La Femme Punisher property of and used with permission.
Ryu property of
Taking place in the setting
Tatiana Romanov, better known to the patrons of her club by her stage name "Madame Darkness", watched as the smoke from her cigar rose slowly into the air. Although Club Sin was subject to the same city ordinances as any other entertainment establishment, including the citywide ban on smoking; no one seemed to notice the buxom, barely-dressed brunette as she enjoyed her custom-blended cigar. In fact, a keen observer watching carefully might notice that no one seemed to notice her at all. At least not consciously. For some reason patrons of the club avoided her table and the area around her in general. When Tatiana walked through the club, even during its most crowded times people seemed to make way for her without even realizing they were doing so. And the reason for it was simple, because she wished it. And inside the walls of the Club Sin complex, her will reigned supreme. When Tatiana wished it, she could walk through the crowds utterly naked and totally unseen.
There were times when she liked to move unseen throughout her club. This allowed her to sample the atmosphere with her enhanced senses, to feel the pulse of the crowd and the current of life moving within the throngs of club-goers. And while the sprawling collection of interconnected buildings that comprised Club Sin offered all manner of entertainment options; from mundane disco and dance clubs to some of the most risqué strip clubs and sex shows and all manner in between, it was this corner of a simple bar that Tatiana liked the best. Something about the mix of acoustics and psychic currents that seemed soothing to her. The Russian noblewoman picked up the tumbler filled with brandy and took a sip. Closing her eyes, she reached out with her senses. As the brown liquor slipped past her tongue she could see, could feel the hands of the workers picking the grapes from the vines centuries ago. Her nose was filled with the fruity aroma as the peasants stomped the fruits of the vine and collected the sweet juices. It was replaced by the damp mustiness as the wine aged in its casks, gaining flavor and potency. Her mind’s eye as filled with experience of the wine, as it was transformed into a superb brandy fit for royalty. And it complimented her custom rolled cigar perfectly. With the aftertaste of the brandy on her tongue, she took a long slow puff of her cigar, delighting in the interplay of flavors of alcohol and tobacco.
It was a busy night for Club Sin. Tatiana smiled as she expanded her awareness to include that of her twelve lieutenants. Using the powerful psychic connection she shared with them, she was able to see through their eyes and feel what they felt. From Erik working in the main kitchen overseeing the chefs to Celeste upstairs in one of the private suites helping "convince" Councilman Jennings to vote in favor of the Universal Omnitech proposal for corporate extraterritoriality. Tatiana concentrated harder; she could feel the councilman’s hips buck as he drove his manhood deeper into Celeste’s skilled mouth. Tatiana drew out a tiny sampling of the official’s psychic energy, using her bond with her lieutenant as a conduit. It tasted of ambition and lust, with just a hint of corruption and greed to give it a spicy flavor. Consuming the spark of energy like a bee consumes nectar, the Russian noblewoman’s lips curved into a smile. She took just enough to make him more pliable and open to suggestion. Celeste’s sweet lips and honeyed words would do the rest to assure Jennings would vote the way she desired. Not that this was actually her desire. This, like so many of the things she did, was to gain favor. Or more specifically in this case repay a favor and clear a debt.
A nagging prickling at her awareness drew her concentration to the burlesque club in building 4. Like an out of tune instrument in a band, its discordant feeling drew her attention. Someone, in this case members of the Shang Tong and the Pelucci Crime Family were staring at each other from across their tables. Already her bouncers were closing in on the area, in case physical restraint was required. Tatiana watched as a free round of drinks arrived for both groups, distracting them from their mutual hostility. It was enough to take the edge off and allow the magic of Club Sin work to discourage any further aggression. This feature helped enforce Club Sin as neutral ground for people to come and meet. Tatiana encouraged this as it was helpful in keeping abreast of the various factions in Angel Falls and at times acted as a safety valve. Having a place where enemies were forced to talk rather than fight had already prevented several gang wars and outbreaks of wider violence in the city streets. Tatiana was always willing to set aside a room where adversaries could meet and talk, for a price of course. Usually it was nothing exorbitant; just a promise to behave, and a small favor to be named at a future date. Even the metahumans of the city respected the neutrality of her establishment. Those that didn’t, well
that was another matter entirely. There was always someone who refused to get with the program.
Tatiana smiled as she took another slow puff on her cigar. She remembered the last time someone had tried to commit violence in her club. Francine Castella, known on the streets as the vigilante La Femme Punisher, had tried repeatedly to sneak a weapon into the club in an attempt to reach Victor Gazzi. Grazzi was a high level boss in the Angel Falls organized crime hierarchy. After running afoul of the magical wards which instantly alerted the door men of anyone carrying a weapon, Francine tried a different tactic. Entering the club unarmed, she slowly worked her way closer and closer to her target. The vigilante had been careful to control her body language and thoughts, enough so she avoided triggering any magical warnings. Finally she was within striking distance of Grazzi. Acting with a quickness that stunned Grazzi’s bodyguards, she grabbed a champagne flute and smashed it on a table, the jagged glass stem transformed into a makeshift dagger. Leaping at her target before the club’s bouncers had a chance to intervene; the Punisher triggered the club’s magical safeguards.
There was a bright flash of light followed by a deep darkness more complete than the loss of lighting could explain. A few moments later the lights returned to reveal an empty space where Francine had been standing. The lighting failure was explained away as an electrical disruption by the club’s MC, with free drinks and free lap dances offered to distract everyone from the Punisher’s disappearance.
As for La Femme Punisher, she was blinded by the bright flash and subsequent darkness as well. The blindness was accompanied by a wave of nausea and vertigo. When it cleared Francine found herself on a barge carrying medical waste that was being towed out to sea. And just to prove that Tatiana had a sense of humor, Francine discovered she was wearing a giant pink bunny suit, one with no external zipper or fasteners. After finally returning to Angel Falls, the vigilante found she was unable to get past the doors of the club. Not surprising given that by triggering the magical wards she had been marked with an arcane sigil that stood out to every door man and security guard.
Taking another sip of her brandy Tatiana turned her thoughts from sociopathic vigilantes to more pleasant matters. Matters like her guest for this evening. She reached up to stroke the pendant nestled in the deep valley of her cleavage. To the casual observer it might seem like nothing more than a large and exceptionally beautiful opal. In reality it was much much more. A piece of highly polished dragon scale, bound with powerful spells and charms of its own. It served as a potent magic focus, even when she was outside the club. Even inside the club, it would serve as a beacon for her guest. It’s nature made it difficult to hide from one of his kind, even with the enchantments laid into the walls and floors of Club Sin. Not that she was trying to hide from him; it was very much the opposite. Tatiana licked her lips in anticipation of his arrival. Even now, she felt him enter the club, the door men admitting him without pause, as per her instructions. Her lips curled into a smile that was equal parts seductress and predator. As she felt him approach, one word escaped her lips.
To Be Continued....
Jack Matthews I really need to make another visit. Between her and Kimberly, I honestly don't know who's the better in bed. Hm, maybe I should bring the misses along next time.
I also liked how you ended it which left much to the imagination of where the night was heading for Tatiana after seeing the Draconic member of the Guardians enter the club.
Looking forward to Part II