It’s late at Gran’s. Past bed time for most people, but after breakfast time for others. This is the lull in which the night city gets going after the day city has gone to bed. Unlike many establishments Gran’s does not close and turn into something different with the passage of the night. No, it just stays open, serving as an eatery and a meeting point for any who need such a thing.
In the quiet of the main room Aiden is reading something. An actual book. The map he often has is spread out on the table and the remains of his dinner are nearby. To his right something floats in the air, spinning. A certain Asian refugee from another time might recognize it as a ‘fidget spinner’. Which he is telekinetically fidgeting with.
Slaine is in the kitchen, her voice can be heard as she speaks with the cook. “No, I don’ know when Gran is due back an’ yer jus’ goin’ to have to manage while I’m gone. The others will be here, I’m sure. Ask them if ye don’ wan’ to make the decisions yerself. But I trus’ ye, Gran trusts ye, ye’ve worked with her enough.”
There’s a mumbling reply to that and soon the door opens, the redhead appearing, looking more tired and worn than she’s ever seemed before.
At least she’s a tray full of drinks.
Rather than her usual shelf-top vantage point, Miss Frizz has chosen to hang out with Aiden while the dining room is mostly empty and quiet. Well, it’s only mostly the companionship that has her tucked against the human psychic’s neck. It’s really the warmth. She’d been napping for a little while, but she’s awake again now, and she’s idly watching the the little floating toy next to them.
After a moment, Aiden may catch the faintest squeak from her every now and again. There almost seems to be a pattern to it.
There is no sleep for Varos Jenek. He can’t remember when the last time he’d even tried, although it usually helps when he’s not surrounded by so many people. Lately it hasn’t mattered, and it’s like he’s lost his ability to adjust the range of his Sight. As a result he’s been slightly bombarded by the perceptions of anything and everything sentient, and everything’s just been ‘loud’ to him.
His newfound awareness has surprisingly not troubled him for getting around, although he feels he just does so automatically for simply knowing by mass-points of view where everything is mapped out. It’s disturbing, and half the time he can’t really say how he managed to get from point A to B.
He’s sitting at a table that he wouldn’t have been able to say when nor how long he’d been there, his thoughts adrift as he seems to have ‘spaced out’, hand propped under a chin, his hood over his head and a mug that used to be full of warm something now long cold there just out of reach.
For her part, Elpida has been trying to sleep. It’s late. It’s very late.
And she’s failing. There are too many voices, yes, and they’re just too damn loud all the time and the things they’re asking for are frequently waaaay ‘TMI’.
Perils of being a Love Goddess, right?
She makes her way out of her room down the hallways and into the center of Gran’s, flopping wordlessly into a seat.
FLOP. “Uugggggh,” she says. She didn’t need to say it aloud. That ugh is written all over her face and then some.
“Is one of those for me, Slaine?” Aiden looks up. He frowns and looks over at Varos. He looks like he needs the drink more than Aiden does. In fact Elpida might need that too. He’s about to say something else when he turns his head slightly, looking for someone.
“Does… anyone else hear squeaking? Like… a dog playing with a toy far, far away?”
The squeaking stops the moment Aiden says something.
<~ I’m sorry, Mr. Aiden. I’ll stop. I didn’t think you’d be able to hear me. ~> Suss shifts a bit against the psychic’s neck, settling again to perhaps try to get another nap. She does snuffle a bit in Slaine’s direction when she arrives with the tray of drinks, then tucks her nose back in for warmth.
“Yes, they are.” There’s enough drinks for everyone including Elpida, Varos and a small saucer of something for Frizz. The tray is placed on the table and Slaine looks around “I ain’ hearin’ anythin’…” she says.
Varos lifts his head slightly, a positive sign if any that he’s possibly snapped back to focus with his current surroundings. Everything is still relatively bright around him but while he can’t narrow his focus, he can shift it with effort. He can sense the Gorgon’s discomfort as she enters the room, her along with Slaine’s presence not helping for the additional layers of their own compromised perceptions when they bleed into his own.
He turns his head in Aiden’s direction, but it seems his question is rather quickly answered by the napping mouse on his shoulder. Slaine gets a crooked smile that’s very nearly a grimace as she nears and sets a drink by him.
“…thanks,” he murmurs as his hands reach for it, not sure that it’d make a difference, but he appreciates the gesture.
Elpida leans forward.
Her head hits the table. She’ll take the drink, of course, and she’s more than happy to have it.
There are now snakes all over the table, and for a change, they’re coiling around their owner protectively. That’s right. They’re not even eyeballing Frizz.
That’s how miserable Elpida feels right now.
Aiden turns his head slightly, but not much. He knows Fizz is back there. “What were you doing? Dreaming? Or… talking to yourself?” There was a rhythm to it. Wait…
“Were you… singing?”
At that very moment the door opens and… “Varos dahlllllling. Where have you been hiding?”
That voice. That sounds familiar. Like someone Varos has dressed… often. Often enough for said person to call him ‘dahlllllling’. The… the twins wouldn’t have told her where to find him, would they?
Aiden blinks and takes the drink. “The characters we get in here late at night.” He mutters to Slaine.
“Ye were singin’ Frizz” Slaine looks at the mouse, watching the other two as they take their drinks and nurse their heads like they all have hangovers.
As the door opens and the woman walks in, Slaine growls and puts herself between Aiden and the woman – nearly tipping the chair she’d about to sit in, over.
“What can I do for ye, Lady?”
Oh yes, Slaine recognises this one.
Thanks, Elpida. Varos really needed a close-up of the table.
His shoulders hunch up just a little beneath his cloak, but he shakes his head and brings his drink up to have a sip, if for no more reason than to actually experience something through his own perceptions before everything gets washed out again. The voice that speaks up from the doorway has him sputter as he chokes a bit on what mouthful he’d not quite swallowed.
…probably just as well Slaine’s doing the talking at the moment as Varos coughs, half wondering if dying by accidental drowning might be worth an attempt or if it would be just plain humiliating.
…no, that won’t work.
“Is that you, Edna Mode?” asks Elpida when she hears that extended ‘dahlinh’. She has no idea who it is, but well, that’s a good guess. It’d probably make Kaji laugh, anyway. She’s still got her head down on the table, though.
<~ I was. The spinning thing reminded me of a children’s song. ~> She starts to sing again, which can only be heard as the occasional soft squeak, but this time tries to convey the words at the same time.
<~ Watch the windmill as it turns, creaking and grinding, milling the grain. Watch the workers feed the mill, creating and grinding, sunshine or rain. ~>
The woman’s arrival and greeting to Varos has her stop, though, and she hides behind Aiden’s collar. Maybe because of the chill that came in through the door. Yeah, that’s it.
“Who’s Edna, dear?” The woman is tall, pale, with curly black hair and, well really quite pretty. And fashionable.
“Why am I here? I’m here to seek the finest clothier in all of Vesper of course. My dahlllllllling Varos wasn’t at his shop when I came to get a new dress and that just WOULD not do. So I asked his assistants where he might be found and, well, here I am.”
Varos… probably knows miss Elisa Kruffleton? She’s a… regular…
Why is Slaine reacting to her like that.
“Oh, your singing is lovely, Miss Mouse.” The woman says.
Aiden peers at Slaine.
Slaine might have a moment of mistaken identity but there’s something about this woman that sets her teeth on edge. “I see.” She says slowly glancing at Varos, maybe the clothier is too hung over to have recognised her.
“Can I get ye a drink, Lady? Or a meal, perhaps?” Gran would be so proud, really.
Varos clears his throat and sets his mug down, brushing back his hood as he gets to his feet and turns towards the direction of the most recent latecomer. It’s like he hadn’t been choking on his drink a moment ago. He smiles wryly, deciding not to push it on the act. Dealing with customers is absolutely the last thing he’d ever want to do like this. It wouldn’t make much sense to him if the Twins had directed this particular patron here.
“Madam Kruffleton..! I’m sorry I haven’t been available. I’ve…not quite been feeling myself of late. Raksha’s given me some time off to refresh my mind.”
He lets his hip lean against the table a little so he can keep his balance better, giving the woman a hapless shrug. “But please, feel free to enjoy yourself here. You’ll find no service nor comfort food better anywhere else in the city.”
“A…nevermind,” says Elpida, “Just, uh. Someone who sounds like you. A bit. Hi,” An eyeball is raised off the table, possibly to Varos’ relief, before she… welp, there goes that. She’s now back down on the table. The glass is held onto and she does raise to have a little sip.
Then down to the table again. Snakes slither and hiss all over her her head. And the table, of course.
Apparently, Suss doesn’t seem too thrilled by this woman either. So much so she doesn’t reply to her, and she stays hidden against Aiden’s neck. She stays that way long enough for the warmth to lull her back to sleep.
Kruffelton gives Elpida a radiant smile and Slaine one as well. Why does she look familiar to Slaine. She does. And it’s strange. Almost like… Lysander’s sister. She looks like Lysander’s sister. A little bit.
“I’d love a drink and a meal, Miss. Now… Varos.”
She sits down at Varos table and reaches out to touch his hand.
“What’s this I’ve heard about you becoming a god. And with two such fine goddesses. I’m almost offended you didn’t ask me first.”
Very much like Lysander’s sister, the one that tried to shoot Aiden in the heart. No, the one that did shoot Aiden in the heart. It’s no wonder the small redhead is tetchy.
“Horace, the best we have to offer for Miss Kruffleton please.”
Slaine narrows her eyes as the woman keeps talking. Opening her mouth to say something more and then snapping it shut again. Varos might want to say something.
Managing not to make a face as the woman decides to invite herself over to join him, Varos summons up one of his best business smiles as he extends a hand to take her’s, because it’s only polite! And one does not upset one of one’s best patrons, even when you feel that any given time you might just feel like snapping.
He tilts his head just slightly in Elpida’s direction, and then at Slaine if only because feel her upset, and…familiarity?
Even with no eyes Varos’ attention is very much swung back towards Elisa when she speaks further, mouth opening as he regards her blankly.
“I assure you such was never my intention…” he finds himself replying, tone somehow casual despite feeling like he’s suddenly standing at the edge of a precipice. His calm only holds out for that much, unfortunately.
“Is it….ah, I hadn’t thought it was such widespread news- i-it’s not, is it? I’m sure none of us planned for this- wait why would I have asked you…?”
Now those words definitely get Elpida to sit back upon and peeeeer over at the good lady and her seating. “It’s not, unless you’re the sort to pay much heed to crazy cultists and actually believe what they say.” She’s got narrowed eyes, now, and she too is starting to notice a certain familiarity given that she has also met Lysander. She just hasn’t quite put anything together just yet. Snakes wiggle around. They do that.
“It’s widespread enough news in certain circles dahling. Like mine. Your gowns and dresses have been the talk of many a rather exalted gathering.” She smiles radiantly again.
“Oh not that you two aren’t perfectly lovely. You’ll make find goddesses. I can see why he fancied you. But really, Varos, dear did you think that beauty like mine was simply mortal?”
Aiden blinks and looks and Slaine, then back at ‘Kruffelton’. “And you are?”
“Why, the very finest of love goddesses, who else? Oh no offence meant, dear Gorgon. You’re new at this after all. I’ve been at the top of my game for millenia.”
“Lysander’s sister…” Slaine mutters flopping down in a chair next to Aiden. “Don’ worry, Miss Kruffleton, we don’ wan’ to be goddesses. We jus’ wan’ to be left alone.”
Horace returns with a plate of food and a drink for the Goddess. The bowing and scraping he’s doing has Slaine rolling eyes.
A grin twitches at the corner of his lips despite the chill he feels running down his spine at Elisa’s words.
“Ahah….” he laughs dryly as what the woman has to say sinks in, slowly retracting his hand as he draws in a slow breath to recompose himself.
“Madam, if you are as you imply then you would know that my perception of others relies entirely upon others, and even those views may be colored according to individuals.” Varos pauses as he chooses his words carefully. “However, bearing that in mind, I suppose it does put to light much of what I’ve gleaned from your personal opinion of yourself whenever you’ve tried on your commissions. But I’ve always felt you hardly needed any embellishment on our part for the beauty you undoubtedly possessed.”
Even when his head feels like splitting he can still try to be charming, it seems.
“That would explain why you’re glowing though. To be fair, everything looks like it’s glowing, just in different intensities but it makes it rather difficult to do, well, anything, really.” He grimaces a bit as he admits as much, sinking back down to sit.
As for Elpida, her reaction is to groan even louder and put her head back down on the table.
“I am not a Love God,” she retorts with a hint of petulance. “I am not going to BE a love god. Ever. Eeeeeeeeeeeever. No offense, my dear Goddess. I could never hope to, you know, to be anything like you as you are so amazing, etcetera.” One must remember there is a REASON Elpida got turned into a gorgon in the first place.
Her hands go deep into the snakes.
Miss Kruffleton tilts her head a little bit at Slaine and Elpida’s protests that they don’t want to be goddesses. “Oh. How unusual. Most women I find are perfectly happy to be considered goddesses. But as you wish. In that case Varos, I’d be quite happy to facilitate your ascension.”
The woman smiles. “And if you’re interested in a consort…”
“Uh oh.” Aiden mutters.
“Maybe we’re unusual…” Slaine mutters. This is not the first time she’s heard. “At least she’s not offering to turn us into Harvest Nymphs, Elpida.”
Horace just sort of stands there, staring.
It is probably a very good thing that Varos hadn’t attempted to take another drink or he would have surely spit all over the goddess-apparent sitting at his table. As it goes he hasn’t even closed his fingers around his mug, his head turned back towards Elisa Kruffleton, mouth agape as though he’d just witnessed her sprout a second head.
“Wh- Now hold on! I never said I was agreeing to this ascension business either! Considered it, mmm-all right, perhaps briefly but no, I think it’d really mess me up, if it hasn’t already.” He grins briefly at that, humorless and hinting at a man very much sleep-deprived and unable to shut the world out of his head as well as he’d used to.
He hasn’t missed the following implication either. “And, and as I should probably not be promoted to full godhood I don’t think I’ll be looking into consorting with anyone any time soon, as flattering as the suggestion may be.”
“That’s it?” says Elpida, looking relieved. For a moment, she was concerned she was going to get the third degree about this like they did from Demeter. If anything, she seems relieved.
“Here’s the thing about this Ascension,” she says, picking up from where Varos is going with it, “None of us asked for it. It was just… done, all right? And none of us wants to slip into an ill-fitting suit, right, and least of all give up our own abilities to choose who we want to be.” She stares at the Goddess, looking back and forth between her and Varos. Honestly, she’d sagged a bit at his words, in relief. It’s not like they’d spoken about what his choice would be in the matter either, after all. “…also, why are you talking like… like you’re Audrey Hepburn?” Beat. “… you weren’t actually Audrey Hepburn once, were you?” It is, after all, possible. She was pretty glamorous.
Elise smiles and taps her nose at Elpida. “Audrey had something a bit divine about her, don’t you think?”
Not a yes, but also not a no.
“Poor Varos, though. Dahling I think you need some rest. Let me just…” She reaches out with precisely controlled power and commands Varos to sleep. She’ll handle shutting out the world.
“Do you have somewhere for me to take him, Miss McClellan? I think he really needs a bit of me time. And I’m going to see to just that.”
That’s as helpful as any deity’s been in a while. Is there a catch?
“A bit … ‘me’ time …” Slaine says slowly as she looks at the deity. “Horace. Horace!” The second time she snaps at the goblinoid “Get a room for Mister Jenek an’ send a message to the store, let them know that he’s here.” They should get the implication of that.
Sorry Varos, Slaine isn’t quite sure how to save you from … her. Yet.
Varos nods emphatically in agreement with what Elpida has to say about matters, breaking off only when she starts name-dropping. He turns a ‘look’ towards her, brow arched in that ‘what in the world are you talking about’ sort of manner.
He’s not even turned back towards Elise at her cryptic words before blissful darkness swallows his senses and he slumps against the table. Thankfully he’s in no state to worry about catches when it comes to being assisted by an actual deity, although he might hope he doesn’t find himself married to one once he wakes up.
One of Varos' loyal patrons turns out to be more than an enthusiastic fashionista, and it seems she has her own ideas about this sudden spread of impending ascension.
February 24, 2412