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

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Quit Yer Witchin'!

 

...times are tough for the heroic Band of Scions! A couple days ago Homecoming proved to be a powerful lesson in what could happen when the powers of divine Birthrights fell into the hands of the inexperienced or became a tool for mortal greed.

Now, All Hallow's Eve is quickly approaching Salem and the ancient spirits of three of history's most powerful witches were summoned from the Underworld and took possession of the bodies of Salem's citizenry, but who are they? What could they be planning?

Desperate for answers the Band continues to research by day and hunt by night, hoping to find any activity that might lead them to the hidden identities of Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam.

More importantly... Mercedes Rhodes is throwing her legendary, annual Halloween party and all of Shelly High is invited!

 

The Old Stables, 48 hours before the party...

Darcy stood at the makeshift table which was nothing more than a large piece of plywood set on stacked milk crates. A large map of Salem was unfolded, marked in numerous places in red sharpie. She nicked off two more spots on the map. “Well, that's St. Mary's and Greenlawn,” she sighed looking at the map, crossing the two cemetery's off. “Jackson Park was a bust, and King Town Forrest was a no go.”

Just a few harpies and an edgy nymph trying to play pranks on a homeless guy,” Rachel shrugged.  Wolf nuzzled her his his giant head and she smirked at him and scratched under his chin.  He was getting larger by the day and had already grew from the size of a pony to a full grown horse.

That leaves Harmony Grove Cemetery and it'll take all of us to scour Salem Woods,” in a pique of frustration she tossed the sharpie onto the table. “This is hopeless. We don't even know whose bodies they jumped into. We are literally looking for a needle in a needle stack.”

I'm concerned about who they might be, but one thing is certain and that Marius is behind this.” Rachel added. “And by that I mean, he set this up for those three specific souls to be summoned, why them? We already know he's up to know he's up to no good, but what do these three know that he needed to go through all of this to get them here?”

Agreed,” Grim said calmly. “Finding them is just as important as knowing why they were summoned to begin with. Unfortunately, Fisher and I have tried everything and as long as they are riding the living, our eyes can not detect them. These are proficient witches, to be sure.”

I'm really not liking this magic crap.” Rachel huffed. “What about Niles? He was there, he uses magic and, he's a Scion too, now, I guess? Couldn't he have been possessed?”

Austin, who was sitting on some crates texting Yokiko, shook his head. “No. The way the souls left, they shot off and out into the school and the surrounding area, away from the room, Todd and Niles. My guess is it's three people in the school.”

Your guess?” The band's blonde leader snapped at Austin, her arms crossed and tone superior.

Austin shrugged. “You have something better?” There was a pregnant pause as he clicked the side of his phone to shut it off and tucked it into his jacket pocket. “Yeah, didn't think so.”

Guys,” Nadya leaned on the table next to Darcy. “Can we wait until after we've solved this before we start killing each other? We have a serious issue to address and being at each other's throats is only going to make our jobs harder.”

The red cap slid back onto the Sharpie and Fisher set the pen down on the map. “She's right, guys. We need to stay focused and find someway to locate these witches before they can cause too much of a problem.”

Nadya looked at Fisher like he was nuts. “What? No, I meant Mercedes' Halloween party! Guys, I just got my body back and we haven't properly partied in months. So, who's going as what?”

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Everyone looked back at Nadya like she was nuts, given her choice of priorities. But then Fisher slowly bit his lip and thought for a moment. "Actually, Nadya might have a point. Location searches clearly aren't working for us. Now, if Austin's assumption is correct and they did possess students, then Mercedes' party is the best way to learn if anyone has been acting differently. It doesn't seem like we have any other options."

"See!" Nadya crowed, pumping a fist in vindication. "It's a good thing I figured this all out for you guys."

Fisher rolled his eyes. "Of course you did. I'll have to think about what I'm going as..." Darcy interrupted him by coming over and whispering in his ear. Fisher blinked, then nodded. "Okay, and you would be..." His face blushed, then turned into a big grin. "Really?! Okaaay then, if you're up for it." Darcy's cheeks flushed, but she nodded.

"Right, spill!" Nadya demanded, sensing something very juicy here, juicier than a rare steak that Wolf might have torn from hapless prey. Darcy smiled at her. "It's a couple's thing. No spoilers."

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Posted (edited)

"Giant burrito."  Dane announced his presence by smiling wide and patting Wolf on his hindquarters as he walked past him to meet the others at the table.  While not an official member of their band, he'd agreed that whatever those witches planned it was bad news for Salem and had offered his help as best as he could provide it.  Most often he was one of the only neutral Scions in Salem High and wasn't a native to Salem but had moved up from Florida over the summer to live with his aunt.  Other Scions whispered that something had happened down in Florida and the only reason he didn't have a band now was, well, there was nothing left of his old one.  Afterwards, it was rumored, he'd turned to copious amounts of weed to dull the memories.  Now the calm musician was living his best by simply enjoying all that life had to offer and hoping his Legend faded into obscurity.

Nadya crossed her arms.  Feeling particularly fiendish she decided to prank Dane, knowing he was well out of wits at the moment.  Messing with high people never got old.  "We're out of burritos, you ate them all.  Besides, we don't have electricity here yet, so we couldn't nuke it for you even if we had them."

"No!  I mean, me!  I'm going as a giant burrito."  He smiled again.  As expected he was high as a godling could be on something medicinal that not even Nadya could get her hands on.

"Why?"  Rachel asked, unable to grasp why anyone in their right mind would want to dress up like a giant burrito.

"Why not?  I really like burritos, man."  He nodded along with his proclamation in his southern Californian surfers drawl.  Then something occurred to him.  "Wait, without the electricity, how are you keeping the burritos frozen out here?"  He pondered not realizing there were no actual burritos, nor something to keep them cool in, nor something to nuke them in had they existed to begin with.

"Grmsley's icy stare." She said flatly, smirking slightly to see down what avenue this revelation would take his incredibly impaired cognitive skills.

He pondered for a moment and then nodded and smiled that Keanu smile of his like everything just clicked into place.  He looked at Grimsley and pumped a fist of appreciation towards his fell Aesir.  "Right on, brother.  Doing your part for Burritodom.  Respect."  Through pursed lips of appreciation for Grimsley's frigid sacrifices to Burritodom across the World, Dane approached his 'brother' with arms wide open, meaning for a brother hug of solidarity: the burrito lover, and the burrito... freezer.

"Don't touch me,"  Grimsley said softly and without a shred of emotion or concern for his words.  He looked to the moronic blonde Scion and couldn't help but hate the fact that he couldn't help but like him.  Despite how perfectly designed, perfectly idiotic, and perfectly annoying Dane Summer was, the Son of Baldur was never anything short of absolutely likeable.  Others would go through life scarred and broken.  Wracked with trials of pain and misery in a vain attempts to earn the favor of a parent that would never care, Dane's father would shower upon him all the nicest toys and the finest gifts Asgard had to offer.  Don't even get Grimsley started on Dane's Grandmother.  He changed his posture to look up at his stoned cousin.  "Well?  Did you handle the one simple task you were given?"

"Totes."  He grinned, unphased by Grimsley's lack of love (it was early and he was cranky, he'd hug him later).  "And nadda.  Went over the whole pier, and zilch, bruh.  Things are definitely spooky though.  Dead birds falling from the sky, and Mrs. Cunningham's garden shriveled up and went 'pffft' over night.  Seriously bad juju, hombres.  Oh!  I did run into Chelsea, from school!  I was coming out of Drip with snackisfaction for maximum grindage ops, and she was like 'oh my gawd, Dane' and I was like 'oh my gawd, Chelsea' and we got to talking."  He nodded and looked about as everyone waited to see where the story was going.  Finally he just shrugged and shook his head.  "Th-that's it...  Oh!  Wait, no..." Everyone looked with anticipation as Dane could have found the lead they were looking for.  "She rescued a kitten last week.  She showed me pic on her phone, and named the lil' guy Milo.  Really cute."

He nodded, proud that he could relay that to the rest of them.

Edited by Dave ST

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"I'm not certain which terrifies me more."  Grimsley said as he sighed and went back to perusing the map on the table.  "The spirits of three vengeful witches abroad at Halloween, the fact I understood most of what Dane just said, or the fact that someone is about to try and convince me I have to go to Mercedes' Halloween party - and dress up to do so."

"You don't want to go?"  Nadya stared at him as though he'd turned into a big goopy earthworm and drooled on her favorite boots.

"Grim, we have to go."  Fisher sighed, bracing himself for once more trying to wrangle an Aesir every bit as hard-headed as Rachel but with the added perils of being smarter and more verbally agile, too.  The scion of Odin's upraised hand forestalled the pitch, however.

"I know."  he said waspishly, glaring for a moment at them all.  "I know that not going would be considered a diplomatic insult amongst the god-born.  I know that the spirits of the witches are going to most likely be inhabiting students who will be in attendance.  I know that, also, a party on Halloween itself is going to be the very best time for said spectres to try something, simply because the energies of that night are too good to pass up.  I know that the party is going to be 'lit'.  I know I have to be there."

"But..?"  Rachel said with a frown.

"But I don't know how to party."  Grim admitted with a faint shrug, his pale features darkening a little so that the scars on his face stood out against his flush.  "I never used to get invited to parties.  I'm as out of my depth as Wolf would be in calculus.  And I hate being out of my depth."  He added with a scowl and a gimlet-eyed stare that dared anyone to laugh at his woes.

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"You've got Nadya, and the rest of us,  to show you the ropes, and you're a quick learner right?  What could possibly go wrong?"    Rachel looked at Austin and socked him, lightly for her, on the arm.   "Hey now.." The hit wouldn't have been so gentle for a normal person.   He looked at their erstwhile leader.  "You know better than to tempt fate by saying stuff like that Austin."

Austin shrugged.  "Seriously, though, We're all going, and I'll be more concerned by the presence of so many like us.  At least we'll all be there to deal with anything that might happen.   I mean our interactions with the other band aren't the greatest at times, and if the witches are possessing students, we might need their help to subdue them all."

Rachel was quick to point out.  "You and Yokiko seem to be getting along well."   

Austin gave her a charming yet somewhat smug grin.  "Well we do have a fair bit in common."

"What are you going to the party as?"   

Austin shrugged.   "I don't really know, I hadn't put alot of thought into it yet."

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Posted (edited)

The loud purr of a three cylinders engine could be heard outside the stables, as Dale's Triumph parked not far from the entrance. A black cat ventured at the entrance of the stables, but advising the horse-sized wolf suddenly staring at him, decided outside would definitely be quieter, its figure disappearing to be replaced by a pleasant human shape, truly a sight for sore eyes, holding her dull black brain bucket, painted on the back with a red mask straight out from horror tales, by the straps. She pulled down her bandana, yellow with black stripes, and pushed her dark glasses above her forehead, greeting everyone with a face brightened by the ride she just had.

"Hey guys ! Sorry for being late, fuel station was loaded. What'd I miss ?"

They glanced at the newcomer. "Hey, Dale. You didn't miss... much..." Rachel replied, after casting a short and amused gaze at the blond son of Baldur, high as can be, across the table.

Edited by Dale Garcia

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"Fisher and Darcy are going to the Halloween party as a disturbing pair of characters from some anime or other.  I suspect cross-dressing will be part of the cute 'couples thing'.  Nadya is figuring out what to wear which, if patterns hold true, will doubtless be of the 'less is more' school of thought, and tight enough that it will require corn starch to get into."  Grim's tone was mildly acidic with a hint of caustic, a sure sign that the scion of Odin was not in a felicitous mood.  "Dane will go as a giant burrito-"

"Awesome idea, right?!"  Baldur's son piped up.

"-which will, at least, make him easy to find in the horde of pirates, naughty nurses, Harley Quinn pastiches and 'Girl Whose Daddy Didn't Buy Them A Pony So They Became A Stripper' costumes that will be at Mercedes' party.  Austin hasn't put a lot of thought into it, which seems par for the course.  Rachel will likely go as something practical in case she needs to throw down... But it will be pink."  Grim's mismatched gaze, one eye verdant green and the other, scarred eye a frozen grey fixed on Dale.  "I will be going, because it's the most likely place for the spirits of the witches we're hunting to show up, probably skin-riding Salem High students and using the revels as cover for fuckery on a scale I'm not sure I want to contemplate."

He limped over to a spare milk crate and sat down, thin lips in a straight line as he rubbed at his calf muscle.  His morning workouts were making him stronger, but the stiffness that followed was not pleasant for the healing youth.  "And now you're up to date.  You're welcome."

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Nadya gave the newest member of their Band a quick once over, impish grin on her face and silvery-grey eyes alight. Chin cupped in her hands, elbows propped on the makeshift table, her hips rolled fluidly from side to side as she shifted her weight.

"Don't mind Grumps over there, Dale. Grim doesn't know how to party and is now getting thrown into the deep end." Her grin widened and she flashed Grim a teasing wink. "Sink or swim time, Loquacious One."

"Loquacious?" Grim drawled. His other eye was as grey and barren and unyielding as an overcast sky over a coal-mining town in winter.

"I read," Nadya asserted with the slightest pout. Grim's grey eye seemed to convey extra... greyness. Nadya chuffed in irritation. "I have one of those word-a-day calendars, 'kay?" Grim's chin lowered, his gaze unwavering, as though looking at her over a pair of bifocals. Nadya rolled her eyes as she stood up and stretched. "So, I only got to February fourteenth, what about it?"

Nadya sauntered lithely about the table, chunky-heeled boots barely a whisper, and sidled up to Dane. She hooked an arm through his, and reached up with the other to ruffle his blond mane. "It's a good thing you're yummy-cute and have the best herb, Burritosson."

Dane smiled as though he'd just won an Oscar. "Wanna go with me, Moonbaby? We can do the couples thing like Darce and the Fishman. You'd make a foooine taco."

Nadya laughed, then leaned around him to stick her tongue out at Grim. "I ain't figuring out nothing, Grim." Fisher snicked and Nadya shot him a friendly finger without looking back. "I have my costume ready to go. And yes, it is tight and super slooty. And has a hint of Salem folklore, for that little bit class. I'm going as Abigail Breslin-"

"Williams," Fisher and Darcy said in saccharine synchronicity.

"-Williams, one of Salem's most famous witches." Nadya's grin barred some teeth as her turned her attention towards Dale and Rachel. "And I aim to misbehave. So whaddaya say Rae-Rae, Dale, wanna join me in painting targets on our backs to try and draw out these wicked bitches?"

 

Edited by Nadya Lunălescu

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"Well," Rachel shrugged.  "I can't promise 'super slooty'," Rae air quoted.  "But, honestly, I don't have a costume picked out yet, so, yeah.  If you're looking to provoke them, then, yeah, count me in.  Something tells me you'll need back up, eventually.  Besides, it'll give me an opportunity to keep an eye on Dale."  Grim rolled his eyes and offered their brash 'leader' a sake of the head.

"Perhaps you'd like to insult her lineage or question her intentions, you know, just get that ou of the way now so we don't have to deal with it later?"  Grim added with an icy chill from the frozen winters of his bloodline.

"I was sort of waiting until day two," Rachel shot back with a quick witted response.  "You know, space it out, learn from previous abrasive meetings and all that?"  For the briefest of moments Grim was at a slight loss of how to reply, after all, she seemed to be playing up to her shortcomings and that took a lot of ammo from her taunter's camps.  She quickly followed up before anyone could agree or disagree with her assessment.  "Look, I know I'm a bit... intense, sometimes, guys.  We have our problems, right?  I'm dealing with my own shit, just like you and sometimes, okay, most times, that bleeds over into this and dealing with all of you and them."  She motioned to nowhere, just pointing back towards the city and it was obvious she probably meant the other Band.  "I'm trying, guys.  I really am.  I know most of you are pissed at me for one reason or another," she gave a passing glance to Grim.  "And I'm not saying you don't have a right to be, but I'm dealing as best I can.  I'm not perfect.  None of us are.  So, yeah, call me on my bullshit if you feel the need, but we're still in this together and Dale is new to all of this.  I want her close so I can keep an eye on her of things go south.  To get her back, if she needs it."

"Rae-Rae," Nadya asked softly.  "Are you okay?  Do you need to talk?"

"No, Nadya, no.  I'm pretty fucking far from okay right now," Rachel said flatly.  "And no, I don't want to talk.  I'll deal with my problems on my own.  No offense, I just don't think you guys would get it.  Let's just focus on the witches and how we're going to send these witches back to..." she waved her hand about.  "Wherever they came from.  Speaking of, how do we excorcise spirits from a possessed person?"

Everyone looked to everyone else as the sudden realization kicked in that even if they knew which students were possessed, they had no means of extricating the the witch's spirit from the body.  Finally after a long awkward silence of contemplation and confusion, Dane raised his hand sheepishly.  "Uhh, I might know someone who might know.  She's a bit intense, but, she knows about this stuff... ghosts and what not.  I could hit her up."

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Fisher promptly marked a mental note to talk to Rachel about her problems. Yes, she sounded like she'd hit anyone who actually tried, but Fisher was her friend. She wouldn't do that to him. And besides, she'd pulled the whole 'none of your business, personal issues are my own thing' about Billy Troup back at Racks and Rhinestones, but Fisher had calmly called bull, pointed some things out and now Rachel and Billy were dating. All thanks to Fisher. Well, partly - but he'd given her the first clear nudge to think things through, and that'd gotten the ball rolling, right? Right.

Now, to Dane's suggestion. On the one hand, Dane was a nice guy. On the other hand, he thought going as a giant burrito was a good idea, and possibly replaced a sizable portion of his gray matter with marijuana. On the other other hand, they didn't have any other options right now. Conclusion: cautious inquiry. "Mind giving us some more details about her?" Fisher asked.

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Grim, by contrast to Fisher, was less than sympathetic to popular, pretty and healthy Rachel's problems, whatever they were.  He wryly mused to himself that no, he probably wouldn't 'get it', though he did award her grudging points for owning her mistakes in dealing with him.  As his thin fingers eased the knot of pain in his leg, he took up his staff from where it leaned against the wall and got to his feet, coming back to the planning table and nodding in silent acknowledgement of the athletic blonde's words.  Rachel was indeed right - they were in this together and needed to have each other's backs.

"Do the details matter overmuch?"  he asked rhetorically.  "Most exorcisms involve a spiritual wrestling match, focus and will against focus and will.  Ceremonial trappings differ from culture to culture, and are important only in that they are recognised by both spirit and exorcist as important.   Dane's friend, if she has practical knowledge of such things-"  he shot his 'cousin' a glance and a nod "-is likely as intense a personality as he suggests.  And the easiest way to take her measure is to go and meet her rather than interrogate Dane.  I'll go with him."  He added, glancing around at the others.  "Anyone else?"

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"Ohh,"  Dane sucked his teeth.  "Yeah, see... that's kind of the thing... we sort of have uh, history?"  It was unlike the golden boy of Baldur to appear at a loss of confidence or hesitate when it came to helping out others, but this time, he certainly seemed put off at the idea of meeting up with Adrianna.  "I mean, Adrianna's cool, she's just intense.  Her dad has her wound pretty tight, not that that's a bad thing.  In return for unflagging loyalty and devotion she's awarded anything and everything she desires.  The harder she works, the more rewarded she is, and cousins, she is rewarded, a lot."

He shrugged.  "Near as I can remember she is a Collector.  Not of like Pop!s on her book shelf or anything, like things her father has lost or discovered and wants back or added to his wealth of nick-nacks.  If she manages to deliver it we're talking black credit cards, vacations in Cancun, shopping sprees in Italy, you name it.  So, bringing this to her attention will set her into business-mode, and more than likely be enough to convince her to help us.  I remembering her having a Birthright, a medallion, that allowed her to retrieve objects that belonged to her father or that he some sort of claim on.  It could, I don't know, absorb the object into the medallion so she could transport it to her father."

"I don't see how that helps us," Grim looked at his cousin.  "These are ghosts, not scultures and fine art."

"True," Dane nodded.  "But her father is Hades, and last I checked the only dead that leave his Realm are the ones he's given his personal permission to do so.  I highly doubt Todd filled out the proper paperwork before checking out these spirits from the Underworld.  That medallion might be able to pull out the ghost without hurting the person they're inhabiting."

Rachel nodded, almost appearing impressed.  "It's worth a shot.  I have to admit Dane, you have more moments."

He smiled to his cousin, appreciative of the praise.  "I'll give her a call and text you guys with the meet place.  I should probably keep a low profile on this one."

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"That sounds good Dane."  Austin knew some about Hades, or at least the myths concerning him. A Scion of his would probably be of help in dealing with the witches' ghosts, and he sighed.   He knew that according to the myths, Hades was pissed with his younger brothers, Poseidon and Zeus, for giving him the least prestigious domain, and he wondered just how true that was.

He hoped that it wouldn't be an issue here, he certainly had no issues with this other scion, hell he didn't even know her.  "Better someone at least one of us knows for this sort of thing."

 

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Dale pondered for a moment, removing her leather jacket to appreciate the cool of the stables, in contrast with the heavy hitting sun she had to endure while on her bike. A party sounded like a nice occasion to relax a little, but witches, right ? What a great way for her to start her "new" life as her divine papa's daughter. This wasn't going to end well. "Disguises, then ?" She commented with a displeased groan. "I could go as the third witch of the trio, if that helps." She went to sit on a milk crate, leaving her brain bucket and her jacket on the ground by her side.

"If that girl is Hades' Scion, then she probably would have an idea of what to do with rogue wanton souls... Well, best to ask her 'bout that, right ?" She raised inquisitive eyes and scanned the Scion of Baldur's shape with a discreet but appreciative pout.

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"And about the witches."  Grim muttered.  When one or two of the others glanced at him askance, he shrugged, said "Never mind." and looked at Dane.

"It's a good plan, cousin.  Just one thing I want to know - you two have history: are we going to have to be careful not to mention you or tread on any eggshells?"  He arched his scarred eyebrow.  "I suppose what I'm asking is: is she likely to spit curses and hellfire at the mention of your name, or dissolve into tears and start eating tubs of icecream?"

"Uh..."  Dane looked uncomfortable.  Grim held up a slender hand.

"I don't need gory details, Dane.  I just need to know where the land mines are so I don't step on them."

"I need gory details."  Nadya appended, grinning like a Cheshire Cat.  Grim sighed.

"Okay, Nadya needs gory details.  But those can wait till later, right?"  he glared at her.  "When we're not on a clock, perhaps?"

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"Uh," Dane paused, sobering slightly.  He shrugged, knowing what he was about to say was a cop out, but he didn't really have anything else lined up.  "It's complicated?"  Everyone collectively rolled their eyes.

"Dane, Grim is right."  Rachel chimed up.  "If your history with her could cause tension with the rest of us and keeping Salem safe while saving those the witches possessed... we sort of need to know."

"I know, I know," it was strange seeing Dane this off balance.  Normally he was jovial and care-free yet now he seemed overcome by a pang of some inner turmoil.  "This one's a little personal, but," he raised up his hands, palms out to everyone in a defensive manner, to assure them he wasn't making light of what was at stake.  "She's really on track with the whole goals thing.  A very eye on the prize sort of person.  She may not care for me, but she'll put that aside for the sake of what's at stake, trust me.  I'd just... I'd just prefer not to see her, old wounds and all that."

He produced his phone from his pocket and slid down the screen with his thumb, scroll until he found her.  He either knew a lot of people with 'a' for a first name, or she wasn't saved as Adrianna.  They all knew both were a definite possibility.  He tapped and walked away, pressing the phone to his ear.  What followed was a long pause followed by a conversation that was more begging and pleading and a lot of evasive ways to say 'I can't talk about that right now' than a friendly conversation between two people arranging a meeting.

"Wow," Darcy's eyes widened as they all couldn't help but listen.  "And I thought everybody liked Dane..."

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Everyone just stood silently after Darcy's comment, awkwardly looking at Dane like he was the person in their universe and making Darcy feel incredibly small.  She knew Scions were a weird lot, but sometimes... they were off the deep end.  Not that staring at Dane wasn't a difficult task, after all he was the son of Baldur.  No matter how hard he tried he'd always have sun-kissed skin, perfect cheek bones and, most spiteful and jealous worthy feature of all was that he could eat whatever he pleased and always keep that perfect sufer-bod muscle tone.  Sure, a part of her hated him, but at least he was nice to look at... which seemed to be what everyone was doing...

Dane paced several times as he spoke to the woman on the other end.  "Yeah, I know..." he nodded and seemed to have been cut off by her.

"...look, it's not for me..." his vice seemed surprisingly sober, having lost the sufer-dude drawl and making sound almost like a respectible young man.  Almost. "We could..." he was cut off again and they could vaguely make out Adrianne's voice coming through the speaker of his phone.  Talking swiftly, but calmly while breaking her patter or tone of speech.  Every word and phrase didn't come close to being second guessed.  Whatever she was saying, she meant every word of it.  "Enough," Dane almost growled.  His teeth were clinched as he did his best to disguise his lack of composure with the rest of the assembled.

"We all had to make choices.  I no more condemn them for theirs than I do you for yours.  I will not stand here and be whipped like I'm being held down by a golden thread, nor will I be judged by you of all people on the choices I've made and the consequences of those choices.  Scions need help.  We need help.  So, I'm calling you in."  There was a pregnant pause as the tense moment between the two was shared by everyone in the room with awkward eye contact and shrugs to one another in silent inquiry as to anyone knowing the story behind this obviously juicy story.  "Yes.  Do this and we are square."  He nodded.  "Never again."

He leaned against the wall, his back to everyone while the conversation calmed considerably.  "Yes, the coffee shop, can't miss it.  I will pass it on, and thank you."  He shook his head as she replied to his expression.  "Yes, well, thank you anyway."

He tapped the red button on his screen and tucked it away in his pocket, turning to face everyone.  "She'll be here tomorrow after school.  She said she'll meet all of you at The Drip and..." he sighed, visible distressed about something.  He raised his hands and the dropped lazily to his sides, "That'll be that, I guess.  You guys can take it from there.  Look, uh," he gestured towards the exit.  "I think I'm going to head out.  You guys can handle all this stuff without me.  Good luck with her and text me if you need anything."

With no jovial drawl in his voice or Ted 'Theodore' Logan bounce in his stride he offered everyone an exit nod and dismissed himself from the Stable.

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The following afternoon...

The bell above the door jingled as the Scions of Salem arrived at The Drip.  The place was rather busy, facing its usual after school rush when all the kids from the high school would gather to begin their homework and meet up for gossip and coffee.  Darcy was a hurricane of movement set about to twist and step through the throng of customers and by the virtue of not spilling a single drop on her tray validated her as a worthy mortal ally to help stop the titans.  Okay, that wasn't very prestigious in eyes of the gods, but for high school kids, it was pretty damn cool.

The shop was far from quiet.  In fact it was as uproarious as a high school cafeteria with patrons being everywhere from the tables to the counters that lined the walls allowing them a look out the storefront's windows to the booths that lined the far wall that awarded no view except the alleyway.  The second floor loft offered things like a billiard and ping pong tables as well as more booths for sitting.  The first floor stage, for open mic night, that rest directly below the second floor balcony was about the only place that didn't seem to have a customer standing or sitting near it.

Darcy stopped Fisher not long after he entered.  "I think your friend is already here," she nodded towards a far corner booth.  There sat a dark haired, lovely young woman who have to be at least nineteen or twenty.  She was sipping coffee and reading the local paper by the looks of it.  No one was shocked to find that she was pretty, possessed of perfect cheekbones and just the right amount of every subtle little thing that made her appear just a bit more than human.  Like all Scions she was at the peak of the human form, born of gods and obviously a specimen set apart from the mortal herd.  "She got here about twenty minutes ago.  Coffee, black, and she's just been reading the paper.  Dane was here, but, he left as she arrived.  I text him to see if he was okay, and he said he was, but," she shook her head and offered and empathic frown.  "I don't think he is, y'know?"

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Edited by Dave ST

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"Good."  Grim said as he moved past Fisher, having entered on the other Scion's heels, and took a moment to scrutinise the woman in the booth.  Looking back at Fisher and Darcy, who were regarding him with a certain amount of 'what the hell' in their eyes, he sighed.  "Good, she's here." he clarified.  "Not 'good, Dane's not okay'.  Honestly - do I really have to explain that?"

"You kinda do, Glumsley."  Nadya put in with a sly smirk.  The scion of Odin snorted, then fixed Fisher with a gimlet mismatched stare.

"You should probably talk to Dane, make sure he's okay."  he suggested.  "It's plain even to me that setting up this meeting cost him some peace of mind."

"Why don't you talk to him, then?"  Fisher challenged, not that he disagreed, but Grim inspired contrariness at times.

"I'm not a people person."  Grimsley said with a shrug.  "You are.  Black coffee, two sugars."  And with that he headed towards the booth, the oldest grumpiest young man in Creation, wearing an oversized duster and limping slightly as he wove through the tables and patrons.

"I better catch up and make sure he doesn't start a war or something."  Nadya said with an expressive pout as she stepped after him.  "My usual when you get the time, Darce."

Grim was not a people person - in that he didn't much like people in general.  He was not lacking in people skills - those lacking in people skills don't manage to stay alive through eighteen months in a troll den by dint of verbal agility and cunning.  So it was safe to say that when the occasion demanded, Grim was perfectly capable of being personable, even charming.

He just didn't bother with it for unimportant things.

"Thank you for agreeing to meet with us."  he said as he stepped up to the booth, offering a scarred hand.  "I'm Grim.  The girl hurrying over here is Nadya.  The others should be along shortly."

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Austin was pulling up as he saw the others go inside, and got out of his jeep and head inside.   Darcy was still there with Fisher, even as he came inside, and he offered her a warm smile.  "I take it I'm not too late."   When Fisher pointed on to Where Grim had gone on ahead, he smiled   "Thanks.   Darcy, can you bring me a coke?"  The look she gave him was polite, but he could read the exasperation in her eyes.   Austin wasn't a coffee person by any stretch.   In truth, if he was going to drink it, it was essentially sweetened coffee milk by the time he was ready to drink it, and he didn't feel like hearing it from his friends.

Still, it was hard to say no to the young scion of Poseidon,  and she nodded once.  "Sure, Austin."   With that be followed along to where Grim and Nadya were meeting with the older scion, and found himself wondering if there was something he could do to repay Dane for this.  It had definitely seemed to have been something he wasn't happy about, which was quite out of character for Dane.

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The bell above the door to the coffee shop jingled sweetly as the late afternoon sunlight poured in, leaving the entrance brighter and momentarily warmer than it had been before. Pausing briefly to scan the room as she entered, the daughter of Apollo removed her sunglasses and tucked them into the front pocket of a jacket that likely cost more than the sum of every other patron's outerwear combined- perfectly tailored and of immaculate construction, it was also likely to last longer than every other patron's outerwear combined. A faint smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as she caught sight of Darcy attempting to field all the orders being thrown at her, as if she were the only capable server in the place. ...Which, Laurie reflected, might conceivably be true. It took only a moment amid the whirl of after-school activity to track where the beleaguered young paramour of Fisher Capra kept casting unsubtle glances: a beautiful, dark-haired woman in a corner booth.

Certainly, her appearance matched the description given, and the blatant migration of Rachel's band in that direction provided all the evidence Laurel needed. Ah, well. This wasn't exactly an ideal scenario, but Dane had sounded so awfully distressed that she felt like an utter monster for even considering saying no.

"Please, pardon me," the graceful blonde's clear voice rang above the din surrounding them as she slid adroitly past Fisher and Austin with violin case firmly in hand, sparing the two Scions only a fleeting glance that felt unaccountably as though a cloud had passed before the sun, leaving not cold in its wake, but a curious absence of warmth. As Grim concluded his introduction to the Plutonian beauty in the booth, the latter returning his handshake politely, Laurie approached the growing cluster of students at the table.

"Miss Dionekou?" A bright smile of greeting illuminated her features as she addressed the woman who was, ostensibly, a distant 'cousin.' "I hope you'll forgive me for intruding. I'm Laurel, and given the, ah, somewhat delicate nature of the current situation, Dane's asked that I take his place for this meeting."

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