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Triumphant return
The morning of the heist, Jaxen called Ori to have her meet him at his apartment. He had all of his gear prepared, although to look at him, the clothing wouldn't stand out as too unusual. He wore a button down shirt tucked into slacks and an open suit jacket. Very plain, very boring. Even the shoes were typical. The look he was going for was forgettable, professional but forgettable. His hair wasn't its usual wild self, but it was combed down and tame. The twinkle in his eye remained, though. He was drinking a cup of coffee when Oriena arrived.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Oriena hadn't ever planned to visit Jaxen's apartment again; in fact, until the other night, he hadn't even had her number. The building was just as ostentatious as she remembered; the gaud and glitz of the obscenely rich, but she barely saw it.

She'd not spared much concern for the plan - not out of trust in Jaxen's capabilities; just pure recklessness. Anticipation of the thrill glittered her gaze with mayhem, and a smirk hovered on her lips as she slipped inside the door.

"Morning. Sweetheart."
The apartment seemed sparser than she remembered, but she hadn't paid much attention the last time. Jaxen was also less flamboyant than usual. Though her gaze roamed his profile, the detail of that was unimportant; she was only mildly curious as to how he planned to do it, and more interested in where they were going.

Edited by Oriena, Aug 31 2016, 11:25 AM.
"You say you're a godman. So what? 
I'm the devil herself"
Alpha ~ Little Destroyer
[Image: orianderis.jpg]
Jaxen leaned against the kitchen counter, feet crossed at the ankle when Oriena let herself in. Her smile was twisted evil, and the thrill of today tickled Jaxen's skin with anticipation.

"Morning sweetheart. How did you sleep? Were the kids good?"

He played along, enjoying the game. Oriena was the model woman for a housewife.

He pushed away from the counter and did a little twirl of a modeling spin half way to her. "You like the outfit? I'm going for stick up my ass mixed with resting bitch face."
He laughed and snatched her hands in his. He looked into her eyes a moment, imagination filled with memory, only to yank her into a similar twirl.

"I don't think this is going to pass for Atharim. My plan is to walk in the front door, you know."

"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
(( Was asked to play an NPC security guy ))

It was just a regular day at the back door of the Baccarat Mansion. Except there were a lot more Atharim in and out than usual. Jeppe and Giles stood outside the large doors going downstairs into the basement. They didn't stand outside on the street like some bouncer at a club. That would just look silly.

Jeppe wasn't trained like the other Atharim. He went to University to be a cop and was recruited before finishing his criminal law degree into the Atharim. He finished the work and became one of the security guards at the Vatican. It was a prestigious job. He'd worked his way up towards to top and now he worked wherever the Regus did.

It was a good job. Paid well and kept food on the table. Plus he got to hear all sorts of weird stories to live vicariously through.
Ori placed a mocking hand to her heart. "Little angels, of course."

He spun for her attention, grinning like a devil as he grabbed at her hands. "Forgettable,"
she confirmed. Hunger darkened his gaze; remembering the kitchen counter, no doubt, but probably not the casual way she'd pushed him off afterwards. She met his eyes, a smokey tease, then moved on marionette strings, content to give the illusion of his control.

But suspicion crossed her expression. "You've a better suggestion?"

"You say you're a godman. So what? 
I'm the devil herself"
Alpha ~ Little Destroyer
[Image: orianderis.jpg]
He let her hands fall to her sides. Then, as though examining a dog on parade, he scrutinized her as he circled. Surprisingly, his eyes roamed the contours of her outfit rather than the image of pale skin beneath. He was focused, unusually pensive. There was only one woman he knew as Atharim. A girl really, although probably not that much younger than Oriena, Rune seemed infantile in comparison. Or perhaps Oriena seemed ancient. He wasn't sure which was the more accurate.

It wasn't Rune he needed to emulate with Oriena. Although changing her appearance might come in handy. But she didn't need a new face, and Jaxen was rather fond of the one she had.

No. It was the theme that Rune expressed that was needed. "You need to look more tactical. We are pretending to be Atharim ourselves. So you need pants that are practical rather than sexy. A jacket you could hide a gun beneath. And boots comfortable to run in. Your hair pulled back. Makeup simpler. And nothing too expensive."
as demonstration, he plucked at the jacket of his suit. The label was nice, but off the rack. Nothing high end. Good enough to be taken seriously but not so much as to attract attention.

Lifting the flap of the suit coat, a holster wrapped his shoulder. A handgun sat secured in place. Jaxen hadn't known exactly which gun to acquire and options weren't endless on such short notice, but he remembered enough details about the firearm to get close enough for realism. The man he was imitating likely always carried.

"Luckily, I anticipated this issue and have a stash of options for you in the bedroom. Pick what you want out of the pile."

There were a variety of cuts and sizes, including three options for footwear. Jaxen guessed at the fit, but given his experiences in life, he had an eye for those things.

He winked as he gestured at the bedroom. "Unless you changed your mind about going? In which case you can wait here like the good housewife and have dinner on the table when I get home"
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
All things he could have advised over the phone, if they were so important. Impatience wriggled in her chest at the delay, but she stood still and impassive while he circled and made his judgements. From the initial comment she had assumed he had changed his mind about her going, but the suspicion calmed once she realised he was merely talking business. That was tolerable.

she repeated drily. Momentary irritation faded, replaced by the cut of a playful smile and a smokey gaze. "If you wanted to play dress-up, Jaxen, you should have just said, because I have much better suggestions for that."
Still, she complied without an argument, falling a few inches from eye level as she slipped off her heels. Her fingers already tangled with the buttons of a blouse tucked into high-waisted leather pants, offering a glimpse of lace through the sheer fabric. "You know, I really doubt the Atharim have a dress code."

She retreated as she spoke, brow raised, amusement on her lips. "Dinner? Don't we have staff for that, dearest one? Why the fuck did I even marry you?"

She smirked. The shirt was slipping from her shoulders as she disappeared into his bedroom.

Oriena didn't spend much time riffling through the garments on offer, and opted to take what was closest to hand.

Lace that was provocative beneath the sheer panels of her blouse was simply incongruous with the options before her, so the bra came off with everything else. An off-grey, razor-backed tank dragged over her head. Practical pants slid up her hips, tucked into flat boots. A jacket. It was not so different from what she might wear on business in the Underground, and practical had an upside of comfortable. She came out bare-faced, her hair back in a sleek ponytail, and in far less time than Jaxen had left her months before while he prettied himself for the party upstairs. "Satisfied?"
"You say you're a godman. So what? 
I'm the devil herself"
Alpha ~ Little Destroyer
[Image: orianderis.jpg]
What a vixen. Jaxen loved it.

He itched to chase after her, but another succubus was calling. The promise of more fun than sex - or at least tied with it - kept him from following Oriena. Despite her best attempt to distract him.

"Much better. You look normal."

She could never be plain. Even without makeup and a sheet of dark hair framing her face, she was still gorgeous. But trading leather-snugged hips for regular pants, she had a better chance of blending in.

Together, the pair seemed average. If average meant secret cult members, then they should look the part.

He outlined the basics of the plan to her as they left. Although he described the building, he kept its exact location as the Baccarat Mansion close to his chest. He told her about the public level, the kitchens, the back garden and gate. He said there was a private apartment on the uppermost level and a high tech elevator connected the lofts to the depths. The basement was their location, through a regular doorway guarded by muscle and guns. He described cameras and touch pads. He talked about the white room and street-clothes clad men with guns and good aim.

Finally, he told her about the security guard that he met on more than one occasion. He told her to call him John White when the time came. (He looked him up on Pervaya's website). That he was employed by Pervaya, but moonlighted as Atharim.

They took the subway. Atharim probably didn't have towncars. And a few blocks down from Baccarat on Nikolskaya street, they ducked into a bookstore - the same bookstore that Jaxen met Mr. Arrabat and White for the first time. He kept a wary eye out for Red Square Devils patrolling the area. But with the influx of people congregating in the Red Square for demonstrations and protests - something Jaxen had never seen before - they were busy elsewhere and he and Oriena were unnoticed.

He left Oriena to go use the restroom in the back. Inside, he casually flipped on the light. Locked the door. And turned to the flimsy rectangle of a mirror.

He seized the Ancient Power. Clawed at it until he brimmed with furious energy. It stretched his mind, his very body wanted to overflow. He almost laughed like a maniac, but instead willed the power to do his bidding and he began to braid the flows.

His face warped before his very eyes. His chin squared. His eyes deepened and narrowed. His brows filled out. His hairline shifted. His nose moved. His mouth narrowed. His jawline stubbled with the darker shadow of a beard.

Then his shoulders broadened, filling out the slightly oversized suit jacket as it did. His biceps plumped a little. He grew an inch taller, but not used to the difference in his body's girth, he dared not change his physique too much.

Finished, he smiled at the face in the mirror. The only thing he lacked was a zippo and four cigars. He tied off the flows like Manix showed him and released the Ancient Power.

"You're a handsome devil aren't you?"

Jaxen asked of the fake John White in his own voice.

Last, he pulled out the voice strip. The adhesive peeled off the back like a bandaid and he placed the opaque circuitry just out of sight beneath the collar of his buttoned up shirt low on the throat.

"Why yes I am."

A deeper, gruffer voice answered back. It was impossible to perfectly emulate White's voice, but it was passable. Thankfully, White wasn't exactly a social butterfly. He probably grunted more than spoke. Grunts would work if needed. They just needed to get in the library and out again.

At least that was the plan.

A different man left the bathroom than one that entered it. Nobody noticed though.

He went in search of Oriena, expression coy, and while the eyes were different, the same glint of mischief gleamed from within. For now. As soon as they were back on the street, it was back to resting bitch face.

"Let's go catch some snakes."

The fake White told her.

((Ooc: the fake White))
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
She paced the aisles without much interest, more curious at the commotion building in the streets outside than in the dusty books at her fingertips. Her gaze kept snatching to the windows, eyeing the brew of a storm beyond, still only a faint promise, but one she could almost taste on her tongue. It called to her oh so sweetly, and her limbs were already itching from unspent energy, impatience coiling tighter and tighter while she waited for Jaxen to return. It was the kind of mood that usually preceded a run or a spar; the reckless need to act humming in her veins, seeking outlet. Instead she stalked, a caged animal, picking things up, discarding them restlessly. The proprietor shot her a number of uncomfortable glares. She ignored him.

Jaxen took his time. And he came back with a different face.

Ori was a consummate actress, and the name had prepared her. Somewhat. She'd met White before, briefly, with Spectra Lin at the party in Jaxen's building; had seen him more recently, too, in the Almaz's pits, where she had witnessed the vicious efficiency of his fight. Kasun had been a bloody mess by the time she got her hands on him, bruised and swollen and broken. White harnessed a brutality she appreciated. Though she had not known he was Atharim, or as good as. That keened a darker judgement.

Her lips quirked with sly amusement when she recognised the glitter in White's eyes, her curiosity carefully buried from view; at least for now. She clearly approved. But did wonder what would happen if someone decided to test the brawn. Jaxen was lithe and dexterous by comparison, but she doubted he could throw a decent punch.

"Lead the way, White."
"You say you're a godman. So what? 
I'm the devil herself"
Alpha ~ Little Destroyer
[Image: orianderis.jpg]
The fake White quirked a brow when he confronted Oriena.

She didn't study his face. No double takes. No gasps of awe and surprise. That last one was a bit disappointing, but overall, the reaction was curious.

Did she know this face already? How much? He'd run into White a few times out and about in the world. Was Oriena ever there at the same time? Had they spoken? Jaxen couldn't remember.

It didn't really matter, he surmised, and escorted her back to the street.

The Baccarat Mansion was located in a beautiful building. Unlike the last time he was there, no banners scrolled down the front. No line of cars waited to drop their passengers at the front door. It was just regular traffic and packed sidewalks; if a bit more congested than normal because of the protestors in the Red Square.

That was when a presence radiated across the sky, choking the air like volcanic ash lodged in his nostrils, plugging up his airways. He reached out to grasp Oriena by the hand, squeezing her tight.

His head jerked back toward the direction of the Red Square where the Ancient Power rattled the base of his mind and clawed at the strands of his soul. It sang, triumphant and glorious. Jaxen had no idea such strength existed.

The face of the Fake White was frozen in awe, silent and sensing. His hand gripped Oriena's tight.

"Do you sense that?"
He asked quietly, possessed by the need to see what was happening, but he stopped after a single step.

"Something is going on. Something incredible. Oriena, if only you could feel this. The Ascendancy is doing something. I feel it in my bones."
Once the awe settled, a hunger built in its place. Hunger to have that power for himself. You'll grow stronger until one day you simply stop. Tarin's voice echoed in memory. If Jaxen could ever be so strong, surely it would rip him apart.

A few paces ahead, a scream rose over the sidewalks. Quickly, people gathered around someone's holo screen, watching a live video of the Red Square broadcasted by those present.

Jaxen let go of Oriena and pulled out his own Wallet, holstered opposite the firearm under his jacket. He pulled up the same screen and watched in awe what was happening with the eyes even as he felt the pull of the Ancient Power pouring into the city.

Gathering himself. He knew this was the time to infiltrate the Atharim. They would surely be distracted by the spectacle, whatever it was. They needed to hurry.

When it was done, he put away the wallet and pushed through the flood of people walking in the opposite direction, all hurrying for the Red Square. "Baccarat mansion ahead. Let's go."
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."

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