A Magical Time Of Year

Characters: Faye Diamond Anneliese Klavdiya Vasiliev Loki Morgana le Fay
Rated: PG-13
Summary: Loki and Morgana tease the masses with a little magic while discussing the Old Ways and three errant but perceptive young women step in, drawing the attention the pair. No doubt Klavdiya, Faye and Anneliese will be hearing from the God and the Sorceress again.
OOC Date: Sun Nov 12 16:15:39 2017
IC Date: Sun Nov 12 04:17 2017
Where: Times Square, NY.

Cold. As in 'damn, it's unseasonably cold right now' sort of cold. Who knew? There's a chill in the air, and it carries from the City's streets outward into the more rural areas of the state. While there's no hint of snow, it just feels like there should be the qualifier 'yet'. This doesn't make the residents of the city very happy, though the tourists are THRILLED with the idea of a cold evening's walk towards the Center, now that the tree has finally arrived on the back of a flatbed truck from Pennsylvania. The 75 foot tall spruce doesn't look all that regal at the moment, but there is enough of a security force around it that does emphasize its importance. (Who got stuck with guarding the tree?)

People walk past it slowly as if it lies in state, wanting to pull a sprig here and there from it. Small children leeeeeean while still holding a hand of a parent, a sibling, wanting to get up close and personal for no other reason but that it's a tree. In the City.

With a dark green woolen jacket buttoned, collar set up, a well dressed dark-haired man walks slowly past the gatherings spotted here and there along the route, green eyes watching the procession. There's a quirk to his smile, his thoughts flickering past his eyes that find some expression in his features. Always thinking, always moving, always planning. "I love this time of year," is murmured, though there is a feeling beneath the words. "I think this year shall be a new beginning." Loki pauses in his step and turns to face the truck with the tree, his words still softly spoken as if simply to himself, "Too long have they lost their way." He straightens, smiles, and continues with a single declaration, still quietly stated, "This will be grand."

Rarely does the Queen of Avalon grace the Realm of Man though she seems to be doing it lately more than normal. Black the raven haired God.

Dressed in a silk and velvet dress of deep purple and black which ends just above her knees, a black crushed velvet coat with two buttons in the center and a pair of knee-high black heeled boots, she has found a nearby bench to lean against and in her hands are two tall mugs, the contents of which pour steam into the cold air.

"I do so love it when you get that look in your eye…" While she isn't technically close enough to be heard, the wind itself seems to carry her voice.

Overhead, a large hawk cries, circling the square and watching.

"Spiced mead?"

One shouldn't hold out hope on the weather staying clear…

Faye Diamond flips up the collar of her trenchcoat against the wind and pulls her fedora down a little tighter. To be clear, the private investigator purchased neither of those clothing items for herself, and when she was given them she pretended to roll her eyes, but part of her enjoys the cliche of it all; and anyway, the collar offers a slight brace against the wind. Good 'nough.
She's feeling alright today, all things considered. There's a spring in her step and her walk is purposeful despite her having no particular purpose today except to be out while she's feeling alright. Faye's self-aware enough to know it's not an accident that she randomly chose to walk in the direction of a giant Christmas tree, the symbol of pagan gods transmuted into the symbol of the god of fishes and loaves: she wants to be around something holy. Anyone with a particular awareness for magic could probably guess why. She radiates sinister magic like the stink of a half-full dumpster in summer.
Quietly, about fifty feet away from the tree, Faye watches it as it lies there on the flatbed, and thinks sour thoughts to herself about how such a majestic tree was sacrificed for people to have a monument to consumerism.
Okay, maybe she's not really in the Christmas spirit, but screw you, it's November twelfth.

Amongst the milling crowds move those who are … ignored. Unworthy of notice. The forgotten. And one of those is, outwardly, just a homeless veteran. Less than pristinely clean, a bit greasy, clad in the aged castoffs of military service, the one called 'Hunter' moves with eyes downcast, not making eye contact with anyone, not purposefully drawing the attention of anyone. Even so, the crowds tend to melt out of her way whichever she may turn. Whether they do so because of her 'unclean' status, or for some other more sinister reason is unclear, even to those in the crowd themselves.

The scent of the pine pitch is thick, cloying in her nose. Diya wants no trouble, but there are times when trouble seems to find her regardless. Some baseborn instinct tells her today may very well be one of those days. It is a day she would prefer to be on a rooftop, a rifle in hand. But she is here, on foot, at ground level, walking almost civilians. She would rather be back in Mutant Town. But for some reason she felt that urge, that instinct, and it brought her here. So here she is … waiting. Watching.

Loki turns his head to look back over his shoulder, the smile lingering there a moment before he inclines his head wordlessly and takes the one, two, few steps back to draw it from her hand. There is a chill in the air, and breath can be seen in puffs when the light catches.

Like movement with cats, the draw and scent of magic pulls the Trickster God's attention away, the warmed cup momentarily forgotten. Not for long, however, and he draws the drink to his lips, green eyes are watching over the edge of the glass, scanning to find the one from which such energy exudes. The smile that had dropped in the search now hints at its former place, and with a flick of his finger, a small flock of blackbirds burst from the branches of the supine tree in the direction of that dark magic. Starlings flap with purpose, looking as if they're dive-bombing only to pull up and fly away.

That one 'unworthy' of note is not yet noticed..

The scent and feel of that magic causes emerald green eyes to shimmer and moment before snapping to the direction, if not the very origin, of that feel of magic not her own or Loki's. "Well now…" A well shaped brow slowly arches upwards. Said green eyes flit to the one watching and waiting for … something, and the Sorceress smirks into the mug that is brought to her lips. "One might think they've never seen a tree before…" This is accompanied with a chuckle from Morgana as she fluidly rises to her feet.

"And what has brought you out today, My Lord?" Even as it's asked, the hawk that had been circling dives to pitch on tree stump, causing quite the ruckus as it snaps and screeches at everyone attempting to get near the tree.

"Or is it just the promise of entertainment from the children?"

Look! Snow flakes! … Ignore the slight flare of magic from Morgana that accompanied the start of them.

Faye Diamond's eyes narrow as she spots the starlings pretending to divebomb her (but she doesn't flinch; she's seen too much to be scared of a bird). Starlings, the harbingers of harbingers, and aggressive protectors of the family. She knows enough about the occult to know that last bit is based on actual starling behavior, which means if they perceived her as a threat, they wouldn't stop at pretending to attack her… which in turn means their presence is a message. The question is, a message from whom? Or what?
Her magic twists, and Faye feels the weight of her Tome of Elder Magic filling her hand, its spine resting in the cup of her fingers, its idiot eye doubtlessly gazing out into the crowd. She grimaces: it's the most visibly troubling item of her panoply that could have chosen to come to her at this moment, but at least it's one of the more useful ones. She tucks the large book awkwardly into the breast of her trenchcoat but leaves her hand on it, drawing magic from it, feeling spells fill her mind… scouring mists spells rather than the spells of premonition she'd been hoping for, she notes sourly. It must be nice to be a white magician and not have to put up with this kind of garbage.
Well, count your blessing. At least the snowfall might help conceal it if her eyes and hair start turning to mist again.

Feline instinct lashes at the 'Hunter', but she resists, refusing to lash out, to make a hue and cry at the birds, or to pounce upon them. Instead the gifted soldier's senses reach out, taking in the whole of the place, looking for what does not fit the pattern. There is a threat here somewhere, and she must find it. Find it before it endangers the innocent. They are not her people, but they are people, unable to protect themselves. But she can. She can, and will. She will not draw the weapons of war until she finds the enemy. But the moment draws nigh.

Anneliese arrives from the Sandbox Suite Lobby.

The birds.. Loki quirks his head as they pull up out of their seeming bombing run, his hands still clasping the cup of his cider. A sip is taken, and the hint of a smile grows as he watches one of the 'targets' draw her hand into her jacket to find an item rather important to her. "This .. tree. They haven't completely forgotten," he murmurs. "Deep in their souls, they know, and they'll remember soon enough.."

The snow begins to fall, much to the delight of the tourists as they try to get pictures of the tree, now that a hawk is keeping them from the boughs, diving and harassing.. though the burst of starlings from the branches was more than a little.. unexpected, to say the least. Loki looks up as the light snowflakes drift down, and actually chuckles, the sound light. "There is magic afoot, however, and I mean to find it's origin," is mentioned through as he lowers his eyes once more and studies the magician.

Sadly, the Trickster doesn't quite catch the ripples of 'the gifted'. Not yet..

A soft laugh rings from Morgana. "You always know just what to say to make a lady smile." She's very big on the Old Ways. Gee, wonder why…

"Many seem to remember How but forget the Why… And their place within it all." Clearly, she's not a fan of humans. At all. "It will be… entertaining to remind them…" Another sip of the mead is taken, the drink never cooling from that 'just right' temperature.

"The child with snow white hair… She's the origin of much of it beyond our own." Her head tilts faintly, green eyes seeming to slide from person to person. "It amuses me that humans these days feel so over confident as to believe they had the ability to face a God." Or her, but that she leaves unsaid.

Slowly, the snowflakes become thicker and larger, and while the speed doesn't pick up, it would seem as if the weather is getting worse. Unless you're keen enough to note that, really, it's only getting worse in certain spots.

With a chuckle, Morgana's eyes flit to and linger on Klavdiya. "That one there is wary. She senses something that has her one edge…" This brings a small snort from the Queen. "She hunts for the source…"

Well, she didn't get the spells she wanted, but she has a bit of a magical charge built up, and that will have to be good enough. A hawk harassing photographers is a situation that demands immediate response; a hawk can slit a human throat pretty easily, and take their eyes even easier. Fortunately, the response required is not necessarily one that will blow her cover: if the starlings swerved away from her, then the hawk might too, which means Plan A is to just run up to the person currently being aimed at by a bird that is basically a bunch of knives with a five-foot wingspan, waving her arms to try to startle it off while yelling in her nasal Bostonian accent, "Get behind me, buddy! Mind your footing in the snow!"

Birds attacking is one thing. But when someone charges the attacking hawk, that's something else entirely. Not that 'Hunter' is sure this is what she was looking for, but it's close enough. She advances through the crowd, slithering this way and that to weave through the press of bodies, even as they melt out of her way, and she gets close. Close enough that experience tells her that the aura of lethal predator she seems to exude will be blanketing over the hawk's current perch, and at least a few of its selected targets. She cannot know it will be enough, but she tries to do this without drawing weapons.

Yet.

Anneliese, on the other hand, is moving in a far more random fashion. She walks with swaying steps, her gaze trained on nothing as she follows a swerving path through the snow. The soft crunch of crushed ice follows the girl's footsteps. Anna seems to intent to be bothered by the flush in her cheeks or numbing fingertips. SOmeone should probably give the girl gloves. Eventually she comes to stand beside Faye.

"What?" There's another Boston accent. It's pretty much a dead giveaway as to their association, the classic Kennedy drawl not exactly common outside the Boston area, politics, and 40s movie stars. "…Faye." There's a pause as azure eyes affix themselves firmly to the hawk and she takes a deep breath. "Don't touch the bird. It's…" Her gaze drifts then, following nothing. It continues in Morgana's direction and halts as she bites her bottom lip.

"This snow drift reminds me of Wales." Anna might do well to remember she too is vulnerable to being shredded by the bird.

Looking back over his shoulder, Loki's green eyes gleam, "My Lady flatters me." It's obvious that he's pleased, however, and he lets out a soft laugh as he inclines his head ever so briefly. "They will recall soon enough. Midgard will once again know its place."

The starlings are gone.. once they swerved up, they disappeared into 'thin' air, lost in the snowflakes that now seem to come down a little harder. Another swallow of mead is taken, the warmth of it settling easily. His attention, once he's spoken to his lovely companion, is back towards that 'child with the white hair', "I see.. fascinating. Have they learned something new? I'm intrigued." His tones lilt in that space between amusement and mockery, the words dancing on the edge. "I love new tricks."

And there.. Loki looks a little disappointed, but he can feel that magical charge. Even as Faye runs to protect the mortal from the attentions of Morgana's hunting bird, he clucks his tongue and shakes his head.

However, when Loki's attention is turned towards that other one, brows crease. "Really," he says softly. "Exactly how…" Call him fascinated!

And there's someone new! This is getting better and better. The mead that is settled in Loki's hand is waved away, disappearing completely, and he drops his hands into his pockets, taking a half-step back to stand beside Morgana. "This is too good."

The human 'flailing' at him has the Hawk tilting it's head to one side and, as if mocking the girl, flapping it's wings and 'calling' to her in return. And Morgana almost loses her compose at it all. "Old magic. Very old. I have to wonder if she really knows how to handle it…" It's murmured absently about Faye.

"Is flattery if it's the truth?" A playfulness that would be difficult for many who don't know the Sorceress well enough to recognize it, lights in her eyes and is just hinted at in her voice as she slips an arm around on of the young God's.

The Hunter getting closer to her bird causes Morgana's eyes to narrow faintly and harden. She makes a little 'tsk tsk' sound before her eyes slide to the newcomer as the girl eyes the Hawk. "Smart child…"

Still… "They should be thankful you've put me in such high spirits, My Lord, that I don't feel blood shed is necessary at the moment."

Her eyes flash a brilliant green which reflects, briefly, off the snow and then the bird takes flight but not without and warn swipe of sharp talons at those too close to it.

Luckily for Faye, martial arts are mandatory at Kamar-Taj, and her reflexes are… passable, anyway. She grunts with the effort of flinging herself to the side, and notices with the bizarre detachment that comes over in moments of stress that she can hear the bird's claws slice through the air just before its buffeting wings knock her fedora off. She snatches at it - that was a gift from Anna; she doesn't want to lose it!—misses her grip, and has to go scrabbling through the snow after it. The eyeball on the tome in her coat rolls against the fabric, causing an obscene bulge she ignores because she's just too used to this book trying to psyche her out. There! Hat retrieved and returned.
As Faye pushes back up to her feet, her eyes flick over Anna to make sure the other girl isn't hurt. No wounds: good. Only once this inspection is completed does she say in a low voice, "Someone is messing with me, Anna. Can you see who?"

The 'Hunter' steps into the path of the bird, intercepting its attack without flinching and without hesitation, even if it should draw blood. No one needs know that those wounds will seal up nearly as quickly as they are made. The point for her is that no one innocent will be harmed … and that whatever is happening here will now know that she is here, and involved, unwilling to let it proceed without her interference. Oh, how she is itching to let loose. But not yet. Barely. But not yet.

"…I could find them but I don't think we should," Anna responds slowly. She shifts her weight when the hawk begins to swipe, letting Faye the Hunter interpose themselves between the odd, pale girl and her would be assailant. She follows the bird with her eyes, digging in a heel as if she might turn. "This isn't a normal enchantment. The bird is - a familiar, maybe?" She bites her bottom lip, looking up a little further and studying the snow. "We should get out of this drift before it turns to a blizzard," she announces then.
After this Anna's eyes dart to the Hunter and look her carefully over from head to toe. She digs in her heels a little further. "… Hm." Then she leans in toward Faye and murmurs, "If you really want to track them down I think I could follow the spell. I just… Well. I brought my pen."

"It's not one I recognize.. yours, certainly. Greeks. Romans. Gauls.." is murmured, green eyes back on the girl losing her fedora. "I want to see what she is holding to so dearly." Loki exhales softly, "We have been away too long." Odin's edict be damned!

As the hawk moves skyward again, done with its games of taunts, Loki lifts his gaze, briefly seemingly searching for something before he lowers it once again. "I like to see you in such spirits. It does become you, you know..". Morgan's hand slips around his arm, and he shifts such that it is easier for her to hold her hand there at his elbow, the image of a proper escort. "Though it's that other one.. when did humanity gain such .." Loss for words? ".. intensity without having the use of magic behind it?"

Loki's been away too long… though, just 'because', his one free hand is pulled from his woolen coat, and with a twitch of fingers, he sends a breeze in Faye and Anna's direction in an attempt to get one more glimpse, at least from the outside, of that which is hidden inside the coat. Snow dances on the wind, pushing with a constant force for seconds before it dies down once again.

"The magics are so interwoven, relics being passed from one to another with no respect to the powers that originally imbued it… It's difficult to sort through the muddy scents of magic sometimes to find the core.." A sad sigh escapes Morgana. "Magic was gone for so long… To see it returning yet in the hands of so many who think they understand yet know nothing is… Disheartening."

Still, the compliment makes her smile up at the silver-tongued God. "Is that why you enjoy visiting Avalon? The Dragon Lord will be heartbroken to learn such." Again with that subtle playfulness and amusement.

"I've seen a few who hold power that, while not magic, is not the standard human. They are, perhaps, the next evolution of humans. Not all seem to be natural though." Her nose wrinkles in disgust. "It would seem, when they could no longer pull on magic to misuse, many turned to technology…"

Her eyes flit from Hunter to Faye to Anne and a small smile plays on her lips. Something dark and knowing. "They will be worth keeping an eye on. I'll make sure to send… friends."

Faye smiles quickly at Anna. "Atta girl," she encourages. "Maybe we won't even need your pen, who knows, right?" Anything's possible, and Faye, though looking for a confrontation, isn't looking for a fight. The proximity of her tome has filled her mind with a half-dozen spells, and there's a dragging weight in her left jacket pocket that wasn't there before indicating the presence of her ring: in other words, her black magic is eager to do some damage, which fact alone makes Faye immediately cautious. Her magic is not on her side.
She still hasn't noticed the Hunter who chooses not to be noticed, which isn't as hard as it sounds; not being noticed is mostly a matter of attitude. Her attention to strangers isn't helped by the sudden whipping of a wind at her coat - a prankish wind, she would say, because the word 'mischievous' is in her vocabulary as a word recognized rather than one to be used, which is unfortunate for her as it denies her a useful clue—peeling back her lapel to reveal a glimpse of a blood-red book bound in gilt brass and adorned on the cover with a giant, rolling, violet-irised eye. Scowling, Faye grabs her lapel and pulls her coat closed.
"That wasn't an accident," Faye tells Anna flatly.

A wind, to the Hunter, is not a threat. Not a reason to draw steel. So she stands, and she is brushed and blown, unhindered, uncaring. The bird is gone, and with it seems to have gone the problems. That is for the best, she thinks. And she turns, prepared to melt back into the crowd and take her deadly predator's aura with her.

"…An errant breeze? Clearly you're overthinking things," Anna responds slowly. The Hunter is offered a beatific smile hten, blue eyes alight with mirth and tgratitude as hte other woman departs form the group. Anna takes a deep breath afterward and draws her light coat more tightly around herself as she turns. "Best to pretend," she warns Faye gently. "Your ring wants you to fight. That's enough for me to want to go in the other direction." WIth a light shrug she then takes a deep breath and draws a toe through the snow. "If I see those birds again I might send them away at least," she muses then. "Starlings. …Mmm."

Loki stands and stares as Morgana talks to him, his head straight as he watches his handiwork, that is, that breeze that does show that which he desired to see.. that great violet-irised eyed tome. He stares perhaps a little longer, even after the coat is pulled back as proof against the wind, and he's not yet responding to the words spoken to him.

He does come out of his self-induced momentary 'trance' and he smiles tightly, though not without some measure of affection, "I'm certain there is no choosing between you, for each of you hold your own particular charm." Loki finally does look to his side, and the smile remains, reaching his eyes, "Come.. there are celebrations to plan for our return."

With a soft laugh and the barest hint of a squeeze to his arm, Morgana dips her head. "As do you, My Lord." Those green eyes dance and twinkle as she turns with the God. "Indeed." And she's looking forward to all the fun that is sure to come with it.

It will only take a few steps into the stone before the glowing amethyst mist swirls around and engulf the pair, teleporting them away. Of course, as soon as they're gone, the snow abruptly halts, the thick sense of magic and mischief that had hung in the air dissipates… It's as if it's just another winter day.

There are times when you have to stand up to bullies, and there are times to listen to your girlfriend because she's obviously way smarter than you. Faye nods at Anna. "Let's walk away," she agrees. "It's a nice night, there's a pretty tree, plenty to do here… let's see if we can find a place to get a drink, huh?" She lets the energy of her stored spells dissipate (an experience she can only compare to how your head feels when you have a cold, and you feel your sinuses drain from your forehead; which actually isn't very much like how it feels at all), and feels her book and her ring banish themselves back to the various vaults she keeps them in. Good thing: they were really throwing off the lines of her coat. Heh.

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