| For those in the know, Tollcross is am amalgam of everything that makes cities vibrant and vital. The thumping of electronic music pulses along with the beat of life itself. It's late, deserted but while the Italian delis are closed up for the night, their shoppes lonely, the night life is just beginning. Still, the shwarma place is right near to a Strip Club that no one admits they go to. Night club going girls with their huge hoop earrings and short skirts fighting valiantly against the chill. The shadows of the alleyways hide the darkest, though. The homeless and the junkies and the impatient who can't wait to get back to a flat or two. Near to the Cloisters, there's laughter and a group of girls in shoes they can no longer walk in - but braver now, due to the liquor.
It's a break in the rain, and the moon peaks out behind the rain clouds in a waxing gibbous. And, everything and everyone has come out to play in the swirling mass of people in the Tollcross.
The bell on the door of the shwarma place dings merrily as the door opens. Not to admit someone within, but to allow someone to depart. Wrapped in a coat, with scarf and hat to protect against the cold is the woman in her early thirties. If she had gloves, they are not in evidence. Instead, her hands are warmed by the gyro she clutches, foil wrapper torn away to reveal just enough to nibble at as she starts down the street, aiming for the Cloisters.
The bell, it tolls for thee. At least, for some people. Like a doctor just getting off one of his very rare day shifts. Lono looks about the street as he crosses into old town, his steps brisk and in tune with the winter cold. Certainly a cool Scottish night is nothing to be taken lightly, and the coffee he holds almost serves both as a balm to the soul as well as an invective against tiredness and the malaise of both weather and the never-ending wave of the ill, the injured, and the....terribly rich.
The Shwarma is great, well roasted thinly cut strips of meat all wrapped up in another. The place, for what it is worth, does really great business. It's utterly perfect drunk food, after all. The coffee? It's coffee. Bitter and darker than the sleeper belief of the Devil and that's good enough for everyone concerned.
A group pass by Lono, loudly laughing and spitting a couple of beats as they meander by. They aren't half bad, but compared to the UK's Hip-Hop scene, probably need a little ways to go.
Another late night, actually. It would do well, though, if someone didn't blitz themselves from around the corner and down their street. The man is wild-eyed and frantic with look of intent on his features. He crashes through the drunk girls teetering on their heels. One, falls over and reaches for her ankle.
What would be an otherwise casual, lovely evening spent eating a meal for one and taking a stroll before bed is interrupted. It is not the man that Deidre's attention goes to, but the girl that falls over. When she changes direction, it is not in a rush. Nor a panic. Really, there's little change in the emotions writ upon the Irish woman's features. Instead she carefully wraps up her to-go meal and tucks it into a pocket, approaching the young woman. "Here, let me see," she offers lightly as she kneels to examine the injured limb.
Lono, handsome doctor man that he is, declines to diagnose the mediocrity of the hip hop spitters that meander past. He looks over at the girl, his eyes traveling to the source of the injury while the other follows the rather frantic fellow. "What are the odds....never good, never good." Its part of the nature of the gig, isn't it? Nobody runs away like that unless its from or to something big and nasty, and a terse exhalation expels from his lips. He moves to extend his arm to catch the fellow. "All right all right, slow down. Whats got you so spooked?"
Lono rolls Brawl + Strength -3
2 - failure.
"Hey, thanks," the young girl tells the Irish woman. The brogue is obviously Scottish, young and (at least) trying to be hip in her affectations. Though, that's kind of put a damper on by the fact she's slurring all of her speech. In-taking a breath sharply through her teeth she rubs her ankle. Definitely the fault of the heels but it isn't a broken ankle, thankfully.
The man, turns and glances at Lono. Wild-Eyed and fiery... The guy notices too early the arm that juts out and jerks his arm back flying into an alleyway nearby. Meanwhile, there's another, stocky and dangerous looking coming down the street as well; watching the wild eyed guy.
Deidre rolls Wits + Composure
1 3 4 8 10 4 10 4 - (3) for success.
Lono rolls Wits + Composure
1 1 4 6 9 - (1) for marginal success.
Both mages can hear it though, in the distance. A sort of laughing, mocking cawing sound from up on, maybe, one of the street lamps. The sound of a Raven. But a Raven that has been starved for many a night...
"Ought not wear such high heels if you'll be drinking." Deidre's accent is there, but not too much so. The way of one who enunciates clearly to be understood. "Wear wedges or boots with a wider heel instead. These streets can be treacherous." She examines the girl's ankle with the eye of one knowledgeable enough. No official examination, but nothing too amateur either. "You'll be fine. Put some ice on it at home, try to keep off of it for a day or two." She looks up suddenly, turning her head a bit. Brow furrows slightly as she gets to her feet, stepping away from the girls by a few strides. Somewhat in the direction of the cawing.
Lono misses the man, but does manage to hear the cawing of ravens. Hungry ravens. He cocks his head for a moment and looks into the alleyway, but does not enter it, all the while looking above and around. "I swear, sometimes I think Scotland has a mandatory creepiness quotient." Not like in New Zealand, where the worst one might confront is a sheep possessed by a furious Maori warrior. His feet shuffle as he looks at the dangerous looking one, and quickly looks away.
Deidre rolls Wits + Investigation
3 4 7 7 9 - (1) for marginal success.
The single Raven's cawing, mocking laugh is still heard when the 'Dangerous Man' enters the alleyway. The argument can be heard but not the words they are yelling at one another...
"Thanks," the Drunk Girl says to Deidre. Though, the advice is certainly not going to go to heart. Practicality is not friends with Fashion and Fashion demands stiletto heels. But, even as Deirdre moves away from miss Lost Cause, she scans above. What she sees, then, probably confirms what Lono is saying at least to himself: creepiness. It, the Raven, is looking directly at Deidre a challenging glare coming from a gaunt raven and matted feathers and beak that seems to have seen better days. Another caw, another mocking laugh.
Deidre rolls Matter + Gnosis
1 3 8 - (1) for marginal success.
Lono rolls Prime + Gnosis
1 1 8 10 6 - (2) for marginal success.
Lono has always found the movies to be fantastic references for spellcasting, if only to contrast with imposing the batshit on reality. In this case he is totally envisioning Smaug circa an almost hilariously campy 1970's cartoon rendition of him...except no flashlights are visible, and he's trying to see magic, not invisible hobbits. Though Frodo might be a sight more comforting as a perpetrator, rather than cawing starving ravens or brutal toughs. Lono is not a student of mythology, but he knows any critter that ever found its way into Viking myth tended to be bad omens. And usually have sick senses of humor. His fingers dance along the inside of his palm as he adds a few mumbles and spit into his palm for good measure. Or good luck. One of the two.
Both mages push the Lie away from their eyes. Revealing a Truth, The Truth to them in turn. The heaviness of the /Tangible/ weighs heavily upon Deirdre. Almost as though she could see the individual atoms of a passing car. Or, that there is a sense of tangibility to the very air that she's breathing.
Lono, sees the magic that lurks around every corner and every crack. The magic that the Exarchs have so long to stifle. The song and the laugh. Light of nearby laylines swirling and twirling around him.
For both mages, though, they feel that familiar and chilling feeling of their senses telling them that Magic is afoot. A shiver and a warning all at once. But, the target right now, is the queer raven standing and silently judging Deirdre.
Deidre rolls Intelligence + Occult
1 3 8 10 2 - (2) for marginal success.
Lono rolls Intelligence + Occult -3 + 1
10 7 - (1) for marginal success.
Deirdre and Lono both see the creature for what it is, a Spirit. But it isn't just any Spirit that they've come across. There is something inherently _WRONG_ about it. Inherently frightening and terrible, like a gaping maw waiting to eat another. A something that seems, for Deirdre, as though it was dripping black, viscus icor that stains everything it touches around it. For Lono, it's discordant to the point of nails on a chalkboard...
There's a brief glance off to the side. Others have continued to move away and paid little to no mind to the cackling Raven. However, there is one who has not. Pale eyes narrow slightly at Lono, but Deidre says nothing. Perhaps an attempt to avoid drawing attention. Or she's unsure how to proceed. A slight step away is taken as the woman centers herself. "What..." A deep breath as she prepares herself to cast again, if need be.
Deidre rolls Wits + Occult + Death
1 2 4 6 7 9 - (1) for marginal success.
Quoth the Raven, nevermore! Or Crowbattle, or something of the sort. In any case, Lono keeps an eye on the beady eyed bird. Still, since he is uncertain of its method, he calls up hidden reserves of agility and wire-fu. Or maybe its just a spell. Why not both? Probability and obscure maths coupled with ninja-like reflexes! Since Deirdre seems to be looking at the same thing, he mutters in aside to her. "I think we have upset its delicate sensibilities."
Deidre rolls Death + Gnosis
4 5 9 - (1) for marginal success.
Lono rolls Intelligence + Persuasion + Space
2 2 4 5 5 6 9 - (1) for marginal success.
Clothes begin to feel a bit uncomfortable when Lono's imago flares to life in his mind and finds purchase in the Lie. His body being protected by a shield that subtly pushes away the puddles (if he looks at it real close) that he's standing on. For Deirdre, the world slows down. Inertia dies. A leaf that falls slows waaaay down when it nears too close.
The judging Raven, flutters up into the air and flies over towards the alleyway where the dangerous man and the other went into. It's gaze, however fixed on the pair of will-workers.
"So it would seem." Deidre murmurs once more, fingers moving in those meditative mudras. She watches the Raven fly by, enjoying that slowing of the world around her. She draws in a breath and slowly turns, watching it go. Though it still watches her, she moves forward a few paces. Slowly moving towards the alley's entrance.
Lono follows, one hand in his pocket, the other slipping past to allow him to peer into the alleyway where last the two men, Tweedle-spooked and Tweedle-Furious did go. "You know anything about this? Names Lono by the way." He says, since introduction is probably important as one decides to peer into an alley with someone else. "I'm sort of new to most of this, still rather wrapped up in my day job and daylight concerns." Code for Sleeper doings if there ever was one. "Any insight would be vastly welcomed."
What they find, is grotesque. The Dangerous Man, is rifling through the Wild-Eyed Man. Beaten and unconscious on the ground curled up in a fetal position. It would be another normal run-in with a criminal if it wasn't for the subtle, dark, and horrible touch of a darkness so dark that it sucks out the light. Similar, to the resonance of the near Skeletal, molting, Raven. The Dangerous Man glances over at the pair entering and runs off the other way.
But, that's not the end of it ... not by a longshot...
Elgin rolls 5
6 8 9 9 10 3 - (4) for success.
A surge of power, dark and the type that makes another feel dirty just by being around it; comes across the senses. While Deirdre starts to speak, she finds her voice simply leaving her...
Unfortunately, Lono is not about to earn any insight into Deidre or what she calls herself. The woman is moving through the slowness, taking it all in as things move around her. Trying to catch details on the man that flees, details on the Raven. However, when she opens her mouth to speak... nothing comes forth. Her lips move, but there is no sound. Eyes widen in a sense of panic.
Lono rolls Wits + Medicine
3 5 7 8 8 9 10 10 8 - (6) for exceptional success!
You paged Lono with 'He's got a lot of abraisons, brusies, probably a broken rib or three. He needs to get to a hospital, he's muttering things about how he needs it. Needs IT. Capitol Letters are definately pronounced here. He's got broken arms and is probably even bleeding internally.'
Lono waits for several moments to hear if the dark haired damsel shall speak. He waits for a syllable, an utterance of coherency. Only to be disappointed. "Right then. Suppose its time to have a look at this fellow." He sets up besides the unconscious fellow, examining him with great care. He removes a small notebook and begins jotting things down once has concluded his investigation of the fellow. Fortunately, it seems mundane skill wins the day. "Alright. Now here's the question. Where do I try and fix you...." He says, looking up, perhaps waiting for Deidre to supply some incident. And then he remembers she can't talk. "Right then! Lets get you someplace where we can actually help you, no?"
More attempts to speak, none of which are successful. There would be a grunt of frustration, but it does not happen either. When Lono goes forward to assist the injured man, Deidre follows suit. She crouches down and digs in her pockets -- careful not to squish her gyro too much -- until she surfaces with a cellphone. Swift tapping in a notepad program enables her to show it to Lono: 'Andraste. I am not a medical professional, but I can help. Forensics.'
Speaking with Deidre's Voice, the Raven opens it's mouth and speaks - words only the willworkers can hear, "Delicious. Wonderful. Delightful city so full of everything. I will be quite happy here. Catch me if you can." The Raven taunts before Flying off speed quite a bit faster than one would expect from such a thing. But it isn't actually such a thing, is it...
"Andraste. Lovely name. And being mute would definitely score you several notes in my uncle Filbert's book. He always was lonely after aunt Janice died. Fortunately I am a medical professional, so his odds of dying horribly, at least tonight, are much diminished." Lono replies to the tapping of notepad. He then looks up at the Raven, arching his eyebrow and coking his head to watch its flight. "No No, I'm really quite okay down here. Where you aren't."
Unfortunately for Lono, much of what he says might go over the thus-named Andraste's head. The woman looks sharply to the Raven, her brow furrowing in annoyance. Perhaps anger. She opens her mouth to cast something, but again... nothing comes forth. So it turns into what would surely be a string of swears before she looks back to Lono. A gesture to the fallen man, as if in question as to what he wishes to do.