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I'm Alkanet. I've been role-playing by post for a while and lurking here for a bit. I am happy to be joining you all on RP adventures in the near future. I like paragraph posts with intriguing characters and exciting plots. I think I came to the right place!

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Debora White

Debora passed the threshold into Wilde Hall. The evening’s festivities had started without them. Music flowed on the air, and the few other guests present were moving quickly towards its source. Debora’s own ears strained slightly, but she kept the more tempered pace of her companions.

There were portraits lining the walls of the corridor and her gaze trailed over them. Among their imposing faces, she caught a sudden quick movement! Debora glanced at Lucy Wilde’s face again, and her eyes locked onto another set not drawn by any artists’ hand. Debora’s breath caught in her throat, her thoughts, still lingering on the dark effects of the lake, turning to the sinister and the otherworldly, before realizing that what she was actually looking at was a peephole.

Immediately, she was reminded of the previous flicker of movement she had glimpsed outside the hall, a silhouette at a window. Whom among the mansion’s occupants was shunning the more active party scene for mere stolen glimpses at guests?

A narrow branch left the corridor here. Towards the right was the mysterious peeper.

Forward would be drinks… and music.

She noted the branch but did not stray. Yet.

Her gaze flicked over her companions, settling on the soldier. “Captain Khaki, isn’t it? Do you often attend these functions?” She purposely botched his title and posed an open-ended question, in hopes to gauge if he was truly as mute as the Hall’s servants.

Corporal Khaki started, seemingly caught off guard by her questions, was he looking at the peephole as well? The movement was too quick to tell. After clearing his throat, he answered readily enough, and articulately enough to shed any doubt of him being mute.

“I’m afraid it is Corporal Khaki, ma,am. I…”

The man hesitated, seeming to catch himself, before pressing on again, leaving the sentence unfinished.

“I confess that this is not entirely ‘my scene’, so to speak. The three of you seem far more at -home”

Debora pursed her lips as she nodded along to his assumptions. “Corporal Khaki, of course, my apologies.”

Perhaps the solider was simply another guest, but his traveling companion was anything but. Debora resisted the urged to peer back at the entrance. How long would it take the professor to finish reprimanding his charges?

“I speak for myself but while I do enjoy a good party, something as…” Genie said, snapping of his fingers, “Something as grand and formal as this event is new to me. I’m actually quite parched. Shall we hurry along? After all what better way to meet and mingle with new friends than over food and drink.” He smiled.

Debora grinned in turn. “I feel you have read my thoughts, Genie. Yes, let’s have that drink!” And she pressed onward, hoping to put distance between herself and Green, and perhaps camouflage among the other guests. Part of her felt that such precautions would prove ineffective against someone so ingrained to the running of the Hall.

Mister Violet laughed and clapped a hand on Corporal Khaki’s shoulder, the soldier flinching slightly at the contact. “Whatever the case, you’re in better company now, my friend!”

He led the way forward as the corridor itself turned to the left. Nearing the pulsing heart of the party, the music grew louder, and the atmosphere seemed normal for what Debora had expected at such an event. Then the group passed the last portrait, and their progress was arrested by the dark headed subject’s painted gaze.

Avery Wilde. Debora read.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was Mister Violet that found his voice first, although the joviality of it seemed a touch more strained than usual. “Our host for the evening looks like quite the woman.”

Eugene agreed. “Certainly does and we’d best not keep her waiting.”

There was something about Avery and not just the burning behind her eyes, or the set of her features. All the festivities of the evening, the running of the Hall, all of it revolved around this woman. Debora locked eyes with the painting and adjusted the fur coat on her own shoulders. “I doubt anyone keeps her waiting,” She murmured.

Mr. Violet commanded them onward, and Debora snapped her eyes away from the painting. She looked towards the hallway ahead and strained her ears to the music.

They entered a large room where the main party seemed to be taking place. Though party goers disappearing through other doorways hinted that the Wilde ball was not confined to one room. Confined to one floor would be a better guess, because those present seemed to shun the wide staircase to their right.

Debora’s eyes tracked over the high windows and the masked musicians grouped beneath them. Revelers danced before them, interrupting her view.

“Now this I could get used to!” Mr. Violet remarked brightly. Debora noted that perhaps this was his first ball as well. Genie asked after drinks, reminding her that securing one had been of great importance to her after the dark turn at the lake.

At that moment, a maid detached herself from the crowd and moved towards them, drinks tray in hand. “Sirs? Ma’am?” she spoke, unlike the servants outside, and Debora glanced at Khaki. Mr. Violet was first to take a glass with another jovial laugh ‘Excellent timing!’. The maid however kept her attention elsewhere. Debora followed her flickering gaze across the room to a tall dark figure.

The man stood with dark hair long tied back, dark suit perfectly fitted, and skin tanned by some foreign sun. A small group had formed around him, and as he talked, he turned, his face properly coming into view for the first time. Though halfway across the room, his voice lost in the maelstrom of conversation and music, his face still caught her attention.

Handsome, but there is something about the man’s mouth, the way the thin lips seemed to pull a little too far back, the perfect white teeth catching the light a little too much. Debora felt a shudder build along her spine but pressed it down, turning her focus back to her immediate surroundings.

Another figure well known to the running of Wilde Hall from the maid’s reaction. Debora was slightly surprised to find her mouth set in a tight line beneath her veil. Something wrong was happening at Wilde Hall. Even if one overlooked the… the dreams… People were being served ill.

Genie took a champagne flute and Debora followed suit. Though he seemed at ease, his gaze lingered on hers before he complimented the drink. “Exquisite drink, don’t you all think so?”

Debora arched an eyebrow beneath her mask, wondering at the meaning. She had been so vocal about receiving a drink before, he likely thought it odd she had not been the first to partake.

Perhaps her other mask was slipping. Debora took the glass in a light touch and dipped it beneath her veil to take a long sip. Warmth flamed in the stomach, and it was a good, grounded feeling. Yet for all the warmth, she did feel a measure of annoyance. This was where in part, forces like the Wilde’s solidified their fortunes, while common folk where hindered. “Quite exquisite,” She agreed and stilled her thumb from reaching to rub out the lipstick mark on the rim, an action that would stain her gloves. “Though one must pace oneself.”
Debora White

Mr. Violet exited the carriage first and called back, “It looks like we should get moving. I’d hate for the party to start without us!”

Genie was second and disagreed, “Now, now Mister Violet. Now that we’re here there’s no need to rush. Seems like we arrived just in time though, a couple minutes of tardiness shouldn’t bother anyone.”

Debora, third, took the hand Genie offered as she descended from the carriage. Her gaze was immediately drawn to Wilde Hall, but she took a moment to feel the ground beneath her feet before letting go of Genie’s hand. Both were solid evidence of reality, and she strived to further shed the eerie feeling that glimpse of the lake had offered her.

The Hall loomed before them, and for all its party atmosphere, Debora could not help but feel the open door was not all too dissimilar to the twisted iron gates they had passed through. Was Genie rendezvousing with someone here, Debora wondered. Was Mr. Violet? Would they each split in their own directions as they entered the Hall? Debora found she did not relish the thought of parting with their company yet.

She knew very little about these men, but they were the only familiar touchstones in the wild costumed throng.

“One should not bolt into a party, but let’s do get a drink,” Debora urged. She cast a glance back at the coach, wondering where Red would go.

Red met Debora’s gaze as she glanced back into the carriage. Debora watched him disembark like a long-time prairie dweller would a wall cloud settling on the horizon. Trouble would surface from Mr. Red tonight, his name promised as much.

She faced forward when Mr. Violet gestured to the hall, wrestling with the urge to check her watch.

Then Red called out ‘Adams!’ and Debora turned, skin prickling in alarm. Not yet! No more than a dozen feet ahead of where their carriage had come to a halt on the drive, there sat an automobile. All sleek silver paint and polished metal, it was an impressive vehicle, Red was rapidly closing distance towards the hulking man standing beside it. He didn’t turn at Mister Red’s call, but that fact seemed to do little to dissuade Mister Red.


The lanky figure of the coachman started to move too, long arms seeming to reach for Mister Red, but the movements were too slow, too stilted, and Mister Red was already past. A few more strides, and he reached the hulking figure by the motorcar.

“Adams! What the hell are you doing here?”

For the first time, the other man seemed to notice Mister Red, heavy head turning to look down. The voice that emerged from the figure was rough. Emotionless. “I don’t know you.”

“Like hell you don’t, Adams! It’s me. It’s Ashton.”

The voice was more determined now, giving little room for a response. “I said, I don’t know you.”

Two of the carriage drivers struggled to tug the larger man away from the scene and other servants converged on the area in a response shockingly disproportionate to any perceived offense. Mr. Violet seemed in a similar state, as he looked between her and Genie.

At first, Debora felt a release of tension. She had known Red’s future would involve some violence, and now his implied threat was being removed. Her own mission could be completed all the better without a loose cannon blundering around the hall.

Then she remembered the body of the man at her office, his tattered uniform, the dark forms closing the gates behind them… Her own mission… Debora looked at the hulking ‘Adams’ impassive face, and the corners of her eyes tightened in resolve.

“Gracious! What’s all this?” Debora questioned. She stepped towards the confrontation, acutely aware that she was distancing herself from her fellow traveling companions. “What rights have you to put hands on a guest for simply asking a question of a servant?” She demanded of the coachmen

Debora stood alone and exposed, flanked by only the cold bulk of emptying motorcars and carriages. Then things shifted, the coachman reeled and there was a flash of some emotion on his face, though it was impossible to pin down. Unsurprisingly, Red chose that moment to move in for an attack. Debora gritted her teeth behind her veil. His strike was lightning quick and unrestrained. The blow caught the other coachman square on, forcing him backward and dislodging his hat. The face revealed was sickly white, oddly without a speck of blood or bruising. Red recovered nearly as quickly drawing up one hand while the other disappeared into a coat pocket. Once again, servants began to swarm closer.

Here was the violence. Debora’s intervention had merely been a finger stuck in a soon to be broken dam. She took a step back, frustration turning to anxiety. She should have entered the Hall immediately. Now she might have lost her window of opportunity.

Suddenly, a sharp voice shouted from behind. “Gentlemen! Control yourselves!”

In all the chaos, no one had noticed the new carriage arriving behind them. No one had noticed the man that stepped down, and now stood, half-lit by the light streaming from the windows of Wilde Hall, but everyone noticed him now. The man was large, broad-shouldered, and broad-waisted. A mess of red hair framed an ornate gold leaf mask, red cheeks marking a face that promised a certain jolliness, but there was no mirth in the fierce green eyes. Nor in the tight grip that one large hand had on the handle of the cane at the man's side. It had been this man's voice, his bellow, that had sounded above the noise of the struggle, but he was not alone. Another man came from within the carriage, shorter than the green eyes man, but leanly built, and wearing the uniform of a soldier. This soldier did not have the same fierceness as the first man, but he was clearly on edge, eyes moving from Mister Red to the coachmen, to Mister Violet, and back to the green-eyed man as the other newcomer spoke again.

"Morgan? Josiah? What is the meaning of this?"

The two coachmen that had been restraining Mister Red just moments before seemed to straighten up, almost snapping to attention at the man's call. In the brief instant that had passed, the shorter of the two black-coated servants had managed to rescue his wide-brimmed hat from the floor at his feet, and return it to its place, his face once again shrouded in shadow. Neither of the coachmen said a word, but it seemingly did nothing to deter the green-eyed man.

"This man is a guest. If you have a problem with him, then you raise it with Lady Wilde, understand?”

The green-eyed man was moving now, cane tapping on the drive with every second step. He passed where Eugene, Debora, and Mister Violet still stood and reached Mister Red. The two servants stepped back, heads dipping, and the green-eyed man seemed to be taking in the sight of Mister Red for a moment. For his part, the southern man still looked just as on edge, one hand still reaching into his jacket, and he flinched as the green-eyed man thrust his own hand towards him.

"I apologize a hundred times over for the... actions of these servants, sir. It is clear there has been some terrible misunderstanding. My name is Professor Green, and I assure you that these men will be properly disciplined."

This newcomer was obviously involved in Wilde Hall’s operation. Debora felt a wave of profound unease to be so near to an integral member of Wilde Hall Hierarchy. She could understand Red’s reluctance to shake hands. When he did accept, Green pulled him close and seemed to say something to him before turning towards her and the others.

"I can only extend that apology to the three of you. As I said, clearly there has been some misunderstanding. You have my personal assurance that this unsavory moment will not spoil your evening! From this moment onwards, please allow me to consider all of you my companions."

While open violence had been postponed, this outcome was anything but favorable. As Debora had feared, her interference had linked her, and possibly the group, to Red and any caution shown towards him would be liberally spread. Now they would have a Wilde aligned chaperone.

“A gentlemanly gesture, Professor Green.” Debora said, bringing a hand to her collar bone, “-Mrs. Copper, if you please- And quite the tonic for any ‘unsavory moment’ as you say. Which brings to mind, we were just on our way to refreshment if you would be so kind as to direct us. We dare not claim any of your valuable time.”

Professor Green’s gaze quickly settled on Debora as she spoke, his smile unfaltering. At her introduction, he dipped his head. Now that she was able to get a better look at him, she took in his ornate, gold leaf mask, the frailty of it looking starkly out of place against his broad features. “Mrs Copper. It is my pleasure to make your acquaintance, and of your companions.”

Mister Violet had clearly recovered from his moment of shock, the easy-going smile flashing across his face again as he confidently stepped towards Professor Green, seizing the other man’s hand and shaking it firmly.

“Well met, old boy. I am Mister Violet for the evening.”

Professor Green returned the handshake in kind, but Mister Violet was speaking again before he could reply.

“I dare say Mrs Copper makes an excellent suggestion. A stiff drink would do us all the world of good!” Professor Green smiled again, clearly amused by the exuberance of Mister Violet.

“Well put, my friend. Please, go on ahead. I merely need a moment to ensure that these men fully understand the severity of their actions, and then I will join you shortly.”

Genie seemed to want to move on quickly as well. ““Much obliged Mr. Green. I am called Genie.Mrs. Copper, that’s an excellent idea. It’s a party after all, why don’t we go and experience the beauty of Wilde Hall.”

Debora turned her attention to Wilde Hall for a brief instant, catching a flicker of movement. “Hold there!” Professor Green shouted. Debora’s pulse quickened as she faced him again. The red headed man smiled the same mirthless smile, still flanked by the servants and Red. Debora wondered at this last. What had Green said to the Texan to retain his attention?

The professor introduced his other companion. “Forgive me, in all this excitement, I quite forgot my manners. This strapping young man is Corporal Khaki. I assure you that he will make a fine addition to your party, if you’ll have him,”

One large hand clapped down on the shoulder of the uniformed man, but the soldier barely seemed to react to the movement, simply watching on from behind the simple white opera mask that he wore. He was oddly silent, almost like the servants.

Debora eyed the coachmen. Professor Green was going to discipline them. Why when they were so obedient? Her mind flashed to the man’s body left in her office. He had come from these woods. He might have been a servant. And his horrible wound, had he too been disciplined?

“Corporal Khaki, by all means.” Debora gestured toward the Hall. There was no way to decline without raising suspicion, and the man might be just another guest.

Her morbid curiosity and a building worry made Debora look over her shoulder back at Professor Green and try to catch a glimpse of the reprimand. Instead, she only found herself looking into a pair of green eyes. Professor Green was watching her.

He had not moved towards the coachmen, he was simply standing there. Watching her. Professor Green smiled widely, holding his cane up theatrically as he nodded towards Debora, waiting for her to turn back.

“Well? Shall we?” It was Genie’s enthusiastic voice that made her break her gaze and Debora turned fully to face the hall. What the following hours held for her, she could not say, but any lingering hope of a smooth night was quickly fading.
Debora White

Debora scrutinized Mr. Violet in turn. What was his goal in the present moment? Was he seeking a co-conspirator for some plot? Or were secrets merely his currency of choice? Perhaps he hoped to mine a few before reaching the Hall. Whatever his reasoning, if learning their hidden motivations was his goal, Mr. Violet had not proceeded at all cautiously.

Genie asked about the naming of the Wood. ‘The Wilde Woods. Ancient, old, and unforgiving. That’s what the rumors say at least. Do you think the woods were named after the family or the family after the woods?’ He had been glancing out the window, but for all his appearance of nonchalance, he wanted the topic shifted badly enough to propose another. Debora had no objections.

“I’d image the Wildes themselves were first,” Debora said, though she was not sure. “If they drew their name from their surroundings, we might very well be attending Thornbank Hall, would we not?” She looked to Mr. Violet, attempting to gauge any answer he might offer.

Debora moved her securitizing gaze away from Mr. Violet after he responded. ‘Very true, Mrs Copper. It sounds as if you know something of what lies ahead of us at least.’ No one else ventured a guess about the Wildes. She looked to Genie, wondering if he knew despite his raising the question in the first place. Again, she wondered about his choice of costume and then further to his reason in attending the Ball.

"What about the most reserved member of our party? Have you graced Wilde Hall before, Mister Red?" Mr. Violet spoke again, directing himself to Red.

The dark-haired man responded with surprising hostility. ‘No’

"Come now, old boy. A party is a social event, why not warm up with new friends?"

"Not. Interested.”

Tension raised between the two, but Red returned to the window and the moment passed. Mr. Violet looked to her and Genie.

Red had seemed reclusive before, but now Debora realized he was in a horrible temper. Debora uncrossed and recrossed her ankles. If she had to hazard a guess at his motivation, premeditated violence seemed likely. With the delicate nature of her purpose that night, a loose cannon of such degree posed an awful risk.

“Perhaps Mr. Red is not interested in our direct company, Mr. Violet.” She spoke calmly, “But he is interested in our chatter. I noticed his covert glances while we discussed the Wildes." Debora stroked the edge of her coat, "One must wonder what rumor concerning our hosts has reached all the way to Texas."

Her comment elicited a further show of anger from Red, and seemingly equally fierce desperation. He locked Debora squarely in his mismatched sights and leaned towards her to deliver his rebuke. "You don't know anything about me, lady."

Before Debora had a chance to respond, Mister Violet was quick to interject.

"Now steady on, old boy. I think you should show Mrs. Copper a little more respect..."

Debora’s eyebrows rose as Mister Violet instantly took up for her. He moved to touch Red, and the wild man struck, knocking his hand away before twisting his wrist. Red yelled a threat which he seemed more than willing to follow through on: "Touch me again, and you lose your hand." Debora drew her left hand to her mouth as if in shock, while her right inched towards her coat pocket.

Genie tried to calm things, ‘Now now, take it easy. We’re here for a party not a fight.’ and then a shout sounded from outside and the carriage stopped.

A moment of ripe tension elapsed. Red dropped his hold and peered around. Perhaps he anticipated what Debora did, the coachman -described by Genie as a strange fellow out of place for his position- stepping down to drag him out. But the door remained shut.

Cautiously, Debora shifted her attention with the others to the windows and what lay beyond.

A dark gate, and the gnarled trees marked the boundary of the Wilde’s estates. Slowly, it was opened, and the carriage was admitted into the nightmarish landscape beyond. Dark figures moved about, swinging the gate shut. Debora peered at these as the carriage drew away, bearing its passengers ever closer to their destination. She shifted in her seat but did not sit back again. A cold tension began to coil within her stomach. Her heel tapped against the carriage floor twice.

Red crossed himself and murmured a prayer. It seemed there was Someone to whom he would address himself readily after all, Debora thought dryly, though perhaps the one-sided nature of those talks was the appeal.

Mister Violet made a chipper remark, "Clearly our hosts have a taste for the theatrical." and Genie smiled and agreed ‘Well, it certainly seems so. After all, what’s a party without a little drama.’

The two were eager to move past the tension filled situation of mere moments ago. Did they think the matter would settle if they did so? That they could distance themselves from Red at the Hall and avoid further complications? Of course, Debora thought, they probably were not aware of the violence his very presence promised.

Trying to draw Red out and his following antagonism had provided Debora with a cobbled together theory of his motivation. ‘You don’t know anything about me, lady’ - Perhaps another Lady knew too much. ‘Touch me again, and you lose your hand.’ The finality of that threat implied he had a weapon and would not be shy to use it on anything that could impede his goal.

And then most telling of all, the name he had chosen for himself: ‘Red’. In Hebrew; ‘Ah-Dome’ only two letters off from Dom, blood, and a mere value of seven removed from 4 and 40.

Perhaps she would be pitted against Red before the night was finished, but that remained to be seen. Nothing could be gained from antagonizing him further.

“If you value drama at your parties, Genie, tonight should not disappoint,” Debora murmured the warning, and carefully angled herself as far away from Red as possible.

So near to her destination, Debora’s attention was pulled to the window again. The Wood ended, and beyond it stretched the Lake. Thornbank Lake… Debora stared out at the inky black expanse and immediately lost her sense of self. Vaguely, she could feel the carriage moving beneath her, and knew that it was crowded with other guests. But at the same time, she felt the water undulating at her feet, so cold it went straight to her bones and made her gasp. And though such a shocking chill should prove a deterrent towards advancing further, Debora felt the draw towards its shadowy depths. Shadowy depths… What was concealed…. Within….

“In the carriage, not a dream,” Debora murmured to herself, and she gripped the edge of the seat fiercely to keep from slipping into the water.

Another figure was likewise tensing near her, and the realization allowed Debora to draw her focus back to the carriage. She blinked owlishly, trying to recover her breath and her bearings. The carriage moved along and the scene outside shifted.

Now they were at the Hall and Debora knew she was not dreaming. Because a nightmare mansion Wilde Hall was not. At least on the outside. Other guests were arriving, lively music filled the air, and a warm glow spilled from the main door.

Debora drew her coat tightly around herself, and found she desperately wanted a drink. “I hope they’ve a good vintage waiting.”
Debora White

As Debora left the office building, her thoughts grew apprehensive. The dying man’s warning seemed to echo after her and the image of him shrouded in white, red blood pooling around him, flashed in her mind’s eye, a macabre overexposure imposed upon the cold empty streets of Arkham.

Blood and Death. Debora tried to focus on the man’s warning, but those two words bobbed along in her thoughts, buoys bearing another dire omen. Blood and Death. Dom and Mace. Dalled Mem, Mem Tav. The cubed Hebrew letters joined the morass of her thoughts before fading to the numbers they represented, their Gematria. 4 and 40, 40 and 400. Forty-four, and again forty-four. A horrible omen for the task ahead.

A name came to her suddenly, relating to the dead man’s warning. She passed it through her mind, trying to dislodge any other useful information, but the name only tangled with the ill-omened numbers. Debora crossed the street, her steps slowing as she glanced up at the library. If there were more hours before her, she might spend them trying to dissect the full implications of the man’s warning. Now, she hurried along towards the location specified in her invitation.

It felt distinctly odd to be traversing the darkened city streets costumed as a Sheba straight from a fantastical Arabian Nights. In the light pooling around the streetlamps she passed, the teal and aqua coloring of the velvet and satin outfit showed. Accent pieces; jewelry, purse, her half mask, and the medallion on her turban were a contrasting reddish orange. These were easily discardable if necessary. The costume itself she had chosen to further obscure herself. Long gloves, a thin veil, full trousers and added ruffling that changed her usual silhouette. Debora was certain that in any other setting she would cut a ridiculous figure, but at the Wilde ball she would hopefully be one of many costumed attendees.

Laughter boomed, starkly out of place against the looming shadows of Arkham. Debora’s head whipped round, searching for the source of the sound, and then she spotted it. A horse drawn carriage, almost lost in the inky darkness of the night, if not for the lamplight spilling out from within. The door was open, and in the doorway, framed by the light, stood a figure.

Moving forward, Debora could discern more voices from within the carriage, as a trio of party guests made introductions. The man on the threshold of the vehicle was Red. Debora inhaled slightly when he spoke with a distinctive Texan drawl, an accent she had not counted on hearing so far from her birthplace, and one that conjured both familiarity and remoteness.

Red climbed inside, and the door seemed likely to close. Debora stepped forward quickly, raising a hand. “Room for one more?” She inquired, injecting levity into her voice. She must blend in with these rich guests and mirror their giddy attitude towards journeying to Wilde Hall.

One of the carriage’s occupants held the door open and offered a hand to Debora. It was not the Texan Red, or Mr. Violet, but the third. A dark half mask accented his blue eyes while contrasting with his white hat. The suit he wore was also dark, bearing faint white stripes. The uniform of a mobster, or at least the perfect likeness of one. For a heartbeat, Debora hesitated, and then she placed a gloved hand into the man’s and lifted herself into the carriage.

“Thank you. I’m pleased I caught you. I thought for a moment I would have to make other arrangements and arrive late.” She smiled, “As to introductions, I’m Mrs. Copper this evening, a bit tarnished I’m afraid,” This was said with a sweep of her hand over her aqua harem trousers. “And you are?”

Debora studied the man’s face. Closer, she could discern the notes at the bottom of his mask. Which was the costume, the pinstripes or the music notes? She lingered on the threshold, wanting to get her bearings of the lightened coach, and put faces to Mr. Violet and Red and a name to the third.

The man dressed in a well-tailored purple jacket greeted her first, smiling warmly. He did not introduce himself, but Debora had little trouble matching his title to Mr. Violet. She noted his sandy blond hair, green eyes and friendliness that seemed perfectly genuine. He was also a bit of a flatterer. "Mrs. Copper? That's dandy, just dandy. Thank you for bringing some much needed grace to our rag-tag band, madam."

As was Genie. ‘Oh, how rude of me. Tonight, I am called Genie. Thank you for gracing us with your presence, Mrs. Copper.’ The name stuck out from the color theme, and Debora wondered what had prompted him to select it. A gentle poke at her costume, perhaps? But no, the introduction had been too general. He had given her a once over to match her own as he helped her aboard. Simply curious, or was he too hoping to glean some detail more?

Debora made careful note of the third man, Red. He seemed nervous, with an air of tension to the set of his shoulders. Dark featured, with a crooked nose, it was his shifting eyes that were the most striking. A mismatched set, the right was dark and the left a brilliant blue. A detail like that would be hard to forget, and with relief, Debora felt confident she had never encountered this man before.

Genie called to the driver ‘Well then, it seems like the carriage is practically full. Excuse me driver, I think we’re just about ready to go.’

Debora lounged on the open seat, coat pooling around her. “For all the grace it provides, I hope my presence does not strip the joviality from you fine men! Tonight is for gaiety and I mean to make merry! Laughter led me to your coach. Do let me in on the joke, unless it dulls in the retelling, in which case do substitute another.”

Mister Violet answered her, his smile stretching further. "I am afraid there was no joke of note, but I am joyous to hear that we are kindred spirits in merriment! It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, and I shall endeavour to ensure that we enjoy our night, or at the very least, this coach journey. Speaking of..." He too turned his attention to the driver.

Opposite him in temperament was Red, who quietly peered out the window as the carriage rolled along. He had yet to utter a word in her presence, and Debora wondered if his window gazing was a further symptom of a solitary attitude or something more.

Genie mused about the driver and the opening of Wilde Hall. "Quite a strange fellow that one. Doesn't seem like the type of person to be hired by someone as influential as our host. What an honor isn’t it? Being invited to the Wilde Hall after all those years of silence. I must say, I’m quite nervous and excited. Still I do wonder, what made them open the gates after all this time.”

“Perhaps the question is not why do they open their gates, perhaps it is why we choose to go in.” Mister Violet redirected the scrutiny to their own motives in attending the ball. The mood shifted instantly, the very air seeming to chill. Mister Violet’s smile flickered and then he was himself again. “I have to say, I am damn glad to have bumped into you all, if you'll pardon my language Mrs. Copper. I was worried that the evening was going to be a painfully boring affair, but I feel far brighter knowing I will have you fine folk at my side.”

Debora pulled her coat a little closer as she waved away Mister Violet’s concern. She peered at the others in the carriage as they traded glances, redefining the first impression of her fellow guests like an artist would their sketches. Laughter had led her to the coach, but it only seemed a veneer covering an anticipatory dread that was not wholly unlike Debora’s own emotions.

“Boring, a Wilde Ball? And painfully so at that,” Debora offered a wry smile, “Mister Violet, I am afraid that you are shattering my anticipation for a mirthful evening. Have you- That is, do you speak from a place of experience?” She fidgeted with the edge of her turban, hoping to appear uncomfortable in her admission of being one of the newly rich.

Mr. Violet’s gaze darted briefly towards Red when he answered, ‘I have often found, Mrs Copper, that even the most lavish events live and die by the company you keep.’ Did the two men have a history attending such functions? The mention of death was not a welcome addition to the carriage, coupled with the dark atmosphere the words seemed to hint at more than a ball’s social scene.

“But you are, of course, correct. After all, these Wilde Balls seem to be the talk of the town, and their reputation certainly precedes them, although I admit some of the more far-fetched stories are likely fiction. From what I have heard, I should expect to be greeted by a herd of wild elephants”

Mr. Violet sought to dispel rumors, but the one he cited brought more questions to Debora. The blond-haired man then laughed. It was a mocking sound given their current surroundings and extremely unsettling. He again called attention to their personal motivations in attending the ball, “I have not had the pleasure of seeing Wilde Hall with my own eyes, no. But I assure you, Mrs Copper, that I have a personal interest in the night that lies ahead. I imagine I am not alone in that.”

And he looked at them each searchingly.
Debora White

Debora paused at the sound, one hand against the cool metal doorknob and the other poised to tug a seal coat off the rack beside the door. Around her, the office and its contents were shrouded in shadow. She had turned out the lights before donning her costume. It was her familiarity with the building that warned her of the intruder and this same familiarity gave her a sense of confidence. Unlike Wilde Hall, the office was Debora White’s domain.

In the moment she had to react, Debora opened the door slightly and stepped to the side. Pressing herself into the nook beside the oversized dark coat, she drew her small revolver from the pocket and waited. She held the gun low, hoping to shield the metallic surface from reflecting the scarce light.

Through the slit opening of the door, Debora could make out a figure mounting the stairs in the darkness. Torn fabric hung from them, lighter shadows clinging to the dark form. A hand grasp the banister, the other was held against them, nursing a wound more grievous than the limp in their leg? With her nerves so tightly strung, Debora had expected an apparition of evil or at the least the vengeful subject of an old case. This figure seemed to be neither. Yet why were they ascending the stairs towards her office in grim determination and not a doctor’s practice?

A flicker of apprehension mixed with hope caused Debora to push the door open further and lower her firearm yet more. She called a broken syllable before correcting. “Who’s there?” Carefully, Debora gauged their reaction.

The figure raised their head, features illuminating slightly in the weak light. Debora felt her stomach drop as her hopes were dashed and new worries built. She did not know the pale face looking back at her with red bloodshot eyes and wild dark hair.

"Mrs White?" The voice was rough and forced, as if each word, each breath was agony.

With her outfit of layered velvet and heavy silk hiding her form and her face obscured by both mask and veil, even those who knew her well might mistake Debora. “I am,” She answered as she dropped her arm to her side, the gun weighing her hand. She did not feel threatened by this obviously wounded figure, but the risk of the unknown remained.

“You’re injured. Come inside, I’ll phone a doctor.” How the figure answered would determine Debora’s action moving forward. Hidden in her brief wording, questions lay. I mean you no harm, do you intend me harm? Are you here under shadowed circumstances?

The man started forwards at Debora's suggestion of calling a doctor, his face twisting in anguish as he reached a hand towards her. "No. You can't..."

As he lifted his hand away from the banister, his legs gave way beneath him, his dragging feet catching on the top step, and he tumbled forwards. Sprawling to the ground, the man did nothing to stop his fall, landing hard with a pained grunt. His shoulder impacted with the ground at Debora's feet, his body twisting so that he was splayed on his back.

Debora winced as the figure slammed to the floor at her feet. Quickly, she took in his bloodied shirt and unfocused eyes. Her mind flashed to other forms on other nights. Debora slipped her handgun back into the coat’s pocket and loosened a thick white scarf from around the collar. Balling it in her hands, she knelt beside the wounded man.

“No doctor then, but you’ll have to let me tend you. What injured you?” And because of the glassy appearance in his eyes, she added, “Why were you seeking me?”

As she poised to open his shirt, Debora studied her long satin gloves and then ripped them off, being mindful only of the ring on her left hand and cast them back into the office. Every tick of the clock behind her was like a drumbeat in her ears. On this of all nights an injured man had to show up at her door- But of course it must be tonight, Debora thought. She did not put much faith into coincidence. Her plans and this man, somehow both were connected.

The wild eyes appeared to focus on Debora, or as much as they could focus, as she knelt beside the stranger. This close, she could smell the blood on his breath, see that is stained his lips. Even without her experience in first aid, she would know that that was not a good sign.

With obvious effort, the man managed to speak again, each word coming ragged and pained.

"Mary... I know... She said you were a friend. I need to..."

As Debora opened the man's shirt, his word descended into hacking, wet coughs, shaking his entire body. Blood was already pooling on the floor, thick and dark. As Debora peeled back the soaked shirt, the cause of the bleeding quickly became apparent. It was a wound the like of which she had never seen. The man's chest was sinewy and thin, the skin pulled tight across his ribs, and through the middle of his chest, there was a gaping wound. It took her a moment to realize that she could see the floor through it, that somehow, it was as if something had been driven through him. He was as good as dead. Debora knew that there was nothing that she could do to save him, only sheer willpower could have kept him alive long enough to reach her. Never one to be defeated, Debora's hands began to move instinctively, going through the motions of tending to the wound, but before she could, a hand caught her wrist in an iron grip.

Turning sharply, Debora found herself looking into the pale, haggard face of the man. For the first time, his eyes seem truly focused, and there is a burning intensity in them.

Haltingly, he issued a dire warning.

Then the intensity bled out of the eyes, and the head slumped back. Debora watched the man die, solemnly clinging to his loosening hand. She did not draw away from the corpse as his last breath rattled within his broken torso or as his blood seeped to the floor around her knees. Debora wondered at what series of events had sent him to die on her doorstep. His connection to Mary, the ghastly state of his body and clothing, his dreaded warning that even now rang in her ears. If only he had another moment to speak. Now she worked to gather as much information as possible from his appearance alone. His ragged clothing and the myriad nicks and cuts on his limbs and face told of a staggering run through thick brush, far from any beaten path. For Debora, little doubt remained about where he had ventured from.

She stared a moment longer at the gaping wound in his chest and laid his arm gently across it. As she stood, her hands moved quickly, spreading out the wide scarf. The white fabric illuminated faintly in the low light as it draped over the corpse, obscuring the features. A single breath caught in her throat.

Then Debora reentered her office, collecting her gloves as she paced to the phone at her desk. She drew them on while waiting for the operator to connect her. Briskly, she spoke to the man who answered in Yiddish, informing him of the body and refusing to provide any further explanation. She tracked the minute movements of the clock while shrugging on her coat. Her fingers brushed the revolver in her pocket as she locked up and slipped the key through the puddle of blood and beneath the door. From inside, the phone rang once and was silent.

Debora lowered her eyes as she started down the stairs, her gaze flicking over the gruesome trail left by the dead man.
I'd be fine either way, re:Discord.
@Eviledd1984 I’d be cool with a shared case. But before we go further, @Romero Sorry, I should have checked first (I got excited and carried away), is it OK for the characters to have made contact before the RP starts? (and if so, should I wait to see if I'm accepted?)
@Romero Awesome! I updated her occupation to reflect her job change.

@Eviledd1984 Would you like for Benjamin and Debora to have a professional connection? I imagine they would be familiar to each other by name at least. (For all the good it will do them at the masquerade!) Does Benjamin have an particular area of expertise?
@Romero Policewomen were a rarity at the time to be sure, and I understand that the more social worker skillset might not be the most advantageous for a Lovecraft setting. Taking that into consideration, I’d like to keep Debora’s background as a policewoman, but I’m fine with her having transitioned to working as a private investigator. Perhaps her problem-solving nature (and morbid curiosity) led her to want to handle more of the caseload than simply searching the streets for missing juveniles and questioning female suspects (though I’m sure those experiences will help her as an investigator). Would it be alright if she specializes in cases involving women and children as a Private Eye?
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