved on to continue mingling.

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Ashley listened attentively to her new friend's stories, wondering sympathetically if Jean had that many people to talk to on a day-to-day basis. She is nice, and damn obliging. I should steer business her way when all this is done. She'd decided to treat this the way she would an op at the Socotran or Rurland embassy, an infiltration into the stronghold of a hostile power - one with a servile class, to boot. She thought of her father's flight from Vietnam and wondered what he'd have made of all this. I know the beings here are from the same stuff Hades is, but what the hell kind of thing just sits on a throne for four thousand years and never gets off. 

 

"Oh I'm sure it'll be a real showstopper," she said dryly, careful to keep her voice at a normal conversational level. Whispers would just attract attention here. "Lots of little fish hanging around waiting to see the big sharks do." She considered what to say, then added, "When I had a uniform, back in another life, I spent a lot of my time out on street corners watching parties like this. Dress them up all you want, but they don't change." 

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"You aren't wrong but mayhaps you shall find something new to experience on the other side of the window pane, oh serval skeptic," an amused voice opined from over Copycat and Predator's shoulders. The speaker was only a little taller than Ashley but all slim, runway model proportions to her more solid, athletic frame. Thick, brick red dreadlocks reached all the way down to their ankles, combining with a wild, feathery mane of light red to frame angular features topped with a filigree-thin golden tiara that curved upward into a pair of points a bit reminiscent of Jean's ears. A knowing smile of too-white teeth was bracketed by silver lips but attention was inexorably draw to eye shadow that seemed to shift and roil in the light, cut through by two pencil-thin lines of blood red and leading to piercing storm grey eyes.

 

Delicate chains leading from rings on their fingers to golden armlets and finally disappearing into that mane tinkled quietly as they bowed with a flourish, dipping one long, bare leg out at the same time. A trail of sand skated across the floor to follow their foot as it arced, solidifying into a crystalline stiletto heel the moment the movement ended. "Apologies for interrupting; gauche, I know!" As they straightened it was easier to see the sleeveless leather romper that made up the core of their outfit, cut through with diamond-shaped openings like a more robust fishnet that revealed the darker flesh beneath. This close both women could see that the fine, sparkling body glitter catching the light from their new acquaintance's skin was in fact tiny scales in a mix of ruby red, gleaming gold and light-devouring black. "But tis so heartening to see such a cute couple celebrating their, well, bestial inclinations on a grand stage!" Their new friend made a little gesture with one hand, fanning out fingers tipped with talons with an ombre from black to red and running them through their mane. "Tis the place, certainly. These be the people of Chiron and Asterion, aye? The point being I love everything about your whole vibe, truly."

 

It likely wouldn't have been lost on either of them that the redheaded individual hadn't bothered to introduce themselves, nor had they heard the operatic singer at the entrance announce them.

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"Hey!" whispered a hoarse voice behind Set, accompanied by a rush of air.

 

A towering man in brilliant, billowing blue-green robes and ornamental gold armor, inlaid with images of Chinese dragons and fantastical fish in dazzling jewels, had suddenly appeared behind the divine influencer's shoulder. A shining, bearded gold mask scowled benevolently over his true face, dominated by dark eyes the picture of bewilderment. In one hand was a mighty, curvéd trident crackling with lightning, and in the other he held a miniature pagoda wreathed in a rainbow. The pagoda had an articulated door, which had somehow come off all but one hinge.

 

Behind Set's other shoulder a mongoose's head popped up, spitting out a diamond onto the floor when it saw Copycat and Predator. The man in the golden mask, likewise, did a double-take before turning back again.

 

"Look, I can't get a goddamn straight answer outta none'a these, an' they don't believe me when I say as I'm not Pishamentian, I just got this getup from the ghost of a guy I met and had one conversation with. So-!"

 

Though of a great stature, it turned out some of it had been thanks to the man flying, as he came heavily to ground and took a seat facing the other three, setting the pagoda down with great care.

 

"-who the f$)# is this guy? What is with his house? And how's he know who I am, I never told nobody that I'm Rainshadow!"

 

"I figured as I should ask you, since, I've had good luck with furries, you're good people." He gave Jean and Ashley a shaky thumb's up. "And you, uh, Set? you're supposed to be a god, so maybe you know as what's goin' on in this weird-ass place?"

 

The mongoose shook its head, letting loose a stream of rubies as it chirped "I've tried to explain to our young seat-filler here, but alas, not all are blessed with the wisdom of Tian. I am Gen, his guide for the evening, and ask your humble pardon for his rough speech and uncouth manner. This, as you just learned, is Rainshadow, Storm-Prince of the Dragon's Eyes and Prophet of Doom of the Emerald Cities! Also known-!"

 

The mongoose's entire head was engulfed in one of Rainshadow's hands. "-as a guy new to this s#)@," he said angrily to the mongoose as Gen slipped free with an indignant look, "but not that dumb."

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Predator 

 

Jean nodded at her companion’s assessment of their hosts’ possible entrance. She was about to respond when a new voice interjected.

 

Jean turned her attention to the speak and quirked an eyebrow as she took in the… well, the red. There certainly was a dubious amount of it in various shades. The silver of the lips obviously meant to draw attention to them, as were the glimpses of flesh through fishnet. This was an individual who knew how to draw attention and easily drew it. Power radiated from her intangible but unmistakable.

She spared a glance in Ashley’s direction to see if she knew the woman. 

At first, the woman’s insinuations evaded Jean. At the references Jean tilts her head slightly in thought. A smile settles on her muzzle as she straightens again. Clarity in her expression.

“I think…”

She starts politely, but a second interruption draws her attention to a man that appears behind the woman.

 

The suntanned skin was evident under the robes and armor. The breaded mask seemed to mimic the man’s natural beard, which Jean found somewhat amusing for some reason. A smirk tugs at her muzzle but she represses it as a small furry creature she identifies as a mongoose appears over the woman’s other shoulder.

She was unfamiliar with the name he used, Pishamentian. She would have to look it up later. Nor was she familiar with the name he called himself, Rainshadow?

Jean glanced at Ashley again to see if she recognize it. She turned her attention back to him as he continued. She nodded politely even as she tilted her head in thought again when he finished.

He had inadvertently introduced himself so Jean took it upon herself to introduce herself and Ashley.

“A pleasure to meant you Rainshadow. My name is Jean, but you may have seen me in the news under the name Predator. And this is my friend, and escort, Copycat.”

Jean was unconcerned with who knew her as a hero, she was rather unmistakable, but she was not going to reveal her new friend’s identity.

She gave pause to allow the woman to formally introduce herself if she wished. The man had called her Set and Jean mentally gathered strands of information she had come across in her initial research. It wasn’t much yet but her impression of power was well founded from what she could remember.

“I was under the impression this…”

Jean waved a hand and smirked playfully.

“Was a rather flamboyant cry for attention.”

She gave a light chuckle as she played up the simple party goer, not wanting to hint at their underlying mission. She turned her attention back to Rainshadow.

“You mentioned furries?”

She asked curiously, not having found that particular part of the internet yet in her investigations.

“You seem to have a good impression of me.”

She gave him a polite smile and nod.

“I was under the impression I was a rather unusual visitor to this world. Have you encountered others?”

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Ashley's pause was so short that only Set really caught it, though perhaps Jean had reason to expect it. 

 

"Ohmigod it's the Set!" Copycat squeed. "Jean come here, let's get a selfie. Do you mind?" she asked as she crowded up by the Egyptian godling. "See, I knew you'd meet the best people here. Jean is just my friend from work," she told Set breezily as she held up her phone, "I told her she could meet some important people here and look, I guess she did! Best not to touch," she added cheerily as she got close enough for the picture. "Superpowers, what can you do?" 

 

When she made eye contact with Rainshadow, her initial impulse was to knock him down and shove the mongoose down his throat, but of course she'd learned to control those sorts of feelings a long time ago - they certainly didn't fit the giddy part-time hero she was playing here, that was for sure. "If you're looking for a tour guide, I bet that giant frog over there would be happy to help," she said with a nod towards the Deep One who was having an animated conversation with an ox-man across the large room. "We're a little busy over here." 

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“I was under the impression I was a rather unusual visitor to this world. Have you encountered others?”

"What? Oh, yeah, mostly they're from around here. I mean, Earth." Rainshadow indicated the Gala's grand hall with the trident "Not 'here', here. And yeah, good people. Helped me get home once when I'd got @&%-faced and near fell in the river."

 

Following Copycat's directions, he blinked in surprise at the Deep One. "Huh! Looks a dead ringer for the Christmas Frog," he thought aloud, gathering up the accoutrements and nodding gratefully to the masked stranger, "Thanks buddy!"  

 

Floating again into the air with a whoosh, he skimmed across the Gala's floor, the mongoose on his shoulder spitting out gems and throwing them in random directions.

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Predator 

 

Jean had allowed herself to be pulled into Set’s personal bubble at Ashley’s insistence. She admired the agent’s ability to embrace her role as an overly excitable party attendee. She did not have that skill herself, but she was able to emulate some level of awe.

Jean followed Ashley’s cue and gave Set, what she hoped looked like, an apologetic smile before smiling for Ashley’s ‘selfie’.

 

She turned her attention back to Rainshadow again, giving him a smile.

“We’ll, if I can be of assistance in the future, you can most likely find me at Atomic Tower in Freedom City.”

Jean bid the man and mongoose a small nod as he turned to greet another figure. His intended target being an obvious sea-dweller.

 

She turned back to Set and gave a short, polite bow.

“Thank you for honoring us with your time.”

Jean may not be able to pull of giddy and excitable, but she could do polite and semi-formal. It was a balancing counter-point to her companion’s act.

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Set's expression froze in a polite if strained smile at Copycat's explosion of enthusiasm, eyes darting across the masked woman's face as though trying to determine if this was some surreptitious cry for help. Perhaps that distraction explained why the godling wasn't fully able to keep the grimace from their own face at Rainshadow's interruption, hands pulled back with wrists tilted up and fingers curled. As the large fellow floated away they shook their head, briefly raising their eyebrows expressively. "What a thoroughly unpleasant individual. Who walks up to strangers at a party and announces his outfit was 'off-the-rack'? Ra's shapely buttock."

 

They reached back to shake out their five foot long dreadlocks, golden ornaments clicking softly. "Now! Absolutely we're going to take a selfie because obviously. But mayhaps tis not the ideal setting to make an affectation of fawning devotion, oh feline fangirl. Too many of the guests have seen too much of the real thing, aye?" Set positioned themselves between Ashley and Jean to pose for the photo, leaning in and speaking around a perfect, practiced grin. "Be shenanigans afoot? You can tell me, I've been know to pull a fast-one or two myself."

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Ashley inhaled to speak. Set smelled exotic; like Egyptian perfumes she didn't know but that old-time pirates had fought and died for. 

 

"What if you're pretending to hit on someone who's actually attractive?" Copycat asked the second Raven. 

"That happens less often than you'd think," said the Raven, faint amusement in her voice. "Criminals generally aren't very attractive, not where it matters." 

Ashley frowned. "Generally?" 

"Hnh. Remember your training," Callie chided her. "If you're around someone physically attractive but don't have the time to stay, enjoy the sight for what it is, then let it pass through you." 

 

"Are...you making a pass?" she asked with a wink that came just a second too late. "Thank you, but I'm spoken for." She ran her left thumb against the bare knuckle of her fourth finger. "Cheese!" She snapped a few more pictures, then neatly put her phone away in a small utility pocket on the side of her dress. 

 

"You're an influencer, right?" she said with a small smile. "You know how it works." Ashley stretched her arms above her head, pointing her fingers like a cat's, then smiled brightly. "So is there a god of foxes?" she asked brightly. "I bet Jean here could use an introduction." 

 

 

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