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Time: Present Day
Location: Lost Haven, MaineMs F
I am sorry for the late reply, I have been out of town.
Care to meet somewhere quiet to discuss what I have discovered?
The text tone on the Ambassador's smartphone rang, she had been awake for several hours going about her daily routine, having taken the past couple of days to relax and pick away at deciphering the prophecies. She was surprised but pleased she wouldn't need to track him down. She read the text then quickly replied. ❀Quite alright.❀
I have been rather busy myself.
I can be in LH today, meet me at my hotel. I'll text you the address and room number.
Until then ¸¸♬·¯·♩¸¸♪·¯·♫¸
She tapped SEND
then called for Bach to get ready. The meeting with Lekh would need to be played with caution. Depending on how she presented whatever information he wanted to know, could result in either losing him as an ally or keeping him as a tentative friend. She safely assumed he would ask about the Soul Mark, a little red thumb print on his wrist months ago, when they first met. There was no real way around explaining away the mark's more invasive properties. Regardless it would be removed one way or another, there wasn't need for it anymore.
The time it took to call a hotel in Lost Haven, create a portal and check in, it was considerably short. With everything she could ever need stored in her enchanted purse, travelling was really never a problem unless she was forced to keep up appearances.
Lost Haven awaited her return.
Silence had quite the trip. Uncovering family secrets, discovering mysterious government sanctioned research labs, high octane jail breaks, it wasn't quite the vacation the Pole had been looking forward too but it was certainly one to write home about. Unfortunately, that wasn't quite what Lekh had in mind. The Ambassador had commissioned him for the job with a rather tantalising reward offered in recompense, the truthful answer to a question of his choosing. The criminal's mind was abuzz with the sort of things he could ask a woman like Odette, who manifested powers the likes of which he had only read about, wouldn't have even believed existed until a few months prior. Still, there was the small matter of the goblin.
It had been transported directly into the back of his car to receive the dossier. Lekh was by no means familiar in any way, shape, or form with magic or its uses, but his memory was sound. Odette had told him that he had only to press his finger to the mark on his wrist and speak her name and she could come to him. Yet, seemingly, without any of these actions taking place she had known his exact location and by extension where to send her little servant. It would seem she had misled him in regards to the exact nature of this little gift she had bestowed upon him. Though he was hardly surprised.
Dressed in shirt, dark green jacket and jeans the chameleon of a man waltzed through the Ambassador's hotel. It was a nice place, not overly special as such but certainly comfortable. He respected the place's lack of defining features, something which he shared with the building, and which made both of them useful in certain circumstances. His hair was a mousey brown today, but not much longer than the last time he and the Ambassador had met, which was only a short while ago.
He found the room with no real trouble and his mind harkened back to his first meeting with Ms Favre, the sense of deja-vu palpable as he knocked lightly at the door. "Room service, Madam."
Odette stood from the small sitting area at the sound of his knocking, then peeked through the eye window. She motioned for Bach to leave with a dismissive shoo motion, he shrugged.
"If you insist, My Lady. I'll be close if you need my assistance.
" Bach replied in French then shrunk down to six inches. He scurried out under the door frame casting a tiny glower up at Lekh as he walked by, invisible but indignant.
She opened the door giving him a chipper greeting, "Bonjour, Monsieur. Please come in we have quite a bit to discuss today, non?
She had settled on wearing
a close fit black cross strapped tank top, ruffled pink skirt and on her feet were fashionable flats with small golden studded toes. To top off the outfit she accessorized with a intricate drop necklace with pale rose quartz. She opened the door wide gesturing for him to come inside. "Bach will not be joining us today.
She studied the career criminal and noticed his hair colour had changed once again, he still dressed rather casually if not a bit plainly. She appreciated his efforts to at least be neat and tidy."Quite a bit, yes,"
Lekh replied as he crossed the threshold, taking in the Ambassador's rather extravagant sense of style. Just once, he wanted to see her wearing an old hoodie and jeans, but honestly, he wasn't sure if he would recognise her in such casual attire. He almost cocked his head when she told him Bach was not present, resisting the urge to look around furtively for the sneaky little imp. He and Silence did not see eye to eye, for whatever reason, though the criminal suspected there was some degree of jealousy and over-protectiveness involved. Exactly what relationship Ms Favre and Bach shared was still unknown to Silence. Perhaps he would ask about it?
He wasn't all that taken aback by the hotel room, in fact he gave it barely a second glance as his eyes settled on a neat sofa. It was a business executive suite, with a large hardwood desk and leather chair. The bedroom was behind frosted glass doors and the living area was roomy enough for the sofa and coffee table. On the coffee table was a pitcher filled with iced water and two glasses. He turned and waited for Odette to give him the indication to sit down, and to show where she herself was sitting.
She strolled past him gesturing to the sofa. "Please make yourself comfortable, there is water if you would like a drink. Unfortunately on such short notice I have not much else prepared in the way of refreshments.
" She walked around the coffee table folding her skirt beneath her legs as she sat. "There is actual room service if you are hungry.
" Genuinely she was concerned at playing the part of a good hostess. Fey hospitality was legendary and this was quite embarrassingly meager to those standards.
Silence cocked an eyebrow as he caught the edges of a large tattoo on Odette's back, perhaps of a tree though it was difficult to tell for sure. Though a tree was certainly what he expected, for her to have a tattoo at all was not something he would have reckoned on. It was interesting how little he really knew about his temporary employer."I will, thank you, and water will be fine."
He eyed up the jug beside a couple of smooth glasses and poured for himself as he sat on the sofa, feeling a lot more comfortable with a glass in hand, even if he would have preferred the clear liquid within to be a tad stronger stuff. "I will pass on room service, if it is all the same, Ms Favre."
She nodded, pouring a glass for herself as well setting it on the cardboard coaster for when she was ready.
Silence sipped from his glass, his mind awash with thoughts and feelings, and as always that slight pinprick of pressure in his chest that he had always had around the Ambassador. He identified it as fear. "So, Ms Favre, I would assume by now you have had time to glance through the dossier I left with your interesting companion?"
He paused, for a moment, as his brow furrowed at the thought of the little creature's sudden arrival. "Though if you would prefer it, I could give you the full, debriefing if you will, of my travels?"
"I have, very thorough as I expected. You did well in collecting all of the essentials. I would like to hear the full report, though before you begin. When we first met with Racheli, do you remember seeing...
" She paused looking for the appropriate English word. "The projection of a man? He looked exactly like Racheli's father, Michael Garth.
" Hoping to validate her seeing the virus's psychic image."I remember seeing... something. A hazy image appeared before me as I attempted to sedate the girl, a man's voice warned us away. I assumed it was something the girl had done."
He swirled the liquid in his glass in an unconscious gesture that was somewhat unfitting with simple water. "I remember the... 'projection' only hazily, but I believe it bore some resemblance to the man. Michael Garth. Though he was not in the best of conditions when I met with him. We seem to be getting ahead of ourselves here though, no?"
She nodded again relieved she wasn't alone in seeing that pesky visage, "Yes, of course. Please go on.
""Well then, it would be best if we start at the beginning. I will keep this as short as possible. After meeting with you at the coffee shop, I did some digging in the CDC for files on one 'Racheli Desdemona'. Interestingly, it was not the matter of her stay there that drew me, but rather that the state keeps certain census files in the building's database."
He shrugged. "Or perhaps not so interesting, hmm?""In any case, it was there that I discovered the birth date and location of Rach, and the names of her parents, Jackie and Michael, in Jamestown Nevada. I had no particular desire to head out of state and across the country for what I believed was a dead-end, but after speaking with some contacts they revealed to me some interesting information. Her parents had both been murdered, albeit Michael met his end through government sanctioned execution. I decided that was interesting enough to warrant a personal visit of sorts, and so I went."In Jamestown, I asked around and found some interesting tid-bits about our friend Rach's past. It would seem her dear Father was a serial killer of sorts and Rach was right in the middle of it all. When he was finally arrested, and incarcerated she was moved with her Aunt, on account of her Mother being killed, presumably by Michael though considering the circumstances. He was later apparently executed on death row. However, I investigated further into his sentencing and uncovered some old files that detailed his time on death row. It turned out he had been selected by some government sanctioned geneticists for a trial run of some experimental process to active a dormant meta-human gene, though I do not pretend to fully understand the science behind it."
She remembered reading the notes about Michael's nasty streak of killing young women. When he mentioned Michael's metahuman status her eyebrows lifted, surprised at that. A serial killer with manifested powers and a motive to see his daughter. Things were about to get very
interesting for the likes of Racheli.
He took a breath, keenly aware that he might have just said the most he had spoken to any one person in quite a while. For someone so used to manipulating others, Silence wasn't the most talkative of people in his own time."What I do know is that Michael was very much alive, though I dare not say well. I tracked the lab he was being held in down to a location just north of Jamestown, after uncovering some additional details from a less than voluntary doctor. From there it was simplistic to infiltrate the lab and break Michael out of confinement, and with a few pictures and words, to direct him like an arrow at Ms Desdemona. I suspect he will be with us soon in Lost Haven, using his newfound power to shapeshift into creatures to wreak a path of destruction. One that I have no doubt will force Ms Desdemona out of hiding."
He paused one last time. "She is still in hiding, correct? I would hate to think this effort had been for naught."
He infiltrated a lab and broke him out? At the drop of a hat, he continued to impress her. She smiled as he summarized his success in sending Mr. Garth off to Lost Haven. It disappeared when he asked of her whereabouts.
"Colour me impressed, Lekh. Infiltrating a government facility and sneaking out one of their experiments with no time to prepare, I would find that difficult even with cheating security with illusions. Unfortunately...
" She took a sip of water her brow furrowing. "While you and I have been abroad Racheli got herself into a high profile fight with a mercenary by the name of War-Pulse. Tore up Chinatown and dragged two other metahumans into the conflict. When the dust cleared an unknown third party swooped in and took her body aIway. No confirmation on who it was nor if she's still alive. Incredibly irritating.
She frowned replacing the glass on the coaster. "I believe the Syndicate is still searching for more clues while my own eyes are roaming for any signs of her.
"Thank you for those details. Mr. Garth's appearance in Lost Haven will hopefully draw her out or have this third party act against him.
" Her smile returned this time, more sinister than kind or gentle. Genuine. "Now armed with this invaluable information, I can finish the job. Make her pay.
A moment passed and she took a deep breath in through her nose shifting back to neutral. She was glad she kicked Bach out of the meeting, he would have surely had words for showing so much personal attachment again. Bach failed to understand how much Odette needed to ruin Racheli Desdemona.
"I assume now you would like questions about my world answered? I believe you've more than earned them.
"Well, that was ominous
Silence thought to himself, keeping his own face expressionless as he once again confirmed just how much Racheli seemed to aggravate the Ambassador. As for the other things, frankly, Silence was unconcerned. Rach meant nothing to him, she would either be caught, escape, or die."Yes, I do believe that was the term of our arrangement."
He swirled his glass around for a moment longer, revealing the mark on his right hand as his arm dipped for a moment. He allowed his eyes to settle on the mark as if by chance, squinting with his brow furrowed."Something has been bothering me though, Ms Ambassador. When you marked me with this, you said I had but to speak your name and you would come to me, and yet I seem to remember a strange creature appearing in the back of my car without any such requirements being met."
It wasn't a question, he wouldn't come right out and accuse this woman of anything, not here, and besides which he wanted to save his question for what he really wanted to know. Yet the unasked question still sat between the two of them.
Replying, a little sheepish casting her eyes away, "[color=thistle]I was afraid that would happen. Good help is so difficult to find. I do apologise for the unconventional courier. Goblins have a bad reputation for being impulsive.[/color" Then looked back to him. "Your memory serves you well. That is what I said. So, what is your question?
"I sense whatever you're going to ask is going to be a bit more involved than the whys and hows of a goblin poofing about.
" She said her tone growing more serious."And an impressive capacity for finding people, it would seem."
Silence replied, though there was nothing cheerful about it, his voice was like ice. "Still, I do have a question for you, yes. As you no doubt recall, when we first met you promised me an artefact of sorts to carry out an additional service, one that proved invaluable after our business was interfered with. The item in question was a healing salve, I believe that is what it would be called."
He let his glass sit on the table, and leaned back in his chair."I need more, tell me, where can I acquire similar items of greater power than the salve you gave me?"
"Hoping to dip into the magical artefact's market? It's certainly not like drugs or smuggling weapons. But...
" She tapped her chin in thought, The Barron came to mind immediately. The Broker mentioned bringing his undead criminals into the cabal but nothing was quite
official yet. It would be up to Silence how well he managed against the undead and their market for moving magical items and how willing he was to ask for help.
"You have no doubt heard of the vicious new gang moving against the Syndicate yes? They're operating out of Las Vegas. The Barron is the head of this organization, an old and powerful Vampire. His ehm... associates are none other than the undead blood sucking creatures straight out of a nightmare. His organization capitalizes quite famously on their involvement in magical items.
" She went on, "I would suggest to carrying a litre or two of holy water.
""Something along those lines. I must admit, though I expected it to be a dangerous prospect, I would not have suspected the undead between my goal and I. Up until this very moment I had not the faintest idea that Vampires existed."
Silence looked taken aback by this information, wondering just how many creatures from nightmare were out there abound in the world. Were meta-humans not enough?"Still, it is fortuitous that the Syndicate is at odds with this Barron, perhaps it is time I spoke with the Cowl personally." And while doing so, use the distraction of a large scale assault on this organisation to achieve my own aims. "Is this all you can tell me in regards to such items, I assume you did not acquire your own from this Barron?"
"You assume correctly. I have other means of acquiring items like the salve on my own. I loathe to involve myself with the undead. But... If you are in need of my assistance against The Barron I am available. The Cowl, knowing him, he has some plans to defend his territory against The Barron.
" She offered, sincerely. It would be a shame if Silence was turned or bled dry."I have no doubt. So, to be clear, I will find items like the healing salve being transported by the Barron's people? But stronger, ideally?"
Odette about to reply paused then cocked her head at him, noting his focus on the healing salve. "I woud not know for certain. Hoping to find a magical cure all? I can't imagine it would be for yourself. You seem rather healthy.
" She said a small curious smile brightened her expression."Does such a thing exist?"
"There are a few things like that in existence, a few rare people with gifts of healing. You can certainly hope to find something like that among Barron's things. You would need to do some research to be sure. We both know you are rather skilled in research.
" She replied."This is a little out of my area of expertise, Ms Favre."
He looked thoughtful, his fingers tapping the surface of the coffee table rhythmically. "Still, you have given me much to think on."
"As I said, I am available to assist. This is very much my area of expertise. A chance to snub the undead would be motivation enough for me. A push back, even.
" She commented eyes flicking again to the mark on his wrist."In that case I would gratefully accept your help, Ms Favre."
"Anything else you would like to discuss? Still under the terms of our arrangement, open and honest answers for your questions.
" She had prepared for this discussion. Knew the goblin's impulsive decision showed her hand too soon. "I suppose there is something."
His entire body tensed. "What else does this mark on my wrist do?"
Sighing through her nose she took a deep drink of water, brushing some hair behind her ear. "It's a bit more than just a mark. It's called a Soul Mark. I do admit that I placed it a bit hastily when we first worked together. I am a shameless opportunist.
" Letting out a little chuckle.
"However, Soul Marks are typically placed with a pre-prepared spell more often than not, a location spell. Allows the bearer of the mark to be exclusively tied to the spellcaster. In our case, I had no such thing prepared.
" She admitted and held out her hand.
"May I see your wrist?
Hesitantly, the man passed his hand over to the woman, though his eyes were harsh with disapproval.
Gently she held his wrist and brushed the sleeve back to reveal the mark wholly, her eyes on the mark. It was lightly red and a small print of her thumb. "I used a small portion of my own magic to coat your soul to substitute for a customized spell. It...
" She pursed her lips. "Gave me an idea of your general location at my will. While if you used the mark it would have given me a direct link to what you were seeing and much more specific idea of where you were.
"Silence moved suddenly, interrupting her in the most direct way possible. He twisted his own hand to grab her wrist and released his aura, full force, as his left hand shot up from under the table with an iron knife in hand. As his right hand clamped around her wrist he yanked her toward him, drawing that knife towards her flesh.
His power hit her full force like a hammer of nausea, her mind scrambled. Her instincts reacted faster than her own thoughts and with her free hand she pressed the mark on his wrist. "Oh-...
Words were immediately difficult. Willing with every ounce she nearly spat out her own name, "Odette Favre!
The connection was instantaneous, through his eyes she saw herself frozen at the edge of an iron blade. Felt his thoughts racing now with confusion of her immediate invasion, but felt as if she'd been thrown into a raging storm the only sliver of stability was the Soul Mark. Overwhelming might have been an underestimation, she knew the mark was a mistake but activating it was so much worse
. She had to sever it. Now.
Feebly she broke the connection forcing her own magic to sever the tether. "I! I was going to remove it!
" Her breathing was heavy and her eyes wide with alarm.
Silence regained full use of his faculties and held that dull iron blade to the Ambassador's throat, keenly aware that for just a moment, he had all the power."Yes Ms Favre, I believe you may have, but now you will remove it because you have no choice, as I had no choice when I accepted it. Consider this a warning, Odette, I am not an ordinary man, never treat me as such again."
He looked at her, his gaze unwavering as his aura saturated the very air around them, though very much invisible. As suddenly as it appeared, the knife slipped away into his sleeve and the room returned to normal, his aura safely trapped within the vaults of his mind.
She stared at him hard and her fists clenched. Jaw set. She held her wrist where he had gripped it, chewing, and gnawing, at the inside of her cheek."Now we sit as equals, you and I, and we will have trust if we are to continue to work together. You have seen what I am capable of, and I have seen what you are capable of. Will you work with me? Or can you only accept subservience in your associates?"
Standing up from the sofa he followed suit as well. He stood a little over an inch taller, she glared before pacing over to her purse, not saying a word. Tension knotted in her shoulders, stiff. She opened up her purse slowly, measured not to put Lekh back on edge. "Equals.
She tossed a small cloth case at him, "This was originally to soften the mistake and equalize our standings.
"I came into this meeting hoping to carry on under new...
" She paused thoughtfully, "New terms. Wasn't expecting you to react so strongly.
" She rubbed her wrist, squinting. Her heart was still thrumming away and the effects of his aura felt cold.
Lekh caught the box as it was thrown over to him, but he made no move to open it immediately. "I have done my research, you associate with tricksters and liars, Miss Ambassador. I am surprised you have forgotten how it feels to be manipulated among such company. Perhaps you are the puppeteer, but do you wonder if some of your friends on the other side are perhaps using you?”
She pointed to the box, "Those will grant you the ability to see the likes of my tricksters and liars.
" She said venomously, not taking his comments in stride. "Without opening the floodgates to seeing the Fey full time. I worked rather hard on enchanting them. Get them appraised, throw them away, do whatever you like. I have repaid you in kind for the work.
" It was diffcult to hide her irritation. This wasn't going how she had imagined at all."I will get them appraised.”
Shutting her purse with a scoff, "Such arrogance, because you managed the upper hand today. It would be incredibly foolish to assume anything about the Fey ever again. Like that knife, you asumed I was Fey as well. Iron does nothing to me. I will assure you that I am in complete control of my power as you are in control of your own. Equals, remember?
""The iron was for Bach, Miss Ambassador, as I expected him to be here. I assumed you would have guessed as much. I know you are very much human, Miss Ambassador, and carry those vulnerabilities with you. It must be strange, to associate with all these powerful creatures from beyond our world, and to be so assured that they will remain under your control. Control, Miss Ambassador."
He laughed, genuinely, and it was a frightful thing. "No one controls true power, and if your control goes only so far as my own, then I doubt you fully understand the nature of your relationship with the fey. You are right that I know little of those creatures, but I do know power when I see it. What you have seen here is power that is at a loath to be controlled. My power. Remember it." And for god's sake, Odette, be careful with the monsters you make pact with, I still need you.
Odette licked her lips his laughter unsettled her, today she had seen Lekh at his most genuine and as irritated as she was at having lost the game it was quite the little thrill. She stepped around the coffee table again within a few feet of Lekh again, "I won't forget. You are not the first person to warn me against affiliating with Fey and I'm sure you won't be the last. Perhaps next time we meet will be in Paris, where you will get a better taste of my hospitality.
" Ending that as something warmer rather than threatening. Where things stood it was arguably better now. Now there was an understanding."Perhaps, Miss Ambassador. I hope at least that the next time we meet will be under friendlier circumstances. If you are still interested in striking a blow towards this Barron's organisation, please let me know. I can ensure that you receive a fair reward in what I manage to secure from the shipment. As you know, there is only one particular thing I have interest in."
Silence sighed inwardly, but outside he remained stoic, all business. Those his words had taken on a warmer quality, his tone had not.
"As I said before, snubbing the undead is something that interests me. I am still willing to help with The Barron. I would rather not see this new friendship to be for nothing when you're bitten or bled dry by some upstart vampire.
" She couldn't help but chuckle, "It'd be rather embarrassing.
""Then teach me how to kill them, Miss Ambassador, so we can both avoid the embarrassment."
A few Words of Power summoned power of the Arcane Stream to envelope her hand, the final dregs of his aura disappeared immediately in the blue glow. "There is much to cover but I think today we can cover the basics.
" Odette gave him a knowing smile. Delving into the specifics, techniques, and lore it would be another few hours before they parted.