<Sascha> makes her way into the Trill, after pausing to cruise the the parking lot briefly. She looks around inside as well, smirking at Erik before going to sit at Zane’s preferred booth.
<Ashe> meandered into the Devil’s Trill and couldn’t help but wonder at the name. It did sound rather ominous, though nothing outwardly bad had actually happened to him around here. He was wearing a pair of dark black jeans and a black shirt, with black boots with sliver buckles and clasps that matched the leather jacket he was wearing. His long black his was left to hang down his back tonight. Ashe paused to peer around the
establishment for familiar faces, before he headed over to the bar to order a beer on tap. He had been here a few times, but he didn’t know the bartender by name yet. His soft grey eyes did eventually manage to find Sascha, assuming she looked the same as the last time he saw her (darn flesh shapers!) and he’d offer her a friendly smile while he waited for his drink.
<Zane> looks like he about jumped out of his skin when Sascha slides into his booth. He frowns slightly at the redhead and then scoots further into the curve of the seat. “Hey. What’s up? Not to be rude but what are you doing here?”
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ roams into the Devil’s Trill. He was so glad to be out of his prison until the next time a full moon decided to show up. He’d head to the bar and uncrinckle some money to pass to Erik after, ordering a few bottles of beer at once. After all, he knew the first one was going to be gone relatively super fast.
<Sascha> sees Ashe and gives him a polite nod. Then she looks back to Zane and smiles. “Working. Don’t suppose that makes you feel better though.”
<Ashe> had only ordered one beer. He was a cheap drunk on the best of nights, but he supposed it streamlined the whole process to order a few at the same time. Still, he eyed the man’s order. Evidently, this was a very thirsty man or someone that really wanted to get drunk. The last time Ashe had drank that much he’d woken up in a ditch. Not an experience he wanted to repeat. Since Sascha seemed to have homed in on someone with purpose,
Ashe opted not to interrupt the conversation and pulled himself up on a bar stool. He had plans for later that involved heading out to that Chantry place and seeing what more he could learn, but for now, he had a date with a glass of ale. He’d learned after the first few conversations, that talking to people in these parts required a certain amount of drinking to get past the crazy.
<Zane> shakes his head. “Not really. You know anything about some Lasombra getting pissy locally?”
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ popped off the top of the first beer and it was easily drank down. He’d set the bottle back on the bar and then move off with the other two, heading to Ashe. “You are one of the new people here… Ashe, right? I am Ethan.”
<Ashe> gave Ethan a warm smile, his eyes scrunching up as he extends a calloused and scared hand, “New to this scene, but I’ve been in the city for a bit.” Bowing would have been more formal, but Ashe was starting to pick up that people around here seemed more casual in the bar, “I think I saw you in passing the other night, at the Chantry? I think Maryska might have mentioned you too.”
<Sascha> shakes her head in response, and seeing Ethan as well she nods politely to him before looking back to Zane. “No. I do not. I need to know about where you have run Samson to.”
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ nods. “Yeah, the Mages are nice and let me stay there. Welcome to the area.” * he shakes Ashe’s hand firmly but not overly so. He has an out west southern accent but it’s not overly done.
<Ashe> has a fairly firm grip, but it isn’t painful or intentionally rough. He is just used to gripping things with a fair amount of strength and some of that bleeds over when he is relaxed, “That sounds pretty nice of them. I think I’ve only met one other Mage, Ramirez. I’m not to sure though. It seems like they have a pretty nice place set up. Kinda like… a group home or something.” Which to Ashe was odd. One reason he hadn’t been
out was because he couldn’t figure out how to treat that place in his mind.
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ “Why don’t you go out there? It’s a big place and well, all of them seem to find their niches and spaces to do their unique stuff out there. It’s also a place that is rather hard to disturb by outsiders.”
<Zane> eyes Sascha a moment, his expression unusually serious. “I would ask why but not sure I want to know the answer.”
<Sascha> smirks and shrugs. “Do you care about him or the people he has been training to kill civilians as shields?”
<Ashe> shrugs his shoulders, “It would be rude to impose. I do not know anyone out there aside from Ramirez and while he has invited me, I am not sure when he is there. Or even if it is his home to invite me to.” Ashe takes a sip of his beer, “It wouldn’t be proper for a guest to simply show up and poke around. Perhaps when I know some of them better it will be different, Ethan-san.”
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ “You are one of them…” He shrugged, somewhat confused. “They want to help one another to keep out of the way of their enemies and to be able to grow stronger. You’ve already gotten the invite and they might be surprised you aren’t taking them up on it at all either. I can understand the reluctance though, because of manners, I
suppose.” He’d glance over at Zane and Sascha, heightening senses to listen in better because what bits and pieces he was getting were not sounding so positive.
<Zane> frowns again, and sighs. “I suppose not. No crossfire… No breaches this time?”
<Sascha> nods. “I prefer the truly innocent not be harmed and do not involve humans if possible. Discretion is in my best interest currently.”
<Ashe> shifts in his seat. He didn’t feel like one of them. They knew what they were doing. They knew each other. “It is their home, their space.” It was always awkward resolving western and eastern manners, “I don’t wish to offend them and their kindness, perhaps I can talk to Ramirez. It would be different if someone was specifically there to greet.” Or he could just let his curiosity and need to learn spur him to rudeness and show
up as he liked. That thought got another long drink. He could be rude like that if he was drunk.
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ could tell by the convo, he fathomed anyway, that someone was going to die or something close to that. Zane and Sascha seemed very serious. Maybe it wasn’t so dire. He wasn’t sure. He’d take Sascha’s scent though to remember, just in case he might have to track her sometime. He’d nod to Ashe. “I’m guessing you think Ramirez didn’t mean to
extend his invitation? I can see why you’d want to make sure someone is there though who knows about it, before showing up. That could be awkward.”
<Zane> nods solemnly. “Alright. Here is an address to a complex he is working out of. Be careful. We couldn’t go any further because he used the families there as shields.”
<Ashe> was likely lucky that he didn’t have any abilities to overhear conversations or he might have been concerned, “No, it seems too open ended, to vague.” His eyebrows furrowed as he tried to think of the best way to explain. “If I invited a bear stranger to my home. I’d give a specific time and date, make arrangements to greet them properly, and it to entertain. Close friends are different, but I don’t even know him well enough to
use his given name.”
<Sascha> nods quietly, her expression thoughtful. “I give you my word we will avoid involving the humans in the area as much as possible. And not give him a chance to act in such a cowardly manner.”
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ nods. “Ah, I see. Kind of old school then. Do you have his phone number? I do. Maybe I can remind him or someone else to see what their thoughts were.”
<Ashe> laughed, “Only old school in America.” Ashe taps his fingers against his glass, “I have his number, but I was worried it would be rude to inquire if I was still welcome or to ask for him to meet me.” Ashe would have eventually. “I may need to learn to bend on these things.”as
<Zane> nods. He wasn’t happy but he knew she’d keep her word. He gets up. “I need a smoker. Night.” He heads off out the back.
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ “I don’t know so much about Japanese culture, so please forgive me. I’ll ask though for you so it’s ont so awkward for you. I’m sure it’s an oversight because the Mages all come from different places too. They just try to back each other up, despite their differences.”
<Ashe> looks honestly relieved, “To be honest, I know next to nothing about mages either. I don’t know what is normal among them.”
<Sascha> watches him go and smiles to herself before looking around and spotting Ashe and Ethan still there. She gets up and walks over, maintaining a couple arms distance as she nods to them both. “Evening.”
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ nods to Ashe. “I don’t know much either but I think they are all learning, honestly and doing the best they can. They mostly seem self-taught in many regards and they work together to learn more and bounce stuff off some others who know magic.” He’d look over now at the approaching red headed woman and he’d give her a proper nod of
greeting. “Hello there, ma’am.”
<Ashe> nodded to Ethan. He was going to have to bend in his expectation and cultural norms for this, but as long as there were rules he could manage. All interactions had some kind of rules to them. He smiled at Sascha again and stood to give her a polite and proper bow of respect since it wouldn’t be lost on her, “Good evening, Sascha-San. I’m pleased to see you again.”
<Sascha> smiles to both of them before stepping just a little closer to ease speaking. “Hello. Ethan and Ashe. Do you mind my joining you?”
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ shakes his head. “I do not mind.”
<Ashe> gestured to a barstool in open invitation, “Please, the more the merrier.”
<Sascha> smiles in a genuinely friendly manner at that and sits with them. “Thank you. Ethan, if we are going to do what was discussed before I will need to study you. And likely touch you, are you going to be okay with that?”
<Ashe> and this conversation suddenly got a little weird. Not that Ashe minded overly much, no one was talking about touching and studying him, but he couldn’t help but think that maybe he should give Sascha and Ethan some privacy for that. For the moment though, Ashe just made a very dedicated study of his half full glass of ale.
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ looked thoughtful, as if trying ot recall what it was that Sascha was referring to. Sometimes, his free mind was not all it was cracked up to be when it came to memory. However, eventually it would hit him and he’d nod. “Yes, I will be okay with it. Thanks for asking. Most people don’t.”
<Sascha> shakes her head softly at that. “Well
::Maryska walks back into the pub, its the following day, its not weird, she’s even wearing different clothes, a pair of black denim pants, a green T-shirt with no print, and her black riding boots, black leather jacket with denim over vest, and her mountaineering sunglasses.
<Sascha> shakes her head softly at that. “Well first off that would be dangerous. Secondly, rude. I would likely harm anyone trying to just touch me without permission.”
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ “I’m tryin’ to be more calm and tolerant of certain things since some people just seem clueless but yeah, it’s hard to just trust some random person.”
<Ashe> was still religiously studying his glass of beer and quietly cleared his throat, “Do you to want some privacy for this? I could… go to another table.” He might have noticed Maryska if he wasn’t tunnelling his vision to avoid any inappropriate touching… for science.
::Maryska 2alked up to the table with Ashe, Ethan and Sascha and sat down after getting herself a beer.:: “Hello there, good to see you all, how are things going?”
<Ashe> didn’t even bat an eyelash. He was starting to just expect that most people lacked manners and gestured vaguely between Ethan and Sascha, “There is going to be touching.”
<Sascha> laughs a little and shakes her head at Ashe. “I did not mean here. I could come by the house later and do it. It is not for pleasure. I told you, I change my shape but I need to know better what I am turning into.”, she says quietly.
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ looks at Ashe and blinked. “It’s not what you think.” He’d then look back at Sascha. “Right. That would be fine.”
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ waves to Maryska. “Hey, haven’t seen you for a bit. Hope you are doing alright.”
::Maryska nodded to Ethan and smiled.:: “things are going well, was hoping to catch up with you at some point.” *Maryska then patted Ashe on the shoulder.* “I’m certain that if its done here, it will be acceptable in public.” She sips her beer and leans back in her seat, dra2ing her hand away from Ashes shoulder.
<Sascha> nods politely to Maryska, remembering her from the home of the mages as well. “I cannot stay this evening, I have some business to attend to. But it was good to talk to you.”, she looks to Ashe and bows her head. “I will get back to you on the project we discussed as well.”
¤ ֎ Ethan Talbot ֎ ¤ nods and then would stand up. “I have to go for a bit. I’ll see you later though, Maryska. I’m going to go swing by the house and talk to a couple people.” He’d give a polite nod to Ashe and Sascha. “See you two later too. Have a good night.”
::Maryska nods and salutes with the fingers.:: “see you all later.” She looks around at her surroundings and shrugs ordering herself some nachos and drinking beer.
<Ashe> nods to Sascha and Ethan as they make their ways out desperately and looks around the bar. Maryska would likely find out that food wasn’t served here, aside from peanuts, but that didn’t stop Ashe from motioning to one of the booths, “Since it is just us now, would you like to move to a more comfortable seat?” Which was also more private.
::Maryska looks over at the booth that Ashe gestures to and nods with a smile, she picks up her beer, and the bowl of nuts and begins to make her way towards the new seat, she often didn’t care where she sat, but right now privacy was rather important in a way, depending on how the conversation went anyway. “So Ashe, how you finding the city? Things makin more sense now? or less?”
<Ashe> smiled as Maryska accepted his invitation to sit someplace a bit more private and he ordered a fresh beer to take over with him. A beer in was just what he needed to be a bit more relaxed around his friend. Not that he didn’t like her, but well, sometimes it was hard to relax, “I’m finding it fairly interesting so far. Though I am having troubles with some conflicting customs and getting know the other Mages, but Ethan has helped
to explain some. Apparently I will have to bend a little. I was waiting for a proper invitation to the chantry, but the casual invitation is, as far as I can tell, am honestly open thing. It isn’t what I am used to.” He settles into a seat, opting to sit beside Maryska as opposed to across from her. Maybe it was an odd choice, or maybe his fidgeting nervousness hinted that he’d been planning that move.
::Maryska didn’t say anything to contradict Ashe’s move, nor did she make any move to change her seating, she just sat down and turned a bit so she could at least talk to him face to face. “Well, there’s an old saying in the Ukraine, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” she smiled a bit and sipped her beer. “I think everyone uses that one though.” she nudged him a bit with her elbow as if physically telling him to loosen up.
“Everyone has different rules and etiquette, so the invitation stands, go take a look at the club house, see what they have to offer you, make some connections.” she shrugs. “You’re a polite person, so I think the worst that can happen in your instance is you accidentally say sorry too many times.”
<Ashe> laughs and shakes his head, “There was this one time I offered a bow to a guest and I cracked my head on the kitchen table. Poor choices were made, such as in spacial planning.” It was a fairly common saying, but maybe it did hail from the Ukraine? Ashe really didn’t know, “I think I will go to the clubhouse and see the sights. I am not used to working with others and I feel I may be inadequate.” Which was a hard thing for him to
admit, but it was just Maryska here and she made him feel relaxed, usually. Right now relaxed was far from what he was, “Do you… have much experience with others like you? The shifters?”
::Maryska nods:: “Yes, in passing, my personal preferences usually keep me too occupied to stay around them long, as for feeling inadequate, that is a normal feeling when meeting others, you realize what you know is a miniscule amount, and then a whole new world is opened to you, it makes you feel small, but part of something bigger, so enjoy them, learn from them, it will make you stronger.” she smiled to him with a genuine
smile, as if attempting to make him feel like everyone’s been there once, and she knew how it felt.
<Ashe> nodded. Maryska had hit the nail on the head so to speak, “You have some wisdom, Mar-San.” He leaned on the table and half turned to face her more properly with a concerned expression, “What do you mean when you say your personal preferences lead you away from them. Do you prefer… solitude?”
::Maryska shrugged.:: “My situation isn’t something that my kind understands, a curse holds my family, I told you already that none in my family can shift, and you’ve heard the term Kinfolk, and before I continue, I want you to swear to me that you won’t tell anyone else about this…it is between us.”
<Ashe> grimaced at the mention of a curse, but he could understand that family dynamics could be complicated and perhaps Maryska’s curse had left her as an outcast of some form, “Perhaps, I should try to shield our words? If it is something that should not be known? I can say that I would keep your trust as I would my own, but I can’t guarantee we would not be overheard.”
::Maryska nodded as she watched him, and his offer was made.:: “yes that would be good.”
<Ashe> nodded and steepled his hands for a moment, closing his eyes as he centers himself and allows himself to feel the energies around him, letting his intent ripple as a stone tossed into a pond, “We will have some measure off privacy now, Mar-chan.” Ashe smiled and held out his hands, “It isn’t much, but I can do some things.”
::Maryska smiled and rested her hand on his shoulder.:: “Thanks, look, I can’t shift, I’m a shifter that can’t shift, I’m not a kinfolk, I literally can’t shift.” she seems a little upset about this. “This is not a normal thing, I am, and my family line has been, forced to live like this for I have no idea how long.” she sighs and takes a sip of her beer. “So I keep moving around, I’m hunting for whatever did this to us, to
figure out how to get this fixed.”
<Ashe> tilted his head, trying to to understand and he tentatively placed a hand over hers, “I don’t understand the implications of this, but I can see it is upsetting and therefore important, at least to you. It is something that is a part of you that you feel is missing.” For Ashe, balance was something that was key to who he was, “Do you know what did it? Who? Any legends?”
::Maryska shook her head.:: “Not all of them, just a few hints, I need to get in contact with a few ancestor spirits, which is difficult when you’re a born fighter.” she looked at his hand as it clasped over her own and her thumb moved up over his fingers and touched them. “I haven’t told anyone this before, so I need you to keep the shifting part to yourself for now, if you know anyone that can speak to spirits, that would
<Ashe> frowned thoughtfully, “I think Ramirez may be able to. He is Euthanatos and that means he is closer to death and spirits than I am. I could learn to speak with spirits myself, but I am far from that path currently. It would take time, but I would do it if it would help you. Then we can solve this problem so you can feel whole.” For Ashe the ‘feeling’ whole was an important distinction from ‘being’ whole. He didn’t view Maryska as
lacking or missing anything on the merits of this curse. He also felt it was his duty to aid where he could. A light blush coloured Ashe’s cheeks as her thumb touched his hand, “I swear, I will not breathe a word of it without your leave, Mar-chan.” Then he blurted out, “Do you like coffee?”
::Maryska smiled softly at the man.:: “I do, not too many drinks I don’t like.” she tilts her head and regards him for a moment.:: “Do you like coffee?” ::she sips her beer as she takes off her sunglasses a moment, she’s squinting them shut as she rubs them and then puts her sunglasses back on with a bit of a sniffle. “Ah..You put something in my eyes.”
<Ashe> Chuckles nervously and rubs the back of his head with an utterly sheepish look, “Ah… actually… no. I don’t like coffee very much… but… it just came out and I am willing to drink it if you want to grab one with me sometime. Just… ah… the two of us.” His eyes open a bit wider in concern, “Your eyes? I didn’t… are you… I can take a look. I don’t know much about eyes, but I might be able to see something.”
::Maryska taps him on the shoulder.:: “You made me tear up…it’s just a metaphor you goof ball.” she smirked and shook her head a little and looked at him. “We can go anywhere, drink anything, and eat anything by ourselves, I’m good with it.” ::Maryska sighs softly.:: “You’re kinda cute when you get concerned and panicked.”
<Ashe> winces with that same sheepish look, “Ah. I’m sorry. I’m just not very good at this sort of thing. I don’t have much experience asking beautiful women out for coffee… or anything.” He’d spent most of his time learning his craft and training for that, “I was thinking… maybe coffee and then we could spar or… catch a movie” He winced again, “Ok sparring might not be a good date idea.”
::Maryska’s eye brows wiggled.:: “I think a movie would be great.” she looked at her beer and thumbed the mouth of it for a moment, just letting the digit roll over the lip of her glass bottle, then her gaze went back to him. “Name the restaurant, let me know if it’s formal and I’ll dress for the night.” her cheeks had a little tinge of red to them as she smiled softly still.:: “Dinner and a movie is the traditional first
date I think, so lets try that.”
<Ashe> his lips spread in a huge boyish grin. He had a date. A real date. “The Ruby Slipper Cafe. They have a great all day breakfast and it isn’t too fancy. Unless you’d like fancy?” Ashe could afford fancy, but he really did prefer casual, “And… how about that new movie Valerian?” Ashe wanted something light and fantastical since life tended to be rather dark and terrifying in reality. Happy endings and heros were always a good
::Maryska nodded and finished her beer.:: “Sounds perfect, I’ll dress up a little bit, nothin fancy, just better.” ::she grinned and looked down at her watch and sighed, then returned her gaze to him. “say around six? we can have something to eat, relax for a bit and catch the late show?”
<Ashe> blushed openly now, “I don’t think you could look better.” Then his eyes widened as he stammered, “N-not.. I mean… you already look good. Really good. There isn’t a better… or… fuck.” Maybe he should just stop talking. His mouth snapped shut and he gave Maryska a pleading look.
::Maryska giggled and put her finger on his lips to get him to quiet for a moment.:: “Thanks for the compliment.” :She leans in and gives him a light kiss on the lips as she drops her finger. “see you tomorrow at six, at the Ruby Slipper.” she would then slowly urge to him that she needed to start moving.
<Ashe> turns a deeper shade of red, channeling his inner tomato as he was kissed, “Oh, right. Don’t let me keep you. I’ll see you tomorrow night at 6.” He’d slide out of the bench so Maryska could leave and on an impulse he’s place a light kiss on her cheek in return. HE wasn’t quite brave enough to place a kiss on her lips in return. Not yet.
::Maryska smiled and looked at him, she was still holding his hand a bit as she stood up and remained at the table for a few moments, seeming to think about something. “right, six.” she smiled and then let his hand go, turning and walking towards the door with her usual step, heavy foot heel to toe step with the riding boots, slipping her hands into her jacket pockets as she made her way out of the bar.
<Ashe> didn’t withdraw his hand until she was ready to go, enjoying the contact and looking like he might end up bouncing off the ceilings at some point with excitement. In fact, as soon as she was out the door he made an enthusiastic whoop and ordered himself a shot of whisky to celebrate. He had a date. A date! With a beautiful woman! Right now Ashe was on top of the world.
<Ashe> left the booth to head over to the bar again. It had been a long time since he’d been this alive, this happy. The only shame was that he didn’t have any real guy friends to celebrate with or really anyone that he could tell and share his excitement with. That was something Ashe missed. He hadn’t had many friends in California, but there had always been one or two that he could call. He downed his shot and ordered another as he
pulled out his cell phone. He eyed the device for a moment and then shrugged, what the hell did he have to loose. Nothing really, and he might just come out for the better of it. So he opened up his text program and sent one off to Ramirez (txt: Hey Ramiez. Guess who just got a date! Oh, by the way, this is Ashe.)
<Ashe> chuckled as the text came back and leaned on the bar with a goofy grin before he sent off another (txt: I did… come on. That wasn’t even a guess.)
<Ashe> Grinned wider and tossed back his next shot. He was certainly feeling the buzz as he sent another message off to Ramirez. This was likely not the best of his life choices. But Ramirez was his buddy now. Ashe had decided so it will be so <txt> Maryska! I think she can break me in two, which is kind of hot. But dude! I got a date! With a girl!
<Ashe> Sobered for a moment and then laughed outright. A closet? They’d put him in a closet? <Txt to Ramirez: Dude. You don’t want me putting a forge in a closet. That’s going to be a fire hazard and… ok, it would probably be hilarious after. Is there a basement I could reno or a place out back? I work my magic as I forge or as I do my kata. Also. I need a solid, man. You know anything about spirits? Ancestor spirits? My date needs to
talk to some and… Ok, I want to impress her. I need to learn how to do the spirit thing. (OK, Ashe might be getting a little tipsy at this point.)
<Ashe> picked up a peanut from the bar and rolled it between his fingers. There was still a sheepish grin plastered all over his face. This was the best night that he’d had since coming to NOLA. Absently he wondered what he should wear. Something nice that would be casual, but still look good. He liked Maryska, honestly and she seemed to be one of the most amazing people he’d ever met. He didn’t want to screw that up.
<Ashe> as his phone vibrated once more he picked it up and read the text with a pensive look. He might be tipsy, but he was still in control of his mental faculties. A shed was a bit more flammable than he’d like, but Ashe had the resources that he could modify one to suite his needs. <Text to Ramirez: That is probably a better idea, to be honest. My work can get pretty noisy and I prefer quiet when I am meditating. I can pay for the
renos and do most of the install myself. Any magical shoring up would need some guidance from you fellows on though. I don’t know much about Chantries and I don’t want to step on any toes. I also don’t have much of a clue about wards.> it would also allow Ashe to be near and around the other Mages while still giving himself a bit of space. He wasn’t antisocial, but the young man did tend to be private.
<Ashe> sat at the bar for a little bit longer and downed a couple more drinks. He was going to have a raging headache when he woke up, but he didn’t care. He was in the mood to celebrate. It would have been much better to have someone drinking with him, but one step at a time. Tonight he’d found a safe place to work magic and scored a hot date. Both were reason enough to celebrate in and of themselves, but together? That deserved the
headache the first light would bring to that day. Ashe finally dialled himself a cab so he could head home to his little house outside of town. He’d have to grab his car in the morning, but that wasn’t too unusual and it was better to be safe than sorry. The young Mage pulled a few bills from his pocket and deposited them with Erik before he headed out for the night.