The Sacrifice Club Presents: Lupercalia 2019

"Ne cherchez plus mon cóur ; des monstres l'ont mang". -- Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal.

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The Sacrifice Club Presents: Lupercalia 2019

Post by Millicent Grim » Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:57 pm

The Sacrifice Club: Lupercalia Bacchanal After Party [[Board Only Dance Party]]

The turn off Temple onto Dioscuri Blvd. was a game of shadow and light. The first few street lights blend a metaphysical and almost spiritual change to the transformation from electricity to fire-lit gas. It shimmered like fire-opal over the slick surfaces of whatever method you arrived in. It was a completely different kind of illumination. It went from cold, to warm... and then to darkness. Though there were a few shop windows with lights in them on the left side of the street, they looked out of time. The shop faces were old, like something from London or New Orleans. One was a coffee shop with a neon coffee mug in the Art Deco window frame. Le Procope. But there likely wasn't much time to survey the shops, because the right of the street was a little more strange and certainly much more busy. Almost as soon as the block started, a long line of people stood waiting. Every single one of them was wearing black, occasionally there was an accent of red or deep blue, but for the most part they were one long unit of black clad night-life. Living, breathing night. And they stretched down the longer-than-normal street, almost disappearing in the darkness on this right side of Dioscuri Blvd. Clearly this was where you were going, how could it not be?

The 5 story warehouse or 1920s looking bank-like structure loomed from the middle of the block. The club, itself, was black glass and stone. It was all obsidian and granite. The club had no markings on it, no words, no bills. But after you looked at it, only when you looked away, did you catch a spectre of words just below the first floor of the structure in your periphery. When you looked back, looked directly at it, there was nothing there. But if you glanced at it from the corner of the eye, the words faded into view, just at the border of your subconscious. "The Sacrifice Club." The effect was like starlight. (Though certainly it must be some club wizardry in blacklight.) Captains of ships, long before technology and the world began to lack most of its mystery, knew how to navigate the world by the sky. The faintest stars could never be seen if you looked at them directly, and especially not if there was any light source in front of you or behind. You had to flirt with the stars, looking at them out of the corner of your eye. And you needed to master capturing this cool, ghostly glow to navigate the intricacies of the sea and the universe. If you didn't, you lost yourself, maybe forever.

Seduce or die.

In truth, many of the patrons of The Sacrifice Club felt that way about their haven.

There was a main entrance way that recessed into the building below this half-existing sign. The door was about 10 feet back from the wall, and in this out-cove was the obligatory tall and slightly burly (and very German) bouncer.

Though there was a long stretch of "NO PARKING," limo space in front of the Club, there were also 3 parking spots. Interestingly, the curb they were drawn in front of was red. A confusing mixture for most drivers. But these parking spots weren't for people who did not understand. Only one car was parked there, a midnight black GT Ford 500, looming like a darker shadow in the black of the night. Its masculine haunches choruscating like fish scales at dawn.

Or.... you didn't have to come that way at all. Not tonight. You didn't have to wait in that line. Lupercalia itself opened a doorway in sacrifice...

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The entry way to the Sacrifice Club was dark. Not dark enough to promote tripping over your own night-out shoes, or wonder if someone was right behind you, but dark enough to wonder if someone was over there in the corner ...watching.

You walked in, or you shimmered through the swirling portal from the back of DSL. Either way, you'd made it past the intimidating German bouncer. You made it into the gaping maw of the too-dark building, but now you had to make it past Evangeline.

So you pass by the second velvet rope of the evening. (Or first. Whatever.) You pass the plush scarlet sitting island and the despondent coat check girl who is glancing up from her manicure to see if you need attending. (Eva will have her fired for that. ..Why do coat check girls never last that long?) Past the photo wall of a cathedral that just doesn't quite look right....

To Evangeline. She looks up at you with her sharp, fawn coloured eyes. She's a belonging kind- a club creature that never sees the light of day. Well, obviously. But a club creature that is never seen out of this context right here. Her role. Her bond.

She's pale as the moon and equally luminescent. Her heart-shaped face has too much point in her chin, too much angle in her jaw and there was too much natural-scowl on her brow. She twists her face in the direction of the subchamber's exit. Her raven black hair shines in the slanted light. Did that mean go in? Go through?

"Don't forget a Favor," she says before you turn away. The tone of voice she uses is almost like it pained her to remind you.


Fortune's Favor

At the doorman's booth at the point of entry, once identification and admission have been afforded, patrons who desire it are offered a red ribbon bracelet from a black basket lined in white satin.

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A small stack of cards with additional information about the bracelet's origin is also available for the curious.

Legend has it that the two people connected by this thread will have an important story, regardless of the time, place or circumstances. The red string might get tangled, contracted or stretched, as surely often happens, but it can never break.

(Additional Information)

And so you enter. Leaving that cold, insensitive antechamber.

..and you are greeted with the thudding bass of a true nightclub.
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The wall that had once been on your right spills away to open up on an industrial dance floor. The inside has lights flickering and flashing. It feels new and expensive. But the backdrop of the large main center room is industrial. Underground. Literally. The wall you had once hugged spills away into a modern lit bar the entire length of the enormous club. No one without a drink. Not unless you're dancing.

[For inspiration/feel]
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The dancing is chaotic. Hedonism lives here. It is scene yet it is aesthetically sophisticated. When the lights go bright you can see a DJ. A stage. Faux windows. Fellow dancers. The space is yours to do with as you like.

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The opposite side of the large room has a wall. There are several places to pass through. One at the far end of the right side goes into a pitch black room you feel like you shouldn't be standing in. Did someone forget to turn on the lights? Is this a..thing?

Directly across from the entrance way you entered from, all the way across the massive dancefloor is a door that leads to a staircase.

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It goes up. Where one will find huge iron doors with ornate lion-head knockers. It is locked. And honestly, it looks as though it is more for show than utility. And it wont budge. Not even if you try.

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But if you go down... you'll find another sitting area. This one has the feel of the evening. Lupercalia is in the atmosphere. The large room is red and pink. It has its own bar straight ahead of you, and plush pink chairs and booths to the right. If, instead, you go left... it is very, very scarlet. And there is a stage roped off with and hidden by many red curtains. The bartender across from you has flaming red hair and a Scottish brogue. If you ask him, he'll give you the easiest smile you'll ever receive in this den of iniquity, and he'll tell you that what happens down here doesn't happen till the wee hours. "When even the things that lurk in the offices upstairs want a lullaby."

But you're welcome to drink. And talk. And lounge.

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There are other rooms in Club Sacrifice. VIP secrets for the painfully famous and shy:
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And there are hidden places where you can hear yourself think. And barter. And...

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Just don't go upstairs.

Not unless you know who you are looking for.

And they are expecting you.
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Re: Lupercalia 2019 - The Sacrifice Club

Post by Millicent Grim » Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:58 pm

The Sacrifice Club: Lupercalia

Indulge
Libations.

Lupercalia

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"Lupercalia was an ancient pagan festival held each year in Rome on February 15. Although Valentine’s Day shares its name with a martyred Christian saint, some historians believe the holiday is actually an offshoot of Lupercalia. Unlike Valentine’s Day, however, Lupercalia was a bloody, violent and sexually-charged celebration awash with animal sacrifice, random matchmaking and coupling in the hopes of warding off evil spirits and infertility."

A decadent, limited edition black vodka with hints of lime and cherry, this opaque black cocktail shimmers like a night sky, full of promise and burgeoning potential.

Optional Extra: Daring. Drink this delectable potion for a little literal liquid courage to help you make that next random match. Who knows? This could be the One.

Ritual Sacrifice

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"Lupercalia rituals took place in a few places: Lupercal cave, on Palatine Hill and within the Roman open-air, public meeting place called the Comitium. The festival began at Lupercal cave with the sacrifice of one or more male goats—a representation of sexuality—and a dog.

The sacrifices were performed by Luperci, a group of Roman priests. Afterwards, the foreheads of two naked Luperci were smeared with the animals’ blood using the bloody, sacrificial knife. The blood was then removed with a piece of milk-soaked wool as the Luperci laughed."


An extra dry gin martini with a house made blood solution that looks (and pools) "just like" the real thing.

Optional Extra: Love's Light Feet. Singles Awareness Day got you down? Indulge in a little mood lifter to lighten your spirits, put a smile on your face and your ass on the dance floor.

Feast

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"Feasting began after the ritual sacrifice. When the feast of Lupercal was over, the Luperci cut strips, also called thongs or februa, of goat hide from the newly-sacrificed goats.

They then ran naked or nearly-naked around Palantine whipping any woman within striking distance with the thongs. Many women welcomed the lashes and even bared their skin to receive the fertility consecration; it’s open to speculation what the lashes represented.
During Lupercalia, the men randomly chose a woman’s name from a jar to be coupled with them for the duration of the festival. Often, the couple stayed together until the following year’s festival. Many fell in love and married."


With heady flavors of apple, brandy and blackberry, this decadent, lustrous beverage is not for the faint of heart.

Optional Extra: Animal Instinct. For a limited time, imbibing this drink will give you an extra shot of all the right pheromones to make that special someone swoon. Use sparingly, or not, but we're not responsible for any fertility... accidents.

Saint Valentine

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"Thanks to Saint Valentine’s reputation as a “patron of lovers,” he became synonymous with romance. In the late 5th century A.D., Pope Gelasius I eliminated the pagan celebration of Lupercalia and declared February 14 a day to celebrate the martyrdom of Saint Valentine instead, although it’s highly unlikely he intended the day to commemorate love and passion. In fact, some modern biblical scholars warn Christians not to celebrate Valentine’s Day at all since it’s thought to be based on pagan rituals."

Delectably fizzy, this sparkling wine confection combines the light and bubbly flavors of elderflower and lemongrass, with a bracing citrusy vodka kick.

Optional Extra: Cupid's Kiss. Love is in the air, for tonight at least.

[[Note: All "Optional Extras" are exactly that: special enhancements these cocktails can provide for a limited time. Open to interpretation, feel free to incorporate these "extras" into your responses--or not!-- as you desire. ]]

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Re: Lupercalia 2019 - The Sacrifice Club

Post by Millicent Grim » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:00 pm

The Sacrifice Club Presents: Lupercalia

Indulge
Confections.

Heartbreaker
Broken Glass Cupcakes
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Please, Sir. Can I have some more?

Sinfully sweet vanilla cupcakes with a sexy hint of cinnamon, topped with cherry cream cheese frosting and spun sugar broken glass. Finished off with an utterly irresistible drizzling of raspberry cordial, this little heartbreaker will have you begging for another.
(Recipe)

True Love's Kiss
Amaretto Truffles
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To me, you are perfect.

Rich and indulgent, these truffles are made with 70% dark chocolate, coconut cream, Amaretto, maple syrup and a dusting of almonds. A word of caution: true love's kiss has been known to change the world, and sometimes destroy it. Careful of that first step, it's a doozy.
(Recipe)

My Besotted Valentine
Ciroc infused Chocolate-covered Strawberries
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Your dirty little secret

Gorgeous, ruby red strawberries ripe almost to bursting, soaked in a variety of alcohols. Choose from rose and vodka, port wine, or bourbon, each rolled in sugar and luxurious layers of white chocolate, then dusted with a sticky sweet tinsel of edible glitter. For an extra little je ne sais quois, try one with an extra shot of Citroen vodka. A hedonist's dream and a bite to remember.
(Recipe)

Conversation Starter
Sexy Conversation Heart Cookies
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Tell me what's on your mind

Cat got your tongue? These sumptuous sugar cookies will help you with all the things you can't quite find the words to say. Note: This establishment is not responsible for the consequences of sharing these cookies with your neighbor, unless of course you've got a good story to share.
(Recipe)
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Re: Lupercalia 2019 - The Sacrifice Club

Post by Millicent Grim » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:01 pm

[Written with Neil's Player.]



Neil's phone rings from a blocked number.

An automated voice picked up the line: Hi, the person you're calling is using a screening service from Google, and will get a copy of this conversation. Go ahead and say your name, and why you're calling.

"Hey. It's me. I... have a favor to ask. ...and I miss you," the last syllable fading as she pulls the phone away. But then her voice is back again. Quiet. "It's ...not just a favor for me. I think... I think you'd like it." >click<

A half hour and two phone calls later, Millicent's phone rang from an unrecognized but visible line.

"H-h-hullo?" and it was as simple as that.

"Bonsoir," Neil indulged himself a touch of foreboding, but there was no certainty whether it was an actual smile or just the sound of amusement.

She would have been lying if she denied the flutter in her chest. How much more difficult things were. That smile she heard. She wanted to wipe it from his face with her mouth. Like that would fix things. "I was wondering if you would call back...chere."

"Oui, bien sur. Although I had to chat your number out of Jonathan as you didn't leave it. So what is it that you think I may like?" No echo of favors, or missing, just the present fact of his amiable curiosity.

She hadn't been sure if the inclination was evil, or nefarious. Or a test of commitment and curiosity. But she was aware that she had not left her number. And she couldn't keep the mischievousness out of her smile. As strangely innocent as it was. But also... she just... couldn't have stayed on the voice mail one moment longer. It made her heart shake. "And he just gave it just like that? Hm," she disguised her grin. "Come DJ for me at the Club. It's been forever. I'm sorry....that it took an event to...." well...you know. "It's all posh and perfect, it reminded me of you."

"He hassled me for sufficient proof that I wasn't drunk-dialing absentee contacts, so I suppose he doesn't know what you're asking and might ask? I'm surprised he didn't beat me to it. Anyway, when exactly are you having this event? So much flattery. Is this a mood or just motivation?" The unnecessary queries were almost as good as acceptance of the apology tied to an excuse, and less strenuous on the conversation overall.

"Oh well, at least he's doing half his job. ... Do you drunk dial old flames often?" it wasn't fair how she could just ask things like that. And it was somewhat unlike her. "It's for... Valentine's day. But it's more of like... a traditional bacchanal. History, not just Hallmark. My cousin is hosting half of it at her bar. ...I can flatter some more, if you like. Because it's both." And that was sincere.

"...how often do you ask them for favors?" The discomfort of answering a question with a question was audible and subtle, a touch admitted in the verbal fencing and back en garde. "--on Valentine's Day? And no, that's not... My vanity is sufficiently served. Let me look at the book; how've you been?" He did in fact double-check the evening in question, and part of the price she paid was filling in the silence that he could make as evocative as any rhythm or melody.

"So..... yes," she rolled that answer over her tongue like it was fact, not fiction. He had let her interpret it as she liked, and so, she liked. There was some strain in her voice as she...settled in. Flopping on some not-that-hard surface and nestling the phone in a more comfortable position. "That's good to hear," that his vanity was in tact. Her smile dulled and became more easy in the background of the conversation, "Oh... fine. Awful. Fine again. Distracted. Focused. Did you hear my recent album?"

"This time, for nostalgia and irony. If there's anything else I need to know...?" He defaulted to professionalism. She wasn't wrong, but there was a limit to the satisfaction of being right.

"This time which?" it was a simple question about clarifying, especially considering all the emphasis.

"Ah, yes, I suppose that was assuming there'd be another time. Perhaps not? I misspoke. It's nice to be remembered. The perspective of our memories aren't quite the same. I am an agenda item successfully crossed out."

"Wait, wait. Neil..." you could hear her sit up, huddle closer, get as serious as Miss Millicent Grim can get. "They can't be the same, but I think they're probably pretty close. And of course I remember you. I just... I just.... You are not an agenda anything. Ever. Don't.... Mm. Please don't say that."

"No. I don't know. I agreed. You get what you want. I'm trying to be nice and gracious. That's easier. And prettier. Go with it. You found my phone number. You can use it for business or for being more than a memory or an objective. If you want. Is there anything else I need to know?"

There was a soft, pregnant pause. "No. I guess-- no," ease drifted back into her tones. But also resignation. "You don't have to be anything you aren't. Not that that isn't how I'd describe you...but just...for the record. So.. I don't know. You tell me. Do you need anything? Maybe call Jonathan if you do? Are you even in town?"

"I meant about the gig. Sure, I'll do that. And what if I'm in town?"

"Coffee?" It was less nefarious than it sounded. if anything she didn't want them to be utterly distracted by each other the night of the event. Or hurt. Or destroyed.

"Sure. Fine. Send an address."

She sent an address he likely recognized. It showed up as a little, innocuous flag on a Google map. It was across the street from the Club. Le Procope. A creature of habit, or a creature unwary of prying eyes, that was up to anyone's guess. "4pm? High Tea time?" it was only a couple of hours away.
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Re: Lupercalia 2019 - The Sacrifice Club

Post by wonderlandfill » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:07 pm

1/11/2019

Text to Meadow: Up for a gig?

(an hour passes)

Text to MG: I was just thinking about you.

Text to Meadow: Oh yeah? In what way?

Text to MG: ...It's a scotch night. xox
Text to MG: So, what's the gig?

Text to Meadow: Oh man. I should do that tonight.
Text to Meadow: Gig is... a Valentine's day bash. Everybody who's everybody. We'd do two sets. One with AaM, what's left of it. And one of just you and me doing a spooky, strings and piano VIP set.

Text to MG:You should do that tonight... with me.
Text to MG: ...And now you're coming over.

Text to Meadow: Mm. Ok. Where?
Text to Meadow: But... first you gotta say 'yes.'

Text to MG: Nah. I need you to convince me.
Text to MG: [address]

Text to Meadow: I see.
Text to Meadow: Smooth.
Text to Meadow: Be there in....20.

Text to MG: [img attachment] the image is an extreme close up on Meadow's mouth, blowing a kiss.

Text to MG: [img attachment] The image is a selfie of Millicent, doing the anime V fingers, with white anime buns, one eye closed, the tip of her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth, and a frilly white pair of straps of some random fashion confection on one shoulder, and sliding off the other.
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Re: The Sacrifice Club Presents: Lupercalia 2019

Post by Millicent Grim » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:50 am

Millicent Grim was a ghost in more ways than she knew how to count. Some were specifically hidden from her, and her alone. Some ways only her brother was privy to. ...And some neither of them could ever, and would never, see or suspect. Even though the cacophony of butterfly effects laid out a causal trail as clear as Masada right in front of their pale noses.

Today, those noses were up and in the air, down and in the dirt. Such was the rushed business of getting ready for a gig. No. Two gigs. There was a flurry of commotion. There were people bustling everywhere. They were mostly old faces. But there were several new and dear to her heart.

The band was all together. The players were evident and spry. Upstairs in the main room the dancing was a sea of writhing bodies. Most participants wore black and slithered like a congregation of belonging-kind-slick eels to the melody and the bass thrumming through a deep ocean secret lair. Swimming with sharks-- always. The beginning and the end of the mass, and the length of time that they congregated, were amorphous like time spent at sea. ...And that was the way they liked it. At midnight there would be an alternative rock-show, with the crystalline feminine of AaM that was both beautiful, sly, and harrowing. Millicent preferred to bleed from the heart, even if she looked like the Hallmark version of a K-Pop icon. It was always about sleight of hand. Ever about hiding in plain sight. Perhaps it was lack of commitment. Perhaps it was an unquenchable need. Even the identity of the band was an amalgamation of new and old secrets.

nu-AaM would go on after Neil finished his 3rd DJ set. He'd be back, but the night would change in many ways, for there were other places to dance and enjoy the Sacrifice Club without ever hearing a lick of live music or dancing in anything that felt like a night club. But all of these places were permeated with the flotsam and jetsam of the main event. The masses had a way of permeating. Something about the Sacrifice Club was uniform and congruent only in the ways of the very best nightclubs could maintain. The social construction of this place was nuanced and tended to so continuously and with such fervor, that the evident architecture made seeing the skeletal ribs from the inside-out an actual part of the ambiance. The sharks liked when you could see them. Dancing was always about predator and prey, and this place elevated that to biblical proportions.

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Downstairs in the VIP lounge area (open to all tonight) something a bit more atmospheric and decadent would spill through the crowd on hallowed wings of wonder. The moment was one that seemed to creep up from the stratosphere that was DSL and slink through the basement of the Sacrifice Club to circle and claim a musical home. Something as irreverent as a younger-sister dilettante, maybe also something genuinely Victorian, struggled to line a home in this room with silk-crepe promises of a gentler touch, and softer things to brush up against. (Yes, please, dip your fingers in for a little while.) The portal from DSL seemed to bleed and blend the experiences of one place to the next-- at least here in this room. Cocktails were served, chins were turned, cigarettes were smoked. If upstairs was black latex and leather, downstairs was raven velvet. The music was meant to amplify the presence of the attendants and make *everyone* a personality.

Millicent and Meadow went on at 3am here. This was something for only those that stayed and wished to bookend the evening with similar experiences. Maybe also, just to wind down and get a little haunted. This was something soft wrapped around the sleek and mean center of dancing and debauchery. There was always something for everyone at the Sacrifice Club, that was its draw. Pick your poison. Pick your kink. Even if DSL came sneaking in to class up the place a bit, what was your delight?

At 3am the red curtains downstairs fell away to reveal a harp. A piano. Two voices. Loveliness that was meant to destroy angels. Here, Millicent soft and amorphous -- like she was made of marshmallow clouds. They were holy heralds a muse-driven derivation of music and mood coalesced. It was meant to tell you something. To tell anyone who was listening.

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Re: The Sacrifice Club Presents: Lupercalia 2019

Post by wonderlandfill » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:12 pm

((written with Isaac Clark, aka Adrenalize))

1/12/19

Text to Iggy: Hey you. What are you doing?
Text to Iggy: I mean. The answer is "hanging out with you" unless you've got a really good excuse.
Text to Iggy: Just sayin'.

Meadow set her phone on the nightstand with an indulgent little smile. Pushing herself up on her hands, she raked her fingers through tousled black, casting a sleep-stained glance around her bedroom. It was an assessment, a systematic and rapid fire run down of the state of things vs. what she remembered, and as the disjointed memories tumbled haphazardly through her consciousness, she smiled again, a little deeper this time.

Rising, the satiny too-expensive top sheet fell unceremoniously to the floor at her feet, puddling there. She stepped out of its makeshift halo, snagging her phone off the adjacent surface again to take it with her on a quest for something to drink.

After pulling an all nighter on a video game with a group of people, Zac was still sitting in his gaming chair in front of the large screen television with his headset and controller. Morning came and went as it pushed past noon. "What the hell are you doing?! Left! LEFT! DON'T THROW THE FUCKING GRENA--" Boom! "God DAMMIT, Pugsly." He growled, pausing when he heard his phone buzz on the coffee table beside him. "Because you have a nasally ass voice, and I picture you havin' a pugface, that's why. You can't change my mind, Pugs."

He smirked as the guy complained about his nickname. "Hold on! Hold the fuck on, I got a text." He reached for his phone, putting down his controller as he tilted his head to the message before a smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth. "Well, it's been fun boys, but unless you're pretty as fuck with a great set of tits, I'm ditchin' your asses," he teased, starting to text back. "Later, fools." He reached up to click off his headset and pulled it off, dropping it to the floor before he finished the text.

Text to North Star: I'm all out of good excuses, so I guess I'm hanging with you today. You coming or am I heading over? I need to know whether I should bother to put on pants.

Looking down to his bare legs that stretched up to his boxers, he let out a whistle and pushed up to stretch his legs. Raising his arms over his head, he felt his spine crackle like bubble wrap along the vertebrae from sitting for far too long. He shook it out like a chill swept over his body, a full body convulsion before he padded on bare feet toward the kitchen. Regardless, he was going to need a quick cup of espresso to make up for the lack of sleep. He could sacrifice those zzz's for some good times, and it was almost a guarantee in the company of Meadow, even with clothes on. Gasp!

The phone crawled across the kitchen counter this time when it went off, doing its skittery little notification dance since she had it permanently set to vibrate only. Pulling an overpriced bottle of bubbly water from the refrigerator, she closed its sleek door behind her with a twist of a well placed hip, shuffling barefoot over to the counter for the bottle opener and her phone. She popped the cap on the refreshment and drank from it, putting the first small efforts into chipping away at a mild hangover with rehydration.

Only then did she trade the bottle for her phone, sliding her thumb across the unlock screen to see the response. A grin painting itself across her lips, she keyed in a quick reply with the steady sweep of her fingers.

Text to Iggy: Depends. How do you feel about -me- putting on pants rn?
Text to Iggy:Also whether you want to be involved in this shower I'm about to take, I spose.
Text to Iggy:But. There are adventures in retail to be had today, so we're getting dressed one way or another.
Text to Iggy: ...Eventually?

The espresso machine was set up once the phone was set aside, and his main focus was on getting that tiny cup filled with heated highly caffeinated coffee. He pressed the button to get it going before he felt the double buzz vibrate against the counter. Bzz bzz. Squinting at the liquid spraying into the cup, he mentally willed it to go faster like a junkie before he snatched up his phone and gave a casual swipe of his thumb with the same hand. One brow perked reading the other's texts, the smirk returning with the shake of his head before using both hands to dish out a return text.

Text to North Star: I feel rather strongly about the No Pants Campaign, tbh.
Text to North Star: I have convictions about it, you see. I'm a part of the Anti-Pants Counsel. And I declare No Pants For Meadow. You can count this text as a formal restriction.
Text to North Star: That being said, be over in... 15 minutes? Start the shower without me, and I'm flushing the toilet while you're in there. I've given you fair warning.

By the time he hit the Send button on the last text, the espresso machine gurgled to a stop and he grabbed the hot coffee, blowing on it a couple times before giving a mental fuck it, downing the cup with a hiss as the literal burn raked his throat painfully. Well accustomed to it at this point, and careless about it all, he set the cup down to be taken care of later before he spun around to toss together a quick outfit... of jeans and a tee shirt, a rake of fingers through his hair that would be horrendous to brush out unless he wanted an actual afro. Making his way to the front door, he snatched the keys to the Miata from the key rack along the way and hopped into it, gunning the engine and knocking off the usual time it would take a normal person to reach her place from his by half... considering he believed in speed limits as much as he believed in pants.

It took him approximately 14 minutes and 35 seconds to get there, a personal record. Parking the car, the ever familiar face of her door man greeted him with a smile. "Welcome back, Mr. Clark." Raising a brow, the curly haired boy lifted his arms as he turned to walk backwards. "C'mon, now. I thought by now we'd at least be on first name basis," he teased, just for the door man to laugh and shake his head. "Whatever you say, Isaac." Zac smirked and nodded, seeming satisfied before he spun back around and went to the elevator, putting in the code to reach Meadow's apartment. The telltale ding alerted his arrival before the metal doors slid open to welcome him inside, and he stepped out. "I'm here to inspect the integrity of the No Pants Code! Hands on the wall and legs spread!" He called out.

The penthouse apartment was achingly reminiscent of home, a lavish and sprawling monstrosity that was more Malibu than Rhy'Din, for all that it didn't open onto direct beach access and it wasn't in a gated clifftop community. Still, she could see the ocean out the floor to ceiling windows on one side and the city from the set on the other side, and there was enough space between that she didn't feel all that cooped up or claustrophobic.

The expansive balconies helped.

She had obediently refrained from taking a shower, or any other initiative for that matter. When 'Zac stepped inside, the Starling girl was sprawled seemingly boneless on her couch, her long legs and at least one arm each stretched in seemingly opposite directions, in nothing but a pair of black satin panties. She hadn't even bothered with a shirt yet. Glancing up from the silver cellular device in her hands, she smirked crookedly, last night's smudged mascara still ringing her eyes. "...That reeks of effort. Come get me."

Her place made him feel more at home, yet not at all. Considering most places he lived, there was more sand than trees, and the ocean was a more recent development over the years. But the homes held culture or the extreme notions of possessions that were never needed, just wanted. A constant splurge of money.

The sprawled position of the Starling girl had Zac pausing in his tracks to visibly cock his head to the side and pop one brow higher than the other. "Well... since you're already in the take me but don't disturb me position..." he teased with a coy smile, closing the distance from himself to the couch. For someone who had so little sleep, he had far too much energy as he leaped and twisted to land on his knees between her legs, one hand on the back of the couch with the other on the edge of the couch cushion beside her. "Party hard last night?" He snickered, then forced a pout to grace his bottom lip. "Should I be jealous?" Any comment as such from Zac was always executed playfully, and never insinuating anything deeper, any form of commitment. Jealous of the party he'd missed, the booze he hadn't drank, the fun he hadn't partaken in.

The only particular consideration she made for his incoming landing was to set the phone on the floor, out of the way. Having done so, she twisted the other arm over her head just in time to find him more or less crouched on top of her, and that crooked, incongruous grin smeared itself across her mouth once more. It was a jarring thing, that grin, so garishly out of place on otherwise pristine features, and yet so perfectly like her father's that it was unmistakably hers. She raised one of her outstretched hands to tug playfully at one of his twisty cinnamon curls.

"Not too hard, and no, probably not. Girlstuff. Music stuff. That's why we gotta go on a retail adventure, actually. I need a better amp and a new set of pedals."

Lifting her head then, she brushed a kiss on the side of his cheek, an affectionate if not specifically romantic greeting. "But I mean, there was a lot of scotch, and ...y'know... girlstuff... so then again... maybe?" How obnoxiously coy was the flutter of her lashes?

It was precisely the jarring effect that grin gave that made him like it so much. It offset her entire look. The flaw in perfection, the shiny and precious frame you found out has a chip in it. Character, it gave her. His eyes shifted to the side to squint to the spring of one curl before returning to her face. He very nearly represented a lion in his appearance. From the stark mane of hair to the naturally sunkissed skin, the round but wide set of his jaw. Even his physique was similar, in the defined triangular shape of his body and the narrow hips. Foremost, however, was the wild, untamed set of his eyes that foretold a majesty yet... perhaps also that he may just lay in the sun and soak up the rays. Fifty fifty.

"Girlstuff?" He eyed her suspiciously. It could mean a number of things with her. "Oh, that kind of retail adventure. I was kind of hoping for some lingerie shopping, but I guess that can wait. I'm no musical guru, but I can carry the hefty shit," he teased, smirking.

The brush of her lips to his jaw only made his head tip into it, returning the brush of lips to her own cheek. Far from formal, but almost reflexive, yet all the while it was warm and nearly intimate the way they lingered.

"It absolutely depends how motivated we get about getting dressed? I have to have music things, but nobody said we couldn't go lingerie shopping afterwards?" Meadow gave him that off-center smirk again, impudent and at least a little charming, perhaps because she knew he liked it. "But with you all laying on top of me, I confess I'm not feeling super motivated..."

Isaac was gorgeous, but then Meadow didn't have friends that weren't pretty, not for long, and definitely not for real. Iggy was as close to a real friend as things really got out here, so far anyway, wholly separate and strangely distinct from anything else they might get up to when they hung out.

The Iggy in question rarely delved into any sense of true friendship. He expected any of those spending time with him to be in it for some superficial nonsense. Money, high profile parties, fancy possessions. Meadow could get any of those things on her own, and so far she only seemed to care for the company, the mutual understanding between the kids of the rich and famous. The tracing of her finger along his lips earned a tick of his eyes to the index, a slow sweep back to her face like a lingering threat he may nip but behaved himself. "Well, I'm not just a pretty trinket on your arm," he jested.

Her steel grey eyes narrowed as she studied his face, traced the line of his smirk with a fingertip. "Mm. Seems like a decent arrangement to me, don't you think?"

Meadow did have a point. "Well, I'm a little more motivated with the promise of lingerie shopping. I need a new corset and banana hammock, the other ones are just so out of fashion," he snickered with his tease, an almost sly fox sort of curve growing on his mouth. "Oh, so my dastardly plan is working then," he quipped, his hips swaying to bump against the barricades of her thighs.

"Hm, well... only if you promise me you'll get that sexy pink one with the fringe this time." Meadow didn't specify whether she was talking about a corset or a banana hammock, but she wouldn't put it past Isaac to go with either one if prompted.

Or both.

The lack of explanation of which garment to be fringed and pink stirred an uncontrollable laughter, perhaps more so that she went along with it. "Only if it's the pink leopard print. I think I can pull off the trashy look," he nodded his head firmly.

"Your dastardly plan is to get me naked?" Her brows lifted, a smirk curling across her lower lip like graffiti scrawled on a building. "You need a better dastardly plan then, Iggy. I don't think this one's very dastardly." His sway earned him another squeeze, her legs unfolding only to wind them all the way around his hips this time. "Also, who came up with the word 'dastardly', anyway?"

Isaac caught his bottom lip between his teeth, clamping it with the amused narrowing of his eyes. His head nodded slowly this time around, confirming her question. His brows ticked upward when she downplayed his dastardly ways, the amusement flipping like a switch to a soft pout of the abused lip. As short-lived as it was, by the way her legs wound around him. It summoned a soft exertion, mixed between a nonverbal hello and a state of being pleased.

"Some classy fuck, no doubt. They always come up with the snooty words..." Then he squinted. "... Possibly British." It was questionable where he came up with the theory, but he went with it anyway.

Pulling his head back, he narrowed his eyes on her. "I know something's up with that girlstuff... pics or it didn't happen." ... he tried, anyways. The flutter of lashes was absolutely obnoxious, and he scowled at her playfully for it. "You're the worst." He tried to say it with a straight face, but wound up snickering instead. "You're lucky I'm into it," he smiled, a razor sharp smile on pearly teeth.

Snickering at his requests for pictures, Meadow shook her head. "Ah-ah, Iggy, you know better," she chided him in a faux singsong. "A lady never kisses and tells," her tone was prim and quintessentially proper as she continued on, but the devious sparkle in her eyes spoke distinctly otherwise. Like 'lady' was a four letter word she heard all that often. "But speaking of that girlstuff, you got plans for the upcoming holiday?"

Brows soared to her chiding, and he feigned offense. "But... Stardoll, how are we going to survive in this world without juicy gossip? And you always have the good stuff," he pouted, sticking out that bottom lip dramatically like she crushed his dreams with one fell sweep. One brow furrowed in his dramatic expression to the question at hand, and he rolled his eyes upward while the pout smoothed out into a look of thought.

"Hm... the day of Hallmark romance, set out to ruin the hours of the lonely, put pressure on those trapped in a relationship. Well, other than picking out desperate girls itching to be swept off their feet for one night, no I can't say I do," he scoffed, lowering his eyes to meet hers. "Why?" He eyed her speculatively. Meadow didn't ask questions for the sake of asking them, though he supposed she had earned the right to be nosy in their friendly arrangement. "Do you? Are you a Hallmark romantic?!"

He gasped, as if he was learning one of her dirtiest secrets. His lips pulled into a smile that should've exposed sharp teeth with its wickedness, but only showed pearly whites perfectly even and proportionate. Lowering his head, he nipped playfully at her collarbone, a caress with the sharp bite of skin that would only tease pain without a mark or lingering ache to pair with it. A phantom jolt that didn't last.

Her gray eyes narrowed, tracking the expression on his face. "I see you thinking about biting me," she warned.

His alleged plans for the holiday brought a rolling laugh up from her chest, her brows lifting and falling again in a suggestive waggle. "Mm. Save me one." A pause. "Or two. And actually, no. I have no specific plans for the Vee-Day thing. But I am playing a couple of shows the following night. There's this... special two part event thing in honor of Lupercalia, and I'm doing an all out concert for it, and later on, a stripped down duet thing. Sooooo, if you haven't gorged yourself entirely on hot, needy chicks by then, come play." Her grin spread. "And maybe find you a few more in the process."

And then he did bite her, and the girl squirmed underneath him, making a little noise that wasn't exactly a protest.

It was her calling him out that forced his eyes to tick towards her face. Feigning innocence, his brows soared nearly to his hairline. "I would do nothing of the sort." Much like her coyness, the glittering of mischief in his eyes said much differently. "Just a nibble..." He whispered then, giving himself away.

With a crinkle of his nose, he pulled his head back. "And not be greedy?" He scoffed, as if she was simply asking too much of him. In a heartbeat, he relented with a sigh. "Two. You can have two. But that's it," he let out the laughter bubbling up his throat. Temporarily distracted by the nipping to her collarbone, he still hadn't missed her words... or... perhaps more particular words that seemed to trigger his thoughts.

His eyes rolled upward to peer at her, one brow arching. "Stripped? I wouldn't mind watching a stripped duet... just saying," he teased, snickering as his occupied mouth ventured along her chest, grazing teeth over her sternum. He seemed to consider it for a moment, pausing with his mouth just at the top of her abdomen, his jaw hanging open slightly. "Mn, I will need a break eventually, so I think I could clear my schedule long enough for a drive by." Lifting his head with a smooth lap of his tongue over her sternum, leaving the flesh to cool with the saliva. "Meadow, darling... you had me at stripped." The corner of his mouth curved into a devious smile before he rolled his hips with more intent against hers. "Just text me the deets, and I'll be there," he assured her. After all, he wasn't going to miss another party. Not this time.

Lowering his head, his mouth lingered over hers as he brushed over them with his speech. "Now... let's get more unmotivated to get dressed," he whispered to her, seconds before his mouth lowered to plant a noncommittal kiss to her mouth, but filled with all those dastardly intentions.
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Code Dietrich
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Re: The Sacrifice Club Presents: Lupercalia 2019

Post by Code Dietrich » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:10 pm

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Ungodly, early morning hours.. February 15th.

There was Vaseline-smeared saran wrap stuck to his cheek. The vibrant trickle of bleeding ink curled in unruly streaks between his skin and the creases in the plastic that crinkled obnoxiously when he rolled his half-naked body over a tangled mountain of limbs he’d soon come to discover as three pairs of other legs.

The fuck?


Often being the first words to spring to Dietrich’s mind upon waking, it wasn’t thought in alarm so much as moderate curiosity tinged with a pique of annoyance that there were people present beyond the intended invitation. Color-blotted fingers reached up, peeled the offending noisemaker from it’s suctioned hold and flung it lazily over the edge of the bed into the wastebasket with a flop of his arm. His other hand rubbed at his cheek as if checking to make sure whatever the fresh tattoo was, it wasn’t his. Satisfied that his face had been left unmarred, he wedged it into a throng of pillows and grunted.

“Unnggh..” It was too fucking early to be saddled with.. people. “Wake up. Get out.” Code guttered, rolling back into the unobstructed space he’d just vacated. With his foot, he gave the pile of parts a nudge. “Out.” he repeated.

There was a chorus of hisses and huffs. Guffaws and groans.

“Such a gentleman, Code..” came a croaking, smoke-rasped but feminine voice that had separated itself from the sprawl of bodies

“Bish, you don’t come here cause he a gentlemens.” A second effeminate, but definitely not female, voice chimed in.

The bed bounced as the last superfluous body left the arena and Code.. immediately starfished... spreading himself as wide in all directions as he could. “Mmmm. Bed.” He cooed lovingly at the now empty nest.

“Dick.” A third, at least somewhat familiar voice resounded. He could hear the curl of her smile in the insult even before her hand came down to smack him on his still denim-covered ass.

“Hate you too, Quorie.” He murmured lazily. He didn’t have to look at her to know the nickname was working it’s magic beneath her skin.. boiling her blood in a seethe she’d feel in her teeth. That oughtta do it.

“Mm. Yeah. I draw the line at endearments,” she announced deadpan, wrangling her things and her friends out of the loft and down the stairs.

Code waited until he heard the bell on the door chime, signaling their official exit, before unearthing himself.

Breaking through the surface of too soft pillows, the sandy blonde fuzz of a shave on either side of his head seemed to be getting a tad too long and bits of it stuck up at odd angles. A testament to fitful dreams or overly eager hands.

Or both… likely both.

The ex-drummer and writer turned reclusive entrepreneur stumbled out of the comfort of his bed, smoothed a palm over sleep-steeped features, and legitimately zombie shuffled his way down into the shop below.

He really did need to move the coffee maker back upstairs.

Reaching groggily for a bag of black-cat espresso beans and his grinder, moss green eyes caught a series of flickers along the storefront. He tilted his head at the potential hallucination as if trying to determine whether he was still high. But.. No.. no.. someone had plastered what looked to be flyers all over the tattoo shop’s windows.

“Oh what in the actual fuck..” he grumbled, marching to the entrance.. coffee beans still in hand. Code cranked the door open, stuck his head out violently, perhaps in the hopes of catching sight of the culprit, but settled instead for ripping one of the papers down when no one was to be found and subsequently harassed for vandalism.. and littering.. and.. existing..

Half-lidded disinterest perused the advertisement. “Luper-what?! Who gives a fu--..” he began to mutter. The little red piece of paper was about to be crumpled, it’s mates torn down too.. when a tiny printed image of a face he knew way too damn well stopped him dead in his tracks.

Meadow Starling, was staring up at him like a taunt. She was performing with a band called AaM, and had a special encore planned for later in the evening with their lead singer, Millicent Grim. Something the leaflet promised to be intriguing and haunting in what he imagined was that soul-achingly beautiful kind of way.

How was she even.. here? When did she..

Shit…” The deer in headlights look turned into one of absolute denial. The amount of head shaking and audible dismissive.. No.. nah-uh’s.. was nearing the bottom rung levels of obscenity.

The flyer was reduced to a ball in his fist and tossed unceremoniously into a rubbish bin as he paced away from it.

He made it all of fifteen seconds before he scurried back, fished the scrap of paper back out and smoothed it against the counter.

“Stars..” he said aloud.. like reciting an epitaph, running a thumb over the facsimile of her face. The last time he’d seen her.. was what? Three or four years ago? A world away from here and as a very different person. Her memory had become just another ghost hovering on the edge of his vision.. a figment of his imagination to keep the echoes of Sascha, his sister, company.. and yet.. there she was.

Dietrich glanced between the event details, the faded scars of bullet wounds dappled between the art pieces adorning his chest and the crudely etched heart tattooed on his left ring finger, trying desperately to ignore the feels that elbowed their way out of his throat in his third single syllable response.

Fuck.

Guess he was going to a party.


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He’d turn up-- In a crimson suit jacket pulled over an untucked white button down. Skinny black tie hanging between black lapels like a dividing line pointing to an obnoxiously garish skull belt and ripped black jeans.

He’d reach out— but not directly.. rather, via a pink sugar-cookie messenger wrapped in a scrawled upon napkin and left where she could find it. Just a little something between old friends that said.. Yep. I’m here. in words like.. Snuffy, Picasso, and Mulholland.

He’d watch— from an inconspicuous place amongst the dancing masses: the people, the intricate costumes, and stay for both performances with a grimace of heartstrings plucked by the minor key of her piano number. Some things never changed even when everything else had.

He’d smile-- charmingly, if not genuinely, have a decent time chatting up strangers with the assistance of one too many aesthetically ensnaring drinks, (the Lupercalia black cosmos vodka special was his favorite, especially with that added little kick), and by the end of the night would find himself anchored to several red threads.. but certainly none that he’d remember come morning.

And then..

He’d go home-- before the crowds swarmed the street; before he lost the newly found inspiration and the sudden muse-fed urge to write the words rattling around in his head could leave him; before the music composing itself to the thrum of 808 heartbeats could be swallowed entirely by the onslaught of intoxication he was headed towards.


I never wanted to leave, but I couldn’t stay. Is this the only way?
I never wanted to leave. I guess I never had you anyway.
You let me run from you, now it won’t ever be the same.
But still I count for two, my impatient heart won’t change.
You were so afraid, nothing I could hold onto.
But still.. I’d die for you.


-Lyrics from Selfish/Aware by Wayside
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Veil
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Re: The Sacrifice Club Presents: Lupercalia 2019

Post by Veil » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:25 am

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Being tutored by the likes of Millicent and Nathaniel Grim.. had interesting side effects.

The twins were.. mm.. a parallel sort of flurry. Millie was a veritable poof of fabric and chattering.. while Nate.. Nate was beginning to resemble a drink-swilling chimney with the amount of smoke billowing out of him.

This left Veil.. unattended for the most part.. and relatively.. to his own devices when it came time to get ready.. for whatever this thing was.

A tradition, perhaps, that he’d not yet gotten to in his reading.

Nevertheless, he was excited! If for no other reason than the fact that they’d never taken him anywhere before and by the sound and look of it.. it was a pretty big deal.

Observant chocolate puddles-for-eyes watched the pair closely.

First things first, he decided, was that he needed to look the part. To do that.. he’d have to go on a mission. And.. any good mission.. needed a soundtrack.

Veil creep-snuck, naked as a jay-bird, to the record player Millie had introduced him to. A quick craning of his giraffe-calf neck reassuring him that he was off to a successfully covert start. Grinning like a fiend, he puffed up his cheeks, real-big-like, and blew a cloud of dust off of a Benny Goodman 33. Sputtering through the billow, he laid the record down, lifted up the needle and set it gently against the outermost groove.

Sing, Sing, Sing blared through the hallowed cathedral halls.. and he crouched like it had suddenly granted him super-spy powers.. instead of potentially alerting everyone and everything to exactly where he was in that exact moment. (Volume control for Veil was.. still an issue.. They were working on it.)

Despite the cacophony. No one came. So he continued his slinking-- ducking around corners, flattening his bare back and bottom against walls if he thought he heard someone, slipping into rooms, in and out of closets and drawers, collecting bits of things as he went.. like a little kleptomaniacal snowball.

In the end, he’d managed to pilfer the following:

1- Red, puffy, vinyl jacket.
1- Tight pair of black leather pants.
1- Pair of snakeskin ankle boots. (Found those in a bin! Couldn’t believe his luck..)
1- Bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide.
1- Pair of shears.
2- Rolls of black electrical tape. (Just in case one wasn’t enough.)

When Millie finally came to collect him, he stood proud as a peacock for the reveal. She, on the other hand, was cackling like a mad woman through a face-splitting grin-- pointing at his belly and waggling her finger at it, unable to get the words out.

Veil grinned right back at her. “What?!” he crooned, thoroughly enjoying the What’s Millie Trying to Say game. Eyes wide and bright and sparkling.

Beneath his puffy red coat, he’d fashioned his interpretation of one of her corsets.. out of… electrical tape.. that was really.. just a strip… down the middle.. with three or four other bits slapped across it.


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He’d even managed to adopt some of Millie and Nate’s pretty pale hair.. just along the tips of the swoop of his own, hanging across his forehead. It had been an accident, of course.. one born of confusing the bottle of peroxide for an actual hair care product. Luckily, the foam-hiss-pop that the solution had made on contact startled him into setting the bottle down and sent him cautiously backing away.. palms raised like he was placating an angered beast.

That was how he arrived at Sacrifice.. and.. truth be told.. he didn’t look all that out of place or half bad really.

And there was music.. and dancing.. Two of his favorite things! This was going to be fun!

Only, not two minutes after being left unsupervised, the child had dove in to the thick of things, not knowing any better, and found himself smashed up against a writhing, grinding, sea of people.. with his hands clamped over his ears glancing left to right, frantically, for one of the Grim’s.

There wasn’t one to be found.

Sensory overload, was not something Veil was familiar with and it made the odd beat of his sewn-in heart gallop uncomfortably in his near-naked chest. He waddled sideways through the crowd with his arms bent into twin triangles—elbows jutting out on either side of his head serving as stabby-pointy battering rams that ultimately helped clear him from the mass of bodies.

Once free, he half scampered, half tried to play it cool, down a hall, glancing behind him a couple more times at what he narrowly escaped.. and for one last failed attempt to find a familiar face before disappearing altogether.. somewhere.. not so.. gyrate-y.
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“Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
MorrighanCartier
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Re: The Sacrifice Club Presents: Lupercalia 2019

Post by MorrighanCartier » Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:38 pm

The butterflies were real. It had been years since she been on stage. She drummed her fingertips against her thigh, then against the edge of the vanity. Her reflection was almost a stranger. This Morrighan hadn't been here in awhile. She'd been on the other side of white lines and cell doors.

But, here she was. The pale pink of her lips was a stark contrast to the white of her face. The wig made her head itch. She could anything for finite amount of time. They had practiced and it was just like falling into a comfortable recliner. It was home. All the same songs. All the same sounds. It was.

She adjusted the hearts one last time.

"Break a leg, or something like it."

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Last edited by MorrighanCartier on Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Sacrifice Club Presents: Lupercalia 2019

Post by wonderlandfill » Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:53 pm

It's late, your eyes crossed with someone,
a pretty picture with a crooked smile,
she'll take everything you have away, away, away...

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Whatever nerves there might have been, whatever apprehensive flutter might have erupted in her veins at the thought of playing not one but two live shows, of being the stand in musical guest in a well established band she herself had seen live at least a handful of times, well, Meadow fuckin' Starling would never let it show. There were no, would never be any, visible cracks in her apparent composure, the thick veneer of apathy polished to a perfect shine so strong she wore it like battle armor.

Iggy's presence helped. In addition to being her closest friend in this surreal soundscape she now called home, the ebullient adrenaline junkie had an energy to him that was upbeat and addictive, a kind of frenetic enthusiasm that incongruously put her perfectly at ease. It was hard to take anything too seriously when you were with Isaac, and most especially not yourself.

Whatever was in that shimmery black Lupercalia cocktail was helping, too.

Though she didn't actually ever eat any, the glitterati girl amused herself with selecting and then sharing those Conversation Starter cookie hearts with everyone she knew. Nice Tits, she passed to her 'date', who didn't have any; You Are So Hot, for Morrighan. You Are Delicious, she made an obnoxious point of passing to Millicent in front of a gathered crowd of fans, with that trademark grin and a lip-smacking smooch to her cheek.

Faster than a heartbeat, it was time for the first show of the night, and Meadow had to peel off the white gloves she'd been wearing as part of her outfit for the better part of the evening. She was the broken doll to Millicent's confectionary vision, all white lace and red candy stripes but for the bloody, still bleeding hole where her heart should have been. Setting her fingers on the strings, the electric adrenaline of the crowd coursing in her veins, she found herself really looking for the first time in a long time, at the only mark on her otherwise painstakingly maintained physique, the mark usually buried underneath a stack of expensive jewelry.

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Shit. With an aggressive attempt at pushing the past from her mind, it was on her to strike the opening note, to usher in the onslaught of this first performance. Her fingers found the chord, the vibration coming off the amp crawling up legs that were brazenly bare, permanently bronze from a sunkissed California existence, into the deepest, most secret parts of her soul. Giving herself up to it, she got lost in the setlist, her bass a throbbing, unrelenting underpinning for the guitar, her voice twining Milli's in a haunting harmony that was as ethereal as it was unsettling.

Afterwards, she was all lightning and hurricane; the thrill of the performance had infected her blood, her storm grey eyes wild in the darkness as she danced and slithered and writhed her way into and through the crowd. She towed Isaac along in her wake, her ready and willing companion in whatever they got into. Kissing strangers, kissing each other; kissing the same strangers simultaneously, they cut their own swath through the party's revelers.

One drink and then another, yet another and then another one still, and she could almost, almost forget the echo of an image that had seared itself into her retina some three or four years ago.

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By three a.m. she had it mostly out of her system, the panic in what was left of her heart largely expelled, expunged in drink, in dance, in the taste of other people on her tongue. She was a calmer, more stately creature by then, more evocative of her high fashion, super model mother than her debaucherous and devastating rockstar dad. She'd changed outfits --and attitudes-- settling in at the piano in time for a special set with Millicent.

Three or four of the pretty and provocative Ritual Sacrifice drinks lined up on a small table adjacent to the baby grand, Meadow herself was pretty and provocative, all hard angles and sharp contrasts to Millicent's marshmallow clouds. The complex duality brought depth and resonance to the music they played together, the minor key melody that spilled from her fingers bloodsoaked and tearstained by turns, giddy and spun sugar sweet by others.

It was, in a word, extraordinary, and more than once Meadow found herself wondering how in the world she had any part of it.

When the set was over, she stood, accepting the applause with one arm around the vision in white beside her and a smile on her face that was almost serene. But there it was again. That flash of toxic, intoxicating green, those eyes that --in her head at least -- could only possibly belong to one person. A piece of a memory haunting her, stalking her, there long enough to convince her it was real and then gone again just in time to make her doubt herself.

Meadow shook her head, trying to rid herself of her ghosts, focusing on those intrepid members of the crowd who had come up to engage them in conversation. Polite and patient, she indulged the audience for a time but never quite regained her equilibrium. When she'd excused herself at last, disappearing backstage, the queer and quixotic look on her face was such that someone on the staff caught her gently by the shoulder. "Hey, are you alright?"

She smiled, squared her shoulders, lifted her chin. "Yeah," came the response with a confident bravado she didn't quite feel. "This holiday has me feelin' some kind of way about some ancient history, got me seeing things. Ridiculous, right? I'm fine."

Pouring herself into an overstuffed chair in the backstage lounge, the rockstar's daughter took a moment alone to regroup. Reaching for a water bottle on the adjacent side table, she noticed something strange, something wrapped in a cocktail napkin that inexplicably had her name scrawled across it. Perfectly groomed eyebrows drew together as she looked again, more closely.

Not her name, not specifically. It said Stars.

Her heart in her throat, she unwrapped what turned out to be one of those conversation heart cookies she'd been so busy passing out earlier. Setting the cookie aside, she read the note scrawled on the napkin's interior, her heart rate escalating with every excruciatingly familiar word. She hadn't been hallucinating, she wasn't seeing ghosts. It was him, he was here, he'd seen her play.

Holy shit...Code.

Swallowing roughly, she took a second glance at the cookie this note had come wrapped up in, a short bark of a humorless laugh spilling from her lips. Fuck Me, indeed. She stood suddenly, blindly made her way back into the crowd, back to Isaac, back to more drinks and more dancing and more of everything that would block out the jagged pounding of her heart.

I can see a vision that's meant to be mine
Slowly turning away from you
I can see it all standing outside of time
Yea, there's only one thing for me left to lose
I love losing myself, talking to myself in the dark
When my body starts to work like a machine
Oh yeah you make me feel the pulse of my heavy metal heart...


(Lyrics: The Siren; Aesthetic Perfection and Heavy Metal Heart; Sky Ferreira)
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