Kaji’s been training with Bea and things are progressing. Of course, it’s not all work or, at least, it shouldn’t be. Sometimes, it’s nice just to kick back and enjoy the company of friends. The Singing Mermaid might be just the place. It’s not salubrious, down by the docks as it is, but it’s not too rough and it has some nice fare.
Megana is privately considering murdering Bea or attempting it, since finding out what Kaji has gotten mixed up in but her time acting like an angry, impatient and impetuous youth is over with. The Shifter Priestess needs more information before deciding on a course of action. Maybe this woman isn’t the evil that she seems. Maybe she is but can still prove useful..and then there is the fact that Megana isn’t likely to do anything without consulting Kaji first. He’s her family, not one of her minions. She can’t, or at least shouldn’t go around murdering people on his behalf without even mentioning it. So here is she is!
Megana is currently stuffing her face full of stew like there’s no tomorrow. She’s dressed unusually, in a black velvet robe belted around her growing stomach and soft matching boots and leggings. A silver and pearl belt encircles the Shifter’s waist. “So..how’s.. the.. learnin’ …going?” Meg asks between bites. “You seen that lady again?”If he were to be honest with himself, Kaji would much prefer a place around Vesper’s Market Town better than anything out around Glowtown. Of course, the only place he really felt at ease was Gran’s, as nowhere else had seemed quite as homey. Plus, he could borrow the kitchen on occasion, as eating is certainly more his pastime than drinking.
Such as it is, being here and hanging out at a bar is just awkward for someone who doesn’t really drink. He’d requested a water but hadn’t touched it, but at least there’s food, and after seeing the fervor that Megana has in digging into her stew, Kaji can’t help but be curious enough to have ordered his own to try. Good food, he certainly won’t say no to.
“Mm,” he replies, having been steadily eating at a rate comparable to Megana’s, but then he’s always been one to put away food fast, and in great quantities when given the chance. “…yeah. It, well it’s been going. We haven’t been doing anything too crazy outside of that one time, at least.”
To be honest, with the rather immeasurable amount of stress that Elpida has been feeling ever since she was dropped naked, terrified, and with lots of snakes onto Rifts Earth as the agent of apparently not one but now TWO goddesses, giant spiders flinging themselves at her, encounters with soulless, murders magic and mayhem, it should be no surprise that the moment anyone suggests anything even remotely approaching ‘fun’, she’s all but there with bells on.
Notably, she is definitely not wearing bells. Instead, she’s dressed in casual clothes that she’s scrounged up from somewhere, flopped into a chair. Notably, as anyone who witnessed her at council would know, she ABSOLUTELY drinks like a fish and she’s already on her second beer.
A young man and woman turn from the bar and glance round the tavern. It’s pretty busy and there aren’t many tables. Threading their way through the tables, the mans watching Elpida, pausing as they near the threesomes table.
The woman nudges him and offers a weak smile “Please excuse him, he doesn’t have any manners but we’ve not seen a true Gorgon.” She glances at Meg and then at Kaji. “I’m Katya and this is Erik.”
They’re dressed in standard clothing for the locale. Trousers, shirts and vests.
“That’s good, at least.. but..” Megana trails off and eyes the two newcomers. She nods but returns her attention to her food as she studies them covertly through her lashes. It’s an interesting choice of greeting, commenting on Elpida’s rarity rather than simply introduce themselves or ask if they can join the table or something. Maybe they’re just looking for a spot to sit or some companionship or news during their meal… but.. Megana is wary and suspicious by nature. That’s not one of the things that has changed about her.
The Shifter is sure Kaji or Elpida will have something to say and they can handle the introductions for now. Besides, her mouth is full. She doesn’t remember the stew here being quite this good but lots of things taste amazing when you’re pregnant and hungry. ‘I am gonna way as much as one of those broadhead dinos from the swamp I love so much at this rate..’ Megana thinks to herself somewhat ruefully.
Elpida had the beer tipped back as she was draining her second one — pounding it down, really. With her enhanced constitution, to be honest, she kind of has to work it this way to make herself feel anything from them. The snakes alerted her to the approach of the travelers before she even knew they were there exactly herself. Rather, when they st art speaking, she turns her dark eyes on the pair of them and adds, “Probably a good thing given all the legendary and lore, eh? Honestly, given everything, I’m surprised most people actually even know the word.”The stew’s not too bad, but he’s had tastier things at Gran’s. Of course, he might just be partial to the old woman’s cooking by now. That doesn’t mean that Kaji’s not currently scraping about the bottom of the bowl. For someone so scrawny where does all that food go!
Elpida seems to be enjoying her drink enough, although the teenager can’t watch her down anything without making a face. He still can’t fathom what people find so good about beer. Hopefully she doesn’t overdo it.
“But..?” he asks, his attention returning to Megana as she trails off before he turns his head towards the two who have wandered over. Blinking, Kaji smiles a little, but he supposes Elpida can accept her own apologies. He does find it funny that they’re introducing each other right off the back. Are people always so chummy around here? “Um, hey. Name’s Kaji. Are…you looking for food suggestions? I can’t help for drinks, but the stew’s pretty good.”
Erik chuckles “Some of us are interested in legend and lore. And you’re right, most people won’t know the word. But we do.” He takes a drink from his mug and nods to Kaji “Pleased to meet you and your, friends Kaji.”
Katya gestures to the end of the table, it’s really the open space available “Mind if we sit here? The stew does sound good, and your firend seems to be doing it justice.”
The gesture might get some attention. It’s a little more than required to point the chair. Magic on Rifts Earth is always obvious, but some casters have it down to a subtle art.
“Issat right?” asks Elpida to Katya and Erik as they speak, “I don’t mind, and it’s more common around Vesper that someone would know, I guess. You from Vesper?” she asks, leaning back, the vipers atop her head writhing and slithering like they do.
Megana’s eyes narrow. It is Vesper after all and there are plenty of mages about but that gesture.. it wasn’t directed at her and it doesn’t feel dangerous but she finds it a little rude all the same. Ordinarily her response would be a sudden dagger poking against something vital and a pointed “What the fuck do you think you are doing?” Or her person suddenly melding into the shadows and disappearing just in case… but now.. Meg’s eyes go to Kaji and then Elpida. Alright then, nice it is.
“The thing about magic..” Megana tells Kaji with another look at their new guests. “Is that some people grow to rely on it far too much. Of course it’s a good thing and often the superior way but there are some things, lots of things, in fact, where magic is not necessary.” Her tone takes on a hint of warning before she returns to mopping up the last of her stew. Sometimes, she really misses the telepathy when Teddy isn’t around. Hopefully Kaji picked up on her warning and the new people as well.“I…” Kaji hadn’t caught it at all. He’s still a little naive when it comes to how some magics work around here, although it’s more that he’s looking for the wrong sorts of things to be wary of, if that makes any sense. There’s little enough space and enough room at their table to share, he supposes, although his concerns seem to be more in Elpida’s favor given the interest that the two show her.
However, it’s Megana’s somewhat offhanded comment that has the youth glancing towards her. He doesn’t quite frown, but he looks back at the two, still smiling politely, although all the more wary. Magic? Was that Katya-person trying to use magic? What for?
Kaji feels it, the pull on the ‘mark’ that was left on him. It’s responding to the magic that washes over him, like it’s answering something.
“I’m not from Vesper.” Katya smiles at Elpida as she takes a seat, the magic fading as she does. “I’m from up North. What about all of you?” She’s looking at Kaji as she says that but spares the barest of glances to the two women “And I still don’t know your names…”
Erik doesn’t sit, not at the moment “Two bowls of stew coming up… ” He’ll be back in moment.
Another drink of beer and Elpida answers. “I’m Elpida,” she offers, for herself, the snakes hissing their agreement, “And those are my snakes,” she adds, dryly, as they do.
“North as in what?” she asks, tilting her head. Curiosity about the rest of the world.
Megana’s eyes follow Erik. “Tolkeen.” The Shifter answers shortly. She is not liking this situation at all. Her desire to protect Kaji from the darker aspects of her nature and his new world should not outweigh her desire to protect him. Perhaps she should have already acted, but this is Vesper and not one of the roughest parts. You kind of need to actually be able to prove it was self defense if you’re gonna get stab happy to avoid trouble. “I think she was up to no good!” Isn’t gonna cut it as an excuse if the damned justicars show up. Or the armsmen. Besides, she could be wrong. It’s been known to happen. Especially if you ask Teddy.
Beneath the table Megana rests a hand on Kaji’s leg both in warning that she thinks something might be wrong and to comfort him. If these people are trouble she’s certain they are here for him or Elpida. That magic wasn’t directed at her and so far as she knows none of her current enemies are looking for her here. Meg can’t think of a way to subtly warn Elpida that she suspects something is up but the Gorgon is fast enough to action when needs be so there is that. “Currently I keep a place in Saren’s Rest but a Shifters and Priestess usually spend their time traveling.” Megana’s eyes go to Katya and she wonders for a moment what life is like when you’re not a crazy paranoid bitch. …Probably pretty boring.
The young necromancer stiffens slightly in his seat, drawing in the slightest breath at the sensation. He swallows, finally reaching for his glass of water. His other hand remains under the table, reaching out beside him to grab the edge of Megana’s clothes, but instead finding Megana’s hand rest upon his knee, he grasps for that, squeezing- he hopes not too tightly but firmly all the same.
Shoot, he screwed up. Kaji tries not to let his panic spread externally, catching Katya’s eye before looking towards the table as though struck by a sudden shyness. He takes a few gulps of water, not the greatest, but it’s something to preoccupy him, not that he trusts his voice anyway.
“Devils Gate.” Katya answers Elpida, in an offhand manner. That might not mean much to her, or Kaji, but St Louis would be appropriate. “And Erik’s from Free Quebec.” She smiles again, looking at Kaji “You haven’t said where you are from…”
Erik returns then, two steaming bowls of stew in his hand and takes a seat at the table “What brings you all to Vesper. It’s such an amazing city isn’t it?”
‘I’d like to punt your suspicious ass through a gate to the devil.’ Megana thinks but what she says is “Kaji is my brother.” and glares slightly at the persistent questioning. It’s not really a lie. He’s an adopted member of her family but a member all the same and brother would be the closest word in this language for what he is to her. “We’re working.” Again, not really a lie. They are working for the Thirty. That isnt’ something you should talk about in a tavern or anywhere else for that matter however. “Elpida is a good friend.”
Megana’s arm lifts to wrap around Kaji’s shoulders and now her gaze doesn’t leave the strangers. “Vesper is alright. Saren’s Rest is more to my tastes. More wild. Dangerous, even. If you don’t know what you’re about.”Kaji’s somewhat surprised to hear that Quebec in any form still exists. He’s also kind of glad that he’s learned that New York is no longer known as such in this world, because it’d be a great giveaway to have mentioned it in front of the wrong people. Still, it’s not like he can say he came from Madhaven either. That place was apparently in ruins, which never fails to sadden him whenever he thinks about it.
“Oh, Northish,” he says vaguely, just as Erik returns. Here he is, hiding behind Megana again. Part of him doesn’t want her to say such things, to give them any reason to have any interest in the Shifter too, but he wouldn’t deny that having her arm around him is the bolstering he needs. He glances at her, and then back at the two that have decided to occupy their table, before looking over at Elpida to see if she’s caught on. Then again, she’s been a little on the confrontational side already. Maybe it’s the beer.
“Lots to see here,” he chimes in, a somewhat belated response to Erik’s questioning. “And I heard about the Academy, but I’m not sure I could get in.”
Glancing towards Megana and Kaji — Elpida may be a little tipsy but she knows SOMETHING is putting the former on edge — she gives a nod towards the pair of travelers and adds, “WEll, that’s cool. I’m from somewhere else entirely. Not around here, that’s for sure,” she replies with an amused smile. Some things, you know. They’re better left a mystery.” IT’s not that she doesn’t rust them.
…okay, it’s totally that she doesn’t trust them.
“Working? So are we!.” Erik grins and drapes an arm around the back of Katya’s chair. Totally at ease. “I arrived in the city a few months ago, met Katya and teamed up with her. There’s so much work here, if you know where to look. What’s your business, if I might ask.” That’s directed to Meg as he takes a mouthful of stew and looks at Kaji, almost studying the teen “You weren’t wrong this stew is delicious.”
Katya is watching the interaction between Meg and Kaji, a small smile tugging at her lips “Your brother. Must be nice to have someone watch you over you. What’s Tolkeen like?” that’s to Kaji. Meg had just said where she was from.
Elpida gets a thoughtful look from the woman, who’s yet to touch her stew “Mysteries are good, that’s for certain. Are you working here too?”
Megana nods at Kaji’s words and then answers Erik. “I am looking to get my brother into the Academy, that’s the main reason we’re working here now instead of at home. There’s been a sudden need lately for people with my gifts, those looking to travel want to do so faster and safer than usual. Or have additional protection along…so it’s worked out.” Also true, what with all the disappearings and soul stealings going on.
Again she answers for Kaji, this time with a greater glare. “I didn’t think there were many people, even non travelers who haven’t heard that Tolkeen fell.” She hasn’t told Kaji much about the city of her birth or the war and he likely doesn’t know anything. “Kaji doesn’t look watch over me. I watch over him.. I am a Shifter Priestess after all…” In case they haven’t gotten the point yet. “Plus I’m the elder sister. It’s my job.”
“I do things, yeah. Work. Whatever’s available, really, when people need help,” says Elpida with a wink towards Katya and a smile right back at her. When Katya says the name Tolkeen, she chokes on her bear. She is likely imagining a city run by Lord of the Rings enthusiasts. She is probably not far from the truth in some respects.“Freelance,” Kaji offers, not wanting to seem completely dependent on Megana. He squirms a little as though wanting to move away from her arm, as much as he felt better for it. “I want to do things on my own though, I told you,” he says, arching a brow at her, although he hopes she catches on. And technically they did talk about it.
At least he doesn’t need to fake anything regarding Tolkeen’s mentioning. His disturbed look is genuine, even as he lets his gaze drift towards the table. Oh, he knows what happened to Tolkeen. He’d been in part of the war, or he’d seen it at least, in flashes from Ted Mercier’s memories. He hadn’t known that Megana had come from there, though.
“Freelance … that’s a good business.” Erik grins again and casts Elpida a strange look, as she nearly chokes. “I don’t know much about Gorgons, except what I’ve read but I can imagine you’re rather … versatile. Do you have much work, at the moment?” His gaze turns to Megana “So your brother shares your gifts?” her cutting remark about Tolkeen is totally ignored as his smile turns indulgent when Kaji asserts himself.
“Striking out on ones own is never a bad thing.” Katya murmurs, watching the interaction between the two. If anything it looks like Kaji is rebelling against his … overprotective … big sister. And it’s clearly of amusement to both of these of two. “Erik’s often complaining that I dictate what we’ll do.”
If the trio get the impression these two are more interested in Kaji than anything, they might not be wrong.
Megana grins impishly at Kaji. “I know, I know. But c’mon. Someone’s gotta keep you out of trouble.” The affection in her voice is genuine and the words slip into her old slang easily so for a moment she really doesn’t seem to be anything but a teasing sibling.
Meg knows Kaji got some of Ted’s memories in that dungeon but not which ones, they didn’t talk much about it. “Freelance is where it’s at.” Megana agrees. She’s looking more relaxed and less suspicious but she isn’t, she’s quite ready to do something quite terrible depending on the actions of the other two. The images she saw when scanning Kaji’s wound have her on edge still and she’s very much of the “better safe than sorry” mind.
No need for these two to know how close he and Megana have become. Had anyone told him when he’d first arrived that he’d ever find his place in the odd family of the Shifter and Cyber-Knight, Kaji wouldn’t have believed it. But Megana had come to grow on him, and had proven herself to be a caring person despite her violent tendencies. He huffs at her insistence to hide any feelings otherwise of that trouble he’s so often gotten himself into. Yeah, he didn’t need that reminder.
Sitting back a bit in his own seat and not quite sulking, Kaji folds his arms. His attention’s shifted from Elpida- she okay there? – to the two strangers at their table, brow arching at Erik, a crooked smile tugging at a corner of his lips. “…at least you decided on the stew though, right?” As much as he wants to ask them more questions about themselves, he’d rather not have things turned around on him. He just wants them gone, or to leave with Megana and Elpida, just so long as they can put some distance between them. At least he’d finished eating earlier, otherwise his appetite would’ve been spoiled.
For her part, Elpida is skeptical. And drinking beer again. She hasn’t really gotten into the stew herself no matter how good it might be.
“Versatile enough, I suppose,” she explains to Erik with a grin. “Though legend and lore and reality, well… they don’t meet all THAT often.” Better to keep random, nosy strangers guessing.
“Were you looking to hire or something?” she asks, eyebrows lifted.
“I suppose they don’t.” Erik grins back at Elpida “and I’ll just bet that you attract enough attention. And no, we weren’t looking to hire, but if we are, you’d be a welcome addition. If that’s of interest, let us know where we can get word to you. We’re always looking for work, though, you can get word to us at the Rural Roost.” That’s a guest house at the opposite end of Market Street.
“Well, we better get going.” Katya says, rising to her feet. Kaji feels it again, that tug on the mark that was left on him. “Nice to meet you all.” Erik follows suit and its not long before they’re heading out the door.
Two bowls of almost uneaten stew left on the table.
Everything's fun and games until someone brings magic to the dinner table.
May 21, 2410
The Singing Mermaid, Glowtown
Cursed by Athena
Oath-Bound Shifter and Priestess of the Night Eternal