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Dutemps Building

December 2016

 

It was unusual for a groups of people who lived in the same location to gather together to throw a Holiday party, but Dutemps wasn’t the most normal of places. First it was a castle high above the skyline of Freedom City, looking like it was from a fairytale or a cartoon but then again so did a lot of Freedom City. And this fairytale castle in the sky was home to an amazing bunch of female misfit heroes. And today they were having a party.

 

One of the smaller halls had been prepared for today’s event with a incredibly well stocked buffet table and a fairly impressive sound system for hopefully a fruitfuls night partying.

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Aquaria bounded her way into the room, bearing a striking resemblance to The Christmas Frog, a children's character that had made it big a few years earlier. She accomplished this by means of wrapping a Santa jacket around her bulging torso, putting a Santa hat on her head (strapping it down underneath so it stayed on despite her crest and general headshape) and by means of personality. She leaped into the middle of the hall and boomed with an impressive bass rumble "HO HO HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS DUTEMPS!" Aquaria didn't quite rattle the hot cider and eggnog dispensers, but she came close. She was not a quiet Deep One. 

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"Merry Christmas, Aquaria," Indira greeted brightly...from halfway up the wall, where she was carefully hanging one end of the last of the decorations. Between the fliers and the wall-climbers, she honestly wouldn't know if the Dutemps gang actually owned any ladders - they'd certainly never needed to look.

 

As soon as her bit of holiday cheer was secured to the wall she pushed away, dropping like a missile to splash into the ground like an overgrown pile of mercury. What reformed from that puddle was a bit more party-appropriate than wall-crawling alien monsters: Indira had pulled her hair into a simple side ponytail, draping it over the front of a festive, form-fitting sleeveless red dress that ran clear down to the floor. She'd eschewed much in the way of jewelry, opting for a simple silver necklace that, from the way it moved, might have even been real - a small pendant with an odd, but understated, symbol carved into the front.

 

"I think, if the others did not know the party was starting, they very much will now. Would you like anything to eat?"

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Leilani's arms were folded around her midsection and from a quick glance, it might look like the elemental was cold. If she'd been anyone else, that would have been a reasonable assumption as she stood between one of the large windows showing the snow falling on the city outside and the equally chilly figure of one Comrade Frost, but Leilani didn't really feel cold. Not physically at least. It was just all... so very different. It wasn't though, without its own beauty, she could acknowledge. 

 

"You know, I heard that they're getting quite the winter up on Mauna Loa this year," she commented to Dimitri, pushing away the sense of displacement and focusing on the now; even if that 'now' involved Aquaria's trumpeting. "We could go, maybe, sometime later in the season. I think you'd like it." As casually as it was offered, it was really the first time that Leilani had shown even the slightest willingness to see her island and address the inevitable change that had happened there too. "Maybe."

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"I would be honored," Dimitri told her affectionately. "If you would have me there." He put his arm around her and watched the snow fall, glad to be inside and out of freezing temperatures. He'd been keeping himself warm in the winter for nearly eighty years now, but never quite so pleasantly as this one. "Perhaps we can climb one of those great volcanoes of yours and watch the stars come out - or the fire from below." Any sort of company was welcome, really, especially Leilani's. "Aquaria, Indira, hello! Thank you for letting me be the rooster among the hens tonight." 

 

"I would like chicken," agreed Aquaria in response to Indira's metaphor, not really following Dimitri's metaphor. "It is cooked in many juices and will be sssucculent." She hopped over to the carved roast chicken on the buffet table. "I have heard that there is a meal one can make that is a turkey with a duck inside of it - and then inside the duck, a chicken!

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"I figure it'll be a bit easier to start with somewhere I know but... still isn't my beach, you know?" Leilani agreed, before turning towards the others. She uncrossed her arms to let her fingers find Dimitri's arm, her touch warmer than most human hands would be. She blinked once at Aquaria's announcement, trying to parse her suggestion of a meal as she wasn't sure if that was some awful thing Aquaria's people enjoyed. Trying to not picture frog-people jamming birds down other squawking birds throats, she made a dubiously polite, "Oh?" noise at Aquaria, "That seems like... a lot of work?"

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Daphne had spent ages picking out the perfect dress for today’s party, this was her first real Christmas Party and she’d wanted to make sure things were perfect. And hopefully things would be much less dramatic as that time she was invited to Thanksgiving, and drama that she’d heard had ended in a way that even the soups would balk as being to out there. Finally she settled on the red dress with a, fake, fur trim the traditional look for this time of years. With her decision made she snuck into the hall to see what everyone was getting up to, it was an impressive sight and she was getting pretty good vibes from everyone enjoying the party.

 

“Hello everyone! Oh wow this looks really good!”

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The party wasn't Eve's idea, there were limits even for her on the number of tasks she could juggle, but it was one she certainly approved of especially now that she was seeing the final result.  She and the tall brunette she was clinging to when she entered the hall were dressed a little more casually than some of the others, but even casual for Eve had a certain understated elegance.

 

An elegance her gaudy Christmas sweater threatened to ruin.

 

"Well done ladies," the white-haired Frenchwoman said smiling.

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Becky smoothed her black draped skirt with the hand not resting on Eve's waist, a little self-conscious of her own sweater with its parallel rows of knitted menorahs though she was still pretty pleased with the way the pattern cycled from one to nine lights as it wrapped around her. "'It's my castle,' she says. 'We can wear whatever we want,' she says. At least we match," she sighed theatrically, pulling the shorted woman a little closer for a moment. "Ah, Aquaria you look just like the Christmas Frog, that's so good! ...I like watching the specials."

 

Zipping through the wall near the entranceway as she cut across the corners of the hallway, Kimber appeared in a state of minor disarray. "Hi! Sorry, hi! Meant to get here sooner to help set up but, uh..." Her hair might not have been governed by the same forces as that of someone more permanently corporeal but it still managed to defy her as she hurriedly brushed it back into place with her fingers. The phantom's translucent blue faded into the opaque hues of the living, her midnight blue pants sparkling with some manner of glitter under a white, billowing blouse stitched with a subtle snowflake pattern. "You found all the cookies in the freezer?" she asked Indira as her feet touched the floor without any real weight. "And the trays in the cupboard?"

 

Nearby Becky caught the poltergeist's eye and pointed to her own neck, eyebrows raised. Kimber hastily manifested a handkerchief and wiped the smudge of black lipstick from just above her clavicle, a little tint of azure returning to her cheeks.

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Klara Matthews

 

Having a couple of weeks in Freedom City was all well and good but Klara had been kept busy with the official work she’d had to agree to get the time in the city. She’d barely managed to squeeze in a visit to Petia at her bar, but now ironically she had the opposite problem. She had any early start tomorrow so could go out with the girls tonight,but there was still several hours before she needed to turn in for the night. In one of those moments of coincidence she spotted the impressive sight of the castle on top of the Dutemps building. She’d heard and approved to what the latest Martel was trying to achieve, and won’t mind visiting someone who was descended with someone she’d thought beside during the war.

 

A surprisingly short time later she was stood in the doorway of what looked like a party going on, and whilst she was hardly lacking in confidence even this was a little embarrassing for her.

 

“Hello there I hope I’m not intruding, I think they just assumed I was expect up here! I’m Klara Matthews pleased to meet you all.”

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Indira turned to give the newcomers a friendly, shallow bow, which gave her the convenient excuse to politely not notice Kimber's much-needed touch-up. "We found and used both the cookies and the trays," she assured her friend, smiling. "The cookies are, in fact, on the trays, waiting for the hungry. Do not worry - we were careful. It is an important event; we have not had so many together in a very long time."

 

The last bit was said as she scanned over the crowd, still smiling...though when her eyes landed on Klara, she paused. "Ah...hello," she greeted, stepping forward, and sparing a glance back at the owner of the castle. "I don't believe we've met. Are you a friend of Eve's...?"

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Aquaria retreated to the ceiling when the new arrival appeared, clinging to the stonework with sticky pads on feet and hands while chewing on the substantial chunk of chicken she'd taken from the table. Eating, Aquaria was close to a fearsome sight, great fangs, gnashing teeth, and a maw that could have swallowed a small child whole. She waved cautiously to Klara but said nothing, even her great mouth full of what in retrospect had been more than her fair share of chicken. Everyone will say I am a pig! she thought unhappily as she considered what she'd taken off the plate. Being called a ham was a compliment, she knew, but a pig itself was a taboo thing in Surfacer culture. 

 

-

 

"Any beach touched by those lovely feet should be yours," Dimitri told Leilani with a wink. "As as a queen walks among her subjects." Leilani really did have some very lovely feet - as was the rest of her, for that matter. "Ah, do come in, Klara." If he was considerably cooler to Klara than he was to Leilani, he wasn't exactly frigid - there was too much water under the bridge for that. "You remember the famous Warrior Woman," he said to his ghostly protege, "the one from my stories." 

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With a hello for the towering woman who'd arrived Becky stepped away from Eve's side to walk over to the buffet table and take a look at what had been laid out, making a mental note to make a fuss over the dreidel-shaped sugar cookies mixed in amongst the snowmen and Christmas tree shapes. The brunette frowned slightly as what was left of the chicken Aquaria had pillaged before turning her gaze upward to the Deep One's perch. "Aquaria, is everything alright? You usually have a bigger appetite than that," she asked concernedly, frown deepening as she looked back at the fowl. "Is it too well done? I'm sure there's something rarer if we look." Eve would be in a mood all night if she found out that not everyone's dietary needs had been accounted for, she was always so protective of the building's residents.

 

"Of course!" Kimber replied quickly, letting the handkerchief in her hand disappear while shooting Indira a thumbs-up over the cookie arrangement. She felt like a heel for leaving the Kinigosi to put out a bunch of food that was less appetizing to her than the metal trays underneath it but she'd have to apologize later. Making sure the immortal Russians were supervised seemed like the more urgent priority. "I promise I only believed a third, maybe half of those stories," she assure Klara, extending a hand up for her. "Kimber Storm. It's lovely to finally meet you in person."

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Klara Matthews

 

"Well if you sure I'm not interfering." she gave a smile and met Kimber's handshake "He tend to exaggerate number's a lot, one tank tends to become a whole company in his tales, many other achieved much more impressive feats than myself and were normal everyday Russians." she had never had a problem with the people of Russia more the politicians

 

"But now isn't the time for such sad things, you are in a middle of a celebration! I have heard many great things about all that you have achieved, it's why I wanted to come visit this place."

 

The Ministry kept excellent records and she had been impressed with everything she'd heard about these young heroes, it was why she'd popped in for a visit. Though she hadn't excepted to crash there little party.

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It was actually surprisingly easy to accessorize for the party. 

 

Eliza was, at first, tempted to pull an Elsa - craft a couture dress out of snowflakes and sleet. But then she realized the clear issues with this. While she might not feel the cold, she could feel chafing, and any ice solid enough to maintain form and function without revealing anything would have... issues. Fortunately, there was no lack of stores in Freedom with blue, white, and teal dresses with silver trim and a general winter theme. It was the kind of thing that she might wear into battle if she didn't give a damn about fabric resilience. Or high heels. 

 

And it was the kind of dress that went so very well with a carnival mask. She usually wore an icy confection out on duty, but a party like this gave her an excuse to go extra. So very extra. Pair that with some Angela Bassett braids, furnished with some blue beads and other baubles...

 

Temperance entered the party in her finest regalia, a chill wind blowing behind her - not enough to cut through the warmth of the room, but just enough to make an entrance. "Greetings, everyone," she said. "Let's make this a winter to remember."

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"Flatterer," Leilani replied to Dimitri but she didn't seem displeased by the hyperbole. The heat around the geothermic elemental kicked up a notch absently as Klara approached, entirely unconsciously on Leilani's part as she adjusted for when the two Russians inevitably bickered, "He does have a way with words." Leilani agreed before offering Klara a friendly smile, "Hello, Klara, how's the family doing? Looking forward to the holiday?"

 

The sudden entrance of another ice-controller caught Leilani's attention - one always had to appreciate a dramatic entrance, "Friend of yours?" She asked Dimitri, only halfway teasing.

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Eve grinned at Becky before watching her head off to attend to Aquaria, knowing that she'd sort things out for their aquatic friend.  She turned to regard Klara, cocking her head to the side.  "Ah, yes, Klara," Eve said.  "I recognize you from my great aunt's journals."

 

"A friend and ally of hers is more than welcome here in the Castle."  She smiled and then cast a quick grin in Dimitri's direction.  "After all, we allow him here."

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"I have to save some for the others," croaked Aquaria, relaxing now that it was clear no one would be fighting the outsider for trying to steal their space. "A pig is a bad guest." Hopping down, she readjusted her Santa cap before adding, "Jessie is spending today building a nest on the couch and watching a show about a man who meets the Ultimate Death on Christmas." She had not really understood the premise of that movie at all - or how Jessie could see anything in those colorless images! "Greetings, tall one," she croaked to Klara. "I am Aquaria Innsmouth." She shook Klara's hand in the Surfacer fashion, her grip cold and just a little moist as three suckered fingers gripped Klara's hand 

 

She croaked a hello to Temperance as well - but decided to take this opportunity to warm up. Hopping over to join Leilani and Dimitri, she crouched down next to Leilani on all fours. "Hello," she hissed to Dimitri and Leilani, having positioned herself on the lava controller's side of things. 

 

"A young associate," Dimitri told Leilani warmly, not looking displeased at the presence of a frog-fish-woman at the scene of his wooing. Once he got on his game, it was hard to stop. "A daughter of water spirits, as one is. Can I get you anything?" he offered Leilani, gesturing at the table. "There may be enough liquor in the punch to burn it," he suggested thoughtfully. "Or I could acquire some..."

 

Tarva took that moment to make an appearance, entering with the sort of quietude that bespoke deep thoughts - or at least a desire not to attract attention to her arrival when she and Kimber had been intimate just a little earlier. "Hello, boon," she said, pecking Kimber on the cheek as if she was giving a handshake. "And everyone." At the sight of Klara, she tensed for just a moment, squeezing Kimber's hand, before saying cheerfully, "Who is this lovely mountain?"

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"A pig...?" Becky blinked a few times at Aquaria's retreating back before her brows lowered and she set her jaw. The gesture was made more formidable by the way the shape of her jaw shifted as she did so, widening by a good centimetre to accommodate teeth that hadn't been there a moment ago. It shrunk back to its normal proportions as she headed toward the castle's kitchen, passing Temperance on the way. "Just grabbing something, be right back," she called to her fiancé, giving the elementalist a smile while adding, "Oh, Addie would love that mask!"

 

"All of those everyday, seven foot tall, immortal Russians, sure," Kimber nodded with a cheeky grin as Klara released her hand. "Hopefully the stories you heard about us weren't exaggerated too much, eh?" Poorly hidden indiscretions aside the poltergeist leaned into Tarva reflexively as the shadow witch stepped in beside her, floating just off of the ground to better fit against her side. "Klara Matthews, Tarva the Black," she introduced smoothly, squeezing her hand back. "Who is married, you flirt. And not a Furion," she assured her partner in a whisper close to her ear. "Same general idea but different. Not that you were worried."

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With the newcomers given warm(ish) welcome by their host Indira relaxed again, all genuine smiles and eyes that were not in the least awful black voids bereft of even the faintest of human features or reflection. "And I am Indira. Welcome, all," she greeted, smoothing out her dress and gesturing at the tables. "If you would like to leave your bags and coats, we have a place by the door for it - please enjoy the food before it grows cold."

 

She almost wished she could take part in the latter, but she was in perfect health and about the right size for her liking, which left her entirely without her own approximation of appetite. Instead, she busied herself making people feel welcome and ensuring everyone was as welcome as she could manage.

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