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GM

May 19th, 6:37pm

News had been slow to travel, but it didn't matter, there was still time. The prey was shopping, moving around the mortals like she was one of them. Didn't matter, she could move as she pleased, however, that ritual was unacceptable. Not that she'd get to do it anyway. It was not hard to do, child's play really, something easy to replicate, simple magic.

The hunter let the illusion was over him, into that of a young man, not much older than sixteen with jeans and a U2 t-shirt. Leaning out of the ally, he watched as she came into sight. The bag's strap snapped with easy, and it was a quick trip to sprint past her and down back into the alley.

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Lynn was doing some last minute shopping for the wedding, just a few odds and ends that had been overlooked in the insane pre-planning leading up to the big day; her mind had so laser-focused on all aspects of the ceremony and reception that she completely missed the young thief who made off with her bag. True, it was mere glamour and cost her nothing, but the wallet and all its contents were all too real.

"What? Oh, damn it!" She quickly gave chase, too exposed to pull any pixie shenanigans, but confidant in her ability to capture any purse snatcher without having to use a tenth of her powers. She called down the alley, sniffing the air as she crept forward.

"Buddy, you don't know it yet, but you've just made a huge mistake; why don't you save yourself a lot of trouble and gimme my bag back, okay?"

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GM

She didn't suspect a thing, typical, predictable, it was sprung, all that was needed was the conclusion. The theif looked wide eyed at the pixie chasing him, but didn't stop, in fact he continued his way down the alley and out onto the street. However in his shock he missed a stepped and fell face forward onto the pavement dropping the purse a few feet ahead of him. There was a crashing sound as the theif pushed himself up and scrabbled to the bag, hoping to grab it and continue his path.

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Boy, they sure make it easy for you, don't they?

In a flash, Lynn was there, scooping up her bag and repairing it with a touch. Looking down at the pathetic would-be thief, she crosed her arms and shook her head in disgust.

"Y'know normally I'd call the cops on you, but I'm in a bit of a hurry today, so I'm just gonna scare the living crap out of you and hope that makes the message stick."

Sparing a quick look over her shoulder to make sure no one was paying much attention, the changeling turned back to address the punk, but now her features were horrifically transformed; most of the flesh was missing, fully exposing the skull, and bright red centipedes appeared to crawl in and out of the various orrifices. Her bulging bloodshot eyes stared balefully at the fallen teen, and when she spoke, her voice seemed to echo up from the bowels of Hell.

"Now run along home and go straight to bed!"

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GM

The boy looked wide eyed at Lynn, and didn't hesitate to get up and the heck out of there. It was only when he was out of sight that the creature looked back. He had to force the fear to subside, but when it was gone, he started to cackle as his form shifted and he broke out of the illusion, revealing a trollish like figure standing in the hallway of a well decorated pallace. He started back down the hall to meet with his lady, the trap was sprung, and now all the was needed was just to wait.

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Lynn was two hours late, Etain might of thought she couldn't find the place, but she waited outside like she did before. She didn't think she was sidetracked by a villian, or at least not after she sent Custos out to check. The sun was beginning to to go down as well. She picked up her chair and walked back into the house. She could of scryed for her, but decided to see if she was just still at her home, or had forgotten she was supposed to pick up the charm today. Flipping through her numbers in her cell phone, she moved to Grim's home phone after she didn't pick up her cell and pressed enter waiting for it to ring. When someone answered, she responded quickly,

"Yes, excuse me is Lynn there?"

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Whilst his sister sat amid textbooks and notepads on one end of the couch in the Incerceptors' bownstone apartment building, Erik Espadas, the swashbuckling swordsman better known as Jack of all Blades, idly flicked through channels on the large, wall mounted television. Admittedly, the crime fighter was more than a little bored, but it was the siblings' turn to be 'on-call' in case of an emergency, and he'd already finished his training routine for the day. When the phone rang, Erik rose to retrieve it, cracking his back as he went. "Y'ello?" he answered, tilting his head to one side as he listened. "Lynn? No, she's out right now. Who's this?"

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She recognized the voice, but didn't stay much on it. It didn't matter terribly, he knew who she was talking about so this was the right number.

"I am Etain, and I was to be meeting her at Parkhurst as she wanted me to make her a charm for luck because of some event. Except, she said she would be here around two hours ago, and I have not seen her, nor have I seen any reason in the area that she may be side tracked. Also, she is not answering her phone, it worries me."

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Frowning slightly at the oddly accented young woman's voice on the other end of the line, Erik considered. Even over the phone, the fencer was adept at reading a feint, and 'Etain' seemed genuine enough. "Huh, not like her to skip out on a social call..." he mused largely to himself, his frown deepening. Turning slightly away from the phone, he snapped the fingers of his free hand insistently. The show he'd been watching paused and the brightly clad figure of Vince walked onto the sitcom set and offered his human friend a bemused shrug. If the AI couldn't find Lynn either, something was certainly up. "Okay, stay put, help's on the way."

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Etain gave an address and detailed directions in her reply, however, she still as per precaution set up a lawn chair and at outside. It was finally warming up and she had stuck to a lighter outfit as she read. Though she did find herself a bit more anxious than usual, even if Lynn was fully capable there was always a worry. It wasn't likely Lynn was dead in a ditch somewhere, in fact it was far less likely for her in particular, but it did make her wonder on that thought for a moment longer before she dialed another number she had acquired recently. There was a few rings, but she got an answer,

"Yes, excuse me, is Nick there?"

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Eric was just heading off from work when the phone rang. Even with a regular supply of coffee, he was still feeling somewhat beat from the night before. Some penny ante necromancer had attempted to bind a ghost at the FCU Medical Center and accidentally triggered a rise in the morgue. Not only had the necromancer managed to get away somehow, but the spell that wove the zombies together kept knitting their flesh as well. It had taken a lot of effort to get them all down, and he wasn't looking forward to tracking down the guy.

I can't decide which would be more annoying -- if this is just Samedi or Carrefour screwing around, or if some new talent's in town.

His reverie was distracted by the ringing of his cell phone. He checked the number, and flipped it open. "Hey, Etain," he said. "What's going on?"

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She waited, when the voice came on the phone she had a little more relief hearing the necromancer's voice,

"I was to meet Ms. Grimalkin at Parkhurst earlier this evening, but it has been a little over two hours and she has not appeared. I asked Custos to look to see if there was trouble, I looked at the news, and I called her cell and her home and she answered neither, though I did manage to reach one of her teammates who is coming over at the moment. Could you see if you could not see if any of your friends has seen her?"

Etain was not as uneasy with ghosts as she was, but they were not so fond of her because of her association with fae as well as her own association with Custos who while unable to attack humans without provocation, he can attack spirits freely if he feels threatened(he would not of course, but apparently when they were not dormant, gargoyles would often keep spirits away from the churches they protected).

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"Hmm," Eric said. "Tell you what. I just got off work. Give me about an hour, and I can get to Lantern Hill and get word out on the ectoplasmic network. I'll call you back then."

---

About an hour later, Nick Cimitiere was ready to get business done. He had a backpack's worth of offerings spread out -- liquor to be spilled, cigarettes to be lit and absorbed as smoke, cakes and pastries to be rent asunder and transformed into their ectoplasmic equivalent, hell money that would spend well in Di Yu and several other underworlds, and other token offerings. He began the preparations, and soon, ghosts from all over the city began to converge on the ritual site.

"Okay, guys and gals," he said to each in turn. "Looking for info on a pixie-ish girl. About this tall, dressed in gowns or in blue and black. And when I say 'pixie-ish,' I mean it -- she's got real fae qualities. Don't suppose any of you guys have seen her 'round?"

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GM

Most of the spirits had heard of someone like that, there were some rumors about a fae like hero though it was really hard to pin down who exactly. However, one lingering spirit of a homeless man came forward with something useful.

"Was she a short haired cutie, I think I saw someone like her. I was hangin' out by some stores, saw her come out o' one and her bag get snatched some punk. She started after, and man does she look good from behind when she starts a running. So I got a closer look and saw her running into a dead end alley but not come out. Took a look, couldn't find any look of her anywhere, and there was something weird in the air, but I didn't know what."

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Nick grimaced. Great, abductions and dead ends, he thought. Whole lot of things that could be in this city, but why do I have that sinking feeling the Lady's behind this?

After burning a good Cuban cigar and offering the homeless man its ectoplasmic duplicate, he gave Changeling a call back. "Yeah, Etain?" he said. "It's bad. Someone did a phony purse snatch and lured Grimalkin into a back alley. Neither came out. I've got a location on the alley. Meet me there, and bring backup, just in case."

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My the time Etain had gotten the address from Nick, Jack of all Blades and Jill O'Cure had appeared rather suddenly, the former's royal blue greatcoat flapping lightly about his ankles as he strode forward while the latter adjusted the cuffs of her crimson gloves as she followed to one side. "Hey, Butterfly-Wing-Victorian-Dress-Fairy-Girl," the swashbuckler greeted as they got closer, forced levity in his tone even as his body language suggested seriousness. "Take it Grim hasn't shown yet. What can you tell us, from the beginning?"

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Etain smiled at Jack and the overly long nickname,

"I see you remember me, but not what I have been asked to be called. No matter, as I am not wearing my mask please call me Etain, and nothing else."

There was no edge to the comment, which was more a statement than anything else but the slight annoyance was still present none the less before she turned and greeted Jill with a far more standard,

"It is nice to see you as well."

Before centering herself to address them both,

"I have just got off the phone with a friend, Nick Cimitiere if you know him. I asked him to ask around the local spirits and it seems Grim had followed a theif into an alley which she never exited. This can mean a lot of things, but we can only be sure once we have visited if I cannot trouble you to travel a little further."

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"Too be fair, my version was more descriptive," Jack defended, giving the prim teenager a slight bow from the waist that was as defential as it was wry. "But a girl has the right to choose her own moniker, I suppose. Nick's good people, I'm sure his intel is good."

"Sounds like Grim walked into a trap," Jill observed, holding her chin with one gloved hand. "We should get moving and see if we can pick up a trail, then."

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It was a little under twenty minutes where they met Nick at the alley. Etain had put on her mask and was full orange and yellow garb when they approached. Looking down it, she saw immediately the energy flaring in the back of it, Jack would probably notice it was something similiar to Etain's own energy except colder, more sinisiter. She looked at Nick for a few seconds before saying,

"Fairy magic, unseelie court, they took her, why? Did she do anything to anger them?"

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"The exact opposite, really," Nick said. "There was some crazy Unseelie lady that was trying to claw her way out from under the Queen of Air and Darkness's watchful eye and set up a power base in our world. We managed to kick her down, the Queen found out, and sent her off to... wherever bad faeries go. She was really appreciative of Grim -- " He paused, his expression souring. "...which can mean a whole lot of bad things when it's an Unseelie faerie doing the appreciating. She said that Grim represented the glory of the Unseelie Court -- while faeries are stories, ever-shifting and bound to their roles, she had a distinct self that could grow of her own volition. Maybe she was growing in a way that they weren't comfortable with..."

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Rubbing his eyes through his bandanna mask, Jack made a long sound suspiciously like the first syllable of a vehement curse. "She's engaged, getting married soon." After a pause, he clarified flatly, "Not to me. But the groom is vanilla human... more or less."

"You think they seriously might kidnap her rather than see her go all wedded bliss?" Jill asked with a frown, brow furrowing.

"I can see them not wanting her to get too close to the mortal side of things," her brother confirmed his reasoning.

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Changeling was pondering over the reasonings, that was until Jack spoke and realization hit her,

"Ohh, ohh dear."

She began shaking her head,

"This, this is bad, they would never let her do that."

Looking at Jack she reminded herself that context was needed for the statement,

"Marriage is a ritual, a binding ritual to which someone promises their lives to their partners. Binding words like that means that Grimalkin is willingly having herself become a permenant resident of this realm. Faeries are not allowed to interfer with inhabitants of this realm, not without extraordinarily good reason and those who do are than immediately punished. If a queen thinks so highly of her, I can see why she would do just about anything she could to keep from losing access to her."

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"Great," Nick said. "I really should've thought twice about that whole thing. Guess I was just too focused on not pissing off the woman who could turn me into an icicle with a click of her fingers." He looked to Changeling. "So, this shouldn't be too hard. Just enter the realm of endless winter and throw down with the ungodly powerful Queen of Air and Darkness and all her faerie minions, get the girl, get out. I'm sure we've all done worse."

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Jack frowned, looking pensive as he rubbed the light stubble across his jawline with one hand. "Hey, Grim can take care of herself," his sister reminded him, jabbing an elbow into his side lightly. "She'll be fine until we can get there."

"Oh, I know that," he responded immediately with a forced levity and confident smirk. "I was just trying to decide whether to go with a 'cold' theme for the banter this time around or try to work with that whole 'air and darkness' thing," he explained with exaggerated gravitas. "Y'know, airhead, blowing smoke, dimbulb, shadow of your former self..." As soon as Jill turned away with a grumble, his smile faded significantly, but his voice remained confident as he continued, "Well, I'll decide on the way. Let's go."

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"Yes, that does sum up our purposes quite nicely. I will cast hide us while we search however, so hopefully we will locate her before we must fight our way through the queen's legions."

Walking over to the wall she let out a sigh,

"The barrier is still thin from the previous portal, we can probably tear it open with a little force. Though I do not think I will be able to manage at my own. As much as I can do with my own abilities, I am really quite pitiful with any other magics."

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