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Everything posted by Nadya Lunălescu

  1. "Not so forgotten now that I know your name," Nadya replied with a fey respect rather than her typical insouciance or frivolity. "I'd like that, Khenti-Khas." Her dark red lips spread in a playful grin as she tapped him on the arm with the business card between her fingers. "Seeya 'round, Nose-Bro. Like you said, I gots to get doing." With a rap of her cane on the luxurious carpet over marble, the lewdly-garbed witch (small 'w') spun on her heel and sauntered off, apparently just another sexually charged teen among the wild party of high schoolers and myths. She glanced at the card, bemused she could read the hieroglyphics. Wondering how she'd even enter the number into her phone, she smirked in delight. Her iTeru III didn't seem to have an issue inputting Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics, the keyboard adapting intuitively. Ptah - or whoever her divine mother had gotten the phone from - did good work. Number entered into her phone, Nadya somehow managed to deftly tuck it and the business card out of sight in the brief and hardly concealing costume she was wearing. Now, up or down? Conventional wisdom, and from, like, every supernatural YA novel and series ever, if a dark ritual wasn't taking place outside, it would be in the deepest, dankest hole or basement available. But this was Mercedes' house, the dankest thing in the place were probably memes. On the other hand, rich folk tended to prefer to keep their valuables close to hand when they weren't in a bank, safes and lockboxes hidden - or not so hidden - in their bedrooms, walk-in closets, or offices. So upstairs was promising too... though honestly, as much as she wanted to find the vessel and the witches, she just wanted to be nosey. Upstairs then, convenient too, since Nadya came across the grand staircase before the stairs down to the basement. Phone out once more, a surreptitious pic of the tall Elsa and another random party-goer, Nadya pretended to receive a text, the spoke just loud enough to be heard while feigning a text back. "Which room?" Giggle. "Kk. Leave the boots on. And the tail." Lascivious smile plastered on her face, Nadya practically skipped up the wide steps with blatant intent to disguise her real one.
  2. Nadya was good with languages, knowing well more than one, which was better than the vast majority of Americans. But the more she thought about the words Khenti-Khas was saying, the more they turned into a jumble of mangled syllables. When she simply listened though, their meaning came through crystal clear. "Dynamic Equilibrium!" Nadya exclaimed exuberantly, a term from science class percolating up from her mind and out of her mouth. She demonstrated, waggling her glass, amber liquid sloshing up one side, then the other, before leveling out. "Stuff goes in. Stuff goes out. But it all evens out in the end." Khenti-Khas arched an ascetic - and doubtful - brow. Nadya grinned, downed the rest of her drink, then slapped the glass down on a passing silver tray with a ringing ting. "It's a kind balance. Harmony doesn't mean stas-stagn - doesn't mean you have to stay the same, Clark Khenti-" "Khenti. Khas." His tone was precise, sharp, and... definitive. "Names have meaning, power, young... Nadya." Her silvery eyes narrowed to bare slits, suspicious at what Khenti-Khas' pause intimated. His long face was as inscrutable as a sphinx's. Nah, he couldn't know. Only her father knew her secret name and they never spoke it aloud. Nah, just time honoured adult bullshittery, pretending to know more than he does. Don't see why gods can't do it too. "- Khenti-Khas," Nadya continued, as though she hadn't call him by any other name, "I don't know how to walk like a Pesedjet - 'Mom' didn't tell me much - anything - really - but I guess she's leaving it up to me, to find new ways to walk the old path." She held up her hands in surrender at his jaded look. "Yeah, yeah, I know, I have a long way to walk yet, and I'm sure there's gonna be detours along the way, but!" She clicked her heels, then posed in a way to show off her boots. "I have some sweet pairs of kicks for that road. And it's the journey and not the destination, and all that, right?" Khenti-Khas didn't seem convinced. "Speaking of paths and roads, I doubt you took an Uber down to, uh, The World," the witchy Romani commented, casually glancing around in case a certain vessel or certain personages of the witchy variety would suddenly and obviously present themselves. "Any hints on how to get, y'know..." She raised a finger point upwards, then down, "... to the divine upstairs or basement? Without the whole Ughk! Flomp! Dead! part?" Might be handy to have someplace to bolt out of Salem - or the rest of The World - if things went sideways, someplace with some Godly relatives hanging around, if whatever could follow her. Or if she knew the way in, she might be able to figure out how to sneak out if things went more than just sideways.
  3. Nadya strutted into the party arm in arm with Dane as though it belonged to her, as fluidly and naturally as a bird of prey in the air. She could feel every note of pounding, energetic music bouncing off her bones, scintillating, flashing lights reflected off her silver-grey eyes. Her mouth was wide in a shameless grin as she wove through the press of bodies, the TikTok Witch 'casting' her witchy spells spells and curses and hexes with a swat of a wand from her wicker basket, a bump of her hips, or a slap on the ass, iTeru III out snapping pics. The Romani Witch and the Scandi-Californian quickly parts ways to circulate in their own fashions. Nadya scoped a drink from the bar being served by a man with a jackal's head - or maybe it was his actual head - something green and bubbling and sweet, then downed a pair of Skittles that certainly were not Skittles, giving every impression she was subsuming herself into the debauchery of myth and mortals. The first time she'd gotten drunk was at Mercedes' place, swiping some of the good stuff from her parents' liquor cabinet. Mercedes had taken a few sips, but she'd been bolder - or maybe just less concerned with consequences - and taken more than just a few sips. She hadn't regretted at the time, didn't regret it, but she had certainly regretted her first hangover. Her father had thought it a good lesson. She'd been here before, but the mansion seem so much... more than she remembered. Maybe it was because it'd been a few years, maybe it was because she'd changed, or maybe because the place had changed, rather due to the influence of the fantastic or not. Still, they were here for a reason beyond fun. As she danced deeper into the mansion, her thief's eyes circumspectly cased the place with experienced regard, trying to suss out where something precious, something needed might be hidden or guarded. At the same time, she tried to notice if any of the women she knew - assuming the witches weren't so progressive as having possessed a boy's body - were acting out of the ordinary. "Child of Bastet," said a voice in greeting, just barely audible above the music. It was deep, almost reverberating, and accented, maybe Middle-Eastern, by way of schooling at Oxford. Nadya glanced back, then up. The man was tall, a foot or more taller than her, even in her heels, slim and sallow skinned, with a long, ascetic face and narrow beard. She couldn't put an age to the guy, but that might have been the bird head mask (or not mask) he was wearing. He seemed to emanate bemused ennui. "My man!" Nadya called back. She had little inkling of her divine heritage, maybe it was time to learn? Some anyway. "Cousin?" She gestured towards the drink in his hand with her own. "How do drink with the-" She raised her drink so it was in front of her face, then extended it forward, alluding the the vicious curved beak."-y'know?" "With great difficulty," the man - god? - intoned wryly. His heavy tumbler was nearly empty, but his shirt was dry. "As for cousins, perhaps, somewhat removed. I am Khenti-Khas." Nadya blinked. The man sighed in a way that suggested he was used to his name not being recognized. "I protect the noses of the dead, so that those who pass to the afterlife do so whole." Nadya blinked again. That seemed rather niche to her. Then again.... "God of nose-jobs, gotch, dude. There a god of boob-jobs, too? Just asking." She nodded down at her corset doing a damned good job of presenting her chest. "Sometimes I think I could use another cup or two to make an outfit really pop, y'know?" Khenti-Khas mumbled, grumbled, "Every, bloody time. No, there is not. Mine was a noble endeavor, a blessed a charge." Nadya nodded along in agreement, not seemingly mocking the tall man. She considered herself Romani, Reform, maybe. She understood tradition... And she understood that it had to adapt, or at least, that it should. "I don't doubt, Khenti-baby. Some people have hideous noses. They need the help. But serious dude, you ever think of expanding your, erm, operation? Modern times, man. People aren't building pyramids anymore. But plastic surgeons are building better noses, faces, boobs, and most of the rest, every day. Just got to redefine what you think of as a temple."
  4. "He ain't Coach Fingers, but the Arch-man don't coddle much, even if he understands," Nadya added to Austin's words on Mr. Syracuse. She raised her chin in greeting at the taller girl. Nadya sort of recognized her from school, if only to put a name to a face, and that was mostly from having been in detention at the same time, once or twice. "'Sup, Val. Great costume, bit too much pink for this girl. We have to get a thing before some witches use the thing to do a super bad thing with the thing. Then kick the witches out of bloody Mercedes and her minions, and send them back to Hell, or Hades, or whatever. Put 'em back in the ground." She paused for a beat, then clarified, "The witches I mean, not Mercedes and her minions... Although..." Grim gave the impression of pinching the bridge of his nose without actually doing so, just by the tightening of his eyes. "The bougie bitch does have great booze though." Nadya turned and smirked up at Grim, whose gaze had begun to drift again. She jabbed him in the ribs with an elbow. "You don't really think that's Laurel's real costume, do you? That's the decoy." Silver-grey eyes turned to the prim Apollo-donna. Always so proper, Ms. Poppins must be a total freak in private. "Gonna at least give us a peek of what you're really packing to the party under the blue coverup before you jet off, Ms. Poppins?" She'd seen the movies. There was no way Mary Poppins didn't pop a cornucopia of pills from the bag she carried. And Laurel seemed one for verisimilitude when she put her mind to something.
  5. "No point in saving world if you not having fun along the way, no, oh Grimmest of Ones?" Nadya crooned, thickening her Eastern European accent - that hadn't quite faded entirely away after more than ten years living in the US - for thematic effect. She strutted down the crushed rock walk, high-heeled, over-the-knee boots and a glammed up, twisted blackwood swagger stick that would make Madonna proud clicking with each step as she joined the others, giving a spin to show off for the boys. It seemed the impish Romani girl had the same idea as Grim about doing her utmost to irritate the witches. Though instead of a Witchfinder, she'd dressed up as a Witch. A slutty, tacky witch, even for Halloween. Her sequined black dress was cut low in the black, cinched tight about the waist, the laces of the bodice pushing her curves up, and slit down the sides to reveal fishnetted thighs. She wore fingerless, elbow-length mesh gloves along with silver costume jewellery that ranged from passable to ostentatious at throat, wrists, and fingers, and an 'athame' on her hip that probably would have trouble with butter which contrasted garishly with the smartphone holstered on the other side. She topped it off with a tall, black, pointed witch's hat, a silvery-grey eye glittering with mirth and dark red lips spread in a wide, careless grin peeking out from under the broad brim. The boots - towering heels, a thick sole, going up almost to mid-thigh, with neon-pink laces - were all Nadya's though. She pointed at the burritoed one, voice shifting back to her natural tones. "Dane gets it." ~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~ With the last of the goodie-bags she'd spent all day making handed out, Nadya locked up the pawn shop. She walked over to her father sitting behind the counter. The lights in the shop were atmospherically low, her father's face cast in shadows, the tip of his cigarette glowing orange-red as he idly whittled, slivers of pale wood decorating the glass top counter. Nadya set down the basket she'd been using to hand out the goodie-bags then shrugged out of the shapeless black dress she'd been wearing to add a modicum of modesty to her costume, revealing the most immodest version she had on underneath. "Done and locked up, Papa," Nadya said with a demureness that would surprise almost anyone. It didn't last, of course. "Off to my party now." László snorted, twin plumes of fragrant smoke flaring from his nose, nearly invisible in the low light. "This party, Little Nadezhda, it is for play or work?" "Both." "Dangerous." "Oh, Papa," Nadya sighed, scooting around the counter and giving her father a tight hug. "I think danger's always going to be part of my life, now. All the more to live life to the fullest. Better to burn bright and all that." László grunted, his daughter's deceptively strong arms making his ribs creak. He gave her a quick hug back, and pressed his lips to her forehead. "There is something to burning low," he said, raising his brows to indicate the low lights. "But I understand. Just be keeping an eye out for escape if the Tarot hands you a bad card, so you can be burning bright for a while yet. No father should have to bury a child. Now now, let me do, my mortal bones are to frail and brittle for your young strength." "Liar," Nadya protested, letting her father go. "You just grow harder every year." She nodded up the stairs to their apartment above the modest shop. "I just need to grab a few more accessories before I head out. You need me to get you anything?" Not so hard as you think, Martiya, just resigned that I can't stop you from the path that you are on, nor can I follow you on it. Just able to keep an eye on you from the side, for a time. He reached down and thumped the floor with his cane. "Old and wounded, but not an invalid yet, Little One. Have fun, live large, and come back." ~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~ Nadya turned the eye the manor, watching the other party-goers, both mortal and not, mingling and partying, a wistfulness curving her lips. Once, she and Mercedes had been friends, not great ones, but friends enough that she'd been here several times before. She wondered if myths had walked the grounds like this before she'd been Visited and had her eyes opened to the Truth or if this was more due to the Witches' influence. If it was, Nadya still had to grant them they new how to through a party even after being several centuries in the ground. From the black, wicker basket she was carrying, she pulled out a leash and a studded collar. She'd already seen more than one slooty black cat, and at least one was definitely more cat than human. "Think I can find someone or something willing to be my familiar for the night?" Her smile this time revealed very white teeth. "Unless one of you guys want to play the part?" Nadya's irrepressible insouciance took a hit when she noticed a particular someone slouching himself onto the manicured grounds, eyes narrowing in dangerous mischief. "Todd is here?"
  6. [Nadya] Not gonna lie, Nadya was expecting... more. A pentagram burned into the grass or black candles partially melted on the boulders, maybe a creepy scarecrow or two or some abstract thingamajigs hanging from the trees about the clearing, or even a skull somewhere. An old one dug up from a grave or something, not a new one, with bits of meat still on it and a patina of blood, dry or still wet, because ugh! Something! Instead, it was just a bucolic scene, the only pall over it coming from the overcast skies and dry leaves fallen early crackling under their feet, the colour of the trees just beginning to turn. Hardly witching weather at all. But there was nothing! Or, at least, there appeared to be nothing. "That's what the Witch-Bitch wants us to think, Rae-Rae," Nadya countered, burying doubt behind brashness, a finger tapping her temple, her other hand patting a pocket, feeling the Goddess-granted knife inside. Through the pang of resentment and disappointment the wiry Romani offered the Aesir Athlete a scoffing smirk. "You don't think she'd make it that easy, do ya? Let's look 'round a little. Maybe old witches aren't good at math and messed up on the coordinates something. Can't expect them to figure out GPS that quickly right?" This was a totally fantastic and insightful idea, and while Nadya hadn't really expected it to be that easy, how awesome would it have been if she'd been proven right just as soon as they had stepped into the clearing? Rachel snorted doubtfully. "Riiiight. I think the baddest things we're going to find here are some broken beer bottles and some stubbed out joints." "I betcha we find something more than that," Nadya said as she began padding out into the clearing on the balls of her feet, silent and sure-footed despite her chunky heels. "If I'm wrong, I'll take your next turn at giving Wolf a bath, if I'm right, you take mine." Rachel blinked, then followed after her Moon-touched - in more than one sense of the word - friend. "Hey! You haven't washed him once yet." Nadya flapped a dismissive hand behind her. If wasn't her fault that it just very, very conveniently fell out that way through precisely factored machinations of her own. She wasn't a tracker, but her sharp, silvery eyes knew what a crime scene looked like, what it felt like, and what it took to cover it up. She looked for disturbed dirt, where something may have been buried or dug up, sniffed at the air, for traces of burnt... anything, sage or patchouli or eye or newt or whatever else witches might use in their spells. "You heard what Archie said 'bout this place. Beasties and baddies hiding here, just waiting to be stirred up, seems like just the place for a witch to cause some trouble for Salem. Y'know, rile up a... wicker man and a swarm of bees," Nadya said softly, listening for any sort of possibly riled up beastie. "Or a Nemean Skunk or something. At least none of the guys are with us, right? Might've been been pestered by one of the Nymphs on the way if we were." "C'mon, Nads, be serious," Rachel growled, gloved hands balling into fists. "I am. Those nymphs are worse than the Plastics in Mean Girls, not to mention making a girl question her own quite evident hawtness." She flashed the blonde a quick grin over her shoulder. "Not me, of course." Nadya turned back to the near picturesque scene, idly continuing her blather. "Do you think there might be unicorns in these woods." She couldn't quite quell a childhood squee at the thought of riding a Gods honest fucking unicorn. "Probably aren't prancy horses that fart rainbows though. Badass mofos that go berserk at the scent of wap, ya think?" Rachel sighed. "Let's just get this done and meet up with the others at the cemetery, 'kay, Nadya?"
  7. Okay, Nadya had totally not intended to let it go that far dealing with Adrianna, especially as she was someone who could tie Dane up in knots like that. She'd just been curious what Grim would do or say when put on the spot. He'd done... fine, maybe a little bland, in her consideration, but totally props for the possible flirt. But then Lite Bright sunbeamed her way in and Nadya couldn't help but think about her failed attempt at pulling a fast one on Marius and failing utterly. Risk. Reward. Sometimes for a big payoff, you had to gamble. Problem was, she hadn't been the one to pay the forfeit. It had been their loved ones. She could have cried about it not being fair, but she knew what he father would have said about that. While she did believe that there was a tendency towards Balance, no one ever said it was timely or didn't need help at times, nor that it couldn't be cheated. She hadn't needed Lite Bright's excoriation, having felt enough of a shitheel. She couldn't thank Dane enough for coming to her dad's aid. Then Fisher mentioned the Nekyia and Nadya had felt the air sucked out of her lungs, like her death's breath slipping inexorably through her lips. She'd thought she was over being trapped inside her own mind, but it seemed it wasn't the case, the trauma lingering in the dark corners of her head. The Romani girl couldn't help but wince in sympathy and feline delight as Grim icily tore into Fisher for his blunder. Grim laid out his plan of action and left, followed by Laurie, sunlight after shadow. Fisher trudged out a moment later, looking like death warmed over at the prospect of telling Archie what he'd done. After him, Dale slunk out like a dusky, busty cat on her growling motorcycle. And finally, it felt like Nadya could breathe again. Basking in the deliciousness of the confection Darcy had bestowed on her - it was more of a hot milkshake with several pumps of vanilla and raspberry syrup than mere coffee - she pondered where they'd already gone and where they were going, trying to track down the bitchy witches as they witchly bitched about town, trying to fit the pieces together, enough to get an idea of what the con looked like. She got a text from Fisher, updating her about the dead birds being found at the pier. She furrowed her sharp brows, then swiped to Google maps, pinning locations. One point, a second... The Rule of Three, three witches... "Then we should go in pairs, at least, Aquaboy," Nadya countered, with a grin, draining the last of her 'coffee' and popping up to her feet. "You go join Fisher at the pier. Rae-Rae, you're with me." "Why am I going with Fisher?" Austin asked, not that he was opposed, just out of vague but habitual caution whenever Nadya proposed... almost anything. Nadya gave him a silver-eyed stare of seeming genuine puzzlement. "Dude? Pier? Water? Splish-splash?" She pointed at him with a pair of fingers. "Aquaboy. Kinda obvious, don'tcha think?" Austin sighed and began to shrug on his coat. "And where are you girls going?" he asked just as Rachel said, "And where are we going?" "Not sure, yet, but I'll let you both know when we get there. C'mon, Rae-Rae, we have our own sleuthing to do before joining the others at Harmony Grove. We can get Wolf on the way." Grunting in belligerent resignation, Rachel followed the short, wiry felony in oddly silently clomping heels out of the Drip. "Seriously, Nadya, where are we going?" "Three witches, right?" Nadya said, flashing her phone at the taller Scion. "Right..." "Two things of the weird the others are checking out. We're gonna look for a third. The other two happened here and here." Nadya showed the points on a Google Map on her iTeru III. "Looking for patterns and shit, I figure they are witching themselves a triangle. Why else hit places as random as the pier and Mrs. Cunningham's garden - I mean, unless that's where they are hanging out and they are oozing out radioactive protoplasm or junk. If we're looking at a roughly equilateral triangle, the third point would be here, or here. The middle of Salem Harbor seems unlikely, so let's try the other one first, hey? It that doesn't pan out, well, Aquaboy can check the other. Or at least get us a boat." The tall blonde gave the sleek brunette a weird look. "What?" "You know what an equilateral triangle is?" "Oh, go drown yourself in the sludge of the Nile. I'm fine in math. You got a nose for guilt, I got eyes for crime scenes, and Wolf just has a nose. For smelling stuff. Let's see if we can scrounge ourselves up a clue on what's going on."
  8. Even Nadya was at a lost for words, for a moment at least. Dude was big. True, Spearfinger had been taller, but super fugly, with stony, scaling skin that desperately needed some top line moisturizer. But Maurice looked way more, er, human, which made his sheer mass even more imposing. He kinda looked like a bigger, buffer, Terry Crews, y'know, except for the dreads and single eye. And Nadya couldn't help but wonder with fascinated unease what he was packing in his cargo shorts that were entirely too close to face level. Good on you, Archie, good on you. Maurice wasn't a dwarf, but Nadya wasn't disappointed. Nadya gave herself a little shake then craned her neck to meet his eye, a cheery grin spreading wide on her face. What did he use for a pair of shades when he went out in the sun? "My man! Maurice!" Nadya crowed, holding out (and up) a hand for a fist bump. Maurice seemed bemused, but obliged, the disparity in sizes of their fists delightfully ludicrous. "We da - we are the kids, fer sure. Archie gave us your name, but neglected a few details. I'm Nadya, and these are my Band mates." She quickly gave the Rastafarian Cyclops the names of the rest of the party, then reached into her satchel and pulled out one of the bigger shards of what appeared to be pure ruby, and letting him see there were more. The shattered remnants of the heart of Cherokee myth that had been way too real. But then again, all the myths seemed to be. "And we're here 'bout this, big guy," Nadya said, holding up the shard for Maurice's inspection, though ready to snatch it back in case he tried to swipe it. "The Heart of Spearfinger. Archie said you're the man to make something out of it."
  9. The delight on Nadya's face wasn't just for picturing a hive-ridden particular daughter of Aphrodite. If Fisher - and most others - thought study was anathema - another word-a-day word - to her, that was more than fine with her. And was the intent. While admittedly, her studying at school was... inconsistent at best, you couldn't pull off a good con or heist without at least some planning, even if you had to expect to adapt when things inevitably went wrong. “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.” Nadya glanced back over her shoulder at the ancient arithmetician. "Just one more teensy thing, Archie, Maurice, yeah, Titanspawn, got it, but what exactly is he?" The svelte and wiry young woman perked up on her perch on the edge of the table, giving the impression of clapping excitedly without actually moving her hands. "Is he dwarf? Like an actual dwarf, not a little person? He's a dwarf, isn't he? We should at least bring him a case of beer or something."
  10. Nadya gave the newest member of their Band a quick once over, impish grin on her face and silvery-grey eyes alight. Chin cupped in her hands, elbows propped on the makeshift table, her hips rolled fluidly from side to side as she shifted her weight. "Don't mind Grumps over there, Dale. Grim doesn't know how to party and is now getting thrown into the deep end." Her grin widened and she flashed Grim a teasing wink. "Sink or swim time, Loquacious One." "Loquacious?" Grim drawled. His other eye was as grey and barren and unyielding as an overcast sky over a coal-mining town in winter. "I read," Nadya asserted with the slightest pout. Grim's grey eye seemed to convey extra... greyness. Nadya chuffed in irritation. "I have one of those word-a-day calendars, 'kay?" Grim's chin lowered, his gaze unwavering, as though looking at her over a pair of bifocals. Nadya rolled her eyes as she stood up and stretched. "So, I only got to February fourteenth, what about it?" Nadya sauntered lithely about the table, chunky-heeled boots barely a whisper, and sidled up to Dane. She hooked an arm through his, and reached up with the other to ruffle his blond mane. "It's a good thing you're yummy-cute and have the best herb, Burritosson." Dane smiled as though he'd just won an Oscar. "Wanna go with me, Moonbaby? We can do the couples thing like Darce and the Fishman. You'd make a foooine taco." Nadya laughed, then leaned around him to stick her tongue out at Grim. "I ain't figuring out nothing, Grim." Fisher snicked and Nadya shot him a friendly finger without looking back. "I have my costume ready to go. And yes, it is tight and super slooty. And has a hint of Salem folklore, for that little bit class. I'm going as Abigail Breslin-" "Williams," Fisher and Darcy said in saccharine synchronicity. "-Williams, one of Salem's most famous witches." Nadya's grin barred some teeth as her turned her attention towards Dale and Rachel. "And I aim to misbehave. So whaddaya say Rae-Rae, Dale, wanna join me in painting targets on our backs to try and draw out these wicked bitches?"
  11. Nadya's pencil beat a rapid tattoo on her binder, eagerly waiting for the last class of the day to end. Her page of notes had devolved into a hieroglyphic representation of some Rube Goldbergian monstrosity used to purloin... something. Nadya wasn't a particularly good artist. It might have been a document stating she owned Amazon entirely or a reverse giraffe. Her eyes were on the clock rather than her doodles. She swore she'd seen the minute hand move backwards a tick - which would have been far from the strangest thing she'd ever seen, especially recently. The bell rang and Nadya was out of the door before the chime finishing chiming, a dusk-coloured sirocco in chunky heels, her phone practically materializing into her hand. The teacher was death on students who played with their phones during class, and Nadya hadn't been about to risk having a gift from her mother taken away, even for a few hours, maybe a day. Beyond that, no phone! Shudder. Neither she nor Grimes had a shift at From Dusk Til Pawn today, and she was pretty sure the rest of the Band was free too. They'd better be, or they'd miss out on Big Fugly's broken ruby heart. It was time to talk to talk to Archie about the shards leftover from their take down of the Cherokee Spearfinger. Okay, okay, it was waaaay past time. She hadn't been hoarding them for herself. Really, honest. She'd just been... y'know, trying to see if she could figure out what to do with them on her own. Independent Study. It hadn't gone too well. Okay, it hadn't gone at all, since all her ideas about research on this stuff lead right back to Archie... which was right where she was ending up going, anyway. <We got some mats. Gotta find out where to go with them to make them into stuff. Meet up at Archie's> Nadya tapped out briskly on her phone then texted to the Band. Actually, Grimes hadn't even been there, but it would seem kinda rude and backhanded to uninvite him now, especially since she was his ride today. Can you say awkward? He could get the smallest piece of shattered ruby monster heart. When Nadya started getting close to the rather too impressive library for Salem High, she slowed her brisk pace to one more lackadaisical and aimless, them slipped inside while no one was looking. She couldn't be seen to be wanting to go to the library, even if she had been going there a lot more often as of late. She ghosted through the stacks to where Archimedes laired. "Hey, Archie! You around?" Nadya trilled lightly as she looked around for the erstwhile librarian and god. "You said come see you if I - we - wanted to start on that 'independent study' you mentioned."
  12. I was about to post or PM for details about said guy. If you had already sent me some, I'll admit to completely forgetting about them.
  13. I'll stick around. As an aside, guys, Artemis might be just a tad, a smidge really, miffed, about something that may or may not have gone missing, that in a roundabout way, if you squint really hard, could be considered the fault of someone in particular. I don't wanna name names...
  14. Nadya's lips twitched in a small smirk when Grim's eyes went back to the phone, but her pale gaze lingered on the pale scar over his eye, wondering again how it had happened. She opened her mouth to ask, but when Grim looked back up at her and nodded, proclaiming his satisfaction, she nodded back, mouth spreading in retail grin. She enjoyed browsing as much as the next girl, but the best customers were the ones who knew what they wanted and didn't dither of decision for a thousand years. You usually couldn't upsell them, but on the other hand, you could make ten sells for every dithering. "Alright then, good choice," Nadya said. "Let me grab you some of the accessories and get you rung up." Nadya disappeared behind the counter for a moment, then popped back up with a cardboard box full of electronic brick-a-brac. "Charger for the phone, phone case - do you want Minions or Bedazzled?" she said, holding up a case in either hand for his inspection, grin broad and eyes sparkling. Grim's stoic bland expression still seemed to radiate affront. "Nah, I'm kidding, I wouldn't wish these on Mercedes and her Pink Slip Amazons... well, yeah, I totally would. Here, black." With practiced motions, she slipped on the textured rubber and plastic over the phone and handed back to Grim, then began digging in the box once more. "Power-cord for the Chromebook." She plugged it into the Chromebook to make sure it fit. "Oops, not that one, this one-" She was interrupted by a rap at the cash counter. She and Grim both looked around to find László hanging his cane on the counter once more. "No, be giving the boy the newest Chromebook we are having. Same price. He is missing much, and is having much to catch up on." Nadya raised her brows in surprise. "I swear, he has hearing like, um - I don't know who the Egyptian Heimdall is, so, like, Heimdall's," Nadya whispered. The shop was quiet save for the soft skirling of violins over the speakers, but they hadn't been speaking particularly loud. "He always knows everything going on in the shop." Grim gave Nadya a muted shadow of a smile, then met László's gaze directly. "I appreciate the offer sir, but it isn't necessary. This one is sufficient." "Bah!" László waved a dismissive hand. "I am expecting more than only sufficient from my daughter, and I am thinking you are expecting more from yourself, boy." He gave Nadya an assertive, pointed nod before his eyes shifted back to Grim. "Speaking of the sufficiency, my little daughter-" "I'm not that short," Nadya huffed, putting away the two Chromebooks she had brought of for Grim's inspection and pulled out another, a little bigger than the others, and while clearly a newer model, the lid showed the scuffs of hard use or little care. She pulled out another box, slim, the corners beaten and opened it up, showing neatly arranged cords with twist ties, and styrofoam packing, leaving a perfect fit for the laptop. "-is not being sufficient to be helping me with the shop, she being often busy with other... things." Nadya blew a raspberry. "I am thinking I am needing more help. Are you being interested? You are being the growing boy still, I am seeing the signs, and I am thinking you can be using more of the money. Some of your wages, it would be going to make up the difference."
  15. "Just so. It is being best not to believing half what you are reading, and little more what you are seeing," László agreed with amiably gruff amusement, a sage nod, and a twinkle in his eye. Behind him, Nadya shook her head vehemently over her father's shoulder, trying to convey silently to Grim that her father wasn't in the know about Gods and Titans and Monsters, but Grim suspected László caught the motion, though he gave no sign of it beyond a slight curve of his mouth. The elder Lunălescu picked up his cane and swung it behind him without looking, giving Nadya a light swat on the thigh. "My milaya doch', help the boy finding the things he is looking for," László to his daughter, hanging his cane off the edge of the counter once more. "Me, and am doing the sorting of the jewels for what to sell, and what is for the keeping, so that those they are meaning much may recover them." He gave Grim another scrutinizing glance, then looked over his shoulder at Nadya. "And you, Nadezhda, be a good host and be offering him a sandwich. You are being as skinny as the rail, boy." Nadya rolled her eyes in exasperation, but when her father shifted, a demure expression came over face so quick, Grim began to doubt he had even seen the roll of eyes. She swiftly finished her sandwich, then picked up the tray. "Of course, Tată," she said docilely, and her father snorted, clearly not fooled. She skipped down the two steps from the counter area, and offered the tray to Grim. "There's egg salad, tuna, and ham and swiss," Nadya said, indicating each lightly toasted sandwich with a nod. Only one half of the tuna sandwich remained on the wooden tray. "Grab one, oh Grim one, and let's see about getting you hooked up and online." Grim hesitated for a moment then picked up the other half of the tuna sandwich and flashed the Lunălescus his reserved, understated smile. Nadya gave him a mock pout before she slid the tray back onto the counter, then beckoned him to follow her with a pair of waving fingers. "Someone has good taste. This way." Nadya led Grim to a counter at the back of the shop, what passed for the electronics section, and took the two steps up in a hop. She glanced down the glass counter top, then gave a Grim a quick, considering look that almost made him want to check his pockets to find out what was missing. Then she pulled out two transparent trays of cellphones. Strips of masking tape indicated the price range, 40-99 dollars in one tray, 100-199 in the other. Nadya walked further down the counter and leaned on it, the two steps up bringing her eyes up just a bit higher than Grim's. "What're looking for in a laptop, Grim? Video games or video editing, big screen, or just something for homework and wikipedia?" "Research and homework mainly," Grim admitted. A shrug. "Entertainment secondary, I suppose. Why?" "Dude, you are so wrong 'bout that, but I got you. I could get you a good deal on a gaming laptop. Great specs, 19 inch screen, whole buncha games on it still, but it's almost as thick as a phonebook and weighs as much as Wolf, with a battery life of about two minutes." Nadya tapped on the glass counter pointing out the beastly laptop with a biohazard decal on the lid, then she pointed to two other smaller, slimmer models, one newer than the other. "But it sounds like what you want is a Chromebook. A hundred for this one. They're perfect for surfing the net and youtube. And homework, I guess. They're kinda between a tablet and a PC. Talk to Beth at school, and she get even get Netflix working on them, probably update the operating system on the older models," "I don't have an Netflix account." "Pshaw! I don't either. Lotta people do though and don't even come close to their device limit. I can get you a password or two." She pulled out the Chromebooks for him to look at then reached and slid the trays of cellphones over between them. "And these are probably our best deals on phones. The newest stuff is practically full price 'cuz fanboys are gonna iPhone, no matter the price. The Nokias might be old, but are nearly invincible. We actually have a pair of Blackberries left, if you want buttons, then a whole bunch of touchscreens." She rifled through the cheaper tray and pushed one of the smartphones with a bigger screen to the side. "If you don't mind a crack on the screen than you can barely see unless you look at it at the right angle, we got a newer Samsung for under a hundred." Nadya tapped the wall behind her, at product hanging from pegs. "I'll even throw in an SD card for more storage. Give them a look over, I'll be right back." Nadya scooted back to the cash counter, grabbing another half of sandwich, ham and swiss this time, and her mug of coffee, then sauntered back to the electronics counter and her newest Bandmate.
  16. The pawn shop was worn, but well tended. If the industrial red and black carpet was faded and threadbare in places and the shelves aged and scratched, the floor was still swept clean and the tempered glass of the display cases was clear. The place was organized with just a hint of comfortable disarray, the commercial equivalent to a lived-in den. Several wooden bins overflowed with books marked at a dollar a piece. Instruments hanging from the ceiling by one wall weren't quite arranged by size or type. A display of carved and blown glass figures only had a semi-sense of order to it. On the other hand, the small array of guns behind the sales counter was very neatly arranged in locked display cases. The sales counter to the left of the entrance itself was raised by a pair of steps, giving anyone behind it a clear view over the entire shop floor. At the moment, sitting behind the counter was a middle-aged man, a bit on the swarthy side with raven black hair peppered with grey and several days growth of salt and pepper stubble. His bright grey eyes were sharp and incisive, but bracketed by laugh lines. If not classically handsome, he had roguish good looks that might have belonged to a Star Wars freighter pilot or in a heist film. He looked up at the ting-a-ling of the bell over the door then glanced at the rangy young man who entered. Not perceiving anything suspicious or duplicitous in Grim, László gave him a friendly a nod, but let him look around to his own content. If they boy needed any help, he would ask for it. László went back to sorting some rings and bits of jewelry in some fashion Grim couldn't determine off-hand. He noted the handle of what appeared to be a cane hanging on the edge of the counter. Grim was browsing for while, dithering on making a decision with his limited funds when he caught the sound of footsteps coming down stairs from beyond the sales counter. A young woman backed through a doorway, gracefully carrying a tray that held a plate of sandwiches and a teapot in one hand, the other holding a large mug. When she turned around, Grim realized it was Nadya... he thought. He'd never seen her looking so... domestic. Her hair was held back by a red, white, and blue kerchief, save for a few wavy locks that dangled free to frame her face. She was wearing yoga pants and an oversized Boston Red Sox sweater that slouched off one shoulder, the sleeves long enough to have cover her hands. Her fingers were free of any rings, though a small one still pierced her brow and she had a small stud in her nose. And she wasn't wearing heels, but a pair of broken-in old slip-on Sketchers. Nadya placed the tray on the counter by her father - side by side, Grim caught the family resemblance - and poured him a cup of tea. The two of them spoke him softly in a mix of at least two languages, neither of them English, before Nadya grabbed a triangular half of a sandwich and took a sip from her almost ludicrously big mug with Calvin and Hobbes on the side with the quote: 'If good things lasted forever, would we appreciate how precious they are?' She took a bite of her sandwich when she realized there was someone in the pawn shop, her eyes widening slightly when she realized who it was. If she was embarrassed being caught at work, out of her usual fashion sense, Nadya gave no sign of it, though she quickly swallowed her bite of sandwich before offering Grim a grin that was between friendly and professional. "Hiya, Grim. What brings you to From Dusk Till Pawn today?"
  17. Nadya's mobile face split in a wide grin as Grim slipped the amulet on the thong around his neck. There was a slight, questioning tilt to her head as she eyed the thong. It wasn't a common silver or gold or steel chain, or braided leather, but something else. And was that a tooth? The Stone Bitch hadn't had teeth that big. She arched a dark brow at the introverted Scion, but if wanted to say another about the tooth or where he'd been, he'd reveal in his own time. "Cu plăcere*," Nadya said with a small wave, her smile growing more amused and a bit teasing. "Gotta ask, if you met your old one-eyed dad, does he look more Hopkins or more McShane? Because I think Ian McShane does the better job, just saying, but maybe that's because can swear on Starz, but it's a big no-no in the MCU." She quickly scarfed down another donut and washed it down with the rest of her coffee, then sauntered over and tossed the box of donuts - oops, donut - on the grew wood of the weather-beaten picnic table. She took a seat, perched on the top, a planted a boot on the bench seat as she crossed her legs. "About the motives and intentions of our dieting--" "Diefic," corrected at least three of the others. "That's what I said, Deific. Our Deific folks, well, I'm with Fisher on this one. Who cares why they're doing whatever they're doing. It might matter to them, but it doesn't have to matter to us, or matter much, anyway. We find our own motivations instead of relying on theirs. And along the way, we have some fun, cuz otherwise, what's point? Oh!" Nadya bent and began digging around in her satchel. "I got something for you too, Rae-Rae. Didn't see anything Vidar-y, and not even a good copy of Thor's hammer, but it's something. Sorry, guys, vikings are the shit right now in showbiz - did any of you see Gods of Egypt? Shudder - but I swear, I'll find you all something too." "It isn't stolen, is it?" Rachel commented, more than a hint of resignation in her tone at what she was sure the answer would be. "Rae-Rae! Technically, you can't steal from a dead guy. Seriously, it's a thing. Ask museums," Nadya protested nonchalantly. "And the collection of artifacts were just dug up out of the ground, weren't even going to museums or anything. Just rich people selling them off to other rich people - Sorry, Laurie - so they can hide them in private collections and show them off to friends. They won't miss one. Or two. Besides, they're insured... Probably. Ah-hah! Here it is." Nadya leaned over from her seat on the picnic table and held out the worked and worn pendant balanced on her nimble fingers. "It's supposed to be a Valkyrie. I mean, I guess it sorta looks like Tessa Thompson, a little, but whatever. Valkyries were badass battle bitches, right? Well, you're our badass battle bitch, Rae-Rae."
  18. <I'll get there when I can> Nadya had texted Fisher back as she had been changing out of a pale grey business suit. <I'm down in Boston.> Okay, that was a tiny lie. She had been in Boston. Now, she was standing in a Dunkin' Donuts bathroom, pulling off a strawberry-blond wig and shaking out her sable hair, hints of purple still in it. She peered at herself in the mirror above the sink. Her eyes felt grainy, but her face looked fresh and clean, scrubbed free of the make-up that had made her look older. Gods, good and bad, I need more coffee. She hadn't slept since the night before the Dance and while her heritage gave astonishing stamina, the lack of sleep was beginning to take a toll. There was something off about Fisher's text. If Rae-Rae had called a meeting, she'd have texted or called them herself. Fortunately, she was close, she could beat them to the Stables. But there was something she needed to do first. She stuffed the remnants of her disguise into her nondescript bag, slipped on her short leather jacket, then sauntered out of the bathroom. The lady waiting to go next gave her a startled look - the Nadya who exited hardly looked like the Nadya who had entered. Nadya practically skipped up to the counter. "Hi! I need a box of fifty donut holes - just jelly, cinnamon, and glazed blueberry. And an extra large coffee, with, like, a ton of sugar, and if you squeeze in extra caffeine, that would be awesome." ~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~ "Oh, suck it up, buttercup," Nadya groused, sliding around from where she had been lurking behind the trunk of an old tree. She ignored Grim's flat, gimlet glare to stuff a blueberry glaze donut in her mouth and wash it down with a big gulp of coffee. "That lone wolf shit plays great on TV, and the edgelords eat it up in the comics, suckling on the pain of their tragic backstory, yet struggling stoically on their own, so they don't have to feel that pain again." Nadya made a fake heaving sound. "In real life, lone wolves die alone, and nobody notices. Or cares." Nadya tilted the box of donut holes towards Grim in offering, but when he made no move towards it, she just an insouciant shrugged. "No one is saying you haven't been dealt a shitty hand. But the game never ends when there's still a chance at the turn of a friendly card. And dude, you've been given a whole new hand to play." She gestured at Fisher with her coffee. "You think we're only interested in you because of your godblood? Pfft! You ain't special in that. You think I'd be friends with Fisher otherwise? Or that Rae-Rae would be besties with me? None of our Band hung together before we found out what we were, but yeah, the godblood changed things for us. Forced us to look beyond our differences, gave us the opportunity to see others in a new light. That opportunity is still there, all you - we, too, for that matter - have to reach for it." Nadya shifted, tucking the box of donut holes under her arm and nodded at the book in Grim's hand. "I don't know what all Rae-Rae said to you, but if you think you have to be a 'good' stray to stick around, don't worry 'bout it. You just have to stand by us, and Rae-Rae will fight for you no matter how 'bad' of a stray you are or how much she grumbles. Or had much shit hits the fan. Hells bells, she's family now, sorta, isn't she? A second cousin or niece or whatever, I didn't read all the viking stuff yet. Don't tell Mr. S. Family can be by blood, and can be by choice - we can be the latter, but Rae-Rae can be both, if you want it, warts and arguments and all." Grim tilted his head very slightly, viewing Nadya from a different angle. "'Sides, I seem to remember the Norse gods don't fight Reggae-rockapooloza or whatever alone. We're just at the part when the Avengers are meeting for the first time and fight. Let's skip that part - it's been done sooo many times. I mean, we don't have a pair of hunky Chrises on our team, but when it's time to throw down, we don't let any us stand alone. Oh!" Nadya juggled her coffee and the box of donut holes as she scrounged around in her satchel. "I found something I thought you'd like when I went down to Boston this morning. Catch!" Something tarnished and metallic flicked in the afternoon light and Grim didn't have to make much of an effort as it landed in his hand. "It's an artifact dug up from some old viking village. 'Spose to be Odin. I thought you'd like it." "What were you doing in Boston?" Fisher not-quite-demanded. "Things," Nadya replied blithely. "I'd have picked something up for you too - and the others - but the auction house didn't have anything, er, Japanesey." Grim fingered the old, rough, amulet, then glanced back up to Nadya, pale eye and green alike hard and unfathomable. "You think a... trinket will buy me off?" His voice was bland and cool. "A bribe to stay or an apology for your leader's words?" Nadya looked genuinely hurt, which she quickly tried to hide behind downing the rest of her coffee. "Laurie is the one who's loaded, she can offer the bribes, if that's what you want. And Rae-Rae can make her own damn apologies - I don't even know what she said to you. I was passing by and saw that and thought you'd like it. Stay or go, I'd thought you'd like something of your - oh damn, forgive me for this - something of your 'God' father. Whether you hate him or haven't made up your mind about him or whatever, it's something you can look at, feel, even if he ain't here."
  19. Nadya stalked through the hallways of Salem High, still bristling in the aftermath of her encounter with Niles. She writhed in fury and shame and not a little terror at having her mind taken from her, hate at what had been done to her, thought the hate at Niles was beginning to fade, despite her wants. There just hadn't been anything in Niles to hang the hate on beyond the act itself. He hadn't bleated out any justifications, there hadn't been a hint of gloating or boasting in subverting her desires, he hadn't even taken a bit of advantage of the situation... and that somehow was infuriating too. As she walked, she trailed her hand along the walls of lockers, fingers giving each combination lock a hard flick in passing. When she reached the gym, she paused outside, peeking through the narrow, wire-mesh windows in the doors. Her smile was bittersweet. Dane was in his element on stage. Rachel, Austin, and Fisher seemed to be having a fine time with their SOs, as was Laurie with whatever the hells Donner was to her. Normally, the embarrassment of being a fifth - or ninth in this case - wheel would just slide off her as easily as the habitual accusation thrown her way. But not tonight. Besides, with how she felt at the moment, she couldn't deal with Mercedes and her flunkazons crowing about how a slut like her couldn't even keep a boy like Niles interested enough in her that he ditched her at the Dance. One snide word and she'd do something... drastic. As exhilarating and stress-relieving that would be, it would probably wreck the Dance and the evening. Regardless of what had happened to her, her friends deserved better. Nadya left the school, her steps eerily silent as she strutted with nonchalant circumspection to her car. She put on her longcoat against the rising chill of night, though left it open, and slipped in behind the wheel. The engine of lemon-yellow '71 Mercury Cougar purred to life - or at least gave a disgruntled chuff of animation. Nadya peeled out of the lot with more speed than necessary, not even sure where she was going. Not home, not yet. Her stomach grumbled as she was passing by the Salem House of Pizza, and she slewed across the oncoming lane and zipped into the small parking lot of the restaurant and pizzeria, beating another furiously honking car to a spot right by the front doors. The door gave a little ding-a-ling as Nadya strode in and the guy - Guy, his name happened to be - manning the cash register looked up with a start. At this time of night, they weren't slammed despite their football victory, but business was still brisk, but the young woman walking towards him was certainly an incongruous sight. Dressed for prom by way of The Nightmare Before Christmas, she was gorgeous, impressively uplifted breasts not concealed by her open coat and so very out of place against the yellow walls and the orange extruded plastic of the bench seats and tables. "Are you here to order or for pickup," Guy asked after pulling his eyes from her stilettos and sleekly toned, pale leg glimpsed between folds of her charcoal grey longcoat. "Order. I need carnage. Can do you do that for me, Guy? An extra large, pile high with carnage?" "How... how do you know my name?" Was she a witch? More importantly, was she legal? Guy would have remembered ever meeting this girl before, though oddly, he thought she looked vaguely familiar. "I'm a witch, Guy. Left my broomstick in the car." At his expression, Nadya sighed, arched a brow, then pointed a finger gun at the left side of his chest. "Name badge, dude. Now about that carnage pizza?" "Oh, oh! Right. One meat lover's deluxe, that sound good?" "Double the carnage - that is, double the meat on it - and we have a deal." Guy nodded, brows raising impressed. The young woman wasn't particularly big, but she ordered what he and his buds often ordered. And he had to admit, there was something... carnivorous about her grey eyes. "One Meat Lover's, double carnage, coming right up, miss. It'll be about twenty minutes." When he told her how much it would cost, Nadya unconsciously eyed the tip jar, before shaking her head and pulling the needed cash from her wallet - her own actual wallet, even. He and his colleagues worked for those tips, and hopefully the manager or owner didn't swipe the tips from them. She forgotten to get a drink, but when she went to pay for two-liter bottle of pop she'd grabbed from the fridge, Guy waved her off with a grin, after a quick look over his shoulder to see if anyone was watching. Stepping out of the Salem House of Pizza with another light ding-a-ling, extra-large pizza in one hand, bottle of pop in the other, Nadya felt stupid. This was way too much pizza for her, and she didn't have anyone to share it with, and not enough to share if she went back to the Dance. Then she thought of someone else who was alone tonight, and who wouldn't mind finishing off a meat pizza with her. Several minutes later, Nadya pulled her car in behind the old Carlton Stables. Before she even opened the door, Wolf was bounding out to meet her. Nadya laughed giving her a hug, and scratching her behind the ears. It was a good thing she was stronger than she looked, otherwise Wolf would have knocked her on her ass. "Gods above and below, Wolfy, you're getting big," Nadya crooned. She would have changed out of her stilettos, but with Evelyn's fairygodmother trick, she wasn't sure what would happen to her original pair of shoes if she took them off. "Give me a bit to set up, and then I have a treat for you." Wolf cocked her head to the side, tongue lolling out, then cocked it the other way. Nadya ruffled the soft fur between her ears, then got moving, Wolf trotting along behind her. Nadya got a fire going in the ring of stones, then dragged out a reclining lawn chair and a heavy, somewhat musky down blanket from the stable. Then she got the pizza from the car. She cut off the top of the box to use as a plate and claimed three pieces of pizza for herself and gave the rest to Wolf. With the crackling fire and thick comforter, Nadya was warm against the rising chill of night and the season. She laid back on the lawn chair, gazing up at the silver-white of the moon and the deep shadows of the clouds. The surrounding trees rustled and rattled in the evening breeze, and Nadya almost could make out words in the sound. She might have the blood of a Goddess in her veins, but she felt anything but godly at the moment. She just felt like a trite refugee from any number of CW dramas. She wished she had something stronger than soda at hand. "Don't tell anyone I gave you people-food, 'kay, Wolf?" Nadya said. Wolf raised her head from the pizza box, more than half her share of pizza already gone to stare at Nadya. Nadya turned her and gazed back, a small grin tugging at her lips. Wolf went back to the pizza, chewing and chomping with gusto. "Yeah, didn't think you would. Well, this day went to shit. And it all start awesome. Or at least, I was made to think it had. Let me tell you about it, then we can sit here until whichever number of gods start pulling the sun across the sky again - Mr. S. could tell us, would probably expect us to know already." And Nadya began to talk, expressing her anger and melancholy and contradictory feelings to Wolf, who listened in benign - or perhaps resigned - silence. Except for one sound, drawn out and strained on the edge of audibility. Nadya stared at Wolf, face twisted in repugnant distress. "Dear gods! Wolf, was that you?!" Wolf seemed contrite, slinking away from the empty pizza box, and laying down on Nadya's other side, a paw over her snout. One of Wolf's ears twitched in apparently apology, unless it was wilting under the atrocious reek. "I don't mind sneaking you people-food, Wolfy. But cheese is off-limits. Ugh. I think I need a hazmat-suit."
  20. I'd say everything doesn't have to be Norse this and Norse that... but Norse Mythology is the one I'm most familiar with, followed by Celtic and Greek/Roman, so... Probably dwarves, if not 20 feet tall. Would have Nadya ask if they sing like the dwarves in The Hobbit, and have them counter they prefer breakdancing and hip-hop.
  21. About those trophies.... I haven't played Scion at the table, only here, so I just have the books to go on. In the books, monsters drop trophies that generally have set effects, but they don't really go into relics after play has started beyond saying you can earn them. How are you going about it in this game? You've mentioned before about getting them forged - how so? And in what way? As Relics I presume, but how many dots and can we choose what we get? Only purviews, or unique powers? But most importantly, beyond asking Archie, who do we go see about getting them forged into whatever? Do you have some NPCs planned, or are you fine with us making them up? I had the sense you had some trophy-benders in mind, so that was why I hadn't pushed it, thought you'd reveal them in your own time.
  22. Yes, yes, I have them, totally didn't forget that Mr. S was going to introduce us to a gem-carver or relic-mechanic or whatever. I guess it's up to Grim or Dave if they prefer Grim being introduced on-screen or off.
  23. Nadya glowered at Niles in near disbelief, cocking her head to the side as though to studying him from a different angle. Then she let out a bark of laughter, sharp and hard. "If I'd known you had such a big set of brass ones, I might'nt've said no in the first place, honny. No, we're not going to the Halloween party together, Niles. This is to see if you're still if you're still breathing by then." Nadya's tone was sweet, playful, but Nile caught one glance of her eyes and found his fleeting hope dashed as bad as a baby thrown in the trash on prom night. He couldn't look away from the cold, pitiless regard he saw in those moonsilver eyes. Nadya wasn't joking. He couldn't see any remorse in them, she could end him, and it wouldn't bother her. It was the scariest thing he had seen tonight. "Nadya, I didn't inten-" "Don't care," Nadya cut him off, ruthlessly. She sashayed closer and Niles backed himself to the wall of lockers. A sashay shouldn't have been able to seem to menacing. "You might be a brain, turdburger, but you really don't seem to understand what you did." "I was just trying to give us a chance." "No. You weren't." Niles' back was up against the lockers, and Nadya stepped in close, hemming him in with a hand planted to either side of his slender shoulders. He could feel her warm breath on his face. "I said 'no'. And instead of accepting it or showing a bit of persistence and working to change my mind, you caved at the first chance and forced the issue. With Gods' bedamned magic." "It wasn't like that, Nadya, I swear. We didn't think it would work," Niles protested weakly, then he straightened his spine with a contrary flair of indignation. "It's not like persistence would have paid off." "I guess we'll never know. You nuked that option into the ground." Nadya slammed her palm against a locker, denting it noticeably, then whirled away from Niles, wrapping her arms around herself before she did the same thing to his head. Or took his throat or intestines out with her fang knife. That would be too easy, too merciful for him. "It was exactly like that, Niles," Nadya continued, her voice low and dark, as she glared down the hallway away from him. "If you really didn't think it had any chance to work, you wouldn't have bothered trying to cast the spell or whatever it was in the first place. If you really didn't want it to work, you'd have broken the enchantment, or at least tried, right away, instead of waiting 'til now." She turned back to him and sighed, but her hands were still knotted into fists and stuffed into her armpits to stop them from going around his throat. "I've swindled and scammed, stolen and pilfered, and I'll do it again and again. Mostly from those who could afford the lost, or who I thought deserved to be a taught a lesson. But you and bloody Todd, what you did was worse than anything I or even Donner ever did." Niles almost gagged on the affront. "Eric Donner? That belligerent, bombastic, blustering blatherskite and thug? Worse than him?" Nadya nodded grimly. "He might beat people up, mock them, and be a general all round asshole, but we've never taken someone's sense of self, taken their volition away from them. First taste of power, and you were so preoccupied if with whether or not you could, you didn’t stop to think if you should." Niles' swallowed, starting to get a real hint of just how violated Nadya felt. And felt even worse that he had blown it with her. "Did... did you just quote Goldblum in Jurassic Park?" "I root for the T-Rex." Her brief grin baring a flash of white teeth would have done a velociraptor (movie version, not actual version) proud. "They made her, then locked her in a cage, however big. Everyone deserves their freedom until they do something that truly demands they forfeit it. Stuff is just... stuff, but freedom, and the freedom to be yourself instead of what others want you - demand you - to be, that should be inviolate." Her gaze intimated that he deserved it, or worse. "What about me?" "What about you, indeed." Nadya jutted her chin down the hallway. "Come with me." "Where?" Niles hedged with suspicion and growing dread. "Don't worry, Niles. I'm not luring out of school into the woods to disembowel you and then bury you in a deep grave." Niles was hardly reassured. "Well, I wasn't worrying about that until you just said it." "I'm just going to give you a hint of what it was like for me. Follow me." "And if I don't?" "That would completely be your own decision," Nadya gushed with saccharine and false cheer. "Just as my own decision would be stopping pretending to be so nice about this and I drag you after me, minus your kneecaps. Sense of self intact, if not your body." "Since you put it that way..." Niles followed. Terrified he might be, he could help but notice that is was very pleasant following Nadya in that dress with those heels. "You look nice, Nadya. Don't know if I actually told you that." "I look fantabulous!" Nadya boasted nonchalantly without looking back at him or breaking stride. Nadya led Niles to the weight room. It was locked, but Nadya did something with one of the animal-headed pins in her hair and the door opened as easily as if she'd used a key. She pointed imperiously at one of the benches. "Sit. There." Niles glanced at it uncertainly. He was sure he'd never actually ever been in the weight room. It smelled of stale sweat, stale protein powder, and sour testosterone derived from ignoramus meatheadicus. "Here?" "Yes." "I don't see-" Clink! A bare bar rattled onto the rack above the bench. "I-" Clink! Clank! Clink! Nadya handled the 45lbs plates with disconcerting ease. "What will this prove? How are you even-" "Humor me, Niles. Take a hold of the bar. I'll spot you." "There's over five hundred pounds on this, Nadya, there's no-" From laying on the bench, he looked up at her, pass the thrust of her corseted breasts. Her expression brooked no resistance. "I'll spot you. Now, lift." Niles shivered at the chill of her silvery eyes, then strained at the bar, knowing it would be futile. But then he heard a soft exhalation and the bar and all the weight on it came off the rack. He stared in shock. first at the bar, then the mass of plates on each side, then at Nadya. Tendons stood out in her sleekly toned arms, but it didn't seem like she was straining. "How?" "Put some effort into it, Niles. I'm just spotting you, not doing all the lifting for you." Niles arched his back, huffed and puffed and pushed up at the barbell. But as Nadya supported less of the weight, the bar inexorably sunk lower and lower. Not matter how hard he strained, how much effort he exerted, his arms couldn't resist the mass. The bar came to rest high on his chest, the pressure beginning to grow unbearable, and tears sprang from his eyes as he believed he was going to be crushed. "I don't know what you want, Nadya," Niles gasped. It was getting hard to breathe. "I... promise... I'll... never... use... a spell... like... that... again..." "I don't want your promise, Niles," Nadya said unrelentingly, looking down at him. "That would be a string between us that I would have to endure. Why would I want that?" She pursed her lips in exaggerated thought. "You know, I could just let that string snap. Seems like a lot of effort, killing you and then dumping the body. Instead I can just leave you here to be crushed by your own ego and machismo, thinking you were man enough to manage this much weight. Everyone would believe it a terrible accident. Everyone to whom it mattered, anyway." "...door..." Niles whispered through the pain. He tried to roll the bar down his body or off to the side, but Nadya held it firmly in place. "What's that? Door? Oh, it won't look tampered with. And when they find you, surprisingly, they'll find Coach Fingers' extra set of keys he keeps in his desk in your pocket." "... please..." "Nobody heard my pleas, Niles, not even myself. No matter how loud I shouted or how hard I strained, I couldn't resist the weight of want you sat on me. I could just... let go, and let you deal with this weight yourself. But I do hear your pleas." With a snort, Nadya lifted the barbell and racked it. Niles bolted up to a seating position, gasping and panting, hands going to his chest. Nadya sat at the foot of the bench, keeping a space between them. She let him collect himself, just watching him expressionlessly until he looked up to face her once more. "Worried 'bout a Gypsy curse, worry 'bout this!" Nadya reached out and with a hard thumb, traced a sigil on his forehead. It was complete nonsense. "Bam! Cursed! Next time you try to steal someone's self and will, to slave it to your own, your guts will come sliding out your slashed open taint." Niles rubbed his forehead then looked as his fingers dubiously. "I don't feel cursed." "Why would the curse give you a warning?" Nadya's smile was vicious. "You break, and it'll just happen." Nadya shook her head and snorted again, then glanced tiredly at the ceiling. "There's no curse, Niles. I believe in karma and an overall cosmic balance, even if that balance is dynamic... and sometimes needs a helping hand. Maybe you can make up for the vile shit you did, and maybe you can't and you'll be punished for it. I don't think you actually meant for things to go the way they did, but they did and I can't forgive you for it. Not now. What I can promise is if I get a hint you've done it again, I'll make that curse real. By my own hand, dude, and you won't see it coming." Niles had no doubt she meant it. He didn't even see the wicked curved knife appear in her hand and make a practice swipe towards his crotch, and he didn't when or how she put it away. "Be better, boy, and know Dane probably saved your life. Because right now, I really, really want to make the ancient Romani curse of guts-sliding-from-your-taint real."
  24. It was taking a breath of fresh air after drowning for a week. Nadya had never tasted something so sweet. Freedom, after being chained by what she presumed where mumbo-jumbo words, teenaged intentions and ostracism. Mingled fury and shame welled up in her. Fury for the way she had acted, had been forced to act, all needy, over-the-top and head-over-heels, nearly every thought focused on that little dweeb Niles. And shame that she couldn't make herself stop. If anything, railing against the imposed feelings had made it worse. She might be an unconventional redistributor of wealth and various sundries, but she had never taken someone's will. Hers had been, and it was a theft even she couldn't conceive of. Persuasion, manipulation, tricks and wiles, she could understand, and if Niles could have managed it, even using a bro manual on how to get girls, all the power to him. But this? She could remember every embarrassing action. As much as she wanted to take a SOS pad to her brain, she'd been embarrassed before and likely, she would be again, but it wasn't She wiped at her cheek and stared curiously at the wetness on her fingers. Tears? She never cried, never real tears anyway, but these were real. Nadya jumped when she felt a hand on her bare shoulder. Glancing around, she found Dane there, amiable, easy smile on his face. "Yuh'kay, Moonbaby? Seems like the music hit you hard there. That can be the best. Or the worse." With a causal, insouciant motion, Dane tossed the borrowed guitar back to its owner. "Sometimes, it's both." "It's fine, I'm fine, Dane. And thanks." Even in her heels, Nadya had to stretch up on her toes to give the son of Baldur a tender kiss on the cheek. She didn't have to say what for, Dane understood. The music had offered a surcease from the chains of ensorcelment. When she settled back on her heels with a sharp click, Nadya's jaw was tight, her grin was grim and vicious, and her silver-grey eyes glittered with the last remnants of the spell she had been released from. "But now, I need to go speak with my 'boyfriend' and maybe, like, kill him. Or whatever's worse than kill. Decimate? Destroy? Eviscerate? Doesn't matter, inspiration is striking me, and likely going to stab him." Her voice was a low growling, animated hiss. Dane nodded agreeably as though it all made sense. "Where is the little bastard?" "He took off with Austin and Fisher a little while ago. Dunno why." Dane waggled his blond brows. "All you fine wimmin-folk are here, 'less they wanted a sausage party." Nadya harrumphed. "If anyone is jamming something up Niles' ass, it's going to be me. Far up enough, he's gonna choke on it." From the stage, Nadya looked over the dance, a slight frown growing on her lips, brows furrowing faintly. None of her band save Laurie standing by Donner was in sight. Bridgette looked totally nonplussed after kissing - or was it being kissed by - Rachel, but Rae-Rae wasn't there either, the doors to the gymnasium just clicking shut. "Love, and the yearning for it, are crazy little things, Nadya. Think on it, hey?" Nadya stared at Dane. She wasn't sure if it was Zen/Buddhist bullshit from a hippie upbringing, a perpetual high, or if it was an mote of actual wisdom that made his words seem deep... at times. She gave him a tight, reluctant nodd then jumped off the stage, landing gracefully and on the stride towards the main doors despite her stilettos. She had a nerd to slay. And maybe Todd too, on sheer principle.
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