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Dear Diary...

08/01/07:               

                The hospital released both Caesar and Olivia this morning. Karyn snuck Olivia in thru the loading docks, so that no one would see her arm, and up to her suite. Once she was safely ensconced in her bed, Annike appealed to Ellistrae for the power to restore the flesh that Olivia had lost. Annike, Olivia and I all Felt Ellistrae grant that power, but Olivia's arm was unchanged. I had a sinking feeling almost as great as Olivia's must have been. If Annike couldn't do it, how was I going to?

                Then we all Felt another Presence in the room - Crom. Olivia said that He'd told her that He would allow me to regenerate the arm that she had lost because I am a veteran of combat and Annike isn't. So, with one God's approval in the bag I asked for Corellon's approval - and received it. When the light in the room faded - Olivia's arm was whole again and the new skin was as soft and smooth as a newborn baby's butt.

                Shortly before noon Caesar made an appearance on TV to quell all the reports of his demise. All in all , he looked pretty freaking jaunty. A bit later, we were summoned to the Stratosphere (lower level, thank Corellon) for a briefing. We told Olivia to stay put. We'd let her know what had gone on.

                Phillips met us and I asked, "Well, the element of surprise is kind of gone, what's the plan now?"

                "Caesar sent a retaliation strike force, early this morning. Ground troops, two F-16's and one of the Azraels."

                "And?" we prompted him.

                "And when they got there, the hotel was empty and the reactor had been rigged with explosives. One of the men was able to disarm them. The F-16's did some flyovers and spotted only one group of vehicles in the vicinity. It was checked but turned out to be ordinary traders and there were only a handful of them."

                He laughed a little, "Scared the Hell out of them with a couple of Blackhawks, though. But they checked out - perfectly normal traders. They were delivering a private commission and only had one truck, covered with tarps. When the troops asked to search underneath the tarps the driver refused, saying that the area under the tarp was obviously too small to be what the troops were looking for and since it was a private commission, he could not let anyone see. The troops agreed and let them continue."

                Rodrick asked if anything else had been found.

                "A small town - a few towns down the road had something interesting going on at the school gymnasium. There were some tire tracks on the gym floor. Big ones, three and a half feet in diameter - must have been for tires twelve feet high or so. They were spaced about thirty feet across. But the doors and walls of the gym were completely intact - no way for it to have gotten in there or to have been removed."

                "Oh, there's a way," I thought to myself. Really! You'd think Phillips would be used to Magic by now, wouldn't you?

                But he was continuing. In the same school there was also evidence that someone had been using the classrooms to store produce. Things that make you go 'Hmmm..'….

                Phillips wrapped things up, answered a few questions, thanked everyone for attending and assured us that we would be kept abreast of any new information. Having been dismissed, we returned home and on the way to our rooms, I stopped by Olivia's suite. Annike told me that Olivia was sleeping and promised that she'd pass on the news.

                I asked for and Annike gave me Olivia's crystal ball so that I might do a little checking on my own. Some of the things that Phillips had told us had made me as curious as a bag of cats. So first I tried to Scry what was under the tarp on that truck Caesar's men found. It was parked in a quonset hut and there were people moving around the inside of the building.

                Raiders.

                They'd removed the tarp from the truck to reveal a number of boxes. Perfectly ordinary brown cardboard moving boxes filled with packing peanuts and bubble wrap. The people looked less savage than the rest (they must have been chosen for their appearance, in case they were seen by anyone. Like Caesar's men, for example.) and they were removing items from the boxes. I followed one man as he ve-e-ery gently took a bottle out of a box and holding it horizontally, walked ve-e-ery slowly and deliberately out the door and placed the bottle on the ground. Inside the bottle was an itty-bitty little car with itty-bitty little people clinging to hand holds on top of it.

                It looked just like one of the vehicles that had been parked in the lobby of the Boulder City Hotel!

                The man went back inside for another bottle and passed a guy on his way out of the building carrying a jar with a vehicle in it. I 'looked' around some and on the other side of the building was the biggest dump truck I have ever seen - one of those they used to use in the open-pit mining operations. I'd seen one - a Titan, from the Kansas Coalition - on our scavenging run into Denver. This one was bigger and it was heavily fortified and armored. It had to be the vehicle that had been in that school gymnasium.

                There was a small crew of raiders unloading fresh produce from the back and moving it into another quonset hut. When I looked back at the bottle that had been moved outside - it was gone and a group of the raiders were disconnecting themselves from their holds on the vehicle that was in the bottle's place. I pulled on some Power to discern their location - but had no luck.

                Determined, I tried again and my vision swam. It finally cleared up and raced across the desert from Boulder City to my first 'stop'. That was where I saw the Mage from Caesar's yesterday. The one that Rodrick had killed. The one that had left us the lovely little surprise.

                She didn't look so good. The bullet hole that Rodrick had gifted her with was still visible. But she looked better than the four people who'd been nailed to crosses stuck in the sand in front of her did. Her eyes were rolled back in her head and her arms outstretched as she 'pulled' flesh, blood and - stuff from the four donors. The 'donations' were filling a person-shaped shell. Kind of like filling a mold.

                The vision pulled back again, further and further until I saw a sign.

                "Welcome to Lake Havasu City."

                I was afraid of that.

                Later in the day when Olivia was felling better, I let her and Rodrick know what I'd seen. None of us slept very well that night.               

08/02/07:

                Karyn told me that there were people sneaking around the hotel trying to see me and she thought they were members of the press. Well, after yesterday, I didn't want to talk to anyone - much less the press - so I managed to keep ducking them, with a little help from Karyn's people.

                After lunch, I was taking care of some issues in the cathedral when I overheard a couple of acolytes whispering in a corner. "That's what I heard!" one of them said.

                "There's no way she'd do it," the second one said. "She just built the cathedral - there's no way she'd move to the Venetian." Oh egads! I can't believe that anyone could actually believe that I would want to be an Overlord! Then something occurred to me.

                Leo.

                He's got the training and experience to make one Hell of an Overlord of City Defense. Having another Overlord who doesn't is probably not a real good idea. I let that thought stew in my head for a bit while I kept getting phone calls from press people asking me for interviews.

                The evening news had all sorts of speculation as to whether or not I would be registering to compete for the domain or not. They also asked a variety of Overlords about who they would be sponsoring, if anyone. Luxor snarled (literally), "Lord Venetian has not yet been laid to rest! It is inappropriate to discuss this now."               

                This evening I annoyed Olivia's chefs by invading their space to cook Leo a special dinner. He took the flowers, the candles and the wine in stride and waited until dessert was over before asking, "So what's the occasion?"

                "Well - I was thinking that another domain has opened up and that someone with the proper military training and background could be a real asset to the city."

                He nodded, "True - but Rodrick has banking."

                "Why, yes he does, but someone with training and background similar to his…"

                The light bulb clicked on; "You want me to do it?"

                "I think you should at least think about," I said with a shrug. He just looked at me. "I could be a moll!" I said (giving humor a try). "An Overlord's moll! But technically - since we're married I guess I'm not really a moll. Anyway, you would be much more acceptable to the Overlords than the last person I sponsored!"

                "Seriously Leo, you have the background to do the job and - more importantly - do it well. Lucifer, Corellon bless him, tried his best, but had no idea what he was doing. With all that is going on right now, Las Vegas needs someone who knows what they're doing."

                He was quiet for moment - staring at a candle.

                "Okay. I'll do it," he said. "Should we notify the press or wait and keep it a surprise?"

                "Let's keep it a surprise. Just the fact that I won't say yea or nay is making them crazy!"

                "If you say so. So are you going to bankroll me?"

                "You bet!"               

08/03/07:

              We were up well before the sun this morning so we could take our place in the funeral procession. It was the longest one and the biggest turn out yet for an Overlord's services. Once we'd arrived at the site, there was one other noticeable change for this funeral. Security, and lots of it. They were keeping everyone a goodly distance from the podium, Caesar, and the other VIPs.

                When his turn arrived, Caesar took the podium and I noticed that he was still wearing bandages, though I'm positive there was no reason for them. He had his head and ribs wrapped and one arm in a sling and he moved as if they were paining him. But he spoke well of and at length of Lucifer and seemed genuinely disturbed at the thought of his absence.

                Then the Seeker took the podium to say his piece. It was more of his "I don't know and you don't either" nonsense, of course. As he was (finally!) getting to his big finish, someone started some music in the background: U2's 'Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For'. If the Seeker managed to catch the fact that he was being mocked he hid it well. Personally, I doubt he caught it.

                When it was time for the traditional performance of 'Circle of Life', the human who's been acting as Head of Security stood and announced, "Lord Venetian made sure that his wishes were known on several points, including arrangements for his funeral. One of those wishes was that his philosophy of life be expressed thru music." He nodded at someone behind the podium and the gathering heard Monty Python's 'Sit On My Face and Tell Me That You Love Me'.

                My tears were replaced by smiles.

                But the Cats were horrified! Then, as the crowd was dispersing, they began to play 'Stray Cat Strut'. The Cats were just scandalized and we heard more than one mutter something about Lucifer allowing Humans to be such a bad influence on him. Whatever. We were in stitches - that song is just SO perfect for him.

                The procession wound its way back to town and dispersed. We went back to the Aladdin. We all changed clothes and gathered for a rather somber breakfast. No one seemed to have much to say. Finally, Karyn clicked the news on. They had a story about the funeral followed by a live shot from outside the Hard Rock as they began the 'Who will register?' vigil.

                Leo saw that and asked me, "Should we go now or wait until the last minute to announce?"

                "Announce what?" Olivia asked.

                "I thought I'd apply for the job," Leo said.

                "Really?" she said. "Well if you're going to do it you'd better do it before they change the rules to keep non-Cats out of it."

                Leo said, "If they could do that - they would have by now. And at least I'm better than a Kobold. this was Jazz's idea." Olivia turned and gave me a look.

                "Since he has relevant experience, you know," I said.

                Olivia nodded, "National defense? Yeah - good idea but I think you should go now. Jazz?"

                "Yeah, sure."

                "So do you want to go alone or do you want someone to go with you?" she asked Leo.

                "Let's all go - make it a real media event," he said.

                We finished breakfast, changed clothes and got in the limo for the trip to the Hard Rock. The crowds were worse than they were the last time - a lot worse. Right outside the doors was a group holding court with the press. Apparently, someone was sponsoring an Ogre.

                He towered over his handlers and the members of the press that had gathered around him. He looked pretty damn tough. I looked at Leo and the words, "Let's go home and forget about this," almost came out of my mouth. Almost.

                One of the men with the Ogre - a Human - was saying, "Gorbo doesn't make public statements. He will make policy statements once the competition is complete."

                He elbowed Gorbo who leaned down to the microphones and grunted, "No. Comment."

                We were walking around the confab, hugging the edges of the porta cochere when the top of Gorbo's head exploded. Literally. There was blood and gray matter all over the entranceway, the wall, the press and us. There was also a huge hole in the wall of the Hard Rock. Yasai was going to be most put out.

                There was a good four-second delay before we heard the shot that had done the deed. The noise broke the silence and got people moving - every which way, in a panic. Leo shoved Olivia and I forward thru the doors and in to the lobby. A member of Yasai's security saw the 'mess' on us and rushed to ask, "Madam Overlord! Are you okay?"

                Leo assured them that we were all fine and that they were needed outside. They left and we went to the office and registered Leo for the competition. When he was done with the paperwork we ran into a camera crew in the lobby. As we passed, one of them called out, "Are you going out the front door?"

                Leo put on his best SEAL face (but not a seal-face, if you know what I mean) and rounded on them, "The people who did that," and he pointed to Gorbo's remains, "were probably watching your coverage. I'm not going to tell you our plans. Now if it turns out that someone shot the big, ugly smelly guy because he was big, ugly and smelly that's one thing, but if he was killed simply because he was to be a contender for the Venetian domain… that's an entirely different thing."

                We pushed past them and Olivia spotted our driver waiting - just inside the (relative) safety of the lobby. Olivia told her, "Go ahead home without us." The driver nodded and left. Olivia turned to Leo and I and asked, "Is it okay with you two if I teleport us back to the Aladdin?" We didn't object and she proceeded to do so.

                Olivia called for Karyn and asked her, "Did you see what happened at the Hard Rock? What good is a security detail? I'm going out alone from now on."

                Karyn asked, "Did you see the size of that guy? You are small enough that one of the people around you would have taken that bullet." She paused. "Of course, that round would have gone through the first person, through you, and still had plenty of punch." She is such a charmer…

                Leo and I returned to our room to clean Gorbo's blood and brains off of each other and change (yet again). While we were dressing, the news was reporting, "The shooter in the tragic incident outside the Hard Rock has been found. The assassin took his own life after a brief shootout with Security Forces." They cut to an on-scene reporter who announced that a post-mortem interrogation confirmed that the man who took his life had, indeed been the shooter. The reporter was outside a particularly shabby Travel Lodge and they showed some of Venetian's men carrying items out of one of the rooms.

                One of those items was a rifle. Sort of. Leo explained that it was a homemade job, put together with some lead pipe and not much else, "Probably so it could be carried around without generating too much attention."

                Olivia called us to ask if we were watching, "Leo what do you think of this?"

                "I don't believe it for a minute."

                Well we all agreed on that!

                "Me neither," Olivia said. "But how much do we care? At least they weren't trying to kill Jazz or me for a change."

                Leo reluctantly admitted that he was relieved that he wouldn't be fighting the big guy.

                "So am I," I said.

                When the news people had wrung the last possible drama from the two shootings they announced that Caesar's people had declared that the competition for the Venetian would take place on the 5th.

                They had a clip of Phillips saying, "Caesar has been apprised of and has reviewed the evidence and Caesar is satisfied that the responsible party has been found. But Caesar is distressed that the motive behind the attack will remain unknown."

                Leo snorted, "Yeah. Right."               

08/04/07:               

                The news had an interesting story this morning - the people backing the Ogre went to Lord Las Vegas Hilton last night asking for a further investigation into Gorbo's murder. Lord Las Vegas Hilton was said to be, "Taking the situation under advisement." Then - very early this morning - the guy who'd been doing all the talking for Gorbo yesterday had been found in an abandoned city maintenance facility.

                "He had been trying to retrieve an item from a tree shredder," the reporter said with a completely straight face.

                "That man deserves a raise," I told Leo. But there was more!

                "Officials found a dismembered arm, which did not belong to the victim, with a ring on one of the fingers. The ring is reported to be very valuable and the victim must have climbed into the shredder in an attempt to recover the ring."

                Olivia expressed some disappointment in Jim and his news people. But there was still more!

                "A psychic was retained by the City Defense Force to 'read' the area and it was determined that no other person was in the area when the man died. It was merely a tragic accident involving a faulty piece of machinery and a person in the wrong place at the wrong time. Weirder things have happened."

                As the day passed the story grew and grew. We still weren't buying it, and neither were several of the Overlords. One of them sent some people out to the maintenance facility to perform a test. They attached a rope to the shredder to see if someone could turn it on at a distance - and it worked - so there was one explanation for the lack of someone else in the area. Later on, Phillips made another statement for Caesar; "On behalf of Caesar I must say that Caesar is satisfied with the investigation and the resulting explanation."

                Anyway, (back to this morning), the news was continuing. "And in another story: there was a tragic accident today at a wet t-shirt contest. A Las Vegas-based mercenary company was holding the contest for their amusement, when, according to several girls hired to participate, a member of the company experienced a severe and sudden weapons malfunction."

                They went to a live remote reporter, who explained; "The girls were in another room, changing clothes and when they entered the other room they discovered that the leader of the company was dead. Shot in the back thru the back of a couch and the other members of the company had 'ventilated' the man who'd had so much trouble with his weapon."

                The anchorman finished the story, "A cleric employed by the City Defense Force interrogated the deceased and verified that his gun 'just started shooting'. The corpse had no explanation as to why he reloaded twice. Unfortunately, this tragedy will inhibit the leader of mercenary company from competing for the Venetian Domain as he was planning to do."

                More and more mysterious, and it continued to get worse! The evening news reported yet another casualty in the rash of, "Fatal accidents plaguing the city."

                The anchorwoman said, "A Japanese business man visited an escort palace, this afternoon, to relax before competing for the Venetian Domain tomorrow. While there he suffered a most unfortunate accident, slipping and falling, repeatedly on a straight razor."

                The remote reporter told us, "The razor had been used moments before the accident by the woman attending the deceased, to shave his body before a massage. The attendant had retired to another room to prepare for the next phase and returned to find the man with two deep slashes to his throat.

                "Speculation is that while waiting for the woman to return, the man noticed a few stray hairs that were missed in the shaving. He leaned over a mirror, to better see what he was doing, became dizzy, slipped on the wet floor and landed on the razor."

                They cut to a police spokesman, "This is all very unusual, but forensics tell us that a small amount of massage oil had pooled on the floor causing the gentleman to slip two - maybe three times. He hit the floor quite hard, judging by the evidence of blunt force trauma to his skull. But there is no ready explanation for his missing finger joints - those particular wounds appear to be quite old."

                Good to know our Yakuza friends are still around.

                I was watching Leo to gauge his reactions to all of the news. He seemed to be taking it all pretty well and when Olivia insisted that he promise to tell us if he noticed anything unusual. He calmly agreed to do so. I took some deep breaths and refrained from becoming the hysterical wife who demanded that he withdraw from contention.

                The anchorwoman concluded by saying that the City Defense Forces were looking into the unexplained accidents happening to the contenders for the Venetian.

                The other anchor said, "So many things have happened in the past few years, but conspiracies? Perhaps it is as simple as someone trying to besmirch the honor of the late Lord Venetian."

                Yeah. That's it!

                Not.

                Olivia asked Leo, "You don't want us to investigate this?"

                "Nah - not really."

                "Are you worried?" she asked.

                "Nah - not really," he shrugged. "It's kind of like the tuna mafia."

                "Wha?"

                "Piss off the Codfather, he puts a seahorse head in your bed." He noticed that we weren't laughing and said, "If they're gunning for me, they're lousy shots, and as you can see from the news today, they are not lousy shots."

                "What if they just haven't gotten around to you, yet?" Olivia asked.

                "What if I'm the one being protected?"

                "Wha?"

                "If someone is trying to protect me, they wouldn't tell me so that if asked, I could truthfully say I knew nothing about it. For all I know it could be one or both of you," he theorized.

                We bid Olivia a good night and retired. To be truthful he looked a little worried, but I bit my tongue and said nothing more on the subject.               

08/05/07:               

                Leo was so calm this morning I just wanted to hit him! He had an entire well-balanced breakfast while I could barely choke down some toast and tea. I was such a wreck I was almost relieved when it was time to leave for the arena.

                On the way there I took my protective necklace off and told Leo to wear it. He humored me but when Olivia offered him those nipple rings that she'd ripped off the New Ectopian Mage's body, he drew the line, "No! No! No!" She knew better than to offer him the genitalia jewelry she got off the Madam at House Scarlet.

                We got there and were informed that of the sixteen people who had registered there were only four remaining. Four had dropped out due to 'unscheduled terminations' and eighth had decided to stay home.

                Olivia said, "Leo - you'll yell if something untoward happens, right?"

                Leo said, "Define 'untoward'."

                "Oh, I think you'll know it if you see it, hear it or feel it," I said.

                I pulled him aside and told him, "Listen to me - very carefully. You don't have to do this. This was a stupid idea - I don't know what the Hell I was thinking." He gave me "The Look", gave me a kiss and a pat on the ass to get me moving to our seats, making sure that he pulled me sideways so the camera crews got a good angle on it. With a sigh and a feeling of foreboding - Olivia and I took our seats next to Rodrick and Allison.

                The four contestants were introduced: Leo and a male White Tiger who's currently running an off the Strip La Quinta. Then there was a male Bengal Tiger who owns no property of his own and has worked for several other Cats doing odd jobs, and the last was a young Drow woman sponsored by an older Drow woman who's a consultant to the Vegas Defense Force.

                They called the names of all who had registered, giving them one last chance to come forward. None of them did. So they called the first two combatants - Leo and the Drow woman. As Leo emerged from the hallway I began to scan the crowd for anything that was just wrong.

                They entered the cage and took up positions a few feet away from one another and glared at each other.

                Olivia leaned over to ask, "Does he have any compunction about hitting women?"

                "I don't know - he's never hit me!"

                Leo spoke up, "Look, Lady, Miss, I don't like hitting women - it's just not right, so surrender now."

                "Uh-oh," Olivia said, "He's in trouble."

                The Drow snorted a laugh; "I'm not going to surrender! If you don't want to hit me, you should surrender."

                Leo said, "Look! I don't want to have to go thru counseling after this. Do me a favor, back out of here, go to your sponsor and tell her that you're being nice because you feel bad for me."

                "Are we going to fight or not?" she asked.

                Suddenly the relative quiet of the arena was shattered by a woman screaming, "Hit the bitch!!!!!" Imagine my horror when I realized that it had been me screaming. I 'smiled' at the people staring at me and sat back down.

                The bell rang to start the match and Leo said to the woman, "Okay, can we at least have a formal bow, to show that there will be no hard feelings afterwards?"

                "Oh - alright!"

                They bowed and she immediately kicked out at Leo's crotch.

                Bitch!

                Leo was ready and waiting for it, though. He grabbed her foot, twisted her leg and dropped her to the floor. Before she could react he pulled her up and over, then dropped her into a pile-driver. Hard. I stood up and yelled, "That's my man!"

                The woman was lying there screeching, "Cervical collar! Help me! Get me a cervical collar. Don't touch me!"

                Leo leaned over her and said, "I said that I don't like to hit women. I never said that I wouldn't." Then he asked her, "Can you feel your toes?"

                She thought for a moment before saying, "Yes?"

                "You'll be fine," he said and walked away from her towards the door. He politely held the door for the medics who rushed in to see to his opponent.

                He gave me a quick wave and walked down the corridor. I glanced over to where the woman's sponsor was sitting. She was one seriously unhappy Drow.

                The two Cats entered the cage for the next match and immediately the White tiger began posturing and posing. The Bengal just stood there - watching. Then he sprang, grabbed Whitey, lifted him over his head and tossed him across the cage and into one of the walls. When Whitey regained consciousness, he conceded. Very polite of him, I thought.

                Even though there was no need, the Bengal and Leo were given 'rest' time before the final bout. When they emerged from the hallway, I began scanning the crowd again.

                The Bengal looked Leo over and said, "You can resign right now - without getting hurt."

                "Hmmmm, I don't think so," Leo said. They each took a step towards one another.

                "I will break you," Bennie said.

                With that, I came <this> close to standing up and screaming, "You break it you bought it, baby!" But I refrained. The bell rang and Bennie charged at Leo. Leo dodged and they spent a few minutes feinting and dodging before falling back to study one another for awhile.

                Bennie sneered, "After I defeat you - I will take the little blonde as mine." As if!

                Leo straightened from the crouch he'd been in, "And do what with her? You have no external genitalia, if you hadn't noticed." Well, that got Bennie's full attention and he leapt at Leo.

                Leo was ready and neatly clotheslined the Cat. Bennie dropped like a sack of taters.

                Leo sunk a knee in his chest, leaned in - real close and said, "You know - normally - I would let it go at this, but no! You had to go and make a rude comment about my wife. There are some things that you just don't do." Then he smacked Bennie across the muzzle a couple of times. "Bad kitty! Bad, bad kitty!"
The Cats in the audience weren't very happy.

                Me? My toes curled.

                The bell rang; Leo got up off of Bennie and walked to the door where Caesar was waiting to greet him. Then some insane woman whipped her bra off and threw it to Leo. Olivia pulled on my arm to get me to sit down while Allison said, "Jazz, pull your blouse down." I did and raced down the steps.

                Leo picked the bra up, looked at it - then up to me and gave me a little smile. He put one end of it thru a belt loop, hooked it and turned back to Caesar. Ignoring my bra at Leo's waist, Caesar introduced the new Lord Venetian to the crowd. Leo waved as he approached the interim head of the Domain, shook his hand, and told him, "I really need a briefing. It's time for a heart to heart discussion about matters."

                Then he had turned to deal with the press. "No. I have no public statement at this time. Now, let's go check out this domain of mine." He put an arm around my waist and said to them, "Then we need to pack and move and I think I'll have a little look into the recent rash of accidents. Review the gathered data and see if all avenues of investigation have been explored."

                Olivia joined us and suggested that we not tempt fate and teleport to the Venetian.

                "I'm okay with that," Leo admitted.

                Olivia placed us just outside the main entrance and we caught them right in the middle of trying to round up the staff for Leo's inspection. Leo told the ones that were there to relax and we waited for the rest. When all were present he said to them, "It's nice to be here and I hope to get to know all of you better in the next few days. In the meantime, go about your business. If I need to change anything I'll let you know. So keep doing what works and stop doing what doesn't."

                Olivia suggested we move inside the building. Good idea.

                Inside, Leo's demeanor changed. He gathered all the management people in a corner. "First thing: I want every one of you to give me a resume, brief biography and background." They were taken aback, but he wasn't done, "I also want a four-page essay on why you think I should keep you."

                He looked around as if waiting for questions - there were none.

                "Alright then - by tomorrow morning. Good day to you all. Except for the head of housekeeping." A woman stepped forward and looked as if she was expecting the worst. Leo shook her hand, introduced him and me and asked the woman if she'd be so kind to give us a tour of the facilities. "And while you do that, please send some people up to the residence with a lint brush or two. No disrespect to the previous Lord, but I'm allergic to cats."

                Olivia asked, "Is there a Mage?"

                Leo asked, "Do I have a Mage on staff?"

                "There are a couple, my Lord."

                Olivia said, "Have them go up and clean it magically. That should get all the fur and dander. When we get up there I can check to make sure they got it all."

                Leo nodded, "Okay. Good. Do that." The Housekeeper composed herself and passed on the order.

                We were about to start our tour when eight very attractive young female Cats arrived and introduced themselves as Lucifer's 'personal' staff. They wanted to know what was going to happen to them. Leo was stumped. He finally turned to me and asked, "Dear, can I have a harem?"

                "Well if you do, they had better be Humans or at least Humanoids!" I told him.

                "I was hoping you'd help me out a little."

                "Oh. No! I forbid it!" I even stomped my foot.

                He turned to the Cats and said with a shrug, "Sorry ladies. But I will help you find jobs - provide letters of reference - whatever I can do to help."

                "And they're welcome to stay here until they find new positions," I said with a nudge.

                "Right!" Leo said, "You are all welcome to keep on living here until you find those new jobs."

                "What about your mate?" one of them asked.

                "What about her?" Leo asked.

                "Does she need body slaves or does she, perhaps keep a harem?"

                "Uh - no, but thank you, though," I told her. "But let me repeat that you are welcome here as long as need be."

                The Housekeeper announced that she was ready to show us around so we took our leave of the girls and followed her. We started at the bottom - in the sub basements - and worked our way up. I had just gotten really comfortable knowing my way around the Aladdin! Now I have to start all over again. Maybe I'll ask if one of those Cats knows her way around well enough to accompany me for a few months. Anyway, we finally made our way to the top floor and the Grand Suite.

                Oh.

                My.

                God!!!!

                It is SO fabulous!

                But a bit over done - Lucifer apparently took all of the art from the hotel and its galleries and managed to shove it all into his set of rooms. We'll be doing some un-decorating.

                But - Oh my God!

                Olivia was mumbling something about knocking out walls and enlarging her suite back at the Aladdin when we shooed her out. It was getting late and there was still much congratulatory sex to be had.

                Lady Venetian!

                Who'd have ever thought?

Continued...