Grans is always busy, especially around mealtimes. Suss Frizz-Bee has found that that’s actually the best time to be out and about, as other furry creatures of the non-sentient feline variety don’t tend to frequent the place when it’s busy. Thus, she feels safer sitting on a tabletop nibbling on a meal of raw wheat grains with a sunflower seed dessert.
Emerging from a small hole tucked into the wall is a tiny white rat. She is larger than Frizz, to be sure, but still rather diminutive by most standards, a fluffy little thing who is quite efficient at not being immediately noticed. The rat is the sort intended to appeal to human beings, bred over centuries to be adorable and fluffy as possible. She also enjoys excellent manual dexterity. This is the creature now scampering through the Grans kitchen. Let us see who notices first.
Yawning and coming down the steps with a thud thud thud is Elpida. She’s heavier than her size would imply. That’d be becaue of all the frigging snakes hanging down her head, shoulders, back, and so on of varying lengths, colors and type. She flops into a chair with a creak and groans. “Ngggh.”
Megana comes tromping down the stairs from the room she and Teddy share whenever they are in Vesper. She’s hungry! After placing her order for soup and some fruity bread and the hot chocolatey drink Kaji introduced her to, the Shifter looks around the common dining room. Teddy is busy doing something and she doesn’t see Kaji but oooh. There’s the little mouse-Lady. Miss Frizz!
“Hi!” Meg exclaims cheerfully and sits down at Miss Frizz’s table. “Ooh. Is that what you like to eat?” It’s always something she finds interesting, what other kinds of people like to eat or do. Her eyes widen as the little rat emerges. It takes her a moment to place but she does. “Ooh isn’t that.. oh what was her name? I kinda blocked out the memory of that trip cause I’m not used to freaking out like that..” She notices but only because she’s always looking for D-Bees or those with powers, or anyone who isn’t human really. It also reminds Megana of Elpida and she looks around for that woman too. Though, if that is.. dammit, what was her name??? She did just kinda appear. (Meg Totally didn’t see her come out of the wall, just a glimpe of her scampering around) Maybe Elpida isn’t here.. Oh! “Hi!” She waves.
One of the cooks spots the white rat and screeches, more indignant than scared. They run a CLEAN kitchen, and rodents are NOT allowed.
In the dining room, Suss looks up at Meg when she sits at her table, and puts the grain of wheat down. <~ Hello, ~> she greets telepathically. <~ It’s good, though I seem to have more trouble finding variety around here. ~> Or maybe it’s that she struggles to find vendors that won’t think she’s just another non-sentient pest. It also doesn’t help that she has no way to earn income, considering how much bigger everything is around here than she grew up accustomed to seeing.
There comes a yelp from the chef. The rodent that just emeged is not used to be ing notice.d It squeaks and darts back toward its place tucked into one of the walls- but a shoe is now in the way ,one attached to a man who is trmendously larger than she is .Sot he chittering intesifies and the ratruns faster, simply searching half blidnly for the nearest possible exit.
“Hi there,” says Elpida to Megana. She does noti notice Miss Frizz, of course. HEr snakes do — at least couple of them — but her? Not so much. “Coffeeee,” she mumbles.
Megana seems slightly amused by Elpida’s semiwakeful state and then gives the cook a very unimpressed look. This is Vesper and Gran’s and really her first assumption shouldn’t be ‘omg a rat!’ and at the moment the Shifter thinks an actual rat is probably a lot smarter anyway. She had a pair once years ago. She doesn’t say that though and her attention is quickly drawn back to Miss Frizz. “Oooh. Well, I can help with that. I’ll introduce you to..oh.” It does occur to her money might be a problem. It would not be a hardship to help there, at all but some people take offense to that kind of offer.
“Are you looking for some kind of work, or do you want it? I can try to help you there if you’d like. I wouldn’t mind. In the mea time I can travel most places easily so if I know what kind of food you need we can just go and get some. I recently found out I’m gonna have a lot of free time on my hands, my..” She seems to hesitate for moment but it’s not quite actual hesitation, rather a quiet marveling over the fact that “my family” she has a family now! And is very much in love with that. “Wants me to take it easy with things while I’m pregnant.” She leans down and over and offers her cupped hands to the rat, intending to sit her on her shoulder, if she’d like.. and offering a glare at anyone who might object.Miss Frizz startles at the rat-squeaks and chitters of terror, skittering to the edge of her table to see what’s going on. When she sees the cook chasing the white rat she ‘shoves’ the man, though only enough to make him take a step back, not knock him over entirely. And then Megana is offering the white rodent refuge and Suss watches alertly, offering a few words in rodent-speak. She has yet to meet another sentient rodent, so she’s not very hopeful, but it wouldn’t be polite to not try.
The white rat scampers in a circle a couple of times and then… There’s a hand. Little eyes stare up at Megana past the edge of her hand and then the rodent darts up onto the offered palm and proceeds to go in a circle yet again, this time following after her own tial. Then sits down and laces her “fingers” together, tail swishing. The rat disembarks to the offere shoulder and surveys the room from her new vantage as queen of the world. Squeak!
Wait. Is that a rat? That particular rat, Elpida recognizes. It’s in Megana’s hand. “Tori?” she asks. Then she eyes Megana. Her snakes, however, are /still/ staring at Miss Frizz. But not Tori. Odd, perhaps.Moving back into the center of the table a bit, Miss Frizz stands up on her hind legs, squeaking and chittering at the white rat now on Megana’s shoulder. She hadn’t actually noticed Elpida (and the SNAKES) presence until… now.
Catching the movement out of the corner of her eye, she turns to look and freezes, her eyes going deermouse in headlights wide. Not again!
Megana gives the snakes a warning glance. She likes them but might try to (gently) thump them if they try to eat Miss Frizz. She grins as Victoria settles on her shoulder and tears off a small chunk of her fruit bread once it arrives to offer to the rat. It’s turning out to be a very good morning!
“I think it’s your friend? It looks like her. But if not that’s okay. I like animals. ” More than alot of people actually. “It’s okay, Elpida is pretty cool.” Very funny too. The Shifter just isn’t sure she has control over her snakehairs but.. well. She’s fast enough to catch them if they lunge. Most likely. She’s had a lot of practice with things wanting to bite/eat her… “Huh. I wonder..” Megana eyes the snakes with curiousity. She can usually easily dominate animal minds with her power, however.. it’d be rude to try that in this situation. Very very rude. Still an interesting thought though! “I uh.. wonder if what it’d be like to combine coffee and chocolate.. might be good.” That sounds better, right?
Victoria apologizes, poses, and should be ksipped for a bit, becaue bah.
The little rat blinks a couple times slowly. Now it is staring at Elpida with those beady rodent eyes and stilting its head as if it might even comprehend just what the Gorgon is saying to it. The rodent perches on Megana’s shold for the moment ad just stay in her place curled up on megana. Because why shouldn’t she? The tail sweeps back and forth, absentmindedly conducting the score to the “Lord of the Rings” soundtrack as she does.Suss hears the white rat answer her, but is too frozen in fear by the SNAKES staring at her to react. She WANTS to scurry over to Megana and hide a pocket of the woman’s clothing, but she’s afraid to move. There’s two of them staring at her right now, she’s not sure she can tolerate more. Maybe…
She ‘shoves’ at the snakes staring at her, hoping that’ll get them to stop staring.
Elpida is clearly senitive to having hr snakes shoved. She jeks back. “The hell? That’s TWICE now!” She remembers the last time something jostled her snake sout of nowhere and she turns and looks around. The little mouse, well, she’s not noticed her yet. She’s not LOOKING for another mouse.
“Aww here.” Megana reaches over and offers a hand to Suss, perhaps coincidently but more likely purposely blocking the snakes from view with her arm. She has two shoulders luckily and also long hair and that way the mouse-lady can still see most of the rest of the room and eat her grains and seeds. If she’s still hungry after that.
Megana sort of side-eyes Elpida in surprise when she still doesn’t notice Miss Frizz. She is a bit small but.. she’s also like, right there and she did notice Tori..but also knows her, so. Hm. Interesting though. “They are scaring my friend here, but I don’t think they can help it. It’s just when you are tiny, lots of things try to eat ya, y’know? And after that damn cat in here the other week.. well. It’s kinda a sensitive subject I think.”Miss Frizz actually seems relieved when Megana creates a visual (and also physical) barrier between her and the snakes. <~ Thank you, Meg. ~> That was undoubtedly ‘audible’ to everyone in the room.
Suss hastily picks up her wheat and sunflower seed meal, cramming everything into the shoulder pouch about the size of a human thumbnail she carries with her. She also squeaks and chitters at the white rat some more.
Elpida jerks again at the word. That happened last time too. “Oh, hey! That’s…another mouse, actually. Are you like Tori?” She asks, gesturing toward the rat. She puts a hand on top of her head as snakes snap and hiss at each other. “… I’m actually doing it. I’m talking to a mouse.”
After settling Suss on her opposite shoulder Megana smiles and murmurs, “You’re welcome.” Oh that pouch is cool and so tiny she can’t even see all the detail! So cute. So very cute. “She’s a little differfent. I don’t think Miss Frizz has another form like your friend. I think she’s a sentinent Mouse Lady, right?” Meg tilts her head to eye Suss. At elast the times she’s met her she’s always been in this form and if she could get bigger, the Shifter thinks she might’ve done that when the damned cat went after her.
Usually Megana likes animals so much! But that one tried to eat her new friend. And also tore up Teddy’s cloak. His new cloak. That she had “borrowed” (totally stole it to wear when he wasn’t looking) cause it smelled all nice like he does and is big and warm. “One thing you’ll see here if you haven’t already, people come in many different shapes, sizes, and types. There are aliens, D-Bees, which are beings from other dimensions rather than other planets, demons, mutants, Gods, lots of kinds mages and magicky types, dragons, y’know. This city was actually founded by a Dragon and where me and my Guardian live is kinda.. ruled by one. Well, part of it is ruled by one and the other part belongs to demon hordes.”
+MEET: Sterling has arrived via +meet.
Sterling shuffles through the door to Gran’s looking like something mechanical exploded in his face. His normally well kept hair is somewhat frizzy and wild while his face is covered in patches soot due to said explosion. Walking up to the bar, “Beer.” A beer is passed to Sterling as he presses payment onto the wooden counter top, “Danke.”
As the technowizard makes his way to a table he sees the rodents, a woman, and a whole bunch of snakes causing a minor scene. Looking down at his beer, “Not sure if I even need this.” He rubs his eyes and looks back at the scene as he days a double-take. “Nope. Still sober. Might as well fix that.”
Sterling takes a German sip and then half his mug of beer is gone. “Do you need any help here” he says walking over.Miss Frizz settles onto Megana’s shoulder opposite the white rodent, and is likely far more effective at hiding under the brunette woman’s hair. Which likely makes it even odder when she speaks telepathically for the whole room to ‘hear’.
<~ Yes, I’m a mouse. … another form? What does that mean? I’m just, me. ~> She falls silent again as the soot-smelling man arrives and drinks a frightening amount of that rather strong-smelling beverage.
So confused. That’s the look on Elpida’s face. Because, you know, /she’s confused/. Her lips purse and she peers oerat Sterling when he arrives. “Oh, uh, hullo,” she offers, snakes writhing atop her head. “Nice to meet you?” She offers. “Everything is good. Just a usual day with, you know, a medusa, a talking mouse, a sorceress and a Totally Normal Rat.” She nods, solemnly, starting to laugh nervously afterwards. The kind of laugh thatsays she finds everything terribly absurd.
Megana glances up and then back down, humans tend not to catch her interest so easily buuut.. wait. Wtf happened to that guy’s face?? She looks back up and then squints. “Uhm. We’re good. Just a slight ..misunderstanding.” The Shifter considers for a few seconds. She is making an effort to be.. at least less murdery.. maybe even a little nicer. For Kaji and Teddy! So then.. “You can join us if you’d like.”
There’s something about that guy’s appearance too but Megana hasn’t figured out what yet. She’s sure she’s never seen him before.. probably. Maybe. Yet something seems familiar. Which is weird. “I’m Megana. This is Elpida.” The Shifter gestures at the snake haired woman. Then the mouse, “Miss Frizz and” Last she points at the rat on her other shoulder. “Victoria, I think.” More quietly she adds for Miss Frizz. “I think Victoria is a human with an ability to transform into a rat. So if you ‘heard’ her, or didn’t ‘hear’ her for that matter, it’s probably why.” a brow raises at Elpida’s “totally normal rat” comment but to Meg this kinda thing is normal so she doesn’t disagree.
Sterling takes in the different names and the situation. Nodding his head he takes another German sip from his mug. “The name’s Sterling– Megana? Your Teddy’s companion?”
Sterling looks down at the mouse and the rat in a slight buzz. “Meine Güte! So adorable.” He reaches to put both on the head. Then he notices the intently staring snakes from Elpida. “Oh.” He pauses mid pat.
“Nice to meet you too. Like Megana said, I’m Elpida. Yes, I know I’m made of snakes. Uh, sorry if they’re staring at you,” she adds, to Miss Frizz. Sheepish. She moves away to sit back down and to give the mouse some more comfortable distance between hr and the hungry hungry serpents.Miss Frizz ducks away from Sterling’s attempts to pat her, mincing along the back of Megana’s shirt collar so she ends up on the same shoulder as Tori-rat. Maybe they’ll stop staring now? Maybe. She offers Tori a wheat grain as she addresses the others. <~ Miss Elpida? Why are your snakes staring so much? ~>
“Oooh.” That’s why he looks familiar. Teddy’s talked about him! “You made Stryker I think. Teddy’s new raptor mount.” She nods. “Yep. I’m his Ward.” Her lips quirk in amusement at the reaction as Sterling notices the snakes. “Stryker is pretty cool but kinda weird now that it thinks it’s a real raptor. Makes him happy though so thanks, I think.” She just isn’t to a machine having personality like that. It’s a little creepy. Which is kinda funny since she like, cuddles demons. Okay, some demons. Not all of them. That’d just be crazy.
It occurs to Megana how badly she wants to ask if Elpida feeds her snakes but she decides to wait with question considering her shoulder companions. She does have manners dammit! (When she wants to anyway) Instead the Shifter eyes Sterlings beer with a look of profound sadness. “Oh gods I miss alcohol so much. It’s gonna be the longest eight months ever. Evereverever.”
*Hic* “Pleasure to meet you. Stryker is a wonderful creation.” He cocks an eyebrow “It thinks it’s real? That’s a first. Didn’t think it start to become . . . self-aware.”
Muttering to himself, “Note to self: Revisit evolutionary AI programming for cyber mounts.”
Sterling watches the mousey Frizz skitter away from his large hands. “Oh sorry there little thing! Haha! I’m sure the snakes only want to say ‘hi’ and friendly”. He gives a reassuring smile to Elpida as he tries to diffuse the tension a little.
“…pretty sure they want to eat her, actually,” says Elpida unhelpfully. “They’re not…exactly… smart. They’re snakes. I know they’re growing out of my head, but they’re snakes and see mice and rats as food. So, uh. They don’t actually /eat/ anything. At least, I haven’t let them. Oh god. Have they eaten bugs? I don’t even know if they’ve eaten bugs.” She begins to babble, Elpida does.<~ Are they just wanting to say hi? ~> Miss Frizz is unsure, though she’s starting to wonder if her hesitation is justified. She peeks out from under Megana’s hair, her whiskers twitching as she watches the snakes. <~ I can always make them move if they try to bite, yes? ~>
Did she just admit to being the one that’s ‘shoved’ Elpida’s snakes?
“Well. I’m not sure if it really thinks that but it’s got some kinda, personality thing going on now. We went fishin’ and when we got back to shore it ran up and jumped all around Teddy like it was excited to see him and it’s been doing stuff like that for like a week. I guess.. it’s so weird it’s just, I haven’t spent a lot of time around machines and I’ve never seen one do that before.” She’s been tempted to try using her power on it.. but it is a mechanical thing and Meg doesn’t think it’d work and if it messed something up Teddy would kill her! Okay maybe not but he’d be soooo pissed.
That does remind her though.. “It is wonderful. Keeps up with my mount and doesn’t need to rest or get tired like a living thing would. Or need food. Or get hurt or alarmed if Teddy catches on fire a lil bit.” Which is a thing that happens. Then her eyes slide back over to Elpida. Oh. Well. That..answers that. But uh.. “It’s okay. I won’t them or anything else eat you.” She whispers softly to Miss Frizz, as well as Victoria. Oops. Now Elpida might know why her snakes were moved! “Say, how’s that coffee?!” Megana attempts to distract from that particular revelation.
Sterling takes the last swig from his mug and then looks down at the bottom of the mug with a contempt. Oh well. Nice things don’t last forever.
To Megana, “Well, glad to know the mount is at least working out – – did you say catch FIRE??” Sterling looks to bar thinking this story may require another beer.
ALl this talk of mechanical things and fire and all just makes Elpida looks frustrated and confused. She rubs her face for a moment and then pauses and turns to peeeeer at the mouse. The snakes rise up to peer at her too, at eye level. Some of them, anyway. There’s too many for ALL of them to do that.
“Well, I’m not going to let them eat you either if I can help it. You’re a talking mouse and I don’t even want to think about how they digest anything. Ever.” She looks somewhat sheepish before adding, “Waaait a second, though. Are YOU the one shoving my hair around?”
Miss Frizz actually sounds a bit sheepish. <~ Yes? They keep staring and it’s … I want them to stop staring. Maybe if Megana helps? ~> She sends a mental image of herself in Megana’s hand approaching the snakes, where she can be pulled away again quickly if the snakes decide she’s more tasty than friendly.
The Shifter grins and signals for another beer for Sterling, she can’t drink but he can! “Yeah. He’s a cyberknight but his powers are psychic in nature and part of that manifests as fire. People who can control fire are pretty passionate so he feels things strongly and when that happens, he catches on fire alot. Just a bit, like his ears or his beard or hair usually. Obviously that isn’t a good thing around a live mount. We did tame a fire wyrven but he ended up deciding it’d be better off in someone else’s care. They need a lot of food and we kinda had a lot going on at the time.”
Megana does seem to notice Elpida’s confusion and then realisation. “She uh.. y’know, didn’t wanna get eaten is all. And here, well, where you came from, how did people get around? Did you have horses? We have horses to though they aren’t as common as other things like dinosaur mounts or mechanical, robotic mounts. Which is a machine that usually looks like some sort of animal. You can ride it but it doesn’t need to eat or sleep and it doesn’t get hurt as easily.” She’s had to explain or figure out the differences between worlds and dimensions before it seems.
Meg blinks at the iamge and then considers. “Um. Maybe it would be better if you tried to tell them to just knock it off first. I can do that if you want but, I’m not sure the snakes are smart enough to realize you are a mouse person and not just a mouse. They’ve probably seen Victoria change, or maybe she did something so they wouldn’t see her as food. I’m not sure.” She isn’t afraid of being bitten herself, that happens a lot in her line of work, but doesn’t want Miss Frizz to be frightened again.
Sterling welcomes the second beer. This time he visually demonstrates the meaning of a German gulp. One empty mug later Sterling lets out a satisfied sigh, “Aaaah. Well that would *hic* explain what he catches fire. Maybe I should look into making him some flame-retardant clothing and armor. I imagine it would be an awful pain in the ass to replace his attire after every fight.”
Seeing the image of the (super cute) mouse approaching her snakes, Elpida willfully lectures them. “Don’t you dare. You /don’t/ touch the nice mouse lady. No, no. No. And no.” The snakes are not really listening TOO well, but after a bit of inspection, they lose interest. Or perhaps they did as they’re told. In any case, they settle back atop hr head comfortably, pulling into the writhing mass they normally are.
Miss Frizz watches the snakes lose interest as Elpida scolds them, and almost audibly sighs in relief. She’s had just about enough excitement for now, though, and carefully climbs down Megana’s shirt so she can settle into a pocket for a nap. <~ Thank you, Elpida. I promise I won’t push your hair unless they try to be mean. ~>
Megana watches the snakes with interest. “Nice! I think it’ll be easier now.” To Sterling she nods while seeming impressed by his drinking abilities. “We have some fireproof stuff, cause if he’s really thrown by something then sometimes its just stuff nearby that catches on fire. Like y’know, curtains or somethin’. But his Cyberknight armor is fireproof. And a little clothes. We can always use more though Sometimes it breaks or needs replaced. Stuff happens and not everyone that claims their stuff is fireproof is truthfull.”
She totally killed that last merchant. Those friggin curtains coulda burned down the whole apartment! Probably not a thing she needs to mention though. The Shifter smiles as Miss Frizz settles into her pocket. Oh that is sooo cute! So cute and Meg beams with pride, clearly very happy to be able to offer a protected place to sleep.
Sterling leans against one of the chairs putting his mug down. “Well I’ll keep it in mind in case he needs something special.”
The technowizard feels content having had his second beer as he decides to settle into the chair. “I’m starved. Could go for something good. Maybe not a rat or mouse for starters” he adds with a chuckle.
“We’ll…see, I guess. They’re not too good at listening toanyone not named Tori,” Elpida add dryly, before saying to Sterling, “Well, uh. It’s nice tomeet you,” she adds. She reaches up to pat one of the snakes on the snout absently.
Megana grins. “There’s always something good to eat here.” Alot of the food is what she’d consider plain, but it is always good though! and her tastes aren’t usual for a human what with being a Shifter and all. “I mean most food you don’t have to cook is anyway or at least in my case. I’m not even allowed to try anymore. I’m that bad at it.”
She looks at Elpida and smiles. “Thank you. That really did seem to help.” Then Meg eyes Victoria, just checking on her. “Maybe not but it had some effect. Poor Miss Frizz. After that giant fatass cat trying to eat her..”
The little white rat hops down from Megana’s shoulder and stetches languorously on thefloor. She scampers in a circle a couple of times an then darts out into the middle of the open space to suddenly and somewhat colorfully transorm into a girl wearing layers, mpst rominently her aviator’s jacket, black t-shirt, dark blue leggings, and the beanie sitting on her side. She adjusts her fingerless gloves and continues to stretch, this time her arms and shoulders. “Much better than letting the snakes do their thing,” she notes amiably. “Well.”
Sterling nods to Elpida, “Likewise my gorgon friend.”
Watching the white rat transform into a woman Sterling falls backwards in his chair in surprise. “Whoa-OH!” *CRASH*
Sterling looks at his fingers and starts counting “How many have I had Meg?” he asks wondering if he’s just seeing stuff.
“Hi, Tori,” says Elpida now that Victoria is in her, you know, human shape. She leans in togive her a one armed hug, briefly, once she can.
“Totally normal rat,” repeats Elpida, innocently.
Megana laughs. “Just the two. It’s okay, she really did turn into a lady! We all saw it.” She can see how he might think otherwise easily. Meg snorts and then laughs some more at the “Totally normal rat.” Yes she finds tht kinda thing normal but most people probably would not and the Shifter is aware of that. “I like your jacket. It’s very nice.” chaging forms ins’t one of Meg’s abilities but if it were… oh she would so take advantage of it to screw with people. So much!
“I listened for a bit and it seemed sae enough,” Tori comments mildly as she shrugs her shoulders. The tiny young woman takes a deep breath then and slowly exhales as hse finishes limbering up. Being a rat might be hell on the muscles. Maybe it was just a result of sleeping. “I wish I could keep the snakes docile for the poor little mouse lady but they most like me because well, um. I guess all animals like me. Maybe we can experiment. They are a rather angry bunch…”
Sterling slowly wobbles to his feet as he places the chair upright by the table. “Shape-shifting. That’s magic I don’t see very often in other people.” He shrugs “Well, if you *hic* don’t count my former nanny.”
Food that Sterling doesn’t remember ordering arrives to the table from a waitress cautiously eyeing Sterling trying to assess if he’s alright. An embarassed Sterling thanks her for the food and begins to eat. “So Tori. How did you get such an affinity with rodents?”
“Oooh.” That seems to make sense to Meg. “Animals often like me but it isn’t always an instant thing. Sometimes it takes awhile and a lot of patience or more than a bit of just dominating their minds until it sinks through that I’m not someone to disobey.” Or dislike. The last isn’t something she’ll try on Elpida’s snakehairs though. Cause manners!
Which maybe she should actually say. “Don’t worry though, your snakes are yours and I’m not gonna mess with them or even try, it’d be horribly rude.”
“Uh… thanks. I’m not even sure it’d work anyway,” says Elpida. “They’re part of me, you know? I’m not how much of a brain any of thema ctually have. They’re linked to me, I guess.” She rolls her eys up, shrugs. “I’m trying to get used to it.” Then she grins at Victoria, briefly, “That reminds me. One of the medics came by Grans earlier an said something about antivenom and milking them. THat sounds horribly uncomfortable. TOld him I’d think about it. And ask you for help. I think you might be able to do it safely.”
“Affinity for rodents, hm?” Sterling has most of Tori’s attention for the moment. She reorients herself on the man carefully as she adjusts her clothing and flashes a rather beatific, friendly grin. “I grew up in a gigantic, sprawling city where everything was breaking down. Leaky pipes, contaminated water, overcrowding. Slums, mostly, but there were wealthy areas. Anyway.”
Victoria reaches up to drag her fingers through her hair then, shrugging her shoulders lightly as she seems inclined to often do before she continues, lightly pursing her lips. “Rats were the only ones who could get in and out of some of those places. They could handle the water, get into the larders belonging to the crazy assholes who owned all the security robots.” She giggles softly. “One time, a rat destroyed a security mech. How crazy is that? Chewed through the wiring and they short circuited when they tried to leave. I’ve always kind of admired them.”
Finished with this Tori takes a deep breath and swivels to orient on Elpida and Megana. “So, I don’t really dominate animals. They just kind of do what I want. I’m more like their helpful big sister, I guess! And I can totally get venom from your snakes if we need antivenoms. Actually, I can probably make antivenoms. I don’t mind, really. How bad is a bite from yours anyway? I never asked them. Besides, all they can really say is ‘thing bit, it dies’. Sounds pretty potent.”
Sterling finishes his plate whlie listening to Tori. “Interesting. You wouldn’t mind being subjected to some tests would you? Purely scientific and non-invasive” he tries to add reassuringly. For some reason the irony of asking to run lab tests on a rat shape shifter is lost on him.
“They’re posionous? Neat! (Of course Meg likes poisons) I don’t think it’d hurt you or feel to weird but it probably wouldn’t make them happy. It would help others though. Most people getting bit by posionous snakes die. If you’re near a good healer you might make it but.. well. Or if you’ve got magical protections from that kinda thing, again most people don’t, but medics would know what they are doing I think.”
She pauses to listen to Tori and nods in agreement. Rats are great. She’s had a few though not recently. “Yeah, there are people like you who are gifted that way. I’m not, I’m a Shifter. And while mostly work differently than the others I’ve met which admittedly hasn’t been many, even the smartest animals are still animals, so I havta sometimes do things that way if I don’t want to get eaten by a dinosaur or, need something to move out of the way in a hurry.” Meg covers her grin with her hand at Sterling’s question.
“Yeah, they’re poisnonous. Found that out the hard way with Caitlinn. She could truck through it but it was good to know since I had /noooo/ idea.” She makesa face, Elpida does, and then shrugs her shoulders. Sterling’s question, though, makes her choke a little. Mostly because she /is/ aware of the irony.
“You… Want to run tests? Scientific tests?” Tori asks blankly, apparently aware of the irony and unsure how to proceed. “I don’t mind but how do you test for ‘magical power to shift into a rat’ or ‘surfs on paved roads using chunks of rock’ anyway?” Tori cocks her head at this, apparently actually interested in the answer she migght be given.
“Nope. Animals love me. So does the air… And the earth. Metal, the ground. That sort of thing. It’s just part of who I am. I’ve been called a ‘Druid’ before.” Big air quotes when she uses the D word. Tori shifts her weight from left to right slightly at this. “I just try to help people, animals, plants, and all of that get by in a world with enough concrete on it to pave… Everything. Three times.”
The technowizard grins from ear to ear. “I’m a technowizard, my shape-shifting friend. Researching magic and the arcane is one of my specialities and favorite hobbies. Figuring out how to emulate such magic is always a rare and wonderful opportunity for me given that I can learn how to work your type of magic into my craft.”
Sterling leans back a little being careful not to tip over, “The more I learn the more I can do for my customers. I’d compensate you for your time and knowledge. My craft and shop is certainly at your disposal, and I’m sure we can arrange for something to be crafted for you as payment. What you want would be up to you.”
“Ahhh! I see. Yes, you would be here with those abilities.” Meg nods at Victoria. She’s also curious about what kinda thing Sterling has in mind. “Is that what it was like where or when you came from?” It’s not a strange concept to her, though it doesn’t really seem to describe here. Meg’s been all kinds of places though and it isn’t hard to imagine. She does wince at Elpida in an apologetic sort of way. That does sound like it must have sucked but at least they didn’t die from it.
Megana listens to Sterling’s explanation with interest. She’s never paid that much attention to mechanical things and hasn’t known any technowizards before. It sounds pretty damn fascinating really. “That sounds like it would be fun to see. What kinda stuff do you make? Aside from armor and mounts? Now that I think about it, really, you actually *made* Stryker didn’t you? That’s awesome.” Knowing something and thinking about what it actually means can be two very different things for her sometimes.
A hapless shrug is given to Megana by Elpida but her gaze remains curiously between Sterling and Tori at the moment before she adds to the Shifter, “Did I hear your right? You’re pregnant?” She ask, after a moment.
She wants to confirm it, after all.
“No, I mean. We could actually pave everywhere. We’ve made extra thick roads and bunkers and buildings, but I read something that said we had enough to pave the whole world forever ago and we just keep making more now, so.” Tori shrugs her shoulders slowly as she does. “All the roads were paved. And the sidewalks. There was concrete used in the bases of buildings, um… I guess underneath everything in the city was a layer of concrete, then more for construction. The water only ran off if it had access to a sewer. Which were concrete tunnels. Huh. I mean, it was all busted up, but- still.” Tori seems thoughtful now, reaching up to tap a finger against her lip.
“Anyway, sure. I wouldn’t mind trying and I would love to see what you can make” Tori’s enthusiastic, brilliant grin shows up again. Her teeth are perfect. How do you manage perfect teeth around here anyway? “I am not sure what I would ask for though. I can really handle most things I need. Maybe you can show me some neat stuff, though!” Tori just laughs at that, albeit softly.
“Armor might be interesting. I’ve never bothered wearing any. Usually the rocks just get mad when people attack me.” Tori seems to find this quite amusing. She ends up finally returning Elpida’s hug gently. “Very pregnant. You can’t tell by looking at her?” Apparently this revelation makes Tori all kinds of happy. Not that she isn’t the happy-go-lucky sort anyway.
“…no, Tori. No, I can’t,” says Elpida, just giving Tori this look.
Sterling eyes glimmer with joy and excitment. You get the impression he REALLY loves his job. “More than just armor, mounts, or weapons. I can create nearly anything your mind could conceivalbly imagine! Amulets that ward off projectiles, gadgets that detect the presence of enemies, glasses that reveal magic. The possibilities are endless!”
Sterling composes himself, “All you have to do is decide what you want and I’ll find a way to make it happen.”
Megana is taking a sip of her hot chocolate and almost chokes at Elpida’s question. She teakes a few moments to compose herself, listening to Tori’s explanation with an expression of understanding that changed to amusement at the by play between the two. “It’s sort of a long (and totally crazy) story but yeah, I am.” A story she wouldn’t normally even try to explain because it’s pretty unbelievable but people have already started to think it’s either Ted or Kaji’s and Megana doesn’t want that being spread around. “The short of it is I’m having a baby for someone else. Someone who couldn’t.”
That doesn’t sound too bad, right? A lot less crazy than ‘there is this dimension full of tiny elves and forest spirits and only one human, their king, ever lives there and he died so they need a new baby for the forest to raise or the whole dimension will die’ at least. Meg really isn’t sure if even Teddy would have believed it if he couldn’t read her mind and didn’t know he’s the only person in existence that she can’t lie to. Her eyes widen as she listens to Sterling. “Oooh. That is incredible.” She’s got to learn more about this! And consider the possibilities.
“….oh,” says Elpida after a long moment of just staring at Megana. “So… surrogacy,” she says after that long pause. “Okay. I can grok that.” She’s still having a hard time coming to terms with a whole host of things but she IS trying, at any rate.
“Oh, that’s neat. It’s really nice of you to do that for them,” Tori comments. The explanation may not be one Tori understands but she doesn’t seem bothered by the details. “And… That really is pretty great. I’ll think of something you can make for me sometime. In the mean time… Sure .Tests sound fun. You won’t learn much about Rat, probably, but.” Victoria shifts her weight from left tor ight again and then nod once, firmly. “Alright. Perfect. Do we have more questions? Since it seem to be that sort of meeting!”
Sterling raises his empty mug “Pregnant! Congratulationsssssss” and he falls backwards asleep currently in a food and alcohol induced sleep.
Megana nods at Elpida. “Yeah pretty much.” She thinks for a moment. “Not a question exactly but, I’ve seen some.. I guess you’d call them visions.. of what cities looked like before the Rifts came, a lot like what you described. Concrete buildings, roads, sidewalks. Some of them bigger and fuller than vesper about a dozen times over. There wasn’t really any magic or at least not enough that most people knew about it. You can still see remants of stuff underground in some places, and aboveground too but it’s all broken and collapsed and fallen apart and mostly overgrown now.” She watches Sterling with an amused expression and gently tucks her jacket under his head as a pillow after removing it.
“Yeah,” says Elpida, thoughtfully. She looks somewhat uncofmortable for a moment.
Then up and then to Tori with a sad expression. All that talk, well.. it’s clearly reminding her of home. Or something. She manages to school herself back to something less revealing before long.
“What you’re describing sounds like where I lived, except they tried to fix it. The tech didn’t match though and it made all kinds of problems.” Tori nods a couple of times as if to confirm what Megana said for herself. She shifts her weight again and looks up so that she ends up meeting Elpida’s eyes when the gorgon looks down at her. “What’s wrong…?” She frowns. “Nevermind, I guess.”
Megana mentally smacks herself. Sometimes she forgets that home is important to people. She never really had one or wanted one until Teddy became her home and now, well, she still isn’t used to that. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to.. do that, sometimes I kinda suck at, being human. that’s sorta a long story though.” Perhaps a good distraction, or maybe they’d find it depressing to? Hm. “How about technowizardy stuff?? I have to admit that isn’t an area of magic I know anything about. It sounds really neat though and Sterling is a good guy, Teddy likes him and he’s a good judge of character what with being Psychic and all.”
Kinda light weight drinker maybe but, he did down those beers pretty fast. “Oh I miss beer.” Meg picks up the empty mug and sniffs it. “The hot chocolate is not bad though. Better than that damned grass drink Teddy made me try!” (She will not admit that she didn’t totally hate that)
“Just made me a little homesick is all,” admits Elpida, thoughtfully, “and got to thinking about what had to’ve happened to all those people out there that stopped being there, you know, when everything ‘done got blown up’.”
She shakes her head at Megana, though, ”Ey. Don’t worry about it, okay? Really.” She waves her hand. “…hot cocoa DOES sound good at some point, though. I’m surprised we can even get cocoa.”
“Hm.” There’s a deep breath from Victoria as she listens to all of this. She eventually nods, however. “I don’t feel very human either. All this bad stuff happens and- I mean, I don’t hurt people but I just keep going. When other people are freaking out and crying I move on. Sometimes I think I’m just wrong somehow.”
With that Tori is studying Elpida’s face with some intensity. “I understand. Home is a long way away. It’s upsetting.. If I had cocoa I’d give it to you. Unfortunately…” A beat. “Hmm. Actually, there isq probaby more here! We should find out.”
Megana relaxes at Elpida’s words and then blinks a little. “Well. It is Vesper. A city of magic, there are gateways that go to other places. It’s a lot easier to find stuff here that you wouldn’t usually find in a town or even say Dogwood. Which neither of you should visit really. They suck there. They’re racist assholes that hate magic. Anyone who isn’t obviously human or has magical abilities is treated horribly and their lives are often in danger. No one tries to help or protect them or look to hard when they get killed or go missing. Just in case you didn’t know that.”
Meg stops to listen and nods. “This is the second time I’ve had it here so they should. Also down in the harbor you can take a ferry, a boat, to Saren’s Rest and it is more dangerous than here, they aren’t big on law and order there but no one would look at you funny. Just don’t wander into Vanished Point. That’s where all the demons are. Me and Teddy live in Saren’s Rest but when we’re over here, we stay at Gran’s.”
“Awww. That’s because you’re sweet, Tori,” says Elpida with some fond amusement in her tone. She gives her a little nudge with the back of her hand, affectionatey, before giving a nod towards Megana.
“Yeah, I’d heard about Dogwood. That’s the last place I wanna go but I’m going to have business out there at /some/ point. When I’m not trying to HAVERFIST.” She coughs once.
Megana grins at Elpida. “You go!” She thinks a moment. “I’d offer for me an Teddy to go with you but we kinda arrested and aren’t supposed to go back. They might hate magic but they are also apparently hippocrital assholes. The King’s got agents who use it. Powerful ones. They almost killed Teddy. We weren’t even doing any of the stuff they tried to say we were.” And someday she’s going to work out a way to get revenge on those bastards!
“There’s like the Transporters Guild though and they might be able to help with that.” Meg realizes. “Still, it is best to avoid there if you can. The one year I had to live there seemed to last forever. I had to hide my powers, I had to not murder people for being total dicks when I generally don’t like humans and do like d-bees. I helped as many of them as I could get out of there though.”
Elpida just sort of stares at Megana for a long while.
“Y…yeah. Not being able to murder assholes must’ve been really rough,” she intones.
“It was! Oh man. It so was.” Belatedly the Shifter seems to remember that’s not a thing to admit to enjoying generally. “I uh. I mean, they totally did deserve it though. And I really hate that place. And.. some people are really good at certain things, y’know?” She’s good at murder, okay.
After a moment Megana sighs and adds. “Okay I realize that probably sounds bad..maybe it is bad but well. I can at least explain it I guess. Y’know how we’re involved in this whole thing here with these stupid terrorists trying to contact this Old God or whatever? My mother worshiped one. Or the shadow of one. She was a very evil bitch and she had me, thinking I’d be a boy and intending to give me to that thing. I came out a girl and she tried to do it anyway but Teddy and my Da saved me. It touched me though and it kinda.. corrupted my humanity. I’ve gotten a lot better than I use dto be, really. But sometimes I’m still a little..not evil exactly but.. not normal. I guess?”
Elpida just keeps staring at Megana.
“Uh… okay. Welp, if there’s anything I can understand, I guess it’s getting molested by a power beyond human comprehension.” Fucking Athena.
Megana quickly turns away to hide her grin, because she finds that a pretty accurate and hilarious summarization. “Is that what happened? I’d started to think maybe it was after seeing that friggin’ woman before. Didn’t like her. She kept insulting Kaji and oh man I wanted to punch her but.. well. I’m powerful but not god powerful. And I can’t protect him if I go pissing off ignorant goddesses. He isn’t a necromancer by choice and doesn’t even have any idea how to use that power. It’s just a thing that happened to him. He might never use it.” If she can at all help it, he won’t. “I’d almost have rather bitten my tongue off than be so polite to her though.”
“….take my word for it. Do not antagonize a God when they’re right there. It’s a really, really, /really/ bad idea. It sounds like you get that, though. And hullo, I have snakes for hair. I had to piss of someone pretty bad to get that shit all over me. To be honest, I spend a lot of my time wondering how the hell I managed to stick my foot in that bad. Then I remember what I actually said and realize, yeah, okay. Gods don’t much like it when you tell them they’re awful. But, /come on/.” She grumbles.
“Well. They usually are. What she did to you just proves it. People are supposed to worship gods cause they’re supposed to be “better” than humanity. But they really aren’t, at least not the ones I’ve heard about or read about or met. They just have more power. I personally think your snakehair is awesome, but I realize you would probably rather that didn’t happen, and I get it. But it’s like she just totally proved to everyone she’s a petty vicious little bitch. I mean that’s something I’d totally do. But I am human and petty and vicious and definitely a bitch.” She glances down at herself and pokes her hip and pats her thigh. “Not so little though.”
Meg thinks for a moment and then adds “Actually, I wouldn’t do that to someone for saying I’m awful. I wouldn’t care what they thought of me and besides it’d be true. I would do it someone who actutally deserved it, like a woman abuser or one of those Dogwood dillholes. So really she’s worse than me and I mean why would anyone with any sense even want to worship that?”
“It was more…”
Elpida lets out a breath and then reaches for the coffee she had delivered while Victoria is getting cocoa.
“I don’t think it’s that simple. To be honest, I don’t think anything the Gods do is that simple. You know. Ever. She told me when she brought me here that I had to help people. That’s /definitely/ not like the Medusa myth, I’ll tell you that. So maybe there’s things I don’t know. Can’t know. Or you can’t know — and yeah, I probably DID annoy her but all the same, maybe I annoyed her because I was being a presumptuous shit at the time. Not saying I deserved to be ripped out of my life, transformed into a grecian monster, and told to fix the entire world but, hey, who’s counting?”
Tori is now returning with cocoa but she pipes up with, “You weren’t intended to succeed. It’s a way to get you to dedicate yourself to being better. Who knows, maybe if you do a great job she’ll turn you back. Or you’ll be happy this way. Athena is pretty smart.” The drink is now being offered to Elpida first, Tori’s clutched tightly in her right hand. “And yeah, murdering assholes has to happen sometimes. I know I don’t really have much time to wait to find out if a dickwad with a laser rifle is going to pull the trigger or not.”
“I was.. hm, really surprised to see her appear here. I hadn’t thought they had that kinda power anymore but well. It’s been a long time since the Rifts came and this world fell. So in the time since then, I guess it’s not really surprising they’ve resurfaced. This isn’t something a lot of people now would know but before the Rifts and magic and most everyone dyin’.. no one even believed in the Greek gods. They’d been nothing but stories and myths for so long, people didn’t think they were ever real.” She can read and has read and researched things most people wouldn’t care about or have any thought towards for as long as she can remember.
A surprise breakfast meeting turns interesting.
March 27, 2410
Teddy Mercier, Kaji Haragami, Nadia Mercier