Slaine’s a busy woman. And even busier now. No one really knows what’s going on with her. All that some know is she headed out to Saren’s Rest about a week ago, Kaji followed a few days later and they arrived back yesterday.
The small redhead is currently sitting on the veranda of Gran’s, looking out over Market Street and the vendors there. There’s a mug of something by her hand and there’s a collection of paper on her lap. That’s unusual – paper is hard to come by in Rifts Earth and Slaine is illiterate. So what the hell is she doing?
A certain Shifter Priestess has been very busy too since the last time she met Slaine. Searching for a place to live in Vesper, becoming accustomed to the bond with her familiar and all the other changes in her life, plotting to kill a gem merchant, searching the surrounding countryside for suspicious shit in general and planning on freeing a mine filled with stone-snakes are just a few of the things Megana has been up to.
The busier she is the easier it is to forget and letgo the recent past. So far Meg’s checked up on all the members of what she considers her little family since the battle against the old God. All but Slaine and Miss Frizz, Kaji, Aiden, even Leo have been met with and Meg’s been slowly, awkwardly attempting to make a connection with a certain handsome clothier as well. Right now she’s out searching for the Mystic and the Mouse Lady. War and the prospect of violent imminent death have been lifelong companions. Meg’s pretty sure that isn’t the case for the others. She decloaks from the Shadows she’d been hiding in and steps out onto the Veranda, clearing her throat softly so as not to startle. “Hm. Mind if I hava sit here? Haven’t seen ya in awhile. Just wanted to see how you are and all.” ‘There, that’s not too awkward and weird right?’ Meg thinks? Hopes.
Suss has been busy helping the wait staff with the diners currently there for afternoon meals. There’s a bit of a lull now, though, so after seeing Meg pass through she goes to check on Slaine. And, yes, there’s an ugly mouse toy effigy following her. She’s exceedingly peeved about it, but she’s ignoring the hideous thing as much as she can.
Skittering out onto the veranda, she considers for a moment, then climbs Slaine’s pantleg to get the Mystic’s attention.
<~ Miss Slaine? If you get a wrapped gift and you don’t know who it’s from, don’t open it. ~>
There is a certain irony in tracking down Slaine only to track her down to the same location he was standing in when he found he needed to track her down in the first place. But if Cal Deven is particularly upset about this then his face never actually gets the memo. He looks pretty much just as steady as he ever does, serious and focused as he turns and begins walking up. He’s in uniform. He raises a hand in greeting, but takes his time, seeing that she’s already got quite a few people surrounding her.
One of them, as it happens, giving her quite excellent advice born from personal experience.
Slaine looks up as Meg arrives and nudges a chair with the toe of her boot. “I don’ mind.” The papers on her lap are actually a small ‘book’, hand written with images and simple words. Those who inhabit Rifts Earth will this rather strange, but it’s a Reader and Slaine’s been laboriously trying pronounce some of the words.
Yes. She’s learning to read.
Frizz gets her attention next and the small redhead holds a hand out – she’ll transfer the little mouse from her knee to her shoulder. “What’s that Frizz? A gift?” She’s distracted quickly though by Cal’s appearance “Justicar Deven. It’s been a while, what brings ye by?”
Meg and Frizz might get the impression that there’s history between the two of them from that greeting.
Megana smiles and settles in a swish of cotton skirt. She’s wearing a midnight blue dress with long sleeves and a tight bodice that enhances her already obvious curves and swells. The Shifter’s long dark hair fans out behind and trails down her back, held from her face by a silver headband adorned with tiny white and blue enameled blossoms and green leaved vines. “Thank you.”
Meg doesn’t comment on the reading knowing Slaine’s feelings when the Mystic started but is glad to see she’s continued. “Miss Frizz!” Meg exclaims in happy surprise but her smile quickly turns to a frown. “Um. What’s following you?” Cal she either doesn’t see yet or just outright ignores. It can sometimes be hard to tell what Megana notices or not. Considering Slaine named him a Justicar though, Meg is probably aware of the man. In fact, before The Shifter steps up and kneels in front of Slaine and reaches a finger towards Suss, she stands behind Cal and points at him, raises a brow at Slaine and mimes slicing his throat, waiting for an answer before moving. Slaine may or may not be surprised to find herself on the very short list of people Meg will kill for without fee or question.
Miss Frizz is only too happy to let Slaine set her on the table, but then she flinches and actually hisses at the hideous little effigy that appears near her. <~ THAT, Miss Slaine, is why you shouldn’t open anything you don’t know. ~> Then she looks up at Cal as he arrives. <~ Hello again, Mr. Justicar. ~> The fact that Slaine seems to know him is not lost on her, but she doesn’t really know how to place the significance of it.
Looking at the picture book that Slaine is holding, Suss tries to figure out what information the pages are meant to convey.
“Hello, Miss Frizz. Hello Miss Slaine. Ma’am,” Cal replies, the last one for Meg. If he is upset by her desire to ignore him he shows no sign. He does lift an eyebrow when she circles behind him, but doesn’t look back or anything, thus missing the question as to whether or not he should be summarily executed. He instead nods in Suss’ direction, and says, “I actually did come looking for you to find out if you’d gotten a little doll. One which behaves oddly. Follows you around, bothers you. Much like the one Miss Frizz is currently being plagued by.”
He has his hands by his sides; he’s certainly not presenting any kind of overt threat whatsoever. Or even a subtle one. He’s just this sort of rocklike presence, asking his questions and pursuing his leads in fairly dogged fashion.
A breath of fresh air always helps to chase off the drowsiness that creeps in at the otherwise most random hours of the day, especially when you’ve been keeping some late nights. The latter fact is nothing new for Varos Jenek, although his latest project has been more of a hassle to deal with due to having to collaborate with someone outside of his usual assistants. And so it’s also times like this that he relishes, an escape from the shop, if only a brief taste of freedom until this next commission is completed.
He isn’t completely playing hooky, but then Varos always has some sort of cover for his excursions, whether it be to genuinely wind down or, in this particular instance, to make a delivery.
The young clothier comes up the street and towards Gran’s, dressed in that casual sort of manner that can also serve for business without seeming overboard in one aspect or another. It’s all in the cut of the material, the subtly different panels. It makes something that would otherwise be very plain still seem quite fashionable. It’s why he’s in the business.
His pewter mask with its amethyst inset eyelike shapes glints almost mischievously in the light as he tilts his head up, catching a ‘glimpse’ of those gathered on the veranda. His smile suitably matches as he continues on his way up, adjusting the package he has tucked under an arm.
“Jus’ Slaine, Cal…” Slaine sighs as the Justicar draws near, shaking her head at Meg with a slightly amused air. “Take a seat…” The reader shows simple images of a boy and girl with words on each page like: “See Kaji Run”. Frizz might recognize some of the images – Kaji’s not bad artist after all. Still, the book is folded carefully and put to the side, as the redhead takes a pull from the drink beside her.
It smells like wine.
“This here is Meg, Cal. Oh, and there’s Mister Jenek…” she waves to the Clothier, inviting him to join them if he wishes.
“Doll?” She blinks at the really, really ugly, battered Mouse effigy that appears on the table next to Frizz. “… uh no. Not sure why anyone would send me a doll. What’s that, Frizz?” She might be a bit slow in catching up.
Kneeling in front of Slaine, Meg winks at the Mystic and shrugs one shoulder. She’s no longer got a personal war planned against the Justicars but hey she figured it was a nice offer. Megana draws her dagger, or at least one of the many daggers hidden about her person and is about to prod tip to prod the mouse doll before thinking better of it. “Is this bothering you? Cause I’mma find who sent it and…have a lil chat with them.” ‘Hahahaha. Yes. Chat. We’ll sit down and have a nice a talk, with some of my knives sticking out of his-hm. Wonder if that dude is a psychic..‘ “Hi there Cal.” Meg grins, and turns her attention to Cal, attempting to focus on an image of the man naked dancing on top of a pink elephant just to see if he reacts any.
However she isn’t staring at the Justicar long before she hears Slaine call out to Varos and the Shifter moves to her feet and sheathes the dagger with more grace than one might expect of one with her girth. “Hullo Varos.” She steps forward and gently touches the Clothier’s shoulder before pulling out the chair she’d been about to sit in for him.
<~ Yes, doll. ~> The annoyance in Miss Frizz’s telepathic quip is almost palpable. <~ Kaji, and Elpida, and I have each received one. The current thought is that they’re the work of the Harvesters and are here to do something bad. ~> The mouse turns her snout toward Cal briefly.
<~ And that I’m not allowed to crush the thing. ~>
“A pleasure to meet you, Miss Meg,” Cal says politely.
He either has the will of solid rock, does not mind the image of himself dancing naked on top of a pink elephant, or is about as personally psychic said aforementioned rock.
“And you as well, Mister Jenek,” he says, to the masked man on the approach.
“I’m sorry, Miss Frizz, it’s just not safe to tamper with it,” he replies. “I do have an appointment with Ingerhast; he’ll surely be able to explain how to break the link. Until then, please be patient. Once the link is broken. Once it is then it will be safe to pursue the culprits. All the same, I am pleased to hear you have not yet received one, Miss Slaine. I understand you also ran afoul of the same Harvesters the other recipients tangled with.”
“Miss Slaine, Lady Shadowcleft, Miss Suss,” Varos greets, smiling amiably at them all, even as he also offers a nod towards Cal. “Sir Justicar. Such a gathering! I hope all is well with everyone?” Through the perspective of the others, he takes notice of the unusual looking doll sitting there on the table, unable to help but grimace. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything?” he says hesitantly, brow arching beneath his visor as he ‘glances’ at the Justicar.
He turns his head towards Megana, his lips quirking slightly as she puts her dagger away and offers him her seat. “Oh, you needn’t do that, milady,” he says, gesturing for her to go ahead and sit. “I only came by to deliver something, although I’m quite glad that it was so easy to find you.” Although it wouldn’t be a difficult thing enticing him to stay a while. Just more excuses for him to stay away from work longer. He holds out the package he’d brought along, offering it towards the Shifter.
“Ye did, did ye?” Slaine murmurs, looking at the mouse doll, picking it up and turning over in her hands. “So it came lookin’ like this, did it?” She smirks down to the annoyed rodent. “Seems a bit strange for someone to send ye something lookin’ like this. I ain’ been around much, but there’s been nothing for me, though Vargr…” Cal will know from the Justicar records, that’s Aiden Frost – psychic warrior and someone else that has worked with the Justicars. “… had one when we were in Saren’s Rest. Apparently it was delivered to him there.”
“Ye didn’ get one, Meg?” She doesn’t say anything about Megs tendency to violent. Thank goodness Slaine’s psychic ability doesn’t extend to mind reading. Cal’s a good looking guy, after all, and Slaine’s only human.
“What’s the Justicars’ interest in this anyway, Cal? Dolls that follow people around aren’ generally noteworthy enough – ye’ve enough to keep ye busy that ye hire people like me to help out.”
Varos gets a nod and another small smile “The dress ye made me, was a hit, Mister Jenek. I had use of it when I was in Saren’s Rest.” That should raise some questions. Slaine in a Dress, to begin with. In Saren’s Rest of all places.
Suss, despite her annoyance at the hideous mouse toy, is momentarily speechless. She’s staring at Megana as if the Shifter … well, were dancing naked on an elephant. But then Varos offers Meg a package and she responds almost by reflex, using her telekinesis to ‘swat’ the package out of the clothier’s hand and to the floor. <~ No packages! ~>
At Suss’s words and the realization that the boy she looks on as a son is in danger, along with her mouse friend and the Gorgon, and now apparently Aiden as well, from the possibly the very people she’d just went and slaughtered by the hundreds?? at least.. Megana slowly steps back and leans against the Veranda. Her gaze turns distant and the warmth lighting her eyes at meeting Varos a moment vanishes. Megana’s eyes are cold and empty now and her emotions to anyone who could sense them read as a dark, deadly chill, slowly being drawn in and focused onto this new threat to her family. “Well then. Seems someone didn’t learn their lesson. Funny tho, I hadn’t thought enough of them got away to be left to try this kinda petty nonsense. A last ditch desperate kamikaze bullshit fuckup run, sure. But this… what do you think Slaine? Really Harvesters?” There had been a lot of crazy fucking bastards… and any left have to be incredibly pissed off.. but this… it doesn’t seem their style from what she’d observed. Then again, they had so loved their little puppets. “Hm. Maybe I can take it. Break the control of whoever it belongs to and make it mine.” She pauses and looks at Cal. “The last time I did it I was breaking the hold of a Shifter Queen on the tree demon she sent to kill me. I’d think this is would be a lot easier but…” Megana pauses and considers. Professor Ingerhast might have another solution..Meg just isn’t overly fond of that person, or their attention towards her Kaji… however it could be less risky.. perhaps.. She scowls slightly. To the others eyes she probably seems the young slightly spoiled daughter of a well to do craftsman or merchant. Of course there aren’t a lot of things that could be further from the truth and the others save maybe the Justicar know that, though being what he is he has possibly heard quite a bit about her whether he knows it or not.
“I don’t speak for the others but you are always welcome where I am, Master Varos.” Some of the warmth returns and she ducks her head in respect, giving herself time to think even as she truly means the words and gesture. She’s about to reach for the package when Frizz swats it away. “It’s okay, this is the coat that Master Varos made for me.” Meg smiles as she kneels to retrieve the box. “Miss Frizz, Slaine, what would you have me do? Wait til Ingerhast has a look, or try to break it myself? If you want to wait I think I’ll simply go harvester hunting and see if I can find who did it that way.” Then Meg quiets to hear Cal’s answer. The Justicars did nothing to save the Earth an ‘Verse from the dark god and in fact ended up helping the harvesters whether or not they realized it. It’s Meg’s opinion that most of them can’t tell their bums from a hole in the ground but today she seems to be in polite enough a mood not to share it. Aloud at least. “He is not a stranger.” Megana adds. “But a Clothier, a good one. Maybe we can get him to make you some more capes, hm?”
“Vargr was mentioned, yes. I’ll make a note he got one as well,” Cal comments. “As for why the Justicars are interested, the dolls seem to be a prelude to magical murder, or have been in the past.”
He’s watching Meg now, with a fair amount of caution. He may not know much about Meg, but he’s watching her body language, and listening to the tone of her voice and the content of said words. Closely.
“There has also been a theory floated that stragglers put out a revenge contract,” he adds.
Meg’s offer though produces a quirk of his lips and a deadpan, “Yes, of course we should hastily start magically tampering with the dolls before we’ve gathered information from all and sundry experts. Vesper doesn’t have enough craters yet. Good call.”
Varos grins at Slaine. “It pleases me to hear it.” He won’t say anything more than that. Where his patrons make use of what they wear is their business, after all.
Even though he can’t see Megana’s shift in emotion, he gets a sense of it like a chill breeze, his own smile fading just slightly. “Lady Shadowcleft…?” he begins to say, overlapped by the Shifter’s murmurings as she begins to consider what sort of course of actions she might take in this possible new threat.
Miss Frizz’s exclamation barely registers, but he’s startled as the package is knocked away from his hands. “Miss Suss! What in the-” He’s only thankful that he doesn’t deal in anything breakable. Holding back a sigh, his smile is at least sincere as it returns to his lips, glad that Megana vouches for him even as she beats him to retrieving the package from the ground.
“Well, I suppose I can understand the caution… But I assure you, I don’t deal in dolls. I’ve never actually seen any like…that, before.” Turning slightly so he can appear to regard Cal, that of which he does anyway through the eyes of the other three, he folds his arms. “At least someone’s looking into this. Potential murder or otherwise by dolls is disturbing, no doubts about it. Does anyone know who’s been delivering them?”
Laughter, honest genuine laughter followed by several snickers and fits of giggles follow the Justicar’s words. The Shifter puts one hand on her hip and drawls “Honey please. I do not tamper. I am Megana Shadowcleft, Shadow-Touched Shifter, Marked by the Shade of He that cannot be named, Priestess of the Night Eternal, Consort of Darish Dorimor, A Raksha Demon Lord of a Thousand Guises. Mother of the King of Forest and Elves and-”
Whatever other impressive titles the shifter had been about to give are cut off as a potbellied red-skinned white eyed devilian imp bursts out onto the Verdana naked as the day he was born (formed?) waving a whip in one hand and a beer mug in the other and giggling like a little mad man. Two different pairs of lacy underthings adorn his horns and upon spotting Megana he toddles drunkenly over and sits down with a huge shit-eating grin. “Boss. Boos. Bossbossbossboss. Shhh. I’mma tell you a secret.. shhhhhhhhh!!!!!” He sloshes beer everywhere and then shouts. “I peed the bed!” then falls over snoring. Megana, her mouth still hanging open just pauses and stares for several moments. Finally she drops her hand and just flops into an empty chair. “I can think of a few places as could use some craters anyhow.” She finishes lamely.
Meg’s view of the Justicars is somewhat jaded. Her previous mentor, Teddy Mercier – a Cyberknight, had run afoul of them and they’d been detained and accused of murder. Still, her view that the Justicars had done nothing to stop Nxla isn’t fair – that wasn’t their bailiwick and they, along with the Guardsman (who’s job is really was) had done all that they could. That they’d recruited this small group to help, was part of it.
“Meg…” Slaine sighs, listening to Cal and frowning. “I suppose that’s a theory. Not what I would have thought of the Harvesters, but we dealt them a heavy blow… so maybe? Has there been a murder already with one? I hadn’t heard, but then I’ve been out of town for a few days.”
There’s another sigh as Meg suggests trying to destroy the link and a snicker as Cal calls that out. “I think ye need to find out more before ye try to do anythin’. Remember, breakin’ a link means makin’ one with the magic – whoever is doin’ this, could trace ye back and do who knows wh—-” The imp appears then and Slaine just blinks. “Can’ ye not control it better, Meg? I mean …” she waves the mug at the now snoring imp.
“Frizz!” the package is knocked from Varos’ hand and Slaine reaches a finger down to stroke Frizz’s back “Ye didn’ see who delivered ye’res an’ Mister Jenek is a friend….” she chides gently.
“Professor Ingerhast would be good to talk to. She knows a lot about a lot…. ” Maybe some of the others might want to go with him. Lucky Cal!
“A line-up like that must make monogramming your napkins a real bitch,” Cal tells the Lady Shadowcleft in the self-same deadpan tone, a quirk of a half-smile flashing over his features. He’s a little too polite to address the bed-peeing imp, but it does quirk his smile again. “It also doesn’t make messing with these things half-cocked a great idea.”
With that, he answers Miss Slaine. “Not yet, not from this particular set. As for who sent them, Mister Jenek, sadly, no. I just caught the case yesterday.”
Maybe some of them will, and the sardonic Justicar probably won’t complain if they do. They might have questions he won’t think of, after all, and since quite the posse is forming to go punch and or stab the culprits, might as well.
Megana scowls a bit but then chuckles. “Okay. Ya got me there. An besides, I don’t have much to cock now that I’m not wearing that creepy old dude’s meatsuit.” She’s no longer playing the part of the spoiled ward who gets into all the trouble all the time. “Really I have some idea of what I’m doing. I studied at the Academy here for over a decade and I’m quite a bit older than I look however the Prof there may have a better handle, only because these are dolls and I.. I have to admit even I haven’t seen this quite like this afore. Usually in a fight for control of a minion the risk is to the minion and the Shifter, and the Shifter you are trying to steal it from, not whatever the minion is targeting but I mean, it’s a doll. I just don’t..” Meg sighs and shrugs. She’s able now to admit not knowing, still doesn’t like it though. “So anyway I guess I agree and Slaine, this is controlling him. Lli Chibt is my familiar, a demon familiar. It’s kinda an unusual situation even for me. We’ve had to come to certain “arrangements” with in regards to the way we both behave to get along. So..” She shrugs. She’ll get the little fucker back eventually. It’s kinda a game they play.Brown eyes study the Justicar through most of her response. He’s caught her interest though not in the bad way his kind usually does. He’s funny. She kinda likes him. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to *her eyes travel down to Lli Chibt* okay prolly not his good side but well, then. Maybe try not to get anymore on his “kill or arrest as soon as possible list” than she might already be.
“And no I haven’t gotten one of these but its not like I told anyone I was movin’ here. They’d be looking in Saren’s Rest. Or maybe” She grins darkly. “They’re afraid of what I’d do with all the little bits I took offa the couple I let live.” Oh the Night drank deeply during that battle.
Varos somehow manages not to sway as suddenly the imp’s perspective forces itself amidst the mostly solid ones of those within his immediate vicinity. This is precisely why he prefers to go by taverns during less busy hours; it’s such a headache swimming through drunken hazes that aren’t even his. He represses a scowl, resting his visor against a knuckle since the same object keeps him from effectively massaging his forehead, a forced smirk tugging at his mouth.
“Ah…this wouldn’t perchance be the same familiar that you’d checked in on the other day, would it?” he asks Megana, chuckling dryly.
At least with the imp out of commission, he doesn’t have to pull in his psyvision’s focus so tightly. He nods at Cal’s response regarding the case.
“Not from this particular set …” Slaine caught that and she frowns. “Well, that’s probably a good thing. I’m sorry I couldn’ be more use to ye, Cal but I’ll ask Gran if she’s heard of anythin’ like this.”
She stands and stretches, looking regretfully into the cup that she’s carrying. “I need more to drink. Are ye on duty, Cal or can ye spare time for a meal? Grans got those bronto-ribs ye like so much…” she smiles slightly. “It’s been a while since we caught up…”
“Nice seein’ ye again, Mister Jenek. Thank ye for the lovely dress ye made me. I went dancin’ in it.” She looks down to the mouse on the table “Wan’ a ride, Frizz?” She’ll take the mouse back inside and set her on her shelf if she likes.
After that disturbing mental image from Meg, Suss had been mostly quiet, torn between giving that hideous little effigy death glares and idly watching the others chat. At Slaine’s offer of a lift back inside, she stands up on her hind legs. <~ Yes, please. ~> She might have time for a nap before the next mealtime rush.
<~ It was good to see all of you again. ~>
“It may be, Lady Shadowcleft, that when the time comes you’ll be the perfect person to do it,” Cal says, with an incline of his head. “I don’t disparage your skills, I just think it’s best to be sure we know exactly what we’re doing.”
But her note about her move is also mentally catalogued. It makes sense.
Slaine’s words make him look torn. On one hand…bronto-ribs. On the other, his burning desire to work this case until it is done without stopping even for a moment. But a man has to eat. “I think I will spare that moment, at that,” he says, standing to follow Slaine in, giving Miss Frizz another one of those there-and-gone smiles.
An incline of his head to Varos, and then he is off to go sit a spell.
“Good to see you Miss Frizz. I’ll have something nice for you next time I see you.” Megana smiles at the mouse and then nods at Slaine and Cal, leaning back in her seat to regard Varos. The Shifter reaches down to give the imp at her feet a fond little pat and laughs softly. “Yes, twas him.” Does it worry Varos, Meg wonders, that she can easily show more regard and affection for the little demon than she has for most of her fellow humans. It isn’t a thought the Shifter has often, she rarely cares what others think of her after all but Varos..intrigues her. Or something. Some emotion she is not accustomed to feeling but not also not entirely unpleasant either.
With everyone excusing themselves, Varos offers them a nod, watching as they take their leave. “I hope that this matter is resolved quickly,” he says as the door closes after the Justicar. Seems like he’ll have to inform the girls and Sens of these mysterious deliveries of dolls.
He turns his head back towards Megana, smiling crookedly. No, he’s not necessarily worried about it. In a way he’s intrigued and has to wonder what she sees so endearing in the little thing. “I suppose there’s no dull moment to be had there, then.” He shrugs. “Well, perhaps I should head back. I hope your commission is to your satisfaction- and that you don’t find yourself with one of those disturbing doll-things. Although I wonder that one might think twice to dare send such a thing to you,” he says, grinning a bit.
Megana rises, carefully tucking her package against one hip and smiling at Varos. “I am sure it’s quite to my satisfaction.” Her lashes flutter and the Shifter laughs. “You say such nice things Master Varos. If you’d like, I could walk you home.” Somewhat shyly Megana offers her hand, careful to move the wind in his direction a bit so he’ll know what she’s about. Maybe she suspects the reason for the masks, or maybe she’s really shy. At the moment she’s definitely worried about his safety, she saw him swoon upon seeing her familiar and that thought reminds her “Lli Chibt will be staying here, I promise. But if you are in a hurry then perhaps another time?” Megana offers an out. This is one of the areas her usual self confidence seems to falter.
If he had an inkling of the suspicions Megana had about him he wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He does not however have to feign surprise, and indeed the Shifter hasn’t failed to do so with him, from the simplest gestures to the imp-induced outbursts.Tilting his head slightly, Varos appears to cast the imp a look before regarding Megana and her offer.
He smiles, reaching out to gently take her extended hand. “I’m in no such hurry,” he says. “And if you aren’t busy and so insist, then I would very much enjoy the company.” Sweeping his other hand outward, he gestures back towards the street. “Shall we?”
“We shall.” Megana grins into the night, her hips swaying slightly in a cocky little strut at Varos acceptance of her offer. Surely she’d be blushing terribly if she realized but fortunately the Shifter hasn’t. Her focus is mostly on Varos and the different and interesting emotions their surprise jaunt is generating. She’s also got her senses extended outward, ready to hide them both in the Shadows or bolt or spring to kill or command whatever she spots first that she thinks she can take should the need arise. He will get home safely or she’ll die trying dammit! However, dying is definitely about the last thing on Meg’s mind tonight. Her lips turn upwards a bit.. there was as usual, more than one reason she wanted to get the Clothier home. She’s just.. not yet sure what the other reason is. Aside from… nice. This is nice. And new. “Ya know,.. my Dark Lady has a saying that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, seeing it in.. well, a different light I guess you could say all though its strange to put it so. “The night is full of possibilities.” There’s a hint of laughter, and mystery and of course mischief in Megana’s voice. Beneath it all, ever present, danger. “What do you think Master Varos?”
It’s Megana’s own obliviousness to her blushing that saves her the immediate notice by Varos, her mind’s eye being the easiest thing to pick up at this range. Of course, that might also pick up on how she sees Varos, aside from at face value.
As they go, the masked clothier remains on his own guard despite not seeming as such. But he has the eyes of all those around him, and he’d be first to notice if someone within a given range might take an unhealthy interest in them. Then again, the glances their way might be more frequent and out of curiosity given their differing reputations.
Megana’s musings have him glance at her, an almost enigmatic smile touching his face. “It does give a certain sense of the unknown. More mystery. Saying the day is full of possibilities is like a given, but the night? Ah, now that sparks some amount of wonder.”
“Yes” Meg smiles and nods. Yep she’s definitely feeling a sense of wonder. Wondering what the hell she is up to and… Wonder.. the emotion itself in a way she quite unused to. Curious that. She would have expected after the upsetting news about the dolls she’d be out on the hunt immediately but Kaji, Slaine and Miss Frizz are all in the safest place together right now, Aiden can, Meg is sure, handle himself and Lli Chibt is way to drunk to be accepting. If some freak tries to hand her another package Meg’s gonna drop their ass into a Rift over Tentaclees waiting maw so.. so. Is she really that grown up now that she’d rather do this…whatever this is than go out on a hunting spree? A sense of surprise from Meg again and soft laughter. “I always did love the night, even afore I found her. I wish I could show you that moment. Share it. It was something else and I think you’d.. ah well. That psychic stuff isn’t really my thing even though it might seem that way at times.”
Thinking about it, Megana certainly is a lot different from the Shifter he’d first come across in the tavern months back. Back then they’d all been simply acquaintances, and yet business and fate or what-have-you had continued to throw them together. Such a troublesome group of friends, not necessarily being trouble themselves, but getting caught up in things they didn’t need to. No, perhaps not completely, he supposes after a thought. Business with the Nighthand usually gave very little options otherwise.
“Mm, I’m not sure that I have any particular attachments to the night. I suppose in some ways I might prefer it to the day, but sometimes the darkness can seem a little…lonely.”
Night is made up of more than darkness. There are still ways to see, at least.
“Could you describe it, maybe? I guess it would be difficult though, to describe something that might be more of a feeling.” But maybe in trying to describe it, Megana might be able to ‘see’ it enough that he could catch a glimpse in his own way.
Megana listens to Varos and then walks quietly for a bit, her hand still clasped in his as she tries to find the words to describe something that for her was first a simple necessity, a protection from the old god who seeks her and then became something more. A true belief in something not herself, a true appreciation of a higher power, without the jealousy, or the lust, or the urge to destroy it before it can destroy her. No, her Dark Lady is.. “There was a poet once, long long ago, centuries before the Rifts came and once he wrote,
“She walks in beauty like the night, of cloudless climes and starry skies. And all that’s best in dark and bright, meet in her aspect and her eyes. Thus mellowed to that tender light which heaven to gaudy day denies.” “That is the first and my favorite part of it. The Night is so much more than the Darkness. There could not be light without it, no stars, no worlds, no suns and planets and moons. There billions of them out there Varos, whole galaxies in this Universe, more and more and more than you can possibly imagine. I have seen some few of them, and out there, on every world, near every star, where ever there is a sun, there is a day and there is a night and there is She. Never does she sleep, never does she rest, watching over and blessing those who take pleasure in her time doing whatever it is they do during the night for they are her children.”
Meg quiets again for a long moment and the emotion that settles over her now is one he would have never felt from the Shifter before. Pure and utter peace. She pauses walking and her eyes close, a picture forming in her mind of a tall woman with pale, radiant skin and long black hair. She stands alone in a sea of darkness eyes shut at first and then they blink open revealing a vast, unending pool of inky black lit up with a field of stars that much surely go on forever. “She is the Maiden, the Warrior, and the Crone. Birth and youth and life and death and all things that happen in the dark belong to her. Where ever you are, who and whatever you are, so long as you know this, you know you are never alone.” Meg’s eyes open and she shakes her head and then laughs softly. “Listen to me, I must sound mad. This is not something I’ve ever.. but..” Megana shrugs helplessly and laughs again. “You bring out a different side of me I think, Master Varos.”
Has he ever heard of the Dark Lady? Saphra had touched upon many names, myths and religions, cults and whatever else might have at some point or another drifted through Vesper, so Varos is passingly familiar at best. But hearing such things from someone speaking out of informational basis and hearing it from someone truly believing makes all the difference.
Megana’s recitation of the poem, even if it is but the first part, paints an enchanting image. Hearing her speak of worlds beyond, of galaxies far, far away and so much more than he would have ever thought possible is fascinating, and more than a little overwhelming. Being such a small part of one small world just make you feel all the more miniscule.
It’s a strange feeling that washes over the Shifter, one almost foreign to Varos, this peacefulness, this serenity. He stops walking once his view through Megana’s eyes goes dark as she closes her eyes, and in spite of knowing it might be dangerous to pull in his focus upon her, he feels that he can ignore the world around them for a moment.
And then he Sees…
Certainly he must look like a fool standing there, looking at Megana, but the momentary blackness and the dull sense of what seeps in from others in his surroundings suddenly vanishes as he sees the image that the Shifter calls to mind. A woman imossibly beautiful, both young and old, frightening and gentle. His breath catches at the vividness of the Sight, his hand tightening slightly around Megana’s.
And then all at once it fades and the city around them comes back into the forefront, and he sees himself through Megana’s eyes. He closes his mouth, turning his head away briefly.
“…no,” he says. “Not mad. Not at all. You sounded…genuine. That’s probably a poor word to describe it, but that’s… That’s what I feel.” Glancing back at her, Varos smiles faintly. “You never cease to surprise me, Lady Shadowcleft. I’ve seen different sides of you like the shifting phases of the moon. But they’re all still you.”
Megana grins, looking up through all the lights of Vesper to scattering of stars she can see and those she can’t but simply knows are there. Then she leans close and ever so quickly, gently, brushes her lips across the top of Varos mask. Then she turns back to the crowd and carefully tugs him along. “I am a Shifter, after all. And, it’s true. The Night and the Lady come in many forms.” As so apparently do those that follow Her. “Would you believe, Master Varos, that one time in the past, before us humans had magic, or at the very least long long after we’d forgotten the memory of it, we still went out to those stars. Stood upon our Moon. It is one of the many things people have lost and forgotten. I will tell you a secret, one that I have told no one before. Despite all the loss and danger, the heartache and the breaking of pieces of my soul that can never be made whole, I would not change the power that I have been given. I live for it. For the night, for the mystery. The discovery of all those things out there that have been forgotten. And of course.. all the things one might do in order to find those things.” She is more than a simple killer, or a heartless bitch with a sometimes endless thirst for blood and revenge. She is more, so much more and so few ever get to see it.
He may not be a fan of complete darkness, but he’s glad for the dimness of their surroundings with nightfall as it’s his turn to blush. What was that about surprises now? It takes a few quick steps to keep himself on his feet as Megana starts to move again, leading him on through the crowds that suddenly nearly seem overwhelming. He readjusts his focus, keeping it loose so he can get a general sense of their surroundings once again. Too tight a focus had sometimes had the adverse effect of tunnel vision, save that the perspective shifted drastically with whomever came within several feet of him.
“Just call me Varos,” he says, listening as Megana continues. He can hardly imagine anyone standing on the moon. What would anyone even do there? But such is a fleeting thought. He’s amazed that Megana’s opened up like this, saying things that she said she’d never told anyone before. Why? Why him? They’re profound revelations, and he’s both touched that she entrusts him so to share such things, and jealous that she knows herself and what she wants.
For all that Varos had ever been trained and taught, there were roles and boundaries, rules and connections. It was a illusion of freedom, learning to fit into figurative spaces, conform to positions and continue on from there. And still, it’s all within someone else’s lines.
“Limitless,” he says quietly, when he realizes he’s probably fallen silent for longer than necessary. He hopes his smile isn’t as forced as he feels it is. “Your strength is admirable. You can say such things, and I know you mean them. I could envy you, milady.”
Limitless? Megana seems to give that word serious consideration for a time. “Stronger now than I ever thought to be, though not in the way I would have expected. Once, I would have considered who I am now to be the weakest of the weak. Pathetic. Sad. Now, it is different. Everything is different. They’re are people out there Varos that never change, they go through entire lives just one thing, oneperson, making little to no difference. Then there are those rare people who can manage to change themselves. Once, twice, maybe even more. The true survivors. And then, there are those, who manage to change other people, for good, or for worse. Last you have the rarest of all, the ones who change not just themselves and the people they know, but who shake the very foundations of the world, those who would move mountains and cross oceans, stand against gods and armies, or control them as if pieces on a board. People who travel dimensions and planets as easily as you walk from your shop to Gran’s. When you have seen all of these things, been some of them, you begin to believe that you can do anything. Truthfully I’m not entirely sure of who I am myself most of the time..but I always know what I want.”
Megana smiles and tightens her hand around the Clothier’s but other than that small gesture and another offer, she doesn’t press further. She can when needs be, have a saint’s patience. “It is a rare thing for me to feel such a connection to another person. I meant it before Master Varos.” She puts a noticeable emphasis on Master. “I am your ally. I would also be your friend and if there is ever a need for companionship, for help, for..power. I would give it freely and without question.”
“Milady is too kind,” Varos says, and the smile paired with it, while not forced as before still seems to hold something back. “You offer such things so freely, even without knowing much about me.” Why? “I am thankful to have such an ally. I think myself unworthy to be called a friend when I’ve given so much less, but I would welcome that friendship.”
For companionship, for help, for power… He leaves his thoughts upon those matters unsaid for now. Even the Nighthand offers some of those things, but he knows those things come with a price. Everything has a price.
His steps slow as they near the fancier district of the city, and he can feel the subtleties of the street beneath his feet as they approach the shop front, one that never changes for the nocturnal business hours as most other spaces do. He both wants to hurry inside and linger a while, continue to talk. But he doesn’t think it’s quite the time for it.
“…thank you, Megana,” he says, turning towards her. “I’m…glad that we were able to speak. I would do so again.”
Walls and masks, lines and words. It’s difficult working out where the lies end and where he begins. He’s not used to people being so…open with him when he’s been taught to be anything but.
Again Megana squeezes his hand. She would answer him but senses its not quite the time as well and isn’t sure she’d have the right words just yet either. Traditionally, the right words at the right time are not one of her strong points but tonight it is Megana the Priestess and so she thinks she hasn’t done her usual bang up but eventually acceptable job. “I would like that very much too Master Varos. I sense.. that you and I may have a greater understanding of certain things than the other would have believed.” There, she thinks that is meeting him halfway, giving him time to think, decide. And her time to prove she means what she says because that is also a new thing and she is sure he knows of her reputation for changing her mind and sides with the winds. “People do change, Master Varos. Given time and I will prove it for you. And perhaps..whatever else it is you desire.” Her eyes are sparkling, lit momentarily by a thousand little sparks though he may not see it, perhaps he can feel it. Her sincerity, her honesty if not the reasons for it. “I will see you again then.” And with that, Megana turns and leaves him, aware of the strut in her stride this time and where she would have blushed earlier now she simply grins and strolls into the night.
A Justicar drops by Gran's again for questioning, a mystic practices reading, a mouse tries to warn, a clothier comes to make a delivery, and a Shifter tries to connect.
October 11, 2410