5396/By A Thread Unravelled

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By A Thread Unravelled
Date of Scene: 01 March 2021
Location: Garment District
Synopsis: Let there be cake, and there was.
Cast of Characters: Illyana Rasputina, Kassandra Pagonis, Gabby Kinney

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
It doesn't matter how pretty some women are, they want more. In a city like New York, the ends the rich, powerful or desperate go to in order to find beauty or preserve it can be extreme. Even by some standards, trading in weird compounds, rare elixirs, or paying tens of thousands of dollars for a hideous polyester-lycra jumpsuit worn for a single season are all considered acceptable costs for looking the part. Men, too, fall subject to this. But women in particular have an unannounced expiration date, driving them to unimaginable excesses and foolishness.

One of those boutiques staffed by exceptionally lovely, dime-a-dozen Instagram influencers proves a center of trouble. Proved, perhaps. The current activities of the employees might be curtailed somewhat by the blonde Russian with cheekbones as sharp as a blade in their midst. One of the scarecrow models sits with her legs akimbo, propped up, her phone sparking. She has a wholly dazed look that comes with eating half a salad and two tablespoons of organic Mediterranean algae for seasoning.

Things are worse in the back, but with the sorceress flipping the exclusive 'shut for private event' sign, she ventures out the front door with a casual insouciance in keeping with someone up to absolutely no good.

Or, in the everyday swing of New York, a young woman leaves a store where something like two racks hold clothes that cost the average Brooklynite's annual income. Empty-handed, this shouldn't be a surprise.

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     "I think I may have picked somewhere outside of my budget...even with Warren's credit card involved." Kassandra said to her companion as she peered into a shop window where the shelves were considerably more bare than might be wise for the amount of rent that's charged on a per square foot basis. And, truth be told, it was her mistake. When in a new place, you ask people where the best place to go to do something was. It was like at a restaurant you weren't familiar with - ask the waiter what their favorite dish is, and no, it's almost certainly not General Tso's Chicken in the case of a bored-looking chinese guy. When you want clothes, when in New York, you ask people who know things, and those people will direct you to interesting places. Kassandra thought that a Mall would be more her speed, but when the Uber dropped them off in somewhere called the Garment District, she thought that there might not be a better place to look around.

     Dressed casually for the weather in a borrowed jacket and boots, Kassandra had a few bags slung over one arm and a paper map - quaint! - of the Garment district in the other hand. "So, where do you think we should go next? I mean....we still have to hit the outlet store that's up here so I can get some actual clothes and not that stuff that's three hundred dollars for two buttons and a scrap of denim but...what do you think? Lunch, then more walking?"

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney had tagged along being the more familiar with New York herself. Not to mention more familiar with the potential escape routes and being able to look out for trouble. Even if she often found it herself. She's dressed in a psuedo goth style that had a bit too much colorful punch to be truly goth. It was a style in progress.

"Well, you get the things that need to last a long time here," she suggests with a gesture at a shop. "Like a coat, boots. Belts. Things that wear out if you get them too cheap. Then you get regular stuff at a cheap place. Besides," she adds with an impish grin. "Warren's loaded. So long as we're not buying out the entire store--which we could--then we're good."

The question of where to go from here causes her to glance around at the many shops. It doesn't take her but a moment to spot a familiar face. Without thinking she grabs hold of Kass' hand tugging her along as she rushes down the sidewalk with her other hand waving high in the air. "Illyana!"

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Three hundred dollars for a bit of denim implies it's less than premium denim. Maybe a change purse? The place Illyana exited seems to have a fascination for netting and as little fabric as possible in an ensemble, emblazoned in bits of foil for show. She certainly wears more clothes and fits an aesthetic somewhere between gothic and baroque punk, what with the cold-shoulder t-shirt and the pants that somehow work when normally they don't even flatter the girls strutting their way around fashion week or Barney's.

She lacks a purse, meaning it's all credit or window shopping. A coat barely serves to block the wind that barrels past the buildings. Russian; this is hardly winter by anyone's standards, let alone hers. The light, purposeful click of her heels barely touching the ground at the pace she moves adds to the symphony of the city, the clink of metal fixtures and the tires rolling by, the bells on doors and the annoying ringtones of far too many wealthy people. One of them almost knocks into the blonde, snapping, "Oh my God, watch where you're going! Can't you see I'm carrying /VIP drinks/?"

Right, that's what happens when she turns to hear the serenade of her distinctive voice. Unlike some -- the speaker, for example -- she can't instantly locate them, at least by hearing. Other signals have a decent way of penetrating that thick skull though, and it's only a few moments before she scans the pedestrian and vehicle traffic to find Gabby, and with her, a stranger.

Those cool blue eyes barely muster enough hue to be called blue. They nonetheless offer a faint gleam of recognition, a subtle nod of greeting. Apparently shouting over a girl who somehow trips and spills said VIP drinks by tottering into a fancy roped-off cafe entrance isn't really cool.

"My -heels!- These are Balanciagas," wails coffee-lady at the doorman.

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     Having a certain someone bankrolling the entire shopping trip, without a care in the world on how much it could poentially cost if things were to go extremely heavy in the designer direction, was a new experience for Kassandra. Shopping, for her, was whatever she could get at the local shopping mall in Waco on sale, with the occasional foray into JC Penny or Dillard's when she needed something classy or more heavy duty. Seeing leather jackets with four numbers in front of the decimal point was a little shocking but, thanks to Gabby's well-meaning influence, a few things were got.

     "Jacket, boots, a couple of cute belts. Some jeans. A wallet and bag, definitely." Kassandra glances down at her hand-written list just as Gabby takes her hand and drags her in a direction as someone's name is being called. "Gabby, wait, I'm....augh!" She gives up and goes along. Hopefully at the point that they arrive she'll find out where they're going.

     When they do stop, it's in front of someone who would almost certainly classify as statuesue in the vein of Emma Frost, a ballerina made of marble with a glowing heart of steel, but considerably more dressed up than the psychic woman was. A nod to the weather, perhaps. Kassandra straightens and steadies herself, looking first to Gabby, then to this newly discovered woman in front of her. The other woman? The one with the heels and the spilled drinks? She's paid no mind. After all, it's what everyone else is doing. "I take it you're familiar with this woman, Gabby?" Kassandra says with a playful huff, offering a smile to Illyana.

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney was used to being small around those taller than her. It makes her path through the crowd easy enough, though she's careful to not yank Kassandra too much in the process. Once they arrive, a quick glance is given to the poor coffee spilled woman, before she flashes a grin toward Illyana anew. "Yep! This is Illyana, she's awesome," she informs the other who she'd unexpectedly dragged halfway across the block toward her. It was hard to miss Illyana in a crowd after all.

"Illyana, this is Kassandra. She's new so we're getting her set up with some stuff." With all of that explained she quickly moves on to the far more important topic currently rattling around in her mile-a-minute brain. "I haven't seen you in ages how are you doing is everything okay?"

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Illyana is many things. Awesome? Depends on the beholder. Stylish? Not if someone cares for the boho lean of a Jenny Packham or the wrapped up Herve, Prada's taut lines and bold patterns. Illyana probably hasn't worn a pattern in her life that wasn't blood spatter, therefore incidental. Someone might be forgiven for questioning just how friendly that blunt, direct stare delivered beneath pale lashes actually might be, lacking the nuances of someone like a Frost and most certainly carrying its own terrible gravitas. Not unreasonable to show any concern, really.

"Greek." The first response announces that fact carefully enough. "You prefer Kassandra?" Her own Slavic accent is pure Russian, though not the elegance of St. Petersburg or the harsh precision of Moscow, but something so far east it's practically tripped into a tropical timezone. Explanations are tendered well by Gabby and following the bouncing ball of so much energy requires a bit of effort, though not much. Once bestilled, the Russian in black barely moves at all. It's only for efficient gestures or necessity, like breathing, an elbow out to keep some uncaring assistant yapping on her phone from running into them. "Da. Busy." It might be construed as noncommittal from the laconic young woman, but that's not the same as ignoring her. A fine balance but hopefully clear. "Balancing Keller's books."

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     "Nai, elliniká. Eínai ena oikogeneiakó ónoma apó tin paliá chóra." Kassandra's speech shifts from English rather fluidly to Greek as a bit of a flex to emphasize how right Illyana got it. "Kassandra Pagonis is the full name, and yes, Kassandra or Kassie. Or 'hey, you,' but if you're friendly with Gabby, that probably won't be the case very often." She hefts the bags, repositioning them across both arms instead of just the one, using the taller blonde as a makeshift bulwark, the crowd neatly parting around where she stands, the two smaller girls safe in their wake, like smaller boats riding out a storm in the shelter of a harbor. "Illyana. It's eastern European, I know that much. Slavic? Russian? Something from the baltic states?"

Gabby Kinney has posed:
While the two make their introductions Gabby's eyes grow a bit sadder. Not for the fact that she can't quite understand the conversation. No it was mention of balancing books. A soft, melancholy comes over her as she thinks on that phrase knowing exactly what it means. "Thank you, Illyana," comes quietly offered from the short mutant.

With that sincerely offered remark she listens to the two then debate about names while her eyes scan across the shops as if searching for... something. It was harder to find in this area but eventually she spots something that may do in a pinch.

With a renewed grin she looks between the pair. "We should grab a snack together since we ran into each other like this! I think there's a cake shop that way. Maybe they've got some of that Russian honey cake that's so popular these days! I wanna try that." And treat Illyana to something sweet to remind her of her human side just a bit. If she's been off in Limbo so long she could probably use something cheery.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
"Never hey you," Illyana replies, affirming the basic truth of that statement with a modest rise of her shoulder. She can actually follow the Greek, at least enough to distinguishably pluck out the salient bits and offer that slight smile. "Illyana Rasputina." The latter surname has a resonance for Orthodoxy, even if it's not answering to a metropolitan anywhere other than the lands of the Rus'. "Far East Russia." It might sail over, and it might not. "Fond of peacocks?"

It's an idle question except it isn't, so dry a joke that it might create its own desert. No attempt is made to much stand in the way of progress, but she flexes and bends with the crowd, untroubled where they go.

More interesting is Gabby's answer, and she warms a degree. "Maybe. Cake is good, this late into the day. Too late at night, there's no sleeping."

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     There must be something to the whole 'Balancing Books' thing that Kassandra isn't getting, due to Gabby's reaction, and she does note it but, instead of bringing it up to discuss, she'll bring it up later over snacks in a quieter location. 'What ever did she mean, Gabby?' and then discussion and introspection will happen, and Kassandra's world will grow a little bit more.

     Looking at her nonexistent watch, Kassandra grins over at Gabby, then up at Illyana. "It's only a little past four, and curfew at the school isn't until 9:30pm. Plenty of time to burn off whatever energy we get from the cakes, and even then, as long as we keep it to somewhat human levels of consumption, we should be okay...right? These things aren't like eating five hour energy soaked tira misu or anything, are they?" She smiles, looking up at Illyana.

     "Not particularly. It's a family name, after all, and if the kids at school ever realized the translation, I probably would never live it down." She's going off the more tame translations of Kassandra's myth. If her parents only knew what she was going through, they might have named her Jane, or Betty, or something without such meaning attached to it.

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney thankfully as no such assocations with her name that she's familiar with. No one introduce her to the Xena TV series. With the talk of cake decided on she reaches out to take Illyana's hand if allowed to do so. She's already got ahold of Kassandra still. All they needed now was some background music akin to 'We're off to see the Wizard' as she veers them toward the upscale cake shop.

"It's a plan then! I dunno though I've never had that type of cake before." Some quick mental arithmetic is done as she contemplates. "I can eat a lot of cake for my size though. I always find a way to burn it off!" Though that sometimes ended up with her ontop of roofs having climbed out of range to easily get down again.

"You met her brother last night for a minute, Kassandra. Piotr. The big tall guy that looks like he could bench press a tractor."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Give her long enough, Illyana will find it. The Celtic derivations of fire aren't too hard to spot, if one knows their typical qualities and being highly fire resistant herself, it could be a shorter reach than anyone expects. Exciting opportunities abound, don't they?

Hanging around on a windy, cold street in the Garment District has much less appeal than tiramisu or honey cake. She nods approvingly of the five-hour energy dessert, though it could be sheer stubborn purpose on that side! Never know. "You can eat all the cake and still be hungry?" she asks Gabby, then looking to Kassandra for confirmation about this.

The mention of a tractor actually makes her hiss, though.

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     "Oh, yes, I remember him. Looked like he was molded from iron and painted to look like a person. Very polite. Ate like four churros, too." The carbs, man, the carbs! Kassandra's hand is taken and she is led by a quite insistent Gabby towards the MacarOn Cafe which, according to it's name, serves the French pastries but also branches out into other more esoteric stuff, like Russian Honey Cake - a dessert that takes quite a long time to make but when you get it done properly, it's amazing. And with carmelized honey icing on top? It's decadent, amazing stuff that is worth every small slice you get!

     "I guess Warren's picking up the tab for this, too?" Kassandra asks with a grin as they approach, the line kind of haphazardly winding down one side with a little bit of a wait to get in and some tables available too.

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney grins a little impishly at the reaction from Illyana. Her hand is given a squeeze. "Sorry, Illy, just teasing. He probably could lift one though," she points out with a solemn nod. Teasing aside, Piotr was a rather formidable figure. Kassandra's description earns a tip of her head. "Yeah, and he's got a really cute kitten too!" Naturally she has to focus on the important stuff.

The question of eating without being full causes her to hum in thought as they make it to the doors of the fancy cake shop and enter. "Yes and no. It's not that I'm still hungry, it's that I'm... not *not* hungry. My limiters about things are kind of screwy given my..." She pauses here to free a hand with a little twist of her wrist as if incompassing herself. "Skill set. Though if I've fought or been injured recently, yeah, I can eat a *ton*. Got to refuel." An aplogetic dip of her had is offered toward Kassandra. "Sorry, I guess you don't really know my abilities yet so this might be confusing."

With that she reaches into her pocket to pull out a wad of cash that was suitably sizable for someone her age to have. "Nah I can cover it if it's an issue. I sold one of the dresses Julian got me awhile ago since I doubt I'll have a need for anything that fancy again."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
"He /could/." Oh, the ice wreathing at 'could' very well might make absolute zero the temperature of Hell without being froze over, her pupils faded in the alabaster steppe around Baikal's shores. Nothing to worry about, not at all. But history is full of sidelong Russian commentary in clipped terms, just as English history has little bit moments like 'Rid me with that man' ended up with the murder of a priest and so forth.

Meanwhile, the decadence of honey and chocolate is like a world away for a girl raised to absolute nothingness, impoverished to a degree that might shock her fellows. Thus is she perfectly settled on just breathing in the scents, fulfilling herself on that alone. "Boris is a good cat. My brother is fond," she adds. "Much nicer than me, da?"

The other two students can go ahead, since the caramelized anything should not be separated from Gabby and Kassandra. Not when Warren's paying, either; being the Demon Queen of Limbo has perks, but not many people take casual payment in rubies or laying waste to their enemies, be they sainted or accursed.

Besides, her gaze is lost for a moment to the middleground when Gabby mentions a dress. "I add it to the debt, and they will pay. With interest."

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     "Yeah, a little. I guess you're kind of in the same boat as I am. At some point we'll sit down with each other over dinner and compare stories and see where each other stands in the scheme of things." Kassandra says to Gabby as they make their way into the warm embrace of the bakery, Kassandra rising on her toes to catch a glimpse of the golden cake with chocolate ganache between the silky layers, all covered with a golden brown syrupy icing that threatens to be both heart stopping and wonderful at the same time. Gabby's speech about needing to refuel gets a nod. Whatever the ability she has, it must be like a marathon runner or something like that. /very/ energy intensive. If you're not eating, your body tends to eat itself, and that's never pleasant when you're a growing girl!

     "I don't know. I've never met Boris before, but cats tend to reflect their owners fairly well. The brief meeting I had with your brother yesterday....I'm picturing a cat that weighs something like eight kilos, steel gray, with a meow like a foghorn. An 'oh lawd he comin chonker of a cat."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney is already at the counter nearly pressing herself against it. If she were any less mannered she might have her face up against it drooling--but she's better than that. She's just short and needs to point at what she wants so that it can be ordered. "Two of those, and two of those and milk if you have it otherwise I guess water? Tea?" She looks over at the others uncertainly as to their drink preference. The order placed she forks over some bills before stepping back to let them have time to prepare it.

"Yeah, I still haven't heard how you got rescued. That ought to be a good story if you're up for telling it. If you don't want to talk about it though I get that." Another glance is cast to the money on her hand thoughtfully. It's stuffed away before she thinks on it too much. "It's okay Illyana. We're not dating anymore so it's just stuff. He felt guilty dating someone younger than him."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
None of that camaraderie about sharing stories over dinner means much to Illyana, but she isn't complaining about the ship sailing its way over her head and launching somewhere near the Rio Plata. A golden cake is enough in its own right, but she can spot honey by scent and sight to make up for any defects in the underlying sponge. No, she is not a girl with her nose pressed to the glass and hands on the dessert case, making incoherent and incomprehensible Russian crooning sounds to convince her brother to buy her something. Even the cherub from four years ago didn't do that. Not often... Though bribery for treats /is/ an art.

So save that for Gabby who clearly can and does do it, for all those children and massively accelerated monsters who can't. She is tall and mildly terrifying at the best of times, so the Tsarina Illyana opts to flick her wrist towards the honey cake with a purposeful way of not pointing, it's probably not meant to be rude. And language barriers can be accepted, surely. "All, please."

Forget /slice/. The whole kit and kaboodle will be on her table for those who wish to get chipmunk cheeks and sticky chins, arrayed in crumbs and gladder for it.

"Boris is not a year yet. Russian blue, and tsar of his small domain," she tells Kassandra with appropriate degrees of serious because there's no teasing or giddy mode with this girl. She wouldn't know how to begin. Devilish, yes, but not mirthful poking of fun. "When he needs lessons in royalty, I teach him. Small sounds travel best." This poor cat, ruler of a minor corner of the limitless mercurial whims of Limbo. Yes, Virginia, the cat really is his own master.

But a point needs to be made: "You were rescued?" This to Kassandra. Not prying, just confirming Gabby's ideas. Back to the latter, she doesn't smile. "It must be accurate. Debt is inviolate; it cannot be diminished or passed off."

In that, her eyes make her seem only about a few millennia old even if the seraphic face couldn't be past twenty in the fullest bloom of youth. Every shadow in her proximity might just about have teeth for a second, two. Ten.

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     With Gabby's order of four things and Illyana's order of an entire cake, Kassandra feels positively decadent ordering a slice of cake all her own and a pair of coconut marcons in pastel pink and blue with a small glass of milk tea to go along with it. Caffeine, sugar, and milkfat all in one lovely, wonderful melange that tastes of cinnamon and nutmeg. "I don't mind talking about it, but it might be better to talk about it somewhere that isn't in the middle of the city, if you catch my drift." Playing things close to the vest in public - that's the tune Kassandra's played since leaving home a year ago.

     The description of Boris is well measured and thought out, each word not giving more than necessary, each image conjured exactly what it needs to be. Russian Blue offers an image, as does 'royalty.' This is a well put upon cat that more than likely has his owners wrapped tightly around a paw or, seems to think he does which, in the case of a cat, should be plenty. Migrating away from the counter with her bounty towards one of the tables in the corner that has just cleared out of the upper crust fashionistas who positively had to try the cake, paying full price and throwing 96% of it away, Kassandra slips into one of the spots, making sure her things are between the wall and her, with no chance of any of the expensive bits being taken away by accidental shoplifters who see an opportunity that's too good to pass up. "I was rescued." she says with a nod, situating her things just so in front of her, waiting for the others to join her before she starts to enjoy the snack. "Dr. McCoy, Miss Frost, Mr. Summers, and three others rescued me. I really...really shouldn't get into it here, suffice to say yes. Exactly. I owe them a great dea."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney is satisfied with cake no matter how many slices she has. Though the more the merrier. The drink she opted for was straight up milk to better enjoy the deliciousness of the sweets. "Yeah. We can hang out later at the school and fill in the gaps with more detail," she agrees between bites of honey cake that leave her wriggling in her seat with giddy sounds of delight. "Thish ish sho good!"