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Dave ST last won the day on April 11 2021

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About Dave ST

  • Birthday 02/09/1977

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  1. "Okay, yeah," Kestrel sucked her teeth and pointed to Maya with her smartphone. "That one's on me. I'm sorry, I've grown accustomed to supernatural weirdness and we tend to just congregate sometimes. Werewolves especially, like one big happy family. It slipped my mind that all this is new to you." She pushed off the countertop with a thrust of her hips and walked over to Maya. "I didn't mean to make this awkward for you, honest. It's just, I had to reach out for a bit of help. We're all in over head on this one, and Mel here managed to find a guy who might be able shed some light on all of this and help us out, so I invited everyone here to wait until you got home." "No harm no foul?" She offered Maya apologetic pouty lips as she grinned mischievously. "I'm not against bribing myself back into your good graces with burgers later."
  2. [Grim] Runa watched the tension between Grim and Fisher, critically evaluating them as both. When Fisher walked off the giantess approached the thin Scion of Odin. “You bicker like children.” She said uncaringly. “It’s a wonder you manage to get anything accomplished.” Her eyes narrowed as Fisher slithered back into the crowd and finally disappeared around a corner. Her attention slipped to Grim and she leaned down to speak in his ear over the hundreds of conversations of the party goers and loud music. “I saw you speaking with the one they call Marius.” She stepped past him. “There is dissention in their ranks. There is tension between the witches and the demigod Usurper. I will accept that drink, now. You will tell me of your quarrel with that man and best means by which I might kill Dane Baldurson.” [Fisher] Rest assured he was having enough of Grim’s attitude, still though, his mind was on the task at hand not how he was going handle the All-Son, that was a task for later. Still, it didn’t do much for his own attitude and now that he was seething ever-so-slightly, every party that got in his way made him annoyed just a little more. He offered a silent thank you to whatever god handled those small vacant spaces at parties where people didn’t congregate and allowed one a break from the noise and suffocating proximity of the assembled. He had found such a place at the narrow walkway that led down into the cellar. Mercedes home was new, but it was built upon the bones of an older structure, an older Salem mansion that had met with a fire a century prior. When the Rhodes family adopted the land some fifty years ago, they build their home atop the solid brick cellar and expanded upon it over the years. He wondered if it connected to the maze of tunnels that stretched beneath the whole of Salem, tunnels the city claimed didn’t exist. Fisher knew they did though because he and Darcy had been caught playing in them when they were a lot younger. He clicked on the light and half-expected a row of candles arranged in some satanic symbolism to spark up and in a show as he passed under the two-hundred-year-old red brick arch that separated old construction from new. Instead, the light just flickered into brightness, no cobwebs, or witchy-woo chalk circles of power or a variety local house pets exsanguinated for dark rituals. He sighed, in equal parts relief and disappointment, when all that greeted him were a washer and dryer, several shelves of cleaning detergents for the staff to use, and a variety of laundry accessories. He wandered the massive cellar, which broke off to the left and the right from the laundry area. To his right it led into a large, underground lounge complete with mini bar, couches and comfortable chairs and a eighty-six inch screen television he assumed was for watching football or some other events. Satisfied no demon worship or diabolical occult shenanigans were taking place at the minibar, he ventured into the Rhodes wine cellar, opposite from the lounge. The wine cellar was all old construction, nothing had been modernized or painted, plastered over or concealed in anyway, save perhaps the floor upon which he was crept as silently as he could. This had creepy witchy-woo written all over it. Rows and rows of diamond-cut shelves racked and stacked in a veritable maze of dust, cobwebs, and history. He’d never really been in a wine cellar before so of course he couldn’t help but pick up a bottle or two and read the dates or… whatever one was supposed to do in a wine cellar. It was read the dates and say something like ‘good year’, right? Not knowing if it was truly a good year or not, he set a bottle back in its place and his inner kid was hoping for a bottle to be pulled and it open a secret passage or something, now that would be awesome. “Find what you’re looking for?” Fisher turned swiftly, startled, and looking guilty as hell, to the question asked by Lancea who’d obviously followed him down. She had forgone the curly red wig and now was wearing her wavy copper hair down to cover each shoulder and Fisher honestly did recall little orphan Annie having such a prominent bust, if she could have maybe just done up one more button, it wouldn’t have made him feel so uncomfortable at the notion of being down here alone with her. He was going to hazard a guess that she hadn’t seen the Broadway play of Annie, or the movies. This wasn’t a big deal though, right? After all, he liked Darcy, right? Right? She was attractive, but he wasn’t attracted to her… … … Right? “Did you actually think we’d hide all our ceremony materials right here in the basement?” She giggled as she shook her head. She took a step towards Fisher, who in turn cautiously and visibly tensed, ready for any sudden moves. Lancea paused her advance. “Relax, I’m not going to try and hex you. I know who you are, I recognize you from the high school that night we came back.” She slowly stepped forward, reassuring Fisher that she wasn’t going to try anything (but really, could one trust a witch?). “You’re here to stop us and send us back. I’ll help you, but I have conditions.” [Austin and Valerie] “Um, yeah, Billie can see through all the weird. Sorry, we weren’t trying to keep it from anyone it just, sorta… didn’t come up?” Darcy pursed her lips into a sheepish half-smile that asked for forgiveness over any misunderstanding. “Guys,” she chuckled and looked at the two of them on a swivel when they both brought up her being careful. “I’ll be fine, trust me. I’m trying to help keep my home safe, not get dead. You guys have the superpowers, so trust me, I know when to keep my head down. I appreciate the concern, and that’s not sarcasm, it’s awesome to know your… band?” she wasn’t sure of the proper word to use and looked over to Austin, whom she was more familiar with, to receive the approving nod that her choice was the correct one. “Is totally looking out for me, but I get enough over-protection from Fisher. I need friends more than bodyguards, though so please, please don’t smother me. I’m a big girl, I can lick my own scrapes and bruises, I’m not made of glass.” “He just cares,” Austin said, protecting his friend Fisher. “I know, and I love him for it,” she laughed again. “He’s great, he really is, but I’m not Mercedes, you know? I’m not all expensive dresses, perfect hair, YouTube makeup tutorials. I’m homegrown tomboy through and through, getting dirty doesn’t bother me.” “So, Val, are you in their band now?” She turned to face Valerie, resting her elbows on her knees. “How does that work exactly? Do they just assign you guys or is there like, a means and a metho-,“ she paused as her eyes trailed off and gazed passed the party goers relaxing, talking, and making out in the open-air of the back yard. She didn’t take her eyes off what she was looking, nodding her head to alert the others where her gaze had settled. “Austin? It’s Mercedes… and isn’t that that Marius guy?” They both looked, easily noticing what Darcy was looking at. Out past the boundaries of the party, near a large, ostentatiously elaborate gazebo, Mercedes and Marius were off to the side, partially occluded by the shadows provided by the moon. They were engaged in a rather animated conversation, or rather, Mercedes was rather animated. Marius seemed to remain is usual suave, calm self if his body language was any indication of how things were going down. In a pique of frustration Mercedes appeared to try and turn to walk away, but Marius grabbed her by her arm as she turned from him and pulled her back into the conversation and freshly greeting her by grabbing her chin where he appeared to be issuing some manner of threat. [Nadya] Salem’s sultriest (and certainly the most funnest, Nadya’s words) witch made her way upstairs where the scene was precisely what she expected. When it came unsupervised high school parties, especially of the supernatural variety, the numerous bedrooms of Mercedes’ mansion were getting more mileage than Nadya cared to venture a guess at. The music didn’t quite reach up to the second floor and was muted somewhat but the floor of the upstairs still shook and vibrated from the bass and percussion of the show going on below. The halls were lined with couples (or more) making out or chasing each other in flirtatious antics, which she found herself dodging on more than one occasion with a giggle of her own to offer. While she was nowhere near as promiscuous as her rival, Mercedes (the real one, not that 1800’s heffer currently riding her skin) had made her out to be, these people at the party were, in a nutshell, her people. Dedicated to the enjoyment and fulfillment of just having a good time and not caring what the world thought about it. Free souls enjoying what time they had together, whether it was dancing, drinking, sex… life was too short to live I the shadows of others’ judgements and no others seemed to pull it off better than drunk high schoolers trying to get laid by people they had no idea were supernatural mythical creatures. Fate was hilarious sometimes. As she navigated the crowded, labyrinthine halls of the second floor she noticed the young Asian woman Austin had been dancing with earlier, ‘Yuki’? She was fervently locking lips with a guy whom she’d pressed against a wall. As she pulled away Nadya noticed a shimmer, a glow… a single mote of wispy breath be pulled up his throat and float its way into her, offering a soft luminance that made her neck glow softy for just a moment before the light faded. She grinned slightly, tapping her temporary lover on the cheek a few times as he slid down the wall, collapsing to the carpet. With a shrug and a bounce in her step she moved on. Out of concern, Nadya checked the collapsed teen (whom she had in one of her classes) and he appeared alive, just unconscious. As she stood, Yuki was still prowling, but now engaged in small talk with a few, obviously supernatural, females in the hallway. What else caught her eye was the glimmer of metal that seemed to flash just outside the range of her peripherial vision. Her head craned in the direction of the steel and saw… Niles? With two large pot lids, strapped over her shoulders he’d created a breast plate covering his chest and back, a trashcan lid was acting as a shield and… a large pot was making up his helmet, complete with long handle extending from the back of his head. As if Jonny Appleseed and King Arthur had a retarded love-child. Still, the long sword at his side didn’t seem like it was at all a joke. While others were enjoying themselves however, he appeared to be sneaking around, and the flash she saw was the light catching his… ‘helmet’, as he slipped into one of the rooms off to the side and cautiously looked around before he closed the door. He certainly seemed up to something.
  3. Rooftop Rendezvous II “Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it's not because they enjoy solitude. It's because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.” ― My Sister's Keeper Late Thursday, 5th September... September nights in Montana, even on surprisingly warm, summer-like days were chilly and nothing like the warm temperatures of Malibu where the twins were raised. Neither had adapted to the cold particularly well and their complaints in the cold winter were almost endless. This evening, where it was sixty degrees in Malibu it was a brisk forty-five outside on the other side of the sheer white curtains billowing softly in the open window of Marissa’s bedroom. She sat in her usual spot on the roof outside her room on a small blanket. She didn’t want to sleep tonight so in a hoodie and sweats that were neither flattering nor fashionable, she braved the chill of the Montana night in her ritual of getting her nicotine fix. She didn’t smoke in front of others, she found the scent it left detracted from her appearance, getting in her hair and on her clothes. She used it generally as a means of relaxation, having a cigarette or a joint a couple nights a week as a means of de stressing before bed. Nicotine wasn’t in play tonight as the polished metal tube vacuumed up the crushed white powder of the several XR tablets. She snorted, shaking her head and groaning as the powder coated her nasal cavity to be absorbed by the blood vessels there where the drugs would be absorbed into her bloodstream and go straight to her brain faster and more potently than if she had ingested them and waited. Her metabolism processed food, drugs and alcohol at a phenomenal speed since her strange new abilities awakened and this, she found, helped her not only get high faster, but prolonged the experience by delivering it directly to her bloodstream. She shuttered, craning her head to one side and shaking reflexively from discomfort as the powder hit her senses. She cursed silently as she rubbed her nose, trying to scratch the phantom itch that irritated her sinuses. The means and the method of deliver may not have been the most glamourous for Shelly’s hottest fashionista, but the effects were exactly what she needed to escape the perceived misery and stress of a life she hated. An hour later she was still there on the roof, gazing off into the sky and wondering all manner of random things as her brain was lightning focused and alert. It wasn’t ideal, but this would keep her awake and if she was awake, she couldn’t dream. Ever since the Not-Cody battle, like her brother after he was taken by the dark, she’s not had a night of decent sleep. Eventually she’d see him; Cody, or what he’d become rather, and he would be battling her and the Fellowship all over again. During the course of the battle the monster’s flesh would bubble and sear, melt and drip until his face would fall away and Marissa’s was in its place. She’d rip and tear, shred and mutilate the Fellowship down to the last and it was always when her claws tore into her brother that she’d wake up in a cold sweat, her heart racing, and tears in her eyes. The flint scrapped against the steel and the lighter sparked to life. She took a drag and the cherry swelled to life as she inhaled and tried to relax while casting the thoughts of her dreams aside. She exhaled and tried to relax as the freshly lit ultra slim one hundred filled the air with that first few moments of its unique scent before the full burn began. “So,” her brother faded into view slowly in a violent shimmer before he solidified completely at his selected location: right next to his sister. Marissa jumped slightly, thankful she’d exhaled, or she’d have been choking. “Asshole!” she fumed, backhanding his arm, hard once he was fully present. “I told you to quit doing the shit, what the fuck?” He tried to lean away, but her hand was faster and surprisingly powerful for her size. Her rubbed his arm, grumbling an ‘ow’ before feeling brave enough to speak again. “So,” he picked up where he left off. I went ahead and Windex’d your nipple and ass crack prints off the dining room table before mom and dad saw them. Cade, I’m assuming? And at mom’s setting too… nice touch.” She tried not to grin like an adolescent boy who’d just heard someone fart, but she couldn’t help it. Not even taking another drag from her cigarette helped mask the childish smirk on her face. “Yeah,” she answered. “He stopped by after the reception, and now, every time mom lowers her head to take a bite off her plate it’s going to be right where Cade’s face was between my thighs.” He looked at his sister, one brow raised up in appraisal that was a, knowing Devin, both judgement and appreciation for deviance. “That’s… that’s pretty fucked up. Even for you EmJay. Also, too much info, I don’t need to hear where Cade’s face has been planted.” Marissa just shrugged. “Fuck her and dad. They’ve spent their life ruining ours, I may as well have some fun now that we’re probably going to be shipped off to a boarding school. If I had more time, I would have fucked him on their bed.” “And how, exactly, does that hurt mom and dad?” He shivered and zipped up his hoodie. “Christ it’s cold out here.” “It’s therapeutic, Devin.” She craned her head to look in his direction. “I don’t expect you to understand.” She flicked her thumb on the butt, letting ash fallaway onto the shingles that the rain and snow would wash away as it always did. “So, does he know you’re just using him to get back at mom and dad by lashing out sexually?” He shoved his hands in his pockets to stave off the cold. “What’s your endgame? Get pregnant and laugh in mom’s face as you watch her break down into tears as you throw away all of the opportunities you have in life to raise Cade’s kid?” “Nope,” It was about as uncaring of a tone as she was capable of. “I’m getting Nexplanon Monday, and we’re using protection, but thanks for being all in my business. Besides, what makes you think Cade even gives a shit? He’s in love with me, the idiot. Come on, Devin! We’re the bad kids! We’re the liars, the bullies, the villains! Might as well add sexual deviants to it too, right? At least that’s one fucking thing we can enjoy in this steaming shit pile we call a life!” She tried to calm down a bit by inhaling her cigarette once more, but her fingers were shaking as she rose it to her lips, an overdose side effect of the drugs she’d taken earlier, and her bodies hyper metabolism was doing all it could to keep her functioning. “Chill,” her brother said sternly. “I wasn’t judging, I’m just concerned, that’s all. You tend to do stupid shit when you’re mad at the world. I was worried, okay?” “Oh, I do stupid shit?” She turned her head to glare at him. “You teleported Taggart’s car to Wisconsin because you’re pissed the Project didn’t protect Jason and I do stupid shit?” “Wyoming, actually.” He grinned while meeting his sister’s stare and after a moment she grinned too. “He’s driving it back now. Next time it’ll be Wisconsin, then Winnipeg.” They both laughed at the thought of Taggart getting more and more pissed off every time Devin punished the Project for not following through on their promises. Marissa’s expression finally went dead pan, and she lost all semblance of a being in a decent mood and cut right to the chase. “So, what? We’re talking now?” She knew how her brother operated. He’d slip in break the ice, engage in some casual conversation, and then escape any semblance of past responsibility by pretending nothing ever happened. “In a manner of speaking, I guess,” he shrugged. “Not funny,” she replied while fishing for another cigarette, considering it looked she was going to be here awhile. “You know what I mean, stop being a prick.” “Okay,” he conceded as he let himself slowly fall back onto the blanket and look up at the stars. “I thought, perhaps, it’s been a day or so and we’ve had time to cool down. Maybe could try hashing this out?” She thought about it for a moment, casting away her crushed out cigarette and lighting another one. It wasn’t often she smoked two in one evening, but situations being what they were… “Alright, how about we start with ‘you are supposed to be on my side’.” “I’m always on your side, Em. That doesn’t mean you’re automatically right in all things though. So I agree with the Fellowship that you should have at least told us, that doesn’t mean I’m saying that you were wrong. I get why you did what you did and how you handled it the way you did. You got professionals involved and there is nothing wrong with that. We’re just not supposed to have secrets, remember?” “I know, I know,” Closing her eyes, she inhaled and then sighed heavily. “When we made the promise though it didn’t really cover extradimensional spirits making threats against our family! I didn’t know what to do!” “But they don’t seem to understand that!” she cast out her arm towards the dark countryside, gesturing to the Fellowship, wherever they might be. “Because they don’t care,” he shrugged. “Who’re we to them? Just the bullies, the mean, evil twins in their story. The villains, like you said. I don’t agree with how Jason handled it, but that doesn’t mean he, nor you are wrong. I agree that in the future, if something like this happens again, we should tell each other about it, but I also agree that if the people we have to tell are incompetent to an extreme, that we should not be obligated to place people in danger just because Jason said so. I get it, I do. Remember, we’re talking about a guy who said that what he did Liam was a ‘mistake’. Writing in blue ink instead of black is a mistake. Ordering your burger with bacon when you didn’t want bacon is a mistake. Putting a man in the hospital after you’ve tortured him to the brink of death is not a mistake.” “At least he has Autumn to heal all of his victims now, so, there’s that.” She tried to chuckle at her own sarcasm but just couldn’t. “We’re all figuring shit out still, Marissa.” He went on, sighing with thought as he continued to seek answers in the stars above. “The whole Fellowship is messed up, we’re lost, we haven’t a clue what’s going on or what’s going happen. At the end of the day though, you’re always my sister, and I love you. I may not always agree with you, but I love you. But Cassie’s dad is running out of time, and he needs us.” Marissa chuckled and raised her cigarette to her lips, the cherry blossomed crimson in the dark of the rooftop. “I swear to god, you will literally do anything for a blowjob. She’s going to get her dad back and forget all about you, you know.” “I know.” He admitted with far more self-awareness than she expected. “It’s not for Cassie. It’s because that is what these powers are for. They’re not for getting the girl or airplanes in the yard or arguing with Jason every other day or trying to find out if Autumn maintains a carrot patch or has completely tilled the field.” “Wow.” Was all she could muster. “They’re for taking down people like those hiding in Site B and bringing people like Cassie’s dad back to their families. Tawny and Courtney don’t have the raw power to do it, the Fellowship is an implosion just waiting to happen and I don’t have the time nor the patience to keep putting up with the drama every other day.” “We start a lot of that drama,” she laughed. His reply was simple and to the point. “Not anymore. It’s a job. They don’t like us, we don’t have to like them, but we still have lives to save, Dark to spank and a Homecoming dance to look fly as fuck for.” Marissa groaned as she fell back like her brother did, now looking up at the stars as she finished the last of her cigarette. “We are going to look so damn good this year.” “So,” he turned his head to look at her. “We cool?” She exhaled the last bit of smoke out in a grey line that was quickly swept away by the evening breeze. “Yeah,” she turned her head to look at him. “We’re cool, and we’ll need to get in touch with Annette and Taggart about resources. They need to either start helping or get the hell out of our town.” “Couldn’t agree more.” He said, grinning to himself and placing his hands behind his head. They sat there for a few more minutes, plotting and scheming like they always did before finally agreeing that it was too damn cold to be talking outside. Marissa prepped for a shower to wash the scent of smoke out of her hair and try to find something to keep her occupied, so she didn’t end up falling asleep. Devin retired to his art for another hour or so. For all his tough talk about Tawny the sketch of her and her smile he’d been working on since the night before was turning out to be a modern masterpiece. For teenagers they were carrying an incredible weight and none of the Fellowship seemed to have proper mentors to help guide them through the trying times they’d found themselves in. They would endure, like they always did, sticking by each other in a world that didn’t care and against monsters that were not always from other realms.
  4. Deacon ‘Deek’ Knight Lost, Trapped, and Looking For Answers Quote: “I want so badly for there to be more. I ache for there to be more than my crappy little life. I don’t know, maybe there is more, and I just can’t see it.” Background: Originally from Bar Harbor Maine, Deacon doesn’t talk about his home life or growing up all that often. He has no issues sharing that he and his family don’t get along and they haven’t spoken since he moved to New York to make his own way, a move they didn’t approve of. When pressed he simply states that they wanted him to learn the ‘family business’ and that wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life. He came to Manhattan a couple of years ago, not long after his high school graduation and hasn’t been home since. Today, he serves as a bike messenger all over Manhattan, which makes him an expert on every side road, alley, and short cut in the city. He plays a lot of role playing games and has taken to studying all manner of occult and mythological lore to help spice up the adventures to run. Despite all the people knows due to gaming, he hasn’t a single person he’d consider a friend. Description: Deacon sets his grooming standard at a very low bar. Aside from regular showers and clean clothes, not much effort goes into his appearance. On a good day he looks like he just rolled ouf of bed, his dark hair a mess and plus one more day of stubble. His clothes are baggy and usually a size larger than necessary since he gets them from the Goodwill. He generally appears tired and run down, like he hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks and sometimes, and sometimes in public people hand him dollar bills, thinking he’s homeless. Storytelling Hints: No matter how bad things are in your life; they are better than home and dealing with your overbearing parents. Sure, nothing has turned out like you planned and so far, you’re a complete failure, but at least you’ve failed on your own terms! Thankfully the reality of shitty your life has been easily overshadowed by role playing games, video games, and internet pornography! Who needs success when every day can be an adventure? Still, despite it all, every day you feel like you are not ‘you’. Like you’re lost in a world that was never your home to begin with and just causes you to withdraw further from society.
  5. "In one form or fashion, I believe so, yeah." She nodded at him. "There are beings and things out there that you wouldn't believe. Not everything is so easily classified, but it generally breaks down in to spirit, fae, monster or... other." "Humans can't see them," she'd already peeled the label completely off her bottle. "Hell, they most barely notice a werewolf standing in front of them-" "-wait." Amelia poked her head up from the fridge where she was fishing for a soda after Kestrel had offered her free reign of an apartment that wasn't hers. "How is that even-" "Long story." Kestrel chuckled trying to keep focus on the topics at hand. "I'm not expert on anything outside garou society, aside from all of our basic survival manuals. Don't dare a drunk Mage. Don't juggle silver. Don't accept a blowjob from a vampire. It's pretty basic stuff. I've never hunted anything like this before, that's when I went to Bones-of-the-Past to ask her help and she helped us find an expert, Mel's friend Damon." "Deacon." Mel corrected. "Yeah, him." She nodded, setting down her empty, hollow bottle and almost immediately twisting the cap off a new one. "Ol' Momma Bones is never wrong. Once Maya get's home, we'll meet up with this guy and everything will be gravy. Trust me."
  6. "Uh," Kestrel shrugged. "Maybe? Genetics and forensics is bit outside my wheel house. I know vampires can appear alive and human for short time, and if tested during that time will register multiple blood types. I knw that right now, were I tested, I'd just pop as human, since this is my breed form." She took a moment to explain what a breed form was and pressed on. "But there's no way to test or quantify a soul, and from what I've been told, that's how magic works." "Sounds like all of this is magic, to me." Mel offered. "Well, in a manner of speaking, it is. All super naturals possess powers," tipped back her bottle and gestured with her free hand, drawing in the air with her fingernail to represent the various supers. "Kindred call them disciplines, garou call them gifts, fae call them cantrips... the list goes on. They are specialized, effects that we can create using our innate connection to the supernatural. As an example, animals are put off by the presence of garou or other shifters. They recognize some is off and sense the human and animal mingling in our spirits. Dogs bark, cats hiss, etcetera." "Suleman over there seems fin with you," Ravi smiled at the kitty loaf who couldn't have cared less. "I was getting that," she smirked. "We have a basic gift we can learn. Essentially it disguises our nature and doesn't freak animals out. It's a simple, basic trick. The more powerful we get, the fancier our tricks, or so I've been told. Personally I've never seen powerful gifts used. Magick, however, with a 'cee kay', is completely different... it's not localized into a disciplined, 'always does this', effect. Mages are wild because they literally warp reality and make it do whatever they want, no limits, at least, that's what I hear. They can make all your bones jelly, or turn the Eifel Tower into gold. Generally, it's best to avoid them. They're weird." "If you healed fast," she gestured Ravi. "You could be a shifter. The body's survival instinct can sometimes kick in even before your First Change. You're obviously not a vampire, despite smelling like one. Mages need to willfully chose to heal, it's not reflexive, and fae? Well... fae are just weird because it depends on which of their bodies was injured, it's a mess." She waved away the thought like she didn't want to deal with a fae, at all. "Problem is, gorgeous, there's no way to force The Change. It'll happen only when it happens, and it's possible it never will." "What then?" "We call you kin." She put it simply but so tersely that it immediately sounded like something he didn't want to happen. "You have the blood in you. You can see and interact with the supernatural without any major mental trauma... you just never changed. In garou society, you'd be respected, but never afforded any measure of station beyond what humans are already permitted."
  7. [Nadya] “Numerous ways, my dear,” he said in his thick Egyptian accent, ancient Egyptian. “They are called Terra Incognita, hidden places in the World. Some can be used for traveling quickly from one place to another, and others can take you to greater places still.” He smiled and held up a finger to accentuate a coming lesson. “But they require more power than you possess young Nadya. Only demigods have the strength to make use of such portals, but in time, perhaps you and yours will have suck freedoms, hm?” He was silent for a more a moment as she processed what the old gold had told her until the flick of his wrist drew her attention back to the moment. Between his fingers was a small business card with nothing more than a phone number, written in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. “Your mother’s responsibilities are many and varied as of late. I would love to say that there is a training guide to all of this but alas, there isn’t. When there is more time, call me, perhaps over coffee I may be able to help you sort a few things out on this new path you find yourself on, hm?” “Now,” he smiled warmly. “You’ve better things to do, I’m sure, than hang around some old, forgotten god at a party. Go, young one, enjoy yourself and do what you’ve come to do. We shall meet again later, of that I’m certain.” [Grim & Fisher] The throngs of teenagers were tightly packed and Grim was constantly reminded why he kept mostly to himself as they showed no concern with their dancing and drinking games who they bumped into or pushed against a wall because they weren’t paying attention. Naturally, he was the boy who pushed back, but in this case, there was no harm meant, yet still, it did nothing to irritate him any less. He noticed Dane, flirting with a dark elven woman who easily centuries his senior, if not millennia. He didn’t see Valerie or Austin, but noticed Nadya talking with the older god and Laurel… flirting(?) with Eric? Yeah, that was a conversation for later. His paying attention to everyone in such cramped spaces made him a victim of his own irritations when he stumbled directly into a beautiful, tall teenage girl no older than him. Like Laurel she had long, braided platinum blonde hair with streams of silver highlights sparkling within the tight knots. Her gossamer gown was the same shade of blue as her eye shadow and immediately he recognized her: Elsa, from Frozen. She huffed and grunted at him, giving him a push away from her that revealed hidden strength. Grim was five-foot eleven, but this girl was easily six-two. “Usurper.” She sneered at him like that was his name and a greeting all in one. His eyes narrowed while processed that title. Runa? “Grim,” Fisher approached, the Scion of Odin to convey his news and Runa/Elsa just silently looked at him and then to Fisher, not in any particular hurry to leave, but in no way seeming to care if they both pissed off immediately. [Valerie & Austin] “None taken,” Darcy smiled at Valerie and Austin, craning her head to address them both. “It’s honestly a new thing? I was worried about Fisher so I asked Billie to help me follow him. So, when you guys had that fight protecting the giant wolf… we were there for that.” She lowered her eyes as if holding a bit of guilt for not telling Austin sooner that she’d spied on them. “At first nothing made sense, but Fisher got hurt and all those hunters started fighting you and Rachel tore the tailgate off the truck… the more we witnessed it was like… I dunno… all the hunters started to like… steam up? When the steam cleared, we saw what they really were. The wolf too, it just… grew.” She shrugged. “Don’t get me wrong guys, I’m scared as hell, but I just… I guess I’m sacred more that people are trying to hurt my home and the people who live here. If I’m supposed to be more than a afraid, I’m not. Billie either. Freaked the hell out? Oh yeah. But, not in any danger of going nuts from it, it seems.” “I know I can’t do much, but I can see the world as you do. I figure you guys could use all the help you can get, and besides,” she laughed. “This shit is way cooler than binging Hulu.” [Laurel] “Nope,” Eric smirked as his ego was obviously swelling a bit, at least she hoped his ego was all that was swelling. “We’re pretty kick ass. Take notes.” He smiles. “So,” Laurel couldn’t help but ask her next question. “What’s your grievance with the other band then? Shouldn’t all of you be working together?” “Not a chance,” he huffed, his face contorting into a grimace that border lined on being insulted. “Before we were visited, we were the best at Salem High. Academically, athletically, extra-cur… extra-caric… the after school stuff. We won the games, brough home the trophies, made the school and the whole district look good. We kicked the best parties, had the best times, were just over all number one.” “Then,” he inhaled and reached into the hide covered ‘fanny pack’ he’d included in his costume so he could carry his wallet and car keys and a drink. He popped the top of the energy drink brand he ran through like water and continued but only after wincing slightly at the kick of the after taste. “We get visited and promoted to this Hero status and we d it all over again. Trophies, battles and saving the city for a whole year. Recogni… regog… pruhs… prestidge?” She shrugged, giving up. “We got noticed a lot, because we were bad ass. Then, then, these little ass wipes come along. These third stringers jump up and think they’re gonna steal our victories out from under us? Have you seen them? They can barely wipe themselves without Archie there to walk them through it. Yeah, no. I’m not having it. They don’t deserve the power they’ve been given, they need to sit down and let the crowd who actually cares about saving this world step up and do our jobs. They just get in our way.” He knocked back another long swig, shaking his head with an aggressive ‘ahh’ as that after tasted kicked the back of his throat. “I mean, yeah, we don’t see eye to eye on a lot of shit, but we know who we are and what we are here to do and when it’s game time we synch our shit up like a team. We might all be fighting and hating each other but, in the moment, we are one and go back to the petty shit afterward.” Laurel was left to wonder how much of that was true, but his point was well enough made. “It’s just not fair that they get to step in and try be something they obviously have no interest in doing well. It’s all a joke to them, and we don’t play that game is all.”
  8. "Well," Kestrel shrugged. "To be honest I don't know. To my knowledge you guys can get picked from any walk of life, supes or muggle." The Harry Potter reference wasn't lost on anyone in the room. "But that's honestly a question for Mr. Mourne, who will most assuredly want to talk to all of you at some point. I know it's a lot to take in, trust me, I've been there. Problem is, no Chosen has ever passed whatever tests are put before them... so we have no idea what comes after the 'Chosen' part. At least, I don't. I know that's not much, and I know it's hard to believe anything right now." There was a slight awkward silence as Kestrel's eyes wandered as if searching for something only she could see, that haze of thought and memory that everyone was familiar with but never really spoke about. "A ye-," she stammered. "A year ago I woke up in a field, covered in blood. No memory of how I got there or what happened and come to find out nearly four days of my life were blacked out. Sable was there for you guys, you're lucky for that. Shock, panic, anxiety... I can't even go through the rolodex of emotions I was tumbling through. Several campers in the area were mutilated, Friday the 13th-style, all over the trees, sleeping bag smoothies, and there I was... butt naked and covered in blood head to toe with no memory." "Fast forward a long walk and some stolen clothes later, some strangers found me, introduced themselves and told me what had happened." Her hands kneaded the neck of the bottle she held, the memories coming to her in a rush that made her anxious and excited all at once. "They told me I didn't hurt those campers, that hunted and killed what had attacked them. I didn't believe them at first, obviously, but they showed me, taught me how to open my eyes." She chuckled as she spoke. "And oh, are my eyes open. The power is incredible. So, I know what you guys are dealing with, I think that's why Mourne chose me to help Maya." "I went through my First Change," she added with almost a sense of pride. "It's a cathartic experience for werewolves, and the spirits called me to that spot to battle that beast. I answered, and my standing here is proof that I earned my blessings. We usually don't have any recollection, or control of our First Change, which explained the black out. Mourne thinks that all of you are 'Lost'. A term that refers to supernatural people who were never awakened, you sort of 'slipped through the system', so to speak. The difficulty is determining if that's true or not. I guess what I'm saying is... is that I know how weird this all is, so... if you need to talk, I'm here, okay? Because I've been through it."
  9. "Hell if I know," Kestrel shrugged. Seeing how that didn't really build any confidence in those assembled, she sighed and walked to the fridge. Opening it, she produced a six of bottles and just set the cold beers on the fridge. Ten in the morning was the perfect time for day drinking, in and apartment that wasn't theirs. She invited herself to one and twisted the cap. "Okay, look, it's just the working stiffs here now, so let's water cooler this shit real fast. Mourne is a watcher, D'Sombra is a Watcher, and no one knows how the fuck that happened. The Mages currently have no Watcher and the fae's Watcher is a complete cunt. What's a Watcher? I'll get to that." She took a swig and leaned back into the fridge. "Supernatural world is broken down like so... you have the werewolves, or The People or Garou, like any culture, you have what they call themselves and what others call them, in the end, it's all the same. Then you have the Changelings, or Fae, or Fairies, again, all the same. Then the Mages, or the Awakened or Wizards... see previous statements." "Now, those three things have been around since before time. Like seriously, we know it was after dinosaurs, but before humans were throwing mud and poop at each other. Enter Vampires and Wraiths," she sipped her beer again. "These guys are not natural. They're dead. No one knows when, but at some point the first vampire was made, birthed? I don't know. Skipping past all the years and wars and plans of world domination, eventually supernatural society had to band together because humanity was wiping us out... so, we disappeared." "How?" Amelia asked. "Magic portals? Paths to other worlds?" "Christianity." Kestrel smiled. "But we'll get to paths to other worlds later. The vamps had this awesome idea, God. Fun fact, there has been a vampire stationed at the Vatican since it was founded in like... the twelve hundreds or some shit." "Sixteen twenty six," Ravi added. "Right, so," Kestrel sipped her beer, pushing off the fridge and walked about, making she was speaking to everyone. "Since then we've kept a low profile, kept all our wars shadow wars-" "Don't tell me everyone just lived in peace," Mel harumph'd through his coffee. "Ain't no way." "And you'd be right," Kestrel said with a smirk. "So, we all had our own societies. Mages traditions came together to meet, vamp clans did the same, werewolves tribes did the same, you get the idea. So, all our forefathers had the idea to have our leaders come together and have one unified council. Werewolves and vamps solving problems, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria... but it worked. We all have our problems, our own societies, but we come together and rule our realms jointly and for the most part it has worked. Enter about five hundred years ago, an Incarnae," she looked to them all, knowing they had no idea what that was but offered them a look of assurance that she was about to explain. "Which are powerful spirits, like... gods, so to speak. Came to the leaders of all the supes and basically gave us Watchers. One member within the societies who would act as sort of an impartial observer and guides for the societies while searching for the Incarnae's chosen. They're as much spiritual leaders as they are advisors and are sworn to remain impartial." "The vamps, not being 'natural' were not awarded Watcher status, so obviously thought themselves exempt of impartiality. Butt hurt over the Watcher thing, they've been subverting the Watchers for generations, finding the Chosen and trying to figure out what the hell they've been Chosen for... don't ask me, by the way, I've no frickin' clue. Enter not long ago... when D'Sombra was chosen as a Watcher. This flipped the vamps on their ear, because now they are bound, by an Incarnae, to adhere to impartiality and observe the Watcher's Code. Not even the leeches will go against an Incarnae," "For five hundred years they've been searching for Chosen. Those Chosen are tested and so far... none have passed, but never have there been this many Chosen at once. People are looking at you guys like you're the supernatural apocalypse or its salvation... and their sphincters are clinched like the ball is dropping on Y2K, you feel me?" She let that sink in for a moment and pressed on. "Which is why we need to help Maya. Someone out there is trying to eliminate you guys. The MiBs are no joke, so someone powerful wants you gone. As a Watcher D'Sombra can keep you all safe, for the most part, and Mourne is very much the same. I'm here to help on his behalf, but fae shit? Yeah, I'm way out of my depth, which is why Mel here knows a guy who might be able to shed some light." "Spiritualist?" Amelia asked. "Occultist?" Ravi inquired. "D&D nerd." Mel offered. "Okay," all confidence slipped from Amelia's voice. "Better than influencer, I suppose." "Guys, trust me," Kestrel said with a reassuring smile. "I've been in tighter spots than this. The supernatural world is unlike anything you've ever known and sometimes logic takes a back seat to luck. This kid showed up exactly where a Theurge said he would. I'm still young to this game, but even know when to read a sign. After Maya gets off work, we're all going over there and seeing how he can help us. So... anything that I missed?"
  10. Mel looked to Kestrel who in turn nodded as they both lowered their weapons. "She did the whole leather and guns bit with you huh?" She looked at the two of them. "They're good Mel." Unconvinced, and still not a hundred percent on who all these names were that were being thrown around, Mel lowered his gun and slid it back into his concealable holster. "They could have gotten that intel from anywhere." He grumbled, feeling the whole thing was sloppy. "No, because only people with D'Sombra's blessing would still be alive if they saw Sable doing the whole leather and guns routine. The guns, mostly... D'Sombra and her cronies own more leather than a BDSM conference. It's a vampire thing, I hear." She tucked her weapon into her jeans at the small of her back. "She's her secretary, Vice-Chairperson, assassin, lover, and all around yes-girl." "You two aren't friends, I take it." Amelia inquired. "Sounds like a bit of contempt." "We're not. Excluding the lover bit and all around yes-girl, she is for D'Sombra what I am for Mourne, D'Sombra's direct rival and all around pain in her ass. Name's Kestrel, this is Mel. Sorry about the guns, but last thing you want is to be too trusting and before you know it a gibbering umbrood is playing hopscotch with your entrails. I hear that sucks. However, while we might not be scissor sisters, while our bosses are making of things, we're stuck cleaning them up, so we've agreed to at least be civil with each other." "Civil-like or civil-ish?" Chimed Amelia. "Cute." Kestrel said flatly. "So, she tell you guys what was going on?"
  11. "Yeah, sure, great," Kestrel smiled and nodded as she looked up to Mel, who'd brought breakfast over to Maya's about a half hour ago. "We'll see you when you get here." Kestrel stood and tapped the screen on her phone, ending the call. She looked to Mel who was nursing some form of tar he called 'coffee'. He'd brought her McDonalds, but his own Yeti was filled with hardcore Black Label with enough caffeine to kill a small anything. He sipped from his cup and quietly paid attention to the young woman as she took the call. They'd been discussing Deacon before her phone rang and he was just waiting to get back to that. "Well?" He asked. She sighed, setting her phone down as she flaked off crumbs onto a napkin from the biscuit she was holding the entire time she was on the phone. She was sitting on Maya's kitchen counter one foot tucked under her knee in the tank top she wore to sleep last night and a pair of gray cotton boy shorts. It was obvious the woman was not the least bit shy. While Mel remained a loyal, devoted man to his wife that had passed, he could certainly appreciate the eye-candy. "Well, apparently that was Amelia. She and 'they' will be over in fifteen minutes." "So?" Mel shrugged. "I don't know any Amelia," Kestrel added. "I reached out to a contact of mine and she said she was sending people, but she sends professionals, not... 'Amelias'. Girl gets point for being bubbly, though." She stood and crunched up all of her wrappers and stuffed them back into the Micky D's bag and discarded it. "They could be legit," she added. "I mean, The Society has been a bit topsy-turvy lately and good help might be hard to find, I don't know. I just know that Sable, my contact, works for a vampire." "A vampire?" Mel asked, at this point he was oblivious to the mind numbing absurdity of fifty percent of what Kestrel said. "Sure, why not." "...and you never trust a vampire." She finished. "Twenty questions, then?" The redhaired man leaned to the window, and pulled the curtain aside like he'd suddenly found himself in a Jason Bourne flick. "Twenty questions then." Kestrel smirked. "I'm gonna go put pants on." She slid off the counter. "Keep an eye on him Sully, that last sausage biscuit is mine." Maya's keeper, the large gray cat Sulieman looked from his comfortable position on the sofa to Kestrel, then to Mel, then just put his head down like he washing his hands of both of them. Ten or fifteen maybe minutes later... "It's open!" Kestrel called out after Ravi had rapped a few times on the door to Maya's apartment. He and Amelia entered, taking a look around and momentarily impressed at how her own Maya had managed to make her small and incredibly over-priced apartment. The scent of vanilla, musk, toasted coconut and orchids was the first thing to catch their senses and second was how no one was there to greet them. "Out in a second," called Kestrel from , whose voice Amelia recognized. "Putting on pants..." and just as she spoke there was the slight thud of someone doing the 'over-the-butt' jeans hop. As their attention waxed to the voice and noise they didn't notice Mel round the divider between the entrance and the kitchen and train his gun on them. His foot steps finally gave him away and earned their attention only to result in Kestrel, who'd been in pants for the better part of ten or fifteen maybe minutes, leaned out from the bedroom, her gun on them as well. Amelia cursed silently and Ravi pursed his lips in frustration, but his sense of honor had to give them props for properly getting the drop on them. Kestrel's posture was professional, if a bit unorthodox, but Mel trained his sidearm on them with poise and discipline that told them both he would have their obituary written and posted before they even realize they'd been shot. "You must be Amelia," Kestrel said, giving her the once-over. "No offense, but I don't know any Amelia. You obviously know I made a phone call, but that doesn't mean she sent you." Her level of paranoia was off the charts, but she also seemed like a woman who'd been in the world a tad bit longer than they had. "I've seen her people, I know her people, and you ain't it." "Mr. Grimson," Ravi nodded his head, recognizing the red haired man from the gala the other evening. Their meeting was brief, but he recalled his name, well enough. "Pleasure. Can't say this isn't a bit awkward." Mel shrugged but his gun didn't flinch. "Not for me." "You know this guy?" Kestrel asked, nodding to Ravi while looking at Mel. "Nope." Mel said honestly. "Okay, the lady that owns this place is not too bad, so I'd hate to paint the walls of this place with you two," they weren't sure she was being honest about that. "We're all professionals here, so, let's do this civil-like-" "You're pointing guns at us." Amelia pointed out. "Fine. Ish. Civil-ish." The brunette added. "Who're you working for and how did you get this address?"
  12. Taken to Market S1:E4 Amelia and Ravi awoke to the morning staff tending to their rooms and bringing them fresh towels with which to shower and prepare for the day. Sable had taken the liberty of supply them with a fresh change of clothes. While Ravi didn’t mind Sable’s rather keen fashion sense, Amelia could help but feel picked on, as her clothing seemed to forcibly make her look like a responsible, adult member of society from the business casual end of the spectrum instead of ‘I wore this yesterday because my computer doesn’t judge the wrinkles in my tee shirt’ look that Sable seemed convinced Amelia rocked on the daily. True of not, it was, at the very least, not and outfit covered in blood from the night before. Ravi’s injury seemed to be in the final stages of healing. Pink with minor scabbing and dreadfully sensitive to the touch. He’d healed eight weeks’ worth of physical trauma in a little less than seven hours. He still wasn’t sure what sport D’Sombra or her loyal retainer were playing, but one thing was certain… one couldn’t deny healing a wound that should have been fatal in only a few hours as anything less than worthy of more investigation. The two greeted each other in a large dining room where Sable waited for them, and they enjoyed breakfast of fresh fruit and eggs. As they sat and ate, and to Amelia it tasted expensive. How could eggs taste expensive? To Ravi it reminded him of the home he’d left behind. Sable seemed dressed for the work day, in a suit that was probably worth more than both of their income from the previous year and there was a small measure of relief in Ravi’s mind that she toned on the tight faux leather and under-arm gun holsters when conducting her everyday business (or did she?). Still, it was all black to the point that she seemed to absorb light around her and appeared to blend in almost to the point of invisible on the black marble halls and décor of Ms. D’Sombra’s home. “I know we left much up in the air last evening,” the dark-haired woman spoke in that rich, non-specific accent of hers. “However, something has come up and I think it is a perfect opportunity for you two to meet the others who are assumed to be, well, like you.” She patted her lips, taking care to not smudge or ruin her makeup. “Amelia,” one of the huge, dark skinned bodyguards approached from behind Amelia, his shadow blotting out her eating experience. He placed an envelope next to her and stepped away, no longer eclipsing her breakfast. “Key, lease agreement, fob for the front door. Everything for your new apartment is there.” “On to the matters at hand,” she looked to the both of them. “Frankly, I’ve a company run in my Marquess’s absence, so I’ll be well and swamped until the late evening. However, an associate of mine seems to be having difficulty with a young woman named Maya Flynn.” She looks to Ravi and raises her eyebrow, smirking. “I believe you’ve met her. The poor dear has gone and managed to get herself cursed by, um,” she seemed almost unable to say it out loud. After a few nods and she managed a mumble. “Goblins.” She cleared her throat as if to move on past that. “They have a lead as to how they might handle it, and frankly, this is exactly the sort of strangeness that is a part of your lives now, so I figured you’d do well to jump in with both feet and provide them an assist.” They could both notice the way her cheeks flushed slightly at the talk of ‘goblins’ as if dealing with such an obviously inane concept was embarrassing in and of itself. Despite all she’d seen in her long lifetime, her logical mind still seemed to refuse to accept, or perhaps hated being forced to accept, that certain things were, indeed, a thing. "If you two would be so kind. Miss Flynn is a bit edgy when it comes to crepes, but aside from that, I'm told she's a delightful soul, a curse just ill suits her." “My associate’s name is Kestrel,” she nodded to another of the bodyguards who set another envelope, next to Ravi this time, on the table. She is with Miss Flynn now, at her apartment. The address, Kestrel's number, keys to one of the vehicles, and some cash for expenses is all there in that envelope. She will be expecting you two, I can’t say the same for the others. Do try and work together,” she smirked. “I will be in meetings well until after three, then it’s my gym time then it’s paperwork and briefings until well after sundown, for obvious reasons.” They knew she meant the vampire she worked for. She smiled at Ravi. “I picked out something sporty in the garage. I do hope you like it.”
  13. [Valerie] Valerie cleared her head as well as she could. Horus was a hard funk to wash off, like a gum in your hair... relatively harmless but he made a mess of and ruined everything he stuck himself to. Still, she sat and watched the other party goers, from those making out to those laughing and talking loudly and those few who were being led out further into the shadows of the back yard with impish smiles on their faces to do exactly what Valerie knew they were planning on doing. And of course, there was Dane, who was currently explaining to what appeared to be a svartálfar girl about his age(?) the glorious creation that was nachos and how it was one of the four major food groups here in the World. The blonde burrito seemed to be every where at this party all at once, possibly because he never sat still for more than a few moments at a time and his contagious and perpetual good mood seemed impossible to ignore. Just watching that joyous idiot enjoy himself was almost enough to break Val from her funk. She looked to her right, realizing now that she had company that wasn't there a moment ago. Austin, the Scion of Poseidon, had sat alongside her at some point as her gaze was affixed to Dane's antics and Darcy was sheepishly approaching the two Scions like she was wary in irrupting their conversation. "Sorry, hope I'm not interrupting, " she laughed. "Did you two want to be left alone or something?" "No, it's cool," Val shook her head, inwardly chastising herself for letting them get the drop on her while she was distracted. "Just clearing my head." Darcy nodded and looked out at the whole party going on in sight of them. It was all magic (literally), and real undead, and monsters and... myth all mingling in one spot, and she was just a mortal wrapped up in it all. "I was just thinking that this is so cool, that... this is your guy’s every day, you know? Minus the killing and war and stuff... I can't imagine every going back to a normal life after seeing all this. You guys are so lucky. This is amazing." Valerie nodded as she considered an answer and Autsin just listened, but Darcy kept talking. "Um, I'm Darcy, by the way. Devine Darcy, I had my first name, so everyone just calls me Darcy. Valerie, right?" [Laurie] "Let me guess," he smiled as his voice rose over the music like the oncoming of a storm, faint, but clearly present. "Boarding school where you sipped champagne for lunch and horse back riding was considered physical education?” “Look it’s not my business,” he started, halting any further progress of his hand going lower down the small her back when she gave him a sharp glare that spoke a thousand thoughts. “But you really gotta lighten up. This whole royal family vibe you have going on… not good. This is Salem, not the Hamptons plus, you’re a Scion now.” He let his words linger there for a moment. “My point is, Sunshine, that you will not survive alone. You might think you will, or can, and you might, for a while. In the end though, the reason we form bands is because those beasts can smell us, they hunt us, and alone we can not stop them. I can’t stand Mercedes and her haughty, influencer, selfie, bullshit… but she’s saved my life more than once. The B Team seems to have taken a liking to you, whether you’re in their band or not, I’d work on making friends, not reminding them that you have better things to do than chill with them. I mean, we’re gonna wipe them out, eventually, but don’t worry, it’s good to have me as a friend, Laurel. I can keep you far from the second stringers when that’s about to happen.”
  14. Pier 57... earlier that day... There was only one ship currently docked near where Mel was waiting, The Dao Chiang, a run-of-the-mill cargo ship out of China that looked like it had more rust to offer than cargo, unless rust was its export. Cranes and forklifts were busy at work as Mel stood near the shipping and customs offices, which was nothing more than a long, single story building about the size of three double-wide trailers parked end on end, with three offices in it and all manner of vending machines and loose, stacked cargo surrounding it. He'd been standing around for the better part of an hour watching the dock workers unload Conex containers from the ship and haul about the cargo all over the place. At least five or six of the workers at this point had stopped to ask him his business and he felt like a fool having to make something up since 'some weirdo in a coffee shop said she spoke to someone who 'read the bones' and told me to wait here for something to happen', while the truth, sounded insane... and stupid. He sighed, looked around one more time and grumbled silently to himself. "Hell with this," she finally resigned to thinking that perhaps this 'Theurge', whatever the hell that was, and their bones, might be just as crazy as this Kestrel girl. He pivoted with obvious military discipline, preparing to leave just as he noticed someone approaching on a bicycle. While not uncommon in Manhattan, this far down the pier didn't seem likely, as most workers left theirs at the main office in the morning. The only ones who really had any business this far down the pier with a bike were bike messengers and when Mel saw who it was he sighed softly and silently cursed his luck. "Son of a bitch." As Deacon, his next door neighbor of all people, peddled up on his bike and casually dismounted as it rolled to a stop, the grizzled veteran couldn't accept this new facet of lunacy as mere coincidence. Out of all the people in Manhattan, it just so happened that his neighbor, the geeky kid who lived in a world of video games and played his weekly game of Morons and Miscreants, loudly, was passing by at this point in time? "Kid." He approached, and that was about as close to a hello as he'd get from Mel. Deacon narrowed his eyes, at first astonished at the prospect of meeting his neighbor out here in the middle of Manhattan nowhere. "Mr. G?" He chuckled in disbelief. "This is a bit random. What're you doing on the pier?" "Could ask you the same." Mel retorted, getting a feel for the why of the situation and like a trained professional deflecting and keeping himself in control of the conversation. "Bit out of the way for you, isn't it?" The young man shrugged as he kicked down the kickstand and pivoted with the bike so it was turned in a convenient direction for when he left. "Nah. It's only once a month or so. Everything here is mostly digital now, but they still need carbon pads for documentation and receipt spools for their calculators. Slow season it's about every six weeks or so... busier seasons, still it's only like, once a month or so, so I don't mind making the ride. Besides, I can save it for last and just go right home afterwards, the apartments aren't far from here." "So... out of thirty days or so... you picked this day to make the run?" He wasn't asking Deacon, the question was more for any invisible beings controlling his fate that now, obviously hated him. "Jesus Christ, kid..." "What?" He asked the older gentleman, not really expecting a straight answer, or any answer, really. "What're you doing here, anyway? I figured you'd be out reminding children that one day they'll be old enough to have ice cream for breakfast, but never enough time to enjoy it..." "Very funny," Mel brushed off Deacon's sarcasm as the boy's constant taunts aimed at the older man's projected displeasure in all things was beginning to be a staple greeting for the two of them. He hated to admit it, but he was beginning to think the old bone reader was on to something. "Look, kid... what uh, what do you know about curses and goblins and... stuff?" He couldn't believe he just asked another living person that question. "you're into that weird shit, right? I hear you and your friends yelling at all hours every week." Deacon laughed as he rolled his pack off his shoulder to pull out the the two boxes he had for delivery. "You're messing with me, right?" The younger man closed up a bit, his posture slipping into the defensive. He's always been self-conscious about his gaming hobby and felt a bit insecure talking about it in the open, especially with someone like Mel, who seemed to only find way to mock what he didn't understand. "Someone put you up to this? Someone tell you to wait here and then what? Make jokes or something?" "Kid, shut up," Mel didn't have time for all that 'school bully' drama. "I have better things to do than come out here, on my own, or at the behest of another, just make fun of you. Use you're damn head, you're not in seventh-fuckin'-grade." "What then?" Deacon asked plainly. The older red haired man sighed and dragged his palm down his face as he did so to buy him some time to think of what to say. It wasn't a long enough stall. "Kid, I don't even know where to begin. Eighty percent of what I have to say is un-fuckin'-believable and the other twenty percent, I may as well be lying to you because I don't even know how to explain it." All he could do was laugh and shrug. "Gist is this: someone believes someone else is cursed and may die... cursed by goblins, I might add. I was told if I waited here for awhile, someone who knew about that sort of thing would show up... might show up... and you came rolling up." "Now I know you're messin' with me," Deacon laughed, somewhat less on his guard as he was a moment ago. "There's no way-" "Yeah," Mel raised his hands, surrendering the point to his younger neighbor. "It's silly, I know, but you know how college-aged women get," he chuckled and walked past Deacon, deciding it best to just let sleeping dogs lie. "They get it through their heads that they're cursed and freak out, or whatever you millennials do. Sorry to waste your time, kid. I'll let them know they're out of luck." "Wait... college girls?" Mel smirked slightly, but kept walking so Deacon wouldn't witness the older man's victory. "College-aged," he repeated, knowing he was only going to hear what he wanted to anyway. "Not exactly the sort of place they wanted to come to, you know? So, I did my good deed for the week, thought I'd help them out, but if you don't know, you don't know." Forgetting his bike and his packages, Deacon let his backpack fall and he raced off to catch his neighbor. "W-w-woah... hold on... maybe I can help." He grabbed the soldiers arm to stop him and allowed himself to be caught mid stride. "I mean... I know a little about that stuff. Research for my games and whatnot, you know? Look, they're prolly just hipster chicks who saw a strange TikTok that's been trending. At the very least... I could put their minds to rest, I'd be willing to try." "Tell you what," Mel looked at Deacon's hand on his arm and the younger, less adept at close quarters combat, man let go in an awkward hurry. "I'll bring them by, okay? They can explain it, you can give them your appraisal and go from there." "Yeah, okay," he nodded, trying to contain the smile that was forming at the prospect of meeting a couple college girls. "Oh, and technically, you're a millennial, too, Mr G." Mel just walked off, shaking his head. "I'm a soldier kid. We washed that millennial shit off week two at Fort Benning."
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