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Enzo threw the hood of his sweat up around his ears and his hands deep into the pockets of his coat. The cold air instantly evaporated the beads of sweat from his face the moment he found himself in the alley behind le Baccarat Maison. After that, he'd turned right down the alley, then took another right at the first street. He walked aimlessly since, too lost in the blizzard of his own thoughts to care where he was going.

Once in a while the spires of the Kremlin would peek between the buildings that loomed overhead. Whenever such a glimpse was caught, Enzo would gasp and quickly turn the other direction as though the Ascendancy would see his thoughts like a beacon blazing in the city.

Such was how he found himself swallowed by the halogen glow of a this neighborhood. All the city seemed the same to him, and as such, Enzo largely ignored the details of his surroundings. Until he paused at an intersection and noticed about thirty flyers stapled to a pole. He blinked like he used to when English was still incomprehensible, but his eyes knew before his mind what it was the advertisements portrayed. Prostitution and stripping were legal in the CCD, a policy that made him uncomfortable, and the realization gave him cause to further investigate the area.
<small><small>continued from Root Down</small>

The meeting went well enough. Vlad's territory had been large enough that there wasn't too much overlap on the neighborhoods Stoya wanted and those that Rodion Mordvinov wanted. Bas knew what he was doing. Mik and him understood each other. Neither family was ready to swallow up the whole thing. That way drew too much attention to yourselves. Payoffs, bribes, blackmail- it all took time to set up. Getting too big too fast spread you too thin and you ran the risk of it collapsing on you. Bas understood this point. So, it seemed, did Mik.

When it was all done, they toasted and Bas shot a text with the details to Roman. He'd let Mordvinov know how it went. Bas could now settle down and really enjoy the show. He poured himself a nice full glass- his platinum cube chilling the vodka so that it was thicker than normal. He liked the way it rolled around in his mouth, over his tongue, and then down his throat. He enjoyed the nice lift it gave to how he looked at everything.

On whim, Bas prayed and the power flooded him. Everything in the club seemed to light up. The woman on the stage- she was in a body hugging turquoise blue-green dress that shimmered iridescently and was was jaggedly cut at shoulders, bosom and mid thigh, revealing black stockinged legs- moved across the stage as if in flight, a bird nearly catching air. His power enhanced vision allowed him to see the rainbow that played across her bodice even as parts of it disappeared as she danced. He allowed the music and the imagery to wash over him. The dance was erotic and yet suggested rather than displayed. He found himself enjoying her clothed form and the curved tilt of her eyes and soft exhilarated smile as much as the form fitting dress. A part of him laughed at himself. He was pretty simple in his needs. A nice drink. Some buddies to hang with. Maybe some smoke. And a nice pair and a real ass of course. His being high-brow about some girl dancing around in a bird outfit took the cake. But he watched anyway.

As if reading his mind, Mik handed over a silver case. Bas looked at it and flicked it open. The smell was pungent and immediately cast Bas' mind back. If he was relaxed before, this would take it to a new level. "Nice. Which is this?"

"It's Shoalin Sleep. From near the Himalayas I hear. Some serious shit."

Bas picked up the box and put it to his face and breathed it in. With the power-flooding him, it was as if he bathed his consciousness in it. He looked at Mik and laughed, then pulled out a paper and rolled some. He looked around the club. It wasn't forbidden or unknown in this place. Mik was pretty lit so he'd probably not notice. Bas channeled a thread of fire and the joint flared. He inhaled deeply and let the smoke permeate his lungs, held it in until he was unable to hold any longer, and yet still only exhaled slowly so the smoke streamed from his mouth. The power, the vodka and now the drugs all worked together and Bas felt his mind enter a whole new level of consciousness. He seemed to melt into the soft leather of his chair, felt himself seep into the air of the room, could feel the dancer's movements, the soft material of the dress on his hand, the taut muscle of her legs and hips against him. He became the room and luxuriated in it.

"Dude. You aren't kidding,"
and passed it to Mik. He wasn't sluggish. He was relaxed and at peace, his mind taking in every sensation and synthesizing them into one surreal experience.

After what seemed like an eternity but really only lasted until the song ended, he slid upward, finding himself standing. It was as if he were floating. He warmth of the club seemed a bit much, now, the sensations all merging together to create a feeling of being smothered in blankets. He needed the sharpness of cold. He took his drink- the cold perspiration on his fingers a delicious contrast- and took a sip, feeling the liquid ice slither down his throat, could feel it make its way to his stomach and suffuse him with coolness. "I'll be back in a sec,"
he said to Mik and went to the exit. He was not stumbling. He was still alert- the combination of drugs, drink and power giving him heightened senses- and made his way outside.

The cold air slapped him in the face and followed the icy drink down his throat and chilled his lungs. The clouds now floated like charcoal pillows in the sky, fringed in silver. He could feel them overhead. He let himself walk, feeling the air against his cheeks and neck, on his hand with the drink. The city bathed him and he let it lead him, drifting. Only a street over, and turning a corner he nearly walked into a man standing near a pole. looking at a flyer, the wind snapping it in his hand- or maybe the paper crinkling only sounded loud to him- his face frowning. "Sorry man. Didn't expect to see you there."

The man was probably about 10 or 15 years older than him. The look on his face- Bas could see as if there were a spotlight on it despite the hood- said he was uncomfortable here. Easy to get lost in Moscow. And if you didn't know where you were or what you were doing, the red-light district was a really bad place to be. Not as bad as his old neighborhood, but still. Normally Bas would let him be. Wasn't his job to help tourists out. But he felt good. It had been a nice piece of business they'd done back there and he was feeling charitable. "You lost buddy?"
Pyotr walked through the district, feeling more uncomfortable as he did. He had a sort of casual relationship with Michelle, but it turned out she was into some weird things - things that made him uncomfortable. He didn't mind the casualness of their relationship but that was too much...way too much. He went to the shop that she recommended to get what she recommended, but as soon as he saw the suit...stupid Pulp Fiction

He left.

Pyotr was on his way back home. He was going to end the thing that he and Michelle had. Hopefully it wouldn't cause any work issues, but it just wasn't working out. They both wanted way different things. As Pyotr walked, he summoned his luck. It still amazed him how easy it was. The luck helped him see better in the dark streets.

Prostitutes called to him, but he ignored them. A few thugs eyed him, but he had learned a lot about confidence from Bas, Nox, and Charlie. He stood tall and walked with confidence and they left him be.

As he turned the corner, he saw two men under a streetlight. One was Bas, dressed in a fabulous suit and the other, a man he didn't recognize. He approached the two and could smell the weed coming from Bas. He was high.

Pyotr nodded a greeting towards Bas. "Hey man. Who's your friend?"

Edited by Pyotr Grigory, Oct 19 2014, 07:50 PM.
A thin line of disgust flattened Enzo's expression of any other emotion. The flyers on the pole were only the beginning. His roaming gaze quickly identified a borage of unwanted imagery: halogen drenched flesh behind plate glass, video projected interactive scenes otherwise best left behind closed doors. Shame and disinterest might have pulled his gaze to the cement until he was in better surroundings, but a voice kept it level with the ground for now.

The voice came from a younger man in finely tailored clothing, but he was without a coat in the sharp winter air and oddly carried a half-drank glass of clear liquid. Enzo stepped aside out of instinct, but it seemed this man mirrored the movement.

Before Enzo could answer, another individual joined them. He was more appropriately attired and seemed to recognize the first. They both had the same thick Russian accent. Enzo's was musical in comparison. "Je m'appelle Enzo. My name is Enzo."
He shrugged his bag higher on his shoulder as though uncomfortable with the situation.

With the way the three of them were positioned, he'd need to squeeze between the street curb, thick with traffic, and the larger of the two men to pass unfettered. There was a sharpness to Enzo's gaze that suggested he was capable of handling himself if necessary, but he would prefer not become entangled in any sort of scene on the sidewalk - especially in this particular district. He didn't pull his Wallet out, despite how it would lead him out of here.

"I am not lost, only surprised at where I find myself. This is not the sort of situation I typically find myself."

Bas laughed as the guy stepped back. That stupid dance to avoid running into people was always funny. Course, the whole night seemed amusing right now. He felt good. Everything seemed right with the world. His eye ran over the girl in the window giving the peep show. Gave him ideas that he might just decide to act on. He could give one of his regulars a shout, but a chase sounded fun, actually. Oh yeah...all was right with the world.

Then another voice joined them and Bas smiled and clapped Pyotr on the shoulder. "Pyotr!"
Before he could ask him what he was doing there, the other guy answered. Well, gave his name first and then answered anyway.

"Enzo, eh? Well this is my buddy Pyotr. I'm Bas. And you are right smack dab in the middle of the party central."
He grinned at the guy. He didn't seem at all like he was the type of guy to hit up this area. Then again, people could surprise you. He didn't seem like a walking target though. His senses caught the shifting of weight and the bag, the assessment of his and Pyotr's positions.

Bas was curious. He was about to put a bit of pressure on the guy about why he was here- being lost and finding yourself in the red light district was about the lamest excuse possible . It usually meant you were embarrassed about why you were there- but just out of amusement of course. Not like he really cared what people got off on. Mostly anyway. There were a few things, though...Come to think of it, though, Pyotr was here too. And he looked flushed. It was more than the cold, he was sure of that. He started laughing at imagining what could have possibly brought a timid rabbit like Pyotr down here. He was definitely gonna have fun messing with him.

As he was about to say something, though, a couple voices joined them. "You boys looking to party?" Bas looked over a saw a couple pros standing there in long jackets that only barely covered stockinged legs. They looked pretty tore up. Bas was pretty sure they were packing under their dresses. Not weapons either. All the makeup in the world couldn't hide that adam's apple. Nor their five-o'clock shadow. He laughed and grinned wickedly at Pyotr.

"Not me sweetheart. But he might,"
he said gesturing at Pyotr. It was all in good fun. One of his buddies at Gracie's- Charlie- dressed in the same way when going out clubbing. But he wasn't a hooker, that's for sure. Made him laugh imagining the whole arsenal of whoop ass his buddy might unleash on some guy who thought he might get fresh with him. Charlie was his trainer in jiu jitsu after all.

The taller of the two looked Pyotr up and down. "Hmm..." Bas just stood back and watched, taking a sip fo his vodka, then laughing. He wasn't cold despite just wearing his suit jacket over his thin shirt instead of a large heavy proper coat. He felt damn good.
The Shoalin Sleep given to Sebastian had traces of bad ingredients. In the next few minutes, Bas is going to have a reaction to the drugs. The specifics of the reaction are up to you.
[[will post bas' reaction after enzo and pyotr have caught up]]
Bas introduced Pyotr to Enzo, and Pyotr was about to offer his hand when two male prostitutes showed up. Bas knowing about Pyotr sent them his way. He could tell Bas was goofing around, but still - that wasn't really necessary.

The taller of the two looked Pyotr up and down, and Pyotr heard Bas laugh. The man approached. "What about you? Wanna have some fun?"

Pyotr met the man's gaze, and was polite. "No thanks. I'm okay."

The man grinned at him and stepped closer. "Are you sure?" Pyotr was aware of the prostitutes hand on the man leaned in and whispered in Pyotr's ear. What the man said was soft enough only for Pyotr to hear, but what he said made Pyotr's face flush more, if that was possible, and his eyes widened. The man gave him a kiss on the cheek and backed away, still grinning.

" thanks...I'm okay."
Pyotr repeated.

The man kept the grin regardless. He pulled out a business card and put it in Pyotr's pants - not his pocket - his pants. "If you change your mind - pay me a visit."

The two men walked away and Pyotr just stood there. He had no idea if he should pull the card out of his pants or just leave it there. One thing was certain. He hadn't expected that.

Edited by Pyotr Grigory, Oct 22 2014, 10:25 PM.
Bas spoke so quickly that Enzo troubled to understand. He was still unused to the Russian accent dangling like a ballasts from every sentence. Furthermore, he was emotionally tired and on edge from the sudden attention from strangers.

Enzo kept his manners, in the meantime, and offered to shake hands with the two new acquaintenances, Bas and Pyotr. Their conversation was interrupted by additional new faces. Enzo kept his waried stance, but his discomfort was likely mistaken for prejudice. He was raised on the hillsides of the Côte d'Azur, his beloved Riviera. Only in the recent few years had he ventured onto the frenzied streets of the modern metropolis. But his lone experiences through Rome and Florence paled in comparison to the rumored reputation of Moscow.

He was glad the escorts paid him little attention. Monaco was hardly innocent of the lures of escorts of the highest class. His mother harboured stories to curl a man's hair of such affairs, but Enzo was uninterested. Thankfully, so also were his companions. Although, if the escorts had lured Bas and Pyotr away, he'd be freed from the obligation of company that may or may not be unscrupulous.

He lifted his hands innocently. "Non merci, Mademoiselle."
He said, incapable of hiding his foreign accent. Enzo didn't even so much as possess the proper medical clearance license to engage in legal prostitution activities. Registering in the CCD cleared database was never a priority.

"With that, I will bid you both a good day. Au revoir."
He nodded his head and moved as though to continue on his way.
The air around Bas seemed warmer than usual. He felt like he was suffocating. He raised his drink to his lips to let the icy old of the vodka chill him as it went down but his glass kept shaking, the platinum cube ringing against the sides, the cool liquid slopping around his hand. It seemed louder than he expected. Everything seemed louder and his head pounded. Something was behind him and turned around. Nothing.

His hackles rose. He was being watched. The noise of the pros and Pyotr talking, of the new guy, clamored in his mind and it distracted him, kept his attention from focusing on the danger he knew lurked nearby. He looked at them suspiciously. Suddenly, none of this seemed innocent and casual. He caught a look from the guy who'd slipped his card into Pyotr's pants. Pyotr looked at him too and he didn't see his friend. He saw enemies. The new guy turned and made as if to leave, but Bas thought he saw a sneering smile before that. He was being set up. He spun around again and this time, the street traffic slowed in his mind. He walked back to the corner he'd come from- in the direction of Kallistis- and was alone for a moment, watching carefully. If there was a hit coming, it would be from that direction. And sure enough, a car was rolling up to the stop, the lights sliding across its shiny exterior, the windows tinted black. He imagined he could see one of the windows go down. He looked back and couldn't see the others. Suddenly, all the sounds seemed to muffle and he felt like his head was wrapped in blankets. He could barely hear anything except the beat of his heart. He felt a droplet of sweat slide down the side of his face. His stomach churned and he imagine the cold barrel of a gun on his neck.

Without thinking, he channeled fire at the car, a ball of flame at the engine. It flew toward the vehicle and suddenly the front of the car stopped as the engine exploded. The blast and the screams popped the bubble around him and the noise crashed on him like a massive wave.

His knees hurt and he realized that he'd dropped to the sidewalk. He was shaking with the cold. Mercifully, the power drained away from him and the noises lessened. His teeth chattered and he put his chin against his chest to quiet them.

He didn't know what was happening to him.

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