Return of the Don

Villiars heights is one of -those- neighborhoods, where houses are set back from the street and have walls around them. Not a gated community, gated micro-estates with this… green stuff between the wall and the house. It's almost unheard of in Denver, where space is such a premium due to idiot indians. As to the name, when you outright own a Megacorp, you can get alot of shit in the city named after you.

The home is a 3 story affair, with pitched roof, a wrought iron gate that opens as your car approaches. The gateman holds up one hand for your vehicle to stop, approaching the drivers side.

Slinger rolls down the window as he approaches, and takes just a moment to activate his bracelet and cast a quick spell just before he does, giving himself slightly better reflexes. Just to be prepared. The young elf exhales into the air, then puts on a warm and friendly smile as he rolls down the window. "Good evening. Kaivan Ngorithan and Danielle Reyes, for dinner this evening," he says, lifting his voice just enough to be heard while still speaking smoothly, with confidence.

"Ahhhhh." Says the man at the gate. "Inform the lady of the house that Ngorthian and Guest, Danielle Reyes, have arrived."

He waves the car through the gate then.. "Park behind the Phaeton."

Slinger smiles and thanks the man, then rolls up the window and proceeds to park where instructed. He glances to Janie, smiles. "Ready for this?" he asks, quietly. And then without waiting for an answer, he steps out of the vehicle, patting his pocket where he brought along some of the cigars Sam gave him some time back, which have been quietly sitting in a humidor for special occasions, and now occupy a case in his pocket. He breathes out slowly, then closes the door — and carefully /does not/ lock the vehicle. To do so would express a lack of confidence in the Lady's hospitality.

"Ready as I'll ever be," Janie replies. "Th'stage is set; time t'play out our parts."

Slinger climbs out of the car, and then steps around to open Janie's door, and escort her out. He is trying to follow the rules of polite manners. Though in many ways, he does plan to be honest and sincere. Just find better ways to state it."
He closes the door behind Janie, and then walks with her, his hand on her arm, up toward the entrance to the house. Protocol is not his strong suit, but even so, he is doing his best. Effort ought to count for something, should it not?

Janie, for her part, is on her very best behavior - and that very best seems to be pretty good. Even though this is very much not her element, she carries off a fair amount of dignity and grace without coming over as imperious.
The small parking lot, a tiled courtyard, is full to capacity with several vehicles; Among them the Rolls Royce Pheaton Limosuine, a variety of luxury cars and a few sport models. A lighted path leads to the front door.

Slinger glances over to Janie quietly. "Question," he murmurs. "Do you know the Mindlink spell?" He asks that very quietly, almost under his breath. He knows it, but he'll need to maintain his ability to talk — and that's hard to do when maintaining a spell. He walks along the path, knowing he is almost certainly being watched. "I had thought we were the only guests. It appears that the Mistress has invited… others."

Janie shakes her head briefly. "Haven't had a chance t'learn it yet," she murmurs, then glances around at the cars - and leans on Slinger's arm just a bit more as she tries to concentrate on two planes of perception at once. There's a reason people on LSD trips have poor coordination, after all.

Astrally, the house is warded, and very nicely so. Perhaps a Kruger Scale of 6, maybe a bit higher. Climbing ivy cover the walls, providing biomass for further impediment and blocking of LOS.

The door opens as the pair approach, an older, but not elderly man in a simple black/white tailcoat holding it open. "Mr. And Misses Ngorthian of Denver." He announces with a deep tenor that, despite not being very loud, cuts through the buzz of noise inside… bringing it to a halt.

Ever had one of those dreams where you're standing in high school or at your job, completely naked, and everyone's staring at you? This is one of those times, with the crowd of perhaps 20 people inside, all dressed formally, perhaps 10 couples, standing in the foyer. They appear to have been here for some time, based on the level of comfort they seem to have in their postures, stances and the level of the drinks in their hands.

Slinger does not bother to correct the man, who announced him and Janie as if they were married. Indeed. This is an interesting development. Slinger does smile warmly to people, though suddenly this is even more uncomfortable than he expected. And then he steps forward, into the room, with his arm linked with Janie's. He hasn't been frisked, though it would not surprise him to learn that he's walked through at least one MAD.

Janie schools her features and tries to look congenial and not as if part of the back of her mind is working out firing angles, relative positions, availability of cover and possible sniper positions in what she judges has at least a thirty percent chance of being one big gilded trap for the two of them.

The whir of an electric, motorized chair precedes the apparence of Mother Mancini. She's probably 80 if she's a day, and that, my friends, will be a REALLY long day, based on her look. She's clearly had a stroke, one half of her body held in an odd angle, the other used to manouver the chair and touch the monitor built in to the chair.

There's a moment of silence that lingers on as she looks to Slinger and Janie. She moves one hand over the monitor, taping various things. "I expected someone more impressive." Says the monitor then.

Slinger's eyes move to the woman, though there is no hint of pity on his features, or anything of that nature. Instead, he simply waits patiently — and respectfully — for her to create her message. It doesn't change anything for him, though it does make a few things come into sharp, clear focus. Her words, though, were superbly chosen, and for just a heartbeat, the young mage has no answer ready. And then he simply inclines his head. "I'm sorry I did not live up to your expectations, ma'am," he replies. And his words sound sincere. "We were honored by your invitation, after all that's happened."

Janie steps on her temper and lets the insult pass, then manages a smile at the woman. She remains quiet, letting Slinger do the talking.

"I have found…"

Says a rich baritone voice, the sort of voice one finds on evil villains and charming princes alike… "That it is not the -physical stature- of a person that dictates their merit." A man comes out of the crowd then, a cigar, much, much like the ones in Slinger's pocket held between two fingers. He places a hand to the back of the woman's chair. "Don't you agree, Mother Mancini?" Asks Aspanu Innocenti, a slight grin playing across his lips.

Janie raises a very delicately-sculpted eyebrow. "Mister Innocenti," she greets the man, taking care to downplay her usual accent. "It would seem th'reports of your demise were somewhat exaggerated."

Slinger's gaze moves toward the source of the voice, and his first thought is one of concern. After all, if the crowd is getting in on the insults, then this could turn very ugly, very quickly. But the content of the words, the voice they are spoken in… his gaze comes to rest upon that face — the face he has seen on the news, usually next to the word 'Acquitted' and 'Public Outraged'. The youth's brow furrows slightly — but if anyone expected surprise at seeing this man back from the grave, Slinger disappoints them.
He inclines his head to the Don. The benefactor that Sam mentioned has come into the light. Slinger had considered the possibility that the Don was involved, but had dismissed it; after all, what would Don Innocenti care about him? No direct involvement.
Slinger's gaze then moves back to the old woman, and he takes a deep breath. There is something he has to do — and better that there are witnesses. Perhaps this will change her estimation of him. Perhaps it will simply make him look the fool. "Everyone knows why I was called here," Slinger says quietly, taking advantage of the quiet in the crowd to give his words a little more force. "And before anything else is said, I have something to say."
Slinger takes a step forward to the woman in the wheelchair. "Ma'am… I did not know your sons. But I was involved in their passing. Directly or indirectly does not matter. Others were involved, but I am the one standing before you tonight. The circumstances that led to what occurred are complex, but one thing is not complex. I regret that you lost two sons, and I am sorry that it came to pass. I have no children, and I cannot know that pain. I can only imagine it. And for that pain, if for nothing else, I offer my apology."

Aspanu lifts the cigar to his lips, stepping away now. His reasons for offering his support on this matter are clear once you reason it; Sucreasi is a friend, as are others who remain nameless; Kaivan has very powerful friends who have powerful friends; and in the end… Kaivan was marching to the Don's orders.

The woman watches Slinger, then turns her chair away from the man and rolls in to the dining hall. "Dinner is ready." intones her monitor.

Slinger lets out the breath he was holding, glances to Janie beside him. The woman did not order him killed upon the spot for his impertinence, and he doesn't dare even look at any of the others attending. No, this drama involves himself, Janie, the woman… and the Don, returned from the grave. At the invitation, he falls into the line of people moving toward the dining room, his glance sliding to Janie to catch her reaction. But his gaze also slips toward Aspanu. A man he knows only through reputation and through the trid, standing here large as life before him.

Janie's face shows very little of the intense contemplation beneath the surface. The Don's presence - not to mention his survival - has pretty much thrown every scenarion she'd considered out of kilter.

No sense worrying about it. Play it by ear. She follows the rest of the crowd to the dinner table, at Slinger's side.

That is the sort of aggressive, risky but absolutely calculated maneuver that has made Aspanu the man he is. In short order, the group files in to the dining hall, a massive table some that can sit some 40 people, 20 to a side. Seating is assigned, by small name plackards. 'S. Linger' and 'Mrs. S. Linger'. are together, on the left side, near but not at, the head of the table. Mrs. Mancini sits there, and to her, right, A. Innocenti. Next to him, is PM Lucciano, and then a bewildering array of names with far too many vowels all the way down the table.

Pulse smiles a little bit as Janie enters. The tall italian looks healthier than ever, well-fed but with that devilishy lean, hungry look that made HIM the man he is. "Evening, Signora," he says politely, raising whisky glass in salute. "Good to see you." He gives Slinger a friendly smile as well.

Janie nods in return. "And you, Signor. It's been a while. I trust ye've been keeping well?"

Many of these faces look vaguely familiar. But the one sitting on the Don's other side — he looks very familiar. Slinger knows him — from somewhere. P-something. But not Italian-sounding. A faint furrow remains on the young elf's brow, and then he remembers. Frankie's. A gathering there — and he was the guest of honor. But what was it he was called?
Even so, Slinger approaches the spot that has been marked for him, suppresses a wince at the spelling of his name. Why is it people insist on getting cute with it? On the other hand, at least they didn't mark his real name here for all to see. Probably couldn't spell 'Ngorithan', he surmises, and that thought causes him a faint smirk, swiftly suppressed. But he does not sit down until others do. He will, of course, return the quick smile that Pulse gives him. Familiar faces in this situation may be a blessing or a curse, but at least they are something other than completely alien to the young street-mage.

No, they couldn't spell Ngorithan without making an entire ethnicity of people angry. Mother Mancini maneuvers in to her position at the head of the table as everyone else finds their seats. Aspanu slides in to his own, his cigar now gone. "Mother Mancini." Says the baratone Mobster. "Thank you for your hospitality tonight. I know it was short notice, but your home is a welcoming one, and I give you honor for that."
Pulse shifts in place, falling silent as Aspanu speaks. He watches the older man with definite affection, and the certain watchfull protectiveness that is the halmark of the professional bodyguard. There's a slight, smug smile on his face, and he takes another sip of his whisky.

Smug, indeed. Slinger takes all this in, and his mind flashes back to what Johny said. About psychology. About people wearing what they want you to see on their coatsleeves. Pride and fear. Slinger slides the seat beneath Janie, like the gentleman he is pretedning to be, before he takes his own seat, scooting up to the table. He will remain mostly silent, of course, unless directly addressed. Though he does manage a nod of agreement, a hint of a smile at the Don's words.
Only now does Slinger sneak a glance at some of the others in the room, along with the subtle intent to see their reaction. To the situation, to the Don's return, to his own presence… to all of it. Gauging the situation that he is in.

Janie quietly and politely sips her wine, trying to feel as calm as she's appearing to be. On the plus side, this likely isn't going to turn into an ambush or execution, which is more than she'd half expected.
Mother Mancini, after the first course (A salad with salami, olives, onions and ham) is delivered, looks to Slinger. Or Mr. S. Linger. Whichever. "I want to know, Mr. Linger." says the digitized tones of her chair's monitor. "How did you know my dear departed Arturo?"

Slinger politely waits for others to begin eating. Unlike many of his race, Slinger has no problem with meat in his diet. Prefers it when he can get it, in fact. Carnivorous elf. His gaze lifts to the woman's face, and he swallows carefully before replying. "To tell the truth, Ma'am, I did not know him personally," he replies. "We met for the first time in… a business transaction. Which ended unfortunately."
Slinger already said, of course, that he had not met Arturo. So there is obviously some deeper meaning behind her question. So Slinger's words are cautious, chosen carefully.

Pulse glances back at Slinger as he speaks, and offers him a big grin of uncertain meaning. Equal parts predator, reassurance, and… curious cat?
Janie listens carefully and attentively and very deliberately does not tense up. Here's where things will get interesting.
Mother Mancini does not pick her salad; it's there only for show. Her hand, her good one, touches over the Monitor. "How tragic; I am certain that had you known him, you would have been more respectful." She looks to be about to say more, but a glance from Aspanu seems to cut her off.

Slinger shakes his head. "No, ma'am. Please, continue. You called me here. You went to a great deal of trouble to bring me here. And I do not think it right that you should have to guard your words." His gaze slips over to the Don, and he inclines his head. "Respectfully, sir… she has suffered a great loss. And she is right. There was a lack of respect shown."
To the woman, he also inclines his head, having set his fork down. This is more important than food. Even if it /is/ a very good salad. "Our orders did not include what happened… afterward. And nearly everyone in the group opposed it. One man took it upon himself to do it, and the rest of us should have challenged him. We did not. Simply told him that whatever happened with regard to that, we wanted no part of it."
Slinger takes a slow breath. "That one man suffered greatly before he died." He is speaking circumspectly, of course, to avoid making grotesque references during the meal. After all, there are certain topics that simply should not be discussed at dinnertime.

Pulse shifts a little as he watches slinger talk, and the smile fades a little. A cold spark lights in his eyes, and he takes a bite of his salad: after all, no reason he shouldn't eat.

Janie does eat the salad, but the vast majority of her attention is on the discussion.
The woman seems to take that for what it is. She turns her eyes down to the monitor, stroke striken features hard to read, to place. "And my good boy, Giovanni… how did you know him? Such a precious child."

Slinger at least now has a name for the second one. "Him I never even saw, ma'am. One of our people had been taken prisoner. And was being pumped for information. I hesitate to say more in polite company at dinner. Suffice it to say that we were there to attempt a rescue. One of our team members had targeted the helicopter on the roof of the building with a large weapon. He believed it was in the process of taking off. And he fired.
"The door to the lower levels had just been opened. The one we were there to try to rescue was killed instantly by his action. And the resulting fire ended up killing a lot of people. That… was not intended, in any way. It was an accident. That does not absolve responsibility, of course, but it was not intended as disrespect, Ma'am."
"The individual who took it upon himself to disrespect Arturo's remains — I knew him only by an alias, as Retro. His disrespect — and his bumbling — escalated an already unfortunate situation on both sides. Had I known he was prone to such… tendencies… I would never have permitted him to be part of any of this."

Pulse watches carefully, catching up on what's been happening, quietly taking the measure of slinger as he speaks.. his own expression becoming drawn and closed, not revealing a whit of what he thinks.

"So." Says the monitor then, at the behest of the woman. Slinger has the ENTIRE rooms attention. Were he a more knowledgeable man, he might recognize that many of the people here are figures in Organized Crime from up and down the east coast; all related to the Mancini family by marriage or blood. "Your man, this man who fired the murderous weapon; and it was murder. The murder of my precious boy, who wanted nothing more than justice for the -craven- and -cowardly- murder of his brother, my elder son… Your man… acted without your orders?"

Slinger reaches out for his water glass, pausing to take a sip of that, at the very least. Trying hard not to betray the sheer nervousness he feels. "Not entirely true. My orders, ma'am, were not to let that chopper take off." Craven and cowardly. Ouch. But he has been called worse than those. "He interpreted that to mean to destroy it, rather than disable it. That was the weapon he had, and he used it."
Craven and cowardly murder. Slinger bites his tongue, remembering Johny's admonition to never speak ill of the dead. He struggles to keep his reaction to that off of his face, to avoid letting her realize that she is scoring points with her words. His goal, though, is not to impress her. His goal is to walk out of here alive.

Pulse shifts again. He glances to the Matron, and then to Aspanu, waiting to take some sort of cue on what way to jump should shit hitteth the fan.
Janie carefully sets down her wine glass and reminds herself once again to breathe calmly. Where Pulse watches Aspanu, she watches Aspanu and Slinger both, very deliberately not tensing to move.
There comes then a flicker of something in to her eye, where had been only dead, stroke-slackened features… her hand jerks across the monitor, while Aspanu simply drinks his wine, a shake of his head to Pulse. This isn't their fight. He's made his point to Madam Mancini, and she will act as she will act; This passion play is of an ending that is not secure.

"You admit that you killed my son then. Murdered him. You, who have killed not one but two of my sons, come in to my home, accept my hospitality, and tell me you killed my boys."

The youth meets her gaze. "I already told you that, ma'am," the youth murmurs. "I did not fire either shot, no, but I was part of that team." The young mage has also tensed, and he has an invisibility spell prepared at the first sign of trouble. Cocked, ready to actually cast it the instant someone does something aggressive. "Yes, I accepted your hospitality. Yes, I came here tonight, to speak to you directly. To tell you what happened. To apologize for the mistakes that were made. And to tell you the plain truth. I am not going to disrespect you or the memory of your sons by lying to you. /That/ would be the act of a coward."
His eyes do not contain challenge, but neither is he backing down. Neither is he backpedaling from his position. His voice grows softer, however, and he finally does drop his gaze. "As I said, I do regret the situation. And the pain it has caused you. The first son's death was for reasons I shall not go into unless you ask, for I do not wish to speak ill of the dead. But if you do ask, then I shall not lie." He says that boldly, and firmly. "The second son's death was an accident. A misinterpretation of my orders by one of my men. It happened, and cannot be taken back."
"I would ask your forgiveness," he concludes quietly. Lowering his gaze, keeping it downward, while he waits. But even so, his senses are alert, attuned… aware.

Pulse puts his hands on the table after the Don's look, and he begins to pay attention more to his salad than the conversation… at least, as far as appearances go.

Janie puts down her wine glass, then picks up her knife and fork and starts in on her salad, keeping a tight rein on her temper.

The crowd sort of hushes at that, quite murmuring going on back and forth amongst the smaller units down the table, in a variety of languages, ranging from English to French to Italian (Multiple dialects). Mother Mancini exhales hard, the first real human thing she's done so far.. "Forgiveness is earned. Never given." Says she then. The Don nods slightly as the actors on the stage take the required positions.

Slinger actually pauses at that. That… sounds dangerous. It sounds as though he is going to belong to the Mancini clan. And for the first time, the youth actually turns his gaze down the table, to the Don. To his… apparent benefactor, perhaps. This is where the rubber is about to meet the road. This is where Slinger has been loosely allied with one side, and is now, potentially, being forced to switch sides. And that could put him in opposition to Surcreasi and even to Innocenti himself.
This is a dangerous game Slinger is playing, and he knows it. And he is far, far out of his depth. The internal machinations of these powerful people, their relative positions, those are all a mystery to him, as if they were a shadow-play revealed only through a translucent curtain, surreal and obfuscated.

Pulse puts his salad fork now and leans back, assuming his own position, within arm's reach of the don, his eyes flashing but his face impassive. His gaze shifts to Janie, watching her closely, waiting to see if she makes a move.
Janie continues to pick at her salad while she watches the conversation intently.

The silence is enough to cut like a knife as people quiet to see what happens. The Crescendo of the night, as it were. The Don sips his wine, watching the pair, but not intervening. It takes a steely character, a sense of timing, to interpose oneself in to other peoples affairs; and at its core, this is other peoples affairs.

The mother looks to the elven magi, watching him with her good eye. "The Family of Mancini has lost two sons to your actions. I am not … unreasonable. Arturo was a businessman in a dangerous business. I have … seen… the… nature of the business." She pauses to rest her hand, before she continues tapping at the monitor. "I cannot hold you as a murderer to Arturo. But Giovanni… he was a good boy. I will hold you responsible for his death. I will hold you -accountable- to his blood. To his family." She looks to the don then, who simply nods.

"You will pay price. His two sons will have no father, but they will be financially supported. You will set aside 50,000 nuyen per year for each son, in to a trust, for their care and education. You will provide 50,000 nuyen per year for his wife's lifestyle and care, as her husband would have."

Slinger turns his attention back to the matron, as she speaks. He listens, patiently, and as she speaks the verdict, his face… transforms. Into one of genuine respect and perhaps a bit of admiration. "Madam… I will be pleased to do just that. I… I cannot tell you how much I respect your restraint in this matter," he says, his voice showing deep respect. One hundred fifty thousand is a lot of money. But he can afford it, if needed. The youth lets out a slow breath. "Thank you for your wisdom."
The youth pauses, though, giving her the opportunity to say more. There are other things he could say, other things he wants to say. But he holds his tongue. It is best not to push his luck.

Pulse keeps watching, eyes shifting to slinger. His face still shows nothing, but there may be a bit of a satisfied perk to his movements as he picks up his whisky glass and takes another swallow.

Janie breathes out slowly and allows herself to relax - slightly. This sounds like the best deal Slinger is likely to get… But she can't quite shake the sense that there's still a shoe waiting to drop.
"One of us must show restraint." is her toneless rebuke. This draws a dark chuckle from the Don, as he picks at his salad.

"Further, you will owe me, Constance Maria Julia Innocenti-Mancini, a boon worth the life of my son."

Slinger considers that. That was the one that he was fearing. But nothing could have prepared him to hear the next part. To hear her full name. And to hear the words within it. Despite his attempts to hide his reaction, Slinger's gaze shoots immediately to the Don, to his face, and the young mage turns at least four shades whiter as he realizes that, tracking through the relationships, that he is responsible for killing the Don's… at least nephews. Plural.
But then his gaze returns to the woman, and he nods slowly. "As long as you understand what my capabilities are, ma'am. Despite what you may believe, I do not take life lightly. Giovanni was an accident, and I am willing to take responsibility for that. But I do not kill innocents on anyone's orders," he says calmly, quietly. Knowing he is taking a risk. "I am telling you now, so you may judge the worth of my boon. As I said, I will not disrespect you by lying to you."

Pulse's face remains, as always impassive. He sips his whisky, watching slinger, smooth and confident.
The Don Of Denver; so far from his mountaintop home, speaks now. "Allow me to.. clarify something." A glance is given to Janie now, clearly a fairly decent read of people and behaviors. "We represent interlocking business concerns. We do not deal in drugs. We do not deal in assassination for hire." He cuts the end off his cigar then. "We are a family business. We do not, as a rule, murder innocents. I will be honest when I say some of us are, shall we say, more liberal with what may remove the caul of innocence and bring one in to the world of the self-aware." He pauses, leaning forward, to put his elbows on the table. "I know.. what Arturo was doing. It is why I sent you there in the first place. I have already taken the burden for Arturo's death, and that burden is not yours. Everything that followed after his death; is."
Despite her best efforts Janie can not /quite/ suppress a start as the Don addresses her almost directly. She does hold back her initial response, however, and listens to what he has to say. She frowns at his words - but eventually nods. She won't pretend she's overjoyed at any of this, but she does understand when it's wise to seek the lesser of evils.

Slinger listens attentively to the Don's words. Sam respects him, and that is high praise, indeed. The young mage slowly nods, then inclines his head to Mother Mancini. "I will be honored to assist you when the time comes to call upon my services, and my talents are yours to command for such a boon," he says quietly. Aware that he is placing a great deal of trust in this woman, placing himself into her service. And very likely, placing himself into the Don's debt as well. He is fully aware of all of this.
But the other part — that he was the one behind the mission in the first place, was its own revelation. Slinger had guessed that he was involved, but could not be certain at this moment. And the burden of keeping that secret is lifted from his shoulders as the Don reveals it — and unbidden, Slinger breathes a sigh of relief, himself.

Pulse looks towards the don, that look of affection and protectiveness again, and then his eyes scan the table, that heightened awareness and protective alertness required of a good bodygaurd, only slightly dimmed by the occasional swallow of firewater.
The don leans back then. "My cousin will call upon you when she would have otherwise called upon her son." Says he then, returning the floor back to the stroke-ridden woman.

She taps the monitor now. "Arturo betrayed how he was raised for money. It may strike you odd to contemplate that, and I do not care for your confusion. Giovanni was after his father. A good man who took from the people; but gave back what he took. Paracites, you may see us; but we provide what the government cannot. What the society will not. Charities, we are not, but it is good business to take -care- of your demographic."

Slinger shakes his head. "I do not see you as any such thing, ma'am. What Arturo did… that I could not allow to stand. But I know you do good works as well. And that by your own standards most of your people are honorable."
He lets out a slow breath. "I wish I could say that as many of those from /my/ chosen profession showed as much honor as you and yours have shown me tonight." And with that, he takes a sip from his glass of water, and then a bite from his salad. It tastes better, now. It no longer tastes of fear.

Janie returns her attention to the food as well, now that it finally seems as if Slinger is going to live through this. Aspanu has given her a lot to digest with comparatively few words, and that will bear thinking on… Later.
Pulse continues to act and look like a body guard… well, something between a bodyguard and a loyal friend or cousin.

Slinger shakes his head. "I do not see you as any such thing, ma'am. What Arturo did… that I could not allow to stand. But I know you do good works as well. And that by your own standards most of your people are honorable."
He lets out a slow breath. "I wish I could say that as many of those from /my/ chosen profession showed as much honor as you and yours have shown me tonight." And with that, he takes a sip from his glass of water, and then a bite from his salad. It tastes better, now. It no longer tastes of fear.

"Do not." Says the woman's monitor… "Sully the good relations we will enjoy for now, with moralistic protestations of righteous crusader ship." She looks to Slinger then, fixing him with her good eye… "It ill suits you."

Slinger accepts the rebuke, inclines his head to the woman respectfully. And goes back to the salad. It's a good salad. And he is, actually, rather hungry. His gaze flicks toward Pulse, catching sight of the man for a brief moment, then drops back to the plate once more. Perhaps there will be time to talk later. But for now, that seems to be a signal that the tense part of the dinner is over.
Though Slinger will wait for someone else to start conversation.

Aspanu raises his glass then, waiting for the room to come to 'order'. When it does, he gestures to Slinger. "I find it fitting that Young Master Kavian should offer the first toast of this memorial dinner for Giovanni Fertelli Mancini."

It does not sound like a request.

Pulse raises his glass a moment after the Don and turns towards Slinger, smiling at the man expectantly.

Slinger swallows, clears his throat. Thinking of what he should say. So many things deserving of honor. So many minefields to avoid. He reaches out to take his wineglass, swirling it between his fingers while he thinks, while he slowly gets to his feet and sweeps his gaze over the table. "To those who have passed… and to the associations and bonds that will strive to do them honor," the boy finally says, watching the reaction of those around him. Hopefully at least neutral, if not positive.

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