Hidden 1 yr ago Post by FantasyChic
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Colette de La Fontaine


Location: Heaton Hall, Ladies Room; Manchester, England
Skills: Language -English, House, Court Ettiquette



Colette was intrigued to hear that someone else had trained in China also. She wondered if the woman was speaking Mandarin before. It would explain why it sounded kind of familiar. Back home, she rarely met another who trained in China. Others preferred the States or India. She felt a bond with the woman, despite them just meeting.

Colette braced herself and put a hand to her heart. The attack she heard before. The poor woman had been there? And not only having been there, but she lost someone. A sister, no less. "Oh, vous pauvre. You have been through so much!" Colette preferred not to state the obvious. That it was brave of her to come to a party so soon after such a devastating attack. That it was solid of her to remain in the public eye despite having lost her sister. To show she was grieving, but moving on. She knew the court games. Life went on despite these things.

However, Colette also knew that there was more to the story. There had to be. However, it was not her place to push. She was curious, sure, but she also barely knew the woman, despite the fact she felt herself liking her. She continued and finished applying her makeup. "There, I believe I am finished. You look beautiful, mademoiselle. This does not do your beauty justice." Colette handed the woman's makeup back to her before she stood, offering her hand to help the woman to her feet too. "If I may be so bold, I think you are incredibly strong. Tears do not show weakness. Scars do not show weakness. The fact you are here is strength enough. Take courage in this, mon ami. Shall we attend the party?"
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Sigil
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Российский императорский цирк

(Russian Imperial Circus)




Back at the main gate to the Tent City, the guards were becoming mildly annoyed. It was understandable that someone would want to join in the festivities and merriment of the Russian Imperial Circus, but they were under orders. Specific ones. Two of them, in fact. They were not military, at least not in the traditional sense. But every man, woman, and child present at the Circus considered one another family, and each of them were selected for this journey because of their immense skill, loyalty, and their ability to operate in an English speaking environment (as a secondary feature, but important nonetheless). Not traditional military, but most assuredly on a mission. A single insistent man was not going to make them falter in their duties, especially not this night.

One guard looked to the other, then called out to a third a little farther in the confines of the wood and canvas village, "Здесь есть человек, с именем Таlink. Разве это не имя Великий Бажули?1"

The man responded with a nod and studied over Thalken asnif to memorize detal. He inquired, "Китайская сабля?2" Followed by a simple response of "Da!", this time from the other guard at the entrance. He kept his eyes on the strange man, his arms held crossed in front of him. The man farther in took the opportunity to jog off, back farther into the collection of temporary residences.

The first guard returned his gaze back to the man requesting entry, and with a polite smile, "Sorry. Am not knowing a Lady Crypt, but is not matter. Closed show tonight. No admittance. Peoples who should be in are in. Please come back tomorrow, big show. Can sell ticket, iv you are vanting. Iv not, have good night, sir."





Sister Mary Ignatia Hale


"A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, “You are mad; you are not like us." -St. Anthony the Great

Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)




It was no surprise that all of these people knew each other. That was to be expected. What was not as expected was the camaraderie between them, as if they were old friends. Mary felt doubly the outsider among them. This was not what she was trained to do. She doubted that any one of the people responsible for making her into... Well, her had given any thought that something like this might ever happen. Yet here she was, sitting among some of the most powerful people in Creation. And they looked like old friends discussing trivial matters.

Admittedly, the representative from Germany was a little off. Moreover, she knew nothing about their organization or even if they possessed the capacity to organize at all. It was an impressive set of abilities. Sadly, she could only wonder what role they played in the overall mission of protecting Humanity or ending the Soulless threat. Mary wished to be inclusive, but ability without purpose made her lean away from approving Ludwig's admittance into the Graveolase.

Then something odd happened. Virginia seemed to favor the man, no surprise there. He was unique and appeared to know something about her people. No, what surprised her was the ease with which Adam took to him, and in a manner that was very familiar. As if family, one could say. It raised an immediate alarm with Mary. She settled back into her seat, but kept a protective eye on her little charge. Until papers were signed and Mary had given an official approval, Adam was still her responsibility. All the same, her friend and her ward, both, gave immediate approval of this man. Perhaps she should not be so hasty.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Morose
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Virginia Crypt


Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)
Skills: Biology

Virginia gave Ludwig a bit of a funny smile, seeing the man so clearly transfixed. From what she had already seen, he was a marvel. He didn't cling to any single thread of sanity, instead a jumbled case study of abnormal psychology that also boasted trained skills the likes of which she had never seen before. She had to repress the urge to giggle lightly at the two rapid fire blinks, followed by the end of the stranger's trance. Yet she still helped him to his feet, as she was brimming with curiosity.

"You have made your ancestors proud," Virginia reassured Ludwig. She opted to follow the Viking and the Madman to the Council proper, uncertain as to what exactly Mary would wish for her to do. She had already given her dear friend all of the advice she could with the information she held. But if Mary were to ask her should Germany be approved to the Council, Virginia would agree wholeheartedly. Ludwig's madness resonated well with that of the Crypt's.

She took her seat, smiling with amusement at the common of the rats gnawing on Christine's brain. She couldn't help but wonder whether rats would prefer one part of the brain over the other - or if perhaps it would somehow be akin to stimulating a shock like Galvani's work. "Oh, thank you," Virginia replied, as Ludwig noted her paleness. She was often compared to a corpse or a member of the Soulless. It was one of the few compliments those in London society would pay her when it came to matters of beauty.

Virginia nodded. She didn't mind watching the two and she was certain that James would be safe with her. "Little devil, come sit. The Mamushka should be starting at any moment now and you wouldn't want to miss it, would you?" Virginia urged her brother. James almost reluctantly slipped off of Myshka, before falling to his knees and staring at the tiger head on.

"Thank you, Deadly Cat!" James said. He then rose to his feet and gave Myshka a little bow, before rushing off to Virginia and plopping down in her lap, just as Adam had done in Ludwig's. Virginia ruffled James' hair affectionately, before returning to her previous conversation with Ludwig. "Yes, we are Crypts. I must imagine you have encountered members of our family before? Which ones, if I may ask? I trust that you befriended them, as we are likely just as sane as you."

Then something dawned upon James as his eyes lit up. "Adam!!! Let's become blood brothers! Let's swear an oath of loyalty to the death!" James exclaimed, wiggling around with excitement at the idea. Virginia couldn't help but chuckle, glad for James to have a playmate - and a friend.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by mnkee
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Thalken Talink

A man with a grudge and a case
A man with intent on his face
- "Don't Get In My Way" by Zack Hemsey



Location: Gate to the Tent City
Skills: N/A


After the words left Thalken's lips, his muscles instinctively tensed again. He was expecting an altercation to occur following his brazen admission as to who he was and who he was here for. Yet, for the second time the guards did not jump him like he expected they would. In fact, they seemed relatively at ease, albeit a bit annoyed, but at ease nonetheless. It would seem that he was the nervous one here. Gosh, what was getting into him? He couldn't remember the last time he had felt this on edge. Even during the attack on Almack's he hadn't felt such anxious energy coursing through his veins. Though he supposed he was mostly in his element in the heat of battle that night, but this, preparing to surrender himself, was totally out of his comfort zone. He would take fighting hordes of Soulless over this any day.

His already intense gaze only seemed to intensify further as the guards exchanged words with another guard nearby, a guard he hadn't known was even there. His dark eyes did a quick sweep of the area, wondering how many more guards were hiding in the shadows. He felt vulnerable in his current position, out in the open like this. He felt a bead of sweat drip down the back of his neck. God dammit, hold it together Thalken! He forced his expression to go blank as the guards looked him over before finally addressing him again.

For a moment, he just stood there, washed in tension and almost unresponsive to their words. He blinked. Had he heard them correctly? They were going to turn him away just like that? His nostrils flared slightly, and his body finally seemed to regain mobility. He moved just enough to cross his arms over his chest and to arch a brow at them. "I didn't come out all this way just to be turned away," he stated stubbornly, before his voice took on a bit of an edge. "And don't take me for a fool, I know the Lady Crypt is here to see Dame Mary Hale."
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Lady Amalthea
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Ludwig Zimmer


Location: Chair, Main Tent, Russian Tent City, Regent Park, London, England, Europe, Northern Hemisphere, Planet Earth
Skills: English, Observation, Mental Stamina, Unacknowledged Soulless/Countries, Ferret Handling


Rolling, tumbling, moving, yes. Yes, it ad been a lot to demonstrate the ability of the magic beans. Such wondrous things, he was very protective of his beans. He couldn't lose his beans. He had lost his marbles. Terrible things to keep track of those marbles were. They were round and they rolled and the earth was curved, not flat. If it was flat his marbles would have stayed in place and not rolled off the ends of the earth. Yet could he earth be round if there was an end for it to roll off of. Oh they were gone, off the end, round flat ends. He would have to go back to see once again. Marbles were funny things, rolling like that. Beans were better, why he used beans instead of marbles. They were cool.

Cool, cold, freezing. Kisses turned warmth to ice. Ice, the water was ice. The platform above would hold someone, good thing that the Russians were more Russian. A German hitting the ice from that height wouldn't have to worry about getting wet, their bones would break. Russians were tougher, at least some were. Was the one that would dive be? Would there be one diving? He guessed it didn't matter. Someone was moving the iced tub out of the way ad replacing it with water. Did they want him to show again how he could kiss the bean? Well if that was the case, then they would have to wait. He was tending to other matters now and beans were valuable things, one just didn't throw them away. Once was enough. Yes, once was enough.

"Oh uh," Ludwig began. He was looking at little Adam intently, his mouth agape as he did. The boy looking back. They did not move, nor respond to either of the Crypts when they were spoken to, if one didn't know better they might believe they were stone as they watched each other. It wasn't until Ludwig blinked that he seemed to come out from whatever thought process he had been in. His face crinkling a bit before looking over at Virginia and grinning awkwardly. "Oh yes, I know Crypt. She's lovely. Reminds me of Circus and Royal and Pale. Flower. No lily among the thorns, thorn among the lily."

Adam tilted his head to the side a bit as Ludwig spoke and then turned his attention towards James. His face lit up slightly. "Brothers? You would be my brother?" Adam said in all seriousness. He had never had a brother, not that he could remember. Tugging on Ludwigs arm he gestured towards James. "I need a knife," he said quickly, not even thinking giving a knife to a child could be a bad thing.

Knives, sharp edges, blood, flying. "We can find one after, right now, the show is starting. Careful, watch. Wonderful I bet. I've seen some before, not all but some. We cannot do but they can. We study, you study," Adam said as he pulled out his journal, one he had used during his performance and handed it with quill to little Adam who quickly opened the book and looked towards the ring.

"She's quiet," Lee Ko said to Bjorn as she looked towards Mary.

"Give her time," he said before looking at the ring. The house lights were starting to dim and things were about to begin. This would be something none of them had seen before.



Millicent Wyndham


Location: Ladies Room, Heaton Hall, Heaton Park, Manchester, England
Skills: Class Knowledge (Peer), Court Etiquette, House


Millicent was not sure she could believe that she was strong. She felt so utterly fragile right then and others were much stronger than she. If they had not been would she have been in the predicament that she was? The young woman felt completely shattered and not in a good way. A break had happened in her mind and it was not that made her feel stronger but weaker. Like glass that had shattered between two other panes. As soon as one was removed she would fall apart completely. All she could do was hope that the outer layers remained and held her at least partially intact for now. Through tonight and tomorrow. Through the rest of her life.

Could she really hold it together like this for years ad decades to come? Four score of men and four score more could never put her back together again, could they? Would they even try? So much was going through her mind until Colette brought up joining the party. It was the last thing she wanted to do but she knew she had to. She had to present herself, be around. Heaven help her if Rutherford began to look for her and she was no where to be found. What would happen to her sister if he couldn't find her? No she had to join the party.

At least with Colette there perhaps she find some strength in the new acquaintance. At least they were both trained. The Soulless attack had not torn her apart. Yes, losing her sister had been hard but what had happened after, what had happened during the travel to Manchester. That was what had shattered her utterly. Taking a deep breath she looked over towards Colette. "Yes, of course. We should make an appearance," she said quietly as she gathered her things and slipped them back into her riticule before heading towards the door. As she reached it she looked back at Colette and forced a bit of a smile. Even though the expression was clearly a facade. Her words rag through truthfully. "Thank you."
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by FantasyChic
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Colette de La Fontaine


Location: Heaton Hall, Ladies Room; Manchester, England
Skills: Language -English, House, Court Ettiquette



Colette was thankful the woman had managed to pull herself together somewhat, but she could tell it was merely a facade. A mask to put on that makeup did not cover. She felt for the woman. What other wouldn't? She was clearly not all right to be at this party, but be at this party she must.

Colette wouldn't ask outright, but perhaps there is a way for her to open up more? She felt obligated to stay with the woman to make sure she was all right. And then she remembered, she didn't even know the woman's name! "You are most welcome, Mademoiselle. But, I apologize for my lack of manners, I do not even know your name or that which to call you. I am Colette de la Fontaine, daughter of Count Alexandre de la Fontaine. I come from France but recently moved here on my own, somewhat." She graced her words with a curtsy in honor.

"Surely you are not here alone, mon ami? A beautiful lady such as yourself must have an escort. Should we find him to let him know you are all right?"
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Sigil
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Российский императорский цирк

(Russian Imperial Circus)




The guard who had initially spoken, and indeed seemed to be taking the lead due to a firmer grasp of the English language than his counterparts, breathed a heavy sigh at the words of the London native at their gates. "Da." he started, taking on a weary tone. "I have not met Sister-Knight yet. Saw her vith Great Bazhooli. Many come to meet her tonight. Maybe Lady Crypt, but have not met her, either." He changed his posture from to something more attentive, laying his hands on his belt between a short saber and a wide bore pistol. The guard straightened to his full height and stated flatly, "Changes nothing. No admittance tonight. Sorry for inconvenience."



Sister Mary Ignatia Hale


"In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all."

Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)




As the Graveolase settled in to await whatever served as the presentation of the Russian delegation, she had to admit a certain sense of building wonder. Having seen a little of what their Training allowed them to accomplish, she was very much looking forward to a full force showing of their ability. Now, based upon the information provided to her by Veta, Vladimir, and the Baron, they were not technically supposed to present themselves in this manner. As least not traditionally. The Circus was pushing the boundaries of an organization that held immense power worldwide, and they were doing it because they had absolutely nothing to lose. It was an all-or-nothing gambit, and Mary could not wait to see it.

Naturally, she could not tip her hand. Giving away any clue of their plan would spoil the surprise, whatever it may be. Seeing as it was planned by her new and massively eccentric friends from Russia, it was guaranteed to be memorable. Mary also felt that it would be in bad taste to open a dialogue with Ludwig, considering his status presently. He would be up for judgement by herself and the rest of the Graveolase; having already given his demonstration and awaiting the word of the Council, any further unsolicited contact might be taken as an attempt to sway the decision. Mary wasn't even sure if that was a hard and fast rule, but as her teachers passed along to her in her formative years, "Shun the very appearance of evil". Not really evil in this instance, but somewhat unethical. Unfortunately, "shun the very appearance of somewhat unethical" doesn't really roll off of the tongue quite as easily. Besides, the man seemed to have his hands full with a curious Virginia.

For the meantime, Mary concentrated her attention on those around her. The representatives of the Graveolase were an interesting bunch. She could not tell much in the way of a single qualification common to all of these people, except that they had no difficulty speaking their minds at any given opportunity. Regardless of gender or religious background, they all seemed to be in some sort of exclusive club, viewing each other more or less as equals. Or at least acting like it around her. She must be something of an oddity to them.

As the lights dimmed, she caught sight of the Japanese representative looking her way. Mary looked back, maintaining her classic serenity, then nodded toward the center ring. The show was starting. Inwardly, she was a little kid again. This was going to be fun.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Lady Amalthea
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The Show Must Go On


The majority of the lights inside of the Big Top were extinguished, with the exception of a few for ambiance and three directed lanterns pointed at the center stage, their shafts of illumination overlapping to form a circle, noticeably brighter than the area around it. It drew the eye with a sense of expectation; this very spot had a purpose.

Emerging from the darkness beyond was a single figure. The silhouette of a girthy man in top hat and tails, carrying a robust walking cane could be seen, the man becoming clearer with each step. When he stepped fully into the light, he cleared his throat, polished the round, silvery knob at the end of his stick, and bowed to the assembled Graveolase.

"Subdued. Must be subdued." he thought to himself. "Slow down. Build. You introduce. Let the performers control the energy of the room. Introduce."

He cleared his throat again and raised his hands as if calling for quiet. It was quite unnecessary, but one could not fault him for his force of habit. Lowering his hands, he twirled his gentlemanly walking stick and rested it under his arm. He them addressed his audience in a restrained but clear voice:

"Lords and Ladies, Honored Guests, and ov course Dame Commander Mary Hale, is vith the highest of honors that ve velcome the meeting of Graveolase under our tent. I humbly beg your attention, that ve may present petition of Russian Imperial Circus for representation vithin hallowed fellowship of Graveolase."

"Go against your nature..." he thought again, these words reinforcing the will of the Circus, "...do not make a scene yet. Shock them. Awe them. And vhen they reconsider, take off the mask and show them the full passion of our convictions."

"Vithout further ado, I present to you the petition of The Grand Duchess Elizaveta Romanova, presented vith collaboration ov Russian Imperial Circus.


Center Stage


As the ring master stepped off the empty scene and out of the center ring each of the gas lights which illuminated the tent were snuffed out, leaving the entire area in a pit of darkness. There was the slightest sound of foot steps, nearly unheard, moving across the tent. Then they stopped and there was nothing more. A second passed and then another, then a third before a solitary voice rang out like a bird from the darkness. "I'm not a stranger to the dark. Hide avay, they say, 'cause ve don't vant your broken parts."

Slowly a single light illuminated the Grand Duchess standing center ring as a piano played from somewhere in the abyss. Her hands laced before her as she stood there with crown in fully regal attire yet as she sung she looked so broken. As if she didn't belong in the finery she was clothed in. "I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars. Run avay, they say, no one vill love you as you are but..."

A tall man with a full beard stepped up behind her, his body tattooed from top to bottom wearing as little as he could get away with and maintain some level of decency. He looked positively frightening the way he stepped in front and his eyes leered over every inch of her. Yet she stood firm and continued even though one could see her trembling like a hummingbirds wing. "I von't let them break me down to dust. I know that there's a place for us for ve are glorious." More instruments started to play along and the feeling on the scene grew, Veta stare down the man and refused to flinch.

In his hand he flourished a single dagger. Spinning it and twirling it about as he stood there until suddenly he brought it to Elizavetas throat. "Vhen the sharpest vords vanna cut me dovn." The dagger drug down one sleeve and ripped through the thick fabric. "I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drovn them out." Up the side of the other arm the knife dug again. "I am brave, I am bruised. I am vho I'm meant to be, this is me." A flick of the blade and her crown went flying into the darkness that surrounded them.

A slow drum started in and the music began to crescendo. "Look out 'cause here I come." Slowly the tattooed man stepped behind Elizaveta and drug the blade down her back. "And I'm marching on to the beat I drum." The knife dug into the earth at her feet and the man grabbed the two halfs of the back of her gown. "I'm not scared to be seen. I make apologies."

With a single strong yank the gown and cape were ripped away with a flourish and he ran off towards the back of the ring. The Grand Duchess stood there adorn in a black corset, stockings, heels, and a silk wrap around her waist. Other then the hair color she suddenly looked every inch the blood relative of the Alexandrovs and Izoldes daughter. "This is me."
Left Ring
As still as the dead, in poses of classical Greek sculpture, six of the members of the Bazhooli Sem'ya stood in the darkened area around the edge of the left ring. As the chorus began, one could hear the talented voices of the troupe join in, though they remained as unmoving as ever. The gravelly, throaty projection of Vladimir could be picked out of the group as he harmonized with his people, "Oh-oh-oh-oh."

The slightest amount of rising back lighting served to make the feel ominous, mysterious, thrillingly deadly, even as ambient light gave the hint that each of these people, three men and three women, were armed to the teeth with various sharp items of their trade. They were Bazhooli, and if others were not introduced to the concept, they were about to have that honor. "Oh-oh-oh-oh."

Stepping from the six were three men of differing generations, Vladimir, his father Dmitri, and his son Konstantin. The Great Bazhooli, The Baron, and the Heir Apparent. They strode slowly and in unison, stopping at the center of the left ring. Simultaneously, the three Alexandrovs threw off their coats and hats, revealing costuming that was as much finery as it was performing wear. Their voices melded together in powerful, intertwined notes. "Oh-oh-oh-oh."

Each of the three knelt, shoulder to shoulder and each holding a Russian saber out in front of them, except for The Baron, who brandished two. Still kneeling, still in unison, they inserted their blades into the sand before them with a practiced motion. Vladimir extended his hands to either side of him, clasping the shoulders of both his father and his son with bowed head, projecting an air of family above all else, support, and trust. They were Circus. They were Bazhooli. Them against the world if nothing else. "Oh-oh-oh-oh."

Three generations of noble Alexandrovs, three generations of common Gypsies. This was the Circus. Respected, powerful outcasts from society, preferred by Royalty for the protection of their people, the commoners for their skill, and rebuked by all for their mixed bearing and personal associations. But they were free. "Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh." The voices of all representing the Sem'ya raised as the show was about to start in earnest, eyes looking heavenward and expressions of awe coloring their faces.

The roar of the great white tiger, Myshka, served as a gunshot signaling the commencement of the Grand Mamushka, a dance which built and built; beautiful, impressive, and deadly. The three women remaining behind began to clap rhythmically and continue their song, stepping to the sides and taking their places for the next piece of the great dance. The trio in the center of the ring sprung up, their hands clasping the wrist of the person next to them to form a three-person knot over their swords. They began to dance in a circle, simply at first, to the rhythm of the song being sung and the sharp sounds of hands clapping against hands, the trio of women of the Sem'ya circling them in the opposite direction.

"Aye." Each produced a large and gleaming blade from seemingly out of nowhere, though it obviously was one of the many upon their persons. Their faces turned into glares that promised violence as they made one more rotation, allowing their guests to see each one of them equally. Then they split apart, still dancing in a circle but slowly retreating from the swords in the center.

"Ho." Another blade joined the first, steel now filling each of their hands. They continued the dance, but it took on a lower, more aggressive stance. One more rotation. Then faces softened, the Alexandrovs stood taller, and they began to toss their knives into the air, a third each joining as it turned into a true session of juggling, performing the steps to the Mamushka all the while.

"Ho." The knives began to take on a path, twirling and spinning from one Bazhooli to another, until the three of them shared a single purpose, a single heartbeat, a flurry of shared steel caught and thrown with fluttering, ordered complexity.

"Aye. Aye." The three masters of all things sharp and pointy leapt into a backflip, simultaneously with the cannon firing. Not a single knife hit the ground, their last throws beforehand altering trajectory so that they could continue as soon as their feet touched earth. Once was impressive. But twice? Impossible - yet it occurred anyway. The dance continued, but now from greater distance apart

"Ho-oh-ho." The women, resplendent in their shimmering red and black silks, dove between the Alexandrovs and their shower of bladed death. They hit the ground in a shoulder roll and used the momentum to handspring into the center, where they snatched up a sword each. One remained, giving them all bearing as to the center of the ring, but the three sabers and three femme Bazhooli joined the dance, the larger blades added to the flurry of steel and the women pairing off with the men, hurling the blades to one another.

"Ve are varriors." The feel of the air had changed as the sound of a thousand wings began to fill the tent. That was the signal that they were about to change rings, The Great Bazhooli taking center. Time to wrap this act up and move on to something a little more dangerous. As the sabers came to each of the mens' hands, they adopted a lower fencer's stance and parried each of the flung knives to the ground in front of them with sharp, metallic pings. The swords raised in salute as every performing member of the Bazhooli Sem'ya turned to face the Graveolase, voices calling in unison:

"Yeah that's vhat ve've become. Von't let them break me down to dust, I knov that there's a place for us for ve are glorious!"

As the birds began to obscure their view, knives were gathered from the ring. Vladimir and the rest of the Sem'ya moved to take their place in the center ring, to engage in one of the most dangerous applications of the Mamushka ever utilized. Supporting members of the Circus wheeled in a great wheel of painted wood, suspended from the ground and left to spin freely, while others carried in a rack brimming with sharp weapons.
Center Ring
"Oh-oh-oh-oh." With that the house lights quickly grew as the music did. Each member of the circus that was performing for the presentation filed into the tent from the back entrance. "Oh-oh-oh-oh." Splitting into three groups as they went, one to each ring. Fanning out on foot or on steed as they walked the edges of the rings. "Oh-oh-oh-oh." Each one of the Russian proudly fanned and flared as they posed. "Oh-oh-oh-oh." Myska came bounding up from the back of the center ring and Elizaveta grabbed onto his fur as she mounted her tiger. "Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh." He roared before turning and taking off into the back of the tent and vanishing with Elizaveta into the darkness.

As Myska went into the shadows a man who couldn't have stood more than four feet tall came galloping out of the shadows on the back of a white steed. Pulling back on the reins and jumping off onto the shoulders of the resident Strong Man. He spun around as if it was nothing for it wasn't. He was tougher, more Russian.

From the other side of the center ring three guns were fired and the bullets tore through the air. They hit the strong man in the chest. "Another round of bullets hits my skin." They cut into his skin but he kept singing. "Aye." Standing proudly with the little man stepping onto his head as he turned and motioned for the other side to fire, goading them as if it was nothing. "Well, fire avay!"

"Ho." Three more guns were fired as the Strong Man flexed his biceps. "'Cause today." The bullets hit his biceps as the small man leapt up and flipped over into the air. "Ho." The Strong Man caught him with the palm of his hand to heel as he landed. "I von't let the shame sink in." Moving his hands over the Strong Man the wounds seemed to heal as if nothing had happened. He just winked at the council. "Aye. Aye." Darting off to the side of the center ring the two men went as the sound of a cannon firing echoed through the area from the staging area a girl came soaring through the air and up towards the top of the tent.

"Ve are bursting through the barricades." A Man swung on the trapeze and caught her arms, ensuring she could be released and flung to the incoming free swing. "Ho oh ho." Elizaveta held one hand behind her with Shashka in the other as she dueled her counter. Each pair spun and twirled in unison, a dance, a waltz of swords slowly and ever increasing in speed. Half a dozen other pairs were circling the center ring as sashes of silk dropped from the darkness at the top of the tent, encircling each ring. With a flick of the wrist the man fighting Vet flung his sword across the center stage. "And reaching for the sun."

It impaled itself in pole and cut through a rope. Nearly a quarter of the performers had all grabbed a silk sash and as the rope was cut they were lifted rapidly into the air as they sang in chorus. Their voices crescendo'ing as their bodies rose into the air. "Ve are varriors." Veta stood center center and pounded her chest as she sung as the ones she had been performing with quickly moved to the next ring, one taking her sword from her as he did. "Yeah, that's vhat ve've become."

A flock of birds came into the tent from no where, far more than Veta had summoned at Almacks, many different kinds swirling about the center ring as Elizaveta stepped forward. That was the signal for the next main act to fall into the center ring. A wall of feathers and blurred movements, it providing cover for the set up. "Yeah that's vhat ve've become. Von't let them break me down to dust, I knov that there's a place for us for ve are glorious!" The birds tore off through the top of the tent, through the front entrance, and through the back as Elizaveta turned and ran back into the center ring to take her place.
Right Ring
The moment the chorus started singing with Tatushka, Constantin and his family joined in right away. “ Oh-oh-oh-oh.” It was more or less a chorus of everyone on the 3 rings. They had to look as impressive as they can in their trained poses for this very moment. There was quite the importance placed on presentation and he had trained well. “ Oh-oh-oh-oh.” They had reached their predetermined position on the right ring. He's thoughts were racing, his heart jumping, running all the knowledge they had practiced so hard to get right.“ Oh-oh-oh-oh.” They fanned, posed and flared as glorious members of the Circus.“ Oh-oh-oh-oh.” Keeping in the chorus his family was preparing for an act as Myshka arrived to get Veta away.“ Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh, oh, oh.”

As the show was quickly progressing and building speed, Constanting and his family had naturally started an act for the right ring. No part was to be quiet and lazy! Him and his parents were also acrobats. As such a quick follow of acrobatic feats was presented. Flips and jumps were done and his father eventually locked himself in place as Constantin a and his mother faced him. He actually had a sturdier looking body than Constantin himself, a testimony to his more years as a man of the circus and his life of physical work before joining the Circus all those years back.

“ Aye.” As he sang with the chorus of voices, his mother jumped towards his father who quickly pushed her up and above him, where she stood on her husband's shoulders with her arms. As that unfolded, Constantin quickly moved behind them, where his mother eventually pushed with her hands and away from his father and he caught her to let her down safely

“ Ho!” As the next chanting began, the acrobatic act began anew. This time it was Constantin's turn to climb up his father's shoulders which he did in slightly theatrical manner as the older man crouched slightly. “ Ho.” The next chant echoed as the older man stood up proud and tall, carrying the weight of a man on his shoulders. It wasn't quite ready though.

As his father crouched again, Constanting reached a hand for his mother who took it, so he can pull her up.“ Aye. Aye.” The singing continued as mother and son held a hand, each on a shoulder as his father stood crouched for a moment, before started to pull up, until he was standing once more.

As the sound of cannon echoed, they quickly jumped off the shoulders of the older man and prepared for the next part of the act. It was more or less the same ass just moments before, but this time there was a little twist for it. Constantin pulled a metal cylinder and placed it in front of his father, laying on it's size, followed by a sturdy platform made out of steel, hard enough to withstand what was to stand on it. This time he was not getting on his father's shoulders. His was another task.“ Ho ho ho..”, as his father stood stable on the balancing platform, his mother quickly hopped her husband's shoulders staying just enough for stability before hopping down.“ Ve are vorriors.” Constantin quickly gave a plank into his father's hands to hold above him. The older man crouched carefully still balancing on the cylinder. Then the younger firewalker placed another cylinder there and held a plank on top of it as his mother stepped on his shoulders to reach the balance on top of her husband's head.

As she stepped firmly, Constantin carefully pulled his hands away, leaving the balancing act to display it's art. They leaned left and right, always returning to their stable position as he gave his mother a few items to balance on her head.

As the act on the center arena was coming to a close, he helped his mother descend down on the ground, pulled the tools away and they stood proud and showy just in time.“Yeah that's vhat ve've become. Von't let them break me down to dust, I knov that there's a place for us for ve are glorious! ”
Left Ring
Several large gray wolves jumped into the ring, barring their teeth as they growled. Several performers stood in the center of the ring and gave hand singles. The wolves ran towards them and then leapt into the air as they knelt down, landing on the other side. "Vhen the sharpest vords vanna cut me dovn." Another hand signal and the act repeated itself but this time the wolves landed on their trainers backs before jumping off and back to the outskirts of the ring. "Aye Aye Aye Aye."

Dozens of mice, ferrets, hamsters, and foxes came in from under the seats all around the rings and rushed over to the ring. "Gonna send a flood, gonna drovn them out." Mice coming to sets of whistles. Foxes rushing after them as new trainers spouted off commands that couldn't be heard over the singing. The ferrets were carrying things that had been lifted off the persons of the Council. Everyone witnessing the act was now missing a small trinket, be it a ring, an earring, a watch, or just a coin. "Aye Aye Aye Aye."

A couple of men were suddenly thrust out of the darkness and seemed to fly like rag dolls through the air. They looked bloodied and beaten, but then didn't hit the ground hard. They tucked and rolled, coming to their feet and facing out. "I am brave, I am bruised." Two enormous brown bears came into the ring, sending all the smaller animals running out of the way as they roared out. Turning quickly the men faced down the bears. Whatever they said beneath the chorus of song couldn't be heard but the bears bowed towards their trainers and calmed down. "I am vho I'm meant to be, this is me." They patted their furry companions as if it was nothing and looked at the council. It was obvious they loved what they did even when things went wrong and they were strong enough to take it.

Climbing up the bears they rode them out of the ring just in time as around each ring horses with riders were galloping through at full speed. "Look out 'cause here I come." All of them headed for the ring. Reigns being pulled back as they jumped over those clearing out of the ring. Wolves, smaller creatures, even the bears. Riders were upside down. Jumping form one horse to another."Aye Aye Aye Aye." It didn't matter how quickly they were going or how difficult the moves became, the horses kept running and the riding kept doing their tricks. It was an aerial off horseback. The hooves of the stallions and mares hitting in rhythm of the song. "And I'm marching on to the beat I drum." Just as it seemed that was all there was for the animals, the kings came out. "Aye Aye Aye."

Tigers, snow leopards, and lynx all came bounding out and drove the horses away. The tigers were being ridden by their trainers. Snow leopards were along side theirs. The lynx came being carried on the backs of their. "I'm not scared to be seen." White and black furred big cats, dangerous creatures that could have easily torn the throats out of anyone there were performing as any other animal, the bond between them and their trainers was more than evident. Every cat let their voices be heard on command. "I make no apologies, this is me."
Center Ring
Konstantin and The Baron deftly took hold of each of the Grand Duchess's arms. The sly smile that rivaled her adopted mothers came to Elizavetas lips as she continued to sing the very song that Izolde sang with Vlad long ago. "Vhen the sharpest vords vanna cut me dovn." Their hands were firm but supportive, carrying her over to the large target wheel, painted in multicolored pie wedges. In short seconds, she was strapped to the wheel, suspended a foot from the ground. The black lace of her skirt wafting in the breeze of the tent. Grandfather and grandson looked to their future sovereign with surety and confidence. The Baron even gave Veta a quick smile as they tightened down the supports. "Aye Aye Aye Aye."

Vladimir took his place near the center of the ring, standing tall and dancing in a kicking, twirling motion, as were the remaining members of the Bazhooli Sem'ya along the edge. "Gonna send a flood, gonna drovn them out." They loaded themselves down with various sharp implements from the rack of ouch provided them, distributed them evenly among the group, and took fighting stances. Knives were raised to hurl, aimed at their own Great Bazhooli in the center. The man himself still danced the Mamushka, twirling as a great, dexterous ballerino. Elizaveta looked confidently towards Vlad, she knew she was safe despite the danger that impending, her song only made him better. "Aye Aye Aye Aye."

And it did. Veta was Vladimir's paired Tatushka partner, and now that her song was directed only at him, he could feel a surge of power and clarity course through him. The hair on his arms raised and his eyes dilated, widening to take in every detail of everything around him. In that moment, The Great Bazhooli was Greater. He was more Bazhooli than ever; enhanced and powerful, at a constant peak of his ability - the best combination of his experience with vigor reserved only for the prime of youth. "I am brave, I am bruised." Vetas fingers motioned, her eyes flickered, as if daring him to bring everything he had. The power of this technique flooded him with ambition and confidence such that he barely even registered the first knife leaving his hand, speeding toward his lovely Veta. Before it could cross the distance, he flung another. As they both thudded into the painted wood on either side of Veta's head, he already had two more in his hands, and Veta just smiled towards her adopted father. "I am vho I'm meant to be, this is me."

The smile that crossed Vladimir's face was unsettling to any who did not know him personally. Veta was challenging him, even as she was bolstering his abilities. He spun around four more times, kicking himself from a high stance, down to a low stance, and back up again. Each pass saw the release of another blade, twirling and spinning in the ambient firelight. Each blade found its mark, dangerously close to the Grand Duchess - but parting no skin and drawing no blood. "Look out 'cause here I come." Veta had to be brave then, any flinch could distract him, any warble in her voice. Even the best could miss.

But the best could not miss if they had nothing to throw. Vladimir's remaining six knives were exhausted, embedded in the target around Elizaveta. Luckily, one of the Sem'ya took aim and threw a knife directly at Vladimir's head. In fact, it was his father. "Aye Aye Aye Aye." His aim was unerring, or would have been had The Great Bazhooli not brought his hand up at the last instant, catching the blade thrown to end him. His tossed it over his head, caught it in his other hand, and immediately flung it at the target. Again he found its mark, hitting as close to Veta as he could without cutting her. But from there, it got truly dangerous. "And I'm marching on to the beat I drum." Yet she feared nothing right then.

Elizaveta's song fueled Vladimir, made him strong, made him fast, made him accurate. He was already one of, if not the best man in the world with a short blade, but what came next was something only a madman would attempt. He was The Great Bazhooli. That is all he needed to know. "Aye Aye Aye."

The target began to spin. Slowly at first, but picking up speed. Simultaneously, another knife from the edge of the ring flew at him. Not a toss, not a juggle. It was thrown to kill. Vladimir caught it and redirected it toward the spinning target, only the hollow sound of metal hitting wood to tell him that his little Veta was still safe. It did not stop there. Another knife flew at him from a different direction, propelled by another member of the Sem'ya. "I'm not scared to be seen." Then another, and another, and another. Veta held still, lettingthe wheel move her only as she sung. They took turns hurling sharp, bladed death at Vladimir from all sides as he danced and twirled, impossibly catching and releasing a stream of knives in one direction: The Grand Duchess. Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk; a rapid sound of near-death threatened to overtake the refrain of the chorus, and when he was done, the target was punctured innumerably. But as the wheel slowed to a stop, it was apparent that Elizaveta was completely undamaged. Vladimir was truly a Great Bazhooli. And Veta was as much Circus as anyone else present. "I make no apologies, this is me."

The Baron and Konstantin came forward to release Veta from the wheel. As soon as she was free, the remaining Bazhoolis ran forward to recover their blades and make a dash for the Right Ring, Veta had to remain in the center.
Right Ring
As the next part was to begin, Constantin and his parents took their positions once more. For the second part, the performance act was different from the first. In that brief moment they had prepared the tools they needed for this. His mother was going to do fire eating. She had already changed into a top that didn't have sleeves.“ Vhen the sharpest vords vant to cut me dovn.” He sang along as he quickly pulled a flint and steel. His mother already held two thin torches with tips soaked in flammable liquid. He struck the flint with the steel, sending sparks at the torches. The first torch was lit aflame.“ Aye Aye Aye Aye.” They sang as the torch was brought to her mouth and she took the flame in, pulling the torch, then breathed the flame into the second torch.

“ Gonna send a flood, gonna drovn them out.” He then pulled a long thin sword and quickly handed it to his father. It was his father other act, sword swallowing. As the older man took the elegant looking weapon he pulled the tip of the blade to his lips and turned his head up, to allow the blade to slide down with slow calculated move. He couldn't just drop it after all, but the blade never the less quickly entirely disappeared, with only the hilt staying visible as the young firewalker stood by him, clappign with the rhythm of the music, his father now pulling the blade out.“ Aye Aye Aye Aye.”

While Constantin took the first sword to give back a bigger one, his mother was doing a fire show of her own. With the two torches swinging around as she danced, she left a pair of fire trails, before she ran each torch across her arms, leaving a flaming trail there too without burning her.“ I am brave. I am bruised.” He they all sang as she put a torch in her mouth once more, pulling it out moments later, devoid of fire, but the fire was still in her mouth. She then closed her mouth extinguishing it completely.” I am vho I'm meant to be, this is me.” She then repeated it for the other torch, this time taking both torches in one hand, placing two fingers at her lips, transferring the fire to her fingers before closing her mouth.

” Look out 'cause here I come.” He sang as his mother took a breath through her nose brought the flaming fingers to her mouth and then spit out the flaming substance she kept in it since the start of act 2. A ball of raging flames burst out as if from a dragon, as she hoped the two torches trough it, inflaming them once more and then bringing them to her shoulders, gliding them down, leaving trails of fire once more.“ Aye Aye Aye Aye.”

Meanwhile Constantin quickly gave his father a wider sword compared to the thin rapier from earlier, a proper broadsword which eh quickly started swallowing.“ And I'm marching to the beat I drum.” The fire walker continued to sing while the dangerous act of fire and sword swallowing was going on around him. He then quickly handed a second sword to his father, whom he started to swallow along the first one.“ Aye Aye Aye.”

As the end of the part was rapidly coming to a close, his mother swung the torches in flaring theatrical manner.“ I'm not scared to be seen.” They sang as she brought the pair of flaming torches to her mouth, eating the fire of the the two of them in quick succession, leaving them charred and smoldering, before she spat out a fire as big as than the first one. His father too brought it to his end as he quickly pulled the pair of swords, taking them in both hands.“ I make no apologies, this is me!”
Left Ring
As the next part came and they were changing arenas, Constantin and family barely had time to put the tool away from the way as they moved over. In once more overly theatrical manner. After all they had to make a show and keep even moving around interesting!“ Oh-oh-oh-oh.” He sang as a horse came running in his direction. There was already a brivaldi performance, but theirs was slightly different, tying in with the acrobatics one from act one.“ Aye.Aye.” He added as he took position on the horse, which started doing a circle in the arena. Constantin quickly stood up on the back of the horse for a moment, before crouching and then using his arms, slowly pulling his legs up for a little while.“ Oh-oh-oh-oh.” He sang as he sat back down and another horse quickly caught up with him. Following that he quickly stood up on the horse's back once more, holding both rains in each hand before moving his leg over to the second horse. Thus he was riding two horses right now, standing up with a leg on each of their backs.“ Aye. Aye.”

At the very same time his father was doing the exact same thing on the opposite side of the arena as they circled round and round.“ Oh-oh-oh-oh.” Then his mother quickly moved in with another horse closing in to Constantin, before hopping onto one of his horses, standing there, holding slightly onto his shoulder as the proud animals raced.“ Aye .Aye.” They sang as she also stepped on both horses before holding a better hold of his shoulders and then pulled herself up, he now holding both reigns with one hands to offer one to her so she can climb onto his shoulders. Trully the wonder of those great mounts, trained to perfection that they kept a steady pace parallel to each other without moving further or closer.“ Oh-oh-oh-oh. ” They sang as she was finally standing on his shoulders, he released her hand to take both the reigns to show the balance once more. Finally she moved back from his shoulders, he helped her of course.“ Aye. Aye.”

Now his father approached with his pair of horses side by side with him, four magnificent animals raced underneath them.“ Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh. ” They sang just racing side by side as his mother moved and stood with one leg on each animal like they were, just without holding the reigns. Then the pairs slowly started to move away from each other.“ This is me. ” They sang as the horses were eventually far enough that his mother was doing a side split, keeping balance without holding to anything.“ Oh-oh-oh-oh. ” The song continued as they slowly started to pull back closer, and she started to stand up.“ Aye. Aye. ”

Now it was time for the final trick. As they pulled close enough, Constantin and his father took each their reigns in a single hand, giving the other one to his mother, holding both her hands.“ Oh-oh-oh-oh. ” They then pulled up as she also jumped, holding her hands firm and steady as they crouched just slightly, but enough for her to step on their shoulders.“ Aye. Aye. ” They continued to add to the chorus, as they resumed their tall an proud posture, his father the first to let go of the woman's hand.“ Oh-oh-oh-oh. ” He was smiling as he also slowly let go, letting the balance play out. The rigorous training, for hours, days, weeks and years of practice.“ Aye. Aye. ” They made a circle like that.“ Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh . ”
Center Ring
Rushing to the back of the ring the next act came to the center ring. "Oh-oh-oh-oh." Dancers were moving together in time. "Aye. Aye." Traditional Russian Dancers, moving in unison. Kicking their legs and joining their arms. "Oh-oh-oh-oh." Yet this was so much more, the speed, the precision. Flips went higher. Kicks were stronger. "Aye. Aye."

Yet above them was where the real show was. "Oh-oh-oh-oh." Their hands raising up to the air as they danced and motioning for all eyes to focus there. "Aye. Aye." Through the air couples passed each other on the trapeze before flipping through the air only to catch on the next swing. "Oh-oh-oh-oh." Young girls swung in the sky on ribbons of silk around the perimeter of each ring. "Aye. Aye." Boys no more than twelve were hanging upside from rings suspended from ropes and sword fighting each other.

Below the Dancers were moving off to the edge of the ring and acts were crossing over and into each other. "Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh." No one was left out tonight. "This is me." Every family was represented. "Oh-oh-oh-oh." From the bearded lady and her husband the wolf-man of the Carpathian Mountains. "Aye. Aye." To the Albino twins of Siberia.

"And I know that they deserve your love." Conjoined twins were helped out from the back of the tent from their resident giant. "Oh-oh-oh-oh." A blade from the strong man cut along Veta's cheek sending a line of blood trickling down her pale skin. "Aye. Aye." The twins were carried over to Veta and rested their hand on her cheek as she sung out. "There's nothing they're not vorthy of." As their hand came away there was nothing remaining of the wound save a small smudge of the blood. "Oh-oh-oh-oh." Future Queen or cripple. "Aye. Aye." Family or orphan. It didn't matter. The Circus welcomed everyone, everyone was family, everyone mattered, they all were important and needed each other. "Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh."

Then suddenly everything within the three rings seemed to slow down to a crawl. Everything except Elizaveta as she turned around. At the back of the center ring she faced down the Council. Every dancer and performer was caught mid movement. Hanging in the air, mid leap. Daggers slowed and nearly stopped mid flight. Clothing and hair that had fanned out in mid spin hung their weightless. "When the sharpest words wanna cut them down."

The Grand Duchess walked through the mist that was swirling around her feet and through the floor of the tent. It cascading over the rings and swirling around each member of the Circus within the tent. Acting nearly as waves crashing on the shores. Was it the mist that was slowing everything down but Elizaveta? Whatever it was, it didn't seem to hinder her movement or the movement of those simply watching the show. Her finger coming out and resting on the shoulder of one of the performs as she stepped passed him. "I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drovn 'em out."

Yet her eyes ever remained on the Council as she sung. The place was as silent as when she had first started singing. Yet there with the house lights up, the wicks flickering from the gaslights, the sudden stop in the middle of a grand show made it that much more jarring. People were still moving, items were still flying, just so slowly. If one didn't know better they would have assumed they were watching her move faster than the rest and it was everyone else moving at a normal pace, yet it wasn't. Motioning to her left and right, it was obvious she was speaking straight from the heart right then. This was a future queen speaking for her people. "This is brave, this is bruised."

More steps forward, her eyes growing more intense as she sung. She was not just the Grand Duchess, she was Circus, this was her blood, this was her people. This was everything her country was and could be an there was nothing for them to be sorry for. God help anyone that stood in their way. They were done taking the back seat. It was either a seat at the table or they would create their own table. "This is vho Ve're meant to be, this is Ve." And as sudden as their movements had been slowed, they were back to normal and picking up as if nothing had happened. As if they were not even aware it had occurred. (That or they knew it was coming.)
Right Ring
As they changed rings, Vladimir gave a deep bow to the Grand Duchess. He made a big showing of blowing her a kiss, emphasizing his action by bringing both hands to his lips and throwing them out wide. Supporting members of the Circus cleared the center as the six from the Sem'ya vaulted and tumbled from the center ring, using each other as support and springboards. As they entered the right ring, the chorus could still be heard from them, solid and strong. "Oh-oh-oh-oh." They took position similar to their original in the left ring, the three men in the center and the women circling around them, except now they brandished torches.

"Aye. Aye." Knives made their way into the air yet again, expertly moved from one person to another. The dance was started anew, seamlessly from its grandiose intermission in the center ring. The torches were pressed into the ground, as the women of the Sem'ya continued dancing their circuit around the Alexandrovs in the center, they lifted their hands into the air, bringing attention to the wonders unfolding above.

"Oh-oh-oh-oh." The knives began to fly from center to rim of the right ring and back again, each switching off juggling partners as their dance took them around and around in concentric circles, moving in opposite directions. "Aye. Aye."

"Oh-oh-oh-oh." The hurled blades ceased for a moment as Valdimir, father, and son tumbled toward the outer rim even as their partners flipped toward the center, meeting in the space between. "Aye. Aye."

"Oh-oh-oh-oh." They paired off and began dancing what could only be described as a Rusyn Tango, bowing and spinning one another, but also alternating using their partners as balance points for attacks; kicks, lunges, sweeps. It was as a beautiful exhibition of a Russian ballroom turned to the deadly serious, in such as a way as they did not lose a step nor miss a beat. The Mamushka was not merely the throwing of knives. It was a fluid martial art which contained those elements, but was not bound by them. "Aye. Aye."

"Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh." Pulling away from the Alexandrov men, the Ladies of Bazhooli appropriated the swords from the center. They pointed the longer blades at their dancing partners, dropped low, and saluted. The women of the Circus were just as capable fighters as the men, a thing that had always led more "civilized" persons to underestimate them, leading to their eventual embarrassment (if they were very lucky). "This is me."

"Oh-oh-oh-oh." The Great Bazhooli, The Baron, and the Heir Apparent responded by rhythmically slapping their torsos and stomping in time to the music, coming away with two large knives each with which to "defend" themselves from the onslaught of their people. They bowed in response to the salute, and readied for a charge. "Aye. Aye."

"Oh-oh-oh-oh." A quick step to build proper speed launched the dancing partners toward each other, equidistant around the ring. A cartwheel quickly turned into a front flip, each pair of dancing partners bringing metal to bear upon metal as they passed within tiny inches of one another. "Aye. Aye."

"Oh-oh-oh-oh." Their danced immediately turned into a series of carefully choreographed but nonetheless martially impressive lunges, feints, attacks, and parries. Metal rang against metal as they circled one another, ever in motion, ever keeping the rhythm and flow of the Mamushka. "Aye. Aye."

At one point, the six of them brought their individual dances back toward the center of the ring. They tossed their weapons high into the air, the torchight catching the twirling, spinning blades as they tumbled through the air. Each pair of dancers joined hands and flipped to the side, shifting to position themselves underneath a different set of weaponry and catching them upon descent. The ringing of metal punctuated the syllables of their chorus as they sang, "Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh."
Left Ring
The goal was not to overpower the show going on in the center ring, nor was it to draw attention away from the other acts performing. To that end, the return to the left ring was comparatively subdued. The other five members of the Sem'ya, including The Baron, took to the back of the ring as Vladimir stepped forward. "Look out 'cause here I come." The voices of the five raised, clapping a simple beat for their frontman, Vladimir.

His own voice was solemn. "And I'm marching on to the beat I drum." He held two of his larger knives aloft, twirling them with proficiency. The presentation was about showing the skills of the Circus, but this part was more about getting their message across; the message of the song that was sung by his dear Izolde. Vladimir was a talented singer, and a better dancer, but he was not Izolde. No one else could be. He only hoped that he gave her song, and her memory, the honor he felt it deserved. "To the beat I drum."

"I'm not scared to be seen." He flipped the knives in his hands over to grip them by the blade, them immediately tossed them into a high arc. Another joined them in the air and the display turned into a simple juggling routine, as not to strain the clarity of the expert vocalization of the chorus. "I make no apologies, this is me. "

"Oh-oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-oh-oh." The voices of the Sem'ya raised, each standing behind Vladimir pulling a knife from their belt. They stepped forward once, twice, and stopped, seemingly poised to hurl their sharpened steel at the back of The Great Bazhooli. "Vhenever the vords are going to cut me down."

"Oh-oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-oh-oh." One by one, the knives flew at Vlad, each one timed to find their mark as the individual syllables of the song raised and lowered. "I'm gonna send a flood." At the last possible moment, Vladimir raised his hands just over his shoulders. The knives were thrown to strike hilt-first, and the instant he felt them make connection he added them to the rising arcs of the others he juggled, now in increasing complexity. "Gonna drown them out."

"Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh." The Great Bazhooli hurled his knives high into the air, all of them on his person in rapid succession. He leapt into a front flip, rolling deftly onto his knees. His head bowed, facing the assembled Graveolase even as his eyes stared into them, smouldering with the fire of generations of his people. He represented the line of Alexandrov and those selected for the honor of The Great Bazhooli going back to the beginning as he rose to a single knee, showing respect due to his audience. The Great Bazhooli held his arms out wide, palms facing upward as if to accept the judgement of falling steel. Unflinching, his knives rained down around him and he raised defiant voice to those who might dare exclude his people yet again; part demonstration, part warning. His voice took on a personal note, belting out the last line of the song with decided emphasis:

"This Is ME!"
Center Ring
With the come to the final act, it was time for Kolev family to do their specialty. In a way it was a rather flashy thing. As the arenas were once more changing their performers, they were finally for the center arena. As the floor started to open and raise, to reveal the one underneath. The glowing field of embers, radiating heat all around, raising the temperature.“ Look out 'cause here I come. ” They sang as his mother was the first one onto the ring of embers. It was a tradition after all, thus she went, moving forward dancing with an Holy Icon in her hands, as if to bless the very embers they were to dance on. This was a tradition for the act of fire walking from where they hailed from.

And as she danced she made a brief circle across the searching embers, before finally walking out. “ And I'm marching on to the beat I drum. ” He sang as he started walking forward to the embers and finally stepped on them with a huge smile on his face. His father did so on the opposite side at the same time, as they started dancing in towards each other, kicking up embers and ash as they did, moving across the field. When they finally reached on the middle of the field, still dancing, they started swirling around each other, moving their bodies with even more energy, sparks and tiny embers flying around them.“ To the beat I drum. ”

It was in the middle of this energetic display in the center of the field that a projection of his mother, wearing a long loose white dress. It was moving slowly, walking calmly towards the two men.“ I'm not scared to be seen. ” They sang as the two men on the ember field acted dramatically as they saw her, both starting to dance towards her, each as if trying to appear as appealing as possible. First it was his father who danced up to her, kicking up embers as he bowled and offered a hand for a dance.“ I make no apologies this is me. ” The woman looked at him and just turned her head looking unimpressed.

“ Oh-oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-oh-oh. ” He sang as he kicked up embers and danced up to her instead, spinning around her in dramatic theatrical manner as he offered her a flower he pulled from the inside of his shirt.“ Vhenever the vords are going to cut me down. ” He sang, but the woman turned around once more and walked away as if to signalize rejection. “ Oh-oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-oh-oh. ” He sang, as he and his father started circling once more, dancing and competing once more.

“ I'm gonna send a flood. ” He sang as both men suddenly stopped drom their competing, turning to the side, displaying theatrical shock as his mother jumped onto the field with her real body this time. They resumed their competing dancing as she neared, walking normally across the field as if it was her second nature.“ Gonna drown them out. ” Then the woman too kicked up embers, dancing too as if to compete with the two of them.

Thus taking her challenge the three of them started dancing, circling around, moving closer and further of the center, dancing jumping and kicking embers.“ Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh. ” They danced around until they finally came back to the center, where his mother kicked strong, and jumped strong at Constantin and his father who immediately locked hands to provide a foot hold which they used to throw her even higher into the air, doing a flip in the air and landing sitting in their hands, her feet just touching the embers again.“ This Is ME! ”
Right Ring
"Look out 'cause here I come" Elizaveta dashed over to the right ring, a smirk playing on her features that was rather uncommon. It was as if she knew something the rest had not been privy to. "Look out 'cause here I come." And she did. The mist rolling by her feet had not been part of the act yet they were performers and she knew that no matter what she threw at them that they would be able to catch it and keep moving. "And I'm marching on to the beat I drum." They kept singing, they kept performing and Elizaveta had ever confidence that the little stunt she had just pulled was not going to interrupt the show."Marching on, marching, marching on." In her mind what just happened, what was happening right then, and what was about to happen could only help them. Help her people and their future. "To the beat I drum."

In the center of the ring that Elizaveta stood on the edge of a couple was swinging back and forth on a platform. "I'm not scared to be seen." The mist still swirling around Elizaveta and into the ring. The tattooed man who had been threatening Elizaveta at the beginning of the act was back, taking the Grand Duchesses hand and dancing with her. Couples paired up all along the edge of the ring where dancing the waltz in a way only the circus could. "I make no apologies, this is me." The sounds of their feet beat in time with the music, with the voices that were climbing higher and stronger with each swing of the couple. "Oh-oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-oh-oh." The mist swirling even more and faster as they went. "Whenever the words are going to cut me down." The bearded man winking at Elizaveta causing her to smile as the spun with the others around the ring. "Oh-oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-oh-oh." She might have been the next in line for the throne but right then she was Circus and she had never felt more free or alive. Perhaps she should relinquish her place as next in line and pass it on to her little brother. "Oh-oh-oh."

Those thoughts could wait, at least until the future of her people was secured. This came first. A place at the council. "I'm gonna send a flood." Or not, it didn't matter. They would have a table to sit at. The mist started to grow in density as the wife of the couple lifted off the swinging platform and soared through the air. She flipped and turned head over heels multiple times before splashing down in the pool of water. "I'm gonna send a flood."

"Oh-oh-oh." This was it. It was swirling around her and the bearded man. The man letting her go as she mist seemed to take her hand. Was that a hand in the mist? "Gonna drown them out." It seemed to get smaller and denser as the Grand Duchess walked passed the pool of water as the woman bobbed her head out and pulled out of the water by her husband. "Gonna drown them out." Elizaveta kept walking as the dancers twirled and stomped their feet. The song was getting stronger than ever now. The circus had born a life all its own in this act. Pulling everyone together and working off each other. The feeling in the room was growing more intense by the second. "Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh."

Elizaveta looked over towards the Mist as she stepped up onto the front edge of the ring where she was, the rest that were in the act with her at this point spinning and twirling, stomping their feet and pounding their chest. "This Is Me!" All save two of them. Elizaveta. "This Is Me!" And "This Is Me." a very special guest.
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Virginia Crypt


Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)
Skills: N/A

It was a female Crypt that Ludwig was acquainted with, then. Her mind instantly went to her mother, the Lady Dywell. Narcissa Crypt had a maddening stare to her, with her father once boasting that he fell further into insanity the moment he glimpsed Narcissa's eyes. She was certainly a thorn amongst the lilies by any standards and Virginia felt a pang of heartbreak spread through her. While she knew that her father still drew breath, she knew not of her mother's fate. Was Narcissus the flower that Ludwig referred to?

But she knew better than to dismiss coincidence - there was another female Crypt who may boast a flower as an alias. Her ancestor, the Crypt with the Raven Hair - the Deadly Nightshade. This Crypt was also the ancestor of the Circus' techniques - from Ludwig's description, she seemed to fit the bill. Virginia's heart was aflutter. Here was a man who had met her ancestor - one who could potentially help her to Seek Life Elsewhere. Everything was falling into place with a neatness that she had not expected. "Where did you last see her?" Virginia asked. "I am on a quest to find her, if you will - the lily amongst the thorns - my ancestor."

James, meanwhile, was too excited with the prospect of having a brother. He nodded eagerly. "Of course! The Mamushka is the dance of brotherly love - and you can be a Crypt if you want to! Do you have a second name? We can come up with one. Mine's Petrus...Do you have a favorite murderer? Oooh...What about Nero? Adam Nero!" James offered, as if the surname was merely a title to fling around. He started kicking his legs eagerly along with an imagined beat. Virginia merely held onto James a little more tightly, to ensure that he didn't fall.

As the house lights lowered, Virginia's mind was still abuzz with questions. James leaned forward eagerly, as if he would somehow get a better view of the stage. While Virginia had seen Mamushkas before at family gatherings, James was too young to remember most of them. But this was nothing like what either had experienced with the Crypts - it was far more grandiose and Virginia had never even considered that the song could change. With each added layer of elegance and complexity, the Crypt siblings became more and more enthralled, each of them like small children seeing their very first Mamushka once more. By the time it ended, the pair of them instantly stood up, clapping eagerly over the entire spectacle.

"That was so wicked!" James shouted. He couldn't contain himself as he jumped up and down, continuing to clap. Virginia was a little more restrained than her brother, yet she was grinning widely and enthusiastically as she applauded. Such a spectacle was much needed after Mosi's death - a proper grand Mamushka unlike anything she had ever dreamed of before. Yet as Virginia took a closer look at the individuals on the stage, she found herself struck by Elizaveta's special guest. She was pale enough to be a Crypt and had striking eyes that reminded her of her own mother.

Was coincidence a compelling reason for her to make this deductive leap? Was the woman on the stage the one she had been searching for? Or was it simply her mind looking for family everywhere she could now, in a desperate attempt to save dear James? She couldn't decide. Her eyes flickered over towards Ludwig as she quietly addressed him. "The ebony haired woman - do you know her?" Virginia then asked.

It was entirely possible that the woman wasn't the Nightshade she sought out - yet she wanted to believe that she was. She wanted to believe that all of her answers were to be found here in the Circus, that she would be reunited with her family sooner than she had previously thought possible.
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Thalken Talink

Don't tell me I should bow, cuz I'm no clown.
And this is not a game. Don't get in my way.
- "Don't Get In My Way" by Zack Hemsey



Location: Gate to the Tent City
Skills: N/A


Things were certainly not going as Thalken had anticipated. Had he expected to just mosey on in there without any hindrances? No, far from it actually. He had honestly expected to be jumped upon sight, dragged in, interrogated, and potentially held prisoner. Why do it then? It allowed for a small window of opportunity to prove his change of heart. If it didn't work? Well, then he would get what he deserved. He would atone for all his sins, all those years of being a merciless killer before he saw the light. In the end, he would atone for it through good deeds, hard time--or death.

Thalken listened to the guard's reply, his arms still crossed over his chest. The guard continued to adamantly deny the Lady Crypt's presence in the Tent City, and it didn't take much thought on his part to realize that they were protecting her. He had to give them a bit of respect for that. His dark eyed gaze took in the subtle movement of the guard's hands down to his belt of weapons. Thalken tensed and fought the urge to take on a defensive stance. His jaw clenched from the effort.

A dark glint flashed through his eyes as he was then once again denied entrance. This was quite irksome. He could just try to fight his way in, but he quickly dismissed the notion. Getting physical would only serve to further incriminate himself. If he wanted to speak volumes, turning away and coming back tomorrow would do just that. However, the truth was that he was afraid that if he turned away now he wouldn't have the courage to come back. It would be so much easier to just run away from it all, but he knew that if he did that he would never find even an inkling of contentment in his life. The guilt would slowly gnaw at him until there was nothing of him left.

So Thalken decided to just change tactics. He fell back on his more cunning ways. Perhaps he was taking a risk, a risk to his credibility, but what else was he suppose to do? Besides, old habits die hard. "You know there is more than one way for me to get inside," he retorted. For a moment there was a noticeable edge to the tone of his voice, but it was soon smoothed back out. "Yet here I am taking the appropriate mode of entrance," he continued, gesturing with his hands for a moment before holding them up with his empty palms facing them. "Fine. Fine, if the Lady Crypt is currently too busy, I will wait. I'll wait here."
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Ludwig Zimmer


Location: Chair, Main Tent, Russian Tent City, Regent Park, London, England, Europe, Northern Hemisphere, Planet Earth
Skills: English, Observation, Mental Stamina, Unacknowledged Soulless/Countries


Oh what a spectacle, such lights. Like fireflies dancing on the lilly pads. Such sounds, like whimperwillows dancing in the wind. Such sights, like dandylions dancing in the winds. Oh what a treat this was. Magic beans had shown their life and light and sights and sounds. Now the Circus was able to as well. Bright so bright but not to start. So dark to start. So scared. Yes, trembling, was this how it would be? No, there was no fear even as cloth was murdered and stolen. Should he run after the marked man?

No, The blond woman who stood as still as Rigor Mortis - third cousin twice removed of the second succession of lines of Cyptrovs in 1313 B.C. What a still man he was. So still. In fact it was once rumored by Harold Valentine, the blood of my blood not the Saint. Saints be praised though if one believed in such things. So much to see, from ring to ring. It was all so much, swirling around and above and behind. Oh my, skills to only have been able to read about but now can see first hand. Yes, point, name.

"Oh yes, that one, and that one. Yes just as described. Of course, that is how it is done. It all makes sense now!" Ludwig exclaimed as he sat there with a completely enthralled Adam. The boy watched and drew, Ludwig sat and pointed, whispering in the boy ear as he did. They seemed so much in sync and yet a million miles apart.

Oh an ending, yes! Wondrous! NO! It's over? What a shame. Hefting little Adam onto his shoulder he stood up and clapped, giving a resounding applause. "Bravo! Again! Again!" he called out as he looked at the rings. Such delight and it was all over. Pity. Looking over at Virginia he grinned from ear to ear. "I just saw her, see, she is there," he said finally answering Virginia. "Belladonna Alexandromanova Crypt."

Looking slowly with her eyes over to Elizaveta she released the young Grand Duchesses hand and turned to look at the Circus. "Murderous Spectacular, just splendid." A nod was exchanged between the Ebony Haired and the one spun of gold. Elizaveta motioned towards the Graveolase and another nod was exchanged. Turning her fingers laced together at her breast as she looked over but her eyes locked with Virginia. "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc."



Millicent Wyndham


Location: Ladies Room, Heaton Hall, Heaton Park, Manchester, England
Skills: Class Knowledge (Peer), Court Etiquette, House


Millicent turned and looked over towards Colette. It hadn't even dawned on her that she didn't know this womans name or that she herself had not given up her own. Feeling like a bit of a cad she tried to smile but she could feel the blush in her cheeks. It was rather foolish of her and while she could have chalked it up to what all she had been through she refused to do that. Millicent had always prided herself in doing what was right no matter what was going with her personally. Right was right, and it made it even more important when things were going wrong. Taking a breath she held her hand out to the young woman, she tried to not curtsy unless she had to.

"Oh please, do not appologize. The fault is mine. Introductions should have happened in a much more timely manner. You are a gust in this country and should be treated as such. My name is Millicent Wyndham, of the Bedfordshire Wyndhams. Simple gentry folk and shipman family. it is a pleasure to meet you and I thank you once again for your kindness," she said as she held her hand out. If Colette shook it that was fine, if she did not, that was fine as well. Either way she kept it extended just in case.

At the mention of her fiance she gulped slightly and the color left her features. The last thing she wanted to do was to ever let her eyes fall on that man again but she knew it was inevitable. "Yes of course. You must have some young gentleman awaiting your return on bated breath," she said gently before turning. Opening the door she held it aloft for Colette before stepping out and looking around. She didn't see Rutherford yet, which was fine by her, as long as he wasn't looking for her she should be alright for a little time longer. If he was and couldn't find her she was sure there would be hell to pay.
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Colette de La Fontaine


Location: Heaton Hall, Ladies Room; Manchester, England
Skills: Language -English, House, Court Ettiquette



Colette took the hand that was offered her for the shake. It was not her usual greeting, but she merely chalked it up to the woman's upbringing and perhaps it was how the English did things now. Either way, it was nice to put a name to a face. As she made her way to step out of the room, Colette took note of the woman's expression. It was not one of joy at remembering her love. It was not anxiousness to be with him in the same room. If anything, it was the same expression she once held when she would be with her suitor. The feeling of wanting to be anywhere else, but making a show for others involved.

Damn the social rules! She wished to take the woman back, to ask her what was wrong and why she was behaving in a weird manner. Her words were correct, but her expression was not. Still, she was a stranger in their country and it was not wise to step on toes. Still, Colette was curious. "Ah, no Mademoiselle Wyndham. I have no gentleman caller here with me. I am alone here. Worry not about me, though. Come, let us go find your escort." Colette was now more determined than ever to meet this man.
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Constantin Kolev


Location: Russian Imperial Circus - Tent City
Skills: Tretiy Glaz(passive), Fal'shbort(passive)


The performance was finally over...! Constantin's mind was still racing from the high of the adrenaline and the joy of performing. The pride to be part of this circus. They gave it their all into this brief performance and now that the end of it arrived, it was all a haze. He went through motions of how to exit the arena in proper circus style, without even realizing he was doing so.

Once they were finally out of the arenas and safely behind the main tent, out of the vicinity and the eyes of the guests, he moved to a nearby crate and leaned on it. His heart racing as he was calming down, feeling drained from it all.” It ended...” He sighed in relief that all went according to how they practiced it. He had concerns, but now that it was done, those didn't matter.

His family came to him and patted him on the shoulders, with the eyes filled with pride about their son. He smiled and looked first around, but then up at the skies.” I really feel like sleeping for a day now...”
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Virginia Crypt


Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)
Skills: N/A

As Ludwig confirmed the pale woman's identity, Virginia's mind went into hyperdrive. She stood so still that to anyone who observed her, it would seem that she had forgotten how to breathe. She was completely and absolutely stunned as she stared at the legendary Crypt, the Deadly Nightshade, the Atropa Belladonna! It was like she was a small child meeting her idol at long last, without any forewarning at all. She was completely and utterly speechless, entirely stunned...

"Ginny, are we playing the corpse game?" James said eagerly. He then took a big gulp of air, his cheeks puffing out like a chipmunks, as he attempted to beat his sister. The corpse game was one of Virginia's favorites - the objective of the game was to be the last person to pass out from oxygen deprivation. And in the events of ties, the player with the least significant head injuries from hitting the ground would then be declared the winner. If they ended up with identical injuries, then a sword fight to the death would be held - but that rarely ever happened.

"We gladly feast upon those who would subdue us," Virginia said, still deep in the trance of her own design. She couldn't help but return Belladonna's gaze, looking at her with piercing intensity. It was only as she began to feel a bit woozy that she remembered to breathe and she sucked in a breath of air sharply.

"I wiiiiiiiiiin!" James cheered, taking a breath of air after Virginia. He then playfully battered her on the arm with his fists. "I win~! I win~! I win~!"

"Would you be so kind as to watch James? I must go speak with her...I must go Seek Life Elsewhere," Virginia said, finally breaking her gaze as she turned to Ludwig. "If anyone should attempt to abduct him, simply slit their throats where they stand. It is an effective deterrent to most kidnappings and murders."
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Sigil Literary Hatchetman

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Российский императорский цирк

(Russian Imperial Circus)




The guard shrugged, apparently disinterested with the news that their would-be guest would be hanging his hat at the main entrance for the foreseeable future, or until he gained an audience with this "Crypt" person. He waved to one side of the path leading up to their post, requesting, "If vould, пожалуйста, eh... 'For please', yes is word. If you vould vait, for please take steps to von side ov path. Vhen are having to tell others there is no admittance, vould be bad manners to block the vay. Da? I thank you."

He resumed his initial position just inside of the main gate. The two obvious guards did not ignore the presence of the insistent man, nor did they do anything to initiate conversation. Their orders were clear.

Further back into the more public parts of the Circus and the Tent City, the muffled sounds of steel ringing against steel could be heard, seemingly in tune with masterfully played music and heavily accented singing in English. Whatever was came to its crescendo, it certainly sounded like a joyous occasion. The smell of food being prepared was carried by a light breeze onward, promising sweet and savory dishes alike for when the guards rotated. In the meantime, the shadowy areas inside of the Circus proper showed illumination from torchlight and braziers, snatches of music from time to time, and quiet movement from its inhabitants.

Getting back to their initial conversation from before the stranger requested entrance to a closed show, the one, more talkative guard addressed his watch partner, "Вы собираетесь на вечеринку позже?1"

And received a response of, "Нет, я могу спать.2"





Vladimir Alexandrov
"The Great Bazhooli"


Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)
Skills: Fal'shbort (Passive), Tretiy Glaz (Passive)



This was a surprise. Very much so. They had practiced and practiced for months on end, an entire year to get this show just right, to time every throw and every grab. They could do this again with their eyes closed. As a matter of fact, that would be an excellent way to do it, were they to demonstrate the Grand Mamushka again. Or on fire! Yes! As per one of his most classic quotes, as was the quote of many Great Bazhoolis before him and very likely many afterwards, "Let us do the same trick... ON FIRE!!!". That would truly be a spectacle to behold. Already, Vladimir's mind was racing with ways to reassemble the act; taking away pieces from the whole and put them together into a string of blindfolded, flaming mini-events that would lead up to a thing that would delight audiences, yet was not the classy grandeur of the Grand Mamushka. That was reserved for only the most important of occasions.

But that wasn't surprising. What made Vladimir give a second look was the appearance of another, standing with his Elizaveta. She had a stately and statuesque look, along with a air of confidence that she belonged there. True enough, Vlad thought he had seen her before, though from where he could not say. And Elizaveta did not seem to be nervous in the least. Quite the opposite, they appeared to be very comfortable with each other's presence. And when she turned to address the Circus, Vlad was positive that he knew her somehow.

Though he was still on his knees in the center of his ring, Vladimir bowed to the raven haired lady. He took the opportunity to gather up his blades the moment that she turned back around and spoke in the direction of the Graveolase, specifically intoning something in Latin to Virginia. Vlad did not speak Latin, but it was fairly distinctive against the tongues that he did know. Mary should know. Perhaps he would ask her later. In a strange way, this new woman reminded him of the Sister-Knight. Almost as a negative copy, really. They both looked to possess a similar confidence, a similar look of outward serenity, and they both spoke Latin, though this one was garbed in purest ebon while Mary was a vision of militant holiness with her fiery red hair and white robe. Very strange. Perhaps they would speak.

But this should not be his biggest concern right then. Veta was not in danger, and he had to deal with the chaos after the show. Plus, there should be ample time to make a social appearance. He did promise his people a party, and they sure as hell earned it tonight, regardless of the decision of the Graveolase. His eyes were still drawn to the captivating lady in back, but his feet began to shuffle with his people toward the back of the tent regardless. Just before he got to the tent flaps, Vlad was stopped by a perimeter guard runner who pulled him aside, briefing him on the situation elsewhere. Vladimir responded, "You have orders, yes? Good. Rest of guards know? Also good. Vill handle here; you go."

Apparently, there was more to be done this night.



Sister Mary Ignatia Hale


"In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all."

Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)




Mary was suitably impressed with the performance. Being in the position she was, she could not very well leap from her seat and give thunderous applause for all she had just seen, but a good part of her wanted to. They were good. Very good. Trained skills being put to use as entertainment was highly impressive, and it served to demonstrate their abilities very well. Even the skill set presented that was not directly related to Russian Training was impressive, as decent circus performers were supposed to be. The blending of the two, though, was massive. She wanted to act in the same manner as the German fellow, ad was likewise a little depressed that it had to come to an end. They were good. Very good. If they didn't have her endorsement before, they would have gotten it then. One could only hope that the others felt the same way.

Courtesy dictated that she give some response to the performance, however. With as much class as she could muster, Mary rose from her seat and wordlessly began to clap. It was not the pitched, vigorous slapping of hands that she might have felt, but it was solid and polite. Her face remained with its usual serenity, except for the slightest of smiles. She nodded to Elizaveta, Vladimir, and Constantin in turn, hoping that they might understand her restraint. Mary would have to make sure to express how impressed she was later. For now, she was the Arch Graveolase. Propriety and objectivity had to be maintained. But she was suitably impressed.

Mary viewed the other members of the Graveolase with her periphery only. She did not want to ruin the moment for them by making them feel self conscious. She did risk a glance over to Ludwig and Adam, however. Until papers were signed, the boy was her responsibility. But he looked quite content, as did James. Virginia... Mary looked from her to the pale, dark haired woman that appeared. She had not seen this lady before, but she did understand her words. These were words that her friend had spoken in her presence before. Perhaps they were of relation. Everyone here seemed to have some kind of connection; Mary was the odd one out yet again. This one seemed important somehow.

As the louder of the audience began to quiet, Mary cleared her throat and addressed Virginia as politely as the situation would allow. "Lady Crypt, do you know this person?"
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Thalken Talink

Just think before you act
because your actions don't rewind.
- "Don't Get In My Way" by Zack Hemsey



Location: Gate to the Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park)
Skills: N/A


Thalken's jaw about dropped to the ground and his hands similarly fell back down to his sides at the guard's reaction, or lack thereof. Seriously? Seriously?!! He picked his jaw up off the floor to return it to its more typical clenched position. He then let out a very mature huff of annoyance as he crossed his arms over his chest. He couldn't manage to wipe the now open glare from his face. A low growl formed somewhere in the back of his throat when they even told him to move off the path. Rude. He glared at them a moment longer, barely containing the rising irritation, before he reluctantly shuffled to the side of the path as was requested.

He took a deep, hopefully calming, breath and rubbed his temple between his fingers. This was ridiculous. His dark eyed gaze looked past the guards to what little he could see of the Tent City within as music and singing drifted to his ears. He let out a small sigh, his hand falling back down to his side. At least someone was having fun... He pondered the last time he ever had an inkling of fun. It seemed like a lifetime ago. His life had long since revolved around work, killing and deceiving in the Talink name. So much pain and suffering they had caused, and for what? Money? Power? Such "rewards" fade away with time, but the devastation they cause can last for many generations.

Thalken glanced sharply back at the guards as they began conversing as if he wasn't even there. He let out a deep resigned sigh. "I give up," he muttered. And right then and there, the formidable Thalken Talink dropped down to the ground to sit cross-legged on the dew covered grass, with his head rested in the palms of his hands. Yup, this was what he had been reduced to.
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Ludwig Zimmer


Location: Chair, Main Tent, Russian Tent City, Regent Park, London, England, Europe, Northern Hemisphere, Planet Earth
Skills: English, Observation, Mental Stamina, Unacknowledged Soulless/Countries


Another child, one just as fair as his sister. So pale, like dolls they were. Do you play with dolls? Not these dolls. No, some dolls were not meant for posing and dressing up. Some were meant for pins and needles and poisons and knives and more. yet you did not stick these dolls, no, these dolls stuck back. Yes, he would bet his bottom pound that if one were to stick these dolls that they would stick back. Seemed this doll wished him to stick another for her.

"Oh no, I couldn't. I don't stick pins. I write with them," Ludwig said. His face squished up and his head shook as he fidgeted with his quill. Running the feather under his jaw as it went agape. Yes, write, draw, teach. Oh yes, Adam. First, comes before Eve. Before the eve. The evening, the night. The darkness. Death came at night, under the pale moonlight. So many wolves in the night, howling at the moon. Throats ripped. Offered under the pale moon light. At least that was what she said to all the boys.

The still woman stood still still. Her eyes, so dark, darker than the night, darker than pitch. "Later my dear, in another place. For now, continue with the plans. We will meet again," she said as her fingers laced before her breast. Like a statue, almost like stone. Yet stone did not move but she moved then. Or did she? It was hard to tell but she was gone. Not really but yes. Wasn't she? How did it get so foggy in here? Must be the smoke, yes. Many lights are burning and fires were made. Walkers of fires under closed floors.



Millicent Wyndham


Location: Ladies Room -> Corridor, Heaton Hall, Heaton Park, Manchester, England
Skills: Class Knowledge (Peer), Court Etiquette, House


The woman was there, unescorted? She had never heard of such of thing. Okay, maybe she had but only in her dreams. Being able to attend an event of ones own free will, alone, without worry of an escort or anything else for that matter. Yet it was nothing but a dream. Something that would never happen. At least not for herself. No, it couldn't. She was too bound by the expectations of a society that dominated everything she did. From what she wore, to how she carried herself. She was on the fringe enough being a bluestocking, and while that was something she could live with, complete and utter scandal was something she could not afford. Especially not now.

So, she was stuck in this nightmare in hopes that it would never bleed from her life to the life of her sisters. It was odd, being caught in a moment of time where you wished you could rush and cause the clocks to tick faster and bring the next day quicker but also knowing that it would be just as good and bad to freeze time and remain in that one moment forever, or to even rewind it. Her past, her present, and her future all seemed to be woven into a tapestry of pain currently and she could see no light anymore, save the one she flicker that at least the darkness of her life did not shadow the light of anothers.

Forcing a bit a smile, which felt like it would crack her face, Millicent nodded. "Oh yes, Lord Rutherford should be around," she said in a tense voice as she left the room and started walking slowly down the corridor. Even saying his name made her tongue feel like was burning in acid.



Elizaveta Romanova


Location: Main Tent, Russian Tent City, Regent Park, London, England
Skills: English, Diplomacy


"Well damn! Now that was a show!" Bjorn said as he clapped his hands. It was indeed. It could be seen by several members of the council that they were more than impressed while others were almost foaming at the mouth. The Russians joining the council was not something they liked, not one bit.

"Yes, all very educational but still I do not believe enough to be a member of the council," Christine said as she remained seated in her chair.

"Well why the hell not?" Bjorn asked as he turned his attention to her as she skulked.

"Other than they keep in hiding? That they will only train within the circus? That some of their powers stacked on ours and over decades could create a true power struggle outside of the Soulless? Shall I go on?" she snipped. It was obvious she had given this speech more than once in her life.

Elizaveta took a calming breath as she watched Belladonna seem to vanish and a thick fog start to clear the tent quickly. She sighed to herself but kept it to herself. They had more pressing matter to attend to and they had to get moving now. The show was over, it was time for a decision. She gave a knowing look to both Virginia and to Mary. They had plans to save another and they had to get moving. As soon as a decision was made.

"Have we proven ourselves worthy to have a seat at your table or shall we forge our own?" Elizaveta said calmly as she took a few steps forward and laced her finger in front of her breast before holding perfectly still.
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Colette de La Fontaine


Location: Heaton Hall, Ladies Room; Manchester, England
Skills: Language -English, House, Court Ettiquette



Colette knew as she said it that is was a faux pas. A single woman at a party without an escort may have been looked down upon. However, that was of no concern to Colette. She wasn't here to meet a man. She wasn't here to charm anyone or schmooze the people. She was here purely to enjoy herself. And so far, she had. This country was a new experience and would hopefully provide a wealth of adventure for her. Possibly, as a side benefit, she would be able to figure out how to get out of her arranged marriage. If that meant meeting a man she actually enjoyed talking to, it was a bonus.

Colette didn't want to push the woman any further on the matter, but her voice did not match the smile she put on. She was walking slower than Colette thought possible. Colette merely followed, keeping in step with Millicent. She glanced around the room to see if she could spot the man in question. Would his eyes light up when he saw his beloved again? Would he jump at the chance to take her in his arms? Colette was unsure. "Lord Rutherford? He sounds like an interesting man. Pardon my intrusion, but could you tell me a bit more about him? Surely a woman, such as yourself, attracts the most interesting people."
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Constantin Kolev


Location: Russian Imperial Circus - Tent City
Skills: Tretiy Glaz(passive), Fal'shbort(passive)


“Yes, I think I vill actually do that as much as time grants.” He said to his family and cracked his neck that currently felt a little bit stiff. Not that it would be a surprise all things considering. Fatigue had this insidious way of building up along the way when you least wanted it to. All that happened today was quite obvious, but the fact he felt tired was not something that can be avoided sadly. Hell they had even had a person die today in the absurd manner not even including soulless.” This has been one messed up day so far...” He mumbled and looked around, really thinking about the possibility of just walking back to their tent so he can go get some sleep.

“Yeah, I will head to the tent for now... I feel tired.” He smiled and said to his parents. With the performance done and over with, he wanted to just go and relax on the bed for a little while. Then he'd probably wash his feet... walking on embers and coal did kind of make his feet more or less leave black steps behind anywhere he walks bare feet, not surprising also. With that he headed off. Frozen waters, high action performances, other general nonsense... long day.
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Vladimir Alexandrov
"The Great Bazhooli"


Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park): Big Top -> Main Entrance
Skills: Fal'shbort (Passive), Tretiy Glaz (Passive)



The surety that Vladimir had seen this woman before reached a pitched scream in the baxk of his brain. He did know of this woman, as did any Alexandrov or Circus member who has slent any time in his family's holdings in Carpathian Moldova. There was a masterfully painted portrait of her hanging in a place of prominence therein. There could be no mistaking it. He had so many questions. So many indeed. It was not a common occurrence for a long since passed ancestor to materialize physically and give blessings for their family's endeavors.

His many questions would have to go unanswered, unfortunately, as the woman blinked out of existence as quickly as she appeared. He may never set eyes upon her again, let alonenhave time for a pressing conversation about their origins. Perhaps it was for the best. Vladimir had pressing family duty which required his attention, no matter what his personal wants might have been. Truth be told, he did want a great many things. He wanted to rest and relax. He wanted to clean up, then join in a celebration of life and living with his beloved Circus. Vladmir wanted a cup of chilled wine and warm company with whom he may participate in the little [and not so little) indulgences that made life truly worthwhile.

Instead, he found himself striding purposefully from the Grand Pavilion to the main entrance just in time for the changing of the guards, his very tall hat perched upon his head, his coat hanging loosely about hus shoulders, and a saber now sheathed at his waist as accompaniment to his collection of fine knives. Such was the responsibility of The Great Bazhooli; service to his people with grace and style before personal wants. There would be time for rest and celebration later. For now, something potentially threatened the safety of his charges. That simply would not do. Vlad offered the occasional word of salutation to some of the people that he passed on his way, congratulations to others, but as he neared the main entrance his demeanor became very businesslike. The guards understood what this meant and acted accordingly.

A brief conversation in Russian followed as the old guards, new guards, and Vladimir went over events, giving the occaaional glance in thw direction of their would-be guest for the evening. The Great Bazhooli stayed on after the guards switched, taking a moment to peer down at the man near their gate. He cleared his throat and spoke. "I knov you. From last night at Almack. You and sister. I read sister's eyes - spoke much about her people. Did not like vhat they say." He took a step back from the gate and spoke a little louder, gathering the attention of the guards stationed nearby. "Private show. Have been told no admittance. Family gathering after. You have not invite. Vill be very long vait for you."



Sister Mary Ignatia Hale


"In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all."

Location: Russian Imperial Circus Tent City (Regent's Park): Big Top




The representative from Japan had made mention that Mary was being awfully quiet, while the representative from the West Indies was extremely vocal about her opposition to the admittance of both parties presenting this evening. Well, the young Dame Commander was about to leave an impression upon them both. Whether it was a good impression or bad one, she was not overly concerned. They could get in line behind her or they could take steps to oust her from her position, but this was the decision of the evening.

Mary stood to her full height and looked upon the Grand Duchess following her fiery and impassioned ultimatum. She knew that this was going to happen. She was present in the tent earlier when all of this was discussed. Finally, Mary was fully ready to break off from the Graveolase if they rallied against the decision and ally herself with the Russians. She was even under orders from the Vatican, before her sudden catapult into the position of Arch Graveolase, to learn from these people. Her path lay with these colorful and powerful people. Not to mention that the little piece of politics that she had seen within the Graveolase was provoking her ire. Power struggle? It sickened her.

"Indeed, Madame Del'ataunt." Her body turned from Elizaveta, eyes locking with the more experienced and possibly more powerful representative of the West Indies. "They have been hiding within the borders of their empire, doing the work of the Graveolase because they will not venture to assist. They train only within the Circus because they take in those displaced and orphaned by the Soulless, and give them purpose. Many that were once helpless have become a sword against the darkness because of these people." That term, Sword Against the Darkness, was one used to describe the Venators of Mary's knightly order. She felt it was fitting in this instance. "And the fact that they can teach their abilities to those who are already Trained makes them valuable allies. It is a friendship to cultivate in these dark times, though some within this council would rebuke them." Mary spoke with the surety of the righteous; her mild accent of the Scottish border and midlands pronouncing itself with slightly more emphasis, marking the point that today of all days, Mary Ignatia Hale, Dame Commander and Apostolic of the Papacy, was most assuredly wearing her ovaries on the outside. There was no suffering of fools nor blind acceptance of others' judgement, and politics be damned.

Mary turned fully to the remaining Graveolase present, giving her voice volume and clarity. "It matters not what might happen decades from now. For those of you who do not know, the attack upon Almack's Assembly Rooms that took the previous Arch Graveolase, Lord Buckingham, was not isolated. It was one of a concerted effort, executed simultaneously across many places in the civilized world. I shall say this differently: The Soulless have organized, and are attacking with directed intelligence. We are at war. War. While individuals squabble over what power may or may not be theirs to claim, the truth exists that unless we all come to unprecedented accord, including the acceptance of those who may help us, we are all dead; men, women, children all. Whomever 'wins' this numbing game of politic will sit upon a grand throne, surrounded by ash and decay. The world our Lord created for us will become a carcass for the Soulless to feed upon."

Mary turned her head to face Veta, but kept her body positioned toward the assembled dignitaries. "Grand Duchess Elizaveta Romanova: Upon my authority as the Arch Graveolase in interim, I invite you to join the Council, or appoint a representative in the manner of your people's choosing." This indeed was a formality. But time was of the essence here, as they did have a journey ahead of them that evening. She needed to finish this event decisively.

She looked to Ludwig next. While not quite as convinced by him as she was the Circus, Mary was impressed by his abilities. "Ludwig Zimmer, correct sir?" she spoke, making it a point to check on Adam while addressing the off-kilter Teuton. "You are impressive, and your skills noteworthy. But I hesitate. People of strength may be found in every culture, and from unexpected sources. But tell me more about your organization. Specifically, tell me what your people may contribute to the Graveolase for the cause of protecting humanity from the Soulless."
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