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Dance Party
[Image: liam-liam-neeson-29022103-300-422.jpg]

The music from the stage called his attention and, despite himself, he smiled. The lyrics were different, but the melody was familiar. Growing up in a brothel was not the norm for most people. But his mother and the other women there looked after him with love. He didn't have much, but in many ways, he had more than most, in the way of attention and affection. All of the women doted on him. Children's movies were a staple.

Indeed, mythology and fairy tales had been one of the things that had first spurred his interest in history. While his primary work was in archaeology, one of his earliest published works was the role of stories from a sociological perspective, the way they defined community identity, expectation, and structure. They were what made us human. That paper had ultimately led to his full ride scholarship in Bologna.

Which reminded him, and he looked over to find Nik gone. Or rather out in the sea of people somewhere, he was sure. Nox was gone too. At her words, he watched the performance on the stage. The wolves were a nice touch. Not that he knew the band or anyone up there. Pop music was not something he had much time for, these days. In the past, yes. 'Your brother is talented. Very clever to rework the original as he has. A deep dive," he said referencing the subject of the song.

He turned back to Rowan, allowing himself to trace her form with his eyes in an open manner. His smile deepened at her comments. "I should like to sample this cuisine of yours." He was no gourmand. Food was not all that important. Indeed, there were days he was so lost in his work he realized he hadn't eaten much of anything. But a shared meal was a social event. And he also knew that food had a sensual element to it, in certain contexts. He wouldn't be so crass as to say that hot fudge aroused him. Then again....

He chuckled, raising an eyebrow. "Interesting," he said slowly and drawn out. A finger reached out to gently touched her hand. "New Orleans apparently has its charms," his look making it clear he was speaking of her. Well that, but her mention of debauchery did not go unnoticed.

His smile widened as she spoke. She was more than a pretty face. Clearly. Not that he was into spiritual things. But he was also not arrogant enough to categorically declare what was valid or true and what wasn't. He knew people with abilities existed. Case in point, Nik and his power. Indeed, he was intrigued. His finger lingered. "I would like that," he said to her suggestion.

The music thrummed and despite himself, he felt the urge. He extended a hand, smile warm, blue eyes twinkling. "Care to dance?" Like a meal, dancing was a socially bonding experience. And he was interested enough, now.

And the sacred geometry of her body called to him.
Nox’s explanation made him genuinely chuckle. Between the music, the sway of dancing, and the atmosphere, Nik forgot how much fun it was to relax. As Nox and the friend started talking, Nik’s attention was drawn aside by a hand on his arm. Naturally, he turned to find a dark-haired beauty with luscious lips and a plunging neckline. He pulled her into the group with Nox and continued dancing.
Rowan nodded along to Armande’s comments on Aiden’s performance. She wasn’t really paying attention anymore. You see the dress rehearsal enough times and you’ve already seen the show. This whole ‘spur of the moment’ Disney cover was all apart of the act. Not even an act, more of a concession. Siobhan wasn’t playing after her solo career unless Blarney Stoned was ‘fun again.’ In some convoluted fashion, that resulted in what the group was playing now.

                It was clever. Rowan was just tired of hearing it.

                What was here and what was now was this delightful peach of a man, not Aiden’s ragtag group of misfits. “Thank you for saying so, but he doesn’t need any more praise than he’s already had”, she answered with a melodic laugh.

                Rowan would have to bring him by the café, there was nothing else for it. The staff might assault him, in their own way, checking to make sure he wasn’t going to leave her high and dry; but that’s partly why they were there. The café’s staff was her surrogate family in the face of relocation to the new continent.

                The way Armande said ‘Interesting’ was almost worrisome, with the drawn-out syllables. But then came his touch. It was enough to give her pause. He didn’t say much, but if she really listened, Rowan heard an ocean of meaning in that touch and the few words he offered up. Smooth and confident is what he was, this Armande, and Rowan was finding herself speechless. She nodded at his offer to dance and her body began to move by its own accord, lifting gracefully from the chair as she laid her delicate palm upon his strong, heavy, right hand.

                “Nothing would give me greater pleasure,” Rowan then replied to his offer with her words.

                Rowan’s third eye opened, so to speak, as their hands touched. Pleasure in shades of red and pink erupted from her forehead and coursed through her being, causing her to shudder as they stepped out onto the dance floor. Rowan wouldn’t normally consider the environment romantic, but there was always a first time for everything.

"The power Voodoo. Hoodoo? You do! Do what!?"
                The lights on the stage dimmed and Aiden wove Water with Air, creating a thick fog that rose from beneath his feet. It thickened and billowed, cloaking the stage and its performers in a blanket of white. The tone of the music shifted to that of something more hippy-ish and psychedelic. Although the audience could not see him, Aiden sang out into the microphone, shifting his tone to match the band, “One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small; and the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all.”

                Aiden split the flows and began Weaving a more complex flow, incorporating the other Powers. Illusion. The Weave was laid upon Aiden and the rest of the band. Amidst the camouflage of the mist, their clothing shifted from 1980’s punk to 1960’s Woodstock.

                “Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall,” Aiden sang as he tied off the Illusion weave and began to lower the fog that blanketed the stage.

                “And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re going to fall… Tell ‘em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call. And call Alice, when she was just small.”

                The wolves came out onto the stage once more and started circling around each of the band members. Every other wolf would give a small leap as they ran circles. The mist fully dissipated and Aiden let go of the Weave. He wove the Illusion weave once more. Giant mushrooms began to seemingly inflate up from the ground; they were cheap looking enough to be explained away as fabric balloons or something of the sort.

                “When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go, And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low. Go ask Alice, I think she’ll know.”

                The mushrooms swelled until they were taller than the band and Aiden tied off the weave, letting their ethereal forms sway to the music, if only slightly. The band swelled as the song seemed to grow serious. Aiden’s voice shifted to vibrato and the lights of the club went dark, flashing shades of green and purple and orange.

                “When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead! And the white knight is talking backward and the red queen’s off with her head! Remember what the door mouse said! Feed your head! Feed your head!”

Russian Dolls and Broken Gods, a new Fantasy novel by best-selling author, Aiden Finnegan, out this December! Preorder online and instore today!
[Image: liam-liam-neeson-29022103-300-422.jpg]

Her hand was warm and light in his, soft and silky and he smiled down at her. She was taller than he expected, for a woman. Her eyes seemed to shift from light brown to greenish in the changing club lights, and he found he could not look away. And while she seemed light and feathery in his arms, she was not a person to be pushed. She had presence, which he very much liked. Earthy.

The song had an insistent beat to it, though in an interesting metre and shift. An Indian influence was definitely noticeable- was it the scale, maybe? His knowledge of music theory was minimal at best, but he knew the Indian scale was very different than the western chromatic scale, with finer gradations between notes. The words themselves were based on Carrol's Alice and Wonderland, clearly. It was vaguely familiar, though American music from the 60s and 70s was not something he knew much of.

But it reminded him of the dance of a cobra...and Rowan was in his arms, flowing and swaying in a way he had never experienced and yet came upon him with ease. Not the raves of his youth or the frenetic energy from ecstacy, none of that barely controlled club movement.

And yet he felt high and under some hypnotic control all the same, the feel of Rowan against him, the way her hands moved across him, the press of her body into him, two flames licking and flicking around each other, the head of the cobra swaying, forked tongue tasting the air as it followed the music even as hers flicked his ear.

She was a living thing in his arms, the two of them, point counterpoint, agonist antagonist...and he was lost in her.
Nox seemed tired. Like seriously, there were dark circles around his eyes- and it wasn't the make up and guy liner he seemed to be sporting these days. Like he wasn't eating and couldn't sleep.

His eyes narrowed and head cocked at the answer, but after a moment, he nodded slowly. He'd find out, when they were alone. A part of him was pissed. Nox was his boy. Bas didn't accept people into his crew easily. But fuck, once you were there, he had your back. Not fucking joking. And someone had fucked with his friend.

Bas was gonna visit some retribution on him. I'm talking old testament fire and brimstone shit. Tear it all down. He'd heard a saying once. And it pierced to his heart. No greater friend. No worse enemy. That was Bas. And woe to the fucker who jacked with his people.

But later. Nox asked and Bas accepted. So....Bas needed a distraction. Dude at Nox's side pulled a honey. Yeah. That was the idea. Something, anyway. He pounded a shot of chilled vodka from a passing server- ok, more like three- and let the heat work it's way up.

He wasnt drunk in the slightest- not from three shots, of course. He wasn't exactly a light weight. After a moment, he slipped a hand into the pocket of his silk jacket and surreptitiously pulled a hit of ambrosia and swallowed. He winked at Nox and the other guy.

"Care for a taste? Vlad's ambrosia. No repercussions tomorrow, either. Just heaven." He was going to hit another level in about 10. His eye wandered to the table with the girl in the painted on dress. He let her see him watch her and she smiled for a moment before turning her back to him- purposefully, he knew. Daring him to approach.

The game was on. The music played and he felt it infect him. He was a snake, ready to slither up and see what was what. Already his body felt loose and ready to dance.

He looked at the other two one last time. Their last chance.
The internet was full of radical things. Flying car attempts, car crashes, rockstars showing off in clubs. Martin didn't make it a habit of watching those stupid videos for entertainment values, but sometimes idiots were filmed using the power of the gods. The onlookers were unaware of it all - all a trick. And some of the time it was. But in this instance, it was not. It was real. He'd watched the boy in question for months before he decided he was a godling to put down.

And tonight of all nights he was abusing his power - all in the hopes of putting on a good show. Martin had a team of snipers sitting around this makeshift club. All with their lasers off all trained on the stage waiting for any damage to be done, otherwise, they'd get him as he was leaving. A single shot to his head. His sister was here, and she would go too, two bullets to be lost today. And a third, and possibly more if the wolves attacked. The monsters were becoming brazen these days - walking in the daylight was one thing, but in the limelight? That was completely another story.

Martin himself was walking the edge of the dance floor. His eyes on the stage.

The lights went out and the fog crept across the stage. Martin whispered into the coms. "Anyone have eyes on the targets?"
Bas offered Nox his little pill. Nox shook his head. There was no way in hell he was going to impair his judgement more than a single beer. Not with Aiden actively channeling. Such a fool. Nox wondered how many other rock stars employed godlings for special effects. How many of them had been hunted and killed. Methos' case didn't appear to be a singular case. Stupid people. And Aiden knew better.

Nox tried to focus on the dancing around him, but his body was too tense now, the flow of things interrupted by his friends concern. Even the brunette joining them had only distracted him a moment. He caught sight of a familiar profile at the edge of the dance floor. "Fuck!" He'd only see the guy, but Aria had spoken volumes about him when they had seen him in HQ. A god hunter - at least the one with the most kills. He was rumored to be hunting down the first of the gods, but since he had no clue who that person was he wasn't having any luck. There were rumors and prophecy to go on Aria said. Nox thought it was a fruitless endeavor - the holding was probably already since dead if the rumors were true. But Martin Borovsky here meant only one thing, Aiden was in danger, likely Rowan and Shioban too. Nox wished Bas hadn't taken that goddamned pill. "I gotta go." Nox waded further into the crowd towards the stage.
Nox was off. Bas noticed it right away. Yeah, he was fucking pissed. Little miss painted on called to him. But his boy was in danger. Even as he approached the table he swerved and headed up the stairs and got a better angle.

Yeah, Nox was watching someone. All the high left Bas as he assessed. He knew the popo. They all did. And CIs. And UCs. People who didn't belong.

Ok, maybe Vlad's ambrosia wasn't gone. But between it and the power, his senses were amplified. Thankfully, neither left a hangover as debt.

The band began to disperse and he noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. Just a tensing, but it felt off. Surreptitiously he circled around. Yep. Little fucker thought he was the shit.

Bas didn't even think. A nice blow of hardened air and the man dropped. Wasn't big. Just looked like the guy sort of fell over. Drunk or high or whatever. Asleep. Oh, and fire to melt the gun's inner chamber.

Now that he knew what to look for, he continued his hunt.

This was supposed to be a party. Any fuckers who wanted to break it up had him to answer to. No one invited them. That was enough, as far as he was concerned. Each fall made seemed to make his grin wider.

Once or twice he glanced down to his girl. Delayed gratification and all that.
He slid her hands behind his waist. A red jacket flared past his knees, swirled as he moved with the dance. Her hands gripped into the base of his spine, and in return, Dane’s coiled up the length of her bare back. He normally detested this kind of intimate touching, finding even the most delicate of bony fingers to be repulsive. This was for a purpose though. A dance of the animal kingdom. Mating. Fucking. Ending with the kill.

Sweat sheened his brow. It pulled the silk of a shirt stuck to his chest even low as it was unbuttoned. He was a king in this orgy of undulating bodies. To that end, he smiled a toothy smile and howled at the ceiling, animal unleashed. She laughed. Her nails dug into the back of his pants, fully obscured by the flare of the jacket.

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