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A Phantom Fly In The Spider’s Web

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Post by Odien on August 10th 2018, 9:34 pm

“Greetings. Through a combination of your style, elegance, and class, you have been formally invited to a gala held by Maximilian Blackwell at his Oxford estate, to take place three Saturdays from now. The event will serve as a showcase for several items, previously owned by Mr. Blackwell,  being donated to the American National Gallery, the Smithsonian, the Acropolis Museum, the Museo Nacional Del Prado, and other renowned establishments. An auction of several pieces will also be held, the proceeds of which will benefit Mr. Blackwell’s Oberon Relief Foundation. Your attendance is presumed, so if you are unable to be present, please send notice in advance. Thank you, we look forward to seeing you soon.”

The invitations were sent out to members of the global elite, people with wealth, sophistication, and, most importantly, utmost grace. Members of every industry, ambassadors of several nations, a few Vogue models. An event such as this, and especially one held by the ever-so-elegant Maximilian Blackwell, needed to be filled with lively and interesting people. People who could play the part of royalty-and indeed, some who actually were royal. And then, there were the people who were invited because they were interesting in a very special way.

Blackwell had sent an envoy to convey a request to an organization that he had, through proxies, dealt with before. The request came with a sizable sum of funds offered as well, and presented an easy enough task, though one perhaps odd for the position. Maximilian Blackwell wanted to be robbed.

Both in private circles and in speculation from the media there was talk that the security systems and guards that Maxilian had in place for this showcase were the best that private money had yet to procure for any single event. He confirmed this much when he contacted the Crime Syndicate. They were renowned internationally, both famously and infamously, as the world’s largest organized crime body. No one knew the extent of their involvement in the world of illicit affairs, only that it was wide reaching, complex, and seemingly had no limit to its pervasiveness. It was for this reason, the envoy told the upper-members of the organization’s hierarchy, that Blackwell sought their aid. He knew that the Syndicate had pulled off several heists, some officially linked to them and some where the culprits were still entirely unknown. If anyone would be able to break past the security employed at the Oxford manor on the day of the gala, it would be the Syndicate.

Of course, The Mammon always had an ulterior motive. There were whispers throughout the criminal underground that the Syndicate employed the world’s greatest thief, a man of great influence and skill. When you had the reach and resources of the Lord of Greed, these whispers were roars in the night. He knew enough to confirm the existence of such an individual, and further, that they possessed more assets than the public let on. That was as far as his knowledge seemed to extend, but it was enough. If this person succeeded in infiltrating his mundane defenses, then they were truly worth his notice, and the interaction that followed could profit them both handsomely. If not, then there was sure to be a price on their head. Capturing them would provide leverage over the Syndicate that Maximilian would not turn down.

He was not alone in this endeavor. Lucius Alba, his newfound associate, would be present at the gala, officially as a cultural attache and representative from the government of Belarus. Unofficially, he also had several items of great value and intrigue on loan to Maximilian for the evening. Pieces of historical and artistic value were on display for the private gathering. In the safes of the manor’s bowels were artifacts of even greater power and worth, the kind for which viewing was reserved only for very specific company. Hopefully the wraith within the Syndicate would prove to be such company after all.


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The Mammon had, out of necessity, lowered his defenses around the manor for the evening. He extracted it almost entirely from the Oetherworld, leaving only the barest shimmer of a magical connection between this place and all else within his realm. Elsewise, it appeared as mundane a home as any, albeit a spectacularly opulent one at that. The estate’s grounds encompassed a modest few hundred acres, and the home itself extended for several dozens of acres, and the home itself providing somewhere north of sixty-thousand square feet. Dozens of rooms and chambers filled the manor’s interior, painting the perfect picture of comfortable excess and quasi-nobility. Entrances were aplenty, with would seemingly allowing for someone to slip in and out of the home without disturbing the occupants, leaving anyone inside none the wiser.

As one might expect, it was not quite so simple. The property functioned under the same rules as the rest of the Oetherworld. No one could be forced to enter, with the world requiring some degree of consent for entry. But neither could they traipse through some door unnoticed. To walk these halls required for Maximilian to allow so, meaning that he was aware of all that occured on the grounds. Tonight, those entering would be the usual staff, the additional hired workers, the expansive guest list, and the singular individual from the Syndicate, should they choose to show up. A crowded affair to be sure, but with people like with wealth, the more the merrier.  



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Maximilian Blackwell descended the stairs, one hand sliding over the banister, a slight smile fixed in place. The ballroom was already half-filled with guest. Maximilian always made certain to arrive at least half an hour late to his own parties; the caterers and hired stuff could take people’s coats and direct them to the ballroom, and he knew the importance of making an entrance.

He was making an entrance now, just as he’d calculated: Heads swiveled toward him; someone called out his name. Maximilian lifted one hand in greeting. “Hello, Acacia, darling,” he spoke out over the stair’s banister, and then breezed the rest of the way down. His Givenchy tuxedo was perhaps a bit too formal for a pre-cocktail party such as this one, but Blackwell preferred to be overdressed. Clothing was one of the clearest expressions of power, something vain mortals understood well. Tonight, his grey jacket clung tightly to his form, accentuating the figure underneath but elegantly so, drawing short of being revealing. He wore a simple, yet stylish watch and a single ring adorned with a sapphire that was once the cause for a deadly family feud between two Indian princes. Maximilian was dressed as sharply as a knife, and he was primed to kill.

Guests were aplenty here, and the list of those present did not disappoint. Travis Masters, the young head of Masters Pharmaceuticals, was engaged in conversation with a Saudi diplomat. Bliss Fukuyama, renowned stylist, lectured a member of the waitstaff on how they should not be so rude to her next time. Marian Monette, famous for reasons no one was quite sure of, wore a backless blood-red dress of silk, cut just low enough to be suggestive yet still socially acceptable. Tyuki Gold and her Girl Alive! performed on an artificially set up stage in the corner, raised only a few inches above the rest of the floor.

The Mammon drifted throughout the crowd, chatting pleasantly with everyone he encountered. Most of the people here he was acquainted with already, and the rest were easy to lure in with his natural charm. Infusing the room with a supernatural sense of warmth and joy didn’t hurt matters any.

An old partner of Blackwell’s popped out of the crowd and waved. Javid Shirvani, Iranian representative in London and a rather dull man.  He fancied himself one of Maximilian’s friends, and Maximilian hadn’t yet disabused him of the notion; the Iranian knew all sorts of information, and was prone to share it given enough drink. Blackwell threaded his way over to his acquaintance.

The scent of alcohol was already seeping through the heavy leathery curtain of Javid’s cologne. Tacky, yes, but he was notoriously chatty when he drank too much (it was a wonder the Iranians still kept him in their employ). Maximilian angled his body towards Javid as if listening closely, but his gaze turned out upon the sea of party guests. More people had arrived, and the gala was beginning to form his own ecosystems, its own bureaucratic channels, the way events such as this always do. Maximilian took note of it all, watching who toasted with whom, and who gathered together near the bandstand, and who stole away into the smoking room together. Every evening in a Blackwell manor was interesting, but tonight should be one for the books.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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A Phantom Fly In The Spider’s Web  Empty Re: A Phantom Fly In The Spider’s Web

Post by Red on August 13th 2018, 9:59 pm

Grooming is not to be taken lightly. When you reveal yourself to the masses, you are proclaiming that your current image is how you wish to be seen by the world. Would you rather choose to identify with a sub-par version of yourself, or the best person you could be? Would you rather be seen as sophisticated, noble, and decent, or crude, dull, and average? The answers are obvious to anyone, even if their actions say the opposite.

Lucius slung a heavy watch over his wrist. The timepiece's almost white, platinum material glimmered in the light of Lucius' dressing room. To say it was expensive would be an understatement. He was wearing a master's degree worth of tuition as an ultimately obsolete time telling device, and yet this was as mundane as the layman pulling on a t-shirt.

Sharp cloths, sharp mind. How could I not for such an event? In these art galleries, museums, and elitist parties, everything is noted. Like with tigers sizing each other up, the slightest sign of weakness can be used against you. Even now, even after all that's happened, these people could exploit me. No, it's not just a three piece suit. It's not just a pretentious watch, and it isn't impeccable posture. in the halls of the rich and powerful, these things are your shield and sword. They're what separate you from the filth of the outside, and what allow you to mingle among the greats.

Oh, how I missed playing this game.


Once his silk, monochrome suit was fully assembled, Lucius took one last glance at himself in the mirror. He looked like he used to: rich, at the top of his game, and ready to change the world. He looked like New York's golden boy again, although with an admittedly darker presence. It came with the job, he supposed.

Of course, it won't all be fun. As much excitement as I have at the prospect of stretching my social muscles, there are other matters at hand. Maximilian Blackwell is the organizer of this little event, and he invited me for a bigger reason than to sip bourbon with Saudi Princes. Simply put, Rise needs more underground connections. Although we've made some ground in that area, criminals are elusive and hard to pin down. The practically infinite number of bosses and under bosses you have to deal with to get a large scale operation started is, well, let's say impractical. That's why the offer interested me so much. I wouldn't go to just any gathering of rich snobs. Sure, the drink and wonderful artifacts will be just great, but I'm looking for a myth—I'm looking for a legend.

Lucius Alba, signing off. Codex complete.


Once Lucius was ready, he activated his teleportation device. Though he wouldn't be able to port right in, he did manage to appear just outside the venue in a flash of crimson light. Those few that were still outside had the various reactions you would expect: Fear, respect, hatred, and perhaps some admiration. Lucius sometimes wished he could go back to a time when people looked at him with indifference, but he supposed that time had come and gone.

The Prime Minster walked into the Mammon's home, and for once he was completely alone. No bodyguards or associates, just the man himself. His posture resembled that of a military man's, although with a bit more finesse. His Italian shoes clicked audibly against marble, their rhythm demanding attention. Lucius looked at no one directly as he entered, but his eyes were mapping out the room nonetheless.

Lucius saw Travis embarrassing people, as he is prone to do. He saw Tyuki Gold for the first time since she left The Sanctuary so long ago, and he saw many other faces he recognized. Some here were more important than others, but he paid them all no mind. Even as people whispered, glared, and smiled at him, The Dictator kept the same cold pride on his face.

Finally, he made eye contact with someone: The bartender. He ordered the best bourbon they had on the rocks, then simply took a seat at one of the various coffee tables. There was plenty to do tonight, so starting out with a relaxing drink wasn't too bad of an idea. Besides, he wanted to get a feel for the venue.

A lot of people were visibly uncomfortable in Lucius' presence, and many others talked as loudly as they could about how great they were, as if to impress. Lucius could only chuckle at them all, swirling his glass of alcohol. What he would pay to do this as a normal person.

Red had loaned a few items to Mammon for the exhibit in an effort to help coax this operative out. He was risking Cora Zen, a sample of a ultra rare non-earth metal that seemed to produce a huge amount of energy with no assistance, a blue philosopher's stone Nicolas Flamel gave him, and a spearhead. The significance of said spearhead? It could have been the one that stabbed Jesus, from his understanding. It didn't really matter. It had blood on it and was old. It'd fetch a fine price among the superstitious. Besides, Lucius loved history whether it was connected to absurd stories or not.  

Lucius took a sip of his bourbon, leaning to one side of his leather chair slightly. He watched as everyone not so subtly made their deals. He watched as they all drank, stumbled, and laughed. Had he stumbled into the big leauges, or peewee? Lucius was disappointed. Most of these people weren't really elites. Most of them were simply rich fools from rich family's playing like they were on top of the world. Was there any real ambition to be found in them? Was there any drive to be truly great? Did they look at all these paintings and artifacts and become inspired by Alexander, Caesar, or Charlemagne? Did anyone here besides the ones he knew to be formidable have any plans for anything that weren't absolutely insignificant? Did he even need his trusty old sword and shield?

Lucius was sure he would find out by the end of the night.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________



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I thought the price was my soul

That i need only give myself to reach my goal

Now i see that is not the cost

They'll all be taken

This deal was swindled, and i have lost
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Humor : Hurting feelings and killing parents since 2014
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