4/28/2012

Beaux & Aero - Chapter 3: When Friends Become Enemies Become Friends




Chapter 4: When Friends Become Enemies Become Friends

I always found the evolution of Cole and Aaron's friendship to be incredibly interesting.  The two didn't begin their careers together until they were in their twenties but before that, they had encountered each other twice.  The first time had been when they were children, prior to reaching the double digits.  Beaux had spent the majority of his life in St. Hermione's Orphanage, which was located in a busy portion of Caleidos.  It was one of the first integrated orphanages in the country and because of this, the prejudices were still ever present, especially among the children.  Mythlore children were targets for bullying and because many of the staff were apathetic, indifferent, or just as prejudice as the human children, not much was done about it.  But if it weren't for this very fact, Cole and Aaron probably wouldn't be the "Beaux and Aero" archetypes they later became famous for.  Aaron, suffering from harsh family problems, spent approximately a year at St. Hermione's Orphanage and was almost immediately exposed to the harsh realities of societal intolerance for the first time in his life.  It was through a mutual understanding and appreciation for what it was like to be an outcast that Cole and Aaron bonded and began a friendship that defied the very fabric of non-human oppression through their constant striving to be there for each other and provide support when the rest of the world turned their backs on them.  They were very young, but the two were full of so much ambition, they could have taken on the world.

Then, in a heartbeat, they were separated from each other.  Aaron's family issues were resolved and he was taken out of the orphanage to be reunited with his family.  Aaron returned to his life of luxury under his wealthy family and Cole was left to face the bigotry of St. Hermione's Orphanage alone.

Years passed.  The two didn't see each other again until an era in their lives when things were more complicated.  Hell, it was complicated for all of us.  High School.  Caleidos Mythlore School of the Arts.  Not exactly the prestigious integrated or exclusively human schools that were all throughout Allsborough but good enough to get a decent education.  Now, I don't know all of the details behind how things went down and I never did get to find out, but I remember there was a distinct difference in what I had been told unfolded at the orphanage.  Once again, it was a result of circumstances.  At the orphange, there were only two factions, one of which was more prevalent than the other.  There were more humans, despite them having the highest adoption rate to the ever low mythlore adoption rate, and the two were often back into a corner.  So due to this, Cole and Aaron stuck together during the hard times.

High School was different.  It was a dog eat dog world.  Alliances were formed.  Betrayals were a daily occurence.  It wasn't as black and white; there wasn't one side opposing the other.  It was every side opposing every other side, but pretending to live in harmony.  That was when I met Cole and Aaron.  The big thing with this first encounter is that it happened separately.  I met Aaron first.  Then I met Cole.  I was friends with them both.  Unfortunately, they were not friends with each other.  More like the opposite.  They were bitter enemies.  Like I said, I never did discover the details of why they'd fallen out, but the two butted heads more than any two rivals I'd ever met.  You had Aaron, who was the star Quarterback of the football team.  He got all A's.  He was the most popular and most handsome kid, a stud with the ladies and the party animal of the guys.  Then there was Cole.  He was overweight with thick glasses, played Tuba for the Marching Band, and never had a girlfriend in the time I knew him.  I had been very good friends with both of them but in all the time I'd spent with the two, I had never seen them together in the same place at the same time.  Until our Senior Year, where all of the action went down.

Whenever I hung out with either of them, their "enemy's" name would never be brought up, so for all intents and purposes, my separate relationship with them turned out to be more separate than you would imagine.  What I mean to say is, the two were so far on the opposite side of each other's spectrum, I honestly never thought of the two together in any possible way.  It was like Cole was on one side of my life.  Aaron was on another.  And with me having so many other friends in High School including them, they were lost in the cluster of individuals I encountered during my time in school.  In short, the two interacting together was the equivalent of seeing a sci-fi movie starring Mr. Spock and Boba Fett.

I remember Cole had always had a crush on a girl named Stella, who turned out to be Aaron's high school sweetheart.  I mistakenly played wingman to Cole a few times, just for the hell of it, but it turned out Cole had begun to spend more time with Stella, as the two were apart of the Yearbook Club in our Senior Year.  The two were cute together but in an unconventional sort of way, like seeing a majestic stallion spending time with a handicapped mule.  As much as I wanted to tell Cole that it was obvious that Stella saw their relationship as strictly platonic, I didn't want to crush his dreams.  He didn't want much.  All he wanted to do was get to second base.  Aaron didn't even try to say anything about it, even when there were obvious signs that Cole was hitting on his girl.  He knew that Cole was so far out of her league, he didn't have a chance with her.  Sooner or later though, he made a move on Stella.  He was over her house where they were working on something together, when he had been caught sniffing her undergarments from the drawer in her room with his pants and underwear around his thighs while she had taken a trip to the bathroom.  As she proceeded to kick him out, he tried to explain himself and in the heat of the moment, thinking he would never get the chance again, reached out and touched her breast.  He'd done it.  He had gotten to second base, just like he wanted.

Unfortunately, he had also technically broken the law.  He got suspended for sexual harassment and had to go through daily counciling for the rest of the year, along with getting kicked out of Yearbook.  Cole's high school life had been hard, even before that.  Not like Aaron's, who breezed through with nothing but good times, rarely having to struggle to achieve anything.  Because of this he was spoiled, but never really elitist about his coveted position in the school's heirarchy.  He never picked on kids less fortunate.  Just Cole.  The large difference between them in terms of how they were treated might have been due to the fact that Aaron never went through an awkward phase, whereas Cole practically rolled around in it.  So Aaron was more accepted.  But it was when Aaron retaliated against him for the sexual harassment incident and then Cole's subsequent backlash that I stayed out of the situation and forfeited my friendship between them for good.

After the final homecoming game of our high school years, Aaron celebrated at a party that Cole had grown the balls to attend.  Stella was at this party and this was all everyone was talking about when he had arrived.  That was when Aaron had a brilliant but horrifyingly atrocious and unforgiveable idea.  It was an idea that, personally, I thought was so heinous, I couldn't even come up with a proper reaction to what I would do if I were in Cole's place.  Aaron had one of his boys slip something into Cole's drink while he wasn't looking that caused him to lose consciousness in the middle of one of the crowds.  Cole woke up to find himself tied to a chair with his hands and legs bound and tape stuck to his mouth.  He was in the corner of the bedroom to the house where the party was taking place.  The only person in the room was Aaron, who gave him the run down of what was about to happen.  Then he was accompanied by Stella, who was in on everything.  Its important to mention that during this time, Cole still had an undying "love" for Stella and still held on to the possibility of one day being with her, while at the same time harboring a deep jealousy and hatred for Aaron.  So what happened next had to hurt.  He watched Stella undress.  Then Aaron undressed.  Then they kissed.  Then she went down on him, keeping her eyes on Cole at the same time.  Then Aaron began to taunt him.  As the night went on, the two proceeded to do the nastiest things in front of Cole, from continuous oral sex to the most offensive positions, all the while taunting him with things like "You'll never get any of this" and "I only like it from a pro."  As if it couldn't get any worst, Aaron, once he was almost finished, proceeded to....how should I say this for those of you that might be sensitive....clean the pipes - all over Cole's shirt.  With Stella's help of course.  Then they left him there for the night, tied to a chair with a blazer covered in white stains and tape over his mouth until the owner of the house found him and let him go.  I know.  Ouch.

Cole was a changed man next time I saw him.  And to say Aaron got his just deserts was an understatement.  Cole got him back twice as hard, believe it or not.  When word had gotten out of what had happened to Cole, most of his friends stopped spending time with him, so out of guilt, I hung out with him more often.  Through this, I found out his plan.  He'd bought what they call a "Garlic Pill Bomb" out of this prank line in the phonebook.  When he showed it to me, it looked like an average capsule pill but at lunch the next day, he slipped it into Aaron's drink while he wasn't looking (neither of them eever seemed to pay enough attention to their drinks).  I thought I would see the effects of it immediately, but Cole told me to wait until the game that was going to be held that night.  Later that day, our team won thanks to Aaron scoring the winning touchdown.  As he ran in to kiss his girl triumphantly, I watched as Cole, who sat next to me on the bleachers, turn in my direction and smirk.  He pulled out a small pouch and put pressure on it.  All of a sudden, I saw Aaron's neck stretch out from his shoulder pads and he regurgitated all over Stella's mouth.  He then bent over and almost literally exploded.  And I mean out of every orifice.  If it were ever possible to make a vampire vomit violently, piss his pants, and have explosive diarrhea all over a himself and everyone around him, the Garlic Pill Bomb would do the trick.  I know.  Gross.

After he was taken to the emergency room, Cole went to visit him and gave Aaron an ultimatum.  He threatened to blackmail him with a report he'd obtained from Aaron's psychologist written only a few days earlier.  Don't ask how he got it.  Creepy?  Yes, but it wasn't an isolated incident.  For as long as I've known Cole, he had always been a crafty motherfucker.  The report revealed that Aaron had an interest in paraphilistic, transvestic, and transophilic fetishism.  In short, he had an sexual attraction to certain inanimate objects, liked to cross-dress from time to time, and also had an acute attraction to transsexuals.  In exchange for making sure the information wouldn't see the light of day, Cole ordered Aaron to do whatever he asked of him for the rest of their senior year.  Aaron complied reluctantly and for the next three months or so, Aaron was Cole's bitch.  Eventually, Aaron could no longer take it and proceeded to piss Cole off to the point where Cole replaced the school's morning news cue cards with information from the report and the stupid news anchor chick proceeded to read it out loud for everyone.  In addition to his fetishes, it also revealed that Aaron's relationship with his girlfriend stemmed from a longtime attraction to a transsexual porn model whom she resembled.  Essentially, Aaron, who had still been trying to allow his reputation to recover from the "explosion," was now watching it crumble before his eyes.  Stella finally broke up with him, accusing him of being with her just because she "looked like a transsexual," as she so boldly put it.

So by prom, Cole and Aaron had knocked each other down so many pegs with their increasingly persistent gross-out oneupsmanship, that they'd nearly lost any type of support they had from most of their comrads, myself included.  Still, people tuned in to their rivalry and talked about it like it was the next big thing on television.  It wasn't long before Mr. Spock and Boba Fett turned into an all-day viewing of Spy Vs. Spy.  It all came down to the last day of school, when an argument in the parking lot escalated into a full-fledged fight, lasting about thirty minutes.  I watched it from up-close.  It was the only other time I'd seen a wolfman go into a wolf-like state and a vampire become predatory.  Neither went full-on beast mode like they did that morning in front of my bar, but it still looked as though the two were actually trying to kill each other.  They'd spent a year of their lives trying to defeat one another and it was about to culminate with an old-fashioned beast fight.

Long story short (or rather with a shorter ending), both Cole and Aaron were suspended and held back that year.  I graduated with the rest of my class, so I never did find out what happened to them, but I knew that out of the entirety of my boring time at Caleidos Mythlore School of the Arts, tuning in on the fued between these two clashing forces was more entertaining than any primetime television show.  So you can imagine the confused look on my face and what might have been going through my mind as I watched these two previously warring factions now working together, hauling the bloody and unconscious human body into the storage room at the back of my bar.  It was incredible.  Because of the memories of their feud that came flooding back into my head, I had nearly forgotten that they'd almost completely demolished my establishment.  They had both changed so much.  When I saw them, I could tell who they were by their faces only and even then, I was only half-sure that it was actually them.  I was beyond amazed.

I walked over to the broken bar and poured myself a glass from what was left of the inventory.  I could already tell this was going to be a long day.  Beaux had went back into his man-wolf state and tossed the broken Corvette out of the bar so they could get access to the back of the bar and I could make my way to the drinks.  When I walked back into the storage room, I could see that the two had bound Santana to a chair, his head slumped over in dreamland.

"So uh," I started, motioning at the unconscious mobster with my full glass of whiskey.  "You want to explain to me what's going on right now?  And what you're about to do?"

The duo exchanged looks with each other and Beaux shrugged.  "You want to tell him or should I?" Beaux asked.

"You can do it if you want."

"I'd rather you do it, you know how I go on and on about the useless stuff."

Aero sighed and turned to me.  "My father is dead."

They waited for my reaction.  I shook my head.  "Oh yeah, that totally answers my question."

"You remember my father, don't you?" Aero asked with a beckoning demeanor, trying to jog my memory.  "You came over my house enough times."

"Yeah, I do," I said as the memories came back to me.  "Vincenzo Paratelli.  Didn't find out until later that he was a kingpin.  So someone finally got to him?"

"Basically, yeah."

"I'm sorry to hear that.  Did you inherit anything?"

"Let me answer your question with a name.  Niccolo Ambrossini."

"Ah," I said, nodding my head with understanding.  "Your father's old friend.  I remember you telling me about how much you hated him."

"And how much he hated me.  After my father died, he forged his Will to write me out of any of his fortune, then proceeded to put a hit on my head.  Almost didn't come out of that one."

As he said this, Aero gave Beaux a quick glance and I caught on.  "So let me guess.  Beaux saved you."

Beaux nodded.  "Before the vultures picked him clean, I saved his ass and took him in."

"Took me in," Aero repeated, rolling his eyes.  "You know how to take people in don't you, Beaux-"

"I told you to stop mentioning that!" Beaux said accusingly, pointing at Aero.

"I didn't mention anything!" Aero smiled, holding up his hands in defense.  "You're the one that's getting high-strung about it."

Beaux glared back at him while I tried to move things forward again.  "So where did the capturing of mobsters and crashing cars into bars thing come from?" I continued.

"I've been making my living for the last few years in the gun-for-hire business," Beaux answered.

"Gun for hire?  I never took you for the violent type, Cole.  Let alone the type to get paid to be among some Mafia crusade."

"Its not like that.  'Gun for hire' covers a lot of things; mercenary work, bounty collecting, hit contracts, shipment and/or personel supervision, whatever they offer the most money for and that we're dignified enough to do.  Hell, we'll even be so inclined as to babysit if they pay us enough.  Its very good money.  We don't compromise business partnerships for cash though.  We have more class than that."

"We?"

"Yeah, he got me into the underworld after I'd been cut out of the family business, since I had no other means of getting money," Aero responded.  "I'd been given most of what I had all my life, didn't really work for a dime of it.  I was spoiled but once I got into the Hired Gun business, I picked up on it pretty quickly.  We were just recently hired by the Trujillo Family.  They're the"-

"Vampire Mafia, I know them," I replied, lounging back on a box of supplies and trying to relax.  "They run two quarters of West Allsborough and used to work with the Paratellis back in the day."

"Right," Aero continued.  "Anyway, we were hired to take out old Freddy here, Underboss to the Murphy's, the crumbling human Irish Family.  We planted a car bomb under his Porsche as he came from a meeting but he used one of those fancy car engine starting buttons to get the thing going before he reached it.  Made the bomb explode prematurely.  A clear metaphor for Beaux's sex life."

Beaux snorted with laughter.  "You wish.  Don't start insulting my sex life just because someone told you your dick looks like a Cheeto dipped in fruit punch."

"Guys, can we stay on topic here?" I said.  Getting these guys on track was like getting a drunk person to do hopscotch.  "I need to know what to tell the Insurance handler, you know....about the car and hole in the middle of my bar, plus the blown up gas tanks and dead humans outside."

"Sorry," Beaux said, continuing.  "So we had to zoom out of there but Santana caught our liscense plate, rounded up his guys, and caught us down the road later.  They chased us out of town then proceeded to shoot out our tires.  We managed to actually get pretty far ahead of them before we lost control and crashed into your bar.  If we had made it out a little farther, I'm convinced we would have gotten away.  But its cool, because we got the job done anyway.  Don't have to go back to the Trujillos empty handed."

I didn't show it much, but I was still amazed by these two, particularly how much they'd changed and how the old beef they had was squashed as if nothing had happened.  When I last saw Beaux, he was a self-conscious semi-loner with such low self-esteem, the pessimism almost seemed to ooze from him.  All of his friends were with him solely to make sure he had enough support in his life so that he wouldn't kill himself.  Now he had truly blossomed from the ugly duckling stage; he had lost all of his weight and was now incredibly fit.  He was also unbelievably handsome; he could probably pick up any chick he wanted from any race he wanted, even the most prejudice human woman on the planet.  Aero hadn't made too much of a change in appearance, with the exception of his long hair and distinct eye scar, but his change was even more evident in his personality.  When I knew him, he was like every other arrogant jock and while he was usually friendly to most people who's names weren't Colombus Beauregarde, he used a highly subtle means of making sure everyone stayed in their place and that he remained "top dog" for as long as possible.  Now he was....still the arrogant jock who wanted to remain top dog, but he was at least much quicker to admit his faults.  I remember when making that leap was like climbing a mountain with his bare hands for him - which he could probably do as well if he hadn't been so lazy.

"So where'd the nicknames come from?" I asked curiously.  "When did you guys start doing the 'Beaux and Aero' thing?  Sounds like a pop duo from the 80's to me."

"Its for marketing," Beaux smirked.  "Nicknames sell when it comes to getting people to hire us.  Plus, it gets harder and harder to use your real name in this business, so we came up with the aliases for the sake of work."

"Good, because it kind of sounds stupid.  I wouldn't be surprised if you guys lose out on girls from mentioning that outside of work."

"Actually, you'd be suprised how much it actually helps," Aero said with a wink.  "Remember the quads, Beaux?"

"I shall never forget," Beaux answered, losing himself in what could only be discribed as the greatest memory a man could experience.  At least that's what I got from the look on his face.  "Quadruplets.  Two for each of us."

"And six chest eyes staring at us all at the same time," Aero said, shaking his head with a broad smile.  "What a wild night."

"Dude, you seriously still call breasts 'chest eyes'?" I asked, laughing.  "You sure haven't changed."

"I'd hate to break up this little reunion," muttered the now awake Santana, who's croaking exhausted voice caught our attention.  We turned to him.  "But I think it'd be best that you know you've made your last grave mistake.  I hope you all are ready for a hell storm like you've never"-

Aero launched forward and cracked a mean hook across Santana's jaw as he grunted and spat a bloody loogie out on the floor beside him.  I could see that the man still had his toothpick and refused to let go of it, even after all of the excitement outside.

"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" He screamed after delivering the blow.  "DID I TELL YOU YOU COULD SPEAK, YOU DUMB TWAT!?"

Beaux leaned forward and placed a hand on Aero's shoulder but made no real effort to calm him down.  "I think its apparent that you haven't heard of us or heard enough about us, so since you're new to this, we'll do it the simple way.  My name is Beaux.  This is Aero.  And we've got you by the balls.  So none of your threats or other bullshit is going to scare us a bit.  We've heard it all before from much more threating guys than you, okay?  By the way a 'grave mistake' should be the 'last mistake'; the 'grave' part implies that after making the mistake, you end up in the grave.  Idiot.  Now.  Let's play game of good cop, bad cop.  I'll be the good cop and Aero will be the bad cop."

"But you're not cops-"

"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Beaux shouted, striking Santana in the nose, causing him to throw his head back and blood to trip from his nostrils.  "See you've got me acting out of character already.  You obviously don't know how to play this game."

"Look," Aero stepped up.  "We can make this incredibly easy on all of us.  All we want is for the next words that come out of your mouth to be the pin number to Elias Murphy's bank account.  After that, we'll be happy to let you go."

"You think I'm stupid?" Santana exclaimed through his swollen lips and the plastic toothpick he flipped in his mouth with his tongue.

"You said it, not me."

"What makes you think I know the pin number?"

"Because we know you're the only person Elias trusts with that information.  You're the only person he knows that wouldn't steal from him.  Give it up and you're free."

"Bullshit.  You're going to kill me right as soon as you find out.  I'm not telling you a damn thing.  I'll take it to the grave."

"Now that's a 'grave' mistake," Aero joked, elbowing Beaux with a goofy smile that made Beaux chuckle pathetically.

"I'm serious."

"I'm sure, I'm sure," Beaux said, shaking his head.  "Nobility, after all, resides in the blood of every human being, or so I've heard.  But here's the thing.  We weren't planning to kill you."

"We weren't?" Aero asked, turning to him.

"Well we were, but I'm pretty sure Quentin wants a piece of the action too.  You know who hired us.  The Trujillo Family.  And Quentin is a fucked up guy.  So I think its pretty safe to say, if you don't give us the info we need, we'll go ahead and pass you on to him and they can ring it out of you.  I'm pretty sure you know of his reputation.  I mean, I have some ideas of my own, but that guy....he has quite the imagination."

"Sure does," Aero agreed, as Santana looked off with hesitation.  It seemed as if he was taking the threat into consideration.  He continued to flex his jaw as he flipped the toothpick over and over in his mouth, an obvious habitual trait.

"Alright.  I'll tell you."

"Good boy.  What is it?"

"The pin number is....0000."

"What?" Beaux said with a confused look.

"Yeah, he chose it based on the amount of balls you two have put together."  With that, Santana let out a hoarse laugh that seemed to contagiously rub off on the two of them.  Beaux and Aero began to chuckle and eventually started holding their sides in hysterics, although I could tell as I looked at them that it was all passive-aggressive.  Aero looked over at Beaux and mouthed something through his laughter and Beaux nodded, still smiling and cracking up.  I watched Santana's laughter die down but with a smile still present on his face, he once again flipped the toothpick with his tongue.  This time, just as it went vertical, one end scraping the roof of his mouth and the other balanced on top of his tongue, Aero lifted his leg and struck Santana in the jaw.  Everyone stopped laughing immediately.  He threw back his head and then looked forward with his mouth closed tight and a look of utter shock on his face.  Suddenly, he let out a muffled and guttural scream, almost as if he were in the process of vomitting, but instead a small wave of blood dripped from his partially open lips and spilled out onto the floor.  He then leaned forward and began to flex his throat muscles as if he were choking but I could see by looking closer that he had actually been trying to open his mouth.  As he began to, I could see the plastic toothpick impaled in the center of his tongue and probably in the roof and bottom of his mouth as well.  When he opened it fully, blood and saliva sliding down his chin, the toothpick finally fell out and onto the floor.  Santana let out a vicious sigh of relief followed by cries of anguish as more blood leaked from his mouth and onto his white dress shirt.

"See its moments like this that make me realize that Albert Einstein was completely right," Aero responded, shaking his head.  "The only two things in life that are infinite are the universe and human stupidity."

"You bastard," Santana muttered without fully pronouncing his words.  "I ripped a hole in my tongue."

"I can see that," Beaux said with zero sympathy.

"I probably won't be able to talk right ever again," he mumbled.

"Cry me a river."

I was stunned.  Mostly because I had a wounded guy bleeding in my bar who these two criminals were probably about to murder, but partially because these old friends of mine were now ruthless and remorseless.  They were mangling this guy around like this was apart of their daily routine.  I wasn't too pressed about the fact that they were now criminals; this wasn't the first time I had interacted with New Devon's underworld of organized crime and violence, and to be honest I had always figured from Aero's connivingly clever ways and family line that he was the most likely to go this kind of route.  But I had never been this close to the raw backbone of the business.  I knew it got more gruesome than this, but it didn't stop the moment from having an effect on me.

Aero sighed, pulled his dusty suit jacket off, and layed it over the side of one of the boxes.  Reaching down, he picked up the bloody toothpick and slid it between his lips, licking off the blood.

"You sick fuck," Santana muttered angrily.

"How's it taste?" Beaux asked, holding back his laughter.

"Its all right," Aero said, staring at the toothpick, his fangs beginning to protrude and his pupils lighting up slightly as he absorbed the taste.  "Its got kind of a gonorrhea-like after-taste though.  But it gives me a craving for a Marilyn Monroe Shake at the Enzyme Shop.  Can we take a trip over there later after we finish this up?"

"Yeah, no problem.  I could use a Diet Clone Expresso right about now."

"You ugly Folks," Santana said, shaking his head with disgust.  "You all are a bunch of repulsive abominations to nature"-

"Yeah, yeah, we heard you the first time, Van Helsing."  Aero rolled up his sleeves to the same point as Beaux's and grabbed another chair by the door, sitting in it backwards facing Santana.

"Listen," Aero said lazily, pushing up his cheek with his palm as he lounged his elbow on the top of the chair.  "The Crystal Odom Show comes on at 4.  If you make me miss it, I will kill you something fierce.  Now give up the pin number and save us the trouble."

"Crystal Odom?  You actually watch that trash?"

"Hey!" Aero exclaimed angrily.  "Crystal Odom provides quality television programming.  She actually talks about interesting and relevant shit.  You wouldn't know anything about that."

"You only watch it because she's a damn monster.  All she talks about is a bunch of Folk bullshit."

Folk.  Another derogatory term against us.  He was getting pretty frequent and comfortable with the terms and I could see that it was angering the two.  It was definitely getting me pissed off.  As much as I didn't want them to continue fucking this guy up since it would make it even more difficult to explain to my insurance handlers, as well as the cops whenever they finally decided to show the hell up, I wanted them to at least get in on a little of the torture.  A simple pre-show without it getting too messy wouldn't hurt.  Us.

"Beaux, do you remember that toothpick idea I mentioned the other day in the car?" Aero asked, looking up at him.

"Yeah, I know what you're talking about.  You want to go for it?"

"Let's go for it," Aero said, getting up from the chair.  He slid it out of his way and I started to get worried as Beaux reached down and untied Santana's right leg from the bottom of the chair.  As it came off, he slid Santana's dress shoe off of his feet and pulled off his black sock, then proceeded to bound his leg once again to the leg of the chair with his bare foot out.  Aero took the toothpick out of his mouth and leaned down with it.

"What are you doing?" Santana said with a tad bit of worry in his voice.  Aero didn't answer but instead grabbed Santana's foot and lightly stuck the toothpick under the toenail of his big toe.

"All right, we're making this caveman simple," Aero said.  "Give up the pin number now."

"Are you out of your mind?" Santana replied in confusion.  Aero slowly began to apply pressure on the top of the toothpick, inching it farther under his toe nail.  "Ow, ow ow ow OW OW OW, STOP IT!!"  When Aero didn't stop, Santana threw back his head in pain.  "Okay okay, I'll give you the pin number!!!"

"It better be the real thing this time," Beaux warned.  "Or I will personally peel off the cuticle of every nail on your fucking feet.  And your hands.  I'm not in the mood for this bullshit."

"Okay," Santana stuttered, gasping for breath as beads of sweat began to fall from his forehead.  "The pin number is....1209.  Its Elias' dead son's birthdate, day and month respectfully."

Aero let go of Santana's foot, leaving the toothpick under his toenail, and stood up, turning to Beaux.  Beaux reached into his pocket and pulled out his mobile phone, hitting the speed dial and waiting for someone to answer on the other line.

"Hey, Jaguar, you by the ATM," he said when the phone was answered on the other line.

"Yes, The Jaguar is by the ATM, did the jabronee cough up the Pin number?" Jaguar, a large impressively built Native American fellow howled over the phone with unnecessary force.

"Yeah, its 1209."

"The Jaguar is typing in the code now."  There was silence over the phone and Beaux waited.  After a while his voice returned.  "The Jaguar has confirmation that the pin number was indeed correct."

"Good," Beaux said with a smile, nodding to Aero, who smiled back.  "Thanks Jag, you can take out some of the sum for yourself if you like.  Make sure you don't go running off with all of it, you know what'll happen."

"The Jaguar isn't stupid, Mr. Beauregarde.  Where should we meet?"

"Meet us at the Enzyme Shop in 45 minutes.  We'll need to make a quick 'deposit' of our cargo in the Messiah.  We crashed the Corvette on the way to him.  Its about time we got out and about in some real beauty."

"Wait, the Jaguar is confused....what is this Cargo you're speaking of?"

"Freddy Santana, the guy we were su"-

"IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR CARGO IS!" the Jaguar screamed over the phone.

Beaux pinched the bridge of his nose and shut his eyes in annoyance.  Jaguar had the tendency to do that.  "Alright, we'll see you in a few."

When Beaux hung up, Aero smiled.  "He did that thing he does, didn't he?"

"I hate it when he does that," Beaux sighed.  "All right, let's wrap up.  I've got to say, you break easier than a piggy bank, Santana."

"Fuck you," he shouted but with a loss of real energy and motivation.  "Go ahead and kill me.  Get it over with."

"Nah," Beaux said with a shrug, as he walked over to Santana.  With a quick move, Beaux reared his foot back and smashed the end of his dress shoe into the toothpick hanging out from under Santana's toenail.  Suddenly, the toenail shot up by the force of the toothpick, which jammed into the back of his toe and into his cuticle.  I was forced to cringe.  It was grisly.  Santana screamed at the top of his lungs in agony.  "Aero, shut him up for me, please."

"No prob," Aero said, picking up one of the boxes and cracking it across Santana's head.  He stopped screaming and slumped over, unconscious.  Beaux moved in to untie him from his restraints.

"This is a little short notice," Beaux started, obviously addressing me now.  "And I know you've got other stuff to do and all.  But we would really like it if you come with us to the Enzyme Shop and get a drink.  Catch up with us.  We can reminice over old times."

"I don't drink blood though," I responded.

"They have regular coffee.  You don't have to get anything, we just want to enjoy your company for old time's sake."

"Yeah, man," Aero agreed as they began to haul him up.  "Seeing you brought back a flood of memories.  We have to hang out."

"You guys think I'm stupid?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Why do people keep asking us that?" Beaux said, turning to Aero.  "Its like they want to get offended."

"Very funny.  Where are you going to put the mobster, huh?"

The duo exchanged worried looks with each other.  "Yeah, about that"-

"You want to put him in the trunk of my car"-

"Just until we get to the Enzyme Shop and then we'll make the transfer.  Come on, man.  You know we go way back."

I sighed and shook my head.  I was about to play a dangerous game of russian roullette with my life by going with these guys.  I should have been more cautious.  I should have said "no" and then proceeded to clean things up, call my insurance handler, or do something other than not go get a drink with these guys.  It was a trap and part of me knew it.  But I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.  It was probably the whiskey.  No decision made under the buzz of whiskey was ever good.  And I was about to make one of the biggest mistakes of my life by trusting these two.  If I had known where it would lead me....well you'll understand soon enough.

"If we get caught, you better turn your gun on me and make it look like you're holding me hostage and forcing me along with you."

"Yeah, no problem," Aero said as the two of them flashed me broad smiles that echoed a history long past.  "Let's get going."

4/27/2012

Beaux & Aero - Chapter 2: The Wolf and The Bat



I can't easily recall the first moment I had ever met Beaux and Aero, but I had been a friend of their's back before they went by the nicknames.  The moment that I can recall the most though is the day I reconnected with them back in '95.

Ever since I was a boy, I'd wanted to start my own business.  When I graduated college, I used the money I had saved since enrolling, along with a generous loan from the bank and the remainder of my financial aid to invest in opening my own bar.  I bought an old gas station on the desert outskirts of Allsborough.  I originally wanted to purchase some property in town to have a better chance at getting some customers but even with the money I did have, I couldn't afford most of the real estate that was available.  I needed investors to buy that kind of property and no one was willing to invest in the business venture of a twenty-something year old Djinn Culinary Major (don't ask) with no credentials or experience in business besides my own wit and ambition.

I did make good use of my left-over money, however, by paying some old friends to help me renovate the building, turning it from a decrepit old eyesore into a half-way decent drinking establishment.  I had acquired a liquor license, stocked up on inventory, marketed my bar across town, and built a neon sign over the top of the building with the name I'd given it: "The Garodj."  It was pronounced like "Garage" but I felt like the unique spelling would make it stand out.  One of my close friends, who was a human but pretty naive to mythlore fact and stereotypes, actually made a serious suggestion of naming it "The Magic Carpet."  I nearly decked him in the face for it but decided to constitute it to a heavily deprived childhood and a lack of sharpening materials for whatever tool shed he came from.  Customer attendance was a slow start, which I expected, but it actually picked up faster than anticipated.  Within the first few weeks or so, we even had a few regulars.  I initially thought that since it was on the outskirts of town, there would be next to no one coming in to visit, but it turned out there were a lot of drifters that traveled in and out of the city willing to stop for a drink or two on their way through.  Things were off to a good start.

It was on a bright Sunday morning that things changed for me.  I had just opened up shop and only two customers had arrived, one a regular who came by to buy some inventory and another customer who dropped by, grabbed his drink and left.  I know I should have been more cautious of serving alcohol to most of these people, since they were driving but at the time, immersed in my naiviety to the street smarts of bar-managing, I didn't pay it much attention.  I was the only one in the bar at the time, as business was still slow and my two bus boys weren't scheduled to come in until the afternoon.

I'd been wiping down the same table for the last ten minutes, trying to stretch time.  It was hard to find things to do when there were so few customers and I didn't have the money to purchase a tv or anything, so I often sat around in boredom most of the time.  As I wiped the wooden table with the rag for the twelfth time, I could hear the sound of tires screeching in the distance.  Must be another potential customer heading out of town.  I left the rag by the table and made my way to the window, adjusting the blinds by it to get a peak outside.  Good thing I had, or else I wouldn't have anticipated what happened next.

I was forced to close my eyes quickly and immediately made my body mass intangeable, just as a loud crash filled my ears, rumbling and thunder around me.  My heart sank with realization as I opened my eyes and my form once again became solid.  I was now looking outside, without the obstruction of the blinds.  Or the window.  Or the wall I had been standing in front of.  The front of the bar was now renovated with a giant gaping hole for an entrance.  I looked behind me to see a wrecked Corvette upside down, smoldering from its engine and lying right next to where the liquor counter used to be.  Most of the inventory that was on display by it had been knocked from the shelves behind the counter and were leaked across the bar floor.

"No...." I croaked in a whisper at the sight of my now ruined bar.  I hadn gotten the chance to put insurance on it, but found out from a friend that the company I'd went with was unreliable in certain situations and I'd planned to apply for another outlet the next day.  There was no telling if the company I went with would pay for this kind of damage.  I shook my head, overcome with worry.

Suddenly, I was jogged out of my growing depression in the moment by the sudden banging of the damaged passenger side door swinging open and colliding with the remains of the liquor counter.  Climbing from the wreckage of the sports car was a young man, roughly the same age as me.  He stood to his feet and revealed that he was relatively short, standing at about 5'11".  I stood at 6'1" so I looked down on him slightly when he walked up to me.  He had been wearing a red two-piece burgundy polyester suit with an open jacket and a matching tie, blood oozing down his temple as he staggered forward.  His skin was corpse pale and his finger nails were black, but what stood out the most was the X shaped scar carved over his eye from cheekbone to eyebrow.  The scar wasn't too deep but enough to be permanent and I could tell that he'd had it for a while.  His eyes were narrow and despite his young age, his smile lines could be seen even when he had a straight face.  He immediately looked familiar to me but I couldn't make out who he was at first.  His dark curly hair went slightly past his ears and he displayed a full-grown beard that probably used to be a goatee but hadn't gotten a proper trim in a while.  I remember my first thought when I saw him: Stab him.  Stab him and kill him.  Stab him to death.

Before I got the chance to look around for something I could use for a weapon, another man crawled from the wreckage of the sports car behind the first man, who I could tell by his appearance was a vampire.  This second man's skin was darker, likely of African Descent but not immediately distinguishable at first by complexion.  What gave him away were the long dreadlocks that had been tied back into a bun behind his head with one of the locks hanging off by his temple.  His eyes were a bright yellow and he too had a goatee, only his was more beard-like and defined, stretching up to his cheeks.  He was much taller than the first man but slimmer.  He was wearing a white dress shirt with a black tie and matching black pants but his sleeves were rolled up displaying elaborate forearm tattoos on both arms that I couldn't make out at first glance.  By the look of his bright yellow pupils, I could immediately tell that he was a wolfman.  How strange.  A wolfman and a vampire riding in the same car?  Maybe they'd been fighting and that was what caused the crash.  Either way, someone was going to pay for these damages.

As the two walked to the hole they'd made in my bar, I could see that they hadn't even acknowledged my presence.  They had their eyes glued out on the New Bark Desert, which lay on the outskirts of Allsborough and stretched onward to Cottle Town and the rest of the state.  By the mixed expressions of anguish, determination, and subtle worry on their faces, I could tell they were expecting something.  That's when I realized it.

"Cole!?  Aaron!?" I called out to them with growing surprise in my voice.  As the two of them turned in my direction with curious but vigilant looks, I could tell immediately that my suspicions were true.

"Who are you?" the vampire asked forcefully, slowly reaching behind him.  I knew it was for a weapon, so I acted fast.

"I'm Trent!" I exclaimed, pointing at my chest with too much excitement.  "Trent DeLucia!  The Djinn from the Caleidos Mythlore School of the Arts!"

The two were giving identical confused looks as they scanned me from afar.  They looked at each other questionably, but when they looked back at me, the same realization I'd just experienced lit up in their faces as if they'd just searched through each other's memories for any evidence of my existence.

"OH!" They both shouted, now giving off the same excitement and immediate charisma I'd known them for.

"What are you doing here?" The vampire asked with a bright dazzling smile of a former football star, valedictorian, and Prom/Homecoming King.  His name was Aaron.

"This is my bar you just crashed through," I responded, now switching from familiar friend to pissed-off bar owner.  "What the hell happened?  Did you take a wrong turn at albuquerque?"

The duo once again looked at each other, this time with hesitation.  The wolfman stepped up, giving off the timid charm of a Marching Band tuba player, Math Club head rep, and the school's most well-known virgin.  His name was Cole.  "Uh, we're kind of in the middle of something,"

"And what could you possibly be in the middle of that would"- A tire screech that was even louder than the one from earlier could be heard outside.  We all turned back in the direction of the desert.  The gas pumps to the old gas station were still in front of the bar, as I hadn't gotten the chance to have them taken out and it had accidentally drawn in some travelers looking to refill.  Between the pumps, we looked out onto the road ahead, which led to the state capital of New Devon, and we could see three cars speeding in the direction of the bar.  "Is that the something you're in the middle of?"

Cole shrugged hesitantly.  "Yeah.  Aero, you got insurance on that death trap of yours?"

"Death trap?" Aaron asked.  "You mean my car?  No, Beaux, my payment expires this week.  I was hoping the money we got from this job would help me pay for it, but somebody had to fuck it up for me."

"Quit bitching.  I was tired of cruising around in that plastic peace of crap anyway.  We're definitely going back to the Messiah once this is over."

"Once what is over?" I asked with a touch of worry as the cars in the distance began to make their way into the bar's parking lot.  "Who are those guys?"

"Let's just say if you've got any kind of little spells or whatever that can deflect bullets, you might want to throw them up now."

I can't remember if I thought "aw shit" in my mind or if I said it out loud, but either way, I knew we were fucked.  I was about to experience my first time being screwed over by "Beaux and Aero" as they called themselves.  I wasn't sure where the silly nicknames had come from, but I disregarded them with so many other things to worry about at the moment.  The trio of black sedans skidded to a stop by the gas pumps kicking up red desert dirt from its tires approximately seven yards away from where we were standing.  Just as quickly as they had arrived, several men in black suits stepped from the vehicles, armed with large guns.  Very large guns.  They looked in our direction, pointed, aimed, and fired away.

Beaux, Aero, and I dived from the opening and took cover behind what was left of the wall of that end of the bar.  The assailants seemed to be shooting for ages as bullets flew into the building, smashing into the remnants of the car.  It was apparent that if they didn't stop shooting, the vehicle would eventually explode.  We were trapped.  The car was blocking the only other exit out of the building not being showered in bullets.  But suddenly, the firing stopped.  Beaux was beside me on the left side of the wall, while Aero sat across from me on the opposite side, peaking out to get a look at our new visitors.  I did the same to see what we were dealing with.  I couldn't really tell from the distance.  They looked like humans.  They could be demons or possibly wolfmen, although I was too far away to see if their eyes were yellow.  I suddenly got an idea.  I snapped my finger once, shut my eye, and suddenly I was able to see them as if I were standing right in front of the gas pumps they'd parked around.  I rarely ever used my powers, partially because I hung around humans often and many of them critisize or get annoyed when you use your powers around them, but mainly because many humans call it "cheating," saying its taking the easy road out and I wanted to prove that I didn't need the convenience to get things done in my life.  At this point though, I had no choice.  I needed to see what we were up against.  From the view, I could see no obvious signs that they were any kind of mythlore, so they were either humans or demons.

"Some hired guns you two are," shouted a man who stood in front of the group.  He looked to be the leader, as he was wearing what looked to be the most expensive suit and jewelry around his wrist and neck.  He wore sunglasses that hid his eyes and was twisting a toothpick around his mouth with his tongue.  "If you're going to make an attempt on my life, at least get the job done right.  You're hardly living up to your reputation.  You should have been able to take us humans out no problem."

"Who is that guy?" I whispered harshly, trying to get Beaux to hear me but hoping this guy didn't come to the conclusion that we were trying to formulate a plan and start shooting again.

"Freddy Santana," Beaux whispered back.  "Human Underboss for the Murphy Family.  We were supposed to take them out, but we ran into a few snags."

"Wait a second, what do you mean you were supposed to take them out?" I asked, giving Beaux a suspicious look.

"You know....take them out."

"Wait, so you guys are like....hitmen or something?"

Beaux didn't answer, but instead peaked out once again as Freddy Santana continued on with his pointless monologue.  I could see Aero pulling out his weapon, a 9mm pistol, pulling back on it with force as he made eye contact with Beaux.  When he had his attention, Aero made several signs and after a few seconds, Beaux turned to me.  "Do those gas pumps have any gas left in them?"

I had to think for a second.  "Uh, yeah, maybe a little.  Why?"

"I remember you were always really good with fire.  Is that still true?"

"Well I haven't used my powers in a while, so I don't know.  Maybe.  Do you have a plan?"

"Yeah, just cover Aero.  This should be a over soon."

Beaux turned back to Aero, who once again made eye contact with him.  The two nodded and Beaux counted on his fingers, mouthing the number at the same time.  "1....2....3!"

Aero jumped out from cover and fired the gun at the group of mobsters.  As they worked to pull their large weapons back up and go on the offensive again, Santana soon realized by the lack of real accuracy that the assailant wasn't aiming for the group.  They were aiming for the gas pumps.  By the time he wrapped his mind around it, the gas pump farthest from him ignited, causing a huge explosion that destroyed the nearest Sedan closest to him.  He shielded himself from the inferno and hit the ground as the flames danced into the sky.  Beaux looked over, giving me a nod.  I looked at the cloud of smoke and flames and reached my hand out, focusing on the fire rising from the broken gas pump.

As a few more mobsters headed to one of the remaining vehicles, I closed my hand into a fist, entraping an orb of flames into a single ball.  With a sharp pulling motion, I smashed the orb of flames into the escaping Sedan, causing it to explode instantly on impact.

As if using it as their cue, I watched as Beaux and Aero shot out from cover and change into a side of them I hadn't seen in a while.  Aero pulled off his suit jacket and launched forward, taking on a feral stance, his fangs and fingernails extending and his dark pupils taking over the entirety of his eyes.  Beaux's limbs and height increased exponentially and I could see that large patches of hair seeping from out of his shirt.  A snout began to form over his face and his canines, which had already been slightly more prevalent than his other teeth when he spoke, sharpened themselves to a point, and his yellow eyes had become as illuminated as car headlights.  As the two, now in their most natural form, charged forward into the wreckage, I watched in total awe as they targetted the group of remain mobsters that were fleeing into the last Sedan.

Aero got to them first, tackling one to the ground and sinking his fangs into the mobster's neck, causing him to scream out into the desert wilderness.  Beaux, who by this point had gone full Man-Wolf form, launched at one of the fleeing mobsters, yanking him back and swinging him in a 180 angle until the mobster smashed against the Sedan and flew off farther into the parking lot along with the car.  I was utterly amazed; I had rarely seen a wolfman enter his man-wolf form or a vampire go primal and feed.  It wasn't something you see often, not even on television.  By the time the remaining mobsters had been disposed of, I watched from afar and could see that the two hadn't let down their guard.  They were once again looking out in the distance across the desert in front of the gas pumps that they now stood by, the flames of which had dispursed and died down to a tamed blaze.

"There's Santana," Aero said, pointing out to the fleeing man making his way across the street and out into the desert.  "I'll get him."

"No, its all right, I've got him," muttered the well-dressed giant wolf, narrowing his sight on the mobster.

"I said I've got him, Beaux," Aero replied, looking at him with a dark glare as his fangs became even more visible.

"Okay, how about we race for him?"

"Deal.  Count to 3."

"1....2...." Before Beaux could finish counting, the vampire shot forward, sprinting after the man.  A second later Beaux chased after him, swearing under his breath as he struggled to catch up.  In no time, the two were ganging up on the escaping mobster, who turned back in horror at the sound of their footsteps and picked up his pace.  Beaux galloped freely on all fours until he was right beside Aero and shoved him aside.  As he began to pass him, Aero regained his pace and hopped over the sprinting werewolf, vaulting onto his back and using him to launch through the air after Santana.  He dropped short right behind the mobster, but right in front of Beaux, who pulled him back with his large claw and reached forward for Santana, while at the same time, Aero jumped forward for him as well.

The two grabbed onto the man simultaneously and then struggled to pull him out of each other's grip.

"Let Go!" Beaux growled, tightening his hold on Santana, who howled in pain.

"No, you let go!" Aero exclaimed, trying to pull Santana back.  They continued to yank him back and forth, trying to pull him from each other's clutches.

Okay, we'll both let go on 3.  1....2....3."

Neither of the two let go of him.  Beaux rolled his yellow eyes.  "You are really immature, you know that?"

"Shut up!  You didn't let go of him either."  Aero pulled back harder and Santana screamed even louder.

"You're going to kill him!"

"So?" Aero answered.  "Isn't that what we're supposed to do?"

"Yeah, but remember, we get paid more if we get info out of him."

"Oh right.  All right, really let go of him this time."

The two mythlores let go of Santana and let him drop to the desert floor with a loud thud before Beaux allowed own his body to revert back to its natural human state.  Despite the size growth during his drastic change, his clothes had not been stretched and still fit him as perfectly as it had a second ago.  They were both covered in red dirt after kicking up dust from the ground during the chase.  As they dragged the unconscious man across the dirt by his arms, they took a sigh of relief.

"So," Beaux started, a smile forming on his face.  "Despite things not going out way at first, I say this job was a success."

"Yeah," Aero said, shaking his head.  "Not counting the failed explosion back at the hotel, the shootout, the car chase that brought us out here, the almost deadly accident, the second shoot out, and the second explosion.  I'd say despite those obstacles, this was a cinch.  All action.  No drama.  And best of all, you didn't get raped."

"Don't even, Aero," Beaux replied, unamused.  "I was in a good mood and now you have to bring that shit up.  I can't get those images out of my head."

"Then you should stop fantasizing about her," Aero teased.  "You know she's bad for your health."

"Thank you, Captain Obvious."

"Your welcome, Lieutenant Sarcasm."

4/14/2012

Beaux & Aero - Chapter 1: Beaux and Aero: The Movie



"The Rise and Fall of New Devon: From Capital of Mythlore Pride to blah blah blah....dumb ass human documentaries."  This program was without a doubt the most bigoted peace of crap I'd ever tortured myself into watching.  That's what went through my head as I worked up the courage to change the damned channel.  The worst network on cable television.  And to think that after all these years, something like this was still allowed to be aired so freely to the public.  I could have sworn we were past this by now, but I guess I was just being naive.  Its the channel.  The HEAT Network: Human Entertainment for American Television.  A network made specifically for human viewership....and probably no one else.  Basically a means of further alienating the human race from any mythlore race.  It had been in commission since I was a boy and as an adult, I'd had a few run-ins with the terrifyingly intolerant and chauvinistic CEOs that escalated their hatred for us in ways so unbelievably "inhuman" that their plans almost rivaled the initial idea behind the holocaust.  Those days were long gone and the people responsible were taken out, but the nature and subtlely of the HEAT Network's prejudice was still as present as ever.  It even had the same slogan it carried from when it was first put on the air.  In a deep ominous voice, a man would say, "You are now watching the HEAT Network; Human Entertainment at its finest."  What kind of overly cliche'd bullshit is that?  Not to mention the kind of elitist class divide it implies.  What the tagline should be is "The Heat Network: Human Entertainment without the tainting image of disgusting monsters."

 "Monster."  That word hit home for me.  I had been called that all throughout my childhood, the most tramautizing moment involving a trip with my family to the Museum of National History where a group of angry humans were protesting the "trespassing" of mythlores in such a sacred place.  Sacred, my ass.  It was just a museum.  Granted, what the protesters wanted to get across was that this was the Museum of National HUMAN History and that meant they didn't want us djinn or any other mythlore stepping over their accomplishments, as if by being there we would discover their weakness and use it against them.  Please.  If we wanted to kill all the humans, I'm pretty sure we would have fucking done it already.  Think about it.  Before the humans knew we existed, we were all scattered, without any kind of organization in our masses, and we were essentially at war with each other.  Now we have a damned Mythlore Society of the United States, basically our equivalent to the Humane Society, only acting as more of an NAACP for us, or a personal embassy.  With that alone, we could crush these humans whenever we wanted.  We wouldn't though, for various reasons: political correctness, taking the high road, something about proving that we have more humanity in us than humans themselves.  Nonsense really.

Ultimately, the officials of the museum asked us to leave, as the protesters were growing more and more billigerent and security didn't want it to escalate into something chaotic.  My father led us out.  We hadn't been there for more than twenty minutes.  To this day, I felt a little betrayed by his sudden willingness to leave so freely like that; I couldn't help but feel like he gave up without a fight.  If I had been in the frame of mind I was today, I would have stood my ground and let those humans do whatever they came there to do.  I wouldn't have let them win.  It was enough that we had been told to leave, but the fact that I actually heard them cheering behind us as we walked out, slinging slurs at us on our way to the door, allowed it to have a much more profound effect on me.  I was only nine years old.

Since then, I used it to fuel my ambitions, rather than let it hender me.  After so many years of working my ass off, I figured I'd made something of my name.  My children were better off.  I had done something with my life and created a legacy.  And nearing the end of it, at the tender age of 150, I had nothing better to do with the time I had left than to sit in my mansion by the shore of Palm Beach in Florida with nothing to watch but the last thriving remnants of a past I was still struggling to forget.  In short, I was having the best time of my life.

I could hear the doorbell's ring echo throughout the mansion, which instantly switched my mood into a bad one.  What the fuck do you want? I thought, looking up at the ceiling with a hard sigh.  I moved this far away from New Devon for a reason: so nobody I knew would bother me.  I should have moved out of the country.  It better just be some tax collector or better even, a Jehovah's Witness.  Carson would know not to answer it then.  Just in case it was someone who would want to see me in person, I sighed heavily and pushed myself up from the couch, my robe swinging by my bare feet as I trudged my way to the bathroom right by the den I had been relaxing in.

I conjured fire with a snap of my finger, setting the candles in the room ablaze as I looked into the mirror and stared into my wrinkled face, smiling to myself as I began to freshen up.  I was definitely a handsome old geiser.  I used to be ashamed of the massive tribal birthmarks that covered my face, arms, torso, and every other inch of my body.  I wasn't too flattered by my eyes either, which were a very light shade of purple that almost looked pink, a subject of teasing by other Djinn when I was a boy.  But you only need that one female, human or mythlore, to tell you that you have pretty eyes or that your tattoos are "epic" to give you enough self-confidence to believe you're actually worth something.  Or enough to get yourself laid.  Whichever comes first.  I splashed some water on my face and rubbed my head across my bald head before reaching over and pulling my dentures from the small tub of water I kept them in over night.  I stuck them over my gums and flexed my jaw to fix them in place before swiping away the flame of the candles with a wave of my hand and heading out of the bathroom, not completely fresh, but fresher than I had been just a second ago.

When I stepped into the den once again, I saw Carson, my butler, standing by the doorway in his tuxedo, bowing in my presence.  "You have a visitor, sir," he said with a sharp scottish dialect that had once taken me some time to understand but I could now comprehend with no problem and even adopted it to my own New Devon accent a bit from being around him for so long.

I nodded and he stepped aside for a young man to walk through.  I could tell immediately that he was a Spirit; his white skin, hair, and pupils gave him away instantly.  He looked like he might have been hispanic in his past life, probably only in his twenties when he passed away.  He was very well dressed but also slightly casual, like he was here to do business but didn't mind sharing some small talk or quick anecdotes in the process.  I wasn't amused and I didn't care to engage in small talk.

I gave him a sour look.  "Who the hell are you?" I asked bitterly.

The man simply smiled.  "My name is Marcus Martinez."

At the sound of name, I smirked and my annoyance dispelled a little.  He was here to do business.  "I know who you are.  I've heard your name a lot recently."

"Yeah," Marcus said modestly.  I'm sure he might have blushed if he was still in the same flesh he'd been born in.  "I'm not for the publicity, but my agent always tells me to just smile and tell the same success story until people get tired of it."

"I know the feeling," I said, walking toward him.  "I mean, I'm not the hollywood type like you are, but I've been working in the business world for more than a century.  The 'smile-and-nod' technique definitely comes in handy."

"I could imagine.  After all you've accomplished in your life, Mr. DeLucia, that's all I pretty much can do is imagine."

"Please, call me Trent," I said, holding up my hand.  "I hate that Mister shit, it makes me feel old.  And don't you dare say I am either."

"We're only as old as we feel, Trent," Marcus replied with a smile.  I smiled back.  This guy wasn't half bad.

"Carson bring Marcus a beverage if you could please."  I motioned for the visitor to take a seat on the couch where I had just been sitting.

"Please excuse the crap I had you walk into on the TV," I muttered, grabbing the remote and flipping my 40 inch HD television off.  "Sometimes I get curious as to what humanity is discussing nowadays when its not just a load of anti-mythlore propaganda."

"Yeah, I didn't want to say anything," Marcus chuckled on his way over.  "Not going to lie, they have some good programs on there, but I mostly watch them for the art.  If I watch it too long or even spend a few minutes on that 'Human News of Today' crap, I will begin to lose every bit of mythlore pride I still have in me.  I've been one longer than I've been human, so I know where my loyalties lie."

"That's good to here," I said with a laugh.  "So what brings you here, Mr. Martinez?  You working on a new film project or something?"

"Actually yes," he answered, taking his seat on the couch as I sat beside him.  "I'm trying to do a follow-up to my 'Hot War' Trilogy.  It was a nice run, but I'm ready to start something new."

"I'll say," I said, shaking my head as I leaned forward and grabbed the glass of wine lying on the coaster on the coffee table in front of me.  "I've never seen so much uproar and hype over a franchise that wasn't based on a book or something.  I found it impressive that you went from self-financed Sundance contestant to multi-million dollar director, writer, and producer in only a few months, thanks to that series.  Congratulations on that Oscar by the way."

"Thank you," Marcus said enthusiastically.  "That means a lot.  It was an incredibly stressful journey to be honest, but ultimately, it was very rewarding."

"I bet.  So what's next for you?"

"Well I'm actually looking to make a drastic turn from the 1960's espionage epic of 'Hot War' and into something else.  Personally, I've gotten tired of all the hype over it.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I liked how people suddenly gained an appreciation for the role mythlores had in the Cold War but you can never underestimate the stupidity of our society.  A lot of people believed that the characters in 'Hot War' were real, even though the film specifically states 'Inspired by True Events' on the movie poster.  I get asked the same stupid questions at every press conference, like 'Are Mikhail and Stella married in real life?' and 'Was the explosion at the end of the third movie really what caused the Chernobyl disaster?'  And my favorite, 'What ever happened to Gabe?'  Like they didn't watch him get shot seven times in the first movie.  The dumbest its ever gotten was when one human girl asked me why it wasn't in black and white during the scenes in the 60's.  I didn't understand the question and pressed on.  Long story short, this bitch, and I shit you not, actually believed that the world, our world, was in black and white until the 70's, when we were apparently magically graced with colors."

"Is she one of those famous broads by any chance?" I asked, leaning forward.

"Yeah, actually.  I didn't want to say any names."

"Bridget Ratliff?"

"Yes," Marcus nodded excitedly.

"Oh my God, she is the most ignorant excuse for a living creature on this planet.  She honestly doesn't know anything.  I've had a conversation with her.  It's like talking to a brick wall.  Speaking to me, she actually learned that the sun and the moon aren't the same thing and that pollen, which is essentially the sperm of a plant, can NOT get you pregnant during the spring."

"No way.  She actually asked if-"

"Yes, she went there," I answered, chuckling and shaking my head.  "I don't know how she's made it in this world.  It's got to be purely off of her good looks."

"Clearly.  Just another celebrity who's famous for nothing."

I laughed and took another sip of the wine in my glass.  "So tell me more about this project you're working on."

"Right," Marcus started as Carson entered the room once again with a saucer in his hand.  There were several bottles on top of them and when he walked into view, Marcus took one and nodded at Carson gratefully.  "Like I said, I wanted to get away from the vibe of 'Hot War' and do something different."

"What did you have in mind?"

"Well...." Marcus began to hesitate a bit.  "What I wanted to tackle next, I sort of wanted to be....non-fiction.  I mean, more non-fiction than 'Hot War'.  Like an actual biographical film based on true events."

I smiled a bit, nodding.  "You want to make a movie about my life?"

"Actually, sir," Marcus said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head with an awkward cringe on his face.  "As much as I want to involve you in the film, and I wholeheartedly plan on giving you a pivotal role in the story, I actually wanted to make the film focus on a different subject.  I mean, I definitely do find your rise to fame to be an amazing tale of redemption, betrayal, sacrifice, and the like, but I'm just afraid its been done a million times already."

"So?" I said, feeling a touch of my pride creeping up and taking the form of offense.  "You're a talented guy.  You've got a unique vision.  You can make it original."

"Well I'm flattered by the kind words, Mr. DeLucia," he replied.  He was reverting back from his casual friend side to the nervous visitor phase he'd arrived with.  "But I feel like my vision is better suited for the idea I was originally going to pursue.  There's a different kind of story that I want to share with the world and while yours will definitely integrate with it, I feel like the slice of history it has as a whole will bring to light a lot of misconceptions about certain events and educate a lot of people."

I was starting to get impatient.  "Well spit it out.  What's your idea?"

Marcus took a deep breath and spoke quickly as he exhaled.  "I want to make a film regarding the lives of Columbus Beauregarde and Aaron Paratelli."

I was almost taken aback.  I know my mouth was hanging open.  But now it all made sense.  I rolled my eyes and shook the look from my face.  When I turned back to him, I could see that he knew he had offended me and he knew the topic itself would before he had even mentioned it.

"So why come all the way here to talk to me about it?" I said through gritted teeth, holding back a barage of insults that were formulating in my brain.

Marcus shook his head.  "I think you know why.  It's not like I can go to the two themselves and ask them."

I reached up and rubbed my face, trying to hide my obvious displeasure but I really didn't care if he knew I was annoyed at him once again.  I wanted him to know.  "You came to my mansion.  You walk into my living room, drink my beverages, waste my time with small talk, and then you ask me to help you make a movie about the two individuals that had the least positive effect on my life?  No, let me rephrase that.  You ask me to make a movie about two motherfuckers who made my life a living hell every single time I came in contact with them?  Without fail?  You want to actually make a movie about lowlifes who nearly got me killed on several ocassions, came close to single handedly ruining my career, and nearly got this entire world covered in the debris-induced winter of a nuclear holocaust.  As well as nearly getting all of New Devon destroyed and then being responsible for the Caleidos Riots of 2001."

Marcus shrugged with an innocent puppy dog look.  "It's good material for film, if you look at it from a cinematic point of view.  And I know for fact that you had a front seat view of a lot of the things they were involved in.  I was thinking the film wouldn't really revolve around them as much as it would the events they were apart of"-

"Okay, that's total bullshit," I exclaimed.  "I saw the first Hot War.  Saying you're not going to focus on the characters is the biggest lie I've ever heard."

"Okay, you got me there.  I do want to tell their story.  I understand that it may bring up some bad memories and that you might not have ended on the best of terms with them, but I only want to tell a story.  That's my only ambition as a filmmaker.  I, in no way, plan to glorify their actions or portray them as something that they weren't.  If I did, I would have just went on ahead and made the movie; I wouldn't have even wasted my time coming here.  I wanted your consoling because I wanted to hear the truth straight from someone who experienced it first hand"-

"-And you wanted my name on the list of producers so you could have more funding," I snapped at him.  "I know how the business works."

"Hey," Marcus said, holding up his hands defensively.  "Producing the film is totally optional, Mr. DeLucia.  You don't have to if you don't want to.  I'm mainly here just to get your take on their story and provide the world with a more accurate depiction of what really happened in those years that they ruled the streets."

I couldn't help but chuckle pathetically at that last comment.  "'Ruled the streets.'  Those assholes barely ruled the one-bedroom apartment they bunked in, let alone any goddamn streets."

"Sir," Marcus encouraged, leaning forward as if that lastest glimmer of information only intensified his appetite.  "If you could possibly indulge me just for a few months while I construct the backbone of the script, I would be forever grateful.  I will pay you whatever you want."

I had to think about it.  If I agreed to do this for the next few months (and knowing this maniac, he was probably planning to extend this tale into a multi-movie franchise, so a few years at the least), I would be forced to relive a portion of my life that I have tried for years to erase from my mind.  I could look on the bright side and focus on the good times, which would be much easier if there actually were any.  Columbus Beauregarde and Aaron Paratelli.  Beaux and Aero.  The two hadn't even crossed my mind in so many years, I'd nearly forgotten about my adventures with them.  I still remember the first time I met them.  I thought they were both incredibly funny.  That's how they would get you.  They lure you in with charming one-liners, witty banter, and devil-may-care charisma and next thing you know, you're caught in the middle of viscious shootouts, tortured by maniacal headcases, caught in the middle of dangerous conspiracies, and end up with every crazed freakshow in the state of New Devon gunning for your head.  If there was anything that I learned from Beaux and Aero in the years I had known them, it was the age old proverb that my parents had repeatedly stressed to me when I was younger: Don't talk to strangers.  Even when they go to the same high school as you.

"Write me a check," I said after a long sigh.  "$10,000 and I'll tell you all you want to know."

"Ten grand?  That's all?  You don't want any residuals from the initial income"-

"No, because that would constitute me producing the film and the very thought of 'producing' anything related to those two knuckleheads gives me a stinging feeling in the pit of my balls.  I don't apologize for that imagery either.  I will help you make the movie.  But I'm not going to be cinematic with it or any of that shit.  I'm going to tell you how it was and you do with it what you will.  If it doesn't come out in the story form you want it to, you better not bitch."

"I won't, trust me," Marcus chuckled, reaching into his jacket pocket and pulling out a notepad.  From the breast pocket of the same jacket, he pulled out a pen and clicked it out.  I sighed to myself.  He wanted to start this shit now.  "I've had a good enough dose of reality to know the difference.  I try to be as realistic as possible with my work anyway."

"Yeah whatever," I said, turning my head.  I really didn't want to have to do this.  This kid was lucky he was being polite and genuine about it.  I had heard his story before.  He used to be an airheaded frat boy who blew away his parents' money by bullshitting his way through school until he got himself killed in a drunk driving accident.  He came back to Earth five years later with a new outlook on life and began to use it to fuel his vision as a filmmaker.  It was inspiring for most, annoyingly unoriginal to others, and for that, he was the target of ridicule by those that are pretty quick to believe that once a person says they've changed, its all a bunch of lies.  He still gets the "drunken frat boy" treatment pretty often from many others from what I've seen.  Nonetheless, it seemed as though he was making the most of his second life, so at least he had that and a multi-million dollar movie and merchandising franchise to his name.

"Now, I don't have to get everything today," Marcus said, looking down at his blank notepad as he flipped to the first page in it.  "I just want enough to make a basic outline of some stuff.  So can you go through the minor details and what not"-

"Nope," I said, with an apathetic look.  "I'm going to sit here and talk for several hours and you're going to sit there and write what you hear.  You use what you want and if you miss anything, you're shit out of luck, my friend.  I'm going to be walking around doing stuff while I explain too, so its up to you to stay on your toes.  Please don't ask a crapload of questions either, because if you begin to annoy me, I will get the impulse to have you thrown out.  Please understand that I am not in the mood to be doing this and let that influence how you think or act and recognize that it may anger me in any way.  And you don't have to worry about this too much, but if at any time I randomly decide that I no longer want to do this; to help you or continue talking about those two idiots, don't get upset.  Just leave, come back tomorrow, and hope that I'm in a better mood.  If I'm not, leave forever and go make a movie about something else.  Is that understood?"

"Yes sir," Marcus said sternly, readying his pen in his hand as he looked me in the eye.  The sight of him gripping that pen tighter made me sigh even harder and it just that quickly provided me with some motivation to quit already.  He looked up at me eagerly and I lounged back on the couch, downing the last of the wine in my glass and tossing it on the carpeted floor in front of me.

"CARSON!" I shouted for my butler, who came jogging into the room vigilantly.  "Bring me my flask please.  And stay on hand, I'm going to need it re-filled periodically throughout the evening."

4/12/2012

Beaux & Aero - Prologue - "The Rise and Fall of New Devon: From the Capital of Mythlore Pride To Supernatural Cesspool of Crime and Corruption"



The Rise and Fall of New Devon: From Capital of Mythlore Pride To Cesspool of Crime and Corruption

New Devon.  An American state that possesses just about as much historical value as others in the United States combined.  But within the massive collection of documented stories, events, and legends engulfed in the rich history of New Devon, nothing was more memorable than its role in catalyzing the first step in the fight for equality among all beings - including the kinds that most wouldn't normally consider equal at the time.  Mythlores.  These "supernatural" humanoids, once thought to have existed only in myth, had been living among us for thousands of years under our very noses and later shunned from society ever since evidence of their existence, which was rapidly fading into obscurity, was revealed to the public in the early 1800's.  From possessing the highest population of mythlores in the entire world, to possessing the highest mortality rate of mythlores in the entire world due to prejudicial "huntings," it ironically evolved into the personified figurehead for a new movement, particularly in the state's capital city of Allsborough.  In 1970, growing off of the momentum of the US abolishment of racial segregation and the Jim Crow laws, the world moved towards the promotion of what became known as "Civil Earthling Rights."  Before this, the hunting and extermination of supernatural creatures that posed a threat to the human race continued to remain completely legal.

In 1972, a young teenager and Allsborough resident by the name of Colin Spiegel was responsible for the rallying of several million citizens, both human and mythlore, in the town square of the city to begin a protest against species segregation and the violence against mythlores.  His motivation for the movement: a lover of whom he had been infatuated with since childhood and who also happened to be a full-blooded vampire was killed by a group of hunters and there had been no investigation into the incident by local police.  In the midst of his grief, Colin developed a heated passion that drove him to avenge her by means of ensuring that no innocent mythlore or human sympathizer should have to experience injustice of such a magnitude and have it overlooked by authorities again.  Colin raised money with a group of friends and the movement grew larger than they could have anticipated.  The protest was televised, inspiring groups from all over the United States to call for reform.  It wasn't long before the Human/Mythlore Equality Act of 1972 was passed, allowing the two sentient entities to coexist.  The Act was first announced in Allsborough, beginning its movement towards transforming the city into a welcome environment for humans and mythlores alike.  Restaurants, work places, and public areas were constructed for that very purpose.  After thousands of years spanning the course of human mistreatment of their genetic cousins, things finally seemed to be moving in the right direction.

1995.  Allsborough is a much different place.  The crime rate has escalated exponentially.  The existence of "alleged" underground crime rings led by mythlores became common knowledge.  The state's reputation was everything but clean.  Many of the modern humans of this time were regretting the movement that their grandparents set into motion but after the establishment of a somewhat forced political correctness, no one was willing to speak out against it less they be chastised by the public for their opinions and potential accusations.  Most who spoke about the crime problem avoided generalizing it as a mythlore problem and denoted it just to crime in general, although a good 75% of said crimes were committed by members of the subclass.  Things were not turning out how everyone imagined.  Part of the reason for this was that in 1982, a decade after the movement, Colin Spiegel, who had then become the mayor of Allsborough and at the time, had been working on his platform for the coming election  the New Devon State Senate, disappeared without a trace and hadn't been seen or heard from since.  His body was never found, but he was thought to have been murdered by a Lycanthrope, due to evidence left in his abandoned apartment.

The reality of it was that mythlores ruled the city as well as the state.  Its economy was now fed upon and driven by their businesses, both legal and illegal, and there was nothing that the humans could do to change that.  Their only form of defense against them were the New Devon Mythlore Response Team or the NDMRT (MRT for short), a task force that was formed for the specific purpose of hunting down dangerous mythlore criminals.  They represented themselves as a symbol of hope for the residents of Allsborough, generally the humans more than mythlores, when behind closed doors, the syndicate thrived through corruption, accepting bribes and extorting money from the mythlore organizations in exchange for turning their heads from their illegal activities.  Rumors of this, among rumors that a hate organization targeting mythlores were the ones providing funding for the MRT, began to surface due to the allegations made by Angel Prosecutor and Mythlore Society of the United States representative, Sariel Walden.

Despite the controversy and growing renewed prejudice towards mythlores, the majority of them remained unphased, especially those involved with the criminal underworld.  At the time, and as it remains today, there were only seven known organizations that operated in New Devon.  The vampires operated mainly in the Financial District of North Allsborough, via Corporalamia, a large pharmaceutical company.  It was run by CEO Gustav Wostlovich, a vampiric Russian immigrant, World War II Veteran, and "ex-criminal" as purported by the media after the release of his ex-wife's tell-all book about his rise to fame.  According to the book, the organization itself was originally funded by the profit made by Gustav’s criminal affiliations, but due to the violent nature of his past, Gustav was prevented from fully abandoning it when his business grew.  Through a clandestine “Shadow Branch” within Corporalamia's heirarchy, Gustav began to fund the equipment and weapons that were used by the other criminal organizations of New Devon through back-alley negotiations, under-the-table deals, and secret off-shore banking accounts used to store his extra income.  Their most closely associated allies at the time were the Paratelli Family, a Vampire Mafia run by Gustav's close friend, Vincenzo Paratelli.  Because of this, the Shadow Branch handled the illegal dealings of the organization while Gustav kept his mind focused on the more important affairs of his company.  Laws were established to prevent the consumption of human blood, while blood and protein cuisine restaurants were established to feed their everlasting hunger.

There were also lycanthropes, who, when not abiding by the politically correct term, are simply referred to as wolfmen.  At the time, many of them ran a drug and racketeering cartel operating in the Phantom Providence of West Archer, close to the docks of Cape Sohmer.  The Cartel, nicknamed by most in the underworld as "Frey’s Guard", was led by Wolfwoman, Jacqueline Frey, the widow of the Cartel’s previous owner, Adam Frey, who many suspect was murdered by his wife years ago after a domestic dispute and subsequently passed the "Guard" to her through his unchanged will. Frey’s Guard’s most popular selling drug is a Lycanthrope exclusive, a stimulant called Moon Juice.  Its effects are immediate and puts the mind into a relaxed state while the body reverts to the Man-Wolf form and grows savage, taking on the stereotypical “savage werewolf” form that humans know from ancient folklore.

Joining the Vampires and the Wolfmen were the Spirits.  For a small street gang that was completely wiped out in a vendetta brought on by a host of rival gangs, the opportunity to return to Earth after their untimely deaths was too sweet to pass up.  Upon the return, they massacred the competition and the gang grew in numbers, filling their ranks with other aspiring spirits and eventually migrated to New Devon, making the metropolis of Caleidos their base of operations in order to further expand their empire.  The gang known across the state as the White Sheets, were once speculated to be virtually indestructible, due to their supposed immortality and ability to make themselves transparent as well as phase through solid objects. It wasn't until the MRT created a brand of ammunition specifically created to harness Anti-Ectoplasmic solutions inside them that an opposition began to form against them.  When shot with it, the ectoplasmic atoms that hold the structure of a spirit together are broken apart until their body structure collapses and their soul is automatically reverted back to the afterlife.  During the Great Mythlore Unveiling in the 1800's, humans were under the impression that most, if not all spirits were spiritually attached to the location of their death and would remain there, "haunting" the location for all eternity.  This was quickly disproven, as it was later discovered that, while spirits were often drawn to the location where they crossed over to the other side and find it to be a place of comfort, "haunting for eternity" was a horrible misconception that was quickly unlearned when spirits began to openly populate their towns, inadvertedly terrifying locals.

Among those Mythlores, there were also the Angels, who, despite their divine nature, were considered one of the bigger nuisances of the mythlore criminal organizations.  After being given free will by the Almighty himself (although in some cases were believed to have been thrown out of heaven), the Angels assimilated to earthling culture, many of them asserting themselves into becoming a biker gang known as the New Watchers, named after a legion of fallen angels cast out of heaven several thousand years ago.  They are led by Michael, the Archangel, famous for his victory in the war against Lucifer, his army, and the demonic Dragon under his control.  Michael was powerful and very noble in his leadership, putting his allies before himself, although many of the other angels he cared for never showed the same hospitality.  The majority of them are obnoxious and hostile, which is why they've gained a reputation for ruling the streets of New Devon, (due to their biker status) rather than a specific turf.

Following the angels are their sworn enemies, as are they the enemies of all other criminal organizations and are the most discriminated against by all other humans and humanoids: the Demons.  Still believed to be products of Lucifer himself, it is understandable why many hold such prejudices.  What many do not know is that the particular group of demons that inhabit Earth no longer serve under the "Dark Prince."  They are completely freelanced and now populate the Earth in secrecy, as they are the most humanoid of all mythlores, only distiginguishable from other humans by a small birthmark of an upside-down pentagram somewhere on their body, usually varying between individuals.  In the criminal underworld, it was also hard for the demons to be accepted since many of them began to operate under a radical organization known as the Fallen Sky Militia, suspected of being a domestic terrorist front run by a rogue demon named Samael.  Fallen Sky, despite suspicions, did not attack or protest without motive.  There was a purpose to everything they did, as they would not attack in small quantities, unless it was used to fund a larger attack.  They were thwarted by the MRT on numerous occasions but their conflicts had at one point grown intense enough to have the whole state put on emergency lockdown.  Their headquarters remained unknown for the duration of its existence.  Both angels and demons can only be killed by customized christened weaponry, patented by the MRT.

Second to last and the final in the immediate ND criminal underworld were the Djinn, who ruled the Rockstep Projects in the small town of Parkwell, which bordered Caleidos.  Aside from a semi-large street gang called the Lamps who actively rivaled the White Sheets, the Djinn didn't have a large grip on criminal proceedings in New Devon or anywhere else in the country aside from what was perceived as average criminal activity that constituted a flaw in character, rather than a collective racial disfunction as many of the humans believed resided with the other mythlorian races.  As a result, Djinn are the most socially accepted and least discriminated mythlorian race of their kind.  They tend to still carry negative stereotypes (many Djinn find the portrayal of the character "Genie" in the Disney film, Alladin, to be highly offensive), but due to the massive entrepreneurship and the positive effect they've had on modern society, they usually interact with humans more than any other race, from having the most mythlorian celebrities in hollywood, to being featured positively and very often as popular characters on television shows.  If a mythlorian were to ever be elected President of the United States, it would be a Djinn.

The seventh and final mythlorian race that inhabits New Devon are a complicated bunch.  They are categorized as Nymphs, an all-female fairy-like race.  These light-blue skinned, green haired beauties are not technically considered part of the criminal underworld, as they do not operate under violence or territory, but they do delve into illegal affairs from time to time.  Many of them make a profit through prostitution, which has become incredibly popular because of its lack of consequences, so long as the solicitors and solicitees are not caught.  Nymphs are unable to contract venereal diseases and unable to give birth to the offspring of those outside of their races.  Male Nymphs are known to all as Elves, but a mysterious illness that surfaced in the 1600's wiped the majority of them out over the period of a hundred years, while rendering many of the surviving elves sterile.  Elves are now an endangered class, but it is often that a few will surface in society and there is even a small community of Elves and Nymphs located in the small New Devon settlement of Cottle Town.  With a longer lifespan than any other mythlorian race, most of their ages exceed several milleniums.  The prostitution ring that they are involved in is headed by Lorelei Zorlanda, one of the oldest of the race.  All nymphs maintain their youthful appearance for the full extent of their lifespan.

These seven races and six criminal organizations had succeeded in making New Devon a state run almost exclusively by mythlores, while the decreasing population of humans in the state gave an indication that a species-specific form of "white flight" was occurring in the wake of this.  Those that continued to stay did it for both selfless and selfish reasons alike, but the silent feud between humans and mythlores proceeded to grow.  Though it had yet to fully surface or become actively voiced by society for all to hear, the tension was still highly present and it was only a matter of time before someone unleashed the hell that was slowly brewing in the state of New Devon....