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IC: S1:E4 "Quit Yer Witchin'!"


Dave ST
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Valerie rolled her eyes and  shook her head at Horace's comments about her costume, body, his own color fetishes and even his evaluation of her in general. He had a type of charm, and had developed a special way with words that could drag 'sexy' into 'sleazy', though Valerie was unsure if it was due to some gift from his Ichor or his own innate slime.

"And that's a secret that you're never gonna uncover." she pointed out flatly, yet firmly.

"Really? 'Cause I would 'uncover' you anytime." he offered, grinning. "..and then cover you with something else." he added with a wiggle of his eyebrows..

"See? Fucking gross, dude." she said as she gave him a small shove, trying to make more space between them.

"Damn girl! Can't keep your hands off me, can you?" he teased. "It's okay, we can find an empty room if you are that impatient."

A flash of anger washed over Valerie as she balled her free hand into a fist and clinched the beer bottle tighter. Horace had a knack for verbally pushing her buttons. He knew her better than most anybody due to their previous years of friendship, only know he used that knowledge to torment her, and not matter if she admitted it or not, there still was some part of her that cared, no matter how tiny or well buried that part may be.

"Damnit Horace! Why do you gotta make everything... Uggggh!" was all she could manage to get out in her frustration, fighting her urge to throw the beer bottle in her hand just for the cathartic satisfaction of breaking something. She then thought to herself and her mother, and what she had said to her that night not long ago. Slowly her fist unclenched and she lifted her hand to her upper chest, resting it there to feel her necklace beneath the crop top as she slowly inhaled and exhaled with her eyes closed.

"Damn. Look at those things move." Horace commented at his observation of her chest as she took in the deep breath and let it out.

"You're not going to ruin this party for me." she said to him through gritted teeth as she battled internally to control herself.

"Ruin it? A little Horace makes everything better." he grinned.

Edited by Valerie Vaskr
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Was Lancia a car brand? Because it was fitting that the witchly three - great, now Nadya was getting into his head there - would bear the names of fancy cars with great looks, and terrible, terrible costs. Fisher had been fortunately enough to generally avoid their attentions, because he'd already had the unfortunate attentions of Eric Donner to begin with. Nadya, thy sacrifices for the good of all have been noted, and the multitude shall, in their hearts, render infinite thanks shielding them from dat ass-

No! Fisher jerked his eyes away from Porsche's ample, bouncy booty. EVIL BOOTY! Steel yourself, Scion of Izanami, from unclean temptations fueled by hormones. For they are Medusa reversed. Hot chick on the outside, snakes absolutely inside. Remember the pure charms of Darcy! Fisher focused on trying to pull something together from the drink options. With the divine constitution of one with the grave in his ichor, Fisher figured he'd be fine as long as he only served himself his concoctions.

Thus, he began experimenting with elixirs, one ear picking up the two harpies (not the literal ones, sadly, you could spear those without consequences or potential remorse) flirting with the gormless guys around. So the gin was there, and the vermouth - a pair of black olives packed with juice to squeeze in... wait? What was that?

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Austin had been content to mingle, not really getting too involved, and even as he was about to get a breather outside, someone, a very lovely someone,  grabbed his arm and turned him around, practically commanding him to dance.  He'd seen enough already tonight that he couldn't unsee, and the young woman was a breath of fresh air on her own comparatively.   He didn't recognize her, though that was something he could say for many in attendance.

She was beckoning him along, and his thoughts turned to Yokiko, who he'd not actually seen yet, but knew she was here because he'd seen others from the Donner Band.  He shrugged his shoulders imperceptibly,  this was just some dancing, surely it would be fine.  "Alright, then, lead on."  He smiled back her, wondering silently what exactly he was getting himself into.

He allowed her to lead him out to the dancefloor without further comment.  He didn't know her name, and something made him reluctant to give his at the start.   Besides, she'd not given hers either.
 

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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."

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  • 2 weeks later...

[Grimsley]  “Well,” the man said, his accent taking a steeper pitch.  “Would it be too much to ask that you stop trying to slow my plans?  I’d say stop, but inevitability is on my side, and I’m not being arrogant, I’ve just been at this far longer.  After a bit, patterns emerge.”

“To be quite honest, and we’re both men of intellect and character, so I feel honesty between us is important; your band is not strong enough to stem the tide of what is coming.”  He sipped his expensive whiskey and took a moment to savor its taste.  “Do you and yours even know what I’m doing?  Why I’m doing it?  You and your allies have nary a clue as to what you’re up against and yet you stumble along blindly, why?  To be the Hero?  To prove to your parent that you’re worthy?  Grimsley, you’re better than that.  Do you even know why you’re fighting?”

 

[Fisher]  While he waited, Salem’s resident anime expert mixed himself a drink.  His ears stayed perked but through the music, all the guests yelling their conversations and all the other assorted background noise he had no real means of filtering all that out, not like, say Rachel, whose senses were hyper keen.  Still, he watched them while took a bit of this and that and gave it the old bartender Hail Mary play until he had something he was pleased with.

Lancia and Porsche had always been Mercedes’ enforcers, keeping the lesser people away from getting too close but for the most part they were generally silent and didn’t interact with the student body ll that frequently.  He’d only really seen them in passing, but after realizing Mercedes’ heritage, it made sense that the two young women, who’d suddenly transferred in from seemingly nowhere, were likely followers or cohorts assigned to keep the Goddess of Love’s daughter safe.

Tonight, however, they were far from silent.  Lancia, while flirting at first with the pair of guys Posche had lured over to them, didn’t seemed to be alright with something and after a small, but animated stand off with her counterpart stepped aside in irritation while Porsche led them both away, most likely to have them all to herself.  It was the most emotion and animation Fisher had seen form either of them in the year they’d been at the Scion’s side.

After a moment he frustrated Orphan Annie approached the island I the kitchen just across from Fisher while he was taste-testing his handiwork.  It wasn’t the best, a bit strong, but it was a decent mixture of flavor and kick.

“Don’t suppose you could mix me one of those?”  The frustrated Lancia asked from across the island, and Fisher realized that it was the first time he’d ever herd her speak.  Her voice was beautiful as she was.

 

[Valerie]  A little Horace did, as point of fact, not make everything better.  “Now, c’mon, relax.  Where were we?”  His slimy paw reached out for her again as a grin widened on his lips.  She swiftly slapped his hand aside, balling her fist and tensing in warning that one more attempt to touch her might result dental work in his foreseeable future.

His expression darkened to a man rejected once to many times, an expression Valerie recognized from television dramas.  Her tormenter braced to say something, but a hand on his shoulder drew his attention.  Arron Tigrillo, who was dressed like an Aztec Jaguar warrior (whose shirtless body displayed an obvious discrepancy with his and Horace’s workout regiments), was behind him and once Horace’s attention was on the taller, certainly more attractive, young Latino man, all that was said was a simple head movement to the side to indicate that Horace was needed elsewhere.  Horace offered no argument so she assumed it must be important and private between them.

Still, as Horace left her alone and Aaron turned to leave, he offered the dark-skinned Aesir a wink before silently melding back into the crowd of dancers and revelers.

 

[Austin]  Allowing himself to be led to the ‘dance floor’, which was nothing more than a large room cleared of furniture, his mystery girl quickly showed him that she was far from shy.  Turning around and raising her hands to the ceiling she pressed her back against him and let her hips sway with the music.  After a few moments she reached back and grabbed his hands, resting them on her hips while her body slowly swayed to the rhythm.  Whomever she was, it seemed obvious that she was interested in him, if not for the long-term than at least for right now.

After a few very comfortable and not so comfortable moments of vigorous gyrating she spun about and rest her arms on his shoulders, still swaying with the beat.  “Not the talkative type, I see.”  She smiled and allowed her eyes to trace over him like a women who’d found something she certainly felt pleased with.  “Name’s Yuki.  Do you have a name, or do you always just stand about while women have their way with you?”

 

[Laurie]  This was definitely not her scene yet the affluent young woman threaded herself through the crowds of party goers.  Increasingly displeased by the number of jostles and near spilt drinks on her, she decided to find a safe place to stop and assess the party.

Still, she wasn’t overly judgmental, all of these people were having a great time it seemed and if that were the case, her scene or not, a part of her was content to be content in their enjoyment.  Still, she wasn’t sure what she was looking for, or how she was going to find-

An arm the size of tree trunk rested itself just to the side of her head and it’s owner, a tall, handsome young man with short red hair wearing nothing more than a ‘X’ chest guard and fur underwear (complete with his butt cheek dimples hanging out of the back of them), relaxed and leaned into greet the lovely blonde Scion of Apollo.

“There you are,” Eric Donner said as he leaned in far closer to Laurie than she felt any guy should be.  He already alcohol on his breath, but that didn’t surprise her in the slightest, everyone here had it on their breath.  “Haven’t called since the dance.  Be easier if you just gave me your number, you know that?  Wasn’t sure this was your scene, but glad you dropped by.”

 

[Nadya]  “I see why your mother is under such scrutiny with the others of the Pesedjet, young Nadya.”  Khenti-Khas replied in perfect ancient Coptic, a language that Nayda had to take a moment to realize she could even understand!  “You are out of balance.  We do not redefine ourselves.  We are at harmony with the tasks we have been blessed with the opportunity to fulfill.”

“Still,” he offered her a caring smile.  “There are no rules that say I could not broaden my horizons here in The World.  Perhaps, to cure some of the ancient boredom I will look into such a venture.  You however, you have to wise up young lady.  You must become Pesedjet and to do that, you must come much farther than the girl you are now.”

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Austin smiled.   "I'm Austin, it's nice to meet you Yuki."  She was very forward, and to be fair, he was somewhat concerned about Yukiko, but there was nothing here, despite how close they were dancing, at least in his mind.   "As to just letting a woman have her way with me, It's a novel experience, something I've not had happen before, so I'm enjoying it."

"It's refreshing to try something new, every now and then."   She was easy on the eyes, he'd give her that, though her own eyes gave her away as not being a normal human.   He silently lamented his lack of knowledge beyond greek mythology, and some Norse, knowing he'd need to study up on other mythos going forward.  

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Huh. It was the first time Fisher, in his admittedly limited exposure to the popular types, had seen a rift show between Mercedes' posse. Their characteristic silence obviously played a large part in this image of unified oppression over geeks, nerds, and anyone else Mercedes felt like stomping into the dirt to demonstrate her dominance or because she just felt like it.

"It's not exactly professional." Fisher warned her.

"I'll take my chances." Lancia replied, her voice making a reckless leap into amateur alcohol sound like an elegant swan dive into some lush glade pool. She really was one of Aphrodite's handpicked people, wasn't she?

Fisher shrugged and repeated the process, fixing another glass of his concoction, before offering it to her. "Hope you enjoy." To his surprise, Lancia downed it quickly. "Seems fine to me." She flashed him another smile, and Fisher recognized how guys could go crazy so easily. "Another one, please."

Really? Well, Fisher figured, if she really wanted to put her liver to the test... He shrugged. "Your funeral." The Scion of Izanami observed the near-empty jar of olives and started looking for another.

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On 8/1/2021 at 5:29 AM, Dave ST said:

“Do you and yours even know what I’m doing?  Why I’m doing it?  You and your allies have nary a clue as to what you’re up against and yet you stumble along blindly, why?  To be the Hero?  To prove to your parent that you’re worthy?  Grimsley, you’re better than that.  Do you even know why you’re fighting?”

"Saving the world."  Grim shrugged, as he took another sip of bourbon.  "I plan to travel and see it someday - I'd kinda like it to still be there."  He affected an air of thinking deeply.  "Falling in love someday, maybe? Again, needs a world in order for said world to move.  Sampling more good drinks - once more, needs a world.  Oh, and kittens."

"Kittens."  Marius replied flatly over his bourbon glass, one eyebrow arching in a mixture of amusement and mild exasperation.

"I like kittens."  Grim said with another shrug.  "More than I like people.  You're right, though, sir."  he went on less flippantly, his mismatched eyes meeting Marius' gaze.  "Partly, at least.  I don't really know why I'm fighting you.  You're intelligent, a chess and poker player in a world of people playing blind man's bluff and pin the tail on the donkey.  Why do you want to destroy the world?  Nobody ever really explained that part to me.  I got the condensed briefing - you know how that goes.  Just the high points:  Marius is a Bad Guy and Up To No Good.  Which, on the face of it, seems to be mostly true based on what you appear to be doing - no offence."

"None taken."  Marius smiled very faintly.

"So, if you'd explain to me why, I can't promise I'd stop opposing you.  After all - its kind of still in my own best interest to save the world and all that.  But at least I'd understand, which means a lot to me."  Grim went on earnestly.  "I mean, you're not a dribbling idiot who hears voices, so you must have your reasons.  I just want to know what they are."

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  • 2 months later...
On 7/31/2021 at 11:29 PM, Dave ST said:

“There you are,” Eric Donner said as he leaned in far closer to Laurie than she felt any guy should be.  He already alcohol on his breath, but that didn’t surprise her in the slightest, everyone here had it on their breath.  “Haven’t called since the dance.  Be easier if you just gave me your number, you know that?  Wasn’t sure this was your scene, but glad you dropped by.”

"It isn't," she replied pleasantly, Eric's proximity reminding her of that faint crackle of something electric in the air around him that had been so compelling at the dance. It might have been some adolescent hormones, or nascent charisma, or even some manifestation of his own divine heritage, but this close it felt more than a little overwhelming. Best to change the subject, she decided. "But it's nice to broaden one's horizons once in a while, and since it's my first Hallowe'en here in Salem, I thought I should see what all the fuss was about."  Glancing pointedly over his well-muscled arm and then, finding that view somewhat awkward, under it, Laurel added in something of an understatement (or overstatement, in the case of some of the corporeal non-living attendees), "It's a lively crowd. Are all of Mercedes's parties like this?"

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[Austin] Yuki swayed her hips a few more times, smiling and rolling her eyes back to get lost in the music but it was obvious in everything about Austin’s body language that he just wasn’t into it.  After a few more chords of the loud music, she gave up and faced him, looking up into the deep ocean of his eyes.  “Dude, you really need to learn to lighten up,” she raised one eyebrow and gave him a quick appraisal.  “It’s a dance Austin.  You’re a good-looking guy, I just want to dance.  I’m not trying to date you or sleep with you, Aten on a cracker, you are wound tight.”

Yuki sighed, her dimples framing her attractive, albeit forced, smile.  “Okay,” she patted his broad chest and kept her gaze on him.  “Who is she?  Is she here?  Because only a crush would be keeping any rational male’s mind off me after that dance.  C’mon… point her out…”  Austin seemed hesitant but with a bit more prodding he allowed his head to casually nod off in Yukiko’s direction, which earned him a laugh from Yuki.

“Yukiko?” She chuckled some more.  “Oh, man… Yukiko Kuromizu?  Duuuude,” she slapped his chest.  “Wow, don’t know much about the Amatsu’s, do ya?  That girl is not going to be dating, like, ever.  She’s like, divine royalty.  If you think you can make it past her dad’s screening process, good luck.”

She sighed again.  “Well, I can easily see that this is a bust.  I can’t compete with royalty.”  She shot him a wink and gave him a playful punch on the shoulder and started off towards the kitchen, more than likely looking for a drink.  “Shame too.  See you around, Austin.”

 

[Fisher] Lancia watched Fisher mix another drink, panning her vision around occasionally, possibly looking for Porsche.  After the almost-out-of-olives scare of Halloween 20XX, Lancia was tasting her second round of Fisher experimental concoction, sipping it this time.  “You know,” she said over the rim of her raised glass.  “If college doesn’t work out, you could totally bartend, no joke.”

After her compliment she silently sipped her drink, breaking only to chastise a random party goer who bumped into her as he drunkenly staggered past her in the cramped kitchen.  She scoffed and rolled her eyes after pushing him away from her.  “Gawd.  Some people… you know what?” she looked about, giving the whole kitchen a disgusted look.  “I’m going to get out of here, this place is packed.”  She raised her drink towards him, smiling.  “Thanks for the drinks.”

 

[Grim] “Destroy the World,” Marius repeated Grim’s words softly.  Slowly.  He let them hang in the air for a moment, like a flavor to be savored in the same manner of the bourbon they were enjoying.  “Short answer, young Grimsley: I’m not planning on destroying the world.”  He sipped from his glass again, offering a smile and a nod while he raised his glass to a stranger who seemed to know him.  “It ill behooves one to obliterate the place where he keeps all his stuff, hm?  An end to the World, the center of the balance in all things, would be destruction and anarchy on a scale that even I dare not attempt.  While Chaos, by its very nature, is unpredictable, only mad men and fools seek to bring about oblivion for the sake of a ‘look what I can do’ statement.”

“Now, what I aim to do is dangerous, yes.  To the World, to the Gods, to the Titans, even, but in case you’re curious, I’m not working for any of them.  No, this is freelance.  The Atzlanti demand sacrifices in the hundreds of thousands, the Dodecatheon rape and curse and punish mortals on a whim all while plaguing them and wiping them out by the thousands, and I’m somehow the bad guy because what I propose might obliterate a few thousand lives?  My dear boy, if they care not for the lives of mortal, I certainly am not inclined to do so either.  Far be it for me to hold myself to higher standard than the gods, why,” he chuckled as he mocked pious shock.  “That would be blasphemy.”

He paused to let that small sermon set in and swirled his bourbon absently before taking another small drink.  “From the Titans, Grimsley, came the Gods.  In essence, the Titans are their parents, and to show their appreciation for their existence, the Gods betrayed them and locked them away.  Except…” he raised a digit, pausing to grasp Grim’s attention.  “Except the Aesir.  We all know your kin are all about not doing anything half-way.  No, they rose and slew Ymir outright.  Did you know that?  Your kinsfolk committed patricide.  Of course, the other pantheons helped, which, as a child of the Dodecatheon never ceases to make me laugh… after all, how many tragedies are there about the gods punishing mortals for patricide?  Ask them about it some time, and as they feed you their excuse, ask yourself: if the roles were reversed, would they accept their excuse from you?”

“So,” he offered Grim a warm, polite smile that was awash with years of practiced charm.  “I don’t plan on destroying the World, or even the Gods, not them all, anyway.  I just want one, and I don’t even want them to die, just suffer as we have been made to suffer.  Will many die?  Well, yes.  Do I care?  No.  Not in the slightest.  They don’t, so neither shall I, not in pursuit of my goals, at least.  I know you have friends, mortals you enjoy the company of, but they are not permanent Grimsley, you are.  Better to rip that Band-Aid off now than let you and your friends suffer for years watching everything you know and love crumble to dust.”  He raised his glass in a toast as finally the dark side of the mad man came to the surface.  “I offer that service at no cost to you.  You’re welcome.”

 

[Laurie] “Nope,” Eric chuckled as he looked around with her, lowering his arm to offer her a bit more comfort.  “Cede,” He pronounced it ‘Sadie’.  “Has been off her nut the last few days, but she gets like that from time to time.  The joys of entitlement, I guess.”  His glare towards her and her perfectly entitled, rich self didn’t go unnoticed by the daughter of Apollo.

“The uh, undead are a bit much, I guess…” he shrugged.  “But fuck it, it’s her dime.  I’m just here to party.”  He took Laurie by the hand, the numbing jolt of his touch felt like her tongue on a nine-volt battery.  “C’mon, dance with me.”  He gave her a gentle tug, ushering her to the dance floor with him.

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Valerie shook her head and let out a small snort as Horance departed with a wink, trying to dismiss him and the whole incident. To try and put some more distance between herself and Horance, she turned and departed the dancefloor in the opposite direction, bobbing and weaving between the multitude of dancers until she finally made out the other side of the writing mob where she felt a hint of a cool breeze wafting from open French doors that seemed to lead the back yard. 

Seeking some relief and a change of scenery, Valerie made her way to the back patio where more partygoers lingered. Some were simply talking or making out, be it standing or sitting, and a few more were around a large firepit, probably high, she thought to herself. As she walked past a table she passed and looked down to what looked like some sort of frost imp or something, judging by the faint chill around him and his white and blue attired accented with chainmail. 

"Hey." she said, causing him to look up from his seat at her. "Hook a girl up." she said, holding out her cup of now warm beer toward him, which drew a confused look for a moment. Then he got it, rolled his eyes said, "Whatever." and tapped her cup causing a small wave of crisp frost to wash over it and part of her hand. "Thanks." she said back, holding up the beer cup in a simple salute and then continued on her way.

Valerie sat down on the few, broad steps the led down to the lawn, slipping the back of her pleated skirt under her as she took a seat. She shook her head again, as if trying to toss the thoughts of her encounter with Horace from her head. He had a way of oozing his way into situations and just ruining them for her. He already ruined enough for her, so she wasn't going let him ruin this too. 'Just let it go.' she thought to herself as se opened her small backpack and pulled out her earbuds and phone. She selected a track, picked up her beer and closed her eyes for a few seconds as the track played, finally opening them to take a drink of her beer.

The track played out with Valerie bobbing her head to the beat and taking a sip of her beer now and then as she enjoyed the cool, night air and cleared her head. With luck, she would not have to deal with Horace again for the rest of the party, though she doubted her luck could be that good.

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On 10/27/2021 at 12:46 AM, Dave ST said:

[Laurie] “Nope,” Eric chuckled as he looked around with her, lowering his arm to offer her a bit more comfort.  “Cede,” He pronounced it ‘Sadie’.  “Has been off her nut the last few days, but she gets like that from time to time.  The joys of entitlement, I guess.”  His glare towards her and her perfectly entitled, rich self didn’t go unnoticed by the daughter of Apollo.

“The uh, undead are a bit much, I guess…” he shrugged.  “But fuck it, it’s her dime.  I’m just here to party.”  He took Laurie by the hand, the numbing jolt of his touch felt like her tongue on a nine-volt battery.  “C’mon, dance with me.”  He gave her a gentle tug, ushering her to the dance floor with him.

Perhaps it was "entitlement" that sparked the change he'd described in Mercedes's behavior, but given the events of recent days, Laurel wasn't quite ready to write off her potential role in things as something so innocuous; especially after what had transpired at the cemetery, and what they'd uncovered at Mrs. Cunningham's garden. But that was the primary reason she'd decided to come, was it not?

Also at issue, she reflected as he pulled her away from the wall and onto the floor, was whether Eric really believed what he was saying, or if- as Marius had suggested- other influences were involved, here. There were just so many distractions, seemingly unrelated events that might be of critical importance or might simply be random chance, so many elements to the composition being played around and through their actions, as though each of them were little more than an instrument in a greater orchestral work, and none of them could see all the parts- save the composer. And there was, she knew, there had to be a leitmotif woven throughout, some identifying phrase that could help them distinguish the important elements from the background noise... But what was it?

"So what are you thinking about when you should be dancing?" Eric's voice in her ear jolted Laurel out of her reverie, and, startled, she replied instinctively, blinking up at him.

"Composition."

"Seriously?" He sounded incredulous, and in the midst of the music and the swirl of colored lights it was difficult to tell if he was laughing or angry as they swayed to the thudding bass vibrating through the dance floor.

"I've never really listened to this kind of music before," she protested, suddenly very aware of his hand on the small of her back, and that beneath the cologne and the scent of alcohol he smelled- very faintly- of ozone.

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Austin sighed, he knew he was fighting an uphill battle up a large mountain in the midst of a hurricane trying to court Yukiko.   Not just her parents, or even her, but her band as well, which his own wasn't on great terms with to put lightly.  Still, he wasn't ready to just give up.  He'd continue on, even if romance was off the table, they could still be friends.  There was no divine law against that.

He looked at Yuki and bowed his head.  "I'm sorry I wasn't better company."   

Austin had never met her before, and  yet they'd danced, but he couldn't just let go and enjoy himself.  She wasn't the one he wanted to do so with.   "Seeya around."  He said as she turned and left, and he retreated from the dance floor.  

He thought about her words, wondering just who she was, and what she meant in her goodbye.   She knew more about the Amatsukami, hell she could have been affiliated with them, and he hadn't realized.

He made a quiet resolution to put some effort into learning about the other Pantheons, It would help him relate to the others, and maybe avoid a situation like that.

From the dancefloor he head outside, and to his surprise, Valerie was there.  he approached her and saw that she had her earbuds, as she was nodding her head to a different beat, than the song.   He walked up and took a seat next to her and smiled. "Hey Valerie. Everything okay?"  Unlike her, he didn't have a drink, though that was more out of his own preference than anything else.

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[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.”

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On 8/1/2021 at 12:29 AM, Dave ST said:

[Nadya]  “I see why your mother is under such scrutiny with the others of the Pesedjet, young Nadya.”  Khenti-Khas replied in perfect ancient Coptic, a language that Nayda had to take a moment to realize she could even understand!  “You are out of balance.  We do not redefine ourselves.  We are at harmony with the tasks we have been blessed with the opportunity to fulfill.”

“Still,” he offered her a caring smile.  “There are no rules that say I could not broaden my horizons here in The World.  Perhaps, to cure some of the ancient boredom I will look into such a venture.  You however, you have to wise up young lady.  You must become Pesedjet and to do that, you must come much farther than the girl you are now.”

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.

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On 10/27/2021 at 6:46 AM, Dave ST said:

“So,” he offered Grim a warm, polite smile that was awash with years of practiced charm.  “I don’t plan on destroying the World, or even the Gods, not them all, anyway.  I just want one, and I don’t even want them to die, just suffer as we have been made to suffer.  Will many die?  Well, yes.  Do I care?  No.  Not in the slightest.  They don’t, so neither shall I, not in pursuit of my goals, at least.  I know you have friends, mortals you enjoy the company of, but they are not permanent Grimsley, you are.  Better to rip that Band-Aid off now than let you and your friends suffer for years watching everything you know and love crumble to dust.”  He raised his glass in a toast as finally the dark side of the mad man came to the surface.  “I offer that service at no cost to you.  You’re welcome.”

"Hmm."  Grim managed, with some difficulty, to keep his expression from reacting too much to the crack in Marius' veneer.  Pain.  Pain was what drove the man in front of him - having suffered, he now wished to return or pass on the suffering.  It was the call to exert control, the trap the abused fell into and thus became the abuser.

Grim recognised it.  Loveless his entire life, isolated and hurt and beaten, his Visitation even being driven by terror, privation and pain...  There was a reason he possessed an acid tongue, and secretly delighted in tearing into those he judged to deserve it.  There was a reason that he took a certain savage enjoyment in verbally ripping Fisher a new asshole - sure, the scion of Izanami had fucked up, but objectively giving him the drill sergeant treatment was less than helpful.  There was a reason he had take satisfaction in pushing Dane's buttons, turning the amiable surfer bro into a growling, angry, and sullen man, stealing his smile if only for few minutes.  He enjoyed making people uncomfortable, in passing on his pain.  Grimsley Algar - Elliðagrimmr Odinsson - recognised in Marius... himself.  Older, more bitter, more enraged.  He could only guess at the amalgamation of pain and hurt that had formed the clay of the older man's soul.

With the realisation came something - a cool clarity. He was looking at a ghost, he knew then.  A shade of someone who'd once been a hero, an echo of himself in times to come if he could not somehow reconcile the suffering of existence.  Would he, too, one day snap in such a fashion, to rail against the gods, and hold the lives of thousands as simply the trivial cost of his vengeance?

Maybe, he mused as he raised his glass in a return salute.  But not today.

"Thank you."  he said to Marius then, and there was sincerity, a profoundly genuine note to his thanks.  "I appreciate the service, and the conversation - and certainly the drink."  He smiled a little, his mismatched eyes meeting the other man's.  "I hope, if luck allows, we may have another drink one day."  He glanced around then, sharp eyes searching.  "I hope you'll forgive me, though.  It's my first party, and I plan to mingle a little more."

"Of course.  Go, enjoy."  Marius inclined his head, his gaze following the spare form of the Odinsson as he likewise nodded, then turned to head off into the crowd.

Grim meandered, his thoughts introspective as he absently sidestepped gyrating partygoers.  He almost decided to seek out Geri again, but instead decided his time would be better served looking for the vessel.  And so, drink in hand as party camouflage, and his stave in the other, the young Witchfinder ambled with more purpose, eyes peeled as he sought his quarry.  They might have it tucked away upstairs somewhere, or even hidden in plain sight.  Either way, the mansion was huge - this was going to take some time.  He kept his eyes open for his Bandmates, too - if he saw them, he'd let them know it was time to go to work.

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"Thanks for the plaudits." Fisher said honestly. Although, were he a real bartender, he probably should have been able to slip in a 'what's on your mind?' like the guys on television did. More information on Mercedes' trio, whether or not actually witch-possessed, couldn't hurt. Well, there was one conversational point open here.

"The whole house is packed." He reasonably pointed out. "Where could you possibly go to get away?" If this ritual was going down at the party, it would have to take place in private, and there wasn't much of that around here.

Lancia gave him a coy look. "Sorry, that's a secret." Accepting defeat, Fisher raised a glass to her in turn, and Lancia turned and departed, hips - no. Fisher sighed, and sipped a little bit more from his glass of experimental drink. Not being Rachel or Nadya, he doubted he could track her through the noise and crowd, so he lifted the glass and decided to find and update Grim, since the heterochromatic Scion was coordinating their operation.

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On 11/1/2021 at 11:43 AM, Austin Lange said:

Austin sighed, he knew he was fighting an uphill battle up a large mountain in the midst of a hurricane trying to court Yukiko.   Not just her parents, or even her, but her band as well, which his own wasn't on great terms with to put lightly.  Still, he wasn't ready to just give up.  He'd continue on, even if romance was off the table, they could still be friends.  There was no divine law against that.

He looked at Yuki and bowed his head.  "I'm sorry I wasn't better company."   

Austin had never met her before, and  yet they'd danced, but he couldn't just let go and enjoy himself.  She wasn't the one he wanted to do so with.   "Seeya around."  He said as she turned and left, and he retreated from the dance floor.  

He thought about her words, wondering just who she was, and what she meant in her goodbye.   She knew more about the Amatsukami, hell she could have been affiliated with them, and he hadn't realized.

He made a quiet resolution to put some effort into learning about the other Pantheons, It would help him relate to the others, and maybe avoid a situation like that.

From the dancefloor he head outside, and to his surprise, Valerie was there.  he approached her and saw that she had her earbuds, as she was nodding her head to a different beat, than the song.   He walked up and took a seat next to her and smiled. "Hey Valerie. Everything okay?"  Unlike her, he didn't have a drink, though that was more out of his own preference than anything else.

 

Valerie nodded as she slipped the earbuds out. "Yeah. It's fine. Just had to cool off after Horace snuck up on me on the dancefloor and tried to get handsy." she sighed, shaking her head as she looked down at her phone and turned off the music that was still faintly heard emanating from the earbuds.

"Iceland was a nice break from him, but since I've got back he seems even more interested." she explained with an eyeroll. "He makes you want to wash any part of you he touches." she added with a disgusted shudder..

 

On 11/1/2021 at 4:11 PM, Dave ST said:

[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?"

 

"Yeah. Valerie Vaskr" she answered Darcy with nod, almost in passing, another thought occupied her for a moment until as she put away her earbuds and phone until she finally verbalized it.

"Hey, Darcy. No offence, but if you're mortal then you should be freaking the fuck out, or at least think your are trippin balls on LSD spiked punch or some shit, at seeing all of..." Valerie motioned at the mansion and the wide variety of non-human beings interaction with partygoers at various levels, "...this, so how are you keeping your shit together like this is just a typical teenage party? I mean, yeah, they are all pretty chill, thanks to the party, but still you should still be losing your shit at the sight and realization of all of this."

Valerie brought up her frosty cup of beer to her lips, keeping her gaze on Darcy over the lip of the cup as she took a sip of cold beer, curious as to the girl's answer.

Edited by Valerie Vaskr
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Austin nodded in response.   "Well if he tries again just deck his stupid ass, hard enough he knows it isn't just a "love-tap.""   He gave her a reassuring smile even as he shrugged lightly.  "Might cause a brawl with the other Band, but there are just some boundaries you don't cross."   There were likely some who'd say something about pots and kettles, and a certain dark color they share, but there was a fundamental difference between what Valerie had said Horace tried, and how Austin himself was sorta courting Yukiko.  Austin would stop when asked.

"I got your back."   He said with a friendly grin.  He didn't know how that fight would go, but he'd be damned if he didn't do all he could to win.   

Austin's turned to look at Darcy.   She'd been around awhile now, and somehow all the crazy beings around them didn't seem to affect her.   "She's kinda right you know?   Though it is pretty cool too."

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On 11/1/2021 at 6:11 PM, Dave ST said:

[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.”

The unsubtle threat sent a shiver of unease down Laurie's spine that had nothing to do with either his proximity or his apparent reluctance to appreciate boundaries- but, then, Eric Donner had no real need for subtlety. He was strong enough, and influential enough, to dictate terms in nearly any adolescent undertaking. With anyone else, the implication would have been something sinister, something about turning on Grim and Dane and the others to ensure her own safety; at least for now, though, Laurel got the impression that the musclebound marauder was being... not reassuring, perhaps, but at least sincere in his advice. That didn't make her feel the least bit better about his assertion that he'd "wipe out" the other Scions, though, particularly since it made so little sense. Weren't they all supposed to be on the same side... more or less?

Perhaps not, she considered- which meant she needed to find out why, and whether there was anything she could do about it. Even if she didn't consider herself one of them, she did feel a certain degree of responsibility, a compulsion to try to ensure they lived long enough to- possibly, one day in the distant future- achieve some measure of greatness commensurate with their heritage. ...If she had to drag them to it kicking and screaming.

"You're right. Friends are a good thing to have," the platinum-crowned princess agreed thoughtfully, ignoring for the time being his commentary regarding the existential perils of heroic lineage. "Particularly strong ones. And... At the risk of sounding ungrateful, most of the time I do have better things to do than, ah, 'chill' with the others," she replied, gazing guilelessly up at the red-blonde barbarian. It was a simple, straightforward statement, devoid of malice, and she shrugged a slender shoulder for emphasis. "Most of them, anyway. And it has less to do with the tax bracket of their families," the platinum-crowned princess added, "than with their general lack of direction and ambition. That's one of the reasons your Band, although I'm not part of it, is so interesting." Laurel smiled a little at the admission, showing a flash of white teeth in the lights, and shrugged again. "You said yourself that you don't get along with Mercedes, and I imagine there are other disagreements, too, but somehow you manage to keep everyone working together. It's honestly really impressive to see, considering how different all of you seem." She let her words hang in the air for a moment, glancing past Eric's well-muscled frame to take in the few others dancing before turning her bright blue eyes on him again with an inquisitive smile. "I hope you don't mind that I'm basing my expectations on you?"
 

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[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.”

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6 minutes ago, Dave ST said:

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.

"Hey Fisher."  Grim nodded at the Scion of Izanami from under his wide-brimmed Puritan hat, which he then tugged the brim of towards the snow princess. "And hello again, Runa."  he added, more formally.

There were a couple of reasons he was so formal in recognising Runa.  One, that strange sense of... something... about Runa.  He was young yet in understanding the workings of Fate and destiny, but the giantess was more than merely some foe to be stricken down and left behind, the Odinsson recognised.  There'd been some sense of the Norns working between her and Dane, and Grim was curious what that portended - for the Band, for him... and even for Dane, big lug though he was.

The other was to remind Fisher, who had that look of someone with something to say, that not all ears were necessarily friendly.  Sure, Izanami's son might just want to know where Darcy was, or something similarly banal, but there was also a chance he had found something, and Runa might still be working for the enemy despite having claimed earlier that her part in the scheme was done.

"How are you enjoying the party?"  Grim gestured with his glass to the surroundings, tilting back his hat slightly to peer up into Elsa's frosty blue eyes.

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"I haven't seen any iced hot chocolates about." Fisher said, giving Runa/Elsa a look. Sure, the frost giant might be done with the graveyard and witch scheming, but that didn't mean he overlooked her threatening Darcy. The fact that Fisher had pointed to it for evidence that Darcy shouldn't be diving into supernatural showdowns was irrelevant and totally not hypocritical.

Not in the slightest. Teenage boy mind says 'nothing to see here, move along now. Arigato.' 

"Honestly, it might be a bit over-packed." Fisher said casually. "Lancia and Porsche have ran off to find some privacy, and they're the hosts. Well, Mercedes' assistant hosts. They really didn't think this through." Well, Fisher thought they were likely to get ready to start whatever they were up to, if the trio were the witches, and he was sure Grim would catch the hint.

"Speaking of packed, do you know where Darcy is? I looked, but I can't see her in all this..." He waved an arm at the crowd.

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"Was that comment an attempt at posturing, Betrayer?"  'Elsas' frosty blue eyes  levelled on Fisher from her height advantage, which added to the overall air of disdain the giantess radiated at Izanami's scion.  Grim was mildly impressed, and took notes for perfecting his own withering glares.  "Let me be clear, small man."  Runa went on, her voice edged with icicles.  "If you wish to issue a challenge, then do so. If not, cower in silence."

Grim was tempted to allow Fisher to twist in the breeze from the petard he'd just hoisted himself on, especially since his idiot Bandmate and fellow traveler had admitted to seeing Mercedes' two henchwomen and letting them wander off to gods-knew where in favor of seeking out his mortal squeeze.  His teeth clenched slightly, but with deliberate effort he relaxed and breathed, remembering the moment of clarity he'd had confronting Marius.  Take the world as it comes, and don't let it grind away empathy. he reminded himself.  Even, that treacherous inner voice addended, when some people tempt you to take your own empathy and shoot it in the face.

"Iced hot chocolate isn't really a party drink." he commented smoothly after only a moment of allowing Runa's glacial stare to flay Fisher's eyeballs.  "Though I'm pretty sure we can find a Mudslide here for you, Runa."  It was phrased as much as an offer as a statement.

Runa's brow furrowed, her glare turning both puzzled and wary as she switched it to the Odinson's face.  "This costume was expensive, Usurper." she glowered.  "I have no wish to take part in whatever disgusting wallowing perversion you have in mind."

Grim blinked, momentarily at a loss before realising that the frost giantess had no idea what he was talking about.  He reassessed her age and experience with the human world.   "Oh, no.  It's a drink.  Served cold, with chocolate and cream liquor in it."  

Runa's glower was unabated for a moment longer, the suspicion in her blue eyes slowly giving way to wary intrigue.  "A drink?  You are offering me a drink?"  she asked, seeking clarification.

"Certainly.  I did mention during our earlier meeting that should we meet under better circumstance, we could share a drink."  he reminded her.  "This is a party, and by your own admission your part in the witches scheme is done with the work in the cemetery.  What say you?"  Grim smiled pleasantly as Runa thought that over, turning to Fisher and leaning close to the fellow scion, pitching his voice under the music and chatter.

"Get your head out of your ass and in the game." he murmured, keeping a pleasant expression on his features.  "Unless Darcy is doing your job and tailing Lancia and Porsche to wherever they went, I don't care where she is and neither should you.  Get eyes on them, or Mercedes. Find those witches and try not to pick any more fights with gods-damned giants."  He glanced around as though looking for Fisher's missing girlfriend before raising his voice to a more party-conversational level.  "I think I saw her in the other room, talking to some people from school." he told Izanami's son, gesturing aimlessly towards an adjoining room in the palatial mansion as he turned back to Runa, awaiting her decision.

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"Thanks!" Fisher beamed as if he hadn't heard Grim insult him. Grim began to wonder if Fisher had hit his head somewhere before Fisher stepped in and frowned, with an embarrassed look. "Listen, Nads..." Fisher leaned in and whispered in Grim's ear. "I came here to let you know, and only mentioned Darcy to throw Runa off. Get your head out of your ass, Grim."

Was Grimsley like this 24/7, always assuming everyone was being stupid? That was a question for another time. Fisher leaned back. "So watch out for guys with melted cheese and guacamole all over their jerseys. Gonna find Darcy now. Bye."

The Amatsukami Scion left, not to see his girlfriend, but to go back to following up on the Terrible Trio. They were looking for privacy, so that first meant going deeper into the mansion beyond where most people definitely would. Upstairs or downstairs then? Probably downstairs to start. Basements made the most sense.

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Austin chuckled at Darcy's last comment.  "You're right about that."   He had a new respect for Darcy.  She was just a normal human, and she was still standing with them against the dangers they faced.   He felt a small twinge of envy towards Fisher, for having someone like Darcy, and smiled.  

"Just don't get in over your head.   If you need backup, call us.  We take care of our own."

He looked at her.  "Wait, Billie knows about all of this too?  He can see the truth of things too?"  That was news to him, and he frowned.  "Well it's done now, the important thing now is that we do know now, so at least that's one less secret to  be  keeping from friends."  

He sighed.   They would have to be more careful going forward, more aware of who was actually there, and who might be, or else this would involve even more people, and endanger them too.  They'd already had their families directly threatened once, and that was only the beginning.

He idly wondered how the others were getting on, if they were having better luck than normal tonight.  He looked to Val and smiled.   "So yeah, we've got some great backup too.  An extra couple of sets of ears and eyes, and people to keep us grounded."   He wasn't being facetious, he meant it.

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"Huh. That's a trip." Valerie nonchalantly said to Darcy explanation with a shrug of her shoulders as she thought about what Darcy described for a moment. "Sounds like you somehow made a pinhole in the veil that hides all this stuff," she made a casual wave of her had at the assembled multitude of divine and supernatural beings, "...and then ripped at the hole making it bigger and bigger until you finally just tore that shit off. Way to take charge of your life." she said as she held out her fist toward Darcy who, after hesitating for a moment, awkwardly bumped it with her own fist. "Uh, thanks." 

Valerie shook her head and took a sip of the amber hued beer. "Don't sell yourself short. It takes some big ol' ladyballs to be mortal, see a bunch of supernatural stuff, and not just run off in terror, especially when shit's goin' down. Like Austin said though, don't get overconfident or anything, because you are still mortal, but still, that's badass and if you got our back, then we got yours." That was supposing Darcy was just a mortal, of course, and not something that had yet to fully awaken.

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On 11/15/2021 at 1:53 AM, Dave ST said:

“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.”

"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.

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