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Ghosts of Christmas Whatever [IC]

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Sunday, December 23rd

9:32 PM

The Parkhurst wasn't exactly a place one would associate with Christmas cheer - at least, from the outside. It was run down, cobwebbed, and ringed with shadows, long abandoned after a series of horrible incidents. Then again, It was designed to look that way. There was certainly high real estate value in abandoned and foreboding, especially if you were of a certain mindset.

Inside the Parkhurst, however, things were remarkably more cheerful. The four Parkhurst ghosts were setting out snacks on the table, and Millie and Joe were sneaking kisses whenever they crossed under the mistletoe. A tree stood in the corner of the room, bedecked with merry lights, but the tree seemed to be swaying of its own accord, and the lights were most certainly not electrical. At its base lay a few presents. Like the tree, some of them were dancing as well.

At the head of the hall stood Nick Cimitiere, dressed more for Halloween than Christmas. He was wearing his usual black "work clothes" and usual funereal makeup, but he did have one nod to the holiday - a red Santa hat. He looked over the proceedings, waiting for the others to arrive.

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Christmas was always a touchy time for Marcus. He always seemed on edge as it was, and having to visit Blackstone a week before had put a lot on his mind. Still, the mood around Parkhurst seemed to bolster his spirits--no pun intended. He'd even made efforts to help with the decorating for the Christmas party.

It took a couple of trips to get his gifts to the tree. Once he had, he headed over towards Nick. Marcus wasn't dressed in his usual attire at all--he was wearing black slacks and a white dress shirt, complete with a red tie bearing a green Christmas tree pin. Living at Parkhurst for the moment meant that he was going to be early no matter what he did, but judging by the way he'd been humming Christmas songs all day, he didn't seem to mind.

"Evening Nick. Or is it Saint Nick with the hat?"

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Rene appeared, as if by magic, at the front door.

In fact, it was magic.

Having complained of aching bones one to many times, he had painted lovely canvas of Parkhurst. The beautiful scene stood up above his desk in the study. And he could walk into it any time.

Clutching a bottle of Red wine, some figs, and pate, he had marched into his painting and thus to the front door of Parkhurst.

He creaked the door open without care for the sound, and, ensuring he had an audience, limped in.

"Zut Alors!" he winced, rubbing his back. "It is far to much of a walk for my old bones to ze Parkhurst! Ten miles I had to walk today! it took me for ever!"

He sat down gingerly.

"Alas! The journey has taken its toll on ze old hip! I shall have to sit and be served by you today!" he explained to Nick and Marcus, putting down his drink and food, but not before popping a tasty fig into his mouth.

"Merry Christmas!" he added, cheerfully, with a sly grin.

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Etain swept down the stairs with a smile at Rene,

"I believe you are overestimating the distance from you bedroom to your study Rene."

She was a star and a string of lights from being a Christmas tree. Her dress was a large sweeping ensemble in true victorian form with layering fabric over a hoop skirt in deep emerald with gold accents. She had a scarlet fur scarf on her arms and her long hair was put in a complicated knott held by two green pins with bells on the end. Gliding down the steps she sweep passed before catching Marcus in a hug,

" And I do not believe I saw you come in. It is good to see you Marcus, it seems like I have scarcely done so since I left Claremont."

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"Evening Nick. Or is it Saint Nick with the hat?"

"Oh, I think I'd make a really bad saint," said Nick, adjusting the floppy ball on the jolly red cap. "I mean, I've got the miracles bit down - pre-mortem, of course - but somehow I don't think the Vatican's going to be knocking on the door to canonize me." Nick was happy to see Marcus around; they hadn't exactly been out in the field much, since the incident in Pennsylvania, but he was a good fixture around Parkhurst. "Evening, Rene. Glad to see your old bones could make it down. You're looking lovely as always, Etain."

Over head, little bursts of cold flame raced across the ceiling, in colors of red and green. To Nick's ghostly eyes, it was Josephine, the youngest of the Parkhurst ghosts. She'd always had a talent for barrow fires - he could back that up from the night he helped liberate Parkhurst from its more tyrannical tenant - and she was definitely using it for Christmas cheer. "Others should be coming along. After that, we can start on the big stuff."

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Marcus smiled at Nick and the bad joke. "Now that, I'd pay money to see." There were so many faces he hadn't seen in so long, it made Marcus realize just how much time had passed since he'd seen everyone all at once. It reminded him of why Parkhurst felt so much like home now, ghosts and all. It also helped that his Beast Rune powers had developed to a point where he could sense magic by scent, and the old hotel had a very soothing smell to it most days.

"Merry Christmas, everybody..." Marcus smiled broadly, returning the hug offered by Etain. He gave Rene a skeptical look as he limped in, but merely shook his head and laughed rather than comment on the general lack of walking the elderly gentleman actually did. Instead, he pulled out a chair for both Rene and Etain.

"Yeah, it's been a while. Been keeping plenty busy though... Mostly holed up in the library, but there's definitely some stories I could tell. How've you been? You look great." Marcus resisted the urge to snack on various things while waiting for other guests to arrive, instead making idle conversation.

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Silently following Etain down the stairs was someone adept at keeping the obviousness of her presence to a minimum. Where her girlfriend's gown was anachronistic, layered and ornately decorated Eve's was a more modern cut, sleek and minimally ornamented. Even so its asymmetrical off the shoulder styling (and the bow at her hip) was evocative of a partially unwrapped present, the perfect compliment to Etain's Christmas tree.

Eve was nervous, but felt she hid it well. Normally she avoided those that made use of Parkhurst, slipping into and out of the Hotel and practically sequestering herself in the room she shared with the girl she loved. She was aware that she was an outsider, and out of respect she kept her distance, though she knew they knew of her. The cars she kept parked at the Hotel were enough of an indication of that.

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A small wobbling ball of white light appeared in one of the corners of the room. From it could be heard some weird animal noises, and muttering, and a couple of short words garbled so much as to be unrecognisable.

The light then burst into a brief corona of blinding whiteness, and then a woman stood among it. Siobhan Drake's brown hair was pinned up in a couple of chopsticks, and her normally white glowing eyes their usual piercing shade of grey. Her silver pentacle amulet hung around her neck, and she wore a simple knee-length black dress, strapless with white polka dots and tied at the waist with a belt of dark grey fabric.

On the floor beside her, Hayley the raccoon sat on her hind legs, apparently having wrapped herself with strands of gold, silver, red and green tinsel.

Siobhan hastily stowed her wand away, tucking it into her belt. "Hi, everyone," she said nervously, waving one hand.

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Nick looked over to Eve as she descended the staircase. He didn't know much about Etain's... "girlfriend" didn't seem the right term, given Etain's general demeanor and Eve's comportment, come on, you went to arts school, you can figure this out... lover, but he wasn't going to be the strict gatekeeper for the mansion. Especially when it came to keeping significant others out. "Good to see you, Eve," he said. "Welcome to the party. Assorted treats are on the table; big festivities will be happening later."

His attention turned towards the corner once the ball of light showed up. For one second, he thought about calling up his power... at least until he realized whose voice was coming from the chanting. "Hey, Siobhan!" he said when Equinox finished materializing. "Glad to see you could make it." He reached for a tiny mince pie and scooted it across the floor towards Hayley. "And I see you brought the traditional Christmas raccoon."

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"Thank you, Nick," Eve said, offering him a slight nod in greeting. A faint yellow-green glow surrounded a pair of chocolate chip cookies before they shot across the room toward the small white-haired woman, who deftly plucked them out of the air. Sampling one of the cookies, Eve made a happy little sound as she looked around taking note of the other guests, her eyes widening slightly in recognition when they settled on Rene.

The witch's arrival along with that of her tinsel adorned friend pulled the youngest Martel's attention away from the painter; the state of the raccoon causing Eve to chuckle lightly. Brushing any remaining cookie crumbs from her hands, the former gymnast glided across the room, hand outstretched. "Hello," Eve said smiling, "I am Eve."

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"Unless my eyes are deceiving me, and, given my age, zey probably do, I spy an Eve in ze room!" said Rene with a warm smile. He pushed his gold plated spectacles back on his eyes and stroked his beard, taking in the pleasantries of the Hotel. It was, he concluded, a merry occasion.

He raised his glass of claret.

"And, if my ailing memory serves me correctly, she is from the greatest of all countries!" he said with enthusiasm.

"Viva La France!" he roared, toasting nobody in particular, taking an immodest gulp of claret, and giving Eve a wink.

"Welcome to Parkhurst! eat, drink, drink some more, and be merry!"

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