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Siren Song of The Void (IC)


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The man who walked into Silberman's Books could best be described as "goth pimp with hipster garnish," the unholy union of a failed stage magician and an even less successful pick-up artist.


He wore a long black velvet overcoat with puffy faux-fur trim, also in black. His slacks, suit jacket, and long-sleeved collared shirt were black as well, while his waistcoat and necktie were splashes of red. His dark hair was tied back in a braided pony-tail which almost reached his waist, peeking out from beneath a wide-brimmed black Stetson hat with a red ostrich feather stretching a foot and a half above and behind him. His beard was almost as long as his hair, waxed and styled in a pseudo 19th century fashion. He wore several fine chains around his neck, from which hung a giant gold pentagram and several different crystals. All of his fingers were covered with mis-matched rings. A pair of black snake-skin boots, polished to a high gloss shine, completed the ridiculous ensemble.


The man clicked his walking stick on the floor as he strode up to the counter, swinging a briefcase with his other hand. The red-lacquered wood was topped with a silver handle shaped like a coiled dragon.



He tipped the brim of his hat to the employee behind the counter and gave them a smug grin. "I'd be much obliged if you could point me toward the restroom, and if you could have a double espresso macchiato and your manager waiting for me when I get back. Assuming the beans are fair trade, of course." The man reached into the breast pocket of his suit jacket and pulled out a metal calling card case, and a money clip bulging with a three-inch thick stack of folded bills. He pulled out an embossed white business card, and a hundred-dollar bill, and slid them both across the counter. "Keep the change. Buy yourself something nice." He winked.


The business card read "HAWTHORNE BOOKS & ANTIQUITIES," with an address in Bedlam City, Wisconsin.


Edited by FloatyPotato
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Lance Bettendorfer stared blankly at the large bill, then mutely indicated the direction to the restrooms with an extended arm. Once the stranger began heading towards the facilities, the tall, blonde former college athlete scooped up the hundred and the card, slid over to the bar, and began steaming milk.


"Quite a character," muttered Lynn Epstein, suddenly at Lance's elbow, which almost made him drop the double espresso shot he'd pulled. How she'd managed to get behind the bar so quickly, much less hear the weirdo wherever she was in the store, was beyond his comprehension; must be a magic thing. Today she wore a faded No Doubt T-shirt under a dark brown cardigan, with jeans and a pair of Timberlands. She'd been keeping her hair shorter lately, straight and just a little past the ears.


"Uh, yeah, you said it, boss."


"Lemme see the card."


He handed it over, and the changeling proceeded to study it carefully, even going so far as to hold it under her nose for a good whiff. Meanwhile, her narrowed eyes stayed focused on the restroom door, waiting for the magician (or witch or warlock or whatever he called himself) to emerge.



Edited by Heritage
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"Resurgemus." Lynn heard the sound of wind chimes, and caught a flash of light from the corner of her eye. "Volant." The espresso cup glided up into the air and gently fell into the outlandishly-dressed visitor's waiting hand. He sniffed at it appreciatively before taking a sip. "Delicious." He let go of the cup, and it floated beside him as he walked back to the counter, his hands still full with cane and briefcase. When he reached the counter, he took his hat off and swung it through the air in front of him as he bowed, his every gesture exaggerated to the point of parody. "Lucien Hawthorne, at your service. And you must be the lovely and erudite Miss Lynn Epstein." He extended his hand to Lynn, as if to shake hers, but then tried to bring her hand to his lips for a kiss.


"We are cut from the same cloth, you and I. For I too am a purveyor of the occult, a collector of secret histories and forbidden knowledge. Recently, it has come to my attention that you have in your possession a certain book, a hand-written volume of Scivias dating back to just after the fall of Constantinople, though the recycled parchment upon which it was written is far older. It is a niche item, to be sure. I doubt there is much call for it here. But it would be the crown jewel of my personal collection, and I would pay handsomely to indulge a lifelong dream." He reached into the opposite breast pocket from where he'd stashed the money clip, and this time withdraw a bundle of fresh hundred-dollar bills that looked like it had just come out of the bank vault. The paper wrap hadn't been broken yet. With another flourish and another smug grin, he fanned the bundle with his thumb, and then he set ten-thousand dollars in cash on the coffee shop counter. "What say I just go ahead and pay your utility bill for the next year?" He raised an eyebrow, leaned back, and sipped at his drink, which hovered obediently at his lips.


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Lynn allowed Hawthorne to kiss her hand (a gesture that has never gone out of style in Colt's dimension), but it made her skin crawl; nonetheless, she maintained an outer appearance of civility, although her eyes narrowed slightly at the man's ostentatious display of magic in front of her customers. After he finished his spiel, the dark fae pursed her lips a bit, her eyes briefly flicking down to his walking stick before she responded


"My, what a lovely cane." Then she met the man's eyes; her smile was warm, but her gaze was steady. "It's always nice to have someone in the trade drop by, but I'm afraid you travelled a great distance only to be disappointed. There's no item fitting that description currently in our catalog, which regretfully means I cannot accept your generous offer. Is there something else I can help you find?"


 She'd dealt with his kind before, and they usually didn't take no for an answer.

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Hawthorne clutched his chest in mock pain, then picked the bundle of cash back up off the counter and bounced it in his hand. "Deceit! M'lady, thy treachery hast cut me to the bone!" He smiled wide. "Well, I guess I'll just have to put this back in its place." He lifted his briefcase up onto the counter, flipped open the catches, lifted the lid, and turned it halfway around so that the contents were visible to Lynn. It was filled with more fresh cash. The bundles were stacked in a two-by-two-by five arrangement, with one missing. Hawthorne dropped the bundle into the empty spot. "Well, look at that. It brought friends." He closed the suitcase, snapped the buckles shut, and turned it on the counter so that the handles faced Lynn. "Two-hundred thousand dollars. Four times what you could get at auction in your wildest dreams. Forget paying your electric bill. I'll buy you a house."


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Oy, this guy was a piece of work! This was not going to end well; the last time someone couldn't take a hint, some people she cared a great deal about got shot. Lynn felt the tips of her talons sliding out of her fingertips as she took a deep breath and pushed on, hands jammed into the pockets of her cardigan.


"I assure you, Mr. Hawthorne, I meant no deception; our catalog only lists items that are for sale. Now, it's possible something similar to what you describe is in our private collection, but not every item we possess has been properly assessed and documented; I cannot sell you something we haven't cataloged, and not every book we own is suitable for sale." The changeling leaned forward slightly, her pupils turned golden like a wolf's. "I'm sorry I am unable to help you, Mr. Hawthorne."


Meanwhile, a transfixed Lance felt a small piece of paper appear in his hand; glancing down at it, he saw a note written in block capitals:




Nervously looking between his boss and the difficult customer, the blonde barista mumbled a quick 'scuse me' before heading for the back room, where he did his best to resist the overwhelming tempation to peek back out towards the sales floor.

Edited by Heritage
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Hawthorne sighed and slid the suitcase full of cash off of the counter. "Well, I can see how you would have trouble maintaining your private collection, with such...limited facilities. A sudden windfall like this would have helped with that. Might have taken this quaint little boutique to the next level. Oh well. At least you brew a fine cup of coffee." He turned around, in a manner no doubt practiced and calculated to maximize the billowing of his overcoat behind him. "Patentibus." The door opened on its own while he was still several steps away. When he reached it, he turned back around and tipped his hat to Lynn. "If you come to your senses, you have my card. Lehitra’ot." He winked at her before sauntering back out onto the street.


Once Lucien Hawthorne had left the store, the espresso cup he'd been levitating dropped to the floor and shattered.

Edited by FloatyPotato
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Lynn said it a lot louder than she intended, but she doubted anyone would disagree with her assessment. She 'pulled out' a glamoured dish towel as she headed out to the sales floor to clean up the mess, followed quickly by a still-shaken Lance, who crouched down nect to her.


"Wow! That got intense real fast! Was that because of-"


"What happened to Gretch and Kiki? Yeah, it was; I've got no patience with bullies anymore." She reached out and put a protective hand on his arm. "Hey, be extra careful today, okay? We may not have seen the last of him, and he clearly has no qualms about using magic in front of the mundanes."

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The rest of the business day at Silberman's Books was uneventful. The same couldn't be said for the evening, or the following day.


Lynn Epstein had intended to sleep in that morning, but she was awakened prematurely with a frantic telephone call from the employee who was supposed to open the store that day. There had been a break-in, or, at least, there appeared to have been a break-in. There was no sign of forced entry. But the fixtures in the mens bathroom were completely demolished, the bathroom door was knocked completely off its hinges, and there was water all over the main floor. The door to her office was likewise destroyed, and the furniture inside was scattered, as though a bulldozer had cleared a path to the vault. The secret door was hanging open, and the vault contents were in disarray. Only one thing was missing, and Lynn knew what it would be before she looked. Sitting in the book's place was a single ten-thousand dollar bundle of cash.


While Lynn spent the remainder of the day juggling police reports, insurance claims, and even some local media inquiries, Eliza Oxum was getting her assignment from the civil engineering firm she'd signed on to as a temp after graduating university. "Ever hear of 'Bedlam City?'" asked the "administrative project specialist," a chubby middle-aged Indian woman, and, judging from the photographs on her desk, mother of three. "If Wisconsin ever needs an enema, that's where they'll stick the hose. The skyline is like zits on a middle-schooler's face, and the biggest pus-pile of them all is the Gorman Tower. They ran out of money before they could finish building it, and every year, we do a cost-benefit analysis for them to let them know that they also cannot afford to knock it down. Practically a copy and paste job." She handed Eliza a stack of papers and a plane ticket.


On Eliza's way out the door, while scrolling through news feeds on her phone, she noticed a weird coincidence. There was a blurb about a recent Sotheby's auction in New York, where an anonymous bidder paid fifty grand for a 500+ year-old copy of some religious storybook she'd never heard of. Apparently part of the reason the bidding went so high was that, while the text and pictures dated back to the fall of Constantinople, carbon-dating of the paper they were written on proved it was over three-thousand years old. It was like if William Shakespeare had chiseled one of his plays over the Code of Hammurabi. The paper would've been even more valuable without the manuscript written on it, especially for scientific study of how it could possibly be so well-preserved. Meanwhile, last night, someone had broken into Silberman's Books, an "alternative" semi-witchy, semi-hipster bookstore/coffee shop right here in Freedom City. They trashed the place and stole a copy of the same book, or another volume in the same series; it wasn't clear from the reporting. But both articles used the same name for it: "Scivias." The news on Silberman's said their copy was "old and rare," but it didn't elaborate much beyond that.


That detail from the auction about the paper being so much older than the text rang a bell in Eliza's memory. She'd read or heard a legend before about a book like that, a cursed book that drove people insane.

Eliza wasn't the only person, or even the only Freedom City based mystic of supernatural descent, who noticed that same coincidence, and knew that same legend. The teen god and social media sensation Set had a number of search engine alerts set for such things, and this morning, many pieces of a dangerous puzzle were falling into place for them. Set knew Scivias, the three-volume masterwork Latin anthology of religious visions, morality plays, and songs that Saint Hildegard had written over a thousand years ago. Set also knew the story of the Greek merchant sailor who had taken his ship all the way down to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of the African continent. The ship vanished, but returned three years later, running aground near the Straits of Gibraltar. The Greek was the only survivor. His diary was the only clue as to what fate had befallen him, because he'd gone insane and bitten off his own tongue. The journal was full of half-coherent rants about islands appearing and disappearing, sirens who taught him their songs, and the great tentacled monstrosities those songs summoned up from the ocean depths. The songs the Greek had written down didn't seem to make any sense. Parts of them didn't seem like sounds it was physically possible to make. The bundle of scrolls drifted around Europe and Asia Minor, and everyone who spent time around it seemed to eventually suffer terrible nightmares and auditory hallucinations. Actually studying it seemed to accelerate that process. The Eastern Orthodox Church tried to burn the scrolls, but the pages wouldn't catch fire. They tried to blot out the text, but the pages wouldn't stain. Eventually, they settled for rubbing the text until it faded past the point of legibility, splitting the pages up, and re-using them in new manuscripts, hoping that dividing them and covering them with holy words would dilute and diminish their power. Right before the Ottomans seized Constantinople, some monks escaped the city with the books, and they've been missing ever since. No one knew how many there were, or what exactly had become of them.


Edited by FloatyPotato
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Ah, the juggling of flaming chainsaws.


Eliza was familiar with Silberman's. When one was attuned to the secret currents of the world, realizing their various node points across the city was simple. She didn't visit it as often as she wanted to, but she knew about the power within the pages. So the fact that somebody had broken it to steal an ancient tome that dated back to ancient days probably meant that this was not some empty pursuit. And yet... Bedlam.


Eliza had heard many stories of Bedlam as well. Cursed. Corrupted. Decayed. If there was any place where the city patron needed to be taken out and shot like a horse with a broken leg, Bedlam would likely be at the top of the lest. It was a cold way to think about it, but then again, spirit hierarchies were often cold things of patronage and conflicting desire - places where the rot could easily spread from the head down. And now she was going to the city to look at a half-formed tower that desperately fought to keep itself upright.


I should focus my energies. Lest I end up being off my game when I run into Candyman, or whoever the city blames its problems on. But... local matters do have some obligation...


And so, she left her bags open, telling herself she could pack once she was done checking in at Silberman's. 

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A lean young man stepped in Silberman's, swinging the door open with a little more force and considerably more flair than was strictly necessary. Brick red dreadlocks were pulled up into an artfully messy bun while an off-white knitted sweater with a plunging v-neck atop zebra print slacks seemed an almost sarcastic concession to the colder weather. He removed a pair of round sunglasses as he entered and looked about the shop, hanging them from his sweater's hem. "A brick and mortar purveyor of ink and papyrus," the youth observed with a smirk and twinkle in his grey eyes. "And some would call us mythical creatures, eh oh Mistress of Dread?"


Taller by a full head his statuesque companion only narrowed the one smouldering golden eye visible behind her asymmetrical black bob in response, sniffing the bookstore's air cautiously. She didn't seem to like whatever scent she caught, pronounced canines revealed in a silent snarl. She wore a goldenrod shag jacket, hanging low to reveal bare, muscular shoulders and a canary yellow bandeau. The white denim of her pants practically rippled as she walked past the redhead further into the shop with feline grace and a click of open-toed wedges. "I like this not."

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Lynn had sent Maddy home once the police were done questioning her and taking her prints; the whole thing had rattled her, whereas wonton destruction of property was old hat for the changeling. After the cops had bagged all the evidence and took all the photos they needed, and the insurance folks got all the pictures they needed, Lynn was left alone in the dusty store. The plumber had cut off the water to the bathrooms, promising to return later in the week to install new fixtures after the carpenters hung the new door. It was all so terribly exhausting.


So what do you do when disaster strikes? You get out a broom and start sweeping. Now wearing a pair of loose coveralls, Sonic the Hedgehog T-shirt and a pair of worn workboots, the fae bookseller got to work, seperating salvageable and unsalvageable books into seperate piles, mopping up the rest of the water in the bathroom, and sweeping up broken glass and splinters with a pushbroom. She was just dumping another dustpan's worth of debris into a conjured trashbin when the front door opened.


S###, she thought to herself, I forgot to lock it. 


"Uh, sorry folks, we're actually not open today," Lynn said wearily as she wiped her brow with her forearm; even covered in dust and grime, she was surprisingly attractive for a mortal. "We had a bit of...unscheduled remodeling, I suppose you might say." She chuckled without much humor, but then paused to lean on her pushbroom as she squinted her eyes at the young man. "Waitaminute...you're that Egyptian god who's on Twitter, right? Set? Boy, did you pick a bad day for a store visit!"

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Eliza decided to go subtle in showing up to the shop. No costume, no mask, no refined English. She could pass as another girl with a taste for the strange and unusual. Keep it low key.


Which is why, of course, Set and Sekhmet were there. Eliza did as subtle a turnaround as she could manage when she saw Set's familiar features through the broken window, not wanting to hang around for long enough for connections to be drawn.


There's really only so long I can keep this going if I try to play keep away with my secret identity. Sekhmet's got the nose to smell something familiar, and Set has always been good at knowing me. And I always did hate that Three's Company bull****...


So. Best to face this head on. She ducked into a side alley and crouched behind a dumpster, making sure the little corner was unoccupied. The water from her bottle hit her face hard, froze, and slowly shifted to elegance. She never felt the cold. Add the peacoat stuck in her bag, and it was close enough to costume to work.


And so, Temperance walked into the bookstore, November chill behind her. "I heard there was something of a disturbance..."



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Meanwhile, in Bedlam City...


Mister Strix found a severed human arm in a dumpster behind a Wunder-Chuk, one of fourteen Bedlam locations for the otherwise failed fast-food burger chain.


This probably isn't even the worst thing anyone's ever found in here...


Someone was dumping pieces of dead people all over town, someone who wasn't doing a very good job of hiding them, or who just didn't care all that much whether they were found or not. Previously, it had been a leg, most of a sternum with a couple ribs still mostly attached, and numerous organs. Strix kept picking up the scent of human blood during his nocturnal patrols. It was necrotic blood, nothing to stir his appetite, but enough to engage his curiosity and sense of duty. But the trails kept cutting off in seemingly random places, as though the body parts had appeared out of thin air. The dead blood left behind in the discarded limbs and viscera tasted sour and bitter, but he endured it in the hopes that the embedded psychic resonance might give him some clue as to the identities of the victims, or something to elaborate on their fates. But so far, their deaths had been so traumatic, he'd gleaned little beyond the bewildered agony of their final moments.


The days-old acrid stench from the severed arm led him to a small, shabby, two-story townhouse converted into a retail space, on the border where Downtown Bedlam bled into Hardwick Park. The sign across the top of the building read "HAWTHORNE BOOKS & CURIOSITIES." The smaller sign on the door said "CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE". Mister Strix dissolved into a cloud of mist. The door was locked, but it wasn't air-tight. And, unlike some other vampires, Mister Strix did not need an invitation.

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Set gave Lynn a dazzling grin of perfect teeth accompanied by a flourish of his hand, delighted as ever to be recognized. "Set be the storm crow on the tumultuous winds of the ever-unknown, oh much mistreated merchant! Set heeds not 'bad days', rather those foreboding events but answer to Set! Now smile." Without further instruction the godling turned on his heel, phone appearing in an outstretched hand while his other draped across Lynn's shoulders. One artificial shutter sound effect he had already removed himself from her personal space and was tapping away with both thumbs. "'Same book, new chapter. Hashtag freedomcitystrong," he read aloud as he typed, not looking up. "Have you a store account I might 'at'...? Aha, found! Bee-ee-ar, no second eye--"


The stream of rapid speech was interrupted as the bookstore's door opened again and Set glanced up. Expressive eyebrows lifted high above kohl-outlined eyes in recognition for an instant before the godling casually tucked his phone away and crossed his arms over his sweater, standing a little straighter. "Do you know I was so close to wearing my own peacoat today? Thank benevolent Ra's suggestively large hands we avoid any awkwardness, eh?" Grin still in place he turned back to Lynn. "May I present the spectacular spiritualist, contessa of condensation and cold shoulders: the ever lovely Temperance."


Having stalked past Lynn and further into the store, sniffing as she went, Sekhmet poked her head around the side of a bookshelf to size up the situation for a moment before continuing her inspection with an audible grumble.

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"Ah, so not a social visit then," said Lynn once she started to put things together; she was actually relieved she wouldn't have to reach out to Gretch for backup, due to the current...awkwardness between them. "I'm  Lynn; nice to finally meet you both." When Set moved in to take a selfie, she still had the wherewithal to offer up a weary yet defiant 'duckface' and flash the V sign. The changeling noticed Sekhmet sniffing the air and prowling about, and recognized a fellow hunter; looking over her shoulder at the statuesque woman, she indicated the men's bathroom with a nod as she returned to her sweeping.


"They came in through the restroom, or at least I'm pretty sure they did; they didn't touch any of the outside doors or windows, and my one and only suspect visited the facilities when he came in here to throw his weight around and insult my store. I'm thinking he was either familiarizing himself with the room or leaving some sort of beacon or target behind; either way, he pretty much trashed the place when he 'apparated' in." She shook her head and sighed. "Some people just can't take 'no' for an answer."

Edited by Heritage
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Temperance felt like she should do something in response to Set's greeting. A glare wouldn't be professional, and there was no singular part of her that wanted to give a polite bow, as if answering to applause. Instead, she just gave a friendly, firm nod. "It is good to see you again, Set," she said - and she meant it. She and Set had a good relationship, and it had been some time since she'd seem him - though the fact that he sometimes came on as strong as this was a good reminder of why she hadn't exactly sought him out at times. She turned to Lynn. "I should have come in here a while ago." She extended a hand. "I'm attuned to the realms animistic, and can communicate with the entities that work off of the motions of the world. And, as Set has suggested, I can also freeze things quite well."


She took a look around the shop. "I assume the bookshop is warded against spirits? I was hoping to possibly get witness accounts from the invisible denizens within, but if that's not possible, I can go outside to see what those on the street saw. First, though, I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit more about the text..."

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"Well, not completely," Lynn admitted with a shrug as she pulled up a battered wooden chair and dropped into it."It's supposed to be immune, or at least resistant to, scrying, teleportation, dimensional travel and summoning, but obviously that doesn't cover everything."


She reached into the pocket of her coveralls and pulled out a water bottle, from which she took a long swig. "As to the book itself, I don't know much about it, besides the precautions my great-grandfather used to keep it out of the wrong hands, which were considerable. I also know he acquired it during his pursuit of Willem Kantor, which means Thule Society and bad mojo." 


Then the bookseller sighed and pulled Hawthorne's business card out of the same pocket. "And I have a pretty good idea who stole it."

Edited by Heritage
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Once Sekhmet made it a few steps into the bookstore, she felt overwhelmed by the stench of fish, specifically cephalopod. Set had taken her out for sushi before, and now she felt as though she'd curled up into the center of an octopus roll. The odor was strongest in the trashed bathroom, and in the direct trail of wreckage from there through the office. Two other scents permeating that same area struck her as incongruous. There was water all over the floor, which wasn't a surprise, given how the bathroom fixtures were pulverized. But Sekhmet could smell that not all the water came from the broken pipes. A fair amount of it was saltwater. And some of the moisture, especially that on the walls and the broken furniture and fixtures, wasn't water at all. It was saliva. Whatever had smashed its way from the bathroom through the office had also drooled on everything in its path. Grimalkin had been dealing with the stench all day, so she was almost indifferent to it by the time Sekhmet showed up.

Edited by FloatyPotato
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Set had his phone back in hand after barely a glance at the business card. "Ugh, Tan-Aktor, what a plumb bob. Let us see, 'Hawthorne'..." A few skillful searches began to fill in some blanks. "Elderly fellow operating a bookstore in Bedlam City? Bold choice given the overall literacy of his townsfolk. We've been meaning to pay a visit to some friends in the city good taste forgot anyway. What say you, Lady of Slaughter?"


"Tis spit," Sekhmet snarled back, stomping back into view. Her lips were pulled back enough to reveal pronounced canines and her shoulder blades were drawn together as if to minimize her contact with the air around her.


Set blinked once, looking to Temperance's expression reflexively. "An apt description of Bedlam, albeit brusque even by your standards...?"


"The shop reeks of octopus, brine and mastication." The explanation was a growl while Sekhmet's exposed muscles rippled, shaking off fur she didn't currently have. She met Lynn's eyes gravely. "Thy thief rent thy pumping asunder then placed their mouth on..." Her grimace deepened. "...everything."


There was a palpable pause before Set opined, "Well, ick."

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Lynn wearily rubbed her face with her hand. "Well, that jibes with my analysis of the stench; I was really hoping I was wrong on the spit though, because gross." 


But then something Set just said struck a chord, and she deftly hopped to her feet. "Waitaminute, did you say 'elderly'? Because the jackass who walked into my store was anything but; he was mid-thirties, early forties tops. I'm thinking someone might've had their identity stolen." The changeling paused in thought for several seconds, then quickly crossed over to the store's front door, locked it, and put the 'Closed' sign in the window before turning back to her guests. "We're all friends here, right? 'In the biz'? Lemme just show you; there aren't words to describe him."


And with that, Lynn made a gesture, there was a swirl of mist, and an eerily lifelike wax replica of 'Lucien Hawthorne' was standing in the middle of the store in all his pretentious glory! He was leaning forward slightly on his 'wizard's cane', feet set apart, and with the same condescending look on his face. She strutted right up to him and made like she was going to smack him with the back of her hand. "Yeah, here's the bastard himself; I can't do metal, so I had to cheat a bit with mother-of-pearl and goldbug wings. You get the general idea: a-hole with a lot of bling." 


She stood beside it, her arms crossed and bouncing on the balls of her feet, seemingly both proud of her work and eager to kick its ass.

Edited by Heritage
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Temperance did a careful scan of the bookstore. Going by Lynn's words, there was a possibility the wards had been smashed, and maybe some spirits had shown up to take a look around when the smashing happened. "Apparently, Hawthorne is something of a regular presence on the convention circuit," she said. "I never saw practitioners as having 'conventions.' 'Esbats,' maybe..." She shook her head. "Bedlam as well? I have business that takes me there... trying to take the measure of the city and its patron spirit." She realized too late that saying such a thing likely opened her up to any number of comments from people who knew more about Bedlam, but she might as well plunge forward. "So. It appears that our business calls us all towards the Midwest's greatest sinkhole. I feel like fate is playing dominoes..." 

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"Fate? Or the heady-hot winds of chaos?!" Set proposed dramatically, teeth gleaming in a broad grin and one hand held outward with splayed fingers while a single peal of thunder rumbled overhead. The godling relaxed his pose just as suddenly and leaned casually against a shelf of books. "Truly, though, the text in question has a... layered history, so much so that tis no great twist to be found under watch of a seelie - or unseelie, my apologies, thoughtless to assume - guardian or to be spirited away to a city where the spirits be largely away, so to speak" He tilted his head and looked the wax sculpture over head to toe, blasé about Lynn's ability to will it into existence. "Our Mr. Hawthorne has made some terribly naughty bargains and would you believe no one checked with me first? Rude."


Sekhmet idly poked the statue in the temple with a finger tipped with an extended feline claw, expression ever more dour. "Rrrrhh. Bedlam. I would have no more to do with the pallid hound's odorous barges, deceiver." It said something of their evolving relationship that she placed more derision on the smell of mass transit than she did on the dubious honorific, if only just.

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Lynn grinned broadly and inclined her head in Set's direction. "Unseelie indeed, and I do appreciate the consideration." There was a swirl of mist around her form, transforming her into her better known alter ego Grimalkin. Grim appeared much younger and slimmer than Lynn, with short, spiky reddish-brown hair that revealed her elfin ears, and her distinctive black and midnight blue leather costume fit her like a glove. She looked down at herself and chuckled, her voice pitched a bit higher than before. "Been a while since Grimalkin suited up; it'll be nice to be back out in the field." Then she returned to her previous appearance.


It took a while, but Lynn was finally able to figure out Sekhmet's concern about transportation. 


"Uh, if you're worried about travel arrangements, I might be able to help out with that; despite that a-hole's statenents, I am not hurting for cash." Then she held up a neatly-rolled wad of bills and sighed in satisfaction. "Plus I recently came into a bit of money; I'd be happy to charter a flight so we can travel in style."

Edited by Heritage
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Charter a plane.


She couldn't possibly do it. This woman had just had her shop robbed, and even though she clearly had the money to make up for it, that was still her money, and could be better spent on repairs.


Charter. A private plane.


There were environmental concerns to take into account. She didn't know them all that well, but she didn't think it would help much to get yet another plane in the air. Well, it would help the airplane spirits, but that's what they did...


Charter. A. Plane.


Set would be Insta'ing one hundred percent of the time, and she would be in the background with Sekhmet as one of the "no fun police."


Dreams of in-flight service that was more than a bag of pretzels flew by... and were dashed on the waves of practicality. "I have been provided with tickets by the client who wished for me to come out to take the measure of the city's animistic half," she said, finding it easy to lie. "Perhaps to ensure I did not run screaming from the offer, he promised first class. I could possibly convert the ticket to provide coverage for us all..."


She let the "on coach" hang leaden and heavy in the air, lest Set pounce. Though she knew he would. It was what he did. 

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