July 06, 2001

Party at the Raven
by StormBorn

July 6th, 2001 Afternoon to 6PM

Party at the Raven by Molly/StormBorn and Mindi/Raven, with help from Kimmer

Molly was making marks on her clipboard when Mindi joined her and did a double-take at the line of equipment coming through the door. "Is that all going to fit in here?" she asked.

"Oh, sure. The serving stations will be lined up on that wall between the bar and the dance floor, and I had the guys cluster the tables on either side of the stairs. They've gone to pick up the decorations now. How are the horsies doing?"

"Great!" Mindi said enthusiastically. "That stable's downright luxurious! The best part of all, though, is Janette picking up the tab. She sure is generous. Hopefully we'll do all right at the show.... How's Bill?"

"Snuggled up in his little sleepy-sack, like a good lizard. I tracked down a good source of cow brains for him, so he's happy. Coffee and tea station's here--good. Hors d'oeuvres, check. Dessert station...now, where's the blasted juice-and-smoothie bar?"

"Anything I can do to help?"

"You can either inspect the stations to make sure everything we need is here in the way of equipment and supplies or call the caterers to double-check our orders. Which do you want?"

"Hand me the clipboard. I'm not going near a phone if I don't have to."

"Thanks a lot, buddy," Molly grumbled as she handed over her checklist.

"Hey, you used to be a secretary."

"And you still ARE," Molly shot back

"Customer Service Molly... BIG difference!" she replied giving her friend an evil grin

"Why do you think I quit?" Molly groaned

"Tut tut!" Mindi clucked at her miserable looking friend "Here, give me the phone, I'll check stuff out AND call the caterer... woe be to the one who would try and mess up THE War party of the Millennium!" Grinning like an idiot (since she was new at all this!) Mindi set off, talking a mile a minute in French with the caterer while scrutinizing the tables and stations set around The Raven....

"Aw, geez!" Molly slapped her forehead. "I completely forgot to set up the entrance." Pulling a tube of Manic Panic's 'Protect Your Pallor' sunscreen from her tote bag, she slapped a hasty coat over her face, throat and cleavage, and ran off to enlist some help. There was a bit of a struggle getting the roll of red carpet up the stairs and out the doors, but from there it unrolled beautifully. The velvet ropes were lined up next, and at the end of the carpet she firmly planted the sign that read, "Private Party. Dress Code Enforced."

A few hours later and the Ravenettes stood in a line while Janette surveyed their work approvingly. Jason and Alex, though initially resenting their assignment to decorating, had risen to the challenge, somehow obtaining dozens of realistic-looking black ravens which they'd perched around the club. They'd covered each table with snowy linen and a centerpiece of the darkest red roses they could find, tied with black velvet ribbons. Little packets of confetti moons and stars were scattered on the tables for the party attendees to play with. At one table was a fine china and silver place setting, with a place card reserving it for Kyer.

Proudly displayed above the bar hung a tapestry showing a certain Roman general in repose.

Janette did a careful walk through, raising an eyebrow and smiling at the array of goodies that awaited the guests. There was a gleaming commercial espresso and cappuccino machine with the appropriate tiny cups and the syrups on a table behind the tuxedo-ed waiter. Stainless steel thermal carafes held a variety of flavored and varietal coffees. Adjoining the coffee station was a tea station with a similar assortment, and then the hors d'oeuvres tables began. Lobster-stuffed mushrooms! Huge shrimp, carefully elevated over beds of ice! Three kinds of caviar and the toast points to go with them! Taquitos! Cocktail breads with a variety of meats and vegetables! Falafel and paellas and artichoke hearts and herring in sour cream and chilled asparagus spears and marinated mushrooms and... Janette smiled again as she picked up the elegant card that said, "Souvlaki available in the back room."

"Thank you," she said meaningfully.

Molly shrugged. "No garlic around vampires, and no lamb around *me*."

"Or me either!" Mindi agreed, wrinkling her nose at the thought.

Next came the cheese table, a RatPacker heaven of Swiss and Gouda, mild and sharp Cheddars, Limburger and Camembert and Havarti (with dill and without) and Jarlsberg. Accompanying the cheese selection were cheese crackers and cheese puffs and cheese curds, some goodies wrapped in brightly colored foils guaranteed to make any Ratpacker pleased!

Mindi grinned; she could almost hear the Ratpacker's saying "Oi! Looks nice, all pretty-shiny and ye kin eat 'em too!"

The dessert table, though, was the creme de la creme: everything that could be made out of chocolate was there, including in a place of honor, Ger's Chocolate Pizza, along with a splendid tiramisu. ("Got more tiramisu in the fridge?" whispered Kimmer, and the party-planners nodded.) For the less chocolate-addicted, there was baklava, sherry trifle and key lime pie.

"Wait!" Mindi cried, "Molly! Where's that cake server I had?"

"In the fridge I think..." Mindi rushed off to get it and returned with an absolutely stunning looking confection in white...

"What is that?!" was the chorus as greedy Ravenette eyes feasted upon it.

"White chocolate Decadence Cake" Mindi replied "I made it fresh this morning... White cake, whipped cream frosting in layers topped with fresh white chocolate curls..." Then she brought out yet another cake, this one four layers and of a deep color red... "Ta da! Red Velvet Cake!" Mindi said with a triumphant grin "Made that one last night!"

Molly moaned. "She cooks, she rides, she scuba-dives. Girl, you make me tired just looking at you."

The last station was the juice and smoothie bar. All the juices were certified organic, and there were even the more esoteric choices such as wheat grass and celery tonic.

"Excellent," purred the femme fatale of Toronto. "I am very pleased with you all."

The Ravenettes heaved a collective sigh and grinned a collective grin, and their mistress proclaimed, "Let the party begin!"


Subject: WAR: Ravenettes: Party at the Raven
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 09:44:53 -0000
From: "StormBorn" smolly4 [at] QWEST.NET
Reply-To: StormBorn smolly4 [at] QWEST.NET

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We Need a DJ
by Teresa

Friday, July 6th, 2001
shortly before the Raven Party --

Molly looked at the assembled Ravenettes, taking a last survey around the room. To her horror, she realized something was missing.

"Music!" she shrieked. "We forgot to get a band!".

Janette swiveled her bar stool around to face Molly and frowned. "Don't act like a fishwife. It's bad for your complexion. We have a sound system, one of you can act as DJ. We even had a Karaoke machine, didn't we, during the last war? Maybe it's down in the basement. Send the men to look for it".

Molly pointed at Alex and Jason, "You two, basement, NOW!". She looked at the remaining Ravenettes and selected two more victims. "Chanda, Teresa, help them look".

"Um, Molly, aren't there fledglings down there?", Teresa asked anxiously, sidling away from the evicted party planner. "You know, as in babies who bite?".

Kimmer opened a bottle of champagne, pouring herself the first glass. She looked at Molly's face and grinned. A floor show!

Molly turned a deeper shade of puce and drew in a deep, hissing breath, only to be interrupted by Janette.

"Of course there are fledglings down there. But unless you put your hands someplace they don't belong, they know all of you are off limits for biting". Janette paused briefly and shrugged an elegant shoulder. "Well, involuntary biting, that is".

Molly leapt into the discussion. Pointing a finger at Teresa, she said "Girl, you think too much! You need a job. You're the DJ. Go help the lads and Chanda, you'll need to make sure you have everything you need for tonight".

"DJ, Me? Ummmm, okay, but it's gonna be strictly by request only, unless you wanna hear a lot of Meatloaf". Teresa took a few steps backward, then turned and bolted for the basement.

She found the others cautiously spreading out through the wine racks. They kept their voices low, being careful not to trip over anything. It was no use. A long shipping crate suddenly opened from the inside to reveal Alma, who demanded, "What on earth do you think you're doing?".

Alex gave her his best smile and answered, "Janette sent us down to look for the Karaoke machine for the party tonight".

"Oh, right....party....PARTY! We have to get ready! Hurry up and get out of here so we can get ready!". Alma came out of her crate so fast no one saw her move. She stood beside it, one eyebrow raised as if wondering why they weren't already gone. "It's in that corner, hurry up!".

Alex and Jason grabbed the machine. Not pausing to blow off dust, they made for the stairs. Teresa and Chanda grabbed assorted cables and a box labeled "Karaoke" before booking up the stairs right behind the guys. The four of them were joined by Time, LeeAnn and Kaiya in the stage area to begin sorting through and setting up.

Chanda looked at Teresa and whispered, "I don't care if we're off limits for biting, I'm not messing with the fledglings".

Teresa looked up from the "All Request, All Night" sign she was painting to grin, "That was Alma. I'll bet she got roped into baby-sitting the fledglings. There are worse jobs than DJ".


Subject: WAR: Ravenettes: "We Need a DJ"
Date: Fri, 06 Jul 2001 20:06:52 -0600
From: kimmer kimmertom [at] qwest.net
To: forever knight fan fiction list FKFIC-L [at] lists.psu.edu

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Party at the Raven, Chapter 1
by kimmer

Friday, July 6, 2001

Kimmer slipped her purple heels on and headed to Lorna's room. She smiled when she saw her friend, despite her broken hip, had dressed up exquisitely, thanks to the help of her nurse.

A black, beaded scarf was wrapped around Lorna's walker to give it a festive flair. Even the nurse was decked out. "Everyone in Toronto knows there's a dress code when Janette throws a party!", Kimmer thought to herself, amused.

Lorna and Kimmer talked for a while, and then Kimmer headed down-stairs. Lorna needed extra time to get there, and Kimmer was anxious to get things rolling. Lorna's wonderful, competent nurse had everything under control for her friend, and Kimmer knew they would be at the party shortly.

Alex and Jason were quite handsome in their tuxes. Both of them smiled broadly when Kimmer mentioned the obvious. There had been that busy last-minute hustle to get the DJ booth and Karaoke machine together, and then all the Ravenettes had retired to dress. Now, they were all gathering in the club again.

Mindi handed Kimmer a glass of champagne, which she accepted gratefully. Molly came up to whisper, "What do you think about this Karaoke machine thingy?".

Kimmer giggled, knowing how Molly felt about Karaoke. "Molly, I tell ya what. We will allow our guests to use the Karaoke machine, if they choose, while we are having dinner. When dinner is over, it is strictly DJ and dancing music. After all, we didn't get all dressed up like this to listen to off-key people sing! We want to show off a bit!", she finished, winking.

Molly relaxed and appeared visibly happy for the first time in hours. She had done such a terrific job on the party planning, which Kimmer was quite grateful for. She was glad to see Molly finally able to relax and enjoy the fruits of her labor.

Kimmer walked over to the DJ booth, where Teresa was lining up the requests from the Ravenettes she had already received. She put her hand on Teresa's shoulder and gave it a quick squeeze. Teresa looked up, startled, she had been so involved in her selecting. "Hey, Teresa, relax! You look gorgeous! I know you will do a great job tonight, break a leg!". Teresa smiled back at Kimmer, and quickly got back to work.

Walking up to the front of the bar, Kimmer had a quick word with LeeAnn and Time. They were doing some last-minute flowers, yes, there were plenty of flowers, everywhere, but Ravenettes knew you could never have enough flowers--or earrings, or eyeliner, or shoes, or --

Claudia and Kaiya joined the group, heading for the bar to get their first drinks of the evening. Chanda opened another bottle of wine, and the tinkling of crystal became steady as the Ravenettes toasted one another, and their Dark Lady. Janette, Miklos and Alma joined them as they were raising their glasses, and, getting glasses of the House Special, joined the Ravenettes in celebrating their first party in almost two years at the Raven.

Janette, taking Kimmer and Molly each by the arm, led them to the door. "You all have done well today. Now, go greet your guests, and have a wonderful time!".


Subject: WAR: Ravenettes: Party at the Raven, Chapter 1
Date: Fri, 06 Jul 2001 20:56:05 -0600
From: kimmer kimmertom [at] qwest.net
To: forever knight fan fiction list FKFIC-L [at] lists.psu.edu

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Lizard, Come Home
by Molly/StormBorn

Half-smug, half-amazed, Molly gloated at herself in the mirror. She'd lost a lot of weight in the past year and a half, and the strapless leather ballgown clung to her like a glove. "Whaddaya think, Bill?" she asked. The baby lizard looked up at her and screeched in approval.

"Good lizard," she said, stooping to pat his back. "Don't have any lizard-themed jewelry, but I'll wear these just for you." She showed him the bronze choker in an entwined-snakes design and matching earrings, then slipped on her bronze snakeskin evening sandals. An hour of applying makeup later, and she was ready. "Nighty-night, Bill."

In response, he coiled himself up and tried to roll through the door; she blocked him just in time. "Oh, no, sweetie. Mommy's got to go to the party and you might scare the peoples. You stay here." A forlorn little screech echoed through the door as she went down the hall, but she ignored it.

Downstairs, the party seemed to have taken off fast. "Janette Jelly," inquired a Merc, offering her a little cupful.

"Just one, please," she said, popping it into her mouth. "Oooh, yummy!"

Making her way to the food, she loaded a plate with hors d'oeuvres and carried it over to the bar. "Make me an Assassin, please, Miklos."

"Poof, you're an Assassin."

"Urgh, that's *so* old."

"What's in it?"

"A shot of vodka, a shot of creme de cassis, and float a spoonful of kirschwasser on top."

"No girly drinks for you, eh?"

"I like to taste my booze." Lifting a toast point of Ossetra to her mouth, she paused in mid-bite...what had she just seen go past the open end of the bar? Probably nothing, she thought.


"Kezia! Wow, you look stunning in purple. Are you having a good time?"

She chit-chatted with her friend for a few moments, until Kezia excused herself. All the while she was thinking that she wouldn't have noticed whatever it was unless it was out of place. Miklos refreshed her drink and she took it over to sit with Kimmer and Mindi.

The clamor of the party chattered dimmed a little as they fired up the karaoke machine. "Oh, gods, you did tell them to limit it to a few hours, didn't you?"

"Don't worry." Kimmer patted her hand. "You'll get your chance to dance."

"They brought Elvii, Kimmer! Eeep!" Fortunately the others thought she'd shrieked at the very thought of Elvis impersonators, not because she'd felt the brush of armor-plated hide against her ankle. Hastily, she bent down to fish under her dress.

"What's wrong, Molly?" Mindi asked.

"Oh, er, nothing. Nothing." Bill wasn't down there anymore. Please, she thought, please don't let him go rolling across the dance floor right in front of everybody. If he was just looking for "Mommy," where had he gone? Think, think...

Her widdle wizard-izzums loved three things: snuggling, sleeping, and food. Well, he also seemed to like watching televised baseball, but that was something else. Food, she thought! "Huh?"

"I said, did you try my red velvet cake yet?"

"Uh, no, I haven't gotten to dessert yet." Nice opening, Mindi, she thought. Rising, she continued, "But I think I'm going back for more of the mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Be right back."

As she moved towards the serving stations, she tried to think. Bill ate animal innards--he'd steadfastly refused anything else she'd tried to feed him. The closest thing here that she could think of was the pate assortment. She lingered in front of the hors d'oeuvre table, casually asking the servers how everything was going, all the while she peered around them to see if she could catch site of her pet. "Is something wrong, madam?" one of the servers asked finally.

"Oh, no. It's nothing." She abandoned all thought of diving under the tables to look for the errant lizard. Just then she saw a familiar shape heading for the small room where the extra food was being kept. "Er, good job, carry on. Pip-pip," she added helpfully.

She sauntered over to the door, and stuck her head inside, screeching softly. No answer, and no sight of Bill. "Damn, he moves fast."

"My dear, is something the matter?" Odd how a French accent and a husky voice could make you jump.

"Er, no, Janette. Nothing. Why do you ask?"

"I see one of my petites with her head inside a door making odd noises..." That very expressive Gallic shrug.

"Just checking on things."

"Ah. I see." Janette gave her a suspicious glance, but she left, and Molly let out a little sigh of relief. Ducking down the hall, she went into the booth and closed the door behind her.

"What's up?" asked Teresa.

"Bill got out."

"Should I jump on the console and scream or something?"

"Oh, gods, no." Molly sank to the floor, burying her head in her hands. "I need another drink."

"Are you sure you haven't had too much already?"

"Thanks a lot." She clambered to her feet. "Well, if you see him...um...trap him in something and get a hold of me."

"Trap him in something? Molly, he's three feet long!"

"He's just a baby!" she wailed as she left to continue her search. Upstairs, downstairs, wine cellar, storage rooms. No Bill. Down in the subcellar a nasty thought occurred to her, and she pulled away a crate--muttering 'sorry' just in case--to expose the entrance to the tunnels.

No. She looked down at her shoes and sobbed. No. You can't do this to Mommy, Bill! She grabbed a box of candles from a nearby shelf, blew the dust off them, and went after her baby.

Time: early morning during the Raven party, July 6th

Molly looked again at her shoes, again at the tunnel, then once more at her shoes. No. No, Bill, wherever you are, you got yourself into this and you're just going to get yourself out. She dumped the box of candles back on the shelf and headed upstairs

Returning to the club, she saw that many of the guests had already left. Dang, she thought. Just my luck; I got to sit through most of the karaoke and missed most of the fun part. "Ahem," came a voice from behind.

Stifling a sigh, she turned to face her mistress.

"Your hair is a mess and you're covered with dust. *What* is going on?"

"I--I--" Molly started to sob. "Bill got loose and I missed most of the party trying to find him and I didn't get to dance although what does it matter as men don't seem to want to dance anymore and I still can't find him and I look awful! Waah!"

Janette tsked at her and, putting an arm around the poor Ravenette's shoulders, led her back to the guest quarters. "Now, now, cherie, there will be other parties. And your pet will come home to his mother, no? Yes, of course he will."

Just as they neared her door, they heard a shriek followed by laughter coming from Lorna's room. The vampire and the mortal looked at each other, then Janette tapped lightly on Lorna's door. "Oh, come in! You've *got* to see this!"

There, looking for all the world like the picture of blissful innocence, lay Bill in the middle of Lorna's hospital bed. "My nurse was just getting ready to help me into bed," she told them, "and there--we--he--" she started to laugh again.

"Bad lizard," scolded Molly. Scooping up her pet she apologized to Lorna, Janette and the nurse (who still looked a little dazed), and retreated to her room with as much dignity as she could muster.

Janette, however, followed her. "I'm beginning to see what the problem is," she began.

"Yeah...next time, no pets!"

"I am not talking about that. LaCroix is speaking in that vile gutter-trash vocabulary and Nicolas kept insisting he was Natalie all through the party. It seems that bodies are being switched."

"But...that's not possible, is it?"

Janette shrugged. "I want to warn mes petites. If this happens to the others, it can also happen to me. Please, protect me."

"I will, Mademoiselle!" Molly swore fervently. As the lovely vampire closed the door behind her, Molly sat on the bed dazed, rubbing her cheek against Bill's snout--until he screeched in her ear.

"Bed-time," she declared. "I'll think about this tomorrow."


Subject: WAR: Ravenettes: Lizard, Come Home
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 19:09:26 -0000
From: "StormBorn" smolly4 [at] QWEST.NET
Reply-To: StormBorn smolly4 [at] QWEST.NET

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