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[personal profile] paperninja69



Joshua walked down St. Charles with Nike on his arm, Cassie and Athena leading the way. It was nearly dusk and family has begun setting up their ladders and chairs so they would be ready when the parade came their way. Coolers, tables and canopies made makeshift kitchen areas and he looked twice when he saw a bar-be-que pit. Despite the biter cold that seeped to the bones, the revelers looked cheerful. Kids of all ages chased each other, even teenagers caroused. Here and there a football flew or a soccer ball skidded across the street.
“How come none of them look cold?” he asked Nike, shivering in his viking costume.
“Layers,” she answered, not at all looking half as chilly a viking as he did. “That and lots of drinking.”
He went back to watching the scenery as they went past. “I feel kinda silly. No one else is in costume.”
“That's because Bacchus' party is a costume-required event.” She grinned and pointed. “Look, we're almost there!”
He started to follow her finger when something connected with his head and he saw stars. A soccer ball rolled on the ground, it's pre-teen launcher coming by with a concerned look on his face. “Are you okay?” he asked. I'm really sorry!”
“He'll be fine,” Nike answered for him. “Here's your ball.”
The boy took the ball, his hands brushing Nike's. There was a brief spark and the boy smiled. “You have warm hands, lady.”
“Beats cold feet,” she replied.
The boy laughed and ran back to the game.
“What was that?” Joshua rubbed his face.
“A blessing.” She changed the subject. “There's the Hotel du Armand.”
Lanterns graced the patio in front of a grand stone building that looked part house, part hotel. He could see other people wandering around in costume. “What other gods will be there?”
“Beats me.” She shrugged. “He invites everyone.”
A Greek goddess and a viking were waiting for them at the gate. “You certainly took your time,” Cassie remarked, adjusting her toga.
“There was a soccer ball involved,” Nike explained.
“Whatever.” Athena too off her helmet and scratched her head before setting it back in place. “Let's go.”
A bored matire d yawned at them. “Names?”
“A viking hoard and a Greek goddess,” Cassie answered.
The man looked down, blinked then said . “You're on the list, please go in. Enjoy!”
They moved past the gate and Joshua was instantly warm. He sighed in contentment and allowed Cassie to steer him by the arm as his fellow vikings giggled on each other's shoulders.
Round tables were set at intervals, candles surrounded by purple, green and gold tinsel in the middle. A few people were outside, talking in small groups. “Who's the Elvis impersonator?” Joshua asked.
Cassie grinned. “That's Zeus. The woman in the poodle skirt is Hera.”
“He's very convincing.”
She shrugged. “Some say he took on Elvis back in the day to get the girls. Ever wonder how the man was so talented and humble then over night became a rampaging, over indulging asshole?” She laughed. “Let's get you a drink then I'll introduce you around. We're in neutral territory so no one will harm us.”
“You hope!” He laughed and let her guide him through the mahogany and beveled glass doors.

Inside was the stuff of dreams. Beautiful women, the sort seen in magazines, wearing nothing but plastic ivy and smiles giggled with party guests. One came up to them and dimpled. “Hi, my name's Maggie! What can I get you?”
Athena said something in Greek and Maggie's grin got bigger. “Of course, my lady. For the rest also?”
“Yes,” Nike said before Cassie could object.
Maggie bounced off. Cassie glared at Athena. “You, my dear, are in trouble.”
“Neutral ground,” Nike pointed out. “What can they do to you?”
“I'm more worried about my big mouth.” Cassie cut her eyes at the man with the shaven head posing in his superhero costume for a gaggle of giggling women.
“Who? Apollo?” Athena laughed. “Actually, I'm hoping you cut him down a peg. Which gives me an idea... Hey, anyone sees Eris let me know.”
Nike groaned and covered her eyes. “Love, you know I get the chills when you look for Our Lady Chaos.”
Athena wrapped an arm around her and kissed the top of her head. “Let's go find a place to sit.”
They wandered the room, Joshua trying to stop from openly gaping. Men and women were lounging on heaps of cushions and chaise lounges, being tended to by the servers and not just with food or drink. People stood in clusters, chatting lightly or dancing to the music in the background.
It was luck that they found a couch and two overstuffed armchairs by the plate glass window facing the street. Athena and Nike curled into the couch, leaving Cassie and Joshua to settle into the chairs. “I've never seen anything like this,” Joshua commented, dazed.
“Bacchanalia.” Nike waved her hand. “Seen one, seen them all.”
Maggie appeared out of nowhere balancing a tray on each hand. She set the tray of appetizers on the coffee table and handed each of them a glass of something dark purple in wine glasses. “Will there be anything else, my lord and ladies?”
“Yes.” Athena leaned forward. “Show him your face, child.”
Maggie smiled at Joshua and looked at Athena. “Anything else, my lady?”
Athena shook her head. “Your true face, child.”
The woman looked uncomfortable. “He's a mortal, gentle lady!”
Athena squeezed her hand. “I'll take the heat. Better he sees now than later when the wine hits him.”
“Agreed, wise lady.” Maggie hung her head and knelt in front of Joshua. She put her hands on his legs and looked up.
He would've screamed had Cassie not covered his mouth. Her face melted, revealing long pointed ears, yellow cat eyes and a mouth that was too wide to be human. Her features were soft and sharp at the same time. To his surprise her hair changed to a brown the color of autumn leaves.
He moved Cassie's hand aside. “Thank you. I think you're true face is far more beautiful than that mask.”
Maggie's yellow eyes flashed. The grin nearly took off her ears. “Thank you, my lord..”
“We will call if we need you,” Athena said pointedly.
Maggie winked and disappeared into a brownish mist.
Joshua fell off his chair. “WHAT-”
Nike kicked him. “HUSH!” she hissed. “We broke the rules bringing you!”
“Technically, no. I invited him.” An older heavy set man dressed as Bacchus inched his way on the couch. “Greetings all of you, thank you for coming. Well played, young man. Nymphs love flattery. You've made yourself an ally.” He smiled at the glasses. “You've ordered my wine! Have you tried it yet?”
“No.” Nike sipped hers. Her face lit up and she made nosies usually reserved for things that don't involve clothes. “VERY nice!”
He smiled. “Glad you like it. It's my finest.” He held a hand out to the stunned Joshua. “Bacchus, by the way. You're Joshua, Cassandra's companion. A true pleasure, my boy.”
Joshua shook his hand. “How do you know me?”
He winked. “If I told you my secrets then I would no longer be a mystery to you, would I?” He smiled at a memory. “Too bad my last wife never learned that...”
Athena giggled, snorting her wine.
Bacchus swatted her leg. “Impudence!” he said in mock anger. “Such a lack of respect for my wine! You must pay the toll!”
She rolled her eyes and tilted her face up. They kissed briefly and he licked his lips. “Mm, taste different that way.” He frowned to himself than grinned. Oh, sweet one, you've given me an idea.” He giggled and left them.
Joshua watched him go. “I feel like I missed something...”
The women laughed. “Drink your wine!” Cassie encouraged. “This is a night for revelry! Don't try to understand everything!”
“For sanity's sake, anyways!” Nike laughed.
They toasted each other and drank deep.
Joshua felt like warm water had been poured over his body. Every care or worry was washed away, every trace of anxiety and fear were gone leaving only a joy and peace. He leaned back in his chair and sighed. Before they could stop him, he finished the glass in a gulp.
“Oh, this'll be fun!” Athena cackled.

For Joshua, the night passed in a series of pretty lights and colors. He remembered Maggie finding out it was his first Mardi Gras and dragging him outside to watch the parade with her and the other nymphs. He found himself screaming like a fool for the plastic beads and trinkets that rained down on them.
He vaguely remembered Bacchus introducing him to a rather famous movie star who was the grand marshal of the parade. The man looked as though he had drank a bottle of the wine god's brew and laughed at everything. He was eventually covered in nymphs and dragged off to a corner.
Cassie never looked so relaxed. Every care was gone, she screamed like the rest of them at the colorful floats that went past. She laughed with Athena and Nike, the three of them hanging on each other to keep from falling.
He was grateful for Nike's suggestion that they get a room because walking seemed a bit overdone. They giggled their way up to their suite, giving Joshua the couch and the three of them taking the huge bed hidden behind double doors.
Joshua was about to fall asleep when he felt a soft hand touch his face. Maggie leaned over him, smiling. He never said a word, just grabbed her.

Joshua sat up straight, wide awake. The details of the suite came to him in the afternoon sun. Plush carpet, Louis XIV furniture and French doors leading to a balcony. The doors to the bedroom were still closed.
He stood up, starting to gather his clothes when he found a folded piece of paper with his name on it.
“My lord,” he read to himself. “Last night was wonderful. It's rare to find a human who treats us with respect and not like animals. I will treasure our time. Enclosed is a gift. If you have need of me, for whatever reason, hold this and say the name you know me by out loud. Yours.”
Within the note was a dried iris, perfectly preserved.
He sat down and stared at it for a long time before going to search for coffee.

Joshua walked down St. Charles with Nike on his arm, Cassie and Athena leading the way. It was nearly dusk and family has begun setting up their ladders and chairs so they would be ready when the parade came their way. Coolers, tables and canopies made makeshift kitchen areas and he looked twice when he saw a bar-be-que pit. Despite the biter cold that seeped to the bones, the revelers looked cheerful. Kids of all ages chased each other, even teenagers caroused. Here and there a football flew or a soccer ball skidded across the street.
“How come none of them look cold?” he asked Nike, shivering in his viking costume.
“Layers,” she answered, not at all looking half as chilly a viking as he did. “That and lots of drinking.”
He went back to watching the scenery as they went past. “I feel kinda silly. No one else is in costume.”
“That's because Bacchus' party is a costume-required event.” She grinned and pointed. “Look, we're almost there!”
He started to follow her finger when something connected with his head and he saw stars. A soccer ball rolled on the ground, it's pre-teen launcher coming by with a concerned look on his face. “Are you okay?” he asked. I'm really sorry!”
“He'll be fine,” Nike answered for him. “Here's your ball.”
The boy took the ball, his hands brushing Nike's. There was a brief spark and the boy smiled. “You have warm hands, lady.”
“Beats cold feet,” she replied.
The boy laughed and ran back to the game.
“What was that?” Joshua rubbed his face.
“A blessing.” She changed the subject. “There's the Hotel du Armand.”
Lanterns graced the patio in front of a grand stone building that looked part house, part hotel. He could see other people wandering around in costume. “What other gods will be there?”
“Beats me.” She shrugged. “He invites everyone.”
A Greek goddess and a viking were waiting for them at the gate. “You certainly took your time,” Cassie remarked, adjusting her toga.
“There was a soccer ball involved,” Nike explained.
“Whatever.” Athena too off her helmet and scratched her head before setting it back in place. “Let's go.”
A bored matire d yawned at them. “Names?”
“A viking hoard and a Greek goddess,” Cassie answered.
The man looked down, blinked then said . “You're on the list, please go in. Enjoy!”
They moved past the gate and Joshua was instantly warm. He sighed in contentment and allowed Cassie to steer him by the arm as his fellow vikings giggled on each other's shoulders.
Round tables were set at intervals, candles surrounded by purple, green and gold tinsel in the middle. A few people were outside, talking in small groups. “Who's the Elvis impersonator?” Joshua asked.
Cassie grinned. “That's Zeus. The woman in the poodle skirt is Hera.”
“He's very convincing.”
She shrugged. “Some say he took on Elvis back in the day to get the girls. Ever wonder how the man was so talented and humble then over night became a rampaging, over indulging asshole?” She laughed. “Let's get you a drink then I'll introduce you around. We're in neutral territory so no one will harm us.”
“You hope!” He laughed and let her guide him through the mahogany and beveled glass doors.

Inside was the stuff of dreams. Beautiful women, the sort seen in magazines, wearing nothing but plastic ivy and smiles giggled with party guests. One came up to them and dimpled. “Hi, my name's Maggie! What can I get you?”
Athena said something in Greek and Maggie's grin got bigger. “Of course, my lady. For the rest also?”
“Yes,” Nike said before Cassie could object.
Maggie bounced off. Cassie glared at Athena. “You, my dear, are in trouble.”
“Neutral ground,” Nike pointed out. “What can they do to you?”
“I'm more worried about my big mouth.” Cassie cut her eyes at the man with the shaven head posing in his superhero costume for a gaggle of giggling women.
“Who? Apollo?” Athena laughed. “Actually, I'm hoping you cut him down a peg. Which gives me an idea... Hey, anyone sees Eris let me know.”
Nike groaned and covered her eyes. “Love, you know I get the chills when you look for Our Lady Chaos.”
Athena wrapped an arm around her and kissed the top of her head. “Let's go find a place to sit.”
They wandered the room, Joshua trying to stop from openly gaping. Men and women were lounging on heaps of cushions and chaise lounges, being tended to by the servers and not just with food or drink. People stood in clusters, chatting lightly or dancing to the music in the background.
It was luck that they found a couch and two overstuffed armchairs by the plate glass window facing the street. Athena and Nike curled into the couch, leaving Cassie and Joshua to settle into the chairs. “I've never seen anything like this,” Joshua commented, dazed.
“Bacchanalia.” Nike waved her hand. “Seen one, seen them all.”
Maggie appeared out of nowhere balancing a tray on each hand. She set the tray of appetizers on the coffee table and handed each of them a glass of something dark purple in wine glasses. “Will there be anything else, my lord and ladies?”
“Yes.” Athena leaned forward. “Show him your face, child.”
Maggie smiled at Joshua and looked at Athena. “Anything else, my lady?”
Athena shook her head. “Your true face, child.”
The woman looked uncomfortable. “He's a mortal, gentle lady!”
Athena squeezed her hand. “I'll take the heat. Better he sees now than later when the wine hits him.”
“Agreed, wise lady.” Maggie hung her head and knelt in front of Joshua. She put her hands on his legs and looked up.
He would've screamed had Cassie not covered his mouth. Her face melted, revealing long pointed ears, yellow cat eyes and a mouth that was too wide to be human. Her features were soft and sharp at the same time. To his surprise her hair changed to a brown the color of autumn leaves.
He moved Cassie's hand aside. “Thank you. I think you're true face is far more beautiful than that mask.”
Maggie's yellow eyes flashed. The grin nearly took off her ears. “Thank you, my lord..”
“We will call if we need you,” Athena said pointedly.
Maggie winked and disappeared into a brownish mist.
Joshua fell off his chair. “WHAT-”
Nike kicked him. “HUSH!” she hissed. “We broke the rules bringing you!”
“Technically, no. I invited him.” An older heavy set man dressed as Bacchus inched his way on the couch. “Greetings all of you, thank you for coming. Well played, young man. Nymphs love flattery. You've made yourself an ally.” He smiled at the glasses. “You've ordered my wine! Have you tried it yet?”
“No.” Nike sipped hers. Her face lit up and she made nosies usually reserved for things that don't involve clothes. “VERY nice!”
He smiled. “Glad you like it. It's my finest.” He held a hand out to the stunned Joshua. “Bacchus, by the way. You're Joshua, Cassandra's companion. A true pleasure, my boy.”
Joshua shook his hand. “How do you know me?”
He winked. “If I told you my secrets then I would no longer be a mystery to you, would I?” He smiled at a memory. “Too bad my last wife never learned that...”
Athena giggled, snorting her wine.
Bacchus swatted her leg. “Impudence!” he said in mock anger. “Such a lack of respect for my wine! You must pay the toll!”
She rolled her eyes and tilted her face up. They kissed briefly and he licked his lips. “Mm, taste different that way.” He frowned to himself than grinned. Oh, sweet one, you've given me an idea.” He giggled and left them.
Joshua watched him go. “I feel like I missed something...”
The women laughed. “Drink your wine!” Cassie encouraged. “This is a night for revelry! Don't try to understand everything!”
“For sanity's sake, anyways!” Nike laughed.
They toasted each other and drank deep.
Joshua felt like warm water had been poured over his body. Every care or worry was washed away, every trace of anxiety and fear were gone leaving only a joy and peace. He leaned back in his chair and sighed. Before they could stop him, he finished the glass in a gulp.
“Oh, this'll be fun!” Athena cackled.

For Joshua, the night passed in a series of pretty lights and colors. He remembered Maggie finding out it was his first Mardi Gras and dragging him outside to watch the parade with her and the other nymphs. He found himself screaming like a fool for the plastic beads and trinkets that rained down on them.
He vaguely remembered Bacchus introducing him to a rather famous movie star who was the grand marshal of the parade. The man looked as though he had drank a bottle of the wine god's brew and laughed at everything. He was eventually covered in nymphs and dragged off to a corner.
Cassie never looked so relaxed. Every care was gone, she screamed like the rest of them at the colorful floats that went past. She laughed with Athena and Nike, the three of them hanging on each other to keep from falling.
He was grateful for Nike's suggestion that they get a room because walking seemed a bit overdone. They giggled their way up to their suite, giving Joshua the couch and the three of them taking the huge bed hidden behind double doors.
Joshua was about to fall asleep when he felt a soft hand touch his face. Maggie leaned over him, smiling. He never said a word, just grabbed her.

Joshua sat up straight, wide awake. The details of the suite came to him in the afternoon sun. Plush carpet, Louis XIV furniture and French doors leading to a balcony. The doors to the bedroom were still closed.
He stood up, starting to gather his clothes when he found a folded piece of paper with his name on it.
“My lord,” he read to himself. “Last night was wonderful. It's rare to find a human who treats us with respect and not like animals. I will treasure our time. Enclosed is a gift. If you have need of me, for whatever reason, hold this and say the name you know me by out loud. Yours.”
Within the note was a dried iris, perfectly preserved.
He sat down and stared at it for a long time before going to search for coffee.

Joshua walked down St. Charles with Nike on his arm, Cassie and Athena leading the way. It was nearly dusk and family has begun setting up their ladders and chairs so they would be ready when the parade came their way. Coolers, tables and canopies made makeshift kitchen areas and he looked twice when he saw a bar-be-que pit. Despite the biter cold that seeped to the bones, the revelers looked cheerful. Kids of all ages chased each other, even teenagers caroused. Here and there a football flew or a soccer ball skidded across the street.
“How come none of them look cold?” he asked Nike, shivering in his viking costume.
“Layers,” she answered, not at all looking half as chilly a viking as he did. “That and lots of drinking.”
He went back to watching the scenery as they went past. “I feel kinda silly. No one else is in costume.”
“That's because Bacchus' party is a costume-required event.” She grinned and pointed. “Look, we're almost there!”
He started to follow her finger when something connected with his head and he saw stars. A soccer ball rolled on the ground, it's pre-teen launcher coming by with a concerned look on his face. “Are you okay?” he asked. I'm really sorry!”
“He'll be fine,” Nike answered for him. “Here's your ball.”
The boy took the ball, his hands brushing Nike's. There was a brief spark and the boy smiled. “You have warm hands, lady.”
“Beats cold feet,” she replied.
The boy laughed and ran back to the game.
“What was that?” Joshua rubbed his face.
“A blessing.” She changed the subject. “There's the Hotel du Armand.”
Lanterns graced the patio in front of a grand stone building that looked part house, part hotel. He could see other people wandering around in costume. “What other gods will be there?”
“Beats me.” She shrugged. “He invites everyone.”
A Greek goddess and a viking were waiting for them at the gate. “You certainly took your time,” Cassie remarked, adjusting her toga.
“There was a soccer ball involved,” Nike explained.
“Whatever.” Athena too off her helmet and scratched her head before setting it back in place. “Let's go.”
A bored matire d yawned at them. “Names?”
“A viking hoard and a Greek goddess,” Cassie answered.
The man looked down, blinked then said . “You're on the list, please go in. Enjoy!”
They moved past the gate and Joshua was instantly warm. He sighed in contentment and allowed Cassie to steer him by the arm as his fellow vikings giggled on each other's shoulders.
Round tables were set at intervals, candles surrounded by purple, green and gold tinsel in the middle. A few people were outside, talking in small groups. “Who's the Elvis impersonator?” Joshua asked.
Cassie grinned. “That's Zeus. The woman in the poodle skirt is Hera.”
“He's very convincing.”
She shrugged. “Some say he took on Elvis back in the day to get the girls. Ever wonder how the man was so talented and humble then over night became a rampaging, over indulging asshole?” She laughed. “Let's get you a drink then I'll introduce you around. We're in neutral territory so no one will harm us.”
“You hope!” He laughed and let her guide him through the mahogany and beveled glass doors.

Inside was the stuff of dreams. Beautiful women, the sort seen in magazines, wearing nothing but plastic ivy and smiles giggled with party guests. One came up to them and dimpled. “Hi, my name's Maggie! What can I get you?”
Athena said something in Greek and Maggie's grin got bigger. “Of course, my lady. For the rest also?”
“Yes,” Nike said before Cassie could object.
Maggie bounced off. Cassie glared at Athena. “You, my dear, are in trouble.”
“Neutral ground,” Nike pointed out. “What can they do to you?”
“I'm more worried about my big mouth.” Cassie cut her eyes at the man with the shaven head posing in his superhero costume for a gaggle of giggling women.
“Who? Apollo?” Athena laughed. “Actually, I'm hoping you cut him down a peg. Which gives me an idea... Hey, anyone sees Eris let me know.”
Nike groaned and covered her eyes. “Love, you know I get the chills when you look for Our Lady Chaos.”
Athena wrapped an arm around her and kissed the top of her head. “Let's go find a place to sit.”
They wandered the room, Joshua trying to stop from openly gaping. Men and women were lounging on heaps of cushions and chaise lounges, being tended to by the servers and not just with food or drink. People stood in clusters, chatting lightly or dancing to the music in the background.
It was luck that they found a couch and two overstuffed armchairs by the plate glass window facing the street. Athena and Nike curled into the couch, leaving Cassie and Joshua to settle into the chairs. “I've never seen anything like this,” Joshua commented, dazed.
“Bacchanalia.” Nike waved her hand. “Seen one, seen them all.”
Maggie appeared out of nowhere balancing a tray on each hand. She set the tray of appetizers on the coffee table and handed each of them a glass of something dark purple in wine glasses. “Will there be anything else, my lord and ladies?”
“Yes.” Athena leaned forward. “Show him your face, child.”
Maggie smiled at Joshua and looked at Athena. “Anything else, my lady?”
Athena shook her head. “Your true face, child.”
The woman looked uncomfortable. “He's a mortal, gentle lady!”
Athena squeezed her hand. “I'll take the heat. Better he sees now than later when the wine hits him.”
“Agreed, wise lady.” Maggie hung her head and knelt in front of Joshua. She put her hands on his legs and looked up.
He would've screamed had Cassie not covered his mouth. Her face melted, revealing long pointed ears, yellow cat eyes and a mouth that was too wide to be human. Her features were soft and sharp at the same time. To his surprise her hair changed to a brown the color of autumn leaves.
He moved Cassie's hand aside. “Thank you. I think you're true face is far more beautiful than that mask.”
Maggie's yellow eyes flashed. The grin nearly took off her ears. “Thank you, my lord..”
“We will call if we need you,” Athena said pointedly.
Maggie winked and disappeared into a brownish mist.
Joshua fell off his chair. “WHAT-”
Nike kicked him. “HUSH!” she hissed. “We broke the rules bringing you!”
“Technically, no. I invited him.” An older heavy set man dressed as Bacchus inched his way on the couch. “Greetings all of you, thank you for coming. Well played, young man. Nymphs love flattery. You've made yourself an ally.” He smiled at the glasses. “You've ordered my wine! Have you tried it yet?”
“No.” Nike sipped hers. Her face lit up and she made nosies usually reserved for things that don't involve clothes. “VERY nice!”
He smiled. “Glad you like it. It's my finest.” He held a hand out to the stunned Joshua. “Bacchus, by the way. You're Joshua, Cassandra's companion. A true pleasure, my boy.”
Joshua shook his hand. “How do you know me?”
He winked. “If I told you my secrets then I would no longer be a mystery to you, would I?” He smiled at a memory. “Too bad my last wife never learned that...”
Athena giggled, snorting her wine.
Bacchus swatted her leg. “Impudence!” he said in mock anger. “Such a lack of respect for my wine! You must pay the toll!”
She rolled her eyes and tilted her face up. They kissed briefly and he licked his lips. “Mm, taste different that way.” He frowned to himself than grinned. Oh, sweet one, you've given me an idea.” He giggled and left them.
Joshua watched him go. “I feel like I missed something...”
The women laughed. “Drink your wine!” Cassie encouraged. “This is a night for revelry! Don't try to understand everything!”
“For sanity's sake, anyways!” Nike laughed.
They toasted each other and drank deep.
Joshua felt like warm water had been poured over his body. Every care or worry was washed away, every trace of anxiety and fear were gone leaving only a joy and peace. He leaned back in his chair and sighed. Before they could stop him, he finished the glass in a gulp.
“Oh, this'll be fun!” Athena cackled.

For Joshua, the night passed in a series of pretty lights and colors. He remembered Maggie finding out it was his first Mardi Gras and dragging him outside to watch the parade with her and the other nymphs. He found himself screaming like a fool for the plastic beads and trinkets that rained down on them.
He vaguely remembered Bacchus introducing him to a rather famous movie star who was the grand marshal of the parade. The man looked as though he had drank a bottle of the wine god's brew and laughed at everything. He was eventually covered in nymphs and dragged off to a corner.
Cassie never looked so relaxed. Every care was gone, she screamed like the rest of them at the colorful floats that went past. She laughed with Athena and Nike, the three of them hanging on each other to keep from falling.
He was grateful for Nike's suggestion that they get a room because walking seemed a bit overdone. They giggled their way up to their suite, giving Joshua the couch and the three of them taking the huge bed hidden behind double doors.
Joshua was about to fall asleep when he felt a soft hand touch his face. Maggie leaned over him, smiling. He never said a word, just grabbed her.

Joshua sat up straight, wide awake. The details of the suite came to him in the afternoon sun. Plush carpet, Louis XIV furniture and French doors leading to a balcony. The doors to the bedroom were still closed.
He stood up, starting to gather his clothes when he found a folded piece of paper with his name on it.
“My lord,” he read to himself. “Last night was wonderful. It's rare to find a human who treats us with respect and not like animals. I will treasure our time. Enclosed is a gift. If you have need of me, for whatever reason, hold this and say the name you know me by out loud. Yours.”
Within the note was a dried iris, perfectly preserved.
He sat down and stared at it for a long time before going to search for coffee.

Joshua walked down St. Charles with Nike on his arm, Cassie and Athena leading the way. It was nearly dusk and family has begun setting up their ladders and chairs so they would be ready when the parade came their way. Coolers, tables and canopies made makeshift kitchen areas and he looked twice when he saw a bar-be-que pit. Despite the biter cold that seeped to the bones, the revelers looked cheerful. Kids of all ages chased each other, even teenagers caroused. Here and there a football flew or a soccer ball skidded across the street.
“How come none of them look cold?” he asked Nike, shivering in his viking costume.
“Layers,” she answered, not at all looking half as chilly a viking as he did. “That and lots of drinking.”
He went back to watching the scenery as they went past. “I feel kinda silly. No one else is in costume.”
“That's because Bacchus' party is a costume-required event.” She grinned and pointed. “Look, we're almost there!”
He started to follow her finger when something connected with his head and he saw stars. A soccer ball rolled on the ground, it's pre-teen launcher coming by with a concerned look on his face. “Are you okay?” he asked. I'm really sorry!”
“He'll be fine,” Nike answered for him. “Here's your ball.”
The boy took the ball, his hands brushing Nike's. There was a brief spark and the boy smiled. “You have warm hands, lady.”
“Beats cold feet,” she replied.
The boy laughed and ran back to the game.
“What was that?” Joshua rubbed his face.
“A blessing.” She changed the subject. “There's the Hotel du Armand.”
Lanterns graced the patio in front of a grand stone building that looked part house, part hotel. He could see other people wandering around in costume. “What other gods will be there?”
“Beats me.” She shrugged. “He invites everyone.”
A Greek goddess and a viking were waiting for them at the gate. “You certainly took your time,” Cassie remarked, adjusting her toga.
“There was a soccer ball involved,” Nike explained.
“Whatever.” Athena too off her helmet and scratched her head before setting it back in place. “Let's go.”
A bored matire d yawned at them. “Names?”
“A viking hoard and a Greek goddess,” Cassie answered.
The man looked down, blinked then said . “You're on the list, please go in. Enjoy!”
They moved past the gate and Joshua was instantly warm. He sighed in contentment and allowed Cassie to steer him by the arm as his fellow vikings giggled on each other's shoulders.
Round tables were set at intervals, candles surrounded by purple, green and gold tinsel in the middle. A few people were outside, talking in small groups. “Who's the Elvis impersonator?” Joshua asked.
Cassie grinned. “That's Zeus. The woman in the poodle skirt is Hera.”
“He's very convincing.”
She shrugged. “Some say he took on Elvis back in the day to get the girls. Ever wonder how the man was so talented and humble then over night became a rampaging, over indulging asshole?” She laughed. “Let's get you a drink then I'll introduce you around. We're in neutral territory so no one will harm us.”
“You hope!” He laughed and let her guide him through the mahogany and beveled glass doors.

Inside was the stuff of dreams. Beautiful women, the sort seen in magazines, wearing nothing but plastic ivy and smiles giggled with party guests. One came up to them and dimpled. “Hi, my name's Maggie! What can I get you?”
Athena said something in Greek and Maggie's grin got bigger. “Of course, my lady. For the rest also?”
“Yes,” Nike said before Cassie could object.
Maggie bounced off. Cassie glared at Athena. “You, my dear, are in trouble.”
“Neutral ground,” Nike pointed out. “What can they do to you?”
“I'm more worried about my big mouth.” Cassie cut her eyes at the man with the shaven head posing in his superhero costume for a gaggle of giggling women.
“Who? Apollo?” Athena laughed. “Actually, I'm hoping you cut him down a peg. Which gives me an idea... Hey, anyone sees Eris let me know.”
Nike groaned and covered her eyes. “Love, you know I get the chills when you look for Our Lady Chaos.”
Athena wrapped an arm around her and kissed the top of her head. “Let's go find a place to sit.”
They wandered the room, Joshua trying to stop from openly gaping. Men and women were lounging on heaps of cushions and chaise lounges, being tended to by the servers and not just with food or drink. People stood in clusters, chatting lightly or dancing to the music in the background.
It was luck that they found a couch and two overstuffed armchairs by the plate glass window facing the street. Athena and Nike curled into the couch, leaving Cassie and Joshua to settle into the chairs. “I've never seen anything like this,” Joshua commented, dazed.
“Bacchanalia.” Nike waved her hand. “Seen one, seen them all.”
Maggie appeared out of nowhere balancing a tray on each hand. She set the tray of appetizers on the coffee table and handed each of them a glass of something dark purple in wine glasses. “Will there be anything else, my lord and ladies?”
“Yes.” Athena leaned forward. “Show him your face, child.”
Maggie smiled at Joshua and looked at Athena. “Anything else, my lady?”
Athena shook her head. “Your true face, child.”
The woman looked uncomfortable. “He's a mortal, gentle lady!”
Athena squeezed her hand. “I'll take the heat. Better he sees now than later when the wine hits him.”
“Agreed, wise lady.” Maggie hung her head and knelt in front of Joshua. She put her hands on his legs and looked up.
He would've screamed had Cassie not covered his mouth. Her face melted, revealing long pointed ears, yellow cat eyes and a mouth that was too wide to be human. Her features were soft and sharp at the same time. To his surprise her hair changed to a brown the color of autumn leaves.
He moved Cassie's hand aside. “Thank you. I think you're true face is far more beautiful than that mask.”
Maggie's yellow eyes flashed. The grin nearly took off her ears. “Thank you, my lord..”
“We will call if we need you,” Athena said pointedly.
Maggie winked and disappeared into a brownish mist.
Joshua fell off his chair. “WHAT-”
Nike kicked him. “HUSH!” she hissed. “We broke the rules bringing you!”
“Technically, no. I invited him.” An older heavy set man dressed as Bacchus inched his way on the couch. “Greetings all of you, thank you for coming. Well played, young man. Nymphs love flattery. You've made yourself an ally.” He smiled at the glasses. “You've ordered my wine! Have you tried it yet?”
“No.” Nike sipped hers. Her face lit up and she made nosies usually reserved for things that don't involve clothes. “VERY nice!”
He smiled. “Glad you like it. It's my finest.” He held a hand out to the stunned Joshua. “Bacchus, by the way. You're Joshua, Cassandra's companion. A true pleasure, my boy.”
Joshua shook his hand. “How do you know me?”
He winked. “If I told you my secrets then I would no longer be a mystery to you, would I?” He smiled at a memory. “Too bad my last wife never learned that...”
Athena giggled, snorting her wine.
Bacchus swatted her leg. “Impudence!” he said in mock anger. “Such a lack of respect for my wine! You must pay the toll!”
She rolled her eyes and tilted her face up. They kissed briefly and he licked his lips. “Mm, taste different that way.” He frowned to himself than grinned. Oh, sweet one, you've given me an idea.” He giggled and left them.
Joshua watched him go. “I feel like I missed something...”
The women laughed. “Drink your wine!” Cassie encouraged. “This is a night for revelry! Don't try to understand everything!”
“For sanity's sake, anyways!” Nike laughed.
They toasted each other and drank deep.
Joshua felt like warm water had been poured over his body. Every care or worry was washed away, every trace of anxiety and fear were gone leaving only a joy and peace. He leaned back in his chair and sighed. Before they could stop him, he finished the glass in a gulp.
“Oh, this'll be fun!” Athena cackled.

For Joshua, the night passed in a series of pretty lights and colors. He remembered Maggie finding out it was his first Mardi Gras and dragging him outside to watch the parade with her and the other nymphs. He found himself screaming like a fool for the plastic beads and trinkets that rained down on them.
He vaguely remembered Bacchus introducing him to a rather famous movie star who was the grand marshal of the parade. The man looked as though he had drank a bottle of the wine god's brew and laughed at everything. He was eventually covered in nymphs and dragged off to a corner.
Cassie never looked so relaxed. Every care was gone, she screamed like the rest of them at the colorful floats that went past. She laughed with Athena and Nike, the three of them hanging on each other to keep from falling.
He was grateful for Nike's suggestion that they get a room because walking seemed a bit overdone. They giggled their way up to their suite, giving Joshua the couch and the three of them taking the huge bed hidden behind double doors.
Joshua was about to fall asleep when he felt a soft hand touch his face. Maggie leaned over him, smiling. He never said a word, just grabbed her.

Joshua sat up straight, wide awake. The details of the suite came to him in the afternoon sun. Plush carpet, Louis XIV furniture and French doors leading to a balcony. The doors to the bedroom were still closed.
He stood up, starting to gather his clothes when he found a folded piece of paper with his name on it.
“My lord,” he read to himself. “Last night was wonderful. It's rare to find a human who treats us with respect and not like animals. I will treasure our time. Enclosed is a gift. If you have need of me, for whatever reason, hold this and say the name you know me by out loud. Yours.”
Within the note was a dried iris, perfectly preserved.
He sat down and stared at it for a long time before going to search for coffee.

dammit!

Date: 2008-12-05 02:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] premabast.livejournal.com
Why didn't I get an invite to this party?

Wait a minute --- I think I've been there. Recently. ;)

>^,,^< //

Re: dammit!

Date: 2008-12-06 12:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geisha-kitten69.livejournal.com
Uh, PICTURES PLEASE AND THANK YOU!!! :-P

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