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  1. Grim pondered the missing piece - or rather the space Maurice had indicated where the missing piece had been - then 'hmmed', took a sip of the beer in his hand, and eyeballed Nadya. "Don't even think it." Nadya scowled at him, pouting as her gaze returned to the heart, confusion and frustration mingling in her eyes. "I think I got all the pieces, Austin." she said plaintively. "I was pretty careful, but I guess I coulda missed one." "Hmm." Grim repeated. Nadya stuck her tongue out at him, but the mismatched green-and-grey eyes were focused on the middle distance now as Odin's scion stared into space. "Who else was present?" he asked absently, tugging on an earlobe as he gazed off into nowhere. "Anyone else that might have gotten close to the remnants of the creature's heart?" "So you don't think it was me?" Nadya sounded mildly surprised and relieved. "Do I think you're a light-fingered magpie? Yes, I do." Grim looked at her with a wry smile. "But I don't believe you'd sabotage the Band. I've not seen anything in you that would lead me to that, which means the missing piece is either still out there, or someone grabbed it without you, Nadya, seeing them do so. Which implies more than human stealth."
  2. "Good." Grim said as he moved past Fisher, having entered on the other Scion's heels, and took a moment to scrutinise the woman in the booth. Looking back at Fisher and Darcy, who were regarding him with a certain amount of 'what the hell' in their eyes, he sighed. "Good, she's here." he clarified. "Not 'good, Dane's not okay'. Honestly - do I really have to explain that?" "You kinda do, Glumsley." Nadya put in with a sly smirk. The scion of Odin snorted, then fixed Fisher with a gimlet mismatched stare. "You should probably talk to Dane, make sure he's okay." he suggested. "It's plain even to me that setting up this meeting cost him some peace of mind." "Why don't you talk to him, then?" Fisher challenged, not that he disagreed, but Grim inspired contrariness at times. "I'm not a people person." Grimsley said with a shrug. "You are. Black coffee, two sugars." And with that he headed towards the booth, the oldest grumpiest young man in Creation, wearing an oversized duster and limping slightly as he wove through the tables and patrons. "I better catch up and make sure he doesn't start a war or something." Nadya said with an expressive pout as she stepped after him. "My usual when you get the time, Darce." Grim was not a people person - in that he didn't much like people in general. He was not lacking in people skills - those lacking in people skills don't manage to stay alive through eighteen months in a troll den by dint of verbal agility and cunning. So it was safe to say that when the occasion demanded, Grim was perfectly capable of being personable, even charming. He just didn't bother with it for unimportant things. "Thank you for agreeing to meet with us." he said as he stepped up to the booth, offering a scarred hand. "I'm Grim. The girl hurrying over here is Nadya. The others should be along shortly."
  3. "In high-falutin' strategic circles, that's known as putting all your eggs in one basket." Grim's tone was so dry it pulled and tightened the skin of one's face like a desert wind. "It's not my trophy, and I don't see myself as deserving a relic from it, but my advice is to distribute the power it provides amongst those who were present and took Spearfinger down. For a couple of reasons." "Go on." Rachel looked at the raw-boned boy sipping the dark ale on an oversized stool, her eyes narrowing thoughtfully. "First, having the power concentrated with Nadya means that if she gets put down, we're shit out of luck if we're depending on it. We lose flexibility." Grim took another swig of the porter, grimaced thoughtfully as he contemplated the bottle, then went on. "Second, our relics, the gifts from our parents, are not supposed to be the be-all and end-all of our worth. Having one exceptional relic in her possession lends itself to the temptation of Nadya using it as a crutch - of it becoming the hammer and every problem becoming a nail." "Gee, thanks Glumsley." the pixieish Romani girl stuck her tongue out at the somber figure, who smiled faintly. "Consider it a compliment. You don't need a crutch." He took a drink as the others chewed over his words, looking at Maurice. "I don't like talking about myself." he said quietly. "But seeing as I'm drinking your beer, I can give you the high points. Mom died giving birth to me, never knew her. Raised by my maternal grandpa, a mean old shit-stick who blamed me for his daughter's death." His voice was cool and dispassionate, a matter of fact recounting rather than a tale told. "When I turned fifteen, two trolls killed him and abducted me. I stayed alive and uneaten by making myself useful and ingratiating myself to them until about a month ago when I had my visitation." "You were gone a year and a half." Rachel said quiet. Grim smirked, a hard-edged quirk of his lips accompanied by a shrug of his bony shoulders. "Time flies when you're trying to avoid a cookpot. Anyway, then Hugin came on my father's behalf, guided me through my visitation, and here I am." He spread his arms wide, one hand still holding his black wood staff and the other holding a beer bottle. "An' de trolls?" Maurice asked, looking up from his work. Grim hesitated for a moment, then fished out something from under his t-shirt. The pendant some had already seen, made of red-gold hair and with a large tusk or tooth suspended from it. "Are no longer with us." The scion of Odin answered with an air of finality as he held the pendant up so all could see it for a moment, then stuffed it back under his shirt.
  4. He'd remained silent so far, letting the others handle talking to the cyclops. Despite his admirable poker face, Grim had almost taken a step back when Maurice had opened the door. The monstrously sized humanoid reminded him uncomfortably of the trolls, and his fingers had tightened almost reflexively on the black wood stave as his heart rate had jumped a notch. Rationality saved him, the realisation that Maurice was a Cyclops, not a Troll, and that the Cyclops were, according to myth, the artisans and workmen of the Greek gods. That, and the dreadlocks and Rastafarian garb and accent. The incongruity of it was enough to jar him from the threat response the creature's sheer size had almost provoked. More settled now as Maurice and the others spoke back and forth, Grim likewise grabbed a bottle from the fridge, but was so distracted rubbernecking around the workshop that it wasn't until he sat down that he realised he'd grabbed a bottle of Guinness West Indies porter, not a soda. Screw it, he thought, and knocked off the cap against a workbench before sitting on a convenient surface and taking a pull. It was bitter, and dark, and... surprisingly good, actually. Ahh, the Aesir genes coming through, he thought to himself wryly as he took another drink. "You said Spearfinger's story was a sad one." he said, speaking for the first time since they'd entered the workshop. He watched Maurice intently - not with suspicion, but with curiosity, attempting to discern what the giant humanoid was doing with the pieces of the monster previously vanquished and, more importantly, how he was doing it. To be able to create Relics, or even have knowledge of how they were created, was a useful thing. Also, he was curious about the perspective of the cyclops, now that his initial fear was mostly conquered. Keen eyes flickered from Maurice to the tools and devices on the bench before him. "I've never heard it. Do you mind sharing it?"
  5. "And about the witches." Grim muttered. When one or two of the others glanced at him askance, he shrugged, said "Never mind." and looked at Dane. "It's a good plan, cousin. Just one thing I want to know - you two have history: are we going to have to be careful not to mention you or tread on any eggshells?" He arched his scarred eyebrow. "I suppose what I'm asking is: is she likely to spit curses and hellfire at the mention of your name, or dissolve into tears and start eating tubs of icecream?" "Uh..." Dane looked uncomfortable. Grim held up a slender hand. "I don't need gory details, Dane. I just need to know where the land mines are so I don't step on them." "I need gory details." Nadya appended, grinning like a Cheshire Cat. Grim sighed. "Okay, Nadya needs gory details. But those can wait till later, right?" he glared at her. "When we're not on a clock, perhaps?"
  6. Grim, by contrast to Fisher, was less than sympathetic to popular, pretty and healthy Rachel's problems, whatever they were. He wryly mused to himself that no, he probably wouldn't 'get it', though he did award her grudging points for owning her mistakes in dealing with him. As his thin fingers eased the knot of pain in his leg, he took up his staff from where it leaned against the wall and got to his feet, coming back to the planning table and nodding in silent acknowledgement of the athletic blonde's words. Rachel was indeed right - they were in this together and needed to have each other's backs. "Do the details matter overmuch?" he asked rhetorically. "Most exorcisms involve a spiritual wrestling match, focus and will against focus and will. Ceremonial trappings differ from culture to culture, and are important only in that they are recognised by both spirit and exorcist as important. Dane's friend, if she has practical knowledge of such things-" he shot his 'cousin' a glance and a nod "-is likely as intense a personality as he suggests. And the easiest way to take her measure is to go and meet her rather than interrogate Dane. I'll go with him." He added, glancing around at the others. "Anyone else?"
  7. "Along the cliffs of Fort Pickering Beach." Nadya and Grim said almost in unison, with just enough discordance that it made them both stop and glower at each other for a moment. Then Nadya opened her mouth to continue - and Grim did likewise half an eyeblink behind her, the verbal equivalent of treading on someone's heels. "-a cave not far from the park-" "...park-" "Do you mind?!" the pretty daughter of Bast glared at Odin's son, who smiled disingenuously. "Not at all." he indicated for her to go ahead. She gave him a narrow-eyed look, then snorted in apparent satisfaction and turned back to Fisher, opening her mouth- "Mortals have trouble seeing Maurice's lair, but we can't miss it." Grimsley finished the info-dump a second before Nadya could speak, causing her to stamp one of the absurdly-chunky-soled boots that currently accounted for four inches of her apparent height. He smiled, very faintly, as he stood and slid his dark blue coat on, then shouldered his satchel. "Ugh!" Nadya's protest was expressive, as was the annoyed toss of her hair and irritated pout. "You suck so bad, Glumsley." "Sorry. I thought you were done." he peered at her in mock-surprise from under his mop of tousled dark hair. "Were you not done? I could have sworn you were done." He glanced around at the others, then back at Nadya. The ghost of a sly smile still hung around his lips and glinted in the verdant green of his right eye. "Sorry. Go ahead. I'll stay quiet." Nadya stared at him, then folded her arms and turned her head away with an audible 'hmmph'. Still with admirable lack of smiling or grinning at his teasing of his friend, Grim looked at the others. "Guess there's nothing more to say. Shall we get going to Fort Pickering Beach, then?"
  8. "Fisher and Darcy are going to the Halloween party as a disturbing pair of characters from some anime or other. I suspect cross-dressing will be part of the cute 'couples thing'. Nadya is figuring out what to wear which, if patterns hold true, will doubtless be of the 'less is more' school of thought, and tight enough that it will require corn starch to get into." Grim's tone was mildly acidic with a hint of caustic, a sure sign that the scion of Odin was not in a felicitous mood. "Dane will go as a giant burrito-" "Awesome idea, right?!" Baldur's son piped up. "-which will, at least, make him easy to find in the horde of pirates, naughty nurses, Harley Quinn pastiches and 'Girl Whose Daddy Didn't Buy Them A Pony So They Became A Stripper' costumes that will be at Mercedes' party. Austin hasn't put a lot of thought into it, which seems par for the course. Rachel will likely go as something practical in case she needs to throw down... But it will be pink." Grim's mismatched gaze, one eye verdant green and the other, scarred eye a frozen grey fixed on Dale. "I will be going, because it's the most likely place for the spirits of the witches we're hunting to show up, probably skin-riding Salem High students and using the revels as cover for fuckery on a scale I'm not sure I want to contemplate." He limped over to a spare milk crate and sat down, thin lips in a straight line as he rubbed at his calf muscle. His morning workouts were making him stronger, but the stiffness that followed was not pleasant for the healing youth. "And now you're up to date. You're welcome."
  9. "I'm not certain which terrifies me more." Grimsley said as he sighed and went back to perusing the map on the table. "The spirits of three vengeful witches abroad at Halloween, the fact I understood most of what Dane just said, or the fact that someone is about to try and convince me I have to go to Mercedes' Halloween party - and dress up to do so." "You don't want to go?" Nadya stared at him as though he'd turned into a big goopy earthworm and drooled on her favorite boots. "Grim, we have to go." Fisher sighed, bracing himself for once more trying to wrangle an Aesir every bit as hard-headed as Rachel but with the added perils of being smarter and more verbally agile, too. The scion of Odin's upraised hand forestalled the pitch, however. "I know." he said waspishly, glaring for a moment at them all. "I know that not going would be considered a diplomatic insult amongst the god-born. I know that the spirits of the witches are going to most likely be inhabiting students who will be in attendance. I know that, also, a party on Halloween itself is going to be the very best time for said spectres to try something, simply because the energies of that night are too good to pass up. I know that the party is going to be 'lit'. I know I have to be there." "But..?" Rachel said with a frown. "But I don't know how to party." Grim admitted with a faint shrug, his pale features darkening a little so that the scars on his face stood out against his flush. "I never used to get invited to parties. I'm as out of my depth as Wolf would be in calculus. And I hate being out of my depth." He added with a scowl and a gimlet-eyed stare that dared anyone to laugh at his woes.
  10. "We don't have to." Grim said as he came into view, a couple of books under one lean, scar-covered arm. The statement did contain a smidgeon of humour, but the dry tone with which the statement was made was far older than was warranted, coming as it did from a raw-boned young man who was no older than the two girls present. Mismatched green and grey eyes peered at those present as his thin lips twitched in an expression of dark amusement, the scar bisecting his grey eye lending the expression a sardonic air. "The titanspawn are more than happy to come hunting for us. Generally, however, it's better to seek them out first." Grim still walked with a limp, though the constant physical therapy and conditioning he was undergoing at the not-so-gentle hands of Coach Fingers was paying off. Nadya noted that, though still painfully thin-seeming, the scion of Odin had actually put on height and mass since their first meeting the day after Homecoming, a thing difficult to perceive given that the dour teenager habitually wore that oversized blue duster. Right now, however, said duster was draped over the back of a nearby chair and even the baggy grey t-shirt wasn't able to completely shroud the lines of his shoulders. Of course, being made to stand up straight and stop slouching by a bellowing Scion of Ares would likely do that too. "Ahh, Grimsley. I was wondering when you would emerge from the stacks." Archimedes tried to sound reproving, but couldn't quite keep the smile from his voice. Himself a lover of knowledge for its own sake, the hungry mind of Salem High's second-newest god-child was a pleasant break from the kicking and screaming Nadya (for example) would emit when told to open a book. Admittedly, Odin's son pursued knowledge with the grim (no pun intended) single-minded determination of a hunter tracking a mysterious beast's spoor, particularly knowledge of the occult and arcane. Archie reflected that Evelyn was a good teacher for him, both for her facility with mysticism and for the cautionary tales she could provide from her own experiences. He took in the titles under Grim's arm and raised a brow. "Did Evelyn suggest those?" "Yeah." Grim held them up as though to elicit permission. "Is that okay?" he added as a courteous afterthought. Archie pursed his lips, narrowing his eyes, then nodded slowly. "Usual rules apply, of course." He stated, and Grim nodded. The books were not to be left unattended where others could find them. They were to be returned as they had been borrowed. In many cases, Archie would not even allow students to leave the library with these tomes, but Grim had demonstrated respectful care for Archie's collection in the past, and so would be extended trust until such time as he abused it. "And this is..." "Dale. Yes." Grim fixed the new girl with a sharp, penetrating stare from under his careless mop of black hair. "And we're going to meet with Maurice. I'm looking forward to it." A ghost of a smile touched the pale lips, which also carried a razor-thin scar that slanted across the corner of the boy's mouth. "Nice to meet you, Dale." "And that's the warm Grimsley welcome." Nadya rolled her eyes, smirking. "I was nice." Grim protested mildly as he took a seat, his eyes gleaming with humor as they settled into their game of bickering. "I even said that it was nice to meet her. What, should I hire a marching band?" "Dane would." Nadya grinned, knowing that referring to the taller, buffer, handsomer and more personable Aesir would nettle Grim a little, even if he didn't show it. She perched her posterior on the edge of the table, winking at Dale to let her know this was business as usual and making a show of 'casually' pulling one of the books towards her to peek at. "Dane would hire a gorilla-gram." Grim returned with a sly smile that gave him a foxish air as he, equally 'casually', took the book back and slid it and it's fellow into his satchel. "Whereas Rachel will doubtless huff and throw a tantrum that she wasn't consulted."
  11. Always. Remembers he's not supposed to be a happy smiley character and schools expression to a dour nod
  12. He considered for a long moment, his gaze measuring László with the same weighing expression he had studied the phone with earlier. Nadya also stared at her father, surprised at the offer to a relative stranger, though only for a moment. Her dad was nothing if not sympathetic to underdogs, after all. She glanced back at Grim, smiling mischievously. "You get to be my minion. I've always wanted a minion." she teased, grinning as he shot her a wry look, quirking his left eyebrow challengingly. Her father snorted, making plain his own thoughts on that. Grim smiled slightly, then nodded to László. "I do need money." he admitted with a shrug of his shoulders inside the too-large coat. "I'll take the job, sir. And thank you." "Muwhahahaha. My minion!" Nadya mock-cackled as she finished packing the laptop and accessories into a bag and slid it over to Grim. He shook his head, still smiling a little. "Just don't let Nadya pick my uniform." he deadpanned, making László chuckle. "When do you want me to start?"
  13. By the time Nadya had returned the sandwich Grim had taken had disappeared as though inhaled, the lean youth absently chewing the last mouthful as he examined the phones with a careful eye. The older and cheaper ones he quickly considered, then turned to the Samsung Nadya had pointed out. "Can I check the screen, make sure it's responding okay?" he asked. Nadya shrugged, nodding as she leaned one hip against the counter and watched him handle the phone, turning it on after a brief moment of examination. His air of contemplation shifted focus as his odd-coloured eyes flicked up to regard her as he waited for the phone to boot up, examining her face with an intense, bold gaze that was likely very different from the surreptitious gawking the lovely girl was more used to from boys her age. "What?" she asked with a hint of challenge and a tilt of her chin. Realising he was staring, Grim's lips twitched at one corner even as a hint of colour suffused his features, making the scar over his near-colourless left eye stand out faintly against the pale skin before he dropped his gaze once more to the phone as it chimed ready. Without speaking he brushed his finger over the touch-screen, noting the lack of any problems before he nodded, turning the phone back off again. "It's a good deal." he commented with an air of decision. "I'll have to take the older cheaper Chromebook, but that'll do what I need it to." He looked back at Nadya with a nod. Plainly, the scion of Odin had the traditionally male approach to any kind of shopping: minimalist and far too practical.
  14. For his part, if Grim was shocked at seeing Nadya dressed - well, normally - he gave no sign of it. Unless the slight curving up of one corner of the serious young man's lips was a sign. With Grim it was hard to say. Was he amused? Glad to see her? Was the vestigial smile some phantom expression disconnected with what was really going on behind those odd eyes? Of course, Grim knew he was pleased to see Nadya - and surprised at being pleased - and somewhat confused at the fact that she wasn't dressed Nadya-ishly. For some reason he thought that she would dress the same at home as at school - after all, he did. In many ways despite his intelligence and composure, Grim was very much a clueless young man. He also realised he hadn't answered his perky bandmate yet. "Looking for a phone and maybe a cheap laptop." he answered, approaching the counter. Though he wasn't smiling as such, there was a conversational warmth to his tone that Nadya recognised from yesterday after the chilly young man had opened up a little. "I figured that I can't be depending on landlines and the school library computers every time I want to get something done. Hello, sir." He added with a nod to László, who clicked his tongue as he remembered something. "Grim... Grim... You are being the boy who disappeared and returned, yes?" László asked, his gaze keen as he studied the youth anew. He was a worldly man, had seen a lot in his time, but this boy had the second oldest eyes he'd ever seen. "I read it in the papers." Grim forced a slight smile. nodding as his eyes met László's. "Yes sir. Though don't believe all you read. I wasn't stolen away by aliens or Elvis."
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