Here is the second chapter to complete the opening of the series. I broke it into two parts because I didn't have the whole thing planned out. I write the stories as they come to me and hope that those who read them enjoy the tale I spin. TY again for taking the time to read my stories. For those who are following Modern Mage; I am working on the next chapter but felt that I should introduce this place before continuing that tale.
Being that they walked in here I knew they were meant to find the place or had been brought by someone else who had been here before. The fact that they sat at my table with impunity told me that they knew the rules of the place and chose to display contempt for either me or my place. I didn’t appreciate that kind of attitude. I finished serving the drink orders I’d taken and let the other bartenders know I was stepping away for a few minutes. I took my time walking around the bar to head for my table. I used this time to size my visitors up. There were three of them sitting at the table and four more who positioned themselves around the room behind them. The guy sitting in the middle, directly across from my chair, appeared to be in his mid to late Fifties. His body language displayed someone who was there to enjoy the environment and relax, up until you looked at his face. He was smiling and acting like this was an evening out, however the truth was revealed in his eyes. He had dead eyes, no emotion showing in them; the look of a predator. I’d seen enraged werewolves and vampires in bloodlust that looked friendlier than this man sitting at my table.
The two women on either side of him had a similar dead look in their eyes. I tagged them mentally as bodyguards due to a few factors. They never looked at the gentleman they sat with; instead observing the rest of the room constantly. I’d give them credit for intelligence if they had even thought to look up; the security team on the catwalks went unobserved. They looked like arm candy being tall curvy blondes with blue eyes wearing short dresses, however the clothing was cut to not restrict their movements. I spotted Sam and George moving into position near the other four members of their party in case trouble started as I sat in my chair across from Mr. Dead Eyes. “Good evening and welcome to my place. Can I assist you with anything this evening?”
My new friend smiled with all the warmth of a hungry shark before he began to speak. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance Mr. Masters, however I am not here to be assisted. I have other plans for this night.”
I kept a friendly expression on my face and sat back in my chair. I brought my foot up against the table leg, using the leverage to lean my chair back onto the rear legs only. “Since you’re obviously not hear to enjoy the atmosphere let’s both speak plainly. You and your bodyguards are welcome to stay, but don’t start any trouble. My staff and I will stop it and there will be no second chances here.”
He didn’t look in the least disturbed by my statement, nor did I expect him to be. He looked around the place slowly, eyes flicking from place to place. I gave him more points for intelligence than I did his bodyguards when he looked up and spotted the catwalks. The look of a hungry shark came back as he started to reply, “While I applaud the impressive security you have here, if I decide to start trouble they will be useless to your survival. If I kill you first, you don’t think I can buy their services. While I may at some time test that idea, tonight I’m not here for you. I have a job to do here tonight and can’t let you interfere with it. Stay out of my way and there won’t be any trouble.”
“If you came to talk to me first you know my rules and that I can’t and more importantly won’t let you do anything to violate the sanctuary I offer to anyone who comes here. If you choose to try and do so, you will answer to me and my staff. As for killing me,” I gave him my own predatory smile, “many have tried just that through the years and I’m still sitting here talking to you. Explain to me why you are really here and I’ll see if I can assist you.”
“You spoke plainly and so will I. I’m here to retrieve someone who is a frequent visitor. This is the only place where they aren’t surrounded by a small private army of bodyguards. I’m going to take the person out of here and return them to the person who hired me. You and your staff members will stay out of my way and not interfere. That is how this evening will go unless you want more trouble than you can handle.”
I sighed, dropping my head to my chest. This was a signal for Sam and her security people that things may be going south very fast and to be ready. I looked back up into my visitors face, “Final warning, if you try to star something in here you will fail and I’ll give you to the people you are trying to interfere with for punishment. If you knew anything about me or this place you’d know I’ve handled more trouble than you can bring to bear against me. If you want to go to your graves tonight, I can oblige you; otherwise drink, relax and obey the rules or get your asses out of my bar. Your choice either way.”
When things started they happened quickly. One of the original supernatural patrons entered the front door. Her name was Ynara and she had the potential to be one of the most powerful Ascendants in time. Her father had been an Archmage of legend and her mother was a Fallen Angel. She stood at an even five feet, trim build with perky B cup breast and an apple bottom. Her hair was a deep fiery red highlighted with black, it fell wavy all the way to her knees. She had blue eyes the color of a twilight sky with little fleck of red burning in them. She made everyone who met her think of the Love & Theft song Angel Eyes. She was wearing a conservatively cut white sheath that made her look hotter than any club wear could have. She was under the protection of several of the supernatural leaders in this City. Ynara was from Los Angeles originally and I knew of several groups who wanted her back there where they could control her. The moment she stepped through the door I knew things just got very messy.
Mr. Dead Eyes stood quickly, extending his right arm toward me as his bodyguards turned to face any threats coming from the sides. I reacted immediately, pressing my foot against the leg of the table, tipping my chair back to get clear of his line of fire. Two of the Mr. Dead Eyes other bodyguards moved to grab Ynara as soon as he had stood. George grabbed the one he was closest to by the back of his neck holding him from moving towards her. Sam being a vampire moved with inhuman speed kicking the other man who approached Ynara in the knee shattering the bones in the joint to splinters with the impact interposing herself bodily between the remaining men and their target. All this happened in the time it took my chair to hit the floor.
The second I hit the floor I was already rolling away to regain my feet. As I came to my feet, I drew two throwing spikes from my sleeves prepared to throw them. The place went silent except for the man screaming in pain with a shattered knee as I faced the man who disturbed my peaceful establishment. I held the spike ready to throw even though I expected I wouldn’t need them. The security team on the catwalks had weapons drawn and aimed at the three standing before me. Sam had her sidearm out pointed at the head of the third man that came in with our friend. The last of his men was standing still with his hands up right where he was when everything started. That’s when I noticed JD standing behind him and the edge of a sword pressed to the side of his neck. “I warned you that my staff and I could stop any trouble you started in here. Now I proved it to you. You have two choices left to you and I’ll recommend the first one. Walk away now, leave my club and get out of my city. Don’t come back again. She is under the protection of too many people for you to mess with. Now that you violated the sanctity of my establishment to grab her I am placing her under my protection as well. The second choice is to die, whether that is by continuing in your actions here, leaving the bar and not the city, or coming back after you leave the city. I don’t have the desire the kill you but I won’t hesitate to do so. Which choice are you taking?”
He looked like I pissed him off, and I liked that fact because it would make him sloppy. “You have no idea who I am or what you’re messing with. I’ll offer you a similar choice and we’ll see how the rest of the evening goes. You can get out of my way, hand over the girl and let me walk away with her or you can choose to die here and now.” He had a look of confidence on his face that spoke volumes about his opinion of his skills and those of his people. I hate standoffs like this, invariably both sides think they’ll win and people, usually innocent bystanders, wind up getting hurt. The Bar area was slowly clearing out while we were talking. The only people left in this area were my staff members and his people.
“Like you said to me earlier, do you think your people will continue to fight if you’re the first to die? My people know exactly what happened to this club and for them when I do. They know they’ll be taken care of and the Existence will remain an Elysium long after I’m gone. Can your people say the same about you?” He paled a little at that last question which may just give me the edge I needed to resolve this situation peacefully. I had my doubts but I would try. I have killed enemies in the past and would do so again when needed, but I always tried to resolve the situation first. Unfortunately some people just needed to die. “Last chance to leave, anyone who stays to cause trouble doesn’t see another sunrise.”
The guy whose knee had been shattered started to drag himself across the floor towards the door. The man being held by George was also trying to get to the door; George assisted him in making a quick exit. He picked him up and threw him out the open door as the other guy crawled outside. The two men with weapons trained on them and his bodyguards stayed. We were all watching each other closely waiting for someone to make the move that sent this situation to hell in a hand basket. The bodyguards started it up again as the one on his right placed herself between me and her charge. He swung his aim toward JD to get his other man clear. I threw both spikes I was holding, the first towards Dead Eyes head and the second towards his weapon. The first spike was intercepted by his bodyguard, burying itself to the grip in her neck taking her out of the fight as she grabbed her neck and fell. The second missed his gun as he swung his are to aim at JD. It glanced off his arm because of the angle it hit at. His shot didn’t hit JD cleanly, but clipped his ear as it went past him. JD spun away from the hit pulling his sword away with him allowing that man to act. The other bodyguard stepped up onto the chair and dove across the table at me with a blade in her hands while the man Sam was watching moved to spear George. The man who got clear of JD’s drawn sword started to draw weapons from under his coat. Sam was of course pissed at me and I’d pay for it later because I had given her only one choice of action in the situation. Sam and I had been fighting side by side for some time and she took my safety as being more important than her own, but when I put Ynara under my protection she had no choice but to get her to safety and leave me in this fight.
JD moved quickly, closing back in with the man he had been guarding. JD positioned himself so that the man he faced was between the boss’s weapons and himself. As the man drew his weapons on JD, he was moving to try and get him into a cross fire. JD took one hand off the hilt of his sword extending it towards his opponent and spoke, “Present Firing Pins.” There were suddenly two small objects in his palm that he dropped to the floor before taking hold of the hilt again. The man brought both pistols in line with JD and pulled the triggers. They failed to fire. The man looked shocked at this and dropped the firearms. JD stepped into him swinging low with the sword he slashed into the man’s leg on the outside of his knee severing the muscles and tendons causing him to drop to the floor.
George took the spear without moving. The man that charged him obviously didn’t know what he just attacked. George grabbed the man by the arm twisting it up and behind his back hard enough that you could hear the bone snap over the noise of the fighting. He kicked the guy in the back of his knee causing him to fall to the floor. George held him there by placing his foot onto the back of one of his legs and shifting his weight onto it.
As the bodyguard came over the table at me I spun away to the side. While my reflexes were pretty good, she was better with that knife. It sliced into me, cutting a gash from just next to my spine around the right side under my ribcage. I’ve had similar injuries before and forced myself to ignore the pain for the moment. During the spin, I drew the knife I kept on my side. As her blade exited the flesh under my ribs, I drove my knife down at her waist severing her spinal cord. She landed poorly rolling across the floor with the hilt of my knife protruding from her back as she stopped against a couple of barstools. I stood to face the man who started all of this. My jeans and shirt ruined as blood flowed from my side down my leg onto the floor. I refused to let Dead Eyes see the pain I was in so I straightened up to my full height and looked him in the eyes.
The fight had only lasted a few seconds, and behind him Elayna stood with a Derringer pressed against his skull. His arms were raised and his sidearm was being held by Jarvis who as always was at his mistress’s side. I knew I’d pay for what I was about to do, but the reputation I and the club had about how we handled trouble would get a major boost from it. I walked around the table, feeling my muscles stretch and tear with every step I took. When I stood directly in from of him I looked in his eyes and spoke, “I gave you every chance to leave here and not cause trouble. You chose to ignore our reputation and my warning. I also told you exactly what I’d do if you didn’t leave.” I looked over my shoulder to see a pissed of Sam standing with Ynara. I nodded to same, letting her know I wanted her to come over here. She walked over behind him, grabbed him around the waist with one arm and using her other drew his head back and to the side exposing a long line of his neck to her. “You’re dead now, as is anyone in your crew who isn’t already dead or gone.” With that said Sam extended her fangs and bit down. She drained him fully while the surviving members of his group watched. We moved his body along with the rest of his survivors into one of the private rooms to be fed on by any vampire that wanted them. I didn’t like it very much but I kept my word once given. No one messes with the patrons in my place.
As soon as they were removed from the main bar area I headed for the stairs to our apartments. I knew that I’d be fine, but I couldn’t let my patrons know exactly what I was. Made them think about things before violating the rules. Once I got upstairs into the common room I grabbed a talisman I kept in there. I ran it over the wound, closing it instantly and repairing the damage under the surface as well. I set the talisman back where we kept and headed for my room to jump in the shower. Just as I entered the hallway and turned toward my room, Sam came up the stairs and decked me. She was being kind apparently because while it hurt the punch didn’t shatter my jaw. “Boss, if you ever do that to me again I will shatter your jaw. I know what you are and what you can do, but you aren’t any more immortal than me.” She spun on here heel and went out onto the catwalks over the club area to watch the dance floor. I’ll admit that I deserved the punch. I jumped into the shower and cleaned he blood off of me while a few members of my staff took care of cleaning up the bar. After the evening started the way it did, I decided to be prepared for any more trouble. I dressed in black jeans and a black silk shirt. I put on my holsters. I was a pure righty when it came to firearms. I carried three pistols, all of them 45s. One each in a shoulder, back and hip holster each loaded for different targets. Silver in the back in the event I had to deal with a Were creature, Tracer rounds for the Vampires in the shoulder rig and jacketed hollow points for all the rest in the one on my hip. Over those I slid my leather duster with my Benelli M3 Super 90 inside the front in a specially designed holster for it. This is the shotgun I would hang under the table when I sat there. I think that more than anything is why Sam punched me. If I’d had that from the beginning we’d have had less people to deal with during the fight and I’d likely not have been injured. I didn’t go back to tending the bar, I took my chair on the catwalk between the bar and club. I watch the people going about their lives and I’ll tell you a secret. Whether human, vampire, mage or anything else; they are all still people with personalities and lives. I wouldn’t let any of them be harmed while here. Once under my roof, you were my responsibility. Some would call me as much a monster as the vampires for handing the survivors over like that. I say that the choices we make every day make us monsters or not. My choice to provide a safe place for all people may not make me a saint but protecting those same people doesn’t make me or my people monsters.