**In a dangerous part of the Southwest (and that is saying something), stands an innocuous looking, nondescript building of red brick located in the heart of the Southwestern District. A faded wooden sign of a blind-folded giant bat stands as the only marker outside. Stairs on the alley between similar buildings leads down to an ancient looking black iron door. The door is handleless and must be opened from the inside, at which you notice a demon-headed knocker sits below a slider, indicating you should knock. This is the notorious club of the vampire Varney the Scion, and a haven for many of the more criminal elements of the city. The lounge is a famous silver poppy den, and most nights a performance space, also the home of the famed vampiress singer Vittoria Borisia.**
**Armory, after knocking, was admitted into the club. Apparently they were closed because the place was deserted for what would be midday outside of Sylvan. An abnormally bulky, vicious looking oscaran, dressed in a crisp black suit stood inside the door. The interior of the lounge was very atmospheric, dark reds and black accentuated by low candlelight; the space was filled with a permanent haze but had a musky attractive air to it. The room itself was covered with cushions and throw pillows, foreign carpets, each private section of the floor had its own smoking device, like little genii lamps set about with multiple hoses, all were different colors of blown glass. There was a fully stocked bar on the western wall, and a performance stage towards the north end, a very handsome looking piano sat near its base. The oscaran motioned for Armory to follow him, and he led him to a back hallway off the lounge area, where there was a maze of curtained off private rooms; but they passed those, heading to a back pair of stairs that wound their way up and down. They went down. The basement was cool compared to the upstairs lounge, and after a short while where Armory couldn't possibly remember just how they got there, he was led through a pair of carved arched doors, into a large room. There was an oaken rectangle table in the middle, where a single young man sat bemusedly alone. He was pale as alabaster, and exquisitely handsome, perhaps late teens or early twenties, he possessed an air of otherworldliness, like some divine painting come to life. And when he spoke, his words held a soft and naive innocence.**
Youth - Ah! Finally, come sit, sit, have a seat. Risia, my love, bring some refreshments if you please. And oh, a pipe too, with the western import. I take it you're wondering what all this is about, my friend?
**After a short while, a stunningly beautiful blond in a silken red evening dress brought them a canter of dark amber liquid, two glasses, and a pipe with two long hoses. She lit the flame on top of the burner, set a piece of dark rock onto the flame, then sucked one end of a mouthpiece to get the smoke flowing. The contraption held water in the glass lamp, and it bubbled as the woman sucked air through the hose. After she finished, she kissed the youth on both cheeks and left them alone.**
**The younger man became somewhat serious, then without warning chuckled rather darkly, an ill-becoming sound.**
Youth - Me? No, that lovely creature has the honor to be Vittoria Borisia, the resident singer of the Bat's Eyes. And what you met, surely you mean who? That was an old friend. And, sir, well that would make me the Count Cardalu, at your service.
Cardalu - Details, yes. The duke would not have sent you along to me had you not proven satisfactory. What I require is a certain someone, and well, we can't be seen to have had a hand in their abduction. At least not to the general public. There's to be a ball very soon, you will attend this party, as I'm sure you were already planning to. There, the Countess Ancien plans on introducing a ward of hers to society, at which time during this formal break in the party, you are to make your move. The girl will have a companion, Jeun du Ancien, it is her that I want.
**The Count took a moment to pour himself a drink.**
Cardalu - She'll be dressed in a flowing black gown, silk wings, and a black swan mask. You'll provide a distraction by calling attention to yourself, charging her and yelling something memorable, 'death to all bloodsuckers!' or anything amusing should suffice, at which point our masked associates will assist you in her capture. Questions? Concerns?
"Capture and bring her back here? The black swan.... Well this job had me on the word yell. I would require appropriate attire it seems, and i could use a beautiful companion to accompany me." He said eyeballing the blonde in the silk red dress.
Cardalu - Vittoria? I see you have expensive tastes, my friend. But no, she is much too much woman for you, trust me. Now, as for your attire, just give me your want and I'll see that you're provided with a costume. And hmm, yes maybe an escort . . . Risia, contact Veroníque and tell her we'll be requiring her services for the ball.
**The Count took a moment to pour Chase another drink. His own remained untouched.**
Cardalu - However, you won't be taking our pretty little hostage back here to the club after her extraction. Our reputation is too well known, and would defeat the entire point of the kidnapping. There will be a carriage waiting once you have her. My people will be taking over from that point.
Cardalu - *Chuckling darkly* Dear boy, this is a party! Standing out will be fitting in; Come, where is your sense of theatricality? But if you're sure, then I'll think of something. Payment. Yes, payment. After you are successful, come and see me at my manse. We'll grant you one boon, and an additional choice of reward.
Cardalu - The ball has yet to commence, there will be formal invitations sent out to the five cities. Your attire, hmm... Risia, have an order put in at deBrough's, I'm thinking something rustic and pagan . . . Janus! Yes, that will do nicely. You can pick it up there. Though I wouldn't be conspicuous about it.
She wasn't quite sure but if it was possible the eyes may have narrowed even further. The slide slammed shut. After a moment the door swung open, revealing a small greel, wearing black robes. The little man seemed oddly dangerous to anyone with any perception of such things. He frowned hard at her.
Greel - "This establishment did no such thing... Unfortunately one can't always control the whims of one's patrons... You'll be looking for Rubella. She'll be upstairs in room 13. Might be careful in there though."
He stepped to the side and revealed the interior of the building. It was lavishly decorated, a haze of smoke drifted along the ceiling and there were several girls dancing and serving their customers. The girls were dressed in outlandish outfits and the dances they performed involved rotating their midsections. There were a set of stairs in the back of the common room.
The door swung open silently. The room beyond was a very comfortable looking and expensively decorated. There was a very attractive pail skinned woman with dark red hair lounging on an arm chair. She looked at the jakari curiously and beckoned her forward with a slow wave.