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 Halls of ECHO: December 2042

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kissofdeath
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Registration date : 2009-03-22
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Name: Amaranth Viper
Age: 23
Blood Rank: Pure Blood

PostSubject: Halls of ECHO: December 2042   Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:13 am

Throughout the building of Experimental Construction of Hierarchy Operations, various witches and wizards dressed in white lab coats were hard at work, all hovering over bubbling cauldrons, sizzling smoke blasters, and various clipboards. Despite the fact that the holidays were fast approaching, it seemed ECHO was oblivious to the changing season, so focused and determined were the researchers who operated it. Viggo Kaminski watched his surroundings with amazement as he walked with his mother, Amaranth Viper, who was talking nonstop about plans for a party the company was apparently having, which Viggo strongly suspected was merely all for show, in an effort to raise more money for research. Still, nonetheless, he humored his Mother, nodding every now and then, occasionally replying with a "I agree with you completely, Mum.". He thought he was doing rather well until his Mother seemed to catch on and decided to test him, asking him his opinion on something or another, to which he gave his default answer.

"Viggo, do you realize what I just asked you?" Viper asked with a raised raven eyebrow,

"Erm, yes, of course... you, er, asked my opinion on what beautiful dress you should wear to the party?" he ventured sheepishly, still feeling much like a small child with his hand caught in the cookie jar despite being past graduating Hogwarts. Perhaps it were due to years of being the babied youngestborn of his parents, particularly during a time when his Mother was experiencing an "Empty Nest Syndrome" with her children rapidly growing and branching out, thus causing her to shower extra attention and affection on Viggo. Hoping to add a bit of charm to his ramble of idiocy, he added brightly. "Which, I must say is an oddity of a question. You always look beautiful, Mama."

Emerald orbs rolled, but the affection within them and the accompanying smile remained at the antics of her youngest born. He was so like his Father. "I just asked you if for the party you intended on showing up dressed in your Great-Grandmother Ivanna's large, pink, furry mink coat with a matching skirt and make-up color scheme. And apparently you agreed." she replied with laughter permeating through her words.

Comprehension and a light flush appeared upon the boy, as still, much like his proud forebears, he still endeavored despite the blows. "I'm... making a new fashion statement?" he asked with a goofy grin. "I wuv you, Mama..." he added playfully in an affectionate tone.

His Mother smiled, replying with a playful swat to the back of his head. "Really, Viggo. It took thirteen hours to get you into this world, and a hell of alot effort even before then. The least you could do is listen and hold a simple conversation with me. Especially with something as important as the Christmas Party's preparations."

Viggo sighed, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. His Mother seemed to love that guilt card of her's. Why wouldn't she, though? After all, it always worked, especially on him. He was a Mama's boy, after all. "Very well, I'm sorry Mum. All right, I'm listening." He stood taller and straighter, though in a light joking manner, to show that he was serious.

Viper shook her head with humor at the display, though nonetheless ventured onward. "Well, as I was saying, everything is all set up and ready, so all you need to do is to show up with your brothers and sisters, looking nice and presentable."

"Ok, nice, and presentable, so that means no neon green suit. Got it." he replied in affirmation, giving Viper a thumbs up in confirmation.

Viper smiled in response. "Definitely. As much as I hate half the people who's status in the Ministry grant them an automatic invitation to the party, I'd rather not have you blind them. At least, not until after we get their donations and cash in the galleons." she laughed lightly, along with her son before a thought hit her. "Oh, that reminds me. You remember Stefan's daughter Lydia, don't you?"

"Sure. Tall chick, dark hair, dark personality, pale. Yeah, rings a bell." he replied, remembering the mentioned girl and their shared experiences at Hogwarts,

"Good, she'll be attending as well. Keep her company, will you?" his Mother asked in a gentle, yet noticeably prodding manner.

Inwardly, Viggo groaned. He knew where his Mother was getting at. Whenever she mentioned those exact words, it was always a matchmaking scheme of her's, Slytherin style with all chosen girls having met her "criteria". Normally, he would have complied and even be excited, wondering if the girl was pretty, but... not this time around. While he had kept it a secret for very good reasons, he was currently involved with someone. Someone who wasn't a girl like his Mother constantly set him up with, but rather, a woman. A woman who was guaranteed to be the very last thing his Mother would want him with, yet nonetheless was one Viggo couldn't, in all honesty, imagine or live his life without.

"Mum, I'm not looking for a relationship right now..." he trailed off with a shrug.

"I know, for whatever reason that might be. You haven't been in, or desired one for a while, which is why now relationships are looking for you." Determined to get her way, Viper stepped closer to her son. Despite the fact he was a young man and nearly half a foot taller, she cupped his face within two of her hands, something she often did when she wanted her son to do something that, as a child, he stubbornly refused to, which had carried unto adulthood.

"Viggo, listen to me. I know how hard this past year as been for you. Fate has been absolutely horrid to you, and I am sorry, but darling, you cannot keep living in the shadows. Trust me, I know. I was in the same position as you were when ECHO first died. But you know what saved me?"

"What?" he asked with genuine curiosity, despite being slightly irked at her gesture. It was rare that her Mother ever spoke of her past, so when she did he was always listening sharply.

"Your father." she replied with a simple smile. "Knowing that there is more than a career, that there's someone who can make you feel the way your Father does and always will for me can give you the greatest healing touch. Remember that, will you?" she pressed a motherly kiss to his forehead and gave her son a hug before heading off to the Floo network to get ready for the party. "Look, I'm not asking you to marry the girl, just spend an evening with her and see what happens, alright?"

"Alright." he reluctantly agreed to at least meet Lydia, as a friend, the corners of his mouth twitching as his Mother blew him a kiss and ventured onward to the family home. He had taken his words to heart, finding them to be true, and determined to bring himself back to life, though this time, with someone by his side. His only hope was that when he did reveal the identity of the woman who was everything to him, his Mother and family would show only approval. He could live with society, both Muggles, and Wizards alike scorning at the two. The disapproval of his family? That was another story.


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sub_rosa
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Name: Sevastyan Kaminski
Age: 34
Blood Rank: Pure Blood

PostSubject: Re: Halls of ECHO: December 2042   Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:58 am

*At ECHO*

A potion boiled heartily upon its burner, an ominous purple-black brew. The fire glowed a brilliant but devious amber. A clipboard was clutched in the wizard’s hand and propped against his ribs, complete with a sleek ebony quill hovering above the parchment jotting down Stefan Althaus’s mental musings and calculations. Various sheets of parchment detailing the formula and in-depth chemical make-up of the potion were scattered around the magical burner. The fire was specially charmed not to ignite parchment... a piece of magic that was constantly required in this particular wizard’s workspace.

He had been here at an hour so late at night it was almost early morning, having been unable to sleep any further. The wizard hadn’t even bothered to shave or anything. Thank Merlin this wasn’t a trial-testing date! Not that he really cared about how he looked. But Stefan wasn’t about to besmirch the reputation of his sister-like figure’s reinstated research facility, and he wouldn’t let anyone else do so either provided he could get away with it.

Glancing up at the nearest clock, Stefan blinked with surprise. It had seemed to him like it was still about 4 hours earlier. With a second examination of the potion, the wizard reluctantly ceased the fire and gathered his formulas and notes. Ever uncertain an unwanted meddler would attempt to tamper with his work, Stefan carefully transfigured, hid, and locked away his writings. The potion was too volatile to treat similarly. To counteract this, he placed a simple note-card to stand sentry that read: Highly Volatile Potion! Approach with EXTREME caution!

Satisfied everything was safe and secure, yet easy to locate for one Amaranth Viper should she require his materials in his absence, Stefan retreated from the lab in a slight hurry.

A smirk twisted the wizard’s lips at the sight of young Viggo Kaminski and the form of the lad’s mother retreating to the floo. Stefan made it a point to deliberately pass the wizard and nod in an unmistakable but silent greeting before ducking into the nearest floo to head home.


*Two Hours Until Party; Althaus Estate*

Stefan paced agitatedly throughout what was his and Irene’s bedroom, looking for all of the components of his dress robes, which he’d intended to wear to tonight’s Christmas party at ECHO. The family house-elf had a tendency to do these sorts of things to him, even when he had been a child. Only after muttering about beheading the elf – whom the wizard referred to as ‘Pinky’ in substitute for its real name, and the elf knew it – did the pieces begin to be a bit easier to find.

“Take these into the next room and keep an eye on them for me, won’t you, dear?” he asked the reanimated corpse of his wife, Irene. She did not verbally reply, but accepted the cloth pile of black with gray pin-stripes obediently and ducked into the specified room as told. Stefan, on the other hand, made a beeline for the side room in the opposite direction.


Today was just like every other day to Lydia Althaus, though with the singular highlight that it was just one more day closer to Christmas. Not that family holidays were things she really looked forward to lately. The witch had gone out with friends earlier in the day, and managed to get some of her shopping done despite being on edge about her brother’s condition while all alone in the Highever compound. Her father wouldn’t be at all pleased to know that in addition to her excursions she had even looked at some residences whose owners were renting at reasonable rates. How the young woman longed to be free of Althaus Estate and its mostly-insane owner and ghostly forebears!

Heading toward her room, the young witch noticed that the door to her father’s personal domain was abnormally left ajar. Since the death of Irene, Stefan had never left his door open. He never even allowed either Lydia or her brother to enter the room since that fateful day. It was all very suspicious to the witch, though she supposed her father feared one of them might avenge their mother’s death by bringing about his own demise. “Stefan?” she called, having no desire to refer to her father by a parental title. When silence met her instead of the usual shout to back away from the door, raven eyebrows rose in surprise. Had he really left the room and forgotten to close the door? Was it too much to hope for that perhaps he might have accidentally poured too much of his potions into his coffee this morning and simply keeled over upon heading to his bedroom? That did seem a trifle unlikely...

Curiosity getting the best of her, Lydia pushed open the door and took a tentative step inside.

Everything in the room was just as she last knew it to be: the double bed still possessed red-and-black linens featuring a spider web, with a gauzy curtain around it in a kind of canopy; her mother’s vanity complete with various perfumes and cosmetics, though some of her father’s colognes and assorted items littered the forefront; even where her mother’s slippers were placed upon her side of the bed remained. More intrigued, the young lady reached to pull the curtain out of the way in wonder if she’d find the imprint of where her mother laid her head or simply a pillow relatively untouched in the three years or so since the woman’s passing...

“What the hell do you think you’re doing in here?!” Stefan called sharply, not at all happy with his daughter’s intrusion. He stood in the side doorway which led to the bathroom, shirtless, with half a face full of shaving cream and wielding a rather ominous-looking straight razor.

Startled, Lydia jumped away from the bed and stared at her father in shock. It didn’t take her long to notice the razor in his hand, or the fact that there was a small stain of blood upon the metal. Darkly she wished her father would have a little accident one day while using the thing. “I... I called and you didn’t answer. So I came in,” she explained simply, shrugging to sum everything up.

Stefan eyed the girl suspiciously, then turned back to the mirror. “You should’ve waited,” he told her severely.

“Said by the wizard that doesn’t even know how to knock...” Lydia muttered with a roll of her eyes, making sure to keep her distance in case he attempted to hex or hurl something at her.

Contrary to his usual behavior and Lydia’s expectations, Stefan merely glanced over at her as he took the razor once again to his throat. “You need to start getting dressed. Takes you forever and a day to find something that suits your whims...” he said, voice only soft due to the fact that an extremely sharp object was flush against the skin of his neck.

A thought of “accidentally” bumping into Stefan’s arm came to Lydia’s mind... True to Slytherin form, however, she wasn’t quite brave enough to try to carry out this plan, lest it be her with a gash across her throat. Instead, she blinked at the words. “I am dressed,” she replied in the manner of explaining to a child that two and two equaled four.

“Not for the Christmas party, you’re not... or have you not been listening to a word I’ve said?” came the reply as Stefan rinsed off the blade, swearing under his breath in fluent German at the fact he’d once again nicked himself.

“You didn’t say anything to me about a party...” Lydia hedged warily, hoping maybe the lie would get her out of it.

“No? Well, I just did, then,” Stefan retorted, finishing up the last few swipes with the razor. He then pointed said implement at Lydia dangerously. “Amaranth Viper’s son, Viggo Kaminski, is going to be there. And you’re going to be in attendance as well, whether you like it or not. Last I heard he hadn’t anyone to accompany him, so I expect you to be on your best behavior and keep him company. Won’t you?” Stefan smirked upon seeing his daughter’s eyeroll in his peripherals. “Don’t gimme that... Go on, now: Go. Get. Dressed! Kai is in Damon’s more than capable hands-”

“I don’t trust him...” Lydia interrupted.

“I don’t care. He’s our only chance if you want Kai back to normal, so you’ll just have to deal with it. Now will you scram?! I’d like to get dressed sometime today,” Stefan snapped, gesturing at his half-clothed self to get the point across.

If looks were able to kill, Lydia probably would’ve murdered her father right there at being told what to do. Self-defense could have even been claimed, the way he was brandishing the straight razor at her. The witch stood completely still for ten seconds, debating whether to challenge the man she despised openly or be a bit more subtle about it. Eventually, subtlety won out. “Fine. At your age you shouldn’t really be walking around topless anyway... Gross...” she quipped before turning heel and storming out the door.

A muscle in Stefan’s cheek twitched in time with the scowl that appeared on his face. It was generally something that happened right before he cast a particularly nasty curse or did something extremely malevolent...

* * *

“Lydia! Will you hurry it up, for Merlin’s sake?! We’re going to be late!” he shouted through the door as he adjusted his dress robes and spider-shaped collar pin.

“Alright, fine! I’m ready... I guess,” she called back with no small amount of irritation. The door to Lydia’s room opened, and Stefan was about to head off down the hall when he spotted just precisely what his daughter was wearing:

The teenager had donned torn jeans, a Weird Sisters band shirt, a pair of boots that were by no means appropriate to be wearing to a dinner party, let alone a Christmas one, and had styled her hair quite outrageously. Stefan immediately slapped his palm to his forehead in pent-up frustration with his eldest child, tempted to wring the girl’s neck until her lips turned blue.

“What’s wrong?” Lydia asked her father with faux innocence, trying to hold back a laugh. She’d known precisely well she was supposed to have donned dress robes, but as usual enjoyed defying her father too much to obey him even for a second. It was risky, perhaps even life-threatening, but seeing his irritation and knowing he wasn’t getting the easy way out of parenting was worth it.

Stefan glared at Lydia with the same ferocity a bull eyes a red cloth before charging. “I said Christmas party, NOT rock concert!” he answered. Scowl firmly set upon his features, Stefan snapped his fingers to change Lydia’s attire into something more presentable: a bright emerald green gown with a low neckline and very little in the way of sleeves, with a silvery lace trim around every hemline, and even some across the skirt portion to subtly hint at a cobweb design... though could easily be mistaken for a ‘dusting’ of snowflakes. Upon her feet was now a pair of her mother’s stiletto heels to match. The hairstyle, he had to admit, could work and actually looked nice on her, thus didn’t bother changing it. Finally, the only other alteration he had made was to add a pair of sleeve glove-like accessories that only spanned from mid-bicep to wrists. “Now you’re... well, it’ll do. C’mon!”

And with that Stefan pulled his daughter by the crook of her arm, ignoring her protests, out of the estate and to the apparition point.


*ECHO Dinner Party, Main Doors*

Even though apparition only took mere seconds the walk through the complex that was ECHO was quite a bit longer. And every step of the way, Stefan had a vice-like grip on Lydia’s arm as he pulled her along. The wizard still paid no heed to her complaints. “Dad, I said let go! I’m not a toddler – I can walk! ... Dad!” Lydia twacked her father over the head with her purse.

“Yeah, you’ll walk alright... right out the doors and right back home! I’m not taking that chance! Tonight is my night to show you off... You never know: might meet an old friend or two here,” Stefan replied firmly. Thoughts immediately turned to one of his conversations with Amaranth Viper – how her son Viggo would be there, and would be in need of a date for the evening. “...And if you hit me with that thing one more time I swear you’ll never see it again!”

Reaching forward with his free arm, Stefan opened the door and held it for his daughter. He didn’t notice the glare from Lydia, or the glances they were getting from other witches and wizards they’d walked passed. Finally, he relinquished his hold on her arm in favor of steering her with a push to the back. “After you...” Stefan declared, moving to block any attempt of flight by immediately standing behind her once she crossed the threshold.

Lydia felt more than a little uncomfortable at the sensation of her father directly behind her, weaving this way and that in search of someone or something. “Ever consider the fact that if you weren’t such a control freak and let me move on my own you’d have better luck?” she asked irritably.

“Shush!” Stefan snapped and once more grabbed her by the elbow. “I’m trying to concentrate.” And with that he once again pulled Lydia along in search of Amaranth Viper and her family.

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PostSubject: Re: Halls of ECHO: December 2042   Sun May 22, 2011 8:51 pm

Viggo rolled his eyes for what must have been the hundredth time. It seemed as though every time an attractive female was within their wake his mother felt the need to cajole him into approaching her. "My, Ella's looking rather nice isn't she?" or "Viggo, didn't you and Katherine used to date during your Hogwarts years? Why don't you take her out for dinner?" While all the girls before him were all attractive women, Viggo couldn't help but feel very much like a piece of meat being auctioned off to a flock of hungry seagulls. And it didn't help that one of the females he had spotted -Cherie if he caught her name correctly- looked rather birdish herself...

"I'm not interested!" he finally blurted out exasperatedly, cringing under a rather hungry looking blonde woman's gaze. The woman before him scowled before racing off, muttering as she went. 

"Well great. Thank you Viggo for more or less flipping off the granddaughter of our greatest benefactor. I'm sure Archibald will be thrilled at this display of chivalry." Viper twanged dryly, taking a sip of champagne from the flute in her hand shooting a "Can you believe him?' look at her husband.

"I'm sorry, Mum. She just isn't my type."

Emerald orbs narrowed as their owner pursed her crimson lips. "... Viggo is there something you'd like to tell me?"

The young wizard was no fool and quickly saw where the conversation. Despite being fairly tan, both from his Russian heritage and from his former athletic activities, he managed to flush a dark scarlet as he mentally gave himself a face-palm. "Mum! Really? You've got to be bloody kidding me!" he breathed out, praying to Merlin that nowhere within their radius could hear this rather awkward conversation play out.

"What? I'm merely asking a simple, not to mention reasonable, question. Because you know, if you are, dear, there really is no need to hide-"

"I'm not gay, Mum. I like girls. Just not ones my 'Mummy Dearest' tries to pick out for me..." he replied through clenched teeth, getting more embarrassed by the minute.

"If you say so, dear..." she muttered with a shrug, taking another sip of champagne as she tried not to laugh. The smiled widened, though, when she noticed two familiar figures nearby.

Viggo was about to retort sharply when his Mother's voice cut him off.

"Happy Christmas, Stefan!"

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