By city law, the Civic Forum that lies directly in front of the government building is to remain open and uncluttered on most days. The wide, white marble space marked by fountains and flanked by businesses and government offices on both sides is usually full of people most hours of the day. It’s a popular meeting spot, and generally speaking both citizens and senators can often be seen discussing news, politics and the topsics of the day.
This early afternoon one of those people is Aiden Frost who has just finished securing a roast raptor sandwich from a stand at the edge of the forum and is talking to a centaur wearing the uniform (okay wearing the vest and hat) of a Vesper Justicar.
“…no I don’t normally do crystals, Otmin. I’m a psychic not a wizard. The only thing I use crystals or gems for is to trade. Or sometimes to be turned into devices by mad scientists.” The grey eyed psychic is saying as he liberally spreads condiments on the sandwich.
Megana is busy at training Appleby, she’s teaching the little alien monster to “Find”. Today his target is a certain brown eyes psychic. Just where, when, or even how, Meg acquired something that smells like Aiden to start the training might be an interesting question. So far the Shifter isn’t overly impressed with the infant’s skills. They have been all over the place, for hours and still haven’t seen anyone even remotely… Oh wait..
Megana frowns, wondering if they’ve finally found the man by coincidence because holy fuck this has taken so long and the black chitin covered t rex with the weird tentacle tongue isn’t even looking that way.. in fact, it’s headed towards a roast raptor vendor. Meg sighs as the creature bounds forward, then shrugs her shoulders and starts to ask for a sandwhich when Appleby suddenly turns, hisses evily and bounds towards Aiden. Caught offguard Meg is pulled by the harnessed animal and teeters forward across the intervening space, managing to keep her feet just barely only to topple over onto her face at the last second at Aiden’s feet.
The little monster promplty sits and sneezes goo into the Shifter’s face as she sits up. Megana siiiiiighs. As entrances go, this is not one of her best. Probably a bit memerorable though. She pulls a chunk of some kind of unidentifiable raw meat from a pouch on her hip and tosses it at her pet. “Uh. Hi.” She peers up at Aiden and grins.
Not too far beyond the raptor sandwich vendor, Zyx is happily standing at her booth, chatting with someone examining one of her ‘decorative’ crystals while she uses aventurine and garnet to blend a slice of tourmaline into resembling watermelon. She’s been enjoying the work, and while she can’t really boast anything major in terms of profits, her wares do seem to be truly unique. So much so that that one man has sent representatives more than once to offer her a position preparing the special crystals specifically for his company. She’s turned them down, as it seems a bit limiting, and she’s really just enjoying seeing how many of her recipes from home she’s capable of managing with the far less responsive gems of this realm.
With the watermelon slice completed, she gives it to the waiting customer and accepts payment. She has no concept of how the Verper people price their decorative items, so she’s been pricing them based on the numbers of the other gemstone vendors around. She just hopes that’s not a mistake.
Leo is meandering almost idly through the open space, what appears to be a meat cleaver in his hand. It’s blade is black and dull as is the handle, and he’s flipping it back and forth in his hand, one way then another, spinning it this way and that and making faces with each movement of the uh… … …kitchen utensil? He mutters to himself as his walks, “Half gram heavy on the backside, file work could solve…” he seems to be ignoring where he’s walking on purpose, or perhaps, just doesn’t care that he’s playing with sharp things in public. Either sounds like him.
“I know, I know. It’s just that recently prices have been going up. The Justicars were looking into gouging but it doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s still strange. I figured I’d ask since you seem to be something of a problem solver.” The Centuar says as Aiden turns to look at him and takes a bite of roast raptor goodness.
“I don’t solve that kind of problem. If you want to find out about prices why not ask a crystal merchant. Like that one-”
He’s about to point over at Kthzyx who is literally right //over there// but then rather abruptly he has something hissing at him and a Meg faceplanting on at his feet.
The shifter’s misfortune gets a hissing laugh from somewhere above Zyx’s stand. She may have something living above her. Or at least perching above her.
“The he- Meg? Are you okay?” The psychic reaches down to help her up, by which is meant a telekinetic force takes her hand to help her up. “That was a nasty fall.”
Otmin the centuar, meanwhile, is staring at Leo. As one of the city’s law enforcement officers he most certianly knows who the man is. He has a reputation for solid if rather dangerous work.
“Is that a… kitchen knife?”
The centuar can’t help but ask and it does definitely draw attention toward the little muttering man.
Megana’s grin widens as Aiden helps up but the Shifter Priestess is blushing a bit. She side eyes the Justicar. ‘Uhoh. Frick. Don’t like those guys.’ She turns at the Centaurs question and spots Leo. “Yes, yes it is.” Meg responds with zero hesitation, quite willing to throw the man under the bus, or centaur as it is so long as they aren’t paying attention to her shifty ass anymore.
“I’m okay, thanks. We’re uh.. learning. It’s a process.” She wipes the monster slopper off with a cloth pulled from a pocket and sighs again. “This is Appleby.” A tongue with a head on it and fangs of its own, situated inside a large mouth with way way too many sharp teeth waves up at Aiden. “No, dammit. How many times I gotta tell you, that scares people more. Wave with your hands. It’s cute. See? Like this…” She waves both hands in front of the little monster in an exagerated manner. “Wave. Hi. Like. This.” It snakes it tonguething out and bites her wrist. “Owgodsbedamnedworthlesspieceofcrapbabydemonspawn!” She hisses and then opens her mouth to say more but pauses. “Oooh Zyx!” SHe hasn’t seen her friends stall yet. It looks great.
Zyx missed Meg and Appleby passing by due to finishing up her sale, but the hiss overhead can’t be missed and she looks up. What’s up there? But then she’s distracted again by Leo passing by idly tossing about a handled piece of metal, and then Meg is calling out a hello as well. She waves hello back to the others as she’s learned to do by watching Kaji and Slaine and Meg.
“Hello!” She calls out, and then remembers the hissing overhead and looks up again. What’s up there?
Leo holds the cleaver out at arms length and closes one eye so that he can stare down the length of it cleanly, “To short.” he’s saying to himself, frowning, “No reach. All chop, no stab. Need a /little/ stab… or more chop?” he seems to consider this thought as the cleaver swings down at his side, he’s checking it’s length against his leg as if he were going to holster it in his apron like a butcher instead of a weaponsmith. Then he’s pausing to watch Meg get gnawed on by a tiny dinosaur demon. Literally pausing. Mid step. Just. Standing. There. Staring.
“What, exactly, are we learning Meg?” Invisible hands, or rather invisible telekinetic forces reach out to pry the demon-thing’s mouth open and hold it there for the retrival of hands and other extremities attached and wishing to remain so. From up above Zyx stand the raccous hissing laughter becomes louder. When the elemental being finally locates it – it’s at the top of column right behind her stand – she sees a lizard-like imp rolling and holding it’s stomach with two clawed hands as it… giggles?
Well, demons find misfortune funny, apparently. Other people’s misfortune that is. How long has that thing been there?
Aiden’s eyes locate cut up to the laughing imp as well. Ah. K’nert. He usually means trouble.
“Mister Euclid, is everything alright?” The clip-clop of centaur hooves nears Leo as the large equine being sort of side steps cautiously closer to him, lest Leo come out of his frozen one legged trance and errupt into a flurry of violence. Not that that’s ever happened that Otmin knows of. But still, the man has a reputation. “Are you changing professions? Becoming a chef perhaps?” With a… quick draw cleaver that needs to be stabby?
“See! She can do it.” Meg frowns at her pet, ties the leash to her belt and wraps the piece of cloth around her wrist as a makeshift bandage. “Um..” Meg hedges, not really wanting to tell Aiden she was trying to teach her pet to track him. Sensing or hearing it, the Shifter pauses to tilt her head up and then blinks. “Okay that ain’t mine. I left Lli Chibt in a whor-uh…with some ladies.” She changes her language midword with a glance at Zyx. “I do not wanna get blamed if she picks up bad words.” The Shifter mutters.
She gives Leo a quick look, relieved the Justicar is focused on the Scientist instead of her. She’s curious how he’ll answer that question.. “I never had one of these.” Meg finally answers Aiden. “So we’re both learning how to get along here. Sides, he’s pretty cute, isn’t he?” She reaches down to pat the top of Appleby’s head. This time she catches his tongue with her other hand before he can bite her. “Thanks for helping him let go of me.” Meg adds softly.
Extending her limbs as far as they’ll go and increasing her height to a spindly almost seven feet, she reaches up to snag the chortling imp with one near-skeletal hand. “Hello, what were you doing up there?” She seems to think of the imp as no different than a cat or other small domestic animal. She returns to her ‘normal’ height and girth with the imp still in hand. Let’s hope the thing doesn’t try to bite her. K’nert will just hurt his teeth.
She watches the Centaur approach Leo, then waves hello again to Meg for lack of anything else to do before watching the weaponsmith and Otmin curiously. Will there be violence? Please don’t resort to violence.
Leoblinks slowly and seems to realize someone’s talking to him, so he turns to look. Up. And up. And Up. “You are unacceptably tall.” he informs the centaur with a small frown. “Be shorter.” this is said with an accusitory finger point up at him before he answers, glancing down at the cleaver, “Oh, no. I’m creating a weapon and needed a base type. I like cleavers. Cleavers are perfectly designed for their function. No frills. I like ellegance. Wanna weaponize ellegance so, cleaver.” he turns to look at Appleby and without looking back up at the centaur, tosses the cleaver up to the Justicar, “Hold that. I wanna go play with the puppy. Don’t cut yourself, the blade is cursed or something.” and then he’s headed towards the little demon monster purposefully.
Poor Otmin. That last bit – the blade is cursed or something – has him delicately juggling the blade as it’s tossed to him and trying not to cut himself while getting a decent grip. Damn this thing his sharp. Leo’s skills as a metalworker are not to be underrated even if he’s more generally known for explosions than knives. Or at least, that’s as far as the centaur knows.
The imp-demon-thing rolls onto it’s belly and peers at Kthzyx. It works its mouth for a couple of minutes before managing to sort of half growl out sounds that sound sort of like words. “Watching. People. People. Funny.”
Well, people getting hurt is funny, anyway.
“Welcome.” Aiden says to Meg quietly as Leo comes over. He lets go of his telekinetics. “Where did you find this thing anyway? Hello Leo. Out and about?”
Otmin, having finally gotten a grip on the cleaver, comes cantering over. He is rather tall, and isn’t likely to get shorter unless someone takes a cleaver to his knees.
“Say, I don’t suppose any of you here…” He addresses the entire group, but mostly Leo and Kthzyx. “Know anything about why the price of magical grade crystals is behaving so strangely?”
They may, or may not, but he’s not wrong. It’s been up and down. A cynical man might think two opposing forces are having an economic tug of war.
Megana blinks a little at Leo. Did he seriously just demand the Justicar make himself shorter?? Ooohkay. Not even she is that kinda crazy. Her eyes widen further as she listens..wtf elegant?? a cleaver??? Uh.. She chuckles softly as Leo refers to Appleby as a puppy. “You bite him he’s nuts enough to bite you back so behave.” She whispers to the demonspawn.
Then Meg looks over to check on Zyx, amused to find the crystal entity has caught the imp. She decides against commenting aloud that it doesn’t seem to be as smart as hers. She isn’t entirely sure thats a bad thing really. Lli Chibt never shuts the fuck up and gets into a lot of trouble. They’re a good match really. “Well. There’s this demon lord that kinda likes me. He keeps giving me presents. Went on a hunt and killed this lil ones mama and brought the baby back for me.” Maybe not a very reassuring answer. “Also where I got my imp from.” She still has mixed feelings over her new familiar buuuuut.. at least she’s alive to have those feelings and the Shifter isn’t absolutely sure she would be if she’d chosen not to accept Lli Chibt. “They are, huh?”
Meg answers the Justicar after a moments thought. No she doesn’t want his attention.. however… she also wants ruin and death for that suspect little bastard of a merchantman, both to protect Zyx and because she just didn’t like guy. “Actually I’ve heard some things about that, maybe you oughta look up this crystal merchant by the name of (insert dude’s name) …if there’s something going on he’d be the one behind I bet.”
Zyx tilts her head at the little demon in her hand as he explains, then with her free hand deftly scoops up all of the crystals displayed on her booth so that she can step away without any of them ‘wandering off’.
Once she’s out from behind her booth she sets K’nert down gently and moves to join the others in time to hear Otmin’s question. “Magical grade crystals? I… don’t really distinguish my crystals that way. I go more by, um, flavor profile.” She gently sets her handful of stones into the only non-crystalline object on her person — a drawstring pouch — but then pulls out a clear quartz spike about as tall as one of Meg’s palms is wide. “Oh, Mr. Leo. I’m glad you’re here. I found this crystal and I thought it might be useful for you once I’ve cleaned it up a bit.”
Okay. So if there’s one thing that could get Leo to swerve away from the new fun looking puppy, it would be the mention of ‘magical’ and ‘Leo’ and ‘for you’ all in short order. He turns a sharp corner and heads straight for Zyx, plucking the spike up and nodding hsi head once. His optics drop down from inside of his bowler hat and he peers at the crystal closely, “… yeah …” he says, his voice a sort of soft sound, “yeah I can use this. I got a commission for an ice ray someone wants and this baby here would hold a /nice/ winter’s charge.” he turns it slowly in his hand before looking around (read up) at most everyone around and blinks a few times, “Whatever is going on, is it more important then the puppy?” he asks curiously, hoping one of them can tell him whether or not he should be paying attention even though he really wants to play. Absently he hands the quartz back to Z and his optics snap back up into his hat.
“Um… yes? No?” Otmin sighs. “Maybe. I’m not sure. I’ll go ask him, see if he has anything to say about it. You folks have a good one.”
The centaur starts to canter away and then pauses and trots back to Leo and hands him his cleaver. “Better keep this.”
Then he’s off.
Aiden watches the Justicar go. Odd, but he’s sure it’s all well in hand.
“So Leo, what //are// you doing with a huge and menacing looking cleaver? That one’s not made outta… what’d you call it? Carbo-tanium nano-fibers?”
It looks metallic but hell if Aiden can tell one material from another most days. His sword isn’t even made of… anything.
Meg squints a little after the centuar but seems relieved the man is leaving. Ordinarily she’d be thrilled to meet one of his kind, but Justicars and her are not a good combination. “Ya think we scared him off?” THe Shifter asks Aiden.
“What kinda curse you got on there?” The Shifter asks with great curiousity. She likes dark magic and it’s always of interest. “Hiya Zyx. It is good to see you. I’m glad I got to see where you set up too. I’ll hopefully have some new crystals for you next time. I wasn’t really expecting to see you today.” Meg smiles. She had been expecting to see Aiden, maybe. Her eyes go to her ‘puppy’. She’s gonna havta try the “Find” game again and again and maybe again til he gets the hang of it. It still might be accident that they found Aiden..but she is sure he can learn this if she just keeps trying. As far as she knows the thing is still a baby.
Zyx has no fear of the cleaver or Appleby. Mostly because she’s yet to run across anything that can injure her in any way that truly hurts. Taking the quartz spike back from Leo, she tucks it away in the pouch and looks at Aiden and Meg.
“Hello, Mr. Vargr, Miss Meg. I hope your day has been going well? Mr. Leo, what did the Justicar mean by the fluctuating prices?” Her question is an honest one, as she clearly is still far too new at her business to understand the workings of the crystal market.
She kneels down to offer Appleby a hand to sniff, or nibble, or something. Maybe if the little creature is chewing on her hand it won’t be able to bite Leo.
Leo takes the cleaver from the centaur distractedly and stuffs it into one of the many pouches of his omni present leather apron, the hande jutting out oddly, flopping about. So you know, totally safe. “Carbyne, and no, it’s not. High carbon crucible steel, basic stuff really.” it really isn’t but it’s not like anyone here would know how hard that is to make, “I’m trying to get my shape right. Making a new toy, this time for myself.” he looks around at the people in the area, “Made shit for just about everyone, figure I should make a toy or two for me. Up my street cred.” he puffs his chest out and hooks his thumbs behind the edges of his apron, rocking a little on his heels. Because that’s what he needs. Street cred.
He glances down at the cleaver, “Curse?” he blinks, “Oh! Yeah. Not sure that’s gonna work out. Trying to bind a spirit of wounding to the blade, make it so any cut it makes will never heal.” he says before raising a hand and wobbling it slightly in the air, “Not so successful so far. Mostly it’s just kinda,” he glances down at the pocket and the cleaver rocking away inside it, “bitey.” he finishes lamely. “Maybe I only put a spirit of annoyance in there. Hard to tell with the minor ones.”
“Hrm? Prices?” he seems unclear, but after a moment his mind catches up, “Oh!” he says, looking around, “Well, if I had to take a wild stab at it I would say you and your unique method of producing goods has thrown the local market into a small amount of chaos, but since I don’t have to take a wild stab at it because I’m an exceptionally good businessman and have a firm grasp on local economics in the macro sense, I will tell you that someone’s been intentionally fucking with the local economy specifically in the crystal trade, which has some trickle down effect in a town of magi-minded folk.” he nods sagely at Zyx and takes a deep breath. That was a loooooooong sentence.
Aiden blinks. That’s… he knew Leo was smart. Dumb people do not become techno-wizards. Well, correction: Dumb people do not survive becoming techno-wizards. However the man’s grasp of the local economy was not something he would have called. If pressed, he would have said Leo’s a good weaponsmith and thus sort of immune to economics in a larger sense.
“Interesting take? Why would someone do that, other than the obvious reasons?”
There’s a low grunt from the road nearby as someone with what looks like a protoceratops pulled cart begins a plodding journey across the civic forum.
K’nert wiggles a bit to get out of Zyx’s grasp and goes to peer at Leo’s pocket. Because, you know, cursed weapons might be fun. Or funny. He does look a bit like a demonic meercat though, up on his hind legs staring at the movement in Leo’s pocket.
Meg smiles a little as Zyx tries to catch Appleby’s attention. The alien monster turns to stare at the entity in confusion. She is not a lifeform as he’s used to seeing. It turns his head up at Meg inquiringly and the shifter laughs. “No she’s a person. Not a pet or machine. Just different, special. Like you are.” It turns back to Zyx but still eyes her suspiciously.
“I…” Megana trails off at Leo’s explanation. He really is some kinda genious, also batshit crazy but.. definite genius. “Mostly what he said but less to do with you and more to do with that asshole vendor we met. He’s taking advantage to mess things up to make sure he profits and others don’t I suspect. He has a bad rep.” She pauses and then grins, “So do I..but you guys are my friends so.” They aren’t in danger from her. That damned merchant though.. she’s really gotta try to do something about that.
“That sounds great Leo, if you get it working better I might like a dagger with it. Only one that can reappear back into your hand after you throw it..you think that’d be possible?” Sometimes she wishes she had something like Aiden does, a dagger made of psychic force that is only there when you need it and not something you hafta carry around would be grand. However,, she’s pretty damned happy with her own powers these days. Meg lowers her voice hopefully soft enough that only aiden hears, “and that bastard knows about Zyx and either wants her gone or is using her to do this I think. He also mentioned wanting to hire me for something. I said I’d give him alisten.” She grins darkly. Chiefly because she his interest in her friend and marked him as someone that needed killing. If she can get him alone for just a few seconds.. “I don’t like mean any offense by this question (she is aware not everyone is as.. okay with demons as her)…but is he.. yours?” Meg asks as she eyes Knert. Shes only seen this one near the psychic Veteran.
Zyx realizes that K’nert is squirming to be let go and nearly does free him, but then sees that his attention is on that cleaver of Leo’s. And from his description, she surmises that it’s not something that just anyone should be playing with. So, she keeps her gentle but unbreakable grip on the little demon.
“Wait, you think that that … Hodgkins merchant is causing prices to be strange because of me?” She’s honestly a little unnerved by that. She’s just making simple little confections for others to enjoy. If acquiring the ingredients didn’t cost her currency, she’d likely be giving them away. “Maybe I should close my store until everything settles down again.”
She looks at Appleby again, then waves a small hello to the little creature with her free hand.
Leo eyes Aiden for a moment, “I can think of-” he pauses, his eyes unfocus for a moment, then refocus, “forty-two reasons someone may do that off the top of my head, but only three with any statistically likely probability. One:” he ticks them off on his gloved fingers, “personal gain, if one has the resources and intellect to manage it, picking a single weak point in an economy and then applying the correct sort of preasure can yeild vast amounts of financial gain in other markets. Doing so requires a great mind, large sums of liquidity, and of course, a network of helpers, almost none of which would know the truth behind the scheme. Two: Personal vendetta, a means to destroy something or someone the perpetrator hates personally that would cause them to almost insane lengths to ruin the focal point of their aggression.” ahem. “Three: War. If one were at war with a place and couldn’t be certain that military might alone would win, you would apply preassure in ways that were seemingly random, off kilter, new angles of attack unsuspected in the past. Attack where the enemy is not and all that jazz. So you find a weak spot in a local economy, and you stab that bitch,” he starts pantomiming a vicious stabby attack, hopping about to stab the air with violent fake thrusts from all different angles, “until it crumbles. If you chose your target well it will have devistating ripple effects. For instance, destroying the crystal supplies here in town would render most mundane or common magical items powerless in short order, also halt production of new ones.” he turns to eye Aiden, “old school tactics man, sever supply lines, only this way you could do it without violence. As an added bonus it would drive up unemployment, over all discord in the community, apply extra preasure to exsisting social programs, push fear mongering and more deeply divide people, fracturing a society…. …. ….” he looks around to realize people are staring at him. “I mean. You know. Worst case senerio. Just… the /worst/.” ahem. He puts on his INNOCENT FACE where he acts as boyish and nonthreatening as he possibly can, a face that’s less effective when one is carrying a cleaver jutting out of one’s apron.
Meg’s question as him freezing in place however and if one could /see/ gears turning in a head, one imagines that beneath the bowler hat would be a full on clock work fusilade of thinking happening. “oh.” he says softly, almost a whisper. “ohmy…” his eyes grow WIDE. “iknowwhatimmamakemeself.” he breaths.
K’nert eyes Zyx and squirms harder. Aiden looks at him but doesn’t move either to help or hinder him. He’s not particularly worried either party is going to get hurt.
“He belongs to someone I know.” He murmurs to Meg. “Likes following me around.” K’nert has been trouble but not so much that he needs to be dealt with. Why exactly he likes to follow Aiden around the psychic has no clue.
Leo’s list of reasons to manipulate the market has the psywarriors grey eyes narrowing. “None of which is good.” Especially given what Meg said about ‘that bastard’. He’s clearly behind on something. He’ll catch up later. For now he just asks: “Hodginks?”
The cart ‘thunks’ as an axle gives out and draws Aiden’s eyes. He blinks. And stares. In the bed is a battered but unmistakeable set of winged black powered armor with a skull and crossed lightning bolts on it shoulder.
That… that is a Coalition SAMAS. What on earth is it doing here?
A worrying question but not so worrying as the one Leo brings to mind next. “Uh… what is it you’re going to make?”
Megana thinks about that for a few moments as she watches the K’nert’s antics with a smile…her smile falters as she listens to Leo and slowly turns into an expression of open-mouthed awe. “Marry me.” She whispers, as she fans herself a bit and hopes she didn’t murmur that too loudly. “Uh..I… um.” She’s so keeping this technowizard crazy evil (or at least able to think evily) genius. So Keeping. “Glad I could help!” The Shifter chortles.
“Zyx, I’m not sure you should stop. That Hodgkins guy already knows about you, if you mess up his plan before we can take care of him he might come after you and while I know you can usually take care of yourself (how many people can hold down an imp like that!?) He’s a crystal merchant and I’m worried he might know of things that can or could hurt you..” She smiles again at Aiden’s response. Well, she can’t really blame the little guy for following the psychic around. He’s not bad to look at and things happen around the man. Demons don’t like boredom.
“Hodgkins is..” The Shifter’s voice trails off as she spots the armor. “What the fuck. Where the hell did that come from?” Her eyes go cold and Meg’s fingers twitch the urge to kill. She seems far more worried about the armor than Leo’s new weapon but then she’s got a deep and abiding hate for all things Coalition and long, long held and seldom indulged in need for revenge.
Kthzyx watches Leo as he explains and hops and flails about, seemingly one of a very few about that arenot perturbed by his antics. She’s been around him enough for it to not bother her anymore. She does, though, reach to take that cleaver from him once he stills again, and THEN lets K’nert go. Finally.
Holding the cleaver with the blade against what would be the palm of her hand, Zys looks in the direction that the others are looking, trying to figure out what’s got both Mr. Vargr and Miss Meg so unsettled. She has no frame of reference for power armor so it simply doesn’t register to her as anything other than a non-crystalline object. “What’s wrong?”
Leo blinks three times and grins a grin at Aiden that has turned hard men into gibbering simpletons and strong women into fainting maidens, “Imma make me a weapon.” really, it’s not in /what/ he said that leads one to suddenly have a mind full of images of a wee mad Techno-wizard running around with a satchel full of teensy hand grenade nukes tossing them about while singing a merry little diddy so much as it is in the /how/ it was said. The smile. The tone. If meleavolence and lustful need for mayhem were given physical form, for just a moment, it took up residence in Leo’s little body. It even added new drapes.
But then everyone’s staring at the armor and Leo can’t help but turn to look to, not noticing the sudden cleaverlessness of his apron, “Ooo. You think they’re bringing me a new toy to play with? I could totally make that better.”
“Looks like a tinker or scrap merchant. I’ll bet he’s going to want to sell it.” Which means Leo could absolutely get himself a new toy. And since the wagon seems to need an axel replaced, he’s probably got a bit of time to make an offer on it.
“I know a good priest.” He adds, deadpan. Meg marrying Leo? That sounds terrifying. He knows some gods that would approve. Greatly.
Aiden glances to Zyx. “I’m just… those are rare here. And they’re kind of bad news. I’m wondering what it’s doing here.” He may go find out later. K’nert hops to the ground and skitters off into the shadows. He’s gone soon enough though where exactly he goes when he does that is open to question.
“A weapon…” That is what Leo does. What it might have to do with black metallic cleavers… he just hopes there’s not a sudden rash of cleaver related deaths. Knowing Leo, the cleaver will probably explode.
Into more cleavers.
“No.” Meg says rather forefully. “And if either of you,” Meg looks between Leo and Zyx “See anyone wearing armor like that, run away from them. Don’t stop, don’t try to talk and don’t listen to anythhing they might yell at you.” The Shifter pauses and eyes Leo “You might try to kill them but they don’t die easy. THey are the enemy and they can’t be reasoned with… it be anything goo-”
Leo’s mentioning he knows a good priest causes Meg to lose her train of thought yet again. “I.. I’m a Priestess.” She’s not hiding that little fact anymore. Whatever else she was going to say seems to be lost and Megana just blushes and looks down at Appleby. The little monster is still watching Zyx with a vaguely puzzled head tilt.
Continuing to hold Leo’s cleaver in her hand, Zyx looks from Aiden to Meg as they explain that that object means bad stuff. All kinds of bad stuff. “I will remember, Miss Meg.” She clearly still doesn’t understand WHY, but she trusts them both enough to heed their warnings without really comprehending. But in the meantime…
“Mr. Leo? Would this be useful to you?” She pulls a different crystal from her drawstring pouch — how the heck does she do that without looking? — and offers it to the inventor. It’s a generally greenish cylinder of crystal with a ribbon of vivid blue down the center.
Again with the distractions.
Leo is eyefucking the armor, or maybe he’s just really really intently apraising it. Either way he’s about to walk over to it when Zyx gets all distracty with her crystals and he spins on a heel to give her his attention again. He snaps his head down, dropping the optics and raising a hand who’s fingers curl and open repeatedly in the universal ‘gimme’ motion.
The armor is in bad shape, but it’s probably still functional. Definitely restorable with the right resources and some time. Aiden is giving it an entirely different look. A glare, almost.
He shakes himself and turns back toward the group he’s standing with. “Then you can do it yourself, I imagine.” He says to Meg, humor coming back a bit. Of course… that involves getting Leo’s attention for more than five mintues.
“What’s that Zyx? Never seen that particular coloration before.”
‘Dark Mother Bless her’ Megana murmurs in her head, verrrry grateful for Zyx’s destraction. That effing armor doesn’t need a Leo enhancing it. Or getting killed by some hidden trap in it. She wouldn’t touch that shit with a twenty foot pole held by one of her minions.
The Shifter thinks about it for a few moments but can’t really think of an easy to understand explanation for the Crystaline entity other than “people usually suck and humans most of all” which would just confuse her more. Ay least she seemed to understand the danger. Meg’s lips quirk at Aiden’s comments and she shakes a bit with held in laughter. Seriosly. She kinda has the feeling she could start doing the dance of seven veils on the street here and Leo wouldn’t notice unless she managed to incorporate some weapons. She has many skills but blade dancing is unfortunately not one of them. So then she’ll just have to make the man one of her growing collection of friends. Or family really. That word creeps her out less than friend. Which is really a whole nother kinda weird but that’s a problem for another time Meg decides.
Zyx hands the crystal to Leo to examine. “Oh, it’s a little confection I used to make frequently. Mild green kyanite with the blue inclusion for a core of added flavor. It just took me some time to find the right base crystal and a good inclusion substitute. What I would normally use is so difficult to find here.” And knowing she’s using substitutions, she’s not very keen on tasting the item herself. Luckily she’d be the only one interested in these crystals for their flavors.
Leo puts the crystal to his optics and tilts his head to the side, turning it this way and that, “This is….” he seems lost for a moment, then hands it back, “useless to me.” he says finally, “That being said, the /method/ is useful. If I gave you differing crystal types and you could intermingle them in such a manner, and do it flawlessly, then….” he grins a wicked little grin, “I could make some…. Things.” Capital ‘T’, Things. He turns to glance at the armor over his shoulder again and frowns, taptaptaping his foot thoughtfully, “I have a meeting with a supplier I need to get to… taht I don’t wanna take….” he seems to fidget before putting on a full pout and stamping his foot one final time in consternation, “but I have to. Tell that guy with the stompy armor not to sell it until he talks to me, or he could just bring it by Buy the Bye by,” that’s a lot of ‘bys’ in a short series of words, “midnight and I’ll give him a fair price.” he fidgets again and eyes Aiden, “Thanks buddy!” as if Aiden agreed to do this for him or was even consulted at all on the matter, and then the little madman is scurrying away, leaving Zyx with a potentiall cursed cleaver, the rest of them with a broken axled cart full of hate armor, and Meg with a puppy that Leo has yet to play with. Grand disappointments for all around.
Megana has a keen interest in how other types of beings see and experience things and she is possibly one of the few if not the only one who is just totally fascinated hearing Kthzyx talk about how her creations and the things that inspired them taste like. This is one of the things she can’t try for herself, so hearing about it is as close as she can get. (The list of things she has tried that human should not is extensive she has learned when not to give it a go.) And Crystals just aren’t edible for her nor does she have the senses to appreciate or experience their taste.
“Its really nice. I like the stripe in it.” Meg doesn’t use a whole lot of crystals in her magic. The only reason she knows a bit about gems is her affinity for nice things and portable often easy to steal and hard to trace wealth. Meg watches Leo scamper off and then glances at Aiden. “I think I’mma disappear that shit afore he can find it again.” The Shifter murmurs with worry. Good job distracting him, Zyx.: Meg adds.
“I suppose I’m redirecting a set of armor.” Aiden says with a dry chuckle as Leo scurries off. Where is he going? Aiden doesn’t know and he knows well enough to not ask questions.
Of Leo, that is. He knows to not ask questions of Leo. Other questions are very much on his mind.
“Do you see that skull, Zyx?” He says pointing to the image on the armor’s shoulder. He doesn’t need to point it out to Meg, she seems to know it already.
“It’s the image of the Coalition States. They hate magic. And they hate people who practice it. Or beings that are connected to it. They think magi are dangerous power mad people who want to destroy the world.”
Which has not been entirely innacurate in the CS’ history but thy do paint with a broad brush.
“Now, tell me what’s going on with this… merchant whose taken an interest in your crystals?” The psychic shifts his gaze between Meg and Zyx. Both seem to know something.
“Magic? But …” Okay, fair enough. Zyx knows that MANY people in Vesper use crystals for magic, and that she’s the only one she knows of that uses them for food.
“Oh, yes. A man named Hodgkins approached me when I received my business license. He offered to let me work for him instead of working for myself in my booth. I, well, I told him no.”
She glances over at Meg, who was there when that happened. “Was that the wrong thing to do?” She kneels down to wave hello to Appleby again with the hand that’s not stuck holding Leo’s forgotten cleaver.
“He’s a total dick. Got a rep for his rivals ‘mysteriously’ disappearing or dying all of a sudden.” Meg’s lips twitch with wry amusement. She has the same sort of reputation and it’s a little funny. Or would be if he hadn’t focused on Zyx. “Zyx is unique and he either wants to control her or wants to get rid of her. I saw him when met her. Played it real cool but that was the kinda guy whose eyes show absolutely nothing.” Rather how she used to be but is not so much anymore.
“Magic yes but really, anything not human Zyx. They would see you and see what you can do as magic, even though it isn’t really magic, not for you.” The Shifter explains. “They are bad men with tiny minds.” Meg frowns and then smiles. “You did the right thing telling him no.” Appleby waves his tonguehead at Zyx and Meg looks exasperated. “No no, Applby, wave your hands. The tiny little useless for anything else hands!”
“Sounds like trouble. Just be careful Zyx. Business gets nasty sometimes.” Aiden doesn’t really know the community here beyond one or two contacts but he does know that when you put influence and money together the result is always a really nasty, really dangerous game.
“How big is that thing going to ge- no, don’t tell me. Hopefully it doesn’t grow too fast. I’m going to go get the merchant to take the armor by Leo’s place… and ask where he got it. Nice to see you both, and nice to not be worrying about a war, for once.”
Zyx looks at Aiden and nods. “I’m trying to be careful, Mr. Vargr.” She’s even made a point of keeping her crystal decorations to the stones that most vendors consider ‘pretties only’ rather than the ones that have true nutritional value. Those she either saves for herself or improves for Leo if he finds them useful. “And thank you.” She’s a little bit worried now, but her friends have at least strengthened her resolve. She’s doing something she enjoys. She’s not going to stop. Wait.
“Wait, Mr. Vargr! Would you take this back to Leo if you’re going by there?” She offers him the cleaver hilt-first, but only because she’s already holding it by the blade.
“Be well, Aiden.” Meg murmurs as he moves to leave. It was good seeing him too and doubly so that he doesn’t seem to know she was checking up on him. Now she’s just gotta find Slaine and Kaji and see how they are. She isn’t sure the Mystic has ever fought in a war before. Kaji certainly hadn’t, though Meg knows he’d gotten some experience with how bad it good be. Once she’s caught up with those two and made certain her new little family is all safe, she can turn her attention to the other pressing matters. Like that Hodgkins guy, and where the hell that Nightforsaken armor came from. Also, a place to live. That too. TheShifter’s eyes go to Zyx and appleby. “Cmon Zyx, we’ll walk you back to Gran’s or whevever you are staying.” Aw damn, she’dve totally offered to take that cleaver back and then kept it so she could study it. Aw well. Maybe next time she finds Leo she can nick it.. Meg grins to herself. “I’m still there for the moment and its a nice time for a walk.” She takes Appleby’s leash in her hand and turns to move with Zyx. “Good job.” How big will he get? She isn’t sure but it’ll be fun finding out hehehe.
Aiden doesn’t stop but the cleaver floats out of Zyx’s hands and follows him. “Sure. I’ll do that.” He calls over his shoulder. It shouldn’t take him too long to talk to the merchant, but it might take him longer to get that cart moving.
“Take care you two.”
And with that he’s off to… well not that far away, but he’ll be occupied for a bit.