Thomas (Tom) Gallo

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23 Showing Real Promise

About Thomas (Tom) Gallo

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    Jean Dujardin
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    Caporegime; Runs Thyrsus Liquor Store.
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    New York, NY
    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.
    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.
    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.


    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.

    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.
    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.
    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.

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  • 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. Brandon and possible Affiliations

    Right, I just recall that when reading one, it reminded me of another, ha ha
  2. Need Some Healing?

    Oh OH OH!! She could work w/ Bakkhos at Satyr stadium to heal the combatants after fights...that way it isn't always so fatal.
  3. Brandon and possible Affiliations

    I had a thought. I noticed that his Dimensional Shift ability could closely resemble Gaspari's molecular shift ability. If word got out that someone else in town was doing something similar to what Gaspari can wouldn't be far-fetched for Brandon to receive an invitation to the Club one night.
  4. Nighttime is Playtime

    Ya realize you crackin' like you older than Carmine… Tom chuckled. He was indeed in full old-man mode. Construction was nearing completion…and he was impatient to get on with it. Seeing Matteo chuckle at the same thing, Tom smiled genuinely. It was good to crawl out form the dungeon that was his office from time to time. 'ey you talked to that woman yerself? Why you think she ponyin' up? Whatsin it for her? Tom shook his head at mention of Eris. “Yeah, I have. She’s...something.” Tom poured a drink for himself and sat down. “On the surface, it seemed like she was paying up to earn some good will because her next question was rather abrupt. Apparently, she owns an air strip and some of our boys were sniffin’ around there. I told her to ask you about it if she were concerned. Which reminds me…she ever get ahold of you?” He chuckled, “I don’t know how to feel about this one just yet. Part of me thinks she’d be a worthwhile ally…or a real pain in the—” He stopped mid-sentence, turning his gaze over to Mythos. He suspected as much when he met her, but being near him now confirmed it. Whatever she was, it was the same as Mythos. “Mythos. Do you know an Eris London? I think the two of you have quite a bit in common.” His face wasn’t angered…but there was no mistaking he was deadly serious.
  5. Building a Mystery

    What is with this woman? Tom thought to himself. Tom had met similar people…those who never ‘feel truly alive’ unless they were in some kind of perceived danger. Eris appeared to be one of those. Wonderful… Tom’s reputation among the Bakkhos was two-fold. On one hand, he is regarded as a genuine, sincere, and fiercely loyal member of the family. On the other, he is feared as an immutable force of nature should someone find themselves on his bad side. Because of this, Tom had become accustomed to people either running to him with good cheer…or steering clear of him when they knew he was displeased with them. He was particularly fond of that, but it was a useful tool, and one he kept at the ready. Eris, however, didn’t seem to be operating with the same playbook. She courted danger. She wanted the thrill of uncertainty. Why? “I pet vipers and swim with sharks Thomas. I rather like it. You might too.” Part of him did. In Tom’s conversations with Victor, Victor never mentioned an increasing desire to or anticipation for the change. Tom almost looked forward to it now. It was dreadfully inconvenient, and going into that box…Victor must be a man possessed of stronger personal discipline to routinely go into his box each month. Or else he was a champion of hiding his disdain. When Tom went upstate for the change…it was always…refreshing. He had always viewed that as a compromise. He allowed the beast an outlet so that he was in more control during the day to day. That was what he was hoping for at least. He wasn’t so sure these days. “I kill things I should fear. Being fearless is accepting the fact that you can’t control anything. Control is an illusion we tell ourselves so we can ignore the fact we’re monsters.” Tom chuckled softly. This was a philosophical point that they were likely to always disagree upon. “People kill spiders because they fear them. Tyrants kill groups of people because they fear them. Being willing to conquer your fears doesn’t always dismiss them. It, in fact, proves fear’s presence.” Tom took another drink from his glass, noting that she too truly believed what she said. “Oh, we are monsters. Control is not an illusion so much as an unattainable goal…but we try. I know what the consequences are if I forego control and just sit pleasantly in Club Bakkhos when the full moon rises.” His expression turned grim. “I am not willing to do that.” “I’m the thing that won’t run, that appreciates what you are at face value, that the vipers and sharks don't have to be afraid of hurting." He walked from behind the bar to take a seat closer to Eris. Resting his elbow on the wood his face darkened…voice a soft, deep whisper. “Because people like you won’t run…I must. Vipers, sharks…wolves…they aren’t afraid of hurting. Predators are pragmatic. Simple. They see prey and threats. From what I’ve seen…they both meet the same fate.” Her timing couldn’t have been better to be so bold. Had this conversation happened two weeks ago, or later…it’d have likely gone sideways much earlier. “That’s all you’re going to get I’m afraid. Maybe we can meet again over dinner in a few weeks… and you can see the rest for yourself.” Never mind. She was courting danger. She wanted to see Tom on the brink of a frenzied, blood-thirsty rage. Foolishness. “My turn. Why would Bakkhos be interested in casing the blocks around my airstrip? Sent several on their way a few days ago. Perhaps you could point me in the direction of who I should talk to about that. Last time I checked, there were no Bakkhos in my compound for someone to come in and save." The timing of this conversation worked out for him too. Had this question been posed two weeks ago…yeah. Good thing it didn’t. Switching back to business was a welcome change. So that's who owned that airstrip. He could use this. He sat up straighter and appeared to visibly relax. His voice, lighter than earlier. “I am not entirely sure who has interests over there off the top of my head. I would suggest speaking to Matteo if you are truly curious.” The snap back to the practical was welcome. Control, while not always easy…or even attainable…was no illusion. He must not let himself believe that.
  6. Tee minus 2 days and counting........

    Matteo was fixated on the fight. The other stuff...long term stuff was secondary to the younger boss. It was understandable. "Yes, I change day before and after. Moon LOVES me." Tom said that last bit with all the acid he felt about it. Well... About the box. "Who is the fighter you have booked already?" Tom was curious. He wanted to feel out what the other combatant was like. He didn't like the idea that was creeping into his mind, but it was there. "No, haven't asked. This is a big deal and I thought Gaspari would want a show of force." Tom took the bottle and poured himself another glass. "What do you think?"
  7. Tee minus 2 days and counting........

    Tom took the glass graciously. When Matteo acknowledged the insincerity of his smile, he dropped it and the default grimace this time in the month returned. He extended the glass in a silent cheers before a more sardonic smirk played on his face. "Sounds... fantastic. I could try to get the crew that fixed up Thyrsus to come down here. Once I weeded out the skimmers and lazy ones, they did quick work." He took another drink as he appeared to be mulling something over in his mind...shaking his head slightly as if having a silent debate with himself. "Don't suppose Gaspari will let me go upstate for opening, no?"
  8. Tee minus 2 days and counting........

    Tom was in his office going over reports and numbers. The Thyrsus repairs had been completed. It had taken a while to squeeze out the leeches, lazy workers, and outright crooks among the construction crews. Once that was done, things moved quickly and efficiently. Thyrsus was every bit the miniature fortress it was before the Blood Moon…plus a bit. That wasn’t all that was on his desk. Satyr Stadium was reopening…probably…real soon and he was getting together the liquor order for the stadium. After running the tallies, it was going to take a small moving truck to get the inventory there. Pressing the button on his desk he spoke; “Roderick, Matteo is expecting the shipment by 5pm. Are you going to make that deadline?” “Yeah, boss. It should be there right around then or perhaps a few minutes before.” “Sounds good. I’ll be heading that way soon myself.” He growled in spite of himself as he thought on his next inquiry. “I suspect that Angelo will desire to keep me from going upstate this month and I’ll be relegated to ...the box,” he spit out those last two words with as much venom as a man could, “...during the Satyr Stadium opening. Can you check it out tonight or tomorrow to ensure it is ready for my stay?” Tom hated that damn box. But he didn’t see a way around it this time. Unless…no. From what he had heard, Matteo had been having problems keeping the containment of the arena appropriately. They wouldn’t let Tom’s beast out in front of people if the integrity of the structure was in question. Each time he had to force himself back into his small, steel-reinforced hell, it was more difficult. He didn’t know quite what that meant, but he knew that sometime, it was going to go poorly. Tom, now too agitated to look at the numbers with anything resembling organized thinking, got up from his desk and hopped in his X5 and drove over to Satyr Stadium. The drive helped to calm him down a bit. We were less than a week out from the full moon…so these drives alone were more valuable to him now than at any other time during the month. Once he arrived at the Stadium, he took in the improvements and nodded in approval. Looks like they were making progress after all. Catching a whiff of Joey milling about somewhere, he knew Matteo couldn’t be far. He made his way up to the sky box at the very top where he overheard Matteo speaking to Joey and walked into the room. “Matteo, how are things coming along up here?” He had on as genuine of a smile as he could manage, but Matteo likely knew it was forced. “Or more like…what are today’s setbacks?”
  9. Building a Mystery

    Eris’s whole demeanor was interesting to behold. When he poured the glass, it was as if she were an addict with her first view of her addiction in years. Then she stopped…as if suddenly repulsed by it. Finally, she hesitantly grabbed at it and sipped and enjoyed. Did she think he intended to poison her? Maybe she was an addict? But then she appeared to reign in whatever chaos was going on in her head and regained her calm demeanor. There was a whole lot of crazy in there. He knew a bit about that… When Toby came in and out, he caught his scent too…more of the same. Yes. He would have to speak to Mythos next time he was in town…whenever that was. She seemed to ignore his findings regarding the money. Just as well…some with ample resources didn’t take care to see how much was flowing in and out as long as it was there. This report was a courtesy to her, after all. She could take it and do with it as she pleased. Does the full moon frighten you, Thomas? Well…that’s one less talking point to be careful about. Either she knew ahead of time, or…as his wife was fond of saying when she sniffed out a new deodorant or cologne…’her nose knows’. He stared at her a long moment, noting how she was taking him in like he was a work of art…or a zoo animal. Nevertheless, this encounter was going to be far more complicated and intricate than a simple business dealing. This far away from the full moon, Tom was at his most calm. He was more able to think, pivot and calculate a response. In a couple weeks, he’d be more prone to simply react…and damage control later. Tom grinned slightly. Might as well get this conversation out of the way now. “The sun has always controlled life on Earth. In light of the events of the past few years…the moon gets to play with me too.” He finished his drink and began to pour another for them both. She wanted to cut right to the chase it seemed. He wasn’t sure if she was scouting for some purpose, or just learning about what has become a new part of her life recently. After Eris mentioned Mouse, Tom silently raised a glass in honor of her bravery. She had accidentally wandered into one of the safest traps in the city. The steel walls and doors were intended to keep unwanted people out. However, as will all walls and most doors…it works the other way too. He did not share her desire to feel every emotion that you could. A good portion of his effort is in keeping the emotions he does feel in check. He felt that he didn’t have the luxury to open himself up to new ones while being constantly on guard for the familiar ones. “Most people would have taken advantage of the Blood Moon chaos for a free pass to escape the wrath of Bakkhos because they fear you.” “I fear nothing, let alone taking responsibility for my actions.” Posturing again. It felt like it at least. She was right, most people had the sense to not anger the Bakkhos if it were avoidable. Those that did, were reminded why they shouldn’t. Eris was making a show of demonstrating that she wasn’t. Why? It is clear that she certainly possessed more than enough pride to make such a statement…however she was too clever to do something that as well. Did she think the family had it out for her already and this was her way to make amends? He’d have to ask some questions. “Fear and prudence are often mistaken for one another.” Tom began. “You don’t pet a viper, nor swim with sharks…not because of fear. You avoid these things because it would not be prudent to do so.” Subtle, verbal posturing was not above him either. It appeared that she was testing. Is Tom a doormat? Is Tom an idiot? Is Tom reasonable? Is Tom a monster? Maybe an answer to one or two of these questions was in order. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Partly in an effort to see if there were other scents he could catch that might not have been made known to him as yet. Tom hated surprises. He was also giving the illusion of a meditative breath. No doubt, she expected barely contained wrath. Truth was…this was as calm as he got during the month. Some wolves crescendo at the full moon and dramatically rescind back into a weak, calmer human state and begin the slow buildup to the next moon. Tom’s ‘were-seasons’ mimicked the moon phase. Immediately after a full moon, Tom was still very agitated and very close to full on monster-wolf. His innate rage would wax and wane with the moon. He finished his second drink, perhaps a bit too quickly and half smile, half glower looked her in her eyes. “Everyone is afraid of something. That is a lie you tell yourself. Not letting fear control you doesn’t dismiss the presence of that fear.” This was simple truth. A person without fear wasn’t a person. They weren’t real. Eris was a brave woman, no doubt. A lot of pain… “Thank you for not taking advantage of my responsibilities, that cash will take care of all your concerns. The other annoyances are your purview. It’s your money, not mine. It ceased being mine the moment I chose to destroy your property,” warm rum rich hum of her voice was still below conversational level. “But you’re too kind, I hope not for the sake of offending me. I don't get offended. If they displease you, fire them.” “You showed such integrity to disclose how the building became damaged. You earned my respect.” He nodded slightly, indicating sincerity. He was sincere. Too many in the family and others in positions of power feel the need to bend the will of those around them…or crush them under their thumb. Those who serve under Tom weren’t subjected to that type of ‘leadership.’ Discretion is key, however it was rarely a mystery how Tom felt about something. Tom wasn’t a sleazy, scheming, conniving, leach of a person. His being Bakkhos wasn’t a statement of his character because he’s technically a criminal. His morals and sense of right and wrong don’t always align with the current laws on the books. “I now know I can trust you. I could learn to like you. You're interesting when so few people are.” There was that art exhibit or zoo animal feeling again. Did she have such disdain for so many people that finding a civilized werewolf is the only kind of thrill she can find with people anymore? No matter. It was time to see how comfortable she was at being truly introspective. Senses on alert, he placed the half-empty bottle of rum between them, a silent question of whether she wanted another glass. Leaning forward with his hands resting on the polished teak bar-top, he said, “What about you allows you to rip steel doors from their hinges and saunter into a Bakkhos stronghold proclaiming from within the walls that ‘You fear nothing’?” It was evident that he didn’t believe her bravado was genuine. Not all of it at least.
  10. Building a Mystery

    Tom’s eyebrows furrowed slightly for a moment as he caught her scent. Something was…off. Based on the accounts of her ripping the doors off their hinges, she wasn’t simply human. It reminded him of Mythos a little bit. He’d have to ask him about her later. There was a long pause as the two sized each other up. She was beautiful. There was no question about it. If pride had a scent, you wouldn’t need to be a wolf to smell it. It radiated from her like light from the sun. She could be a real problem. She could also be a powerful ally. No doubt, she was conducting a similar analysis. This would be an interesting encounter. "Truly well dressed men are rare these days." She was immaculately dressed as well. No doubt that she was a person who always looked their best. He understood completely. “Indeed.” He recognized the compliment. She didn’t seem to be one overly concerned with formalities. This was refreshing…sometimes the ‘family’ became stodgy and overly-formal without ever saying anything. Nowhere near as bad as pre-Resonance corporate elites, but still… “I don’t need to check up on anyone’s progress, least of all yours. I'm not anyone's mother.” Tom reached into his jacket and pulled some folded papers and handed them to Eris. “Perhaps you should.” He walked behind the counter that served as a bar as well. He produced two glasses and an open bottle of Ron Zacapa XO and poured two drinks. He nudged one in her direction as he took a sip from his own. Roderick had seemingly disappeared. “You are overpaying your crew by about 30%. The foreman for the masons is skimming about 10% to put into his own pockets. Friday afternoons appear to be holidays for the welders. Also, apparently, they only need two out of every three workers, as the rest appear to be idle at any given time.” Tom was revealing a part of himself with that report. He was an efficient, nearly mechanical man when it came to business. Inefficiencies were personal offenses to him. Especially when they were so easily corrected. “I came to ask you personally if you needed anything else to make the inconvenience of this rebuild more palatable.” If he didn’t know better, he would have interpreted this as an attempt to appease the Bakkhos out of fear. However, this was obviously not the case. She wouldn’t have sauntered in here like this if she was afraid. Which led to the next obvious question…why was she here? Why was she doing this? During the chaos of the Blood Moon, no one would have known it was her. What did she want from the family for her cooperation? This was a question he would have to get answered…although a direct approach was not likely to be fruitful. He’d have to be careful. “Despite the inefficiencies and thievery, construction appears to be going quite well, if a bit slower than I had hoped.” He took another sip from his drink. He too enjoyed this brand of rum. He looked into Eris’s eyes and raised his glass slightly toward her in a gesture of salute. “Now that we have finally met, I’d like to thank you personally for contributing to the rebuild. Many would have taken advantage of the chaos of the Blood Moon and vanished into the night.” He left the unspoken question of “Why?” hanging in the air. He studied her closely now. His eyes were still friendly, but calculating. He was looking for any sort of tell. No. He was no incompetent beast. He was no thuggish brute. The Capo ring on his hand was not given to him in recognition of his strength or blind obedience…but rather his mind and loyalty. The Beast and all the physical gifts that came with it were add-ons…supplementing what made Tom truly dangerous…his mind.
  11. Building a Mystery

    Roderick could sense that he was on the edge of danger. His good looks and charm can keep hostiles at bay, most of the time. This woman, however, was different. He silently applauded himself for hitting the button almost immediately. Roderick was the gatekeeper of sorts for Thyrsus…the sentry on duty. His poise and charisma was often all that was required for most patrons. Not this one. However, until Tom got in here, the show must go on. “Ron Zacapa XO…yes, the rum is over here.” He gestured to one of the corners of the room. He glided over to the corner with nearly silent feet…as if his feet never did quite make contact with the ground. He gestured towards a shelf about four feet off the ground. There were two rows of Ron Zacapa XO, each about three bottles deep. “Any particular bottle catch your fancy, Ms. London?” Just as the question was asked, the elevator door slid open and out walked Tom. His solid frame was draped in a Brunello Cucinelli charcoal suit. Unlike Roderick, the sound of his Fratelli Borgioli shoes striking the floor echoed across the room like small claps of thunder. He approached Eris and Roderick as he was asking Ms. London which particular bottle she might prefer. Roderick was a good find. A trusted lieutenant that didn’t need much guidance, and knew where permission was required. Loyal to a fault, he was. Tom was lucky. “Ms. London,” Tom’s rich, baritone voice spoke. “I take it you have come to check on the reconstruction progress?” The sentence may have been a question, but his tone was not. Tom is generally a friendly man, however he doubted that Eris came by for a social call. Tom was making no attempt to be intimidating, that came naturally…just by being alive in the same room…however his look, demeanor, and tone said without words, ‘I am in control here. You are welcome here because I allow it.’
  12. Building a Mystery

    Roderick’s brows quirked up slightly at hearing her name. Eris appeared to be everything that Ahanu had eluded to. Hints of mirth showed in his eyes as he finally put a face to the name. Ever the professional, Roderick did not let that look linger, lest he upset the ‘petite, volcanic, vixen’ as Ahanu had lovingly referred to her. Roderick subtly pushed a button under the counter while speaking to Eris. This would alert Tom that something important was going on. Not an alarm, but rather, something worthy of his personal attention. “I appreciate her endorsement. I hope I manage to live up to it.” Humility oozed from Roderick. It was sincere; however, Eris could see plain as day that Roderick was no simple crony. “I let him know that you are here. Can I offer you a drink in the mean time?”
  13. Building a Mystery

    The construction crew had gone for the night. The work being done was coming along rather quickly. Roderick was cleaning up the incidental dust and debris that would find its way into the store proper. It did no good to have sawdust marring the mahogany walls. Having done all the “hard work” for the day, Roderick was looking forward to a relaxing evening tending the counter and socializing with the patrons. When the petite woman entered the store, he smiled bright. Maybe tonight was going to be pleasant after all. “Your big boss please. If you bring me Roderick I’ll send you back for his boss. I’ll wait.” His smile faded for a brief instant. Perhaps not. Then the smile returned, not the cheesy smile of a salesman, but the pleasant smile of someone who is genuinely…pleasant. This woman was all business, whoever she was. Best not to upset her, especially if Tom was expecting her. Putting a hand on his chest, he replies, “I am Roderick. Mr. Gallo is downstairs…who should I say is asking for him?”
  14. Nighttime is Playtime

    Tom smiled despite himself. Matteo was always with the smooth easy-going demeanor. This made him more dangerous than most in the family as people often mistake friendliness for weakness. Matteo was not weak. With the right motivation, he was almost as dangerous as Tom’s ‘beast.’ Almost. Regardless, Matteo’s mirth was not missed on Tom. Thanks for the top off… likely gonna need it if early reservations are any indication of the crowd. “Yeah, Roderick should bring another load by this evening. He’s supervising construction currently.” He glowered for a moment as he remembered that one idle construction worker he saw just before coming here. How's the store comin'? That chick payin' for yer reconstruction? “It’s comin’ along ok, I guess. They are like kids though. If you aren’t watchin’ them, they aren’t workin’ as hard as they ought to.” He shakes his head in irritation, not unlike an elderly man just disgusted with ‘kids these days.’ “Yeah, she is payin’ for all of it. I understand why she did what she did and don’t blame her. Had I been around during that time, we know how that would have gone down.” Tom chuckled darkly. After he had heard reports of what went down in the city, he felt guild, initially, that he wasn’t here to help. He knew; however, he was much more help not being there. His eyebrows quirked up as he remembered something he was going to say to Matteo. “I will not be around next weekend. I will be upstate.” Matteo knew what that meant. Full moon was around the corner and Tom usually left during those times. He never really said more than “upstate”. There were the occasional times where Angelo would require his presence during the daylight for those times…in which case, Tom would head to the bunker. That blasted, terrible, horrible box. He did not want to go in the box. Not now. Not ever…as long as he could avoid it. “I will be sure to be around tonight for the opening, of course.”
  15. Nighttime is Playtime

    Tom, clipboard in hand, was reviewing the inventory that was being sent to the club. One by one he ticked the items off the sheet. This was the big reopening, and the club needed extra supply on hand. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Roderick to do this part of the job. Far from it. The more important something became, the more hands on he was. Tom is not a control freak…except maybe he is a bit. The sleeves of his white dress-shirt were rolled up over his forearms. Despite the cool winter air outside, he was warm. It was almost a week until the next full moon. This was when his attention to detail regarding his appearance started to wane a bit. Tom will look like a million bucks tonight. Until then, he had work to do. He needed something to occupy his mind. Otherwise, everything would bother him. Ticking off the last box, he nodded in approval. “Get this in the car. I’ll take it over myself.” A week ago, Roderick would have insisted that he or one of the boys could take it over. He had worked with Tom long enough, however, to know that Tom was going to deliver and that arguing this time was a waste of time and likely a bad idea. Tom rebuttoned the sleeves on his shirt and headed to his car. The black, BMW SUV was loaded by some of the boys who were overseeing the construction crew hired to repair damage done to the store. Tom scanned their work and put a hand on Roderick’s shoulder. “See that guy over there, not doing anything? Make sure he has something to do. If the crew doesn’t need him, I don’t want to pay for him.” With that he hopped in the SUV and drove over to Bakkhos. When he arrived, he grabbed the first load and put it in the elevator. The second load he did the same with and rode the elevator up to the club. As the doors opened he could smell the people there. Matteo was there, of course. Another lycanthrope had been by earlier, likely Joey. And as always, the faint stench of silver. Seeing Mythos was a bit of a surprise, but he always seemed to come and go with the wind. “Hey fellas,” he greeted the pair with an arm load of booze. “Good to see you again, Mythos.” Tom said to the man in a genuine…if strained attempt at a ‘friendly’ tone. Turning to Matteo, the social grace drops and what the family had come to know as his ‘business voice’ he asks, “How are things coming for tonight?”