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alderwitch

Unholy Trio

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Of course, she was sleeping. Sure, it was the middle of the day, heading towards afternoon, but contrary to the image Talya tended to put out into the public realm, even she had to rest sometimes. Thankfully, part of what she paid the unholy rent for was to have doormen that notified her when people were in route. So, when the phone rang, Talya reached out a hand to try and turn the alarm off only to eventually grope for the phone. She answered in a cool, crisp voice that sounded nothing like she was currently buried in layers of bedding and gave permission for guests to come up just as smoothly, despite the reality that she'd not yet gotten both eyes open. After she hung up, Talya laid there for a long moment before kicking the covers off. 

The woman who answered the door, however, showed none of the signs of having just rolled out of the bed. From her on point pin curls to the peep toed shoes, Talya was in full hostess mode when she walked to answer the door for a 'Dimitri and guest'. 

"Dimitri, honestly, I know it's hard to fathom but I really am a mere mortal that actually sleeps sometimes, and--" Talya broke off before she could get to the point where while the vodka really was very good, sometimes one needed to recover to stare delightedly at Set, "This is Set. The Set. Well, the latest incarnae. You Egyptians and your reincarnation. Come in. Do come in."

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"Hello, Lady Talya!" said Dimitri cheerfully. "Set and I have had day of troubles, so I thought we might darken your door with liquor. I have brought my own!" he said, pulling the vodka flask from his pocket. First came a brotherly embrace for Talya, the same he might give any other comrade of war, then he headed straight for her wet bar. "Set, do not know if you ever tangled with Bombshell 'back in day', as Americans say," he said, making actual air quotes with his fingers as he ducked down to study the contents of Talya's guest liquor cabinet, "but she is fine lady! Killed many fascists, bedeviled many American heroes - my kind of woman." He winked at her while he poured his vodka. "Lady Talya, this is Set! Smaller than she was in ancient past, but then, aren't we all in these flashy 21st century days?" He shrugged as he poured another round of shots for Set and Talya both. 

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"My elder self had many very nice, very expensive possession and the Prima Donna of Pilferers was an incomparable authority on the reallocation of such possessions," Set reminded Dimitri with a flourish of fanciful language that seemed a little bit forced as the godling bit back on a sigh. "Paths crossed indeed. Feels strange to be the one breaking into your abode unannounced, oh honeyed hostess. Then again, we managed an entire introduction without anyone calling me a whore so the day appears to be improving. Huzzah." The redheaded Heliopolian waggled her hands back and forth in mock celebration but still took a moment to bow politely to Talya, not having completely forgotten her manners. She'd managed to reach some potent combination of the weariness of the genuinely timeless and the surly brooding of a teenager who'd not gotten her way, adjusting the straps of her cross halter where slouching had set them askew and stepping inside. "Many thanks for your hospitality; troubles indeed."

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"There was a lovely bust. I stole it for the Scarab. Ah," Talya paused, although whether it was to remember fondly Alexander Rhodes or a particularly pleasant heist, that was slightly in more question. She arched a brow at Set's commentary about introductions and held the door open for them both to enter. Walking into Talya's apartment was like walking into a movie set or a very nice catalog picture. It was very well apportioned and the taste was impeccable but a close examination would reveal the living room utterly devoid of any of the personal touches that actually make a place, a home. Still, it was a very pleasant, pretty facade not unlike the hostess herself. "But I don't imagine you're here to stroll down memory lane so much as take advantage of my wet bar with Dimitri. Come in."

She turned then, her heels clicking on polished floors towards where Dimitiri was making himself at home. Talya accepted the shot that was offered, holding it still in her elegant fingertips, "So, come, tell me of your troubles. Someone called Set a 'whore' I gathered as much. Care to elaborate on the troubles that have caused you both to turn to drinking before," she glanced to the clock, "three o'clock in the afternoon?"

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"Spent long day with cranky vampire who became cranky father when he caught Set in flagrante delicto. And here Set had been trying to be good lady and call for aid! But Set can share gory details. And I do mean gory, heh-heh-heh." His heart didn't seem to be in the joke, though. Instead, he shook his head and tossed back a shot of the ice-cold vodka. "You know, Set," admitted Dimitri reluctantly, "I feel I owe you apology. You have been good fellow, and lady, since reincarnation but I have been nothing but foul-mouthed about you. Was just so delighted to see enemy of old days, it seemed a shame to have friend instead." He shrugged. 

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"No such thing as bad publicity, I'm told," Set drawled as she followed Talya's lead over the bar then Dimitri's by tossing back the shot set aside for her without any of the hesitation her youthful appearance might have suggested. She shuddered from the cold more than the taste before leaning over the bar so that her chin was resting over top of her crossed arms. "No apology necessary, old man. Tis probably for the best to have those around for whom my elder self's... trespasses be less academic. You know the value of a good grudge, I always liked that about you." She let her head loll to one side despondently so that she could look over at their hostess, brick red dreadlocks falling to one side as she pursed lips painted brown-black. "Boy troubles. Blood troubles. I don't see how I was supposed to know twas his first time..."

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"Boy troubles - and girl troubles - are frequently very trying. Especially at your age but also still at Dimitri's age," Talya offered her sage opinion on the nature of relationships before taking the shot that had been set aside. She set the empty cup back on the bar lightly. "It'll pass, as such things tend to. No one's first time is ever without issues. Mine certainly wasn't! Eventually it'll become an amusing story but for now, it stings."

She turned around to run her fingers over the liquor as she didn't want to spend her afternoon drinking JUST Dimitiri's vodka. Heaven only knew what sort of trouble she'd get into if she ended up that inebriated before it grew dark, "Besides, vampires are always a little rough around the edges until they pass the hundred mark."

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"You are too kind, Lady Talya!" declared Dimitri sociably, wandering over to take a seat by the window, bottle and cup still in hand. "Ah, I remember first ladyfriend well. I pulled her pigtails so, and dipped them in inkwell. And then, came older brother to beat me soundly. Such is young love." He sipped his drink, swirling the liquid back and forth in his hand - he'd have to vomit it up later, but this was vodka with friends, how could he turn it down? "I do not think you are a whore, Set. You are good, honest liar, and I respect that." He sighed. "Had lady I was courting on Freedom League, but she genuinely dislikes me. Was one that told me where I should place bobblehead," he said to Set.  

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"I live in the hope that encounter did not involve the sensual drinking of your blood sending your lucky partner into feverish hallucinations, oh most congenial of catburglars," Set groaned, planting her forehead against the surface of the bar and covering her head with both arms in utter dejection. She certainly could become any more mortified by Bombshell finding out about the incident, having reached her theoretical limit so far as she could tell, though admittedly their hostess has so far been far more understanding than was her obligation. "Tis a meaningful endorsement, Dimitri, my thanks," she replied genuinely to the Russian, lifting one hand to squeeze his forearm. "Please do not let anyone place a likeness of me inside your body."

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"My first time was an Oberbefehlsleiter who we suspected of being a member of the Thule society - which he was," Talya said matter of factly as she poured scotch on top of ice in a crystal cup. "And I needed him to trust me utterly. All for Queen and country, my darling. Do you need another shot?"

She slanted a smile at Dimitri only to sigh at his confessions of failing at love. It wasn't surprising but a good friend only pointed that out the first time or ten, "Ah, Dimitri. You need to find a lady that peaks your fancy who already speaks Russian. Eloquence is the path to the heart, after all. Well, the path you want to take. It would take a rare lady to appreciate the more direct route through the sternum."

Her blue gaze slanted back to Set and she added, "I generally suggest working one's way up to blood drinking, personally. Try the movies first." That was very much advice Talya had never personally held to - she rarely moved slowly once committed to action - but that didn't mean she didn't understand the value of it when it came to teenagers. 

 

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"Ah, do not worry about old Frost," said Dimitri, waving a hand dismissively. "Is not first woman to spurn my affections. Young secretary of friend has promised date some time, should be stimulating." He hmmed, revolving his drink in his glass. "Set, I have question for you to consider. Who gives a a damn?" he asked the deity seriously. "You are god incarnate. You can have companionship when you please, with many who please you. Why care for the Faretti boy? Why care about the words of his father?" 

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Set straightened abruptly as Talya calmly described her first experience, shamefaced. "An anecdote that truly provides perspective. I believe another shot be absolutely in order." The godling shot the blonde woman an apologetic look, feeling quite petty indeed as she did her best to stop pouting and compose herself. She turned to Dimitri as he posed his question and gave him a short laugh. "I be somewhat diminished, you may have noticed, but tis beside the point. Any god who claims not to care should others love them or not be either lying or selling something but I would not bed my online followers specifically because I would only need ask! A god of the unknown has little love for a sure bet." It also struck her as a distasteful abuse of influence but that sort of regard for others was still a fairly novel line of thinking and she wasn't sure how to articulate it without sounding trite. "As for the leech's insults, tis the principle of the matter! He should not be allowed to speak so to me nor any other!" She slapped the bar hard enough to rattle a few bottles and coughed quietly as she modulated her volume back down a bit. "Besides, did you even see his scion's dimples? Auuuugh, old man!"

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Talya gave a phlegmatic shrug, "Someone else's bad experience doesn't make yours less pleasant," she pointed out before obligingly pouring Set the requested shot. Picking up her scotch glass once more as she stepped around. Along her way, she gave Dimitri's arm a fond pat before crossing to the fireplace in the center of the living space. Despite the affectation of her clothing style, the apartment was as contemporary as anything in Freedom City and reaching out, she turned on the gas in the fireplace. It wasn't cold enough to warrant a roaring fire but Talya wasn't turning it on for her comfort. When a friend showed up needing liquor, one provided it. When your guests had... other dietary needs, you did what you could to accommodate it. Talya moved well away from the flames, mutely gesturing to them for the thermovore, should he have need.

Reaching out to steady the bottles before any made a leap for freedom, Talya chuckled, "You're dodging the question - I should know," Her blue eyes sparkled with bemusement as she took a sip of her drink and then pointed you, "Your points on that no woman deserves to be spoken to like that are certainly well founded and on the greater topic of a god needing affection as much as any other, I can't disagree - but you've sidestepped Dimitri's question but for mooning over a pair of dimples. I believe you are a bit besotted. That's adorable."

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Frost clapped his hands together. "Ah, delightful! To be young and in love, or five thousand years..." He waved his hand. "Who can say?" He wandered over to Talya's fire and settled down by it, crossing his legs before the flames and smiling contentedly. With the thermovore blocking, and absorbing the heat from the gas, the other occupants of the apartment could hardly feel it at all. "You are pretty girl, and sometimes pretty boy," said Frost with a reassuring gesture Set's way. "All will be fine, one way or another. You know what you do," he suddenly said, seizing on the idea. "You make him jealous is what you do. Surest way to motivate young man." He snapped his fingers. "What of one of those muscular young heroes roaming around the city these days, from that academy of theirs. Take up with one of those, see if fellow and his dimples come crawling back."

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Set bristled in the way only a teenager feeling condescended to could, turning up her nose slightly. "I should think you both old enough to know the difference between lust and infatuation," she shot back primly before shifting back and forth a bit uncomfortably. "Mayhaps a truly, truly minor amount of infatuation," the godling admitted after a moment. "He banished a greater demon pretending to be me to fool some bargain store cultists. Twas endearing."

Dimitri's suggestion, however, earned a quick and emphatic, "No." Looking like someone had just run electrical current through her Set shook her head. "Dimitri, do you know what happens when gods play about with jealously. Nothing good, ever. Gah. Ra's aching wisdom teeth." She snatched up the new shot Talya had placed in front of her and downed in one gulp.

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"Jealousy backfires for everyone, gods and mortals," Talya pointed out, "Relationships forged in deceit rarely have any staying power. Which might be why I am single so much of the time." That was added with an easy, lazy sort of smile. "Although if its just an affair, manipulation is perfectly fine and Frost's advice remains sound. Don't turn his other dalliances into a goat or anything, though."

As Set finished the shot, Talya turned at the waist to fetch a bottle of water and set it down in front of the agitated godling. She wasn't entirely sure if Egyptian gods could or couldn't get drunk but regardless, Talya thought she'd err on the side of not letting the immortal turned teenager not dehydrate herself in the process. "What's the goal? To ensure that the pretty boy is not completely turned off by a less than stellar first snog and is interested in future banishments and necking activities?" Talya asked then, "Always good to know the end goal to plan any endeavor."

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"Ooh." Unfazed by Set's rejection of his first plan, Dimitri snapped the fingers on his other hand. "We wait for some demonic crisis, then summon this fine young fellow to assist in some robust way, perhaps where he must sacrifice upper tier of costume! And then Talya and I, we withdraw to some discreet location while young lovers go about business. But the question of civilian casualties...hmm. Porheps in state forest? Plenty of things that go bump in night there that could be let loose where no one would be eaten. And then fighting them could help you go bump in night! Hah-hah, you see what I did there? Is pun! You young people love that stuff." He casually leaned back and placed his hand in the fire directly. "I tell you, comedy is lost art."

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Set perked up a bit at Talya's probing, touching one finger to her own nose and pointing with her other hand to the super spy. "Ah, just so! With the delightful regionalism and all!" Both snogging and necking sounded like exceptional goals to have, particularly with the inflection that Bombshell was able to give them. The godling popped the cap off of the bottle of water and absently took a long pull from it, mind churning. It was difficult for a goddess of the desert to actually become dehydrated but then Dimitri's potato sweat was fairly potent. "Pray, continue speaking! You as well, old man, so that I might contrast and know from your example what not to do," she added sweetly, encouraging his dirty uncle shtick in her own way. Set knew something about leaning into an exaggerated persona, after all. She supposed everyone in the room did, at that. What a gathering they made!

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"Oh, any plan that ends with someone losing costume parts is a good one," Talya encouraged Dimitri with a slow grin. She folded her arms, resting her elbows on the bar, "Especially if you can ensure it so that they also hand over their coat or cape to ensure that you aren't also topless. It creates an immediate intimacy and an illusion of vulnerability that lends itself well to further 'antics'."

How one managed to lose half their clothes during a fight, Talya didn't expound on although she was clearly warming to Dimitri's suggestions and refining them. "Not the forest, no, the beach. That's almost as empty this time of year and terribly popular for cultist activity. Its always that, the sewers, or a warehouse. No one wants to summon things if they have to trek out to the forest to manage it - unless its some sort of Herne thing. Though that pretty much always ends in debauchery regardless of whether or not its interrupted."

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"Ah, but the forest provides convenient cover!" said Dimitri with great confidence. "I know boy's father as I said and he is very protective in that way of fathers. If he or mother catch the boy in flagrante delicto, as it were, a Herne summoning provides such an easy story! Set and young man were simply swept away by the passions of the Wild Hunt, and who could blame young man and woman for such a passionate display." He hmmed, then pointed a finger at Set. "Young man, does he know that Girl Set is oftimes Boy Set? Good to establish the rules of ground before you are on ground." He put his hand on his chin, thinking back. He didn't actually know Jack's son's sexual tastes, not being one to ask that about the children of the men and women he worked with. "If friendly enemy is neeeded, I know sprightly young spectre who would be happy to assist in matchmaking combat." 

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"Absolutely no summoning!" Set insisted, putting her metaphorical foot down while also stamping one actual sandal against Talya's floorboards. There had been a time when such a gesture would have rocked the entire building with divine fury; now that motion was unintentionally cute. "I skirt enough rules and edicts simply being here myself without bringing anything else over to the mortal plane." She didn't add that she wasn't convinced she'd be able to adequately control a sufficiently nasty summoning long enough to avoid getting her head bitten off in a particularly humiliating fashion.

She was about to note that at least the beach had sand - the dense foliage of the local forests didn't bother Set per se but it certainly wasn't her favoured environment - when Dimitri raised a more serious point. "Ah. Well. I make no secret of my fluid nature on the internets but the subject did not exactly come up this afternoon. ...do you expect that should matter?" Set hadn't even considered that aspect of things until the Russian had mentioned it. Much of the time she didn't feel strongly about her gender identity one way or the other but just as often she did. She supposed that was sufficiently unusual in the current social climate to be a concern.

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"Well, no one was suggesting we actually summon anything. At least I wasn't. Never cared for all of that chanting and calling on fell powers. Too many nasty experiences. I think, more, it's only a matter of time before it occurs again. Did I mention I ran across some straggling cultists that were of a decidedly unpleasantly similar to Thule cultist bent for my personal comfort?" Talya added as an aside to Dimitri. She waved one fingertip in a small circular motion, "Remind me, when I am sober, to go into it later. Something we might want to look into."

She transferred her full attention back to Set then, some sympathy flickering across her features, "It might. There are surprisingly entrenched puritanical roots in American culture but if his father's a vampire, he's bound to be at least a little more flexible on somethings. Vampiric culture is generally a more sensual sort of thing," she looked over to Dimitri then and added, "Present company excluded, of course."

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"Hey, what do you mean, woman!?" objected Dimitri. "I am man of cosmopolitan Old World tastes, I-oh no you mean what have I done with ladies, no that's fair," he conceded, his hand still in the fire. He was beginning to look almost healthy now, even what should have been the heat from a roaring gas fire dimmed down to nearly nothing. "I suppose summoning is out of question," he admitted, chastened by Talya's mention of the Thule Society. "You know, Set," he went on, his tone light but careful, "you are probably not going to please father. Boy is sixteen and you are six-thousand-something. Better think of that before you think of what to do next." 

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"Eh? Where-- ah! You're counting from the origin of my worship on this plane!" Set exclaimed with sudden realization after a moment of eyebrow raising confusion. She let out a bubbling fit of melodic giggling, the vodka beginning to her system. "I be not six thousand! Well. I suppose one could measure things that way, tis not incorrect." She hummed as she considered the idea rocking back and forth slightly. "But time in Heliopolis does not work as time does here nor are gods immortal in the sense that you be immortal, Dimitri, nor you, oh honey hued hostess! A millennia old vampire, what a thing that would be! He would have to begin forgetting, I imagine..." Momentarily distracted by that imagining, the redheaded godling shook her head hard enough to send her dreadlocks flapping about. "You continue, you... accumulate! Gods may wax and wane, may change but we do not grow. Why do you think I--" She froze in the middle of gesturing to herself from head to toe, realizing she was about to get into a line of conversation she didn't really want to have. "Ah. Ahem. More water, mayhaps," Set decided, taking a long sip from the bottle. "Regardless! I'm two as much as I'm six thousand should that make you feel any better, old man."

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"The Heliopians and their reincarnation thing gets funny when they incarnate, inevitably," Talya said with some experience in such matters. Her brows arched in amusement, "It takes less than a millenia to forget things for mortals or vampires. Just ask Dimitri, he never remembers who won the last game of darts the last time we were at the pub - it's always me, by the way."

Talya's voice was light, teasing as she straightened, glass in hand to push the water bottle towards Set as he reached for it, "The line of reasoning that you are a two year old godling is not as like to reassure anyone, much less the vampire lord in question. More in point, the concerned father in question. Now neither Dimitri nor I can comment as to a paternal bent - alas, we've never been so blessed with offspring of our own - but from observation, fathers if they are worth their salt are generally of a protective bent and while you likely care very little for the man's opinions on much of anything at this point in time; he is the sire of the one who's so caught your interest. In short, I would find a better story to spin when it inevitably comes up again."

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