\ 22:48 Drago meets Balthazar Romano | unlimitedi.net
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Balthazar was looking out the window into the alleyway.  He was fascinated by the figure that was out there making the party-goers scream and run.  It ran back and forth, clearly in searing pain, wailing.  Occasionally some one or another drunk would approach and get kicked or beaten for his trouble and stagger away.  

Downstairs he could hear the mayhem of screaming women, shouting men, gunfire, and breaking glass.  Up here people were more quietly terrified, crouching under tables and sobbing or whimpering in fear.  It was a heady mix.  He sipped the glass of deep red port wine and savored the flavor.

"Balthazar Romano, I am Drago.  I came find out where find your man Carmine.  I owe him.  You tell me."

Balthazar looked lazily away from the spectacle in the alley and looked at Drago.  He was very tall and lean with a leather vest and tattoos that would seem to indicate his connections to several big-name criminal groups.  He held a deliciously large Chromed Desert Eagle pistol in one hand, but not pointed this way.  Balthazar felt uninclined to help the man so he turned back to watching the man in the alley.

Drago cocked the gun loudly.  Balthzar didn't look at him, "Drago, do you have any idea how far out of your league I am?"

"All men are equal to bullet," Drago said in a heavily accented voice.

Balthazar said, "What about your man in the alley?  Is he equal to a bullet?  I guarantee that even a hand-cannon like yours wouldn't drop him for long...if at all."

Drago laughed, "No, and he is not alone.  I have two more in bar downstairs.  You tell me now what I ask."

Balthazar curled a finger at Drago to come to the window.  He pointed down into the street at the figure who had managed to locate his knife.  Romano closed his eyes and summoned some force.  "Elemtarius Electrico!" he invoked.

Lightning arced from the sky and struck the thug.  White light blinded Drago and left a burned in image of Miro exploding in incandescant fire as he was instantly heated and burned to ash.  Even before the image had faded from his retina the thunderclap blew through the alley shattering a few panes of glass and cracking many more.

Drago flailed and knocked the drink fro Balthazar's hand as he clutched at his face in pain from the light, heat, sound and confusion.  Balthazar frowned at his fallen drink, but patiently waited for Drago to stop blinking and shaking before saying clearly, "Why would I cooperate with a lowly thug like you, Drago?  What is in it for me?"

Drago instantly realized he had pissed himself for the second time in two days.  Balthazar's display had left him dazed, temporarily blinded and he had lost his advantage. He had no idea what he should do. Balthazar stepped next to him and placed a fatherly hand around his shoulders. He spoke in a friendly voice, "Drago, I appreciate the effort you've gone to here.  Not many men would have had balls enough to try something like this so i am going to throw you a bone.

"I'll give you Carmine, but first you have to get a little red gem from him - it's about this big," he said indicating a tiny portion of his fingernail and waited for Drago to nod his comprehension.

"Once you have the gem, kill him. I mean really kill him -- as in no coming back -- dead.  If you can do that and bring me the gem and I'll make sure that you and your men have a prominent place in my organization."

Drago's sight was still a little blurry but it had mostly come back.  The ringing in his ears was still subsiding but Balthazars offer came through loud and clear.  Balthazar Romano was holding out his hand. Drago looked at it for a long second before taking it, "You have deal, Romano.  Drago will do this."  With most of his gang gone he could not stay in business.  With Romano on his side, business would definitely improve.

And two problems roll down into one, Balthazar thought.  He pulled out a card and pen and scribbled an address on the back and tossed it to the thug.  "Better hurry, Drago.  My bodyguard will be back here shortly and I trust him to protect me."

Drago fled from the upper level as Balthazar wandered casually over to the bar.  That was a nice port, he thought, I could go another.


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