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6 yrs ago
Updating playlist thing on my bio today, if you're ever looking for the link again or want it on a different platform just pm me and tricky will hook you up.
7 yrs ago
This one time I seriously considered buying a dick rose phone case.
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Bump! @Alternax

What did you agree to?

To fetch Puck the Fomorian Blade. Three pieces to collect for three answers.

Time: Fifteen Months Later
Location: Paris, France

Crickets sounded over the open fields leading to the mysterious, mist-covered copse of Yew trees outside of Paris. Scorch marks, scars lashed across the fields of grass. Midsummer greens encroached on the scars, creeping to retake what was lost. The moon had shone with silvery light casting long shadows over the darkened, charred areas of Paris. Construction crews slowly put back the missing pieces. Looming kilometres away sat the meteorite that was to blame for the blaze that had eaten away at the city. Taped off with plans to remove it. A light fresh breeze brought with it a familiar sooty smell of smoke.

Deep in the small forest at its heart stood a tall, old Yew. Dark and unassuming. Twisted in the bark was a door polished to shine, with a golden knob and hinges to match. Its copper armoured guards nowhere to be seen, dead leaves gathered at the base undisturbed.

Then...The wind shifted. Light began to filter through the threshold of the door, the grains of wood glowing. The knob twisted, with a sudden burst of energy the door swung violently open with a slam. Stumbling through it, appeared what could be mistaken as an apparition. Scrambling just behind the ghostly figure was a darker figure, the pair pulled the door shut and slammed it. Four hands on the door - waiting one, two beats before relaxing. The pale-faced creature turned, breathed heavily with the rise and fall of her shoulders. What little light there was from the moon reflected off of her dress. Tattered white dress, strips of fabric of various lengths, sizes and material made up the skirt while the white bodice was sewn with bits of jewellery both genuine pearls and plastic rhinestones. Tightly wrapped around her chest and torso, exposing her back - the tattoo of the very same tree they stood by now. Down the length of her arms was the similar make up of jewellery, long strings of pearls wrapped between the webbing of her fingers. Long mousey blonde hair, tipped with a faint bit of blue was wrapped only in a small bun at the top of her head to house the spider silken veil draped delicately behind her shoulders down to the small of her back.

The picture of a runaway bride.

Turning about, the doll-like face of Odette Favre looked skyward, bright and pale blues searching.. A smile tugged at the corner of her mouth as she turned to her pact partner and the only company she had kept for three long years.

Bach with his bright yellowy greens found hers and he grinned, letting out a long sigh followed by a few chuckles of relief. A hand brushed through his wild hair, leaves falling free landing on the shoulders of his green blazer.

We’re home,” She breathed in French - taking relief in freely speaking her own tongue once more, taking a long moment to stretch her bare toes into the dirt.

Bach found himself doing the same. He turned his forehead against the bark of the Yew.

Hanging her head down, she spied the costume jewellery - with a curl of her lip in disgust she clawed at the strings on her arm ripping them away. Next to be pulled was the veil, soft gossamer ripped to shreds. She looked around patted her hands free of the threads, finally she noticed the lack of guards greeting them.

Where are the guards?” She asked aloud. “There are always two here.

Bach pulled from the tree, looking around listening with his pointed ears.

Tugging her purse around, she reached deep inside of it for her unused phone. Conserving power by keeping it turned off in the years since she had to use it. Even resisting the urge to use it as a mirror or peer wistfully through the photos. She held the power button and watched the screen only for it to respond with a red battery icon. She tsked.

Come, Bach. Some time has obviously passed, we must find out how long it has been here.” She dropped the phone back into her purse, stepping away from the portal heading out of the copse. Sure feet guiding even through the dark, unaware of the piles of bodies littered just beyond the trail overtaken by the magically maligned foliage.

As she walked, she spoke, “I can only hope time did not speed by here, knowing our luck it was only a few days that have passed against our three years.

Bach shrugged easily, the passage of time not nearly as much of a concern for a Fey like himself, “There is no way we could know.

They broke through the line of trees, Odette nearly tripping over the armoured body of a long-dead alien. She stared down at it, registering what she saw then searched the horizon for the notably dimmed light of her Paris. Panic coiled in her belly, she threw her hand out rapid-fire French spoke the incantation for a new portal. The powerful wisps of the Arcane stream came to her in an icy blue glow. Briefly smiling at the return of magic, like a rubber band snapping back into place.

”Grand et beau flot d'âmes, fais-moi voyager, dis-moi la sécurité, offre-moi tes plus beaux cadeaux. Volontiers, ne viendrez-vous pas à moi? Ouvrez-vous, ouvrez-vous à la volonté de l'Ambassadeur du Folk. Proche seulement de ma volonté en tant qu'Ambassadeur du Folk!”

She closed her fist and out of the line of bright light came a door, stepping through it she appeared instantly at the heart of her beloved city, appearing before the ruins of what was once her apartment building. The charred wood and stone, roped off for its property owner to clean up. Her mouth popped open with shock, even Bach’s reaction was genuine in its dismay. The loss of his beautiful garden, the knowledge, the- he dragged a palm over his face as he gritted his teeth turning away.

Odette’s hands pressed against her temples, she tried and failed to control her breathing. Emotions roiling, descending into rage.

What happened!” She seethed through her teeth, “What happened to my city!” Her hand snapped out again, another portal appearing.

In her fit of rage, she travelled to all corners of the scarred city - portals brightly lighting up the night. Her ghostly visage terrifying the surprised locals both mortal and immortal. She appeared briefly at the edge of the Seine, a couple of Selkie heads breaking through the surface just in time to see her disappear back into the portal. She appeared by the base of the Eiffel Tower, the tower itself notably missing its top - cleaved off. Hissing she turned on her heel, another portal flashing in the night. From tops of buildings, running barefoot down cobblestone streets, whisking past every place she’s known and only arriving at the one place she dreaded its destruction - the Opera House. A fire had torn through it, leaving about half the building hollowed out, from where she stood and could see by streetlight. It’s history eaten up and with it, her sanctuary. Visibly sweating, breathing heavily from the magical exertion she kneeled down.

A squeaky grocery cart wheels followed by a whistle caught her attention, what kept it was the Common Fey, “Ein’t that a sight.

The sorceress jolted, her head snapping to the owner of the voice.

Standing beside a beat up grocery cart full of odds and ends was the small goblin stature of Mara. Her unmistakable glass bottle glasses perched on the end of her long pointy nose, mismatched clothes small enough for children, with a pair of green pointy ears to match her nose. She removed her glasses delicately placing them into the cart allowing her deep red eyes to examine the sight of The Ambassador.


“Bonsoir.” She greeted, warily she approached the Ambassador, “Now, I imagined you had reason to be gone but eloping ein’t one of the reasons I thought.

What happened.” She ordered.

Mara pressed her lips at her tone but shrugged one shoulder, knowing better than most when to complain about barked orders, “Aliens, my Lady. The invasion started with a rain of meteors, one didn’t hit Paris directly, but close enough-

Is it still there.

Mara stopped, then nodded slowly, “Aye, I believe so. Heard the mortals talkin’ about memorializing it or somethin’. Lotta other things took priority over getting rid of it. Meteorites still fetch a pretty penny so they roped it off with some guards.” Long nails brushed under her chin, “Fires were put out a long time ago.” Mara made eye contact, trying to puzzle out The Ambassador’s intentions.

The Ambassador pushed herself up to stand, her breathing had returned to normal. She pulled a handkerchief from her purse to dab at her forehead. Recomposing herself she asked, sweetly, “Where might I find it, Mara?

The sudden shift in her tone unnerved Mara, she responded immediately, “Near Versailles.

Smiling a little, she bowed her head respectfully to Mara, “It is good to see a friendly face, if Bach arrives would you be so kind as to tell him I will return shortly?

My Lady-!

Another portal opened, making the goblin squint painfully against the harsh light. The Ambassador clicked her heels then bounded through the door. Out the other side, she appeared above the site where the meteorite had left such a devastatingly large crater. Kilometers above it, she hovered momentarily before gravity brought her down, the wind blowing her skirt past her. Her bare feet touched down on the meteorite, magically assisted to softly land.

The ground surrounded the meteor in a sloping wall. On the surface, there was a small tented area, soft yellow light glowing from one. Small roads were constructed to reach the bottom, some equipment already set up near the base of the meteorite. It seemed the government was ready to start mining it to extract all the valuable raw materials. Unfortunately, a sorceress’ petty bit of revenge took priority.

Years scrounging for sources of magic to get home, scavenging in all intents and purposes. Storing power, carefully using spells when it was needed most. Now - having direct access to her wellspring of power, the abundancy truly excited her. Even enraged did her eyes sparkle with delight.Willing the Arcane Stream to come, she beckoned it with her Words of Power. A sliver of light began to form in the sky well above her, stretching in a singular line over the crater. The wind shifted once more, strong gusts kicked up ash, dust, and threatened to blow away the tents. Guards appeared from the tents, shielding their faces and eyes against the light.

The sliver of light widened, the energy that flowed from that tear breathed life into its surroundings. Grass grew, roots jumped free from the soil, weeds pushed through the charred earth. Soil cracked with the movement of the plant life, water began flowing free from all sides. The Arcane Stream’s energy flowed down into The Ambassador’s outstretched hands, blue light formed around her body - enveloping her. Her hair floated free from her back, her dress becoming ethereal. Her Words of Power rose in pitch and strength.

Slowly she brought her hands down to the meteorite, where the blue light spread surrounding the space rock. It creaked, then groaned as fissures snapped across it - loud bursts of sound following with every break. Shouts from the guards above barely reached her ears as she tore it apart. Large chunks broke away floating above her, every layer she broke through joined the collective swirling above her. Her body disappeared in a thick haze of broken meteorite, but the light shone on through it.

Two feet planted on the large core, surrounded in a whirlwind of what she had broken. Bending her knees she jumped through the haze straight up to the tear. It shrunk in size, being pulled inward small enough to accommodate the size of a portal door. For a few moments in the chaotic winds, she was still. Her leg stretched out on an invisible platform, a tiny circle of light appeared at the tip of her toe. Her arms floated down in the same direction. A swing of her other leg spun her into a pirouette, standing en pointe she danced in a circle in midair - little circles of light for each step she took. Berry stained lips reciting the incantations, displaying a powerful control over earthly elemental magic even on something not of this world. Dancing around the formation of a portal door, she took her time. As blood dribbled down from her nose over her upper lip - she finally focused on the door.

She twisted the golden doorknob, the scene that appeared before her was the wedding she had just escaped. Fey were visibly surprised to see the runaway bride once more so soon.

A delicate flourish of her hand directed the deadly metal haze to fly past her body through the portal, raining down upon the wedding. The faerie present gasped in the poisonous cloud, the door slammed shut after the last particle found it’s new home in the faraway dimension. A terrible, unprecedented farewell to a place she had grown to truly loathe. Tonight they bore the blame for her disappearance, the meteorite repurposed as her weapon.

From the ground, guards held up their cellphones trying to capture what they saw, in the grainy light-flooded videos, cameras saw the figure turn to peer over her shoulder down at them. Below where she levitated the crater filled with water, green sprouted where the fire had destroyed and the core of the meteorite was left behind. One more portal appeared beside her, she stepped through it and all light followed her in an instantaneous blink.

banner credit to Hellis

True Name: Odette Favre

Spotify Playlist - The Rose Leyline

Alias: The Ambassador of the Fair Folk, The Faerie Mistress, The Ambassador

Speech Color: Thistle

Character Alignment: Chaotic neutral - Villain

Identity: Known

Character Personality: Cold, colder now. Previously she had begun to gain warmth of new allies, fleeting romance, and a fire lit under her future. Embittered, condescending, unassuming. After three years The Ambassador has assumed only one role. She is a ruthless opportunist, selfish and poised. With a single-minded focus on consolidating power prior to her disappearance to prevent her prophesied downfall, she now believes it had unfolded under the destruction wrought by the invasion.

Once a trendsetting, ballet Soloist of the Paris Opera House - Odette Favre's civilian life was that of opulent comfort. Earned by way of being a talented dancer and comfortably padding her bank accounts by illicit means working with the Shroud Syndicate. A materialistic attachment to her creature comforts. A social chameleon, keeping people at arm's length only allowing friends and lovers to see what she wanted them to see. Various forms of manipulation kept sharp in her toolbox.

Ambitious from a young age, the sheer strength of will and focus is shown in her excellent spell casting. A sharp memory for detail to keep her repertoire of spells, and complex choreography. Unshakable confidence in her skills. What she sees as confidence could easily be mistaken for a very large ego, that has been steadily fed and bruised by her exploits.

Ultimately at her core, her empathy for her fellow human being is shockingly minimal and very specific. However, she cares deeply for her connection to the Fey and has shown shades of empathy for strange creatures. Well-versed in rules, lore and expectations of the Fey she is polite to a fault. Manners matter, easily repulsed by crude behaviour or language. Her temper is quiet, reserved. How she expresses it is often in forms of cruelty, precise action and she struggles to reign in any extreme shifts in emotion. Try as Bach does to encourage her.

The Ambassador casts a long and mysterious shadow, for those she pulls into her inner circle (willing and not) do they get glimpses of this terribly flawed and heavily influenced woman. Some would count themselves lucky and unlucky to call The Ambassador their ally. For where she steps, trouble follows and often she is personally perpetuating it.

Hero Type: Mystic

Power Level:
City - Portals are used to travel anywhere on Earth and into different dimensions. Her power upper limits remain on a city level.


Opening Rifts/Door Ways– Traversing Fey Realms
->Adept at finding cracks and bleeding spots along Earth's leylines. Using them to open rifts to create a doorway. Typically opening doors to Faerie Realms, places on Earth, or entrances directly to the Arcane Stream. Odette is well-practiced in opening doors through the Arcane Stream. Able to open several portals (Up to 6) in an area close to a Leyline, the further away the less she is able to open. The doors she uses for portals are built directly from the Arcane Stream, very difficult to break down unless another mage or witch knew how to create portals from the Arcane Stream as well. Otherwise, the portal remains until Odette wills it away. The portals are akin to stepping in and out of a river. With the endurance and years of precise skill practice, opening portals do not take serious amounts of energy. Though absolute concentration is a must.

Spell Casting
-> Has an impressive repertoire of spells memorized. She uses Words of Power to give her spells intention and power. Until they are spoken they have no power. Locator spells, levitation spells, illusion spells, minor healing spells, luck sapping hexes, magical ward and trap spells.

Fundamental-Elemental Manipulation
-> Basic manipulation of the magical elements. Earth, Air, Water and Fire. Learned each skill through elemental sprite masters. Bach however taught her Earth and it is her preferred magical element to use.

Elemental magic takes a lot of concentration and power, due largely to her skill level. i.e if she whips up a storm it'll take a full day of rest to be back to normal. While possessed by Bach she has mastery over Earth elemental magic. Able to grow trees from seeds, at full power possible to rattle tectonic plates.

Item Enchantment
-> Able to enchant items with magical purpose, even enchanting certain parts of her own body. Small-time stuff barely registers as use of energy. Bigger objects and intentions take more energy.

Summoning Fey
-> Drawing sigils and calling upon the Fey by name. She will strictly only call upon Fey she has met personally for help. While the sigil is only a form of communication, it is no feat for Odette to transport them to her location for direct help.

-> Fluent in French (native), English and Common Fey. Bach however translates and speaks many more Fey languages for Odette.

Strength Level: Athletic, has the strength to carry dead weight. When possessed by Bach, has superstrength to lift 5 tonnes/4.5k kilos.
Mobility: Magically assisted for jumping, balancing and landing at the limit of a normal human. With the added strength of possession, she can run, jump, react a few steps above a normal human being.
Intelligence: Above average. Experienced with faerie political games, tricks and ridiculous expectations. Readily employs those same tricks to get what she wants. A masterful manipulator.
Fighting Skill/Tactics: Trained for self-defence, can throw a decent punch and wiggle her way out of holds. She would much rather someone else do the punching to be sure. She makes use of illusion spells, usually casting fogs or charms that make her appearance or face easily forgettable to any curious eyes to protect her identity. During a fight or operation, she is methodical, akin to a hungry spider patiently waiting for her prey to step into traps. On the offensive, she'll readily push her enemy into a portal opened over the Atlantic ocean.


-> Small Apartment building in the heart of Paris. Her home on Earth, well fortified by magical wards. Protected by a household Fey, Vienna. Invisible to humans but magically linked with the home. Able to reject and turn away unwanted intruders, guests or enemies. Answers only to the building owner, Odette.
-> Remanents of an apartment building she once owned now lay in ruin, burned to the ground from the alien invasion. Not for the first time, she finds herself homeless and presumably Vienna along with it having been tethered to it.

-> A Yew Tree in the Faerie Realms belonging to Bach. A home and sanctuary, protected by similar wards. It is a home base for the pair of them and they share equally in its ownership. Equipped with creature comforts and absolute safety from local Fey as well.

-> Permanent Portal: Paris. It is a permanent portal Odette strictly controls. Months of work from both Odette and faerie alike resulted in a portal permanently stationed on the edge of Paris. It is incredibly difficult to dismantle even by a mage who knows how to create them. It is infused with a variety of magics, protected by the most powerful wards, cloaked by illusion spells to trick even the most powerful magical creatures. The small forest is littered with the bodies of the alien invaders, along with bones of various creatures who got lost in it, human and animal alike.

-> Library of Grimoires, magickal knowledge collected from all areas of the Faerie Realms stored safely in her apartment.
Gone, ruined by the fire.

-> The Tattoo - The tattoo on her back is imbued with a charm to protect her against hostile Fey and faerie magic.

-> Countless favours, alliances, factions of Fey she is connected to. Easily accessible to draw on for help, advice, knowledge and power.


Magic Limitations: Her magic is limited to how well-rested she is and her calorie count for the day. Even while possessed it takes a full day's worth of rest. Pushing past those limitations can result in immediate shock, fainting, bloody noses, worst-case scenario coma or spontaneous combustion depending on the energy output. Her limitations have shrunk having received plenty of practice increasing her efficient output.

Silence: While Odette tries her very best to keep her enemies at a distance, her ability to spell cast is directly linked to her being able to speak. Silenced/gagged/unconscious, she is forced to rely on her allies for help.

Possession: Possession provides a boost in physical and spell casting strength, it is a unique weakness, while Odette loses her invulnerability to the touch of Iron/Steel - Bach gains the ability to survive it. While they are together, Odette also gains an aversion to fire. If they are not treated in a timely manner once touched by Iron/Steel it can permanently harm both of them.

Human Constraints: Human as can be as much as she tries to trick her enemies. Sickness, injury, a knock around the head, bullet holes, exhaustion, exposure. She is a powerful sorceress but she is still very human.

Polite to a Fault: Unlike Fey she is not bound to correct mannerisms and precise speech. Though she respects those same guidelines and lives by them. Any foe smart enough to use them against her can and will be successful. i.e no harm can befall a guest in her home, gifts of virtue or boons must be well received then repaid in kind - no exceptions, handshakes are binding, etc...

The Yew Tree/Permanent Portal: Different from the tree they call home, this Yew Tree is planted to solidify their soul pact. It not only symbolizes their pact but acts as a construct of the permanent portal from Paris to the Faerie Realms. They have shrouded it with every protection spell they know as well as safeguards against natural disaster. Its dual importance is a well-kept secret while it functions as a permanent portal.

Internet: Odette may keep her name under lock and key around the technologically absent Faerie but anyone interested in simply looking up her Instagram or Twitter feed could easily uncover her identity. (See CAH Season 2, Noir posts for this very instance) Thankfully for her, it doesn't matter anymore.



  • Parisian Soloist: The Ambassador was a headlining Soloist ballet dancer. Those familiar with ballet, performing arts may know of a blue-haired French dancer.
  • Interdimensional Political Scene: Odette is not unique in being a mortal with a reputation among the Fey, she has had brief contact with witches and high courts of the Fey. Whether American or European connections, whispers of the Ambassador are never far from word of mouth or her exploits.
  • Lucrative And Illicit: Her connection with the Shroud Syndicate has placed her with firm lines back to the Syndicate's home city, Lost Haven. In Lost Haven, she can be recognized by her apparent lack of disguise when working amongst the other criminals. A healthy dose of fear to rumours that circulate her presence.
  • Deal Maker and Breaker: With the right connections either by mystical or criminal, looking for her particular brand of help whether it is to move, kidnap, or terrorize The Ambassador's moral ambiguity allows room for a great deal of work to be done.
  • Pawns Pawns Pawns: In the happenstance of crossing paths with the Ambassador, if someone demonstrates skills/wit/unique abilities to catch her attention - she will attempt to garner whatever is of use. She is a shameless opportunist and believes what she wants is rightfully hers to exploit.
  • Dreadful Undead: Odette has a personal aversion to the undead, necromancy and the forms it takes.

Do you know how to post pictures on RPG boards?: Yes


Sample Post

Okay reposting my character sheet for The Ambassador here first. Added a few things, changed some stuff up. The only thing I'd point towards being is possible to question is the most recent stuff in history regarding the current ic invasion.

I don't really have any plans for Odette to participate in the current arc before the time skip and tried to be vague about what she might be possibly arriving back home to in the aftermath. Leaving it open-ended. Let me know! @Dedonus@Hound55@nitemare shape

SO I'm working on porting The Ambassador over here, @nitemare shape @Hound55 @Dedonus just a smol suggestion for maybe adding a section to the character sheets. A bullet point form for RP hooks - where the player can write in bullet form ideas/instances/scenarios where other characters will have an easier time connecting or interacting with the character for good ooc info. Like a quick access info area. It's not heavy on details, and if someone wants to get more details they can, of course, read the rest of the sheet. But ye! Just a suggestion.

Here u go. Can I move her over right away?
Did someone say......... PC Villainy fights...?

Time: The Next Day
Location: The Seine, Paris

David smiled to himself as he pocketed his wallet, his arrangement with the staff in charge finalized and walked back outside.

He had arrived somewhat earlier than was warranted, if only to ensure that everything would turn out perfectly. At first, he’d just intended to mess around a little with the Ambassador. Play a little game, maybe even steal something of hers as a memento, and have a good laugh all around. There was no real motive beyond the fact that he could, and of course, if he found something beyond her civilian identity to use against her down the line, well… all the better.

After the previous night, however… messing with her simply wasn’t enough. He couldn’t quite place his finger on what it was about her that made him feel so compelled to attempt to seduce her. Perhaps it was beating her at her own clever little game, allowing her to think herself victorious to make his own triumph that much sweeter. Perhaps he was charmed by her little façade, and was truly curious to take a peek behind the curtain once she thought the dance was over, so to speak. In truth, there were many ifs, buts and maybes surrounding this little venture of his, but one thing was certain: it was going to be a lot of fun to see it through.

‘Le Calife’* was a gorgeous thing: built in 1939, it had originally served as a cargo carrying barge in Belgium. Its current owner, however, had reconverted it into a moving restaurant that carried people in a magical dining experience across the Seine, passing through a multitude of Paris’ most emblematic locations.

Besides offering a unique perspective of the ‘City of Lights’ (the irony of which was not lost on the Avatar of Darkness), the boat itself was a thing of marvel. From the 300 year old Buddha that served as its nautical figurehead, to the 1800s stained glass that gave way to the city from the inside of its panoramic dining room, to the copper bar, the exquisite woodwork, the myriad of little details that had been put into it… it was practically a love letter to devotion itself; a walk through the past as they looked into the present and beyond. Indeed, the thief could hardly imagine a more romantic setting for their first date.

Most of the night’s guests had already boarded, the anticipation almost palpable in the air. David, however, waited patiently upon the docks, even as the time to set off drew ever closer. He wore a custom fitting, three piece suit of the darkest grey, coupled with a pair of emblematic black oxfords. An impeccable white shirt and a perfectly straight handkerchief to match combined with the colours nicely, and completing the ensemble was a fine tie of the same colour as his suit, with a pleasant, grainy texture, and a couple of exquisite cufflinks, where a number of small, rare black diamonds had been encrusted into an obsidian frame, describing together a complex yet uniform pattern: discreet yet extremely eye-catching once noticed.

David looked down at his silver watch. Just about as fancy and minimalistic as everything he was wearing, its black dial and strap complementing the outfit perfectly. Not as pleasing, however, was the time on display. Where the hell was she?

"Monsieur? I’m afraid we must be leaving soon. The Captain does not abide waiting for anyone,” one of the staff members called out, in hopes of getting him inside.

There are still five minutes left before departure,” he rebutted, “And frankly, whilst I appreciate this city’s commitment to punctuality, the next time someone charges me a fortune and then lectures me about my own, they are going to find one of my very English oxfords up their very french butts. Understood?”

The man swallowed as David set his pale, blue eyes upon him, suddenly feeling very uncomfortable: his anxiety not dissimilar to when he found himself alone in a pitch-black room. He nodded, and proceeded to mind his own business, nervously checking the time.

Purposefully, letting the clock run to the last minute, a slick polished town car pulled up close along the docks. The suited driver jumped out of his seat to open the door for his passenger. A shiny enamel black pump stepped out of the vehicle first, while the driver offered his hand to help her stand out of the car. Taking it out of formality, Odette’s bob of blue hair appeared over the door stepping carefully around. Shoulders straight, a smile poised - as if the time really didn’t matter. Red, classic red lips, sharp black eyeliner with a touch of light-catching champagne eyeshadow on her eyelids. Her little black dress another classic choice, the dress was backless - the shoulders were connected with a little bowtied material tied just below the back of her neck, it’s short shoulder sleeves cut close with high neck and high waist. Her back tattoo was on full display, skin without a single scar. A pair of solid gold ball studs were in her ears, a small pearlescent gold necklace hung around her clavicle.

In her hand was a small black leather Prada clutch, enchanted with space to store a few emergency supplies. Not one to go anywhere without some backup, thanking her driver - she sauntered over to the docks seeing David Blackwood waiting for her. The first date she had been on in quite some time, with a night of a little preparation, she was on the playing field. There was frustratingly no information on David anywhere to be found, scouring through her friend groups - and social circles. Asking other dancers, critics, even reporters if they had seen or heard of him before. Nobody, except the few patrons who had been around him the night they met.

One thing was very clear after meeting David, he had orchestrated it. They were similar in that way, Odette remembered the nights she cased out potential partners by their social media profiles, dating histories and word of mouth. It was all fantastic practice becoming exactly what they wanted. It was theatre, emotional manipulation, and how far she could go before her unwitting lover realized they were apart of a game.

And yet, amidst everything she had to focus on - smuggling for the Syndicate, negotiating and treating the faerie in Paris, daily hours put into ballet. . . There was no distraction quite like a gentleman, especially when he insisted on treating her to a boat ride down the Seine. The barge itself was the picture of what tourists dreamed of when they thought of Paris. Beautiful, old, and romantic. It was a fantastic illusion.

As for illusions, she resolved to pick at the threads to unravel David Blackwood’s handsome and charming visage. Getting under someone’s skin, especially someone like David required a few tricks.

The heels gave her an extra few centimeters where she was now eye level in height with David, equal ground. Offering her hand for him to take she greeted him with a tender cadence, “Bonsoir, Monsieur Blackwood. Thank you for inviting me to dinner tonight, I’m sure this will be a treat for even a local such as myself.

She gestured to the barge, “Shall we?

David took her hand in his own, once again raising it to his lips, the irritation in his features gone, his glaucous blue eyes smiling at her as he did so. “The pleasure is all mine, Mademoiselle Favre,” he greeted her, stepping aside and raising a hand in the boat’s direction, “Please, after you.

A staff member greeted them as they entered, showing them into the panoramic dining area known as ‘the Winter Garden.’ Their table rested right in the middle of the dining room, next to one of the stained glasses. It was just starting to get dark outside, and a set of four, medium-sized inverted dome lamps lit up, their stained-glass covers depicting colourful flowers separated by a metal rim.

Once seated, David donned an easy-going smile, a mysterious quality to it as he regarded her. The waiter produced a long, tube-nosed lighter, attempting to light the candle that stood dead center between them.

The thief allowed this to go on for several moments, an amused look as he rested his chin on his fist, the man’s frustration growing with each attempt as the light simply went out every time.

“My apologies, this is most strange. We always use fresh lighters at the beginning of every evening… If you’ll just give me a moment…”

It is no bother, mon ami, David replied in his perfect French, producing a small, platinum-plated lighter which produced a small filament of deep purple plasma as he lit it up, it’s look and sound not unlike a taser. He’d quickly found bunsen and plasma lighters were about the only thing that allowed him to keep up his smoking habit.

The waiter raised a brow, nodding in compliance as he gave them a pair of open menus. Before he left, David raised a hand, We’ll have a bottle of your best pinot noir wine, si vous plait. If you have something from the Coast of Nights villages, that would be excellent.

The man nodded knowingly, “I know just the one.”

David nodded, pleased, then went back to regarding his date, unabashedly admiring the figure the black dress cut on her, his gaze slowly moving upwards -lingering a second or two on the crimson of her lips- before finally settling on the black ice blue of her eyes, piercing into him.

For a moment there, I wondered if you’d show up,” he confessed calmly, his smile widening ever so slightly, “Only for a moment.

She crossed her leg over her knee, watching as the waiter failed to light the candle thinking of how to respond to him, he left to retrieve their drinks her gaze drifted back to David, “I live to keep people on their toes, I am quite curious about you Monsieur Blackwood. I wanted to commend you in person for your research.” She tucked a few strands of hair behind her ear, “Your ‘guess’ on my preferred drink momentarily impressed me.

With one hand she fluttered at him, “Truthfully,” she lied, “That little fact alone would irritate most but it has resulted in dinner and an opportunity.

The lie being it didn’t irritate her.

Glancing over the menu, her foot gently swaying back and forth in thought. As all the guests were properly seated, the barge pulled away from the docks gently beginning its journey down the Seine. The soft light of twilight cast a romantic glow around them. In this light, anyone could truly be anything.

David’s right brow raised simultaneously with the left corner of his lips. “Mademoiselle, please. The implication is hurtful,” he feigned offense whilst clearly remaining amused, the fingertips on his right hand coming to rest mockingly above his heart. Ah, merci, he winked at the waiter as he returned with a rare (and very expensive) bottle of red, presenting it to them.

And what kind of opportunity do you suppose presents itself?” he asked as the man opened the bottle, proceeding to quickly open it and serve a small amount on David’s cup. He took it, swirled it for a moment as he smelled it, then drew a small sip, allowing it to linger in his tongue before swallowing, Excellent, thank you.

The waiter proceeded to fill their cups, leaving the bottle as he decided to return later for their orders.

Cradling the wine glass in the palm of her hand, she leaned into the back of her chair, again choosing to wait before drinking.

She replied simply, “To play.

You know what I like to drink, can’t let you go exposing all of my secrets.” She joked, taking a sip of the wine and having to stop herself from immediately making a noise of approval. It was good, another glance at the menu she saw duck, salmon, and steak. “Not without learning some of your own of course, what does a man who flashes money like it is his identification card do for work?

David smiled to himself, looking down at the menu: the question was not entirely unexpected.

Oh, you know, a bit of this, a bit of that. Whatever suits my fancy, really,” he shrugged slightly, deciding the steak was to his liking, “I started off as a consultant, mostly in legal and management fields. Eventually, I grew bored and started flipping real estate. Lots of passive income to be had. I also started a couple of companies of my own, which I sold off for a nice profit when the getting was good... What else... Venture capital, private equity, a healthy amount of stock market investment. Oh, yes, and I’ve been quite into art dealing lately. Although I would say it’s more of a hobby than an actual profession at this point.

Her eyes narrowed briefly, no specifics, no names, vague. She replied, “How interesting,” She kept her gaze on him, “I have dabbled in real estate, I own the building I live in. I started with nothing, now I have everything I could want.

What is that you want, Monsieur Blackwood if your work and hobbies do not sustain your attention for long? Frankly, I would be restless if I were in your position.” Settling her chin into her palm, casually prying as she did, “I always have something set in my sights to achieve.

That would possibly be the truest statement she’d express that evening, her ambition never let her rest. There was always someone else to win, a deal to broker, or another heart to break. He had money to throw around but surely he was throwing it at something in particular.

He smiled faintly, the pale of his eyes clashing against the intensity of her own as he broke his perfect posture, leaning forward slightly. “Oh, believe me, Mademoiselle Favre. There is always something that I want. My hunger knows no bounds.

The candle began flickering nervously, casting strange shadows over his handsome features, until the man finally leaned back.

Speaking of which, right now I want some steak. Have you decided yet?” he casually asked, closing the menu.

Her smile disappeared briefly in the flicker of the light, in another heartbeat it was back she blinked as she closed the menu, quietly she noted, “The guinea fowl, please.” Sipping again on her wine as she looked out the window to the view, seeing something in the shallows of the darkening water of the river.

I am famished. I had a few auditions earlier today,” She said absentmindedly while focusing on the water. Something was swimming alongside the barge. “Manon, the demi-soloist I am covering for is still too sick to perform for Midsummer.

Whatever it was, it wasn’t coming up for air - not yet.

And they’re still considering her, after your performance?” he raised a brow at this, his eyes trailing hers. He, for once, saw nothing out of the ordinary, “Your director’s an idiot. Regardless, I trust they went well,” he noted. It was not a wishful statement: simply a fact, as the man signaled their waiter that they were ready to ask, getting their orders out of the way swiftly.

The barge began passing at a convergence point: on one side, the ‘Palais de Challiot’s’ grandeur greeted them, whilst on the other side the magnificence of the famous Eiffel tower shined down upon them: literally, as it had grown dark and the structure had been lit up.

The ambiance in the room had grown more intimate as the sun had settled, a dark atmosphere that suited the thief just fine. “Your city’s beauty never ceases to astound me,” he commented as he took a small sip of his wine. However, despite the splendor around them, his eyes remained firmly fixed upon her.

Putting her glass down she laughed at his comment about the director, hiding it behind a hand. His heavy gaze would surely have set others squirming in their seats, but she found herself liking it. One thing was sure her date seemed genuinely pleased, more than pleased with her performance. Her ego inflated at that, looking up to the Eiffel Tower trying to see it as he must have, her city’s center where all roads met, “I have a memory from every point on the river, could tell you more than a tour guide has rehearsed. A real Parisian’s Paris is much different than what you can pay to see.

She pointed to the tower, “Parties, school trips, midnight trouble painting the town red, dates much like this one. Dares to climb to the top of the spire without being caught by security,” She sighed, unable to control the admiration - the bubbling nostalgia. “It’s beauty never wears away, even when she has many faces.

Wondering briefly if David would ever be prepared to see beyond what she would present. There was no way of telling, at least for now.

David actually chuckled at this. “I’m almost jealous. Sounds like you’ve had quite the exciting life here. Who knows, perhaps you and I can scale the tower some time, mhm?” he asked. Despite his general state of slight amusement, the man didn’t seem to be joking: if anything, he seemed a bit too eager, his imagination having flared. “Just… don’t tell my insurance company. My worth would plummet,” he winked at her.

I would, however, wait to make any assumptions regarding this date until it’s over,” he leaned back slightly on the comfortable chair, “If by the end of the night you still feel like you’ve been on dates ‘much like this one,’” he echoed, “I will conclude that I am not worthy of pursuing you further, and shan’t bother you anew.

How amicable of you.

She scrunched her nose as she smiled, teasing him, “Having only met you I already find it hard to believe you’d think yourself unworthy of anything.

Odette saw the waiters begin carrying silver platters with entrees and appetizers, she had failed to notice any significant amount of time that had passed since they placed their orders. It clearly had as the Eiffel Tower was long left in the background now. Time had slipped by her. The servers both placed their steaming entrees before them, offering freshly ground pepper - efficiently filling their glasses with water as quickly as they had come they bowed their heads and quietly said their bon appetit. Before her was a plate that could have easily been pulled from magazine pages, the smell alone made her stomach rumble.

She almost wished she was at home to eat this.

Pleasantly she smiled raising her glass of wine to David, “Bon appétit, David.

Bon appétit,” he echoed, the sound of glass hitting against glass filling the air.

Dinner was... well, wonderful, much to his chagrin. Unlike Odette, David had no qualms devouring his steak (with impeccable manners, naturally). However, most of the course they spent talking and enjoying each other’s company. David could not count the number of women he’d dated, from veritable bimbos to artists of renown and neuroscientists... but in the brief time he’d known her, none seemed quite as exciting as her. Perhaps it was the fact that she led a double life, just like him or the fact that he knew just how dangerous she was... but whatever it was, a part of his brain had to constantly remind him that he was playing a game here: every time she did that little thing with her nose and smiled, or took him somewhere else with an anecdote, or looked at him like she could chew him up and spit him out. Even when they engaged in a battle of wits -which was more often than not,- subtly quipping and counter-wisecracking, even when he cheated, she still managed to make him drop his guard ever so slightly. Something easily corrected, of course, but which should not have happened to begin with.

By the time their courses were retired, they had gone through most of the bottle of wine, and had made their first pass across the Invalides, the Grand Palais, the Assemblee Nationale and the Musée d’Orsay, and where slowly creeping up to the Louvre: a place he knew intimately. Despite all this, his notice of them was passing at best.

Failing to stifle another giggle behind her hand, she said, “If there comes a time when-” Eyes glided up to look out the windows but not before catching another set of eyes staring at them from across the dining area, she continued to look away up to the scenery pretending she hadn’t noticed them, changing what she was about to say, “. . .When someone knows that staring across the room is incredibly rude.” She chewed at the inside of her cheek.

She looked back to David, “Behind you there is a pair of strangers staring us down, I do not recognize them. I do not normally get accosted in public for ballet.

It is because I usually can cast a spell on them to ignore me., she thought, drumming her nails against the table.

David frowned slightly at this, looking back over to them. A dawning suspicion grew on him, the man shooting them an irritated look.

Well,” he turned back to look at her, his features softening into a pleasant smile, “This is kind of a high-end restaurant. Not the craziest place to find some of your fans. Don’t worry, though, I know just how to deal with them.

With that, he turned around again and flipped them off. This earned him a couple of wide eyes from a guest or two that caught the gesture, but the thief did not seem to mind terribly, as the quartet became rather flustered at all the attention they were suddenly receiving, looking away and muttering amongst themselves.

David smiled at her, although something in the back of his mind told him this wasn’t quite over. “See? Sometimes being the rudest person in the room is the best way to deal with undesirables,” he noted, taking a small sip from his glass. “Not that I’d want you to cultivate such a dreadful image of me,” he added, though there was a hint of playfulness in his eyes.

David,” She admonished without any heat, her frown melting away into a small laugh, “It seemed to work, this time.

Squinting at their backs before returning to David, “More wine?

Please,” he smiled, mildly happy he hadn’t completely blown it, “In fact, if you’ll excuse me, I’m afraid I must use the service. Why don’t you get us another bottle in the meantime? We still have another couple of hours before the cruise is over,” he asked as he stood up, neatly placing his napkin on the table.

As he passed her by, his hand idly caught a stray strand of blue hair, neatly tucking it behind her ear without actually ever touching her: mostly sleight of hand, coupled with a small measure of his power, almost imperceptible tendrils of darkness finishing the job for him. He smiled to himself: he was getting better.

And if his suspicions were right, some unfortunate folks were about to learn just how much.

She sat still as he nearly touched her, a hand curling around the hem of her dress. As he passed she turned in her seat to watch his back disappear, noticing a pair from the table that stared at them had gotten up to leave shortly after David had.

He never did quite make it to the bathroom, sneaking instead to the outside terraces. He was careful to make sure Odette did not see, but obvious enough that the nosy table would.

As expected, eventually two of the four ‘rude guests’ made it to the deck, which was fortunately vacated. The couple, a man and a woman, looked around for David, but he was nowhere to be seen.

“Where the hell did he...”

The woman was never able to finish her phrase as a pair of shadowy tentacles seemed to appear out of nowhere, covering both their mouths and effectively muffling all sound. Another four tendrils wrapped around their wrists, preventing them from moving their arms freely.

I am assuming since one of the ladies is hereafter I showed you the bird, you’re not just here to kick my ass for being a tad too cheeky,” David appeared behind them: his shadowplate might make him stealthier, but he did not need it for a good old disappearing act. The shadows twisted them around, forcing the pair to face him. “You’re Obscurati, are you not?

Both of them shot venom at him with their eyes. David sighed, and not being one to hurt a defenseless lady, he gave the man a low left hook, right in the kidney. His eyes widened, his knees buckled, but David’s shadowmancy wouldn’t let him fall to the ground.

You people have tested my patience far enough. Listen to me, and listen to me closely: I don’t have the Heart of Erebus anymore. It’s disappeared. Gone when it gave me these powers. And I am certainly not interested in making any deals with you lunatics,” he sighed, “At first I figured I would just vanish, make you give up. But I’m starting to see that is no longer an option. I don’t know how you’re tracking me, and frankly, whilst our little game of cat and mouse was amusing at first… now you’ve decided to meddle in my private life. That was a colossal mistake.

He began adjusting his suit. “Here’s what’s going to happen: I’m going to go back to enjoying my lovely date, and you two are going to enjoy a lovely swim in the Seine. Once you get out, you’re going to call your bosses and tell them to start running scared: Noir is bringing the war to them.

Their screams were never heard as the shadows flung them over the boat and dragged them inside the water. David waited for a few moments, keeping his concentration before finally releasing them. And with that, he went back inside: he’d figure out how to deal with the other two goons as he went. After all, the mark of a great thief was knowing how to improvise when things didn’t go according to plan.

I’m sorry I kept you waiting,” the man apologized as he returned to his seat, a small smile on his face, “I promise not to make a habit of it.

While David had been quite busy Odette received a few visitors of her own. She maintained a strained smile, a new bottle of wine sat on their table and her foot anxiously bounced under the table. To her left, noses pressed up against the windows spotty faces of three happy Selkies smiling toothily at their Ambassador. Waving and calling out to her in common fey for her ears and her ears only. With no way to tell them to go away, they carried on, oblivious to her apparent attempts to ignore them.

More selkies joined the other side, not before getting distracted by something in the water - pushing away from the windows to investigate.

The wine in the bottle sloshed as their presence moved the water to them and made waves splash against the barge. Forcing the captain to adjust course.

Welcome back.” she said, forcing her foot to settle on the ground, “I hope everything is alright?

Trying to focus on him instead of the Selkies.

Why wouldn’t I be? As far as I’m concerned, I am currently one of the luckiest men on earth,” he deflected, donning his best smile as he served her some more wine, trying not to look back at the other two. For all their crazy cultist talk, the Obscurati had so far been discreet in public. He’d just have to trust there hadn’t been a change in policy. Subtly, he attempted to change the subject, “I have to say, that’s quite the tattoo you have on your back. A yew tree?” he prodded.

Odette nodded, “Oui, you have a good eye. It is a yew tree. I have a special. . .” She searched for the right word in English, pursing her lips as she did, “L’attirance, a connection to the symbol of the Yew. I promised myself to only get one tattoo in my life, the hair,” She chuckled, “Is already pushing it for ballet while tattoos are frowned upon for dancers.

Glancing down at the table, away from the Selkies, “Deciding on a large, tasteful, depiction of a tree on my back was my way around the rules.

There are always loopholes,” she noted quietly, mostly to herself. Glancing back to the right, expecting to see the Selkies return - the window was vacant, she turned to the left and saw they were gone as well, something got their attention. Confusion writ on her expression.

Deep below the waters, the selkies were drawn by the thrashing of bodies trying to swim against the current with no real luck. They surrounded the man and woman, invisible to them especially in the darkened waters of the Seine. Rubbery hands gripped their legs tugging them underwater, wherein the darkness the faerie revealed themselves to the cultists. Their mouths opened, gaping happily at the cultists - greeting them with their teeth, touching their faces as they dragged them lower to the bottom of the river. Bubbles at the surface where the cultists disappeared, rapidly skimmed then slowly faded. Unseen, impossible to tell with no natural light, were blots of blood rising to the surface as the bubbles once had.

Descending from the shadows of the Louvre came the shrouded figure, witnessing the deaths in the only way she knew how to: by screeching into the night. Her wail ripped across the Seine, her pale face in agony as she sailed over the spot where the cultists were seen last. Her wailing persisting for a few minutes, piercing ears, chilling bones, signaling the sometimes abrupt end mortals face.

All the patrons aboard Le Calife carried on while Odette waited for the Banshee to complete her cry. Schooling her expression, however, what surprised her was David’s reaction.

He had been listening to her intently, trying (and failing) to remember any kind of symbolism that was particularly connected to the yew tree. He opened his mouth, about to spew a clever remark, as always.

Well, I think...” he paused, however, a frown drawing on his expression, nose burrowing, almost as if he’d caught wind of a bad smell.

His eyes suddenly widened, pain visible in his contorting features as he brought both hands up to his ears.

CHRIIIIIIIIST! What in the Devil’s name is that?!” he cried.

The dome lights began to violently flicker, and the candlelight between them went out entirely. A few patrons looked at him with concern, others at the lights above them. Odette’s expression clued him in: he had to be the only one who could hear it. He looked around, noticing no one else seemed to be affected. He even suspected some kind of sonic attack, but the two remaining Obscurati seemed as confused as everyone else.

Desperate, the man breathed in quickly through his nose. It was hard to concentrate, but fortunately, he’d always fared well under pressure: with a magnanimous effort, he created two small earplugs, pure darkness clogging them.

It took him a moment to compose himself: for the first time in a long time, he found himself at a loss for words, the room’s lights returning to normal.

I... I’m sorry,” he told her, although he could not hear himself speaking, a hint of a blush in his cheeks, “I truly don’t know what just came over me.

Staring at him, Odette only broke her eyes away to look at the lights then the candle. Her brow furrowed as the wailing began to fade, the barge continued to sail away from the deaths and banshee, she hadn’t known a banshee to effect the lights with her wail before. . .perhaps she had known the people that died and that was why it was different? David… he without a doubt heard her wail, but he hadn’t seen the selkies. Was he transitioning to see and hear them? The selkies were right in the window. . .She was confused, he had no idea what he just heard that much was clear by his reaction.

Monsieur Blackwood,” She began her tone shifting, the first question to naturally ask, “What exactly did you hear?

David could not hear a word she was saying, but fortunately, Swiss and the Quiet Man had taught him the art of reading lips during the early stages of his ‘career'.

I… I’m sure it was nothing,” he stuttered unconvincingly, “Perhaps I have a mild ear infection?

Now, that was perhaps the crappiest excuse he’d ever given, but all things considered, he was fresh out of ideas, having no actual idea of what had just transpired.

Odette stared for a moment longer then relaxed, would it be worth pursuing at risk of sounding paranoid or crazy herself? How could she explain hearing a banshee or describing what he may have heard as anything else beyond a strange occurrence. The occult was a sure way to ruin dinner, as were faerie in general. Her thumb drummed on the stem of the wine glass, the longer she thought the awkward air of silence grew between them. They needed a distraction. She’d have to let it go, for now.

Perhaps we can go for a walk?” Odette suggested, “Get some air?

She seemed to read his mind, and his smile was almost grateful as he stood from his seat. He doubted for a moment, steeling himself as he removed the shadow-plugs. His smile widened, relieved, upon seeing the horrific, excruciating cry had disappeared. His composure seemed to return to him as he straightened up, his smile growing enigmatic.

Actually, I think I have a better idea. Come with me, I have a little surprise for you,” he invited her, motioning towards their waiter and signalling towards the bottle and glasses, the man nodding in some sort of silent agreement between the two.

Another staff member pulled aside a red velvet cord from one of its black and brass posts, allowing them passage down a set of stairs, leading them down to a door. David opened it halfway, signaling with a hand for her to enter.

After you, Mademoiselle.

As soon as she would enter, she would be greeted by a beautiful, bending stairway, its golden railings leading down to an oval room. As they began to descend, the room slowly illuminated, spotlights shining down one by one on the cleared area to present an improvised ballroom. In the back sat a beautiful, 1879 Steinway piano, a lady in an elegant dress behind it, a small, string band sitting nearby. However, they remained mostly shrouded in darkness, as if to create the illusion that they were not entirely there.

Their first step on the dancefloor served as the cue for the band, which began to play a beautiful, slow waltz. David extended a hand to her.

Would you do me the honour?

The sight of the dancefloor warmed Odette to the core, the hesitation she had following him across the threshold down the stairs evaporated, the music brought a certain light to her eyes. When her eyes settled on David, inviting her to dance with him. She found herself having no doubt in his sincerity, placing her hand in his.

Oui, Monsieur.” She said softly.

As his hand closed around hers lifting it up while his other hand rested on her waist, easily the closest they had been all evening. Her free hand rested, informally, against his shoulder between their arms, Odette followed his lead, her gaze not leaving his own. The small bit of tension that had been present all evening began to bubble anew between them, as they stepped in time to the waltz, moving as one.

You know how to dance.” She stated, matter-of-factly.

David chuckled as they glided across the dancefloor. “That is high praise coming from you, Mademoiselle,” he seemed to thank her, “My family was rather keen on me being able to… adapt to any kind of social situation.

Why the hell was he talking about his family right now? And what perfume was that?

I did my best to show my discontent with it all, but I always secretly loved to dance,” he noted as he lifted his arm, his posture perfect as she gracefully twirled around beneath it, finally catching her as their bodies knelt in unison, “I even caught on to a few tricks of my own.

Pressed against his torso as they knelt she held her breath involuntarily, smoothly being brought back up to standing stepping in a circle together all in time to the music, responding as they danced, “Your secret love of dance is safe with me,” she said, stretching out their arms they stepped in unison once more in a circle holding each other’s hand, “Dancing for me is freedom.

With a slight tug Odette spun back into his arms once more, “Free to choose, free to express. . .” She leaned over his shoulder to whisper, “Freedom to simply be.

Is that what you want?” he whispered back, the volume of his voice matching her own.

Odette tilted her head, waiting for him to continue.

He held her close, eyes gazing deep into her own as he began leading into a particularly complicated set of steps for a waltz. Unsurprisingly, she had no trouble following him as they hovered above the wooden boards, their dance becoming almost something out of fantasy.

I believe you believe it is. Truly,” his words were soft, for her ears only, “And perhaps it is, in some small measure. But please, let’s be candid for a moment here... You want to choose? To express? You couldn’t care less what the world thinks about you. You just want them to think you do. And I know you want more than to simply be.

He raised his hand again, her dress floating as she began elegantly twirling around him, speaking in pace with her turns. “You want to know the unknowable. To control the uncontrollable. To triumph against the unbeatable. But it’s never enough, is it?” he asked as he caught her, “It’s never enough to truly feel.

For a moment, it was hard to discern whether he was talking about her, or himself. The music slowed down, and they took a step apart to perform a courtsey, signalling the end of the dance. He held onto her hand a second longer than was warranted, before bowing to her.

The music came to a stop, leaving a charged silence between the two. David proceeded to calmly remove his cufflinks, then his jacket, walking away to leave it aside, neatly folded. As he returned, he rolled up his sleeves, before looking towards the band and producing two, circular motion with his index finger pointing towards the ceiling. Understanding, they began playing a fiery bachata song.

He came close, but did not embrace her even as his hands got into position, waiting, almost challenging her to join him.

Knowing what pace he was about to set, Odette straightened her hair and stepped up. As if she’d shy away from something even if it was outside her normal wheelhouse.

She was the professional, afterall.

Placing her hands in his, she smiled then followed him once more into the steps. Knowingly he wrapped his arm around her torso, no space between them now. It felt as though they were hitting a carnal chorus line. Odette knew as he found his way beneath her skin, she had the same effect on him.

As they danced it became increasingly clear, there would be only one outcome for the evening.

The bachata called for loose hips, depending on David to balance her weight against himself, quick and decisively fluid steps. It was surely a complex movement but they made it look easy.

They no longer found themselves talking, yet their conversation carried on.

As the music picked up, their movements became more frenzied, yet at the same time, more intimate. An intuitive choreography where, no matter how much they twisted and turned, knelt and rebound, their bodies always found each other. He could barely think as her entirety arched in teasing motions; as he pressed his hands upon her belly, her shape moving in unison with his; as she threw her arms around his neck, her breath warm and inviting, red, truly red lips mere barely an inch away from his own.

The music died down and they stood like so for… well, he wasn’t quite sure. Sweat ran down their foreheads, their chests heaving together, their noses brushing against each other.

It took him all the willpower he had to take a step back, never really letting go of her. “Perhaps... perhaps we should get some air,” he suggested, a smile on his face as he tried, for once, not to make eye contact.

Gripping his shirt in a fist she held, finding her thoughts back on track counting her breaths as her heart had drummed on. Nodding against his forehead, pushing off from him slipping out of his hands, placing a hand over her chest. For a moment her thoughts weren’t with her, their dance was just a blur of movement. The pianist stood handing them cloth napkins, Odette dabbed carefully wary of her makeup. They climbed the stairs back up to the upper decks, where they could step outside. Walking at a leisurely pace, letting her hips sway.

Past the patrons, up the stairs to the viewing deck Odette and David arrived to the railings, looking out with a slight evening breeze greeting them. Odette fanned her face, taking a deep breath in through her nose. Letting the moment comfortably rest, as Paris slowly passed them by.

That was. . . exhilarating, Monsieur.” She began after some time, a certain glow warming her cheeks, turning to face him, “I-

Scrunching her nose with another smile, it was to her surprise - genuine, “I enjoy dancing with you. As we dance around with our words, secrets, and bodies. . .” Reaching up to caress his cheek, “You are right, I want more. I am never simply satisfied, but-

Grinning as her hand fell to his collar, she gripped the material - fire burning in her eyes, “I think you could for the night.

For a second, he was hers. The world, the beautiful city, everything seemed to dissipate around him as her nose scrunched, as her hand gently ran down his face, as she brought him closer... then he smiled.

The spell was broken, and she was right where he wanted her.

“Do not turn around. I have eyes on the target. They appear to be heading to the upper deck.”

Agent Wedge, or more accurately, Shadow Agent Wedge, nodded in understanding, taking a bite out of his flan. “I do not like this,” he idly commented, his voice low, “We still have no word from our ‘friends.’ Do you think he...?”

Agent Biggs shook her head. “It does not suit his profile. He’s quite happy to hurt, but he does not kill. Did quite a number on some of our boys last night, but no casualties,” she noted, taking a bite of her own brownie, “Amateurs.”

Wedge grimaced, “That is a bit of an understatement. Have you seen what he did to Commander Sven? Punched his jaw clean off.”

“He had literally just received his powers,” she countered, “And the way I hear it, the Commander did very little to fall in his good graces.”

“I still think we should just have the bastard shot from afar,” Wedge countered, frustrated, “Give me his location and a rifle and I...”

She shook her head again, clearly the superior officer. “It’s not that easy. The Heart of Erebus now resides within him. We need to extract the body or we could lose it again. Alive, preferably, so use the non-lethal rounds. Now finish your flan, he’s distracted, and won’t see the both of us coming if we flank him. It’s unlikely we’ll get a better chance.”

“What about the girl?” Wedge asked.

“What about her?” she shrugged, licking the last chocolate goodness of her spoon, “Seine’s as good a place as any to dump a body.”

Bollocks, he thought. Another of those Obscurati wankers, and at the most inconvenient time of all.

He brought Odette closer to him, his hand on the small of the back as he leaned in to whisper in her ear. His eyes, however, were on the man behind Odette, producing a gun.

My dear Odette,” he said, his concentration focused on producing inky tentacles out of the surrounding darkness, “One should be careful what they wish for... It’s like I said,” he continued, slowly, trying not to lose his concentration as a dark mass assaulted the man, twisting around his mouth and his gun hand. One of the dark tentacles began sharply snapping back, making the man smack himself with his own gun, once, twice, then a third strike that sent him careening over the railing, “One can never have too much of a good thing.

Hearing him speak her name, she tightened her hand over his arm. Over his shoulder, Odette saw the other darkly clad Obscurati, unbeknownst to her what she actually wanted, to Odette all she knew was that they had interrupted their dining experience. In French, she comfortably switched as if it was a matter of being able to express herself more accurately, but really it was to work in a few Words of Power to dispose of the woman.

Draping her arms over David’s shoulders, making eye contact with Agent Biggs Odette’s hands glowed light blue she spoke to David, “There is no denying the pull, pooling tension.

It was a water-based spell she had picked up from the fey, specifically Princess Lassantra. Mystic blue mist fell over Agent Biggs’ head, the colour drained from the woman’s face as the blood throughout her body was pulled into her chest. She clutched at her shirt stumbling, gripping the railing, gaping as she stared at Odette - horror etched into her expression. While the sorceress only smiled, tucking her chin against David’s shoulder. Releasing the spell closing her hand into a fist, the Selkies had returned, Odette gave a slight nod of approval. Happily, they pulled their final victim for the night into the river.

She leaned back, a hand at the nape of his neck, cold little blue wisps of light disappearing as her hand relaxed.

He furrowed his brows slightly at her choice of words. Perhaps he was a bit rustier than he thought? No, that was ridiculous. It was clearly some kind of local idiom he was unfamiliar with.

Besides, what did it matter? She wanted him… and she was far more than he had expected. Than he could’ve hoped for. She was maliciously smart, twistedly funny and painfully beautiful. He could almost feel the tension between them, energy crackling in their proximity. All the Gods in the Olympus be damned, he wanted her.

I will steal your heart,’ he thought to himself.

He then smiled at her, the back of his fingers caressing her cheek before cupping it, slowly sliding to the base of her neck.

Don’t say I never warned you,” he whispered, then leaned in as the hand on the small of her back brought her close against his body.

His kiss was soft yet deep, a conundrum in and of itself. The thief flavoured it, yet showed restraint, controlling his eagerness.

Passion, mystery, death, drama, and romance. Things Odette once believed impossible to achieve in a single night. As his lips found hers, she wanted to know more, pull back the layers and find the strange shrouded heart. Keep it for herself and herself alone, this fine, new - delicate thing she held in her arms.

Surely she was strong enough to prevent the past from repeating itself, surely her equal was out there man or woman. The only way to find them was to look, not only look but to see. She felt his restraint, the invitation. Breathing in deep from her nose, they naturally parted after a few moments held in suspended time.

Don’t hold back.” She breathed.

Heh,” he laughed under his breath, “If you only knew, my dear. If you only knew.

*This is a real place, yo. If you’re ever in Paris, treat yourself.
The next chapter for Hexes and Hoaxes should be done soonish! For those eagerly awaiting ;). @Crooked Knight
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