Featured Item: .Reckless. – 13 (Ultra)
It was one of those parties that happened, in the ‘Civic Room’, which resided in the warehouse section of the building that housed Shepherd’s Tavern. The strange thing about ‘The Civic Room’ was that it was mostly underground. Shepherd’s tavern poked out the front of the hill it was built under, and ‘The Civic Room’ poked out the back.
Shepherd’s was the local gathering spot for the mystical community. Supernatural and magic using folks alike frequented it as, essentially, a pub/coffee house/ restaurant-bar. It was a safe haven to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, being yourself, not what was commonly shown to the majority of the non-believing, non-magical, magic-blind human public.
The Civic Room was the party center for those same folk. It was used for a variety of gatherings, whether political rallies, rock concerts, auctions, small conventions or even the annual ‘Flea Market”. Tonight it was the something of a Birthday party combined with a costume party.
Shepherd was turning some strange number of years old, and there was a rock band playing on the stage, as colored lights (actually pixie performers, each about two-apples in height, that fluttered on their diaphanous wings as they glowed with auras that flashed through the spectrum) pulsed in time with the music.
The band on stage, “Bayle Out”, was a group of fairly attractive and talented boys, fur and leather clad, with fishnet shirts and make up that would make most VK style bands envious. The lead singer was half naked, singing his little heart out up on stage, and he was good. The boys were all in their late-teens/early-twenties and they were playing a variety of covers, not to mention a few they’d written themselves.
The lead singer and guitarist was the center of attention (as most lead singers tend to be). He had a lush brown mane, his shirt off, and was displaying his tattooed arms and naked chest, weaving his arms at the stage, and the crowd was hopping and writhing like he had them in thrall. A little bat was orbiting his head, flying like mad and doing little acrobatics to the music.
The boy was glistening with sweat and singing in some language that wasn’t english, but everyone seemed to understand. He had a belt on his neck, like a makeshift collar, and leather cord winding around his eyes like a blindfold of sort. His pants rode very low on his hips and a golden polished skull belt buckle tried in vain to stop the pants from drooping too much farther. The rude keychain jangled and swayed as the boy’s hips did, their motion being very… suggestive. The boy grabbed his ample crotch at one point in the lyrics and screamed with a mad grin on his lips as he cavorted and bounced off the other boys on stage. They all grinned and kept on playing like mad, and the crowd loved it.
The club was smoky but well lit, and though many of the patrons possessed some kind of special vision or a 6th sense that would let them navigate if it were pitch black, there was good visibility.
Shepherd navigated through well wishers, as he strolled through the crowd, smiling, trading quips or greetings and accepted the general approbation of those surrounding him. On one side of the room was “the Table of Tribute” as was proclaimed by a banner hanging in front of it -A pile of presents and ‘offerings’ for the birthday boy, and Shepherd knew he’d have to call for silence at some point during the festivities and start opening presents, and thanking those that were giving them. Sometimes that was a chore, and it would take forever to mow through that mountain of wrapped gifts and sparkly ribbons. He frowned, but then shrugged and then glanced around until he spotted Lykin, and angled over. He was glad to see his friend.
The wizard smiled and waved at Shepherd, saying loud enough to reach over the band’s tunes, “So, old man- how’s it feel to turn over another century?”
“Not quite another century, Lyk – that’s next year. But close enough, when you’re as old as me. “ The tall dark maned proprietor said, and one looking on would have thought that an odd comment, since Shepherd barely looked 30. Shepherd straightened his blue poet’s shirt as if trying to regain his dignity after that comment, and then grinned at his friend.
Lykin was dressed in a white button down shirt, with vertical red stripes, and black jeans, and he wore a necklace with a golden coin medallion that was impressed with a little bat symbol. Not like Batman, but one could say it was similar. The Brown maned wizard’s condition had improved since the last time he’d seen him. Lykin had trimmed down the horns and the poppies that had been growing out of his head seemed to finally to have run their course and were gone. He looked much more normal to the public eye. “So you’ve had some success with the effects of the curse, yes? The ‘garden’ is finally out of season?”
Lykin snorted and nodded, “Yes, the poppies are gone for good now. The horns.. Well I kind of like them. But yeah, I keep ‘em trimmed down now. They don’t grow so fast now, not since I fixed the poppies. So that’s a plus!” He chuckled and sipped at a mug of something that smelled spicy and looked frothy.
Shepherd’s eyes roamed to the band, and he watched for a few minutes,and he started paying attention to the lead singer. He got a goofy grin on his face and nudged Lykin in the ribs, unfortunately coinciding with a sip.
“Hey! “ Lykin sputtered, and then rubbed at the spot, “You’ll make me spill my Frothy, you ass!“
Shepherd gave a disarming shrug, but then leaned in so he could be heard over the music, and said, “The lead singer looks familiar, Lyk – is that one of your brothers?”
Lykin glanced up at Shepherd, narrowed his eyes, and then slowly nodded, “Yeah, that’s my little brother, Bayle. He’s got this dream of being a rock god, or something. Better look out for him. “
Shepherd arched an eyebrow, “Oh? Why’s that? He got some kind of basilisk breath or a hypnotic eye? “
Lykin shook his head and leaned up, grabbing Shepherd’s shoulder, pulling him in closer, saying close to his ear, “Nah, but he is charming as hell, and I mean that literally. He has the power to Fascinate with look, touch and feel. It’s like a Glamor but partially psychic. Just so you’re warned.”
On stage, Bayle, finished up the last song, and then said, in a really smooth, smoky voice, “That’s if for the moment, you’ve been a great crowd.. We’re gonna take a break, and then we’ll be back, And Happy Birthday to Shepherd! Hey! “ He waved at Lykin and Shepherd, as he jumped off stage after setting the mic into the stand. He stalked through the crowd in a sinuous and confident manner. Bayle snagged a bottle of the local microbrew, and sipped at it, “Blood Moon Citris Special” it was called. He thought it was tasty, and took another swig as he approached.
He made it to Lykin and give his brother a quick hug. The little bat was perched on his shoulder, and emitting little meeping sounds. “Nice set,” Lykin said, as the two parted, and Bayle gave his brother a peck on the cheek. “Hey, thanks Lyk, “ He grinned at the praise, and then started to shift gears to social mode, as he looked from his brother to Shepherd and back.
“You gonna introduce me, or what? “ The younger boy said to his brother.
Shepherd looked amused at the exchange, but when introductions were mentioned, and Lykin arched a brow, Shepherd stretched out a hand, “Awesome set, my friend – loved your show! I’m Shepherd. “ With a smile on his lips, the proprietor thought Bayle was quite striking.
The boy squared up and looked up into Shepherd’s eyes, then ran his gaze down the blue poet’s shirt, noticing that it wasn’t laced all the way, and showed intriguing glimpses of his chest and a montage of tattoos, all the way down to his leather pants and those knee-high leather boots. He took Shepherd’s hand in a firm grip, and lifted his chin. They didn’t compete in squeezing grips, but there might have been an implied contest of some sort, because Bayle pulled in close to Shepherd leaned up as he put a hand on his shoulder and said into his ear, “Happy birthday, big guy.. It’s a pleasure, “ and then kissed the older man’s lips. Shepherd’s eyes shot wide for a moment, the blue irises widening at the touch, as though surprised. He didn’t quite pull back, so much as Bayle pushed him back, and grinned, seeing he got a reaction out of the older man.
“I warned you, “ came Lykin’s voice from the side, rolling his eyes, wondering who was in more danger here, Bayle, or Shepherd. Bayle glanced at Lykin and frowned, “What? I can’t say Happy Birthday with a personal touch? You talk about this guy like he’s a hero, Lyk. “
The little bat on Bayle’s shoulder squeaked and launched into the air, and fluttered its wings with a happy little chirp. “He seems to like you, Shep, “ Bayle said with a grin, as he stretched out a hand.
Shepherd chuckled, “Excitable little critter. Is he your familiar, or just a friend?”
The little bat fluttered down to the outstretched hand, settled in the palm, folded his wings with a meep and a purr, and then started to nuzzle his master’s hand.
“Oh yeah.. This is Biscuit,” Bayle said, “He’s my little friend – I can talk to them, you know. Bats. “ He grinned and stroked one of his elegant and nimble fingers over the furry little bat’s head, and scritched between the ears. The purring increased “He is like my little watch dog, kinda. He’s really perceptive. Just don’t piss him off, m’kay? “
Shepherd arches a brow and emitted a few chitters and chips from his pursed lips, and the little bat did a flutter and emitted a happy squeak.
Bayle’s eyes took on a surprised look, blinked at the reaction from his bat, then a slow grin spread on his lips as he sized up Shepherd again. “Ohh you can talk his language? What the hell you think you’re doing.. “ he moved in and pressed his still gleaming chest against Shepherd’s in a challenging fashion, looking up into the slightly taller man’s face, “You want my Biscuit, old man?”
Lykin’s face turned beet red and he slapped his forehead and drew the hand down, “Oh bloody hell, “ he said.
Shepherd didn’t back off, his gaze seemed to sparkle with Bayle’s and it was almost a contest of wills, until Bayle grabbed Shepherd’s thigh and the older man’s eyebrow shot up. He swallowed, not breaking the eye-contact, but there was a tension in the air, which slowly, Shepherd raised a hand, and placed it on Bayle’s shoulder, and pushed him back a reluctant step.
“You’re a cheeky little monkey, Bayle, I’ll give you that,“ he said, clearing his throat. He raised a hand up and petted the little bat, stroking it’s soft furry head and scritching behind the ears. Biscuit nuzzled Shepherd’s finger and nipped at it playfully. The elfin proprietor slowly withdrew his hand, and then faced the young man, and arched a brow, “Maybe when you’re done tonight, we can talk about a career path for you, in Sales and Marketing – but nah..I don’t want that adorable little bat. “
Bayle gave him back that arched eyebrow look, and smirked, but didn’t say anything, other than, “Hmmmm well, if you did, there’d have to be some intense negotiations. “
Lykin narrowed his eyes, and pushed his way between his brother and the older man. He had been watching the interplay, and watching his brother closely. Grudgingly, he was satisfied that Bayle hadn’t pulled one of his slutty little stunts – yet – or Shepherd seemed immune. The black haired tavern owner was still a mystery in some way, and probably wasn’t susceptible to Bayle’s persuasion. But he didn’t have to like it or let it happen unchecked. His brother saw Shepherd as a challenge (or conquest). He cleared his throat and said, “Tell you what, boys, let’s all go get something to eat and a refresh on our drinks. You did the catering to your own party, Shep?”
Shepherd, smirked and slipped an arm around Lykin’s shoulder, as the older brother wedged himself between the tall dark maned proprietor and his brother.
“Nah, I took my birthday off. But the food is supposed to be really good. And there’s that enormous birthday cake later. “
Bayle shot his brother a glare, as he was wedged away from his target but smirked and glanced over Shepherd as a challenge that was going to take some time. That was ok, he could work on that one, he thought. He settled Biscuit back on his shoulder and slipped a hand around Lykin’s waist, and ‘accidentally’ brushed his hand over Shepherd’s behind on the far side.
Shepherd glanced first at Lykin, and then at Bayle, as their eyes met, and he purses his lips and smirked a little, shaking his head.
Lykin didn’t quite notice the interaction, but knew something was up. “Ooookay it’s over this way..”
“Ok, Brother, lead the way, “ Bayle said, glancing sidelong at Shepherd then pointedly NOT looking at him, as Lykin lead the way. Bayle grinned, “I’m starved. I think I know what I want on the menu.“
.Reckless. – 13 (Ultra)
Pet- +Half-Deer+ Hearthugger Bat – The Flying Dead RARE (Store)