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Da Capo (Manifesto)
The beat of the club seemed to synchronize with their pulses. Seven couldn’t help but slip into the collective motion, one of a thousand bodies twisting and stretching. Lasers flashed and pulsed a kaleidoscope of colors. Smoke dispersed lines like scorching suns. Augmented reality altered the faces of many a passing patron in real time. Among the most impressive was a woman augmented to appear with slits for eyes, lavender skin and an impossibly glittering unicorn horn positioned upon her forehead.

Zhenya’s messages directed Seven toward the blocks, but before they could find the themed corridors, pressure tugged at one hip. He looked over his shoulder, lured in by the glint in Z’s eye. “So saved, my friend,” he smiled warmly as they left the thudding pulse of the club behind.

The darkness of Block 1 was only as resplendent as the gold veins of midnight marble. Masculinity gleamed, here. Seven was surprised to find Zhenya a fan of the atmosphere compared to Block 2, but he enjoyed the surprise of her tastes. He spoke to Z in a more normal volume of voice after they were admitted. There was always another level. “We’re looking for a colleague of mine. She is Chinese, beautiful, and rich, but I would not want to be the one to cross her,” he said with a laugh by way of charming warning.
Seven ✧ Freyr
Xander was grateful for the returned smile. And once the calmer atmosphere of Block 1 came alone, Xander muttered. "Never been back here." Which would be true -- Z never had. Alexis had of course, and several other personas. But tonight he was not the rich philanthropist or even a former oil tycoon. He was just Z.

The warning was received with a nod and a smile. Xander didn't intend on making enemies in the middle of Manifesto. It would surely be harder to enter if he did. He was certain their security would be better than most and while he could thwart face recognition he hadn't been applying any since arriving as Alexis.

Xander let his glance wander those he passed and those in the distance helping Seven find his associate. How many beautiful Chineese woman were in Block 1? Turns out not many. Xander nodded a head at the bar. A Chinese woman, and a young man talking and drinking. Xander let his senses down just enough to get a quick read from the two people they were heading towards. And the moment he did he was stunned by the images and power of the special. Was everyone in this fucking town special? The boy's aura wasn't dark, but it was drowning in it. Like he had a choice to make. She was bright with the power and Xander shut down his senses.

He didn't want to present a turned stomach when he met them for the first time. He plastered on Z's smirk and hoped no one noticed the passing nausea.
"The greatest friend to a con artist is lack of knowledge." ~ Jane King

Zhenya accepted the offer of another drink graciously. Cruz was sweet and charming, and he made for pleasant company while they waited. She granted him her full attention, no small boon given who she was and how often her company was sought amongst Moscow’s most elite (an endeavour which continued in the peripheral even now, but with a subtle swipe at her bracelet Yulian was directed to take care of sweeping their orbit free of would-be swooners). She really must remember to tell Cruz’s grandfather what a wonderful boy he had. 

Her smile at Seven’s arrival was beauteous, and glowed remarkably genuine within the artifice of a club like Manifesto. She had not been searching the crowd, but a small vibration from the slim device on her arm alerted the approach. She reached to squeeze Cruz’s arm and so garner his attention. Our cavalry has arrived,” she told him with a small, slightly mischievous smile, and then a delicate splay of fingers indicated the man headed into their midst. “This is Seven.”

There was something about Seven that felt, not like a completion exactly, but like the most perfectly balanced counterweight. She enjoyed the effervescence of his company, and it was no real surprise to see he had not come alone. It pleased her in some small way to realise he must have adjusted his plans to do so, but hopefully his companion would be amenable to the diversion; she did not mean to steal him away. Zhenya was curious and amiable in her perusal. The club was stringent in its security, and she was not without her own of course. The face did not belong to someone she recognised, but then Seven moved in varied circles.
They had a nice chat. The company was good. It was different than when he'd been at social events with is grandfather or even his mother. That was an obligation, this was not.

A pair of men joined them and Zhenya introduced one. "Seven. I'm sure people say the same thing all the time." He offered the man with a number for a name his hand with a nod. "I'm Cruz. I'm glad you could join us on such short notice. Specially over something so trivial as curiosity. I hope we didn't interrupt your evening. Can I buy you and your friend a drink? Zhenya?"

Cruz turned to the bar and waved for the bar tender so they could all order another drink. Cruz ordered a water with lemon. He was already three drinks in and water was probably something good to drink right now. Last thing he needed was to lose his shit in front of people who would tell his father. The public humiliation was bad enough in those cases, but the lecture and yelling later would not be worth any fun had now.
A gentle kiss on the cheek was Seven’s welcome embrace for Zhenya. “Lovely as ever,” he told her then offered opportunity for other forms of welcome to the others. Nods, shakes of hands, bows or kisses of embrace: Seven adapted, flowing smoothly from one respectful modification to another. As was polite, he introduced Z when the opportunity arose.

“Just like the number,” he finished Cruz’s thought with a chuckle. Z no-doubt courted the same question.

“What is any adventure but an exciting interruption to the normal?” he asked with a wink at Zhenya in allusion of past promises.

“A drink, yes. You may buy me a champagne, and no doubt whiskey for my American friend?”
Seven ✧ Freyr
Introductions were made and drinks were offered. Seven even got his order right. "A whiskey on the rocks, please." The boy could barely be old enough to drink much less own anything of repute -- must be money. And that intrigued Xander just as much as Seven's royal blood. The kid might be a good mark, but he wasn't here checking out new money, tonight he was the guest of a man who he found enjoyable company.

He put on his best smile and lead with the straight up question he had on his mind. "She is CEO of Pervaya Liniya. Seven is..." he looked at Seven with a broad grin and a wink. "well Seven. How is it a boy who is barely out of diapers makes the money to be back here with all the former royals, oil tycoons and world changing companies?"

The boy chuckled. He had heard the question a few too many times but he didn't look annoyed. "Family money. I might only be in college but my grandfather has been grooming me since I was born to run the company when he's gone. Technically, right now I'm VP of RnD."

Impressive but probably given to the boy without merit. Another sleeze ball company that hands down from child to child. "What company might that be?" Xander asked.

Cruz smiled. "Jivana."

That was not what he had expected to hear. "A leader in medical technology."

Cruz nodded. "And if I might be as blunt, how is it that an american..." Cruz looked him up and down like he was inspecting him. it wasn't the same look a guy gave you when he was checking you out -- no this was about judging a person's worth. "... cowboy knows anything about Manifesto and the companies that keep Moscow and the CCD running?"

Xander laughed, seeing where the question and look landed him. Blunt to blunt. The kid at least knew how to play the game. But Xander didn't have a reason for Z to know such things. A slip in his persona perhaps... but not if a story could be made up in time. And Z had the best one. "That is probably a tale not told in the presence of so many, but let's say men are creatures of superstition, and reading the things around a person can come in handy when dealing in business." Xander gave Zhenya a smile. "Like our lovely mistress here, among other things I know she is a fan of the norse mythos -- love, fertility runes dance around a rainbow of colors. And slips of her company's logo dip in and out. Xander could have gone on to tell Seven's aura, he'd already revealed the crown on his head. Seven had a slight idea of his gifts, and it appeared Z was going to be a traveling freak show. Which wasn't too far from the reality of his life. Except Z flaunted the gifts while Xander did not.
"The greatest friend to a con artist is lack of knowledge." ~ Jane King

“Seven is… well, Seven.”

He chuckled at that. When pressed into confessing a profession, Seven claimed consultant. However, the word was no more or less accurate than asking someone to describe their soul. He was who was he, and Z’s description was about as accurate as anything Seven had ever heard. His amusement carried over to Zhenya with a shared glance. The quiet and somewhat reserved Z had come out of his shell in Manifesto. They had accumulated a number of alcoholic drinks by that point, and even Seven admitted the power of lowered inhibitions, but he wondered if there was something more. Maybe it was the change of clothes. Seven’s mood could certainly be swayed by a svelte coat.

He was enjoying watching the parry of swords between Z and Cruz until Z let a choice phrase drop. Former royals was buried among a list of other comparisons, and Seven didn’t think the others took any mind. Certainly his own expression was one of continued curiosity. Z didn’t specifically identify the oil tycoon or world-changing company leader as they could be anyone in sight. Lumping in royalty to the mix wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. More likely, it was sarcasm.

But still, Seven took great care to conceal his past. He sipped from the champagne flute as soon as it was delivered, seemingly no less enthused by the reunion than before until Z began to explain his visions. Old letters of a dead language flickered around Zhenya’s head? He looked to the glow of dark hair as if they may reveal themselves, but there was a moment when Z met Seven’s eye and he willed a silent plea that his own visions remained between them.

It explained how Z knew about the royal connection. It was meaningless these days, but titles were a power he discarded long ago. He wanted to make his way in the world on his own merit. Plus, it was just good sense to avoid certain topics while in the heart of Moscow.

Seven soon boasted, “An incredible talent!” he pat Z on the shoulder and somehow subtly turned Cruz to face Zhenya. With a charming flash of a smile, Seven somehow positioned himself between the two and diverted attention to someone who deserved their attention far more.
“I hear that we have something interesting to look at?” he asked.
Seven ✧ Freyr
Zhenya watched the men speak amongst themselves as a new round of drinks was procured. Seven’s companion seemed a little spiky, which she presumed meant he did not come from money himself, but she was content to watch the little tirade run out of steam on its own. By his shared glance, Seven seemed likewise amused by the banter. 

Her attention was thoroughly captured by the manner of her own description, though. Zhenya enjoyed the glow of centre-stage, and admiration settled upon her shoulders very well, though the words themselves were fanciful. Z might simply be a well-prepared charlatan, but delighted laughter left her lips anyway. Subtle twists of seidr fractured light into delicate prisms, so for a moment those rainbows were made real, glowing soft against her skin, and upon the others around her.

If what he said he saw was real though? Stranger things she had seen, and heard. Soren would have been apt to collect such a curiosity, but if Zhenya was likewise curious, she had never been one to chase. The coterie of her closest companions were there because they chose to be, not because she lured or entrapped. It had always been a marked difference between them.

Surprisingly Seven broke the spell; artfully done, of course, but it surprised her that he was not more interested in such an oddity. She knew he enjoyed the spectacle, and she would have expected him to demand to be the next recipient of Z’s supposed gift, not sweep them on to new pastures. But if she noticed it as strange, or had any thoughts as to why, she did not choose to remark upon it. 

“A mystery,” she corrected. “Dear Cruz will reveal more.”
Another American. They were flooding Moscow like ants scouring for food. This was the four/fifth he'd met in less than six months? And one that claimed powers only Nox would believe. But Cruz had seen many strange things, and had gone through his own share. But before he could inquire more the man named Seven, another oddity in and of itself, turned him to their gracious hostess and claimed to know of the mystery to be solved. Zhenya's display hadn't been lost on Cruz and he smiled with a nod even as he pulled the coin out of his pocket.

"I found the coin recently. It doesn't feel old, but it looks old. Any idea where it came from or what it is?" Cruz knew it had significance, if he could only puzzle it out. Perhaps he could talk to Sage, he might be able to do a deeper analysis and faster than anyone here could. He'd have to remember to snap a picture and send it off to his hacker friend.

The coin glinted black in an old yet modern way. It wasn't real money at least not any that Cruz had ever seen modern or historical. The skull in the center and the raised edges made the coin look old, but it wasn't. It was made out of some light weight material that was fashioned to be old. The things they could do with technology.

[[ occ: I reiterated Cruz interpretation of the coin word for word Smile cause I'm lazy, and also linked in the image as a reminder. ]]
Annoyance flooded Xander's being. Not at Cruz but at the manipulation of conversation that had been started. He disliked being in the presence of other players of the same game and the redirection bothered him. But outwardly nothing changed. He smiled and pretended that nothing bothered him. Instead he leaned his elbow on the bar and feigned interest in the revealed trinket. Black metal brushed with gold. Nothing particularly screamed wealthy. It spoke to mystery and darkness. Xander was tempted to open his sense to the patterns floating around his three new acquaintances. But he didn't. He didn't want to see more than he already had. So many people here, so many of them special. And all of them these channelers who could do things with the powers of god knows what. The Ascendancy's display had been spectacular. Those he'd seen since were minor in comparison, but even a fraction of that power if harnessed could be devastating. And Xander could pin point each one in a crowd. That had to be worth something to someone... Another thought drifting through his head. It wasn't for now, maybe later.

For now Xander played Z. And Z was curious about the coin as a proper lesser soul might be among the rich and famous. Z moved closer to Seven to look around him at the object placing his hand at the small of the other man's back. Both a reminder he was still there, and to steady himself as he peired at the not so old coin. The mystery did intrigue him, why leave a coin like this to be found. Unless you wanted to use it for some other purpose. Z smiled and chuckled to himself. "Let's not hope we aren't looking at some new fangled glitter bomb prank that's about to go off in our faces."
"The greatest friend to a con artist is lack of knowledge." ~ Jane King


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