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MATURE RPG


May, 2010... Fantasy became reality. Worlds overlay for the briefest moment. Outworlders became stranded on earth as more than half the human populace vanished. Our World, our universe, was transformed.

Fiction is now reality. Humans and those now bound to this world will either learn to coexist, or battle for supremecy.

JUNE 13, 2019 - Family emergency  took a bad turn so had to stay away but now things are finally calming down. Hope to get going again shortly. Thanks for understanding. ~ZEPH

Thomas Gallo

Bakkhos
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119 One of Our All Stars

About Thomas Gallo

  • Rank
    Nicely Seasoned

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

    Sheut Happens

    The back and forth between the human and the vampire was going as planned. Better than he anticipated. One quick sniff in the human’s direction helped him to understand. The adrenaline and out and out fear smell from him was almost as potent as the poison in the bottles. His heart was about to explode. Maybe it was time to slow it down…to keep this game going, lest it end unexpectedly. Tom closed his eyes and took one long, slow, deep breath through his nose. To all observers, it appeared to be a therapeutic and calming breath. Anyone who knew Tom personally or by reputation would easily believe this was the case. This was partially true. The furious beast within the sealed furnace door of rage was pounding on the door endlessly. Relentlessly. Inevitably. But it served another purpose. Closing his eyes blocked out the visual sensory inputs. He had learned to instinctively block out sound distractions in his human days when focus was necessary. He was focused purely on smell. Sifting through all the scents in the area took a second. What seemed like minutes in Tom’s mind only took seconds in reality. Sifting past that poison that still clogged his nostrils was like removing a curtain from a window and seeing the rest of the world. Human’s fear smell was the next obvious obstacle to ‘see’ past. The blood on the floor was another. Odd, any adrenaline-based fear scent was gone from the Hesek. He appeared resigned at this point. That would require pushing the ‘hope’ button for him to further comply. Removing the hands would serve no purpose there. He was then counting people. Toby, check. Eris, check. Two obvious prisoners, check. Then there was one hanging behind one of the crates in the room. Roderick. Tom smiled slightly. He had anticipated this. Expected it really. It was good to have soldiers who followed orders. It was better to have those who knew when not to. Roderick always acted in what he thought was Tom’s best interest…even against Tom’s wishes. When he was wrong, he was reprimanded. When he was correct, he was praised. While not quite the family-level relationship Eris appeared to have with her crew, it was still closer than many capos had with their subordinates. Tom’s eyes opened and he called out, “Come, Roderick.” Roderick stepped out from behind one of the crates and had a glint in his eye, that quickly faded when putting his eyes on the carnage on the floor before him. He locked eyes with Tom for a moment and when Tom nodded, Roderick did the same. Looking at the Hesek he concentrated for a moment and shook his head. Something prohibited him from altering the mood of the vampire, and it bothered him. He quickly shifted his blue eyes toward the human and smiled warmly and crossed his hands in front of his waist. The human prisoner’s heart rate slowed. His breathing returned to normal. The grip on his neck from Toby relaxed a bit. The prisoner’s whole countenance went from terror to nervousness. Good. This gave Tom the leeway to dial it back up again. Tom may have to give Roderick the keys to his car after this. Tom’s face looked grave as he nodded to Roderick. Time for round two. Pointing the blade of the axe at the human, he said, “You gave me Venom.” Shifting the blade to point at the Hesek, Tom said, “You gave me that Jerry was in town.” Tom then buried the axe head deep into the wood of the crate, all but shattering the wood underneath. “Round one is a draw. Everyone gets to keep their hands. Round two…” Tom swung his gaze at the human. Fear would still work on this one. Roderick was there to make sure his heart didn’t give out or trigger Toby’s beast to pop off his head. The beasts within weres and vampires were more similar than Tom cared to admit. He’d have to be mindful of more than his tonight. “Venom. Is this the name of the poison being used?” Based on Eris saying the same thing, he knew this to be true. He was easing the human in with an easy to answer question. “Work backwards. Tell me everything you know from the bottle to the production of the poison. Take your time, get your thoughts in order. I have all night.” Before the prisoner could begin answering the question, Tom rounded on the vampire. He had to inspire hope in him somehow. This man was just defeated. He had nothing to lose. This was not going to inspire cooperation. He had to offer something. This Hesek was resigned to dying. Tom had to try a different track. “You need to tell me all about Jerry. While you’re at it, I want to know every detail about the operation that lives within your memory. Who is Jerry? Where is Jerry? Who does he take orders from? How much of the logistics of this operation do you know? It is very important to you that you speak the truth.” Tom came close. Dangerously close to the Hesek. The vampire could reach out and strike Tom if he so chose. Tom squatted down and placed a gentle, as gentle as a stone could be, hand on the vampire’s shoulder. “I know others like you. There are some within my organization who have sought shelter from those who would wish them harm. Angelo Gaspari owes me a favor. If you can prove yourself to be valuable and trustworthy, I can find a way for him to forgive you of your transgressions against not just myself, but of Bakkhos itself.” This was true to a point. Gaspari owed him nothing…that was a lie. Tom did believe, though, that he’d be willing to show some leniency toward someone who made repentant gestures. Tom’s gambit was that the hope of being shielded from the Sheut by the Bakkhos would be enough hope to inspire cooperation. He suspected Eris might bristle at the proposed promise. She was smart enough to assume it was a bluff. He wasn't lying about the presence of Bakkhos refugees. The Hesek appeared to know of the relationship between Eris and Toby. More than Tom even. He was unsure if he knew of Tom’s relationship with Eris. He’d find out with this bluff. Tightening his grip on the Hesek’s shoulder, iron hands threatening to pop the vampire’s shoulder out of his socket, Tom said softly. “Take your time, get your thoughts in order. But don’t take too long. I have all day.” Tom stressed that last word to remind the Hesek that there was only one potential way out of this alive.
  2. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    The glance up from Eris was all he needed. She sensed the poison too. Good. There was progress being made. Perhaps today would go in the ‘good’ column for once. *npc* “They’ll kill me if I snitch. If I talk, you gonna protect me too? Adopt me like your little Hesek stepchild over there?” Never mind. When was the last time Tom had a clean win? How long had it been since he set out to accomplish a task, and he was able to complete it with only the expected obstacles? The Hesek was trying to provoke Eris, it was clear. What did he mean by ‘Hesek stepchild’? Didn’t matter at the moment. This vampire knew he was going to die. Any information he could squeeze from them would be considered a bonus at this point. He knew Eris had a beast that was not unlike his beneath her calm façade. He didn’t want to have to stop her from killing him…he was afraid he might have to. “Answer Mr. Gallo’s question.” Tom could hear the same dreadful inevitability in her voice. Tom knew that if he simply stepped aside and gestured toward the vampire, he’d be dead before Tom ever opened his mouth. He had to act fast. The sudden adjustment in the vampire’s countenance was a welcome change. He must know of Eris’s deadly reputation as well. Good. Sometimes, compliance required pushing more than just one button. *npc* “I don’t know,” he answered quickly. “I just watch the warehouses, my boss said just watch the warehouse and the crates.” Warehouses. More than one. This wasn’t a simple act of sabotage. This was a coordinated attack against Thyrsus and Bakkhos itself! This might warrant a conversation with Matteo. Although, his arrangement with Eris might complicate this. Additional complication did little to improve his temperament. A low growl began to escape his mouth before the shining nugget was found whilst panning through the filth of the day. *npc* "Jerry! His name's Jerry!" Jerry. Tom quickly thought of anyone he knew named Jerry that might be causing this much trouble. While he came up with a few that might have potential to be problematic…none of which tripped his radar as being above nuisance-level. Tom turned his back to the prisoners and peered into the crate, looking at the bottles of death that were waiting to be dealt out to the city with the name ‘Bakkhos’ written on the death certificate. With Thyrsus’s name. With Tom’s. Tom began to seethe. The beast begging to be let out of its cage. Not yet. Soon. Tom wheeled back and locked eyes with the Hesek, and then the human. “Tell me about Jerry. The one of you that pleases me the most with your answer gets to keep their feet.” Tom then, very deliberately slid his eyes down to the stumps of the vampire’s legs where the feet once were. Tom reached for the axe, still stained from the Hesek’s blood from earlier. With a cold, cruel smirk, Tom held up his other hand to silence any reaction. “Wait. My apologies. I had forgotten. Winner keeps their hands.” Tom slowly walked past Toby and the human, slowly dragging the blunt end of the axe blade across the length of the human’s arm as he said those last words. The Hesek may have already resigned himself to death. The human though, Tom was not quite so certain of that.
  3. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    The rage never leaves. It is a constant, like the spinning of the earth or the rising of the sun. The only change is the thickness of the furnace door that Tom places on it. Tom’s will was strong, and with the right motivation, he could wall off that torrent of fury and death for a long time. However, venting it from time to time had its uses. Tom observed the glances the Hesek made towards Eris and Toby. He clearly knew who they were. Tom filed that away for later use. There were still plenty of unanswered Sheut questions that Tom felt he should know by now, but it was not the time to ask those questions. He moved toward the crate he had dragged over and placed his hand on the lid. Venting a portion of the rage inside, he ripped the nailed-down lid of the crate with a roar. No doubt, anyone looking at Tom’s face saw the cool, calmness evaporate from his face for the slightest of moments. The destruction of the bonds holding the lid to the crate…splinters flying, metal scraping against wood…had a very satisfying feeling. For a moment. Tom looked inside and saw what he had feared. Inside the crate were several boxes of what appears to be the booze that he would ship to clients. Tom had never been to this warehouse before today. He knew this was not in his distribution chain. He had finally caught a break. Now to be sure. He removed one of the bottles. Macallan Fine Oak scotch. What a waste. He began to open the bottle, and just as the seal had been broken, the familiar stench of the poison he kept locked away in his safe flooded his nostrils. Immediately he sealed the bottle again before the stench overpowered him and he risked dropping it. He had a smoking gun. Now to find the shooter. It was clearly not this fool. However, he must know who. “Do you know what happens when someone drinks this? Surely you must. It is gruesome. Painful. Slowly…fatal.” Tom turned his back to the Hesek and walked close to Eris. He had to know if she could detect it same as him without blatantly asking in front of the other. He was in control in this illusion, and he needed to maintain it. He knelt in as if to whisper, holding the bottle close to his chest. He cracked the seal, and as soon as it hit his nostrils, he closed it again quickly…all while studying her face for the slightest hint that she could smell it. If she couldn’t, Tom had a particularly brutal course of action planned ahead. If she recoiled as much as Tom did, then he’d have to opt for Plan B. No one would want Plan B. Tom focused his attention on the newly arrived human who Toby had brought back. Tom walked over to the shaking person…fear and dread had totally taken over this poor, misguided man. Tom knelt down to be face to face with Toby’s prisoner and offered a warm…if insincere smile and placed a hand on his cheek. “Fear not, little one. I only ask for your help. I am going to ask your friend here,” he gestured toward the Hesek under Eris’s watchful aim, “some questions. If he lies, I want to you to say so. Help me, and I will take great care of you. Not simply survival. Prove yourself to me tonight, and I will make sure you and those you care for are taken care of properly. Fail me…” Tom’s grip tightened as his fingers began digging into the terrified man’s skull. Tom then visibly relaxed as a warm smile…tinged with malevolence returned to his face, “…just don’t fail me.” Tom turned his attention back to the Hesek. Tom’s false warmth completely gone from his visage. It was all business now. “Who asked you to guard this?” Tom was holding up the bottle as he asked. It was a simple question. Not exactly profound, but it was a place to start. He suspected it would be a long night.
  4. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    "He's in charge... I would cooperate." Tom knew this wasn’t true with the vampire. If he wanted to do something with him that Eris didn’t agree with…it wasn’t going to happen. He knew this. Did the rogue? A malevolent grin spread across his face. She was feeding the fear that Tom had wanted to see in the rogue. If Roderick couldn’t tweak his emotions, Eris was apt at influencing the direction they should go. The axe wounds were starting to close. There was no danger of him walking away anytime soon…without there being feet and all…but he didn’t want to take any unnecessary chances. Tom hadn’t …worked… with vampires in quite this way before. Tom turned his head toward Eris. “Bring one of the others.” Tom was referring to one of the other humans that were escorted away by Ahanu and Roderick earler. Tom was playing off of the pseudo-authority permitted by Eris in the moment. He still didn’t have his head quite wrapped around Sheut politics, but if one of the two vampires jumped when he said ‘frog’…what would that do the rogue? Tom had a brief thought that Eris would make him pay for this in some fashion…but if she was on the same page as Tom and cooperated, then it would be worth it. “While they get your friend, let’s chat.” Tom crouched down just outside of reach of the vampire on the ground. Feral rage all but gone…replaced with doom…dread. Inevitability. Tom’s posture, demeanor, and glower made one thing certain. Tom was in control, and any decision the rogue made would simply be a calculation designed to maximize survival. He would not win; he could only hope to survive. “Let’s get something straight right away. You know what I am. I know what you are. You are like my associates here.” He gestured towards Eris and Toby. He pointed a knowing finger at the vampire. A jackal-like grin spread across his face. “But you aren’t quite like them are you, Hesek?” The rogue knew what Tom could do with his hands. It was time to batter and tear him apart in his mind. What emotions, fears, and questions would bounce around inside the skull of a man who saw a were barking out orders to other Khered? If Eris was paying attention at all, it was clear Tom was in full control of this. The hesek’s eyes widened slightly while still trying to maintain some semblance of control. To his eyes, Tom was pulling back the curtain and revealing the Wizard…destroying all semblance of reality that the rogue knew. Of course, Tom was hanging his own curtain; obscuring the Wizard even more. The hesek nodded his head slightly at Tom’s question. Tom knew he wouldn’t get any straight answers just yet. He was going to let him stew in his own fear for a moment while one of the other humans was fetched. He kept a watchful eye on the hesek’s healing, prepared to re-aggravate wounds if need be to keep him grounded. He understood that Toby and Eris were under a time-constraint, but Tom had all day.
  5. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    “Role play,” her arms relaxed to her sides without emotion. “Kinky.” Tom smirked. Eris was every bit as dangerous as he was, yet there was still a person inside. They each battled their own monsters within. Tom couldn’t help but think that she wished to expose her vulnerability to someone. Tom knew all too well how lonely that was to be unable to do so. Watching she and Toby prepare for waking Tom’s latest victim was enlightening. They moved with a practiced efficiency. This is not the first or even the fifth time they had done something similar. This was a regular occurrence for them. Interesting. “When they lose this much blood, they frenzy. Out of control, is almost as bad as a full moon Were,” That said a lot. Tom had to admit…he had never observed a full moon were directly. He had never had the opportunity. He had only seen the tapes of himself. That was terrifying. There was no way this could be as bad. Right? Tom watched Toby and Eris grab the ‘snack’ for the unconscious vampire. Again…this has been done before. Seeing Eris fully for the first time with fangs out and blood on them, it was as if another piece of a puzzle had been placed. He couldn’t describe how, but he felt that the picture was nearly complete having seen this. He had always suspected that the two of them understood one another on an instinctive level. This just supported his belief. “It's going to get ugly for a moment. Let me take care of this Thomas,” Tom nodded. He called her here. This was her expertise. He’d let her handle this the way she knew how. And what a show. The two of them moved with such practiced precision and efficiency…this rogue never stood a chance. His brows furrowed slightly as he considered the implication of Eris’s team being turned against him. Were the two of them to become enemies, it’d be bloody and mutually destructive…if Tom was lucky. As the awakened vampire frenzied against Eris, he took a half-step toward the two to lend a hand. She moved like a viper and had the flailing monster under control before Tom’s step forward touched the ground. Blood trickled down Eris’s face from where a stray claw had found purchase. She was a warrior. No matter where their paths went after this encounter, he respected Eris. After the flailing beast calmed down, and Eris spoke her words, his eyes found Tom. Tom strode over to stand close, nearly straddling the pair tangled on the ground, towering over the pair. The rogue, remembering their earlier encounter, or more likely…seeing his leg being held in Tom’s hands like a baseball bat…began to struggle against Eris’s iron grip. Tom’s countenance changed. Any sense of the primal chaos was gone. Tom looked as calm and cold as a corpse. Eris had not yet seen this from Tom. At this moment, he wasn’t the wolf about to pounce. He was the wolf who cornered wounded, helpless prey. If Doom had a face… “Good. You remember me. This shouldn’t take long. What’s in the boxes? You have one chance to answer honestly.” “Fuck you!” Well, he had spirit. Tom couldn’t strike the man, as Eris was still holding on with an iron grip. The rogue didn’t know Tom’s disdain for profanity. Tom’s late wife’s face flashed in his mind. Tom nearly hit him. Instead, Tom ripped the foot from the severed leg in his hands and dropped to one knee in front of the rogue. “I don’t like being made to be a liar. But I understand you have gone through a lot in the last few minutes and I’ll give you another chance after you’ve had a few minutes to think it over.” Tom then grabbed the vampire under the chin, thumb and index finger on either jaw hinge. Tom squeezed until the vampire groaned in pain and opened his mouth ever so slightly. Then, the capo pulled his jaw open and jammed the man’s own severed foot into his mouth so deep that he either had to bite through it to spit it out, or someone would have to remove it for him. Either way, the rogue learned quickly that Tom struck with more than just his fists. Wounds weren't always physical. Tom then found one of the crates and with almost painful slowness, dragged the box to be within sight of the rogue who literally had his foot in his mouth. There was a small part of Tom that regretted showing this side of himself to Eris and the other. He wasn’t particularly proud of this. However, necessity dictated unsavory methods from time to time. Now was one of those times.
  6. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    “Don’t think you’re special, I always bring my troops. I was in the neighborhood anyway.” No…she responded in force with lightning quickness. Practiced efficiency evident to the capo. It was good to remember how dangerous she really was. He saw her eyes narrow when mentioning someone else knew about the poisonings. He’d get to that. Wasn’t important in the immediate here and now. Seems Eris hated being in the dark as much as he did. As Eris explained Khered and Hesek to him, he nodded in understanding. It was a simple enough concept. Tom imagined that if the weres in the world were organized in such a fashion, then they’d have a similar control setup. Tom rather liked that idea…although the impossibility of such an endeavor shoved that fantasy aside. Might as well try to control the tide as control were-behavior. You build dams, levies…you can never control the tides, they are inevitable…you can only mitigate the damage that is done as best you can. “I’ll let you question him first, then I get a crack at him. The donor will die, and he will die. I will have to consider killing his friends as well depending on what we’re told. They know Sheut Ka exist, that’s enough for me to forfeit their life. You can take any alcohol you find here that’s yours after we clean up and are gone.” Tom’s jaw tightened ever-so-slightly. This sounded a bit too much like permission than collaboration. Tom’s ego wasn’t so fragile as to balk at a good plan when it was presented…however he would have to be careful he didn’t accidentally find himself at the bottom of a one-sided power dynamic. That would certainly go poorly. “I have a slightly different idea.” Tom’s senses had returned. His beast and he had come to some sort of rare agreement to direct the torrent of rage in a proper direction. “Instead of a ‘me then you’ type of interrogation…why don’t we do Bad Cop worse Cop?” Tom’s words would have been assumed to come out of a sinister sneer, however his face could not have been more business-like. He wasn’t going to delight in the screams of the staked…Hesek was it? No. Just as you have to input the right combination of numbers to open a safe lock…you’d have to apply the correct combination of…stimuli to crack open a mind-lock. Tom’s fiery furnace of rage was now being converted into nearly stoic, unwavering determination. Tom strode over to where one of the vampire's legs remained and Tom brought it, and one of the card table chairs to sit at where the Hesek's feet would have been. It seemed as if Eris and Tom were both going to learn a lot about the other this evening.
  7. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    "How are we doing Thomas?" Tom's head snapped at the sudden noise. This was bad. He should have noticed her enter long ago. The torrent of rage inside his skull loud like waves crashing into a break wall. Her voice cut through that, and then his other senses began interacting with the world around him again. Ahanu and Toby were here too. Roderick was somewhere nearby. He hadn't left as ordered. This is probably for the best. He looked down at his victim, and began studying the man. The damage done to his face and surrounding stone was sobering. As if someone had poured ice-water over his head, his rage was back in its box. Clarity had returned. He knew what happened when the full-beast came out. That is why he went upstate each time the moon was full. While this was nowhere near the same level of carnage...it was too close for Tom's liking. This strength was dangerous. Then he saw the legs. It made sense at the time. Now he saw it through more human eyes. This was brutal. More than he would have intended in his right mind. It achieved the desired result...Eris's advice about stakes would be remembered. That was cleaner. Better. "I've been better," Tom grunted. He surveyed the destruction around him as he noticed Roderick reenter the area with Ahanu following closely. "I didn't mean to imply that a battle was still occurring. Didn't mean for you to bring the troops." He nodded his thanks to Ahanu. Toby was still outside for some reason. He caught a faint whiff of the others. That explained it. Good. "Now we have time to talk. Want to fill me in before I wake this idiot up?" Tom had considered bringing Eris into the loop about the poison issue, but had thought not to bother her about it yet. He was making headway...albeit gradually. He had shaken someone down and found out about this warehouse. He had yet to investigate what was in the crates here. He'd get to that later. If he had found an inventory of the poisoned booze...then he'd have made his most significant progress in solving this problem to date. The guards were a predicted problem. The vampire was not. This added a new wrinkle. Tom having almost killed him made Eris's involvement unavoidable now. "The last several months, I have been getting reports of bottles of my booze being poisoned and killing folks. Nasty, fast acting stuff. Undetectable to humans." Tom growled as the fire he had stuffed in the box tested the strength of the door trapping it there. Closing his eyes for a second, he continued, calmly. "It is the nastiest, most offensive smell I've ever encountered. I am uncertain who or what else can detect it like that. I've only shown it to one other outside the Family and she couldn't tell one from the other." He was referring to Cassandra when she came calling. He'd fully debrief Eris later, for now, he had to explain his presence. "I received some information that led me here. This," he gestured to the vampire on the ground, "was an unexpected surprise." Tom took inventory of his own appearance and noticed that his clothing didn't heal the way his skin did. Cuts and blood stains ruined everything he was wearing. He looked at Eris with an eyebrow raised as he suddenly remembered her suggestions for the vampire when he wakes up. "Khered? Hesek? What else don't I know that I probably should?"
  8. Thomas Gallo

    Sheut Happens

    March 10th, 2022 7:00 p.m. Tom was furious. He was still chasing down the leads on these poisonings with no luck so far. He had the smallest of leads that appeared to not be headed toward a dead end...but details were scarce. He had been led to a warehouse where he had allowed himself a fool's hope of finding a cache of tainted booze. Instead, he came across a poker game he was interrupting. Five men sat around the table. Tom made a lot of noise as he entered. He wanted the focus on him, so that Roderick would go unnoticed. He didn't roll up on unsuspecting people like Strollo or any others would with a goon-squad behind him. He abhorred unnecessary casualties. The plan was simple, Roderick would adjust the moods of the goons encountered in a way that made them compliant. Tom would get whatever information he could from them, and leave peacefully. Somehow he knew...this time would be different. The moon was near...within a week. This could go poorly. The men, surprised, stood up and drew guns on Tom. The air nearly vibrated visibly around Tom, as his fury was unchecked. This was bad. He had been getting worse about this. His outlets haven't been doing their job anymore, and Roderick couldn't split his attention between helping Tom manage his moods and manipulating the others at the same time. Roderick, clever as ever, had dialed up the fear response in the others to exaggerate Tom's effect on them. Four of the men fled without ever looking back. Damn. One remained, however. "You have 5 seconds to speak, or you will lose the ability to." This person was clearly immune, or at least resistant to Roderick's effects. The man, average in almost every measurable quality, stared Tom up and down as if he were disgusted...offended. Not scared. Not even shocked. Offended. This was puzzling to Tom. Then he caught the man's scent. Like Mythos, Toby, and...Eris. He had found a vampire. With a smirk of what can only be called arrogance, the vampire lunged at Tom with preternatural speed and punched Tom square in the face. Tom was lifted off of his feet and slid several feet across the floor. The vampire, now clearly pleased with his handy-work, placed hands on his hips and smirked at Tom lying on the ground. "Leave." Tom wasn't talking to the man. He was talking to Roderick. Tom had was dropping all forms of control and civility. As much of the Beast that could come out without the full moon was being allowed to take the lead in this encounter. This blood-sucker had no idea what sort of mistake he had just made. He caught a whiff off Roderick's fading scent. He had gone. Good. Tom stood slowly to his feet, eyeing the man with studious eyes. He had not actually squared up against a vampire in any real sense yet. He was looking for the proverbial hamstring. The sun had just set...so no chance on using that. The vampire's confidence wavered slightly. He had clearly expected Tom to stay on the ground. He knew a fight was coming and wasn't sure how he felt about it. Nevertheless, he lunged at Tom with that amazing quickness again, but this time Tom was ready. A fierce uppercut found its way into the chin of the lunging vampire, sending him flying about as far as Tom was sent by the vampire's sucker punch. The difference was, Tom was in pursuit while he was still in the air. Leaping on to the prone vampire, Tom rained down fist after fist...elbow after elbow, unrelenting for what seemed like minutes, but it had likely been mere seconds. The vampire was dead under Tom's weight...no, just unconscious. The shallow rise and fall of the man's chest revealed that the thing still lived. Good. The sudden outburst of violence and release had served to clear Tom's head a bit. He likely had answers but was in no condition to give them currently. Small cracks in the pavement underneath the man's head revealed the force with which Tom had rained down blows on the vampire. Tom still itched to fight...but the vampire may as well be a heavy bag hanging in the gym...it didn't do much as an outlet anymore. Satyr had been a godsend for him to let out the rage and frustration that was always begging to boil out. It had been too long since he had been in the arena. Gaspari had said that he was requesting to be in the arena too often. It was getting worse. His rage was not as easily sated these days. It was becoming an increasing problem. Suddenly, Tom's clarity had revealed a new problem. "Well, great." Tom allowed a mutter out loud under his breath. What if this creature he just pummeled was Sheut? Did he just violate some sort of protocol he was still feeling his way around? He needed to call Eris. Keeping his eyes trained on the man on the floor, he dialed Eris's phone. When she picked it up, he simply said, "Whatever you are doing, drop it. Come to the warehouse a few miles south of your hangar. I'll text you the address. We have a problem." Before she could respond, he clicked the phone shut. He hoped she would take that as serious enough to not be offended at being given what sounded like an order. He didn't have time for formalities or feeling at this point. Things just got much worse. He swept his vision across his surroundings quickly to see if he could catch any smell or sight that posed further harm. There were no other people nearby that he could detect, but something did catch is eye. An emergency fire-axe. He didn't know how long the vampire would stay down. Eris had said that they don't heal as fast as he does...but how fast was it? He couldn't take any chances of him waking up and running away. He strode over and broke the glass with his fists to grab the axe. Tom barely noticed the blood dripping around his hand. Those cuts would heal before Eris even got there. The moon was next week. Everything 'wolfy' about him was heightened now. What a terrible time for someone to pick a fight with him. Better than next week, he supposed. Striding over to the unconscious man, he noted that some healing had begun. It was certainly not as fast, but some of the swelling and bruises were starting to fade. Tom punted the man's face one last time to ensure his unconsciousness. He wasn't in the mood to hear the screaming for this next part. He raised the axe high and with two quick strokes, lopped off both of the vampire's legs just below the knee. He could not risk this man running away, after all.
  9. Thomas Gallo

    Poison in the Well

    “Where did you come by a bottle? We weren’t able to get any samples besides what was in the stomach contents. And that for some reason contained little of the poison. Peculiar, no?” Tom knew this would come up. It wasn't anything special. He had caught a lucky break. "I caught a break. When one of the places had been hit by this killer, there was still a lot in the bottle. This particular bar had ran out of this type of whiskey, so it was easy to note which bottle it was." Tom knew she didn't trust him...and why should she? She was still a cop and he was still a criminal. Her next question betrayed this. “If I send this to be tested, what’s your plan? This is an ARMA investigation, Thomas." He understood her concern. Had he found the one responsible for this...they'd be dead already...or wishing to be. He slid the bottle over to Cassandra. "I don't understand the 'mana component.' Does this mean this poison is magical in nature? Glorious. Everyone whom answers to me knows to bring me any information about this that they may find. If one of my men were to find this person, then I'd have them...alive. I'd be sure to keep this person that way. Since you asked." Tom would honor his word. As long as he believed ARMA was playing ball. He had as much reason to trust Cassandra as she did him.
  10. Thomas Gallo

    CLASH OF THE TITANS

    Tom noted Kai's demeanor and Tom was barely able to stifle a growl. Kai was going to be a problem. He could smell it around him and see his eyes. Tom couldn't be certain what...however he knew his path would cross with Kai's again. It wouldn't be pretty. As Kai was leaving, Tom caught sight of a cocktail dress approaching the bar. Was bartending always so...eventful? Or was he just lucky? He shot a glance at Matteo. He'd have to ask him how long their bartenders took breaks for. Looking at the tv, the blaster was fading. It was a matter of time before the meat-mountain claimed victory. Glancing up at the woman as she got closer to the bar, he smiled. "Can I get you anything?"
  11. Thomas Gallo

    Poison in the Well

    Yep. It was time. Tom had been expecting a visit from them for a while now. He accepted the phone and flipped through the pictures. Just like the others...swollen eyes, swollen tongue...apparent rapid-asphyxiation. He slid the phone back to her with a low growl of frustration. None of these on the phones were the ones that he knew about. This problem was bigger than even he knew about. Leaning back in his chair, he rested his elbows on the rests and steepled his fingers in front of his nose, deep in thought. "This is worse than I had thought. How many have you come across?" It was clear he meant victims. Tom wanted to know how big this problem was so he could send out the proper amount of resources to deal with it. ARMA being here certainly complicated matters. "As you have surmised, some of my deliveries have been tampered with. Whether this occurred in shipments to my store, from my store, or anywhere in between...I have not yet been able to determine." Tom pulled down a bottle of whiskey from the shelf behind his desk and poured himself a glass, drank it quickly, and placed the bottle behind him, but left the glass on the desk. He didn't bother to offer her a drink, as the topic of conversation didn't inspire thirst. "I have had some minor luck, however." Tom said sourly as he fiddled with a safe under his desk. Inputting the combination, he opened the door and proffered an identical bottle to the one behind him, save for the bright yellow piece of tape wrapped around the bottle. This had been the offending bottle at one of the clubs where a man went down after taking a drink. It wasn't much, but perhaps the mage sitting across from him could better aim Tom's fury in the correct direction. As long as she didn't choose to get 'too policey' and stand in his way. Maybe once he got a lead, he and Eris could go hunting. Tom thought that she might like that sort of thing. "This is a bottle one of the clubs in town received that had the poison in it. This is the only sample I've been able to acquire to this point. The poison reeks to my senses and I'm sure no were-creature has been killed by this because of that alone. I wonder what you can make of it?" Tom then opened the poisoned bottle and poured a small amount into the glass on the desk. As soon as the seal was broken on the bottle, Tom nearly wretched. There was a subtle, yet very distinct sweet smell with something...bitter that didn't belong. Roderick had not been able to detect the smell, but to Tom's senses it was overpowering. He quickly closed the bottle and nudged the glass toward Cassandra and, more importantly, away from himself. He locked the bottle back in the safe before continuing through a pained face of a man who's senses were being assaulted by something truly putrid. "Can you do anything with this? Figure out what it is, how it's made, where it came from...who could have made it?" That last portion came out with an edge of fury and doom that he was unable to mask properly. Whoever was responsible for this would certainly pay for it.
  12. Thomas Gallo

    CLASH OF THE TITANS

    bump
  13. Thomas Gallo

    CLASH OF THE TITANS

    Tom had observed the newcomer with a welcoming grin, and a discerning eye. This man had skipped past some sort of security, or was given a pass. He noted Matteo's catch of the guy too. It worked out that he came to the bar...the eyes of security were on him...but why weren't they before? When the order of "what she's having" came...he smirked and wordlessly threw the man a copy of the other's drink. He heard a loud crash come from the television and he turned to see what had happened. The blaster was slowing down. That monstrous, tank of a beast hadn't slowed a beat. The blaster was fatiguing fast. This battle was all but over. A grin crept across Tom's face. He looked forward to his inevitable encounter with this beast. Despite himself, he was looking forward to it. He checked his watch, wondering what was taking the bartender so long. He wasn't upset...the menagerie of 'special people' was oddly concentrated around the bar. He did quirk an eyebrow at Maya's clear momentary discomfort. It appeared that the man in the trench coat bothered her as much as it did him. He silently motioned to the patrons, asking if they needed refills. He was on high alert...this had potential to go very badly. Where was that bartender?!
  14. Thomas Gallo

    Poison in the Well

    Really? Tom didn't think Cassandra could read minds, but the petite Arma agent appeared to respond to an unwitting summons. He'd have growled if the cold hadn't clamped his mouth shut. The badge brandished with the unwritten words, 'We're going to talk.' popping from it. "I know why you are here. Please come inside." Tom held open the door to invite her in. Tom and Cassandra had helped each other in the past. She had been chasing a fugitive that happened into the doors of Thyrsus, assuming that it was some sort of criminal sanctuary. It had seemed like a simple calculus to not stand between a criminal and a police force full of mages. The collateral damage was not likely to be worth it. The fact that this fugitive wound up hurting women and children regularly made even easier. He was fairly certain that Tom was 'left alone' due to this unofficial cooperation. Maybe she could help him with his magic-poison investigation. Once inside, he nodded to Roderick and said, "We'll be in my office. Unless Gaspari himself wishes to speak to me, send whoever comes away." Tom then entered his office and stood behind his desk while motioning to a seat in front of it. "Please, assume I am wrong. What can I help you with, Cassandra?"
  15. Thomas Gallo

    CLASH OF THE TITANS

    Seeing Matteo focus his attention on the small woman, Tom turned his attention back to the patrons and the unexamined bottles. He spared a glance for the television to see what was happening. The large brute had been growing increasingly sloppy in his pursuit of the smaller blaster. Tom shook his head. So long as the blaster could keep from being hit, he would win in time. The brute lacked discipline. Simultaneously he heard the order for a coffee and smelled another were. Turning to the new patron, Tom assessed the man. This man radiated barely contained violence. Noting the scars on his hands, hints of others peeking over the collar and the straight murder in his eyes…Tom knew this wasn’t a simple fight viewer. He turned his back to get the man’s coffee and couldn’t help feeling that was a terrible idea. That man was itching for violence. He heard a female’s voice order an espresso, and he prepared it before turning around again. He brought over the drinks and quickly assessed the newcomer. He immediately recognized her as a known police officer. He had noted several among the crowd and was not surprised about any of them. Of course they would be here. He was confident that most of them were bored. Bakkhos took security more seriously than even the police it seemed at times. He couldn’t help but note the familiarity between the two newcomers. Setting the drinks in front of the respective patrons, he was able to take in the man’s mood more keenly. He was a were on the brink of violence. Like Tom, he kept that under tight control, but Tom was too familiar with those struggles to not notice the tightness around the eyes…the tensed forearm from a clenched fist, and the seemingly tangible vibrations of rage radiating from the man. Clearly this particular lycanthrope cycled with the moon like most of the rest. He was two whole weeks from his most docile…whereas Tom was at his most. If there were a time for a shrewd enemy to take a shot at the capo, it would be now. The beast always wanted out, it was just easier to contain it during the New Moon than it was during the others. The man staring death at him from the other side was enough to provoke the beast to press against the cages of Tom’s will. The combination of restraint and dominance Tom showed the drunk man earlier was not likely to occur if things got to that point with this man. This man at the bar was dangerous. Tom willed the beast back in its cage. For now. He first addressed the lady who requested the espresso. “Day off or subtly working today?” Before she had a chance to answer, Tom leaned in close to the fellow lycanthrope. He spoke in a low, barely perceptible whisper that he knew he would hear, and only those others with enhanced hearing could possibly hear. “Are we going to have a problem with you and your beast? Or will you be able to keep it together?” Tom wasn’t sure if there was an opportunity at a relationship here, or if he was going to have to subtly deflect an enemy. He hoped that this didn’t escalate into an impromptu combat…but there was that part of him that wanted it to.

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