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Hands rubbed over his features as he stood on the field of the massive stadium. It was tee minus just days and counting before their grand opening and there was as always still too much to do. Wrist turned over to glance at his watch again. He was meeting some Pharos guy in twenty minutes.

 

It had been an odd phone call. Gaspari had apparently reached out to the head of the organization who in turn reached out to him offering to add extra security opening night by adding some artifact to his outer enhanced cage. He was supposed to be getting some sort of demo today.

 

He had immediately called Gaspari to confirm this bizarre turn of events only to be told yes this was his doing. After arguing that the cage was already enhanced nine ways to Sunday, he was told a bit more security didn't hurt their image. Gaspari was probably right, an audience injury opening night could kill the endeavor dead in its tracks. Still... they had six different mage enhancements on the damn place. This seemed like overkill.

 

NPC: You want me to just lead the guy down here when he arrives?

 

ya.... may as well get right to the point on it.

 

As security walked away he moved to the stage, hopping up to sit on its edge and wait. The massive platform was for the show before the fight. Derrick was supposed to play, something Gaspari seemed pretty excited about. She was good and all, but for this size crowd? Then again, Gaspari always seemed to know something he didn't.

 

Legs swung back and forth off the edge as he looked at his watch again....... three minutes since the last time he had looked.

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This was a dream come true.

 

He’d tried to get a ticket, but they’d sold out before he even had a chance. And then, just like that, a quick call from Thorne changed everything. Not only was he getting a fool-proof mission that he couldn’t fuck up, but it was in Satyr Stadium of all places.

 

The place came before his eyes in its full magnificence. It was rather deserted and quiet today, but all in perfect anticipation of the wonders to come. It made Darius’s mouth water just thinking of it. Held closely to his chest was an iron briefcase as he stared out at the hulking building before him. That briefcase held his key to all the action - there was no way in hell he was going to let that beauty fall into the wrong hands.

 

The car came to a stop, and Darius got out before the driver could help him with the door. Luxury was nice, but the sight of weres ripping each other to shreds was so much better, topped only by the chance to support such a spectacle. Such an opportunity waited for no man.

 

He grabbed the briefcase and stepped away from the car, bidding the driver farewell with a tip of his hat before making his way closer to the arena. He stopped only to admire a poster advertising the stadium’s opening night. It gave him a hunger for entertainment - one that only the sight of a brawl could settle. Now he was only a few days and one ticket away from a seat in front of the action.

 

Security met him as he approached the main entrance. With a satisfied grin, he flashed his badge. Every damn time, it felt so good to do that. That badge never got old.

 

Agent Kayne, Pharos. Special delivery for Satyr Stadium!

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He watched his leather toes appear and disappear as he sat on the edge of the stage, legs swinging in the vast space. The original grid-iron was the first cage, hundred by fifty four glorious yards of fight space. Reinforced steel that seemed thick but at a distance was easily seen through as the gaps were over nine inch square. The second cage was at the edge of the old stadium seating, a good ten yard gap around the first that could be walked by the security team. This second cage was the one that was heavily enhanced, more spells and enchantments than he could count. Enchantments against fire, against power, against ice, against electricity, even against certain spells. To protect the audience the first nine rows of seating had been removed, which was where the third cage was surrounding the field. This one was to keep drunk idiots from grabbing the enchanted cage and getting themselves half killed.

 

The second cage was the one this artifact was supposedly going to make nearly invincible to anything that spilled out from a caged fight. Buzz in his pocket made him slip out the phone to glance at the text. Pharos was here. He waited as Frankie escorted the guy down the steps of the stadium to the cage openings. Around the massive arena the huge televisions were playing the Satyr logo as final tests were being run on all the equipment.

 

'ey

 

Chin lifted in greeting as the guy got closer, hips sliding off the stage, hands sliding into his pockets as he strolled in that direction.

 

Watch that second gate…. touchin' that one be a bitch…

 

Grin was easy and welcoming as he let the guy drink in the size. It was always overwhelming to new comers. The stadium had always been huge, but with the six story tall massive cages that enclosed the field even on the top standing like monoliths in the center, it was awe inspiring. Particularly right now with no one to fill the seats, its very size was daunting.

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Tom had entered the private viewing box that Gaspari and other VIPs would occupy at Satyr. He had come to Satyr to double-check the chain of custody of booze coming from Thyrsus to Satyr, to ensure that the serial poisoner of his wares had not wormed their way into the supply chain to Satyr. His inspection had proven this supply chain to be clean, however others he had thought were good had turned out to have some poison bottles slipped into the shipments. 

 

This was taking too long. Tom had been forced to take more calls of disgruntled clients as they were no longer being satisfied with Roderick fielding the calls. Tom had dispatched soldiers to supervise shipments to several of the clients. Of those that were supervised, none were tampered with. This poisoner was subtle, observant, and worst of all...intelligent. Tom didn't have the manpower to babysit every shipment from now to eternity...he needed to squash this bug. It was time to bring in the rest of the family. 

 

Tom took a moment to take in the spectacle of the arena from the VIP box. It was impressive. Quite impressive. He didn't understand the intricacies of the enchantments and magical augmentation to the cages and barriers. He let out a resigned growl as he was certain that he'd be the one to 'test' some of them. Matteo got a sick sort of pleasure in Tom's discomfort. Not malevolent...as far as Tom could tell...it reminded him of brothers enjoying each other's trivial trials. Ass.

 

Tom stepped out of the box and started walking down the stairs toward where he saw Tom and some other man speaking. He suspected him to be another mage or some such. As he got closer, he called down to the two men. 

 

"Come now. You didn't have to do all this for little ol' me." Tom smirked at Matteo before extending a hand to the other man. "Tom Gallo, pleased to meet you."

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With his mouth agape, Darius looked around in absolute awe. For this first time in years, words failed him and all he could do was attempt to drink in the magnificent sight around him.  His eyes darted around the arena four times over before even realizing that somebody was talking to him. With a deep breath, he finally managed to form a sentence.

 

Now this... this is a masterpiece. Are you the genius behind all of this?

 

As he approached, he took great care not to touch anything, well aware that just about anything in the arena could be enchanted with unforeseen defenses and dangers. He couldn’t help but question why Pharos was helping with this at all. Bakkhos seemed pretty set on defenses, and as exciting as the contents of that briefcase were, it was unlike Pharos to beat a dead horse like this. Or in this case, arming a already heavily armed horse.

 

Perhaps there was some sort of deal going on between the higher ups about. That was most likely the case, at least, making Darius one of their oblivious pawns yet again. Such a thought would normally slap a scowl onto his face, but this time, he felt like a spoiled little boy on a Christmas morning. He may be a pawn, but this lucky pawn wouldn’t have rather rather been anywhere else.

 

The sound of approaching footsteps snapped him out of his thoughts for the second time. He looked up to see a familiar face approaching. That man… the poster… could it be? No matter, he decided to push the thought aside for now. No matter who it was, he was bound to be impressed by what he was about to see.

 

“Tom Gallo, pleased to meet you.”

 

Darius accepted the handshake with a charming grin and a hearty nod.

 

Darius Kayne, at your service!

 

He gave his briefcase a firm pat to draw attention to it.

 

Just in time for the fireworks, I see. I don’t think any of us wanna have to active this bad boy after today. You two are the lucky few to get an exclusive demonstration... and hopefully the only demonstration.

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As he strolled across the manicured field, dark eyes caught Tom heading down in their direction, faint nod tossed up his way as they both moved to make introductions.

 

"Come now. You didn't have to do all this for little ol' me. Tom Gallo, pleased to meet you."

 

…pft…please…. you aint that special Gallo….

 

Wink was easy as he extended his hand to the Pharos guy after Tom.

 

Now this... this is a masterpiece. Are you the genius behind all of this?

 

Genius…. madman…… in th' eye of the beholder I guess….Matteo Carducci….

 

He didn’t miss the wide-eyed wonder. The Senior Capo was jaded, too much time spent on the grounds had stolen his amazement of the place.  But if he stood back a moment… it was a real wonder of engineering and magic.


Darius Kayne, at your service!

 

Eager beaver. Though most that got a chance to get inside the dome were.

 

Just in time for the fireworks, I see. I don’t think any of us wanna have to active this bad boy after today. You two are the lucky few to get an exclusive demonstration... and hopefully the only demonstration.

 

Well, I hear it can help us hold back the lions, tigers an' bears…

 

Smirk was friendly at Tom before shrugging.

 

Not to mention the witches an' wizards.

 

Trotting down the steps back to the main field he nodded up at the cages.

 

First one just a reminder for fighters to stay on the field. Second one's the real enhanced one.

 

Spinning on a heel he walked backwards to face them as they followed.

 

Not failed a test in two months but…… ya never can be too careful..

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…pft…please…. you aint that special Gallo….

 

Tom smirked and gestured to one of the numerous banners with his face plastered on them.

 

You don’t say…

 

Darius Kayne, at your service!

 

Tom sized up the man. He was indeed eager to be a part of this. Good. Seemed like he was the type of eager that was just glad to be a part of it…not the eager that sought to leverage this for some nefarious gain. Tom shook his head slightly, banishing the thought. Not everyone thought like the families. He shook Darius’s hand firmly and continued to listen as he released.

 

Well, I hear it can help us hold back the lions, tigers an' bears…

 

Tom noticed the smirk.

 

It’s the wolves you have to be careful of…crafty brutes they can be…

 

He followed Matteo and Darius onto the main field. From down here he turned slowly, taking in the view from the field where he’d be before long. It was very impressive. Done right, this would be the most popular attraction in the city.

 

So…we are getting to see what happens if we hit the second barrier?

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