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All Out Of Blood
July 11th, 1889 — The Golden Hearth Theatre

With tickets at a sickle a pop for the night's entertainment there was no telling what kind of riffraff the Golden Hearth would drudge up from the slums of Hogsmaede and beyond. However, one thing was certain: tonight hosted a mischievous bunch. During the opening act three blokes got into an all out fister that sent the lot of them over the balcony and crashing into a vacant table below them. Griphook didn't care what their excuse was, he wanted them out, and with a little effort on William's part that was that, oh but the trouble had just started.

The second act, the poor juggler got more than he could handle when rotten tomatoes went flying. This was all per norm if the audience didn't care for the view, but what wasn't expected was when one of the men turned to the bar where Nanny was dealing out the booze. "oy! Look at that! Reckon it's the ugliest thing I've ever seen!" Cried one man, his female companion laughed and chimed in, "Yeah! Let's dress her up!" And then the rotten produce went flying at poor Nanny, part hag and unable to help how she looked.  Griphook pulled out his wand and sent a few good rotten tomatoes flying back at them from the corner he stood in marking them in red, "Will get 'em outta here!" He barked, before going over to the bar to check on Nanny who was in quite a mood.

Meanwhile Felicity, hearing more commotion than usual moved to the front of house as the third act took stage, "What's all this?" She asked with a frown and a bit of concern at seeing Nanny all upset and covered in red gunk. Griphook was about to speak before Nanny shut him down, "Nothing, don't worry about it." She said in a bit of a huff. Felicity didn't quite believer her but with a breath gave a nod, "Well, good, because I've got three siamese sister acrobats fixing to go on that are in the middle of a breakdown because Missy's hair doesn't look like Milly and Molly's!" She rushed back stage and it was on with the show.

Nanny gave a smile and a nod, "Well on with it I say." She looked to Griphook who gave her another concerned look before going back to manning the front of house. The part hag gave a bit of a hmph her smile faltering as she went to scrub the bar with an old rag grumbling and muttering under her breath. She didn't take kindly to foul mouthed arses like the ones they had tonight, but she didn't want Miss Gallagher to be pulled away from the work at hand. Polish polish, scrub scrub. At least there would be one part of the wooden bar that would be squeaky clean.

Tag: @Ishmael

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Sometimes one needed a little more entertainment than the Hog’s Head could offer.

It didn’t hurt, either, that the Golden Hearth allowed Ishmael to blend in still better; what was one vampire amongst a whole gaggle of halfbreeds and oddities? Almost no one would bother to notice him there. (Ishmael did like being noticed, usually, but one in a while - especially when debutantes had recently been discovered dead and drained - the anonymity was a relief.)

There had been other targets for people’s attentions tonight, it seemed, and not just those on stage either. Ishmael had only been half paying attention to the commotion, too lazy to actually get involved; instead, he waited until he thought it had all died down before he slunk over to the bar (in his own interests). He was thirsty. Either the bar would have something for him, or he would have to find a willing donor amongst the audience here tonight.

The part-hag, if that was what she was, at the bar had been drenched in red earlier. The tomato had struck something in Ishmael, stirred up memories of how he and his kind looked from time to time. Him, starving and messy in the woods of America, a little overeager in 1790s France here and there; he hadn’t seen his own reflection, of course, but he had always been able to imagine it - perhaps from seeing Azazel once upon a time, drenched in blood in a white nightgown like something truly unholy.

Ishmael settled on a barstool, not entirely able to suppress a smirk at the bartender, furiously scrubbing away. “You missed a spot,” he said nonchalantly, gesturing not at the bar but at her hair, where a streak of red still lingered.

Nanny shot the pale faced patron a glare as he pointed to her thinking it was another jab at her less than perfect complexion. "MISSED A SPOT!? MISSED A SPOT!? I'LL GIVE YOU A SPOT TO MISS!" She had enough, and she was going to show this leech and everyone else a thing or two, "You miserable leech! You long tooth corpse humper! You anemic twat--"

As Nanny went off on the poor wretch Griphook ran to the door heading to backstage, "Code Hag! Code Hag!" Felicity groaned. "What now?!" Her cheeks were beginning to flush a tender red as she stepped back out before the patrons who had now turned their gaze away from the stage and towards the bar. Her own eyes widened, "Oh no!" She quickly moved back stage and hoped to be able to make it around to the bar before--

Nanny pulled out her wand. It sparked and flared in the reflection of her anger. Granted this wasn't the woman's finest hour, but everyone had a breaking point. Felicity burst through the back door, "NANNY NO!" Was she too late?

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If Ishmael had only paid more attention to the antics earlier, he might’ve known the bartending woman was touchy. (He supposed all hags were touchy: it was the ugliness. Fortunate, he supposed, that he’d been turned into a vampire, and not anything else. Even for a dead man, that was not something he much had to face.)

Of course, Ishmael being Ishmael, even if he had predicted her touchiness, there was still no telling whether he would have been able to keep his mouth shut. The lure of a good quip was just too much to resist - even if that meant the part-hag’s barrage of insults (anemic twat, that was a good one) was unleashed. And followed, as it was, by something a little less entertaining to him, as things went: a jet of light from the end of a wand-tip.

His only defence for these things was moving too fast to be caught in the crossfire, but that only worked when he had seen it coming. As it was, Ishmael was launched backwards, flying off the stool and landing with a loud thud on the floor a few metres back. It was not a comfortable sensation, being at the end of the knockback jinx, but Ishmael suspected the floor might’ve suffered just as much as he - he was heavier than he looked.

Blinking back the dizziness from his new spot on the floor, Ishmael’s eyes settled vaguely on whoever-it-was, the woman who had come in yelling, a sentiment that had come too late to save him. Her face swam above him for a moment. “...Fabulous service you have here,” he offered wryly.

Felicity lips remained in a perfect, 'O' which her mouth covered as the vampire fell back with a thud. Her eyes were equally wide. "Oh, oh, oh no...no no!" She looked over to the part hag vampire and hissed, "To the kitchen!" She then looked back to the vampire leaning over the bar to get a better look, "Mister? Mister are you ok?" She asked, legitimate worry in her voice.

It was one thing for her patrons to hurt each other, it was quite another thing for her eployees to hurt the patrons, and without fault no less. She heard him speak and a smile came in relief, enough to dazzle any man given half the look in her direction. "Good, brilliant, what can I get you on the house? You'll have to excuse Nanna she can be a bit touchy."

She made no offer to help the man up, that would require jumping over the bar, and he didn't appear that dire, a headache she figured, but who didn't have one of those on the daily?.

She was certainly a sight for sore eyes. His eyes weren’t all of him that was sore from that fall; though not nearly sore enough to make a fuss about it, sadly. “Fine, fine,” Ishmael said with a fang-baring sardonic grin, as he sat up. “I’ll live.” In a sense.

He drew himself up and casually brushed himself off, not deterred enough to reclaim his barstool there, opposite from the charming brunette. Who was now offering him anything he wanted, or just short - well, if she had anything he fancied, that was.

“How about blood?” Ishmael suggested, wondering whether this was a fool’s errand. None of other places in Hogsmeade tended to have blood as a beverage on tap - and unless he wanted to beg the Ministry for it, Ishmael usually went direct to the donor. “Not the hag’s,” he joked with a friendly enough laugh, an assurance that he wasn’t out for revenge.

She smiled and even giggled at his remark about living, "So you shal." Her hourglass figure, thanks to the corset, not that she needed much help in the looks department, swept back around the bar. She looked over to him head tilting as she awaited an answer, exposing her long slender neck.

"Blood it is. Always have some on tap around here, though not of the best quality. Hard to find a good donor for the stuff, but what will it be pigs blood or plague blood?" Plague blood was slum term for blood drained from an ill person just before their death, cholera victims and the like, though sometimes it would stem from a victim ill of mind, locked up in some asylum.

"Sure wish I could find some decent blood stock though, think I could corner the market on vampiric entertainment." There weren't many places that catered to beings and half breeds, but that was what the Golden Hearth was all about. Beings were not beasts, and half breeds were still human.

Hard to find a good donor for the stuff. “You’re telling me,” Ishmael put in with a cheerful laugh - though a dark look did cross his face for a brief instant. Because it was getting harder these days, even with all the contacts he’d chalked up over the last decade; he knew this was down to the spurt of vampire killings, the growing paranoia amongst wizardkind; and he also knew that was, in large part, down to Azazel being out of control.

“I’ll take the pig’s blood, if you don’t mind,” Ishmael proclaimed, with a charming smile. Animal blood did little enough to sustain him, but you could always taste the plague blood for what it was, and it was a sorry imitation of someone living, someone healthy. Not quite as sickening as werewolf-infected blood, but...

He eyed the new - better-looking - barkeep up and down lazily, thinking it rather a shame she wasn’t offering her own blood on the house, with the way she was tilting her neck like that. “Oh, I’m quite sure you could,” Ishmael agreed, whetting his lips the more they went on about blood - and the longer he drank her in, too. His mouth stretched back into a smirk. “You’re already doing better than most.” At cornering the market, that was. (He was here, after all, and Ishmael, frankly, got out more than most of his kind.)

"Coming right up," She said and grabbed a heated mug. Slender fingers wrapped around the crimson colored nob on the bar tap and with a flex of the arm she pulled it down. Warm liquid gushed into the mug filling the air with the scent or iron until she let up and brought it over filled to the brim.

"5 Knuts," The half veela said placing it in front of him. Deep brown eyes poured into his for but a moment before she leaned forward, gaze cast about the room. There was a sigh and as her chest heaved her bosom swelled beneath her corset, sharing a bit of exposed. Words followed and brought out meandering thoughts, "Shame there isn't someone around here who could hook a girl up, if there was he or she could make a fortune and always have a share of the supply, on the house."

Her gaze returned to him. Fingers brushed back a few stray strands exposing her neck yet again and then she smiled. It was a brilliant smile, each bit of white between her plump pouty lips a pearl in and of itself. "If there is anything else I can get you, please, let me know." She stood up and went to tending to the rest of the bar as he wasn't the only thirsty individual sitting there with money to waste.

The smell of blood - any blood, even pig’s - was too overpowering for Ishmael to notice much else until he had the warm mug in hand and was tipping it down his throat. He might have a hundred years and change of experience, but some things never changed. No one ever thought of thirst in the way they thought of Sisyphus, of Prometheus, doomed to repeat their hells day after day, but being a slave to bloodlust was much the same. Like the pain of thirst, stranded in a desert wasteland. It didn’t matter how much one drunk. One could never sate it.

Once Ishmael had slaked his thirst enough to set down the mug - he felt a little shaky, which to him was a sign that he hadn’t fed recently enough, and would have to sooner rather than later, since animal’s blood would wear off in a flash - he recalled what the new bartendress had been saying, doing, even looking like in those moments that had slipped away from him.

Ishmael, gathering himself, spun a coin idly on the bartop and gave her another glance to draw her over again, in her own time. “I thought it was on the house?” Ishmael started, raising his eyebrow contemplatively at how her story had changed. A mistake, maybe, or a casual attempt to fleece him of five knuts - but she had promised him the drink as an apology about Miss Hag over there, hadn’t she? But he waved that off, as if to say he was joking, that he didn't especially care.

Because Ishmael was less inclined to squabble over petty knuts than to consider her... proposition, if that was what it was. (Business proposition; he didn’t think her heaving bosom had been anything more than window-dressing.)

“Do you get many vampires here?” He asked in her a low, if interested tone. He had means of supply enough to share if he liked, but sometimes it seemed smarter to hoard it for himself. That said, Ishmael did like to think himself a good investor in the fates of vampires who chose not to stray too close to the Ministry, and so this might even be a little like philanthropy.

It wasn't the sight of him gulping down blood that had her looking at him in puzzlement it was the part that came next, about the drink itself being on the house. Felicity blinked once, twice, frowned, and then cocked her head to the side before realization kicked in. "Oh! Oh! Right sorry, uhm keep your knuts, I mean those knuts, in your hand, I mean," She sighed and tried to start over. "Yes the drink is still on the house. I just get word vomit because I live here and this is all I do day in and day out..." The last of that statement came a bit weathered, but she sighed letting the noise carry such troubles off into wayward silence.

She was glad when he waved it off. Glad, when he asked her something that her muddled brain seemed quite capable of handling. "Yes, yes we do actually. The whole reason uhm my brother and I and those left over from the Golden Spectacle put this place together is to give beings and half breeds a place of refuge, you know?" There was a kindness in her eyes, as though she might understand a hint of his suffering. "Nobody like's rough music, you know? And certainly nobody that comes here deserves torches and pitchforks." Lovely deep eyes took hold of his, seeking a connection without her realizing it. Damn Veela blood.

Ishmael had snorted sympathetically at the start of her excuses, though the amusement faded a little when she explained herself; all I do day in and day out... Somehow, he was more intrigued than he had been before. She had let her guard down for a moment there, shown something behind the alluring sheen.

And she had been alluring already, inescapably so. Ishmael had seen his fair share of people - had been attracted to his fair share of people - and, admittedly didn’t have especially high standards (a warm body was a warm body, after all, and that alone was a novelty when one was as cold as the grave), but she had a magnetism about her that one rarely felt.

It was still not the most interesting thing about her, not when she began speaking again about her brother and she, and what they had created with this place. It was not the idealism of it that hooked him, no, but merely the novelty of it, the novelty of it coming from someone who was not necessarily a vampire. Ishmael, to put it lightly, hadn’t often bothered to consider the plight of other beasts, beings and halfbreeds. (He was a little too self-absorbed for that, to be frank.)

“Well isn’t that a charming thought?” Ishmael remarked, tone caught somewhere between poking fun and pleasant surprise. “I don’t know, I might deserve a pitchfork or two,” he countered, with a teasing quirk of an eyebrow. “But what about you?” Ishmael continued in a low tone, gazing at her with dark eyes, wanting his suspicions confirmed, wanting to see more of the real her. “Why so concerned for the rest of us? You’re not... quite human either, are you?”

A mischievous giggle could not be helped as he spoke of his own just deserts, "I'd hardly agree with that." Was she flirting? Why was she flirting?! Had it been that long? No not really, but then again why not? He wasn't half bad looking, and he hadn't tried to put his hands on her yet. Big doe eyes took in the hunter at large and she sucked in her bottom lip giving it a nibble as she considered him, but his next question snapped her out of the game at hand. He asked to see her cards, well damn where was all the fun in that?

She gave a bit of a pfft "Right I forget, your dead all over so what's between your legs can't detect a thing." She shook her head, silly her, what was she thinking? "I'm half veela. So all the cursed beauty with none of the big and scary. Fantastic ain't it?" Her tone was dry and filled to the brim with sarcasm.

Her mood shifted like a topsy turvy breeze in early Fall playing with the leaves, "Well as I said this place is an offshoot of the Golden Spectacle, a traveling caravan that was slaughtered because they were magical and also different...The muggles thought us devils, and the wizards saw no need to save us." She sighed as her fingers went to play with the rag, insecurities seeping forth, not that many saw beyond the cloak of beauty. "Feel I owe it them, because who else will?" She quickly wiped her cheek and then fanned herself faining heat in her own silent misery.

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Graphics by Lady <3
He laughed at her first response, and then inclined his head to survey her when she admitted - with a sardonic flash - to being half-veela. Personally, Ishmael felt Veela got the easy end of the stick; an ugly temper and an eternal beauty without even the hassle of having to drink anyone’s blood to keep at it. Sure, she might be right, she had none of the big and scary - but Ishmael had not been entirely joking about the pitchforks.

And the half-veela had an interesting story to explain this place and her role in it, anyway. A part veela with a bleeding heart! How unusual. Wasn’t beauty supposed to make people cruel?

Perhaps it was her nature that saw her juggling personalities, down-to-earth barmaid for the night with the bleeding heart, seductress to damsel and right back again. Ishmael liked to think he had gauged her well enough, and could pick apart the realness from the embroidery of her - mostly because he wove so many stories for himself.

“Well aren’t you a wondrous saviour of the damned?” Ishmael remarked, watching her fidget with a rag and go to wipe at her cheek with a silent intentness. Perhaps fanning herself was just another move of embellishment, but he took advantage of the natural iciness of his pale skin to reach out and still her, by putting a cool hand briefly on her own. He wasn’t sure if he was offering a show of support, an ally of halfbreeds and beings, or making another move in this part-game of flirting, but as he thought about it, he couldn’t help but smirk. “It makes a change for me, you know,” he confessed to her in turn, in a low sort of purr. “I’m usually the only predator in the room. I’m not used to being the prey.”

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