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Raveled

Continental Vacation (IC)

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June 3, 2011

A twelve hour flight over the Atlantic hadn't done much to improve Jessica Parker's mood. It wasn't the company -- although half a day in close quarters rarely ever did a relationship good -- but more the constant vigilance. She was paranoid that her technopathic abilities would interfere with the plane's avionics and make it crash. She'd kept a conscious check on her powers for the entire flight, and it had tired her out.

On the ground it was a little better. She was surrounded by the constant machine chatter she'd gotten used to over the past few months, and the Gatwick-London airport didn't look very different from any other airport she'd been in. The pound symbol instead of the dollar sign she was used to was a little grating, but Blake was there so she was able to relax while they hired a taxi to take them into the city.

A few minutes later they were cruising down a highway, headed for old London town. Jessica amused herself by switching the radio stations remotely and watching the driver fiddle with the radio, trying to figure out what was going on. After a minute or so the smudge on the horizon started resolving itself into a line of tall, glass-faced buildings, the sort of panorama she was used to seeing every day from living in Freedom City. The young woman frowned and turned to Blake. "Is that London? I don't see Big Ben or anything!"

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Blake's flight had been much more relaxed than Jessica's- he had gotten a window seat and amused himself by imagining what the passengers would say he appeared as Kid Cthulhu outside their windows. Jessica looked a little stressed, and Blake tried to keep her relaxed. He didn't think that she would be worrying about her powers- although he couldn't imagine why a girl who wore a battlesuit would ever be nervous about flying in a plane.

As the taxi drove along, Blake chuckled at her messing with the cab's driver. "I don't know, honey. I imagine it's...somewhere. London is a pretty big city, after all."

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Before long they were in among the big city, their cabbie taking a more scenic route through the city, rather than the strictly fastest one. The pair of Americans took the opportunity to gawk at the sights and point out the landmarks of the city, excitedly exclaiming about their plans and the city all around them. In any case, before too much longer they were at their destination, the Remembrandt Hotel in the heart of London. Jessica and Blake checked into their rooms and paid a bellboy to bring the bags up, rather than display their superpowers.

Once they were safely in their room, Jessica let out a happy squeal and threw her arms around Blake's neck, kissing his briefly and hugging herself to him. "We did it! We're in England, in Europe! We're on vacation, we've even got our own room!" She kissed him more thoroughly then, taking a long minute to do so. When she broke it off she was giggling hard and stepped back until she fell onto the bed. "Oh wow," she breathed, staring up at the ceiling. "I don't know if it's the stress going away because we're here and we did it, or if I'm so happy to be with you, or if it's the twelve hour plane ride in the middle of the night and the five hour jet lag, but I'm feeling pretty loopy just now." She closed her eyes and focused on breathing deeply, a wide smile on her face.

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Blake practically had his face pressed up against the cab's windows, as if he were trying to visually absorb as much of London as is physically possible. He gazed in wide wonder at the sights and sounds of the city, and had his hand over Jessica's the whole time. When they pulled up to the hotel, it was a comfort not to have to use his telekinesis ring and attract attention to himself. To the people of London, they were just another two American tourists.

He smiled widely as she wrapped her hands around his neck. "Haha, yes we are, babe! It's so strange...everything is nicer here. The walls, the carpet, the...oops!" Blake watched his girlfriend fall onto the bed, and he quickly followed her, giggling with her. "So would you like to sleep off the jet lag, Jess? I don't know how well we'd be able to take in the city if we just got off the plane. And if you wanted to, maybe we could...erm." Blake smiled awkwardly and kissed her cheek.

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Jessica turned onto her side and kissed Blake lightly on the lips, then flopped onto her back again and giggled. "I don't think I'm going to be any, uh, use to anyone." She reached across and patted Blake's arm. "But I saw you get a nap on the plane. Watched you sleep, babe. And, um, right across the street? The Victoria and Albert Museum. Which I guess is a pretty big deal if you like, you know, art." She pulled Blake's hand over and kissed his knuckles. "Your girlfriend is awesome, because she thinks of everything."

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Blake practically leapt off the bed. "WHAT. The Victoria and Albert is across the street?!" He suddenly pulled Jessica close to him, and gave her a loving and passionate kiss. His arms wrapped around her waist and he happily rested his head on her stomach. "I love you. So which exhibits are being shown right now? I had just heard about the postmodern one...wow." Blake sat up for a moment, and looked at her. "This is my first vacation, and already it seems like it's the best. Thank you for taking me to Europe, Jessica."

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GM

Blake got into the Victoria and Albert Museum without trouble, despite some initial confusion over the differently-colored (or was it coloured?) British money. The young artist moved slowly through the gallery, taking in all the wonderful pieces on display. The chandelier by Dale Chihuly; the ceramic staircase and the Dorchester House fireplace; the Cast Court; even the John Madejski Garden.

He was examining the display on acid-etched metal when a sudden commotion down the hall caused him to glanced down that way, then do a double-take. Ten young men (and a pair of women) marched down the hall, dressed in combat boots, bowler hats, and white long johns. As they passed the exhibits, they knocked them over or simply pushed at them with long, black sticks; the foremost member of the group, though, had his eye fixed on something near Blake. The young man hopped the velvet rope in front of the hero and gave Blake a mocking bow. "Scuse us, govenor," he said, smiling cruelly. "We just gave for some new soup tins." He lifted his stick high into the air, preparing to bring it down on a (complete!) set of 15th Century plate armor.

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Blake grabbed the stick before he swung it down, and threw it across the floor. His eyes blazed, and he nearly punched the young man in the face. Instead, he unclenched his fists, and took a deep breath. "Okay. I'm going to be as calm as I can. But this is an art museum, and these artifacts are valuable and beautiful, and you're destroying them. Listen, I'm a teenager too, and I've seen A Clockwork Orange like ten times. But I think you guys are totally misinterpreting that film." he said, holding his hands up, and ready to throw a punch at a moment's notice.

"So I'd highly recommend you guys turn yourself in." He had said to Jessica not long before that they shouldn't use their alternate identities while they were in Europe, but Blake felt angry enough to take them down as Warlock. He felt the weight of his lightning wand in his pocket, and he knew he could whip it out at a moment's notice.

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GM

The man danced back from Blake, putting his fists up and wheeling them in the air in a comical imitation of a boxing stance. He gave a sharp whistle and the other pajama'ed thugs moved forward to to surround the American. "Oi, a colonial? Well, let me tell you how it goes. I, am Ludwig. And these are my droogs. And these streets, and this building, and everything else we want, are ours for the taking. So why don't you just give me back the stick and we might just settle for an instructional beating, d'you follow?"

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Blake turned around, and saw he was completely surrounded. He did a mental checklist of his magical weapons he had on hand- and most of them would attract unnecessary attention to him. His hand reached into his pocket, and he pulled out a skull adorned with feathers. It was a ritual talisman, and Blake put a bit of his latent magic power to activate it. The droogs would feel a feeling on uneasiness, and with some luck, complete and utter fear. He smiled a little bit while he waited for the talisman's effects to start working.

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GM

The macabre magic washed over the group of thugs and unnerved the majority of them. They dropped their sticks with a resounding clatter and backed away from Blake. One tripped over the velvet rope and sprawled onto the floor, dragging the rope and stand with him, resulting in an ungodly racket for a few seconds in the echoing chamber; that broke the spell and they fled, running into and bouncing off walls in their hurry to be away from the American hero.

Ludwig, for his part, felt the touch of the magic but shook it off. He glared after his fleeing minions, screaming after them, all pretense of decorum abandoned. He finally turned back to Blake, shaking a finger at the hero. "You right bloody wanker," he said. "I'm gonna tie your arms behind your head and bounce you off the roof. Come here!" He bent down to scoop up one of the rope stands and charged forward at Blake. At the last moment he tripped on the waxed floor, however, and went bouncing and sliding over the tile.

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He shook his head as the cocky youth slipped on the tile floor. "I really wish you had just given up, dude. And just because people do something in a movie does not make it a good idea in real life. I'd recommend picking a better role model, to be honest."

Blake reached in his pocket and pulled out a handful of his magic sleeping powder. "Now take a nap, droogie." He blew a handful into the young man's face. "And don't mess with a wizard."

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GM

Ludwig inhaled a dose of the powder, but it barely seemed to faze the outlandishly dressed youth. He jumped to his feet and swung at Warlock, cracking the hero on the jaw. The force behind his punch was readily evident -- in fact, it was far beyond human! He stamped and cracked some of the tiles, yelling at Warlock. "Don't you bloody get it!? I'm gonna rip your arms off! And I'm not just any droog -- I'm Ludwig! I'm the biggest, meanest thing that's happened to this town since the blitz!"

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Blake took the hit remarkably well, managing to duck past most of the hit. However, his dynamite punch clipped him on his jaw, leaving a mark. "Ow. That hurt, you jerk! Seriously, I told you not to mess with a wizard. If you do that again, you'll wake up with a Mongolian Mambo Curse. I'm serious, man." he said, almost laughing. As much as he enjoyed taking a vacation, he enjoyed fighting crime. There would be some serious explaining to do when he got back to the hotel, but he fought for a worthy cause. Blake whipped another handful of the magic sleeping dust at the youth, hoping he took a deep breath of it.

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GM

Ludwig batted Blake's hand away at the last moment and the dust went flying harmlessly. "You're the one trying to protect the dorogoys," he said, wagging his finger at the wizard, "and you go tossing around a bunch of grazhny! Now do you have the keeshkas for a proper bitva, or are you gonna let me shalga put you down right proper?" He demonstrated by leaping to the side, grabbing up his cane, and then charging the young hero again, impromptu club slicing the air with menacing sounds. Apparently his lack of skill was a ruse, though, because he stepped forward lightly and rapped Blake on the top of the head, causing stars to burst in front of the young hero's eyes.

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Blake activated his force field a moment too late, taking a good rap on the top of his head, but nothing he couldn't shrug off. "God, dude. If I can say one thing for you, you're persistent. If I could say a second thing, the whole nadsat thing is getting pretty obnoxious. Listen, you're obviously stronger than most. Why would you want this life? Nihilism is such a depressing philosophy."

He nervously looked to either side of the young man, and thought against drawing his lightning wand. The mere idea of a priceless artifact being destroyed by him was too much for him to bear. Besides, this guy would go down soon enough. Blake's hands reached for more sleeping powder, and hurled it at the droogie.

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GM

Ludwig stamped forward and retreated, trying to catch Warlock off balance. He swung the stick easily in one hand, a smile creeping over his face as they danced. "Tell ya what, millicent, if you just lay down a loggy, we'll bung off for a chai and a ptitsa, maybe a bit of the ol' in-and-out, what do you say?" He suddenly jumped close to the hero and grabbed the back of Blake's head, slamming the other man's face into his knee. "Or I can just ooblivate your gullivar, what do you say?"

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Blake rolls to one side, and manages to avoid most of the hit, taking a black eye in the process. Still full of energy, Blake leapt to his feet. He looked a mess- he had one black eye, and a small rivulet of blood flowed from one side of his mouth. He smiled widely at the droog, and popped off the cork stopper on one of his potions. "Come on, dude. Do you really think the sleeping dust was the only trick I had up my sleeve?"

After taking a long swig of the brew, he wipes the blood off of the corner of his mouth. The discoloration of his black eye started to fade away, and Blake was soon back to his normal condition. "Winning, duh!" Blake said before teleporting into the next room, well out of sight of the violent droog.

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GM

Ludwig was taken aback by how easily Blake took his hardest hit and was doubly confused when the hero simply disappeared from the fight. He spun around, making sure that Warlock wasn't simply trying to sneak up on him, but the mystic hero had vanished without a trace. The long john-clad thug hurled his stick into and through a nearby wall, stomping hard on the floor. "You bratchny! This toss-up ain't half finished! Get back here and I'll beat you krovvy!"

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Blake's leg was nearly taken off by the droog's stick- he was hiding behind the wall nearest the young man. He took a peek around the corner, and saw him shouting and cursing his name. "Immature asshole..."

He teleported out back into the hallway, and made sure he had a clean line of sight. He grabbed a handful of his magic sleeping powder, and started running towards the droog. "Like I said, don't mess with a magician, asshole!" Blake landed in front of the droog, and hurled the dust right into his face.

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GM

Ludwig's sharp senses caught the sound of Warlock rustling in his coat and he dodged to the side just as the hero flung the magic dust. The thug's hand snaked out and slapped Blake's hand away, and the bag containing the dust went flying into a corner. The droog put his hands up in a proper boxing stance and started bouncing from foot to foot. "You trying to bring that grazzy up in here, old droog? Nah, we're gonna have a proper ol' drat!"

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"God, you know, I'm really trying to understand what you're saying, but it just isn't happening." He chuckled a little to himself, and then turned to the droog. "Okay, so you have my magic powder. Aaaand like I've said a bunch of times before, I'm a magician. I have more than one thing up my sleeve. In fact-" Blake took a second to pull something out of his robes. It was a small pocketwatch, with a stylized bolt of lightning on the front. "This is a pocketwatch. Not just any ordinary pocketwatch. Watch this."

He held the watch in his hand, and pointed it at the droog. Temporal magicks reversed the man's incredible strength, and shrunk his muscular arms down to twigs. "Pretty cool, huh?"

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Ludwig felt the magic seep into him, but he reacted before it could do much. He took a step forward and elbowed Warlock in the throat -- or rather, tried to. He apparently didn't step forward as fast as he thought he would, and the elbow sliced air a few inches in front of the superhero. He stumbled past the mystic and stood there, staring at his hands for a moment before rounding on Blake. "What did you do," he shouted, all attempts at nadsat dropped. "What in hell did you do to me!?"

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"Oh, relax. I just brought you down to size. It's magic, silly. Nothing dangerous, of course. If I were dangerous, you'd be a smouldering pile of ash right now. So, are you ready to give up yet? Can we end this charade and let me turn you over to the police? I'm really just trying to enjoy my damn vacation here."

He drew his lightning wand and pointed it at the droogie's face. "Now, do we have an agreement?"

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Ludwig snorted and stepped up to swat Warlock again -- or at least he tried to, but when his feet wouldn't move he looked down at them. The tiles that made up the museum's floor had twisted up and over his boots, securing him to the ground! Amazingly enough, this happened without causing any cracks or other obvious damage to the floor.

Behind Warlock, the floor bulged and a tall, imposing male figure with slate-gray skin and a billowing red cloak floated up out of the floor. "I am the Fisher King," he announced. "I am of this land and for it, and shall not stand for desecration of its relics!"

"Sod off, Angler Dude," Ludwig snorted, pulling at his feet. The warped tiles cracked and strained, but the thug's legs remained encased. "Augh! I'm going to break out of here and beat both of you into fish food!"

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