2922/A Touch of Crimson

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A Touch of Crimson
Date of Scene: 15 August 2020
Location: Jason Blood's Shop
Synopsis: A Black Cat goes looking for a sword and finds a dragon instead.
Cast of Characters: Jason Blood, Felicia Hardy

Jason Blood has posed:
The address that Jason's card lists turns out to be a rather hole-in-the-wall sort of place in Gotham, rather unassuming by most measures. It has a narrow front with little in the way of signage or anything else to attract the eye; what small window space there is, is filled with a shelf with old books and a few oddities, but not... bizarrely occult ones. An old fashioned globe, a small box, those kind of things. Perhaps, in Gotham, it is better /not/ to show off one's fabulous collection of priceless ancient treasures gathered over more than a thousand years of life? At least if you don't want to get robbed. And frankly, he doesn't need the business.

In fact, Jason mostly maintains the shop for exactly this purposes, as a venue to make himself available to meet with those who have need of his arcane expertise. Some know his reputation and seek him out. Others end up visiting in slightly more roundabout fashion, not knowing what they'll find. Felicia, it seems, is the latter case.

When she enters, she finds the shop unoccupied by any other clients. Apparently, the intentional LACK of advertising is doing its job. The woman might have a few moments to wander the place and browse the small collection on display (sadly, nothing really glitters!), before a familiar voice announces itself. "Ah, Ms. Hardy. I'm glad you could finally make it by."

Felicia Hardy has posed:
The white-haired young lady pops upright from where she was bending down to examine a small jewelry box. An empty jewelry box, to be sure, but Felicia Hardy is one of the foremost experts on what is valuable and what is not, and she knows the box, otherwise somewhat plain looking, is 'not from around here.' But she's already whirled about to face the speaker, wide-eyed and looking a little tense. She's wearing a sweater despite the heat, and a pair of not *quite* skin-tight jeans, with gloves, black socks, and an undershirt that rises to her throat.

Because secretly, she's wearing the Black Cat suit underneath, with all its gadgets and tricks. And since the suit's climate controlled, who cares about the heat?

"Yeah, sorry about that..." Her gaze flicks away guiltily. "I...had a lot of stuff going on." Firming up her resolve, she frowns and turns to look at him again. "You knew I took the Ebony Blade. How?"

Jason Blood has posed:
Jason, as ever, looks like an old-fashioned college professor. Perhaps an old fashioned British colleage professor on top of all the rest, which is both accurate, but also adds another layer of stuffy to the whole thing. Similarly to the young woman, he does not seem to give the weather much consideration, what with all the layers of jackets and sweater-vests that look entails. Absent the woman's own built-in system, the shop at least does seem to be air conditioned. Although that may only be because a controlled climate is better for the health of the old books.

And Jason himself knows a thing or too about /hot/ places.

"It is quite alright. I was, in fact, recently engaged on a matter of some importance myself, something that required a great deal of time working with others. Fortunately it resolved to a satisfactory conclusion. Do feel free to keep looking around, and let me know if anything sparks your interest." Which might be interesting only because they're /not/ items of obvious value. "As for the sword, there are several ways I could answer that. I know about the item itself, its creator, and some of its own particular history. Merlin's workings all have a certain signature to them, and that magic is very hard to miss." He seems not to mince words on making clear what it is, at least. "Beyond that, I have... certain insights, into events and happenings. I saw you holding it, but admittedly, not a great deal more than that."

Felicia Hardy has posed:
"Okay, so, first of all..." She turns around, grabs the box, and holds it in both hands at her middle. "Is this Byzantine? Because this looks awfully Eastern Empire." She turns it around, showing the hinges on the back, "It doesn't even use modern screws, and it's brass. *Brass*." She frowns a bit, looking like she's waiting for an explanation on what a possible museum piece is doing here.

But then she frowns, as if realizing she doesn't really have time to banter about the box. Not anymore.

"Okay... So..." She slows her speech down a bit, to take some time, "Merlin made the sword. And...enchanted it to somehow cut through steel better than Adamantium." She nods her head aside briefly, as if just convincing her inner self to accept that and move on. "Okay, well, I don't have a better explanation for what happened with that, so I guess the next obvious question is..." Her eyebrows sloooowly lift. "...Is it possible he made more like it? One that won't disappear in the middle of a battle and nearly cost me an eye? Heck, I'll even take broken shards."

Jason Blood has posed:
"Originally, yes, but that's not where I got it. The box has a rather unique provenance, in that it made its way back to Flanders by way of the Fourth Crusade, and thereafter all around Europe through the process of various wars and the hands of equally varied conquerors. From the bloody fields of the dark ages to the even bloodier ones of the last century." Although Jason doesn't get into the full detail of its history, there is a certain something in the way he refers to it that seems to suggest he very much could detail the simple box's wanderings, which apparently constitute an epic all of their own. "I have a lot of old, curious things. Really, I rarely actually /sell/ them, as the money would be supurfluous and worth far less than the stories, but I am always curious of meeting other collectors. And sometimes, a thing from here or there, or /then/, may prove useful in some present matter."

"Merlin enchanted a lot of things," he then answers, with a particularly deadpan tone. "Enchanting a sword to cut, frankly that's rather pedestrian as his workings went. Although certainly, the Ebony Blade was a high quality creation, if not a terribly... innovative one?" It's a sort of weird nit to pick. But he also talks about the ancient and most would assume mythical sorcerer with a rather plain familiarity.

"If I recall the... story, there was in fact more of the original material, and several items were made. I am not sure if any of the rest of the base substance exists, but the other items likely do, in one form or another. One other, in fact, I am also familiar with, although you may find its owner less than kind. Certainly less so than the good Mr. Whitman." He seems to stop and think for a moment, before finally deciding: "But yes, it feels as though your quest has a destination, if that is what you mean to find out? At the very least, I think you'll not be bored if you go looking, although I make no promises of what you'll find." As before, Jason gives no real indication as to why he thinks any of this.

Felicia Hardy has posed:
Felicia Hardy stares during the story of the box, her eyes slowly growing wider and wider. *Covetous* would definitely describe her otherwise carefully blank expression, but by the end, she simply...puts the box down. With reluctance. And difficulty. But she's not here for a wooden box.

"Okay," she starts, slowly. Her hands go to her sides, hands flexing a bit as she tries to tamp down her greed firmly. "I'm on a quest to rescue my father, who I thought was dead, from certain death at the hands of an unknown party." She frowns, and folds her arms under her chest. And even with a suit, a shirt, and a sweater as a buffer, that causes some issues. "I can't rely on the Ebony Blade not to poof out of my hands, and I don't think I can really risk fighting a dragon--metaphorical or otherwise--before my rescue attempt. So..."

She sighs, losing some of her hard edge and looking a little lost and desperate, "...is this person worse than fighting, say, Thor or Iron Man? Because if they are, it's not worth the effort." She actually looks a little scared now, and it's not an act, for a change.

Jason Blood has posed:
Despite her apparent box-lust, Jason doesn't show any signs of being nervous about leaving her to handle it. Whether it's a test, faith in her better nature, or he outright doesn't care? That's less clear. Although, much like at the party, it's hard to call his manner anything other than aloof. Even her various bending over and arm-folding doesn't really seem to draw the errant lingering stares she might otherwise be accustomed to. Less professor, more monk? As with most things about him, it's hard to say.

"Ah. So the quest is more than a treasure hunt," he notes with what does finally seem like a touch of interest. He stops her mid-way, though, to raise a hand and inquire: "And unknown party OR a dragon? Or a unknown party AND a dragon?" Details are important! "If you are simply looking to arm yourself, and cannot rely on the blade - or its present wielder - there are certainly many options, althouigh which would be best depends a great deal on who or what you'd be fighting. You might find a lesser enchantment a great deal more reliable, but obviously, not quite so potent."

As for the nature of this other person? "Having never fought Thor, I couldn't make the comparison. But I would wager her a very serious threat by any measure. Perhaps you have heard of Merlin's counterpart and Arthur's mystic bane, the sorceress Morgan Le Fey?" This sword really does come with a lot of Arthurian junk, doesn't it?

Felicia Hardy has posed:
The way Felicia's eyes grow wide instantly, she's familiar with the story. "Okay, yeah, probably not worth angering an ancient sorceress." She closes her eyes and rubs the bridge of her nose. "Ever since Spidey mentioned planning to fight a Cthulhu-god to save the city--Shugga, Shuma, Shubba, um... Something something-gorath, and I tried to get him a magic sword to stab it with, my life has gotten really, really weird."

She sighs and drops her hands to her sides helplessly. "Look, I'm not gonna feign skepticism. I saw the Ebony Blade poof into thin air, and I felt its hunger for violence. I'm on board with the ancient lords and ladies magic stuff." Felicia frowns and holds one arm with the other, "But I was just a thief, okay? Almost a reformed one, too! I'm not all about fighting dragons *or* Avengers, but that's where I am right now."

Felicia looks a little cowed, and maybe like she knows it's almost pointless to ask, but she has to try anyway, "And if you know of something that would help..." She waggles the fingers down at her side, "Preferably something that can be fashioned into claws, maybe, that would really help me. 'Cause I've got a list of places to hit if I don't want to lose my dad a second time, and I'm going to piss off half the heroes in this city doing it."

Jason Blood has posed:
"An interesting facet to the magical craft, contrary to most belief, is its universality," Jason offers, his tone now quite in line with his garb, like he was very much lecturing in front of a room full of eager college students. "While yes, there are those with innate powers, fates, bloodlines, and all manner of other things, the truth is that basically anyone can stumble into it, in one aspect or another. Indeed, if one had to use a single word to describe magic most concisely, I would say that it is a shortcut: that it is appealing precisely because it can bring power to anyone, whether thay have it or not. To use your 'lords and ladies' framework, a peasant woman may curse a king, and for all his might and wealth, he may find himself like a mewling babe before her power."

All of this fancy preface leads back to the original idea of her getting dragged into increasingly bizarre things. "And if you do not wish it, if you wish to avoid -that world-, simply turn from it. That is your way out. Though obviously, it carries its own cost."

And on what seems the obvious assumption that she is not willing to give up her father as such a price? He continues on. "Beginning with the beginning, and ahead of planning any robberies or Avenger-battles, why, precisely, do you feel you must -fight- Mr. Whitman? Would not the good sir concede to aid a beautiful damsel in her time of need? I may need to brush up on things, but I rather thought that was part and parcel to the whole knightly business." While he makes a seeming joke of it, there is something else to it too, the way he talks of knightood, and Dane particularly... almost as a peer?

Felicia Hardy has posed:
Felicia Hardy blinks slowly, and glances back over her shoulder to the door. And, for a very long moment, she seems to seriously consider just leaving. But she does turn back, frowns, and straightens up a bit. "So... Anyone can become Buffy the Vampire Slayer if they try hard enough?" She looks down at her gloved hand and flexes it a bit.

"And I don't want to fight Mr. Whitman! The Ebony Blade nearly got me killed. And...most people don't usually want to help a cat burglar steal stuff from extremely powerful people." She frowns a bit, "You really think he would just help me?"

If Felicia notices the familiarity--and by now she probably has if she was able to pick out a centuries old Byzantine box at a glance--she's not showing it. For all she knows, at this point *he* could be a dragon.

Jason Blood has posed:
"I don't know who that is," Jason answers, seriously.

He moves on smoothly. "But likely, no. Vampires are very powerful, and I wouldn't take slaying one to be a matter to take lightly." Yep, still one hundred percent serious! Apparently the dude knows a few vampires. Which does argue toward this 'might be a dragon' theory. He's not, but she's not /far/ off. "More to the point, I didn't say that magic is foolproof. Like anything, one can muck it up, one can get outdone, one can simply fail or be wrong or miss the mark. And with powerful forces, the consequences to such errors tend to be terribly severe. My point was only that there's really no such thing as some 'magical world' that one is in or not, some clean division like that. Like most things, it is a matter of one's own choices."

However, getting into her more specific questions, he lifts a hand in a pausing gesture. "I didn't mean for him to help you steal something, I mean that you might enlist him to slay the dragon, rather than you stealing a weapon to do so yourself. Or is that part of the rules, some how? That you must slay the thing personally?"

Felicia Hardy has posed:
She was getting close to understanding, but then it just zooms away from her. "R-right..." Felicia attempts, likely failing to sound very convincing. "So, not that easy. And...no! I don't want to kill anyone or anything!" She murmurs under her breath, glancing aside, "Except maybe the guy playing games with my dad's life."

Frowning at him, she shakes her head firmly, "I just wanted to know how you knew I took the sword, and you told me. I'd thought maybe I could harness that power again--as quickly and as easily as the first time. But I don't think that's possible." She sighs, deflating a bit. "So I should...probably go."

Jason Blood has posed:
"Well, you have your answer to how I knew: mostly, it's because of Merlin's doings. One doesn't wield the sort of power he does without leaving a mark on things, and I'm quite familiar with his workings." And the perceptive lady might also note the present tense he uses when referring to said supposedly mythical Arthurian magician. "But as his workings go, my own talents are hardly up to par. So, sadly, I cannot provide some easy means for you to secure the blade, or try to make another. If you are interested in doing it the -hard- way, however, that is another discussion." The hard way presumably relating to a certain female counterpart to said Arthurian wizard.

Jason smiles here, and for all his sometimes cool affect, it does seem genuinely sympathetic. "All of that aside, there is someone else we could ask for help. I do feel it would be improper to leave you to this dire fate, to fight this beast alone," and now he's talking like he's the one with knightly vows, "but the tools I have at my disposal are... particular. And carry a certain cost." Finally, he reaches for the shelf where she'd left the box, and turns to offer it to her.

"Think it over, Ms. Hardy. You know where to find me."