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Thomas Gallo

Bakkhos
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74 Setting the Bar High

About Thomas Gallo

CHARACTER PROFILE

  • GENDER
    Male
  • PLAY-BY
    Jean Dujardin
  • AGE
    40
  • SEXUAL ORIENTATION
    Heterosexual
  • RACE
    Lycanthrope-Werewolf
  • JOB
    Caporegime; Runs Thyrsus Liquor Store.
  • 'SHIP:
    None
  • LOCATION
    New York, NY
  • FACTION
    Bakkhos
  • APPEARANCE
    Tom is nearly six feet in height and solidly built. His short, well-kept black hair is starting to show some light signs of gray. His face is kept clean-shaven or sometimes has a close-trimmed salt and pepper beard. Deep brown eyes reveal a lot about the man. First is intelligence. His eyes appear to slice through whatever obfuscation is presented before him. Second is pain. Tom is not a miserable person; however, joy is never fully reflected in his eyes.

    Tom is usually dressed formally and professionally. If he is not wearing a suit, he is not conducting business. Since he is married to his work, this isn’t often. He wears the silver twin rings encircled by a grapevine that all Capos wear. The only other jewelry he wears is a necklace that has a large diamond-encrusted ring made from his and his late-wife’s wedding bands.
  • PERSONALITY
    Tom is typically calm, calculating and reserved. Before the world went to hell…he was like that all the time. Now he finds that demeanor to be harder to hold on to with certain phases of the moon. His subordinates and peers have learned to predict when his mood will shift and Tom often isolates himself during those times for that reason. When close to the full moon, he is very easily agitated and has been asked to excuse himself by Victor and Angelo more than once due to this.

    When not under the influence of the moon, he is quite pleasant. While he is never truly jovial, he appears to generally be content and unoffending. When conducting business, he is no-nonsense and wants to get to the point right away.

    Tom radiates a personal aura that tends to make those around him uneasy and at times fearful. Not unlike the effect lycanthropes can have on animals, but the austere presence seems to affect people and lycan alike. It isn’t so much a fear as it is a sort of ‘passive-alpha-steer clear’ vibe that can often make people think twice about crossing him.

    No matter when it is in the lunar cycle, Tom has very little tolerance for swearing. As a tribute to his late wife, he never swears and will correct those who do so around him when appropriate. He’d never correct Gaspari, nor would he correct another Capo within their respective domains. However, all but Gaspari have been corrected and told to watch themselves within Thyrsus. When close to the full moon, he has even physically struck those who spoke out of turn.
  • PERSONAL BELONGINGS
    Owner of Thyrsus Liquor Store

    Sig Sauer P220 handgun

    Tom wears the signature twin-vined ring of a Capo. A keen jeweler might notice that it is not silver. He also wears a necklace around his neck with the fused wedding bands of his late wife's and his own.

    Tom owns a property just outside of the city that has an underground bunker to lock himself within during the change.

    Tom owns a black BMW X5 SUV. Sometimes he drives himself, other times he conscripts a driver. Either way, it is recognizable within the family just whose vehicle it is.

STAFF APPROVED ABILITIES/SKILLS/HISTORY

  • APPROVED ABILITIES
    Human Form
    Lunar Patterns: All the factors that influence behavior/mood/power of a lycanthrope based on phase of moon are tied to proximity to the full moon. Rather than crescendo at the full moon and drop suddenly afterwards, Tom’s were-nature waxes and wanes with the lunar cycle itself. Some lycanthropes are at their weakest the day after the full moon. Tom is at his weakest during the New Moon.

    Enhanced physical attributes: Tom has the increased strength and fortitude typical of lycanthropes in human form.

    Enhanced Senses: Tom’s sense of smell and hearing, and to a lesser extent, vision, are enhanced. The enhanced smell has proven beneficial when checking the quality of the high-end liquor being sold at the Thyrsus.

    Werewolf Form
    Tom’s werewolf form is larger than most. He stands at closer to 8 feet in height and nearly 800 pounds. Simply bigger/stronger/faster than most of his peers, Tom’s were-form is something best avoided.

    Weaknesses:
    Silver: Tom has very low tolerance for silver at all. If he detects the metallic scent of the metal, it is enough to offend him not unlike a man with poor hygiene or a skunk spraying outside. Touching the metal is akin to grasping a rose bush. Silver weapons don’t simply work on Tom. They work exceptionally well.

    Rage: Tom appears to be exceptionally affected by the rage that most lycanthropes feel. While every lycanthrope has the fury inside…Tom’s ferocity is an unruly tenant that seeks to come out whenever possible. Tom believes that his inability to process his grief for his wife’s passing and the latent anger that remained within him because of it during the Resonance Event contributed to this. Whether he is right or not, Tom has a stronger well of rage within him than most other people. It is a constant battle to keep his temper in check and remain in charge of his behavior.
  • APPROVED SKILLS
    Business Acumen: Tom has an uncanny ability to conduct business and almost always seems to make the “right decision at the right time”. Equal parts spontaneous insight and relentless study, Tom ensures that whatever business he is focused on becomes the best at what it does.

    Social engineering: Tom had become a master at leveraging the right person to do the right thing at the right time to further his agenda. While not a sly and silver-tongued person, he has a gift at discerning people’s motivations and a tactical mind to leverage that when useful. Whether it is deciding between the carrot or the stick with his subordinates, or knowing what ‘sacrifices’ are required from him in order for the other party to act in good faith, Tom has a keen eye for detecting what will work best.

    Tom is not an expert fighter, but he has had a modicum of training in kickboxing and wrestling. If a physical altercation were to present itself, he finds that he prefers to go hand to hand, even if appropriate weapons are available.
  • APPROVED HISTORY
    Thomas Gallo grew up in New York with his father Frank. Tom’s mom died when he was a young kid. Frank did his best to raise him, and did a fine job, but a single father in New York was not an easy task to have. Despite this, Tom never grew up lacking. His father always seemed to have enough to provide for all needs and most wants. He would spend some summers in California with his great uncle Julio at the Gallo Wineries. This helped foster his curiosity for business. His summers at the vineyard studying with his extended family gave him insight into the business that would come to help him in the future.

    When Tom was 13, it was impossible for his father to hide his connections. Tom was a quick study and realized that their lifestyle didn’t equate to his father’s wages. It was then that tom learned that Frank was “connected.” Frank gave up trying to hide the connection from his son and educated him about the families. Frank was always careful to keep his son sheltered from the darker aspects of “family-dealings.” He knew he couldn’t keep Tom in the dark any longer, but he could keep him sheltered from the darker aspects. For a time, anyway.

    Tom attended NYU and studied Finance and Business Administration. Frank insisted that he pay for his college, but Tom was savvy enough to know that he was attending on a “family scholarship”. He was an ace student and after graduation, quickly found his way to trading on the commodities market. Tom seemed to have an uncanny insight into the markets and was quickly regarded as a “wizard” of the market. This led to him becoming “connected” of his own accord. His father was not exactly opposed to this, but he wasn’t overly proud either. Having lost his wife, he was afraid of losing his son as well.

    Frank’s anxiety would simultaneously abate and grow with Tom’s betrothal. Tom had asked Jacqueline Strollo to become his bride. By this time, Tom was deeply connected. He didn’t have an exclusive relationship with the Strollos, as his father had taught him to not put his eggs all in one basket. Jacqueline changed all this. She was everything to him. On the day of their wedding, not only was Tom the happiest man on earth, he had also become the newest member of the Strollo family.

    Jacqueline’s impact on Tom cannot be overstated. She was a force of nature. Having “grown up in the mob” Jacqueline was not some delicate flower. She had a strong personality and one would be hesitant to cross her…even without her family connections. Anyone who had a clue knew that her strength did not come from her family, but from within. That is why when she chose her husband, it was met with little resistance, as “Ol’ Jackie can take care of herself.” One thing she did not tolerate in her presence was cursing. This was an odd thing to pick to be sensitive to, especially in a crime family, but she brooks no foul language in her company. Even Carmine tried to respect this…even though he was not at all compelled to behave this way. Jacqueline was not so foolish as to try to insist on this behavior from those who were obviously higher than her in terms of station, however she was often given a great deal of respect over and above her “rank” in the family.

    She wound up correcting some of the unpleasant habits that Tom still had. His foul language was the first and quickest to change. “No man who speaks that way has anything intelligent to say and shouldn’t be taken seriously. If you wish to speak to me, then you shall do so properly, as a man. Not as a school boy thug!” As all wives do, she began coaching him in his appearance, mannerisms, and all the things that most men find unimportant but women find vital. He was already a competent professional, but now he was better. She made him better. She made him his best.

    When Jacqueline died, Tom was devastated. She had hidden her sickness from him as long as she could. Eventually, it was impossible to obfuscate any longer. She had developed pancreatic cancer and had known that her time was limited. As selfless as she was strong, she had learned of this diagnosis while Tom was in the midst of his best performance. She knew she was terminal and had resigned herself to this fate, however Tom was making more money than he ever had before. She didn’t want to derail this current success to worry about something that could not be fixed. Just as Jacqueline feared, when Tom learned the news, he immediately stopped trading. He could not accept that there was no hope for his wife. He liquidated everything he had to gather as much capital as possible to find a cure for his beloved. She died mere days later.

    Her last words to him were simply, “Remember me. In all that you do, remember me, my love. I love you.”

    He did just that. He had taken his wedding band and her ring and had one of the city’s finest jewelers forge them into a single ring that he wears hanging on a necklace. By this point, Tom had established himself as a loyal and valuable member of the family. His entire passion and drive now had a singular focus. He was a driven and relentless machine for the family. Two weeks later, the Resonance Event occurred. The world had changed.

    Rage. Tom had never dealt with his grief over Jacqueline’s death in a healthy way. He buried himself in his work and channeled his grief and anger into his work. It was a temporary fix…like a deer being chased by a wolf. Running buys some time…but it all ends eventually. It wasn’t immediately evident to Tom what was happening to him. He had gone home for the day when the event occurred. That day had been a particularly frustrating one, as nothing appeared to be going right. Shipments were missed, payments not collected…it was ‘one of those days.’ He had poured himself a drink as he sat on his couch, looking at his wife’s portrait hanging above the mantle.

    A sudden grief had overtaken him. As with a lot of men, grief and sadness quickly turned to anger. This anger was different. It was a torrent of rage the likes he had never felt before. He threw his glass across the room and roared with fury. He started tossing glasses, books, chairs, and even couches and tables. As the event occurred, he had succumbed to the most blinding rage anyone could imagine. His form grew large and hairy. Claws sprouted from his fingertips. Fur grew all over his body. Snout extended with finger-length fangs in his maw. He WAS rage. Howling in fury, Tom’s last memory of that night was pain. Pain and rage.

    Tom woke up somewhere in what was left of Manhattan. Naked, blood-soaked, and afraid…and angry. As quickly as he could, he made his way back to the Strollo house to make sense of what had occurred. Apparently, it wasn’t just him that experienced something new. The world had changed in an instant. The family would have to change along with it.

    Tom made his way back to his home and, miraculously, his security footage remained intact. He viewed the footage from the event and was mortified. He watched as he transformed into this massive wolf-like monstrosity and destroy anything nearby before he left the house. Was he a werewolf? It was the only thing that came to mind…but those were children’s stories. Right? To be safe he fled the city before nightfall. The idea of hurting more people made him terrified…which in this present state, made him angry. He headed as far upstate and got to a place as remote as he could before nightfall and waiting. He suspected that another night of chaos and bloodshed awaited. He was right. This time, however, it appeared to be limited to wildlife. Once the moon-cycle had passed, he felt it was likely safe to return to the city. There was work to do. It began now.

    The chaos that came post-Resonance created a lot of loss and opportunity for the families of New York. When Tom had cashed out of the markets to fund his wife’s recovery, it became an accidental boon for the post-Resonance world. When Gaspari had united the families, even he didn’t know the size of the cash-cow that was quietly coming in the form of Tom Gallo.

    When Gaspari reorganized the families into one, united family, Tom had been placed under Victor’s wing for a while. Tom’s past history in working with the Gallo vineyards in California had given him a reason to be paired with Victor. Gaspari had integrated the families together in the various “sectors of business”. That way any sort of “tribal loyalty” held by the original smaller families could never grow. This is why the wine and booze market was controlled by Nuzios and Strollos together. Also, Victor had been similarly affected by the Resonance…forming yet another bond with which he can relate with someone. Once Thyrsus had been established, Tom found himself being named Capo, supervising the ins and outs of everything within the walls of this establishment…legit or otherwise.

Profile Fields

  • Typist's Role Play History
    AD&D 2e until present. Played on another PbP forum-driven site off and on for the last 20 years.
  • Role Play Sample
    “I’ll be back on Tuesday,” Tom growled at Roderick, the manager of the upstairs portion of Thyrsus.

    “But Boss,” Roderick began to retort hesitantly, “4th of July weekend is gonna be huge ‘round here. You are gonna be missed. What am I supposed to say?”

    Tom resisted the urge to round on the man and grab his throat. He was, after all, just doing his job. It was 4th of July Weekend in New York. All the Bakkhos clubs and establishments were looking to do record business. This should be a time where Tom was all business and making sure everything ran smoothly. Unfortunately, it was also the three days in the month where he was a savage, blood-thirsty beast at night. It was best that he leaves.

    “They will know why I left, but they may be none too pleased about it.” Tom’s jaw clenched and he slowly released the balled fist he had made. “Tell them that I trust you to manage while I’m away.”

    Tom forced a smile. He knew the effect he had on people around this time. He didn’t like scaring those who worked for him. A small dose of fear is healthy, but Roderick and some of the others knew of Tom’s sometimes over-the-top temper near the full moon and were outright terrified if Tom didn’t keep himself in check.

    Keeping the smile on his face, he clapped Roderick on the shoulder. “While I’m gone, you speak for me. I trust you to handle business.” He walked toward the exit, and before he exited, he added, “And if you don’t, remember…I’ll be back on Tuesday.” This time the smile was a nearly feral grin. Roderick was somewhat accustomed to this…he’d been working for Tom for a while now. It was, however, impossible to become comfortable.

    Tom jumped into his car and drove north. He had 10 hours until the sun set and he wanted to be as far into the norther wilderness as he could manage before the turn. He knew that he should lock himself in the cellar that had been built for him. It would keep him around during the day to have some face time, but he couldn’t. He rationalized it that it would be too dangerous. Too many people would be around in case he got trapped in public before the sun set. I mean, who leaves on the 4th of July weekend BEFORE the fireworks? It was bad optics. It was too dangerous.

    These are all true, but it wasn’t the truth. Tom could not go in the box. Not this time. He had to run. He had to hunt. No. He could not go in the box. He knew it was dangerous and perhaps a bit reckless, but he had to run. He had to hunt. He had to sate the beast. He was not going in the box.
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  1. Thomas Gallo

    Countdown Begins...

    …pft…please…. you aint that special Gallo…. Tom smirked and gestured to one of the numerous banners with his face plastered on them. You don’t say… Darius Kayne, at your service! Tom sized up the man. He was indeed eager to be a part of this. Good. Seemed like he was the type of eager that was just glad to be a part of it…not the eager that sought to leverage this for some nefarious gain. Tom shook his head slightly, banishing the thought. Not everyone thought like the families. He shook Darius’s hand firmly and continued to listen as he released. Well, I hear it can help us hold back the lions, tigers an' bears… Tom noticed the smirk. It’s the wolves you have to be careful of…crafty brutes they can be… He followed Matteo and Darius onto the main field. From down here he turned slowly, taking in the view from the field where he’d be before long. It was very impressive. Done right, this would be the most popular attraction in the city. So…we are getting to see what happens if we hit the second barrier?
  2. Thomas Gallo

    Countdown Begins...

    Tom had entered the private viewing box that Gaspari and other VIPs would occupy at Satyr. He had come to Satyr to double-check the chain of custody of booze coming from Thyrsus to Satyr, to ensure that the serial poisoner of his wares had not wormed their way into the supply chain to Satyr. His inspection had proven this supply chain to be clean, however others he had thought were good had turned out to have some poison bottles slipped into the shipments. This was taking too long. Tom had been forced to take more calls of disgruntled clients as they were no longer being satisfied with Roderick fielding the calls. Tom had dispatched soldiers to supervise shipments to several of the clients. Of those that were supervised, none were tampered with. This poisoner was subtle, observant, and worst of all...intelligent. Tom didn't have the manpower to babysit every shipment from now to eternity...he needed to squash this bug. It was time to bring in the rest of the family. Tom took a moment to take in the spectacle of the arena from the VIP box. It was impressive. Quite impressive. He didn't understand the intricacies of the enchantments and magical augmentation to the cages and barriers. He let out a resigned growl as he was certain that he'd be the one to 'test' some of them. Matteo got a sick sort of pleasure in Tom's discomfort. Not malevolent...as far as Tom could tell...it reminded him of brothers enjoying each other's trivial trials. Ass. Tom stepped out of the box and started walking down the stairs toward where he saw Tom and some other man speaking. He suspected him to be another mage or some such. As he got closer, he called down to the two men. "Come now. You didn't have to do all this for little ol' me." Tom smirked at Matteo before extending a hand to the other man. "Tom Gallo, pleased to meet you."
  3. Thomas Gallo

    Nighttime is Playtime

    Tom sensed a small defense get raised again. He had allowed himself to relax in front of someone for the first time in...since the Event really. Roderick and Matteo had seen the best and worst of Tom...but outside of the family...boundaries were always firmly in place. Subtle facial features were the only betrayal that he had slipped back into a more business-like demeanor. Most would miss it. Eris likely wouldn't. Fair enough...he suspected the same sort of thing happened to her as well. It wasn't often you found someone you could relate to in this new world. Best not to disrupt that. “Why, you interested in getting your butt kicked...Which is what the outcome would be." A small smile crept across his face...not a mocking one...but a smile nonetheless. "I wouldn't be all that surprised, honestly. Although I am a slight bit more agile than the car you tossed through my walls." He noted her posture...almost daring to be challenged. Perhaps another time. His absence was certainly noticed by now...not that it mattered all that much. The club was not his to supervise and manage...although this was a Family event and he shouldn't be absent from all of it. "I think we have a lot to talk about." He turned to look at the skyline to reorient himself to his position within the city. He intended to look into this building later. He believed he could trust her...however the old adage of 'trust buy verify' rang in his brain. Eris was not one to play with her cards laid out on the table for all to see. "But not tonight." "Mind telling me more of what you had in mind on the way back to your hangar?" He motioned toward the plane. A quick flare of his nostrils as he exhaled abruptly betrayed the emotion underlying his next statement. "I should be getting back to the club." He didn't want to...but duty...
  4. Thomas Gallo

    Bakkhos Champion??

    Expensive. Yes. Expensive is good. A smirk spread across his face. You know...that Barracuda would be a nice prize...for the winner. What do you think about that...bub? Tom know...everyone knew...that car was something he loved more than anything else...probably anyone else. If there was a way to cut deep...it was to mention that car. He stood up and put his glass behind the bar. Think about it. Could be fun. After all...I am the best in the world at what I do, but what I do isn't very nice. Then Tom clapped Matteo on the shoulder as he left. It as time to grab a few hours of sleep before tomorrow's calamities presented themselves.
  5. Thomas Gallo

    Bakkhos Champion??

    Maybe a little….. but ya gotta admit… be a vision in canary yella tights… Tom emitted a low growl...but his smirk betrayed it. Matteo often flirted with the boundary of provocation and jest. In many ways, Tom and Matteo were brothers. A vision...we can call it that. A dream, really. That's all that will ever be. Tom's smirk showed the joke, but his eyes allowed no room for debate. When Matteo explained the prize and asked if Tom planned on losing, Tom chuckled openly. This idea was terrible. Or it was genius. Knowing Gaspari, it was genius...however it still felt...dangerous. Matteo and he were on the same page regarding that, it seemed, however they'd do their best to make it work. No, I do not plan on losing. Tom finished his drink with one last pull and set the glass down. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he shook his head in resignation and added. Just don't insult me. Make the purse big.
  6. Thomas Gallo

    Nighttime is Playtime

    “This doesn’t mean you work for me, this means I work for you.” This wasn't the beginning of a new chapter, this was the start of a new book entirely. He didn't know much of any of the details of the Sheut, however he could tell that something tremendously powerful had just occurred. The gravity of such did not elude him. This was the dawning of a new era. “It’s my job to protect your organization, because it needs to exist in order for the world to come back to life. Your needs become my priority, and threats to your businesses are threats to me.” Tom nodded. This made sense. The shadows of logistics already forming themselves in Tom's brain as she spoke. This would be an interesting venture. This would have to be handled with care. The old men would seek to manipulate Eris in some fashion. That would not go well. Tom would have to take point on this, as Eris desired. He'd have to go nose to nose with Strollo, he suspected. Gaspari would be the only one who could cause a problem that Tom couldn't get in front of. He'd have to go to him directly soon. "You remind me of someone..." Tom smiled ever-so-slightly at that statement. She didn't glower or sneer or speak dismissively when she said this. She respected him. He knew that was currency she didn't trade often. "You remind me of someone as well." Him. She reminded him of himself. She looked better in a dress than he did, sure...but the fury contained within a cage of civility and self-control. The heart-felt desire to look after her charges...they were reflections of one another in a lot of ways. Then the mood shifted. "I hear you're a boxer." Tom actually smiled big and chuckled softly. Not at her...but at the sudden levity. "I used to. I recently started hitting the bag again. It serves to...calm me a bit." As he sat on the ledge, he threw up a soft boxing-guard and said, "You interested in a sparring partner?"
  7. Thomas Gallo

    Bakkhos Champion??

    Tom groaned and shook his head as Matteo made jokes about advertising and spandex. With elbow on the bar, Tom rested his head in his hand as he allowed a small, resigned smile. “You are enjoying this way more than you should be.” When Matteo put on a more serious tone, Tom rejoined him. “Good luck finding an opponent who is familiar with the family. I’m afraid that my…reputation may lead to some difficulty.” Tom wasn’t wrong. Everyone who has ever dealt with Tom has either loved him or been deathly afraid of him. Usually both. His enemies stay clear. His friends love him…but tread carefully. The only likely challenger would be someone who didn’t know any better…or who did and sought to challenge the strength or Tom and Bakkhos. Too many unknowns for Tom’s taste. A thought occurred to Tom. He was sure Matteo had thought of it already, but he wasn’t aware of the specifics, so he had to ask. “If a challenger steps up…what do they win?” Tom then smirked slightly. “What do I win?”
  8. Thomas Gallo

    Bakkhos Champion??

    We advertise the fuck outta ya….. banners on the side of the stadium with your ugly mug on them…. Big gold letters underneath spellin' out "CHAMPION"…. enough to in ya face push so that we push buttons… Tom grunted. He didn't like that aspect of it. He disliked being a spectacle...an exhibit. He supposed it was his price to pay for the outlet afforded him by the arena. Didn't mean he had to like it. He didn't. Still...the extra fame and notoriety could be leveraged for the business too. Yeah...that is probably best. I. Hate. It. But I get it. Not had a lot of luck getting strong recruits for the first fight…. sad thing is Gaspari is probably right in pickin' a Bakkhos to headline. People were waitin' to see what it would really be like… if it’s a hoax or not…. Tom nodded. Gaspari always seemed to have his finger on the pulse of the world. Sure this would help Tom with an outlet...but no decision ever served just a single purpose with him. Gaspari was always optimizing. We'll be sure to make it count. You realize this is goin' t' be a total blood sport right? The audience is going to be looking for gladiator games… not a little boxing match…. Tom's eyebrows furrowed as he glowered at no one in particular. He looked up to Matteo and nodded. I'm counting on it. I don't know that I could restrain myself to a simple boxing match.
  9. Thomas Gallo

    Bakkhos Champion??

    Tom nodded as Matteo confirmed what Tom had already knew. He was sure that Matteo had enough sense to not put two transformed weres in the cage. He hated to state the obvious...but it was one of those issues he couldn't leave to chance. He raised his glass in apology for having to say something so obvious. He was sure Matteo understood. When Matteo mentioned other Sheut within the family...Tom had figured out a few since he started working with Eris. It was never important to him, so he paid them no mind. It might be worth knowing exactly who at some point...but for now it was not important. When Eris asked him about Sheut Ka in the arena again...he'd be able to say that he heard it from the horse's mouth itself. When Matteo tapped on his glass for a refill, Tom looked the man in the face and quirked an eyebrow with a hint of a grin. You couldn't afford me as your bartender. Tom topped off his glass and slid the bottle over to Matteo. Well...if there is no getting around it...how can we make the most of it? He was referring back to his new role as Champion. He was obviously not thrilled with the prospect, but there was no sense brooding over the unchangeable. Besides that...he almost looked forward to it.
  10. Thomas Gallo

    Nighttime is Playtime

    “Don’t look at me like that.” When Eris glided to a position opposite him, he was genuinely surprised. He had surmised that she was nervous...as what she was proposing was a dangerous gambit...especially if he said 'no.' This though...there was something else there. He had hit on a nerve unintentionally. Had she thought he was laughing at her? He had laughed at the absurdity of her statement. Tom had never felt so in the dark than he had when Eris revealed the Sheut and everything else. Like a blind person gaining sight...her presumption that he thought himself in full control couldn't be farther from the truth. It was...laughable. Her sudden glide to a defensive posture was equally surprising. It probably shouldn't have been all that shocking...empirically he knew as much. He just had a healthy respect for the new world still. What was more interesting...terrifying...was that it appeared to be nearly instinctual. She was on the defensive. He had pricked a fight-or-flight response from her. She too was harboring a Beast within. Did the vampires struggle with a similar issue that all of his kind fought with? Or was she unique? Tom placed his hands on the ledge as if to scoot back down to his feet in case she lost control of her Beast and he had to defend himself. He was relieved when her demeanor softened and she gracefully strode back to the ledge to rejoin him. Relieved...and a bit disappointed. What was wrong with him?! “Asking you to be in a position in the Nation means I’m tired of being by myself. I need to spend time with someone that gets it. This… rage and refinement all compressed into one. Somebody that I choose, not those that I have to deal with by association. I’m being told I have to build alliances and relationships in my territory. I didn’t ask to be Viceroy. I was told, and because I have unwavering respect for the man that put me here I didn’t argue. Being forced… to build relationships with groups when I can’t even stand to be around people is torture.” So it wasn't merely an alliance of convenience. She wanted him to assume a position within her organization? Or a figurehead that ticks a box on their checklist? So many questions. He assumed he was going to get answers. That last bit explained a lot. What better defense against social anxiety than being a vicious killing machine? Scare enough people and you won't have to deal with them. Tom wasn't scared of her. He respected her and believed that if she intended to...she could probably kill him. But he believed he was an equal in that regard. Even the most socially-terrified people still crave companionship. He was likely one of a very few who could understand her. If he were being honest...he felt the same. “You’re not torture. You get it. That’s why I asked you.” Tom nodded in agreement with her. He got it. He understood. His face softened slightly. She had opened up and left herself to be truly vulnerable. He knew the gravity of this confession. She wasn't trying to play puppet master...not this time. She needed an ally. A true ally. A friend. He nodded once more and slowly, gently extended his had toward her. He remembered her typical disdain about doing so before, but this wasn't a handshake. The back of his hand rested on the surface of the ledge they shared and was held open...an invitation to accept or reject however she chose. Wordlessly he looked into her eyes...deep brown portals of rage, pain, and understanding staring into the near-black depths of rage, pain, and understanding. They were kindred spirits in more ways than either of them knew. He had already agreed in his mind to join her in this new vision. He'd have to navigate his way through the details another time. But for now, with outstretched hand, he just stared into the now-transparent windows to her soul.
  11. Thomas Gallo

    Bakkhos Champion??

    Tom listened to Matteo's protests with a solemn nod. He didn't like this any more than he did. Logically speaking, anyhow. Tom's life was going to get more tense, more complicated, more...interesting? It ticked all the boxes of being stupid. Paint target on Tom's back? -- Check Be a perpetual target for those seeking to one-up Bakkhos? -- Check Out publicly that Tom was a werewolf? -- Check ...although he wasn't sure how much of a secret it truly was. Those he did business with knew that already...well most of them anyway. His temperament was hard to hide, and mouths are always open. There was a healthy level of pragmatism to Gaspari's words...and if anyone was mechanical and calculated about moves, it was Gaspari. Maybe this was an acceptable risk for the predicted rewards. He poured a drink for Matteo and slid it down to him. 'ey... I get that…. but this be like slappin' a neon "fuck with me" sign on ya back….you know that. Tom nodded as he took a sip from his bourbon glass. He growled softly at Matteo's profanity piercing into Tom's ears like daggers. He was not in Thyrsus, so he kept his mouth shut. He wasn't thrilled in the slightest with having to deal with more people than he had to lately...although his mind was already spinning with ways to turn this into an opportunity. A boon in the dark. One fear he had, though, was that people would begin to forget his mind and only see the beast. He had established Thyrsus to the gem of Bakkhos that it is due to his shrewd mind and efficient intellect. Those with whom he dealt respected this. Being a cage-fighting werewolf may work against that. Unless... Unless Gaspari orders it. The Beast will not enter the arena. Not under any circumstance. Tom looked Matteo dead in the face and the seas of fury and rage that burned behind Tom's eyes begged to leap forth. Tom didn't often make 'power-plays' or 'ultimatums' when avoidable. Those types of people were hard to work with. They didn't play nice with others when things didn't go their way. Tom was as flexible and amenable as would make financial sense. People knew when they were being dealt a generous hand when dealing with Tom. That made it easier for when Tom played hardball...they knew he wasn't budging. Always managing expectations. There was no question in Tom's eyes. Each sentence a statement. Tom believed that his beast would frighten even the most hardened veterans that have had to deal with weres. That could be another tool to leverage at a later date. The problem was, it could only be used once. He had to be careful with it. Best to keep the Beast locked away from the most eyes. The only living people, of whom Tom was aware, that have seen his Werewolf-form were Victor, Matteo, and Gaspari. He hoped he could keep it that way. Even his father knew of him...but since he changed like Tom...he never saw his son at his worst. Ya know I gotta advert ya as infected……cant let anyone signin' up for the first fight walk in without knowin'…. Tom nodded. He knew that, despite the audacity of it all, Satyr Stadium would be as fair as could be hoped. One thing Bakkhos had done right that no other mob family had done previously was that nearly everything appeared above board. There were no rigged games, thrown matches, or weighted dice. Even when the family has to pay out a lot of cash, the old saying remains true. The house always wins. So...even though Satyr Stadium was going to have more than its share of backlash upon opening, it would eventually be accepted and prove to be quite valuable. Yes. As would be expected. No one will pretend to be a werewolf who isn't. Zombies are non-applicable... Tom paused in thought a moment. He and Matteo had discussed this before...numerous times, with varying outcomes. Now was the time to press the issue one last time. ...speaking of the infected. Are you planning on advertising Sheut Ka in the arena? Eris was very specific about the kinds of violence she'd like to indulge in if we were to run with them as fighters. She said as much a year ago and hasn't budged by a single syllable since. Tom thought about that night often. It was a turning point in a lot of ways. Eris had opened Tom's eyes to a corner of the world that he had assumed existed but had no idea as to the breadth or scope. He still didn't quite see the point of the Sheut's insistence of hiding. On an individual level sure, but to attempt to obfuscate the entire existence of a type of infected seemed a stretch. In a world with dragons, werewolves, elves, and zombies...vampires are the only thing that didn't make the cut? No matter, it wasn't his problem to ensure the secret was kept. He only promised to keep his mouth shut as well as attempt to shut the mouths of some others.
  12. Thomas Gallo

    Nighttime is Playtime

    Eris was not used to being questioned. If she were a subordinate to a large machine like Bakkhos...or even larger, then she found a position where the order-taking was minimal. She was Viceroy...Capo of this part of North America? Yeah, she didn't like having superiors...or peers. It was evident that he was not going to bully his way to getting answers. He wasn't intending to, but it was worth knowing that that approach was not going to be valuable. When she turned to look at him with those innocent-looking big eyes, a small smile appeared on his face. The cutest baby vipers had the biggest eyes...and most potent venom. “You think you have it all figured out...Do you?" Tom's small smile broke into an abrupt, loud laugh. "Of course not! If I had it all figured out, I wouldn't be taking helicopter rides to your secret rooftops to have secret conversations with you in order to learn what is going on." Tom's perpetual rage-companion took a different direction...slightly. He didn't want to rip off her head. He could see the change of posture, however slight it was. She wanted to fight. She kept a caged beast beneath her facade as well. Tom wanted to see it. Something had been happening to Tom since the Event. Before, the fury inside was just that...some invisible force that had more control over him than he liked. It sought an outlet, an escape from the bondage of Tom's self-control and discipline. It had perverted...or perhaps evolved over the years. Instead of bursting out of control despite Tom's wishes...it now sought more...creative ways to be sated. Tom didn't want to kill or to even hurt. He wanted to hunt. To fight. To fight her? His reason warred with is perception. She was little. She was a woman. She is a monster. She is another death dealer. Perhaps she needs it too. Could be mutually beneficial. How do you even bring that up? Why won't she answer my questions?! Tom's smile faded as he forcibly clamped down on his thoughts and resumed a stoic, rage-beneath-the-surface control. It was no time to indulge such fantasies. It would only serve as a distraction among others. Or maybe it would be an outlet for these internal distractions keeping him from thinking straight? Tom shook his head and hopped up to take a seat on the ledge himself with his face in his hands. He looked to Eris with a combination look of amused, frustrated, and anger. Always anger...but this time with no attempt at a poker face.
  13. Thomas Gallo

    Poison in the Well

    December 12, 2020 Fae Ice Age, New York NPC: "Boss, we got another one." The staff of Thyrsus had grown during the Ice Age, largely due to limited mobility. Jimmy, or Steve, or whatever his name was, Tom didn't care. He was one of Strollo's boys who typically helped out with the security work of the 'downstairs operations'. Due to the prohibitive nature of the weather outside, shipments of any kind had slowed dramatically. This is what has largely contributed to his current problem. Tom had noticed orders had been down. This was expected due to the big freeze. However, they slowed down much more than they should have. Rumors began of counterfeits being peddled to Thyrsus's customers. When reaching out to clients, they said that shipments came earlier than expected. Someone had provided their orders to the bottle. The only problem was, it hadn't been Tom. This was a tremendous problem on multiple levels. Someone had access to his purchase orders and was using that to profit...at the expense of the family. When Tom explained to his clients that this so-called discount was indeed false...and that the product that they purchased was bootlegged and terrible...they were upset. When their clientele started dying, they became furious...at Tom. "How could you let this happen?!" "What are you going to do about it?!" "You owe us...big time." Tom was furious. Luckily for those around Tom, the timing couldn't have been better. It had been nearly 2 weeks since the last full moon, and this was the time that its influence over him was minimized. Otherwise, Steve or Jimmy or whatever his name was wouldn't have dared to speak to him with bad news. That was often Roderick's burden. People were dying and their deaths were being laid at Tom's feet because he had failed at controlling distribution. He thought he had that controlled, however it was apparent he did not. There was a gap somewhere, and he intended to sniff it out. Tom looked at Strollo's goon holding a phone. He was good enough at his job, but Tom wouldn't have used him for anything more complicated than breaking fingers or stacking boxes. He'd have to do. Same thing? Tom knew the answer. Of course it was. Swelling of the eyes and tongue until they asphyxiated or pressure on the brain caused them to have a stroke. Every. Single. Time. Jim-Steve nodded as he was becoming accustomed to reading Tom's moods and decided that further speech was likely unwise. Smart. Perhaps he could find a use for him after all. People were dying. Always after leaving a bar or club. Always after drinking something from Tom's 'early deliveries'. Always dying in the same gruesome fashion. The only thing connecting these murders is Tom's booze. Or...a facsimile of it. This would, undoubtedly, lead to a conversation with some sort of law enforcement. He had to find that lead. Every second that ticked by without squashing it quietly was another second given to police/ARMA to come poking around again. Tom opened the front door and stepped outside into the winter hellscape. The cold stabbing right into his bones helped to melt away the mind-fogging frustration and helped him to regain focus. It was about time to see this matter resolved.
  14. Thomas Gallo

    Nighttime is Playtime

    “Bakkhos is useful to me. It’s powerful, it’s respected It keeps itself in check, and for the most part any upstarts that threaten its power are squashed. If you take care of our trespasser issue, I won’t have to, and you’ll re-cement your holdings and status in the city. I've no doubt you do this all the time.” Where was she going with this? Apparently, her organization was trying to figure out Bakkhos. What role did Mythos play in all of this? He agreed to see about these Bakkhos-pretenders skulking about her premises because it was mutually beneficial for the moment. If the Sheut were as large as she was proposing, then turf wars over the airport were something that should be avoided. “Bakkhos keeps me from having to worry about New York. The threats that surround us are vast, and inevitable, and you allow me to keep my attention on them so they don’t bleed here. They are serious, and they could end the life we've been able to put back together.” What were these threats that surrounded us? Did ‘us’ mean the Sheut or New York? She felt like she was explaining, but all her words did was provoke more questions. “My question is how far do you want your family’s reach to go? What would you be willing to do to keep it safe, and in power for as long as you wish it to be?” She was setting up a sales pitch…of a sort. Dangle the carrot before the big ask. Usually these sorts of negotiations take weeks and carefully-worded documents, lawyers, etc. This was different. She was acting on her own…in the interest of the Sheut, certainly…but on her own. The privacy, impromptu conversation…something didn’t smell right, and it wasn’t simply the vomit wafting up from the alley below. Someone was not having a good evening. “To keep my hands from having to bring down a hammer, you have to pull the vampires from Satyr. Make it a scandal that people were pretending to be vampires, I don’t care. Any press is good press. Vampires, the gauche vernacular, do not exist. Cannot exist in public knowledge.” There it was. The ask, the carrot, and the stick. Again, with Satyr. He knew Matteo was months away from trying to open it. Considering the poor luck he has had, it was probably closer to a year before that got underway. Eris was concerned about advertising vampires in the arena? Satyr Stadium was hardly on his radar at this point beyond projecting alcohol needs for the place once it opened. Again…that was far off. In this new world…planning more than a few months in advance was arrogant. Hiding vampires from advertisements didn’t seem like a big ask. Matteo might require some convincing, but Tom was fairly certain that he’d acquiesce to that request. “You do that and I can keep you off the Nation radar for the immediate moment. You don’t, and I will have to do it myself.” Fury. His eyebrows drew close and a growl escaped his lips before he could stop it. This threat must be crushed. Eris had no idea what she had awakened. “I don’t want to…I don't want you to be someone they tell me I have to damage or kill.” Like letting the air out of a balloon, her confession deflated the inferno trying to erupt from his chest. Eris was someone who found herself between a rock and a very hard place it seemed. She answered to higher powers and Tom wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she was none too pleased about it. So this issue with Satyr came from others then? Or was she predicting the likely outcome? War with an entity such as this was not likely to be in the interest of Bakkhos. He let out a deep breath as he calmed. “I'd rather have you as my first constable. They won’t be pleased you’re a Were but I don’t care what they think anyway…” Tom huffed derisively at that last statement. She certainly did, she just resented that fact. More important than her posturing, however; what did she mean by Constable? Where was this conversation going? “You’d still be whatever it is you do in Bakkhos, you would have knowledge of our moves and you can keep your people informed. You would also let me know what I need to keep an eye on. I understand if Gaspari needs to be in the loop. I would expect it.” Was he being hired? He was getting annoyed again. Goon for hire? Certainly not. Maybe she was just hoping that Bakkhos’ “peace-keeping operations” would include some upstarts she and her organization were dealing with? There was a lot to unpack. “But I don't want to deal with Gaspari. I want to deal with you. Only you. Because you’re interesting.” Tom grinned slightly at that last. She knew enough to know that he wouldn’t be flattered. He suspected that everyone was afraid of her and she had grown accustomed to that. That was understandable. He respected her. If he wanted him dead, he was pretty sure she would know how that. His relationship with the Strollos kept a lot of people from challenging him early on. However, as he earned his own reputation, he had to defend it from time to time. Rarely, but occasional reminders were necessary. He spotted her fangs. She appeared to go to great lengths to hide them. He understood why, especially if secrecy was important to them. They weren’t always out though…Tom wondered if she didn’t have full control over them. Tim to focus on more important things. “You wish to leverage Bakkhos’ initiatives in keeping peace and order around the city? Squash the bugs that you encounter since we’re ‘doing it anyway’ is that it?” Tom wasn’t angry or disrespectful…just getting to the point. “As far as Satyr goes, that is all Matteo. I can recommend your suggestion about keeping Sheut Ka out of the arena. I have as much authority of the happenings in Satyr as Matteo has in Thyrsus…which is almost none…but I can see what he says. For the moment, I’ll leave out your almost-veiled threat.” His demeanor was hard, but not angry. Succinct and to the point, Tom was going to address these points one at a time. “You need to tell me more about your organization and what its goals are. Vast and inevitable threats? Like what, exactly? Don’t try to tempt me with ambitiously reaching for power and all that. I may hold a powerful position in a powerful organization, but my thirst for power is not insatiable. If you are trying to dangle a carrot, that is the wrong one.” The hardness of his eyes and small grin on his face appeared to war with each other. He was trying to keep it light…but he was deadly serious. His role in the family gave him purpose. A goal. A reason. Since everything went sideways in his life just before the Resonance, he had been driven and he lived off of that drive. It kept him just this side of sane in some instances. “I suspect ‘constable’ has a specific meaning in your organization. Please tell me what that means. I have more questions, but I think you can address what I’ve asked first.” He moved over to the ledge no more than a foot from her and leaned against it with one elbow facing her. This evening had become even more interesting than he had anticipated. He still wasn’t sure how he felt about it. Getting this close allowed her scent to become more perceptive. The scent of her latest prey was fading. More of her own individual scent came through as he took a deep, calming breath. He looked into her…deep, damaged eyes and listened to what she had to say next.
  15. Thomas Gallo

    Welcome To Domus Mortuorum

    When Faye's smirk vanished, Tom's returned. She was a fierce protector, staring down a threat. Great. A threat. He was really hoping to avoid that. What's done is done. Time to make his point and get going. He moved to stand, smirk gone and froze. A thought had come to him and he sat back down. Her interest was purely in the protection of her people, employees, and patrons. She would certainly see his point. It was time to gamble. It is evident that protecting your people is paramount. Despite whatever preconceptions of Bakkhos are, know that I also protect my own. Those who work for me are loyal. Not out of fear, but trust. I see that same passion in you. Prick the protector spirit a bit and pause. He sniffed his drink and thought a moment. This bottle was good...but he was sure he could spot a hand full of fakes if he looked for them. If he found a dangerous one...then he might get somewhere. You are right about one thing. Cheap booze will get someone just as drunk as good booze. Bad booze will kill a man whereas quality-controlled booze will just keep them happy. There are dangerous distributors mixing stuff in their bottles. I'm in the process of squashing them, but they are like rats and find new holes to hide in. If you permit, I'd like to examine your stores of liquors you have here at your establishment. If I can ferret out some bad, fake, or dangerous bottles...perhaps we have more to discuss. If not, then I will leave you alone and compensate you for your time. It was half statement, half question. There was a concentration of...something here. Gaspari hadn't explicitly mentioned this place to him before, but he knew there was more to this hole in the wall than drugs and cheap booze. Based on the proprieter and her choice of bodyguard...something VERY interesting resided within these walls. Deal?

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