The Parisian midnight's silence was broken by the screams of the Opera Populaire's patrons. As the people ran off into the darkness, a flittering shape of legend moved into a trap door, concealed beneath the statue of Pegasus. Erik, the Phantom moved beneath through the catacombs and cellars, working his way towards his new prize. Since the loss of his last love to the Viscount de Changy, Erik was feeling lonely. He needed companionship, if he could not have love. As he emerged from the back entrance of the house on the lake, he saw the soprano lain out before him, crouched in the folds of her Stuart-style gown. Her blonde hair turned up in a massive beehive. As Erik saw her, her voice filled his mind as he had heard her. The silvery notes dancing beneath her talented vocal abilities. He saw her, and she turned to him, she looked him in the mask and did not die. Things were going well already.
As Paix Aigle saw the thin man step into the light, his full form came into view. He was thin as a rake, but the jet-black cloak draped over his shoulders helped to conceal that. He wore a very wide-brimmed hat on his head with a large feather pointing out. On a sash on his waist he wore a cutlass, but the most striking feature of his, was that on his face, he wore a grey mask that covered all but his chin. His chin itself was pale and shrunken, like a corpse's. And his neck beat with his breath, torn and rotten flesh strewn wildly. The most shocking thing about the whole situation was that none of this surprised Mademoiselle Aigle in the slightest.
"Paix Aigle," The Phantom spoke, in a voice so soft and pure it could have never belonged to such a face as this. "You are a vision, my child. A perfect, angelic vision."
Paix stood and tore the blond hair from her head, revealing her shoulder-length brown beneath it. She pulled on a string on her corset and the heavy silk folds of her gown dropped, revealing a simple dress beneath.
"Erik Claudin, the crown of England requires your assistance."
The fury of The Phantom was legendary; it was the fury that killed dozens in a chandelier incident. It was the fury that hung Joseph Bouquet, a worker at the opera, among many others. And now The Phantom's fury was directed at her, Irene Adler, a thief who had become an agent of the crown as a favour.
"Who are you? ! !" The Phantom bellowed in a voice from the caverns of hell itself.
"My name is Irene Adler," She spoke with a confidence she did not possess. "I am the emissary of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a task force headed in this incarnation by Phileas Fogg."
The Phantoms fury subsided. "I am familiar with The Leagues work at the Rue Morgue some years ago. I was a personal friend of Dr Jekyll. I can not say as much for his…entourage."
"We are facing a threat greater than Mr Hyde, Erik. We have need of your skills in infiltration, disguises and theatrics."
Erik's interest piqued at the last word.
"Ah, what is life without theatrics? A droning event of no significance. If there is to be an occasion as momentous as this, then there must be a fantastic backdrop. I will provide it, for the sake of theatrics."
A grin stretched across Erik's shrunken face. A moment where his deformity became all the less noticeable. His passion overcame him and he walked towards her, until they were face to face.
"May I ask you're name, if not Paix Aigle?" His voice was silky soft again, like warm milk.
"My name is Irene Adler." Her eyes, usually so hard, with an authority to match her male cohorts, softened and melted into his gaze.
"The thief." He said. Not with contempt, but with a respect that the skill of thievery deserved.
Evermore flew across the lake, his talons dragging over the wax-like water, Irene expected it to land on her shoulder. Instead, it perched itself on Erik's gloved finger.
"We are to be on the surface at half past the hour." Irene said, stroking the raven's back.
"Then we must go now, if we are to make this appointment with Fogg."
Irene wondered how Erik arrived at this conclusion, but as he lead her through his home, grabbing items he may yet need, she saw his writings, his poems, his songs, his paintings and his masks, she saw his genius expressed. She saw a man beyond the face of the monster.
As Erik and Irene reached the roof of the Opera Populaire, just as the guards summoned by the screaming masses, were approaching the main gates. A wonderful device was atop the opera house. Irene was slightly shocked at this behemoth of human construction. A boat was tied by rope to some kind of dome, but not of glass, but some sort of plastic.
"What is this?"
"It is known as an airship. A French device. A wonder, I have often attempted to build one, but am unable to obtain the schematics."
From the barge stepped Phileas Fogg, looking more haggard than Irene had ever seen him, his arm in a sling. Irene stepped forward and shook his hand and Erik bowed his head as they entered. Evermore flew to the Captains quarters and into a cage perched on a desk within. Phileas turned numerous cranks and dials as a jet of flame shot up into the centre of the dome, illuminating the entire rooftop. The guards reached the rooftop of the opera house just as the airship flew off into the night.
"Where are we to go now?" Irene asked the captain at the helm, Phileas.
"We have a few more people to recruit; one of them is a heartbroken drunk in America. He will need our help the most."
Faking your own death is simple, if you are unknown. As Quincey Morris sat at the bar of the Stoker Inn in Virginia, the thoughts of his lost Lucy came to him, and he swallowed whiskey to chase them away. When he finished drinking, long into the night by now, he went to bed. It was at that moment that a pack of black wolves padded into Virginia, their red eyes blazing in the moonlight.