5839/My blade is my shield

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My blade is my shield
Date of Scene: 03 April 2021
Location: New York
Synopsis: Abcde and May go on a quest to a cross roads to beg Hecate for her favour so that Abcde can turn May's shoe dagger in to a protective talisman against the constant bombardment of emotions.
Cast of Characters: Melinda May, Abcde Prescelta

Melinda May has posed:
A nondescript grey sedan pulls up in front of the Carter-Sousa House in Long Island. May leaves the car on the street, rather than pulling into the drive. Nevertheless, she passes through the garage into the house proper. She's spent a day trying to collect herself, with mixed results. Beyond the fact that Manhattan is *not* the place to find a lot of personal space when you can sense every heart within a radius close to half a football field in length, she had to go collect Elena and bring her up to speed... dropping bombshell after bombshell after bombshell on the Colombian as she did.

Still, Elena's emotions were quieter than many of the people at the Long Island house. And the apartment building in which she has her safehouse doesn't offer a lot of neighbors. Thus, she's coping.

She slips in quietly, greeting those who are about, going to check briefly on Vogel, and then returning to the main floor to see what other new developments might have happened while she was gone.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    This house was full of busy younger and older adults all with purpose. Abcde could literally feel the world spinning around her as they went about their important work and she was suddenly stuck like a stone amidst of a river of intent. Mittens had made himself busy by checking absolutely every corner and crack of the building and scoping out the local surrounds.

    Abcde had been struggling to stop the nerves building up inside her. The nerves not from HYDRA or from the djinn, but simply having been uprooted from her life and left dangling without a purpose. So she baked a cake. A chocolate cake - that's all she could find the ingredients for.

    As Agents of SHIELD passed their way, bit by bit the cake was dissected and consumed. She doubts any of it made it to the mystery man downstairs. Nor should it, from what she gathers; an undeserving soul. Most like a criminal. Odd place to keep a criminal. Abcde had made it a bit of a game to simply say 'Hello Agent' to everyone she bumped in to in a hallway since that's what they all were - and let's face it, if they weren't then something was off.

    Though when she sees May back she smiles to her and says, "Hello Agent Melinda." Having her first introduction to the woman as 'Melinda May' she had yet to notice everyone defaulted to calling her 'May'. "How is your head, or.. heart... or, uhm, soul actually?," she asks with concern and empathy.

Melinda May has posed:
"'May' is fine," Melinda tells Abcde, though, since she can sense the young woman's sense of displacement, she gentles it with a bit of a smile. "We don't tend to use 'Agent' unless we're being official, either." That small smile turns rueful, and a trifle frustrated. "Not to mention, it's probably not a habit to start right now." Too dangerous.

As the witch asks after her well-being, however, she seems to retreat a little into herself. It's not something most of her colleagues would find strange. May's never been the 'sharing' sort. But, again, she can't help but reflect some of the young woman's feelings. So she doesn't brush her off. (Her friends would probably be amazed.)

"Okay," she replies. "A little better." Regardless of her retreat, there's the sense she's not lying. But her gameface has returned -- not that most of her colleagues would find that strange. Her head cants some. "I imagine settling in here is difficult for you," she offers. "It's not easy to be uprooted like this. I'm sorry about that."

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    Abcde nods her head and says, "May. I.. yeah you're right. The novelty of being surrounded by secret agents was too much." Mittens is suddenly there, weaving through Abcde's legs to look up at May. There's tail twitching and purring though so all is right in the world for now.

    "Ah empath, of course," she says as if May's astute spy skills wouldn't have been enough to deduce her discomfort at being out of her literal comfort zone. "You're like my aunt Anwen. She also deflects the conversation back to me," she says with a small smile of amusement but care.

    "My offer still stands, though my supply of drugs is cut off, so I only have Magic and Cat now," she says and reaches down, scooping her big black boi up in to her arms and draping him over her shoulder. The purring intensifies. "Sometimes a purr machine is all a person needs; and for everyone else there's master card and or magic."

Melinda May has posed:
May hardly remembers the offer from the other day. Frankly, she was a little preoccupied at the time. "Offer..." she repeats slowly, looking more at the cat than the woman. Slowly, she reaches her hand out towards him, palm up, just to let him sniff. She's not keen to get scratched -- and possibly quick enough to avoid it. "Right."

As she catches up with what that could be, she glances to Abcde. "I can't say I'd be keen on drugs, anyway. But I don't know how magic could help." Or master card, for that matter. Except to provide a plane ticket to somewhere remote and very far away. Maybe Northern Canada.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    Mittens sniffs the offered palm and then rests his paw in her palm. No claws. May gets the Mittens seal of approval it seems. "Well, may be I'm misreading what I saw in my kitchen but it seemed like you were being overwhelmed by all the emotions that were flying about. That can't be easy," she says and tilts her head a little as she eyes the way Mittens is behaving with May.

    "And Mittens is telling me you're in a lot of distress. You also said you're a new empath.. so I'm guessing you're being utterly bombarded." She jostles Mittens up and down a little while saying to him in a playful voice, "Isn't that right Mittens?" A paw is placed on her nose to tell her to stop that.

    "So.. we could make you a protective talisman that could 'tone it down' several notches. Something personal to you could help you center yourself on your own emotions rather than the emotions of those around you," she says as the paw moves to her mouth. "Rude Mittens," she says and reaches up to move his paw away. He gives her a dirty look but the purring continues regardless.

Melinda May has posed:
May runs a gentle thumb down Mitten's wrist and paw, giving the cat a small smile. "He's very sweet." She does like animals, generally. They're always easier to deal with than people. She just hasn't ever had the lifestyle to accommodate one.

Her head cants slightly. "He talks to you?" she asks. Hey, unlike most mundanes, she's seen enough magic in her life to know... anything's possible.

Still, she can't help but grimace. "If you knew me, you'd know that being an empath is the *last* thing that would ever suit me." Ice Queen of SHIELD. Now a feeler. Oh, the irony. "And given how upset everyone has been lately... Distance... would be good." Distance would be *great*. "At least until I learn to control it." She has to believe there *is* some way for her to control it. Otherwise, she'll never survive it.

"How do we do it?" As Abcde catches the cat's paw, she smiles again and offers him a gentle scritch behind one ear and down the back edge of his cheek and jaw.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    As May offers scritches, he too reaches out and rests his paw on her arm. The purring has not ceased. She smiles, "In a way. You get to read the body language after a while and if you're getting it wrong they will let you know in less uncertain terms just how frustrated they are at our stupidity."

    There's a small grin from the young woman and she says, "Well there's really only one sure fire way to get you the protection you need. We need to go to a cross roads where three roads meet, check for the signs of Hecate, introduce you to her and if she accepts your plea -"

    "...then we take a handful of the dirt there. We combine it with a personal piece of jewellery of yours, some specific plants we can pick up at a magical curiosities shop and then I do a little magic on it.. hey presto, the protection of Hecate while ever you can keep her blessing.. which given your need I imagine she will shield you until you no longer need her."

    She shrugs her shoulders, "Easy peasy." She smiles as if this were all a perfectly normal thing to do. It's not the first enchanted item she's ever made and it's a lot easier to do with the blessings of the gods than to craft intent all on your own. To do that is beyond her current capacity as a witch. She does wiggle an eyebrow up and down, "The Night Queen will watch over your heart. Cool right?" The night queen being another name for Hecate.

Melinda May has posed:
And May finds herself somehow having taken a left turn way out into Weirdsville without any clue how that happened. Well. Okay. She did ask. She considers just how to word her question, since she's really not sure she has *quite* enough belief in all this magic stuff, herself, to actually merit the blessing or favour of a... um... god. It doesn't help, of course, that all the so-caled gods she's met have generally been Asgardian, whom SHIELD fairly firmly classifies as 'aliens', now.

She reaches up to scratch the back of her neck briefly, continuing to scritch Mittens gently as she does. "That easy, huh?" She looks at the cat and speaks directly to him. "I should probably tell her that the bulk of my magical experience came from fighting ice skeletons with a plasma sword in the Bronx, shouldn't I?" Translation: She's way out of her depth, here.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    Abcde double takes a touch when ice skeletons fought with a plasma sword is brought up. She chuckles and nods her head, "That is amazing. All of you SHIELD people are amazing. I'm a firm believer in consent May. So think of it this way - worse case scenario you waste a night with me digging up some dirt from a road and buying some herbs from a shop. Best case scenario, it works and you get some respite for a change."

    She's walked through a world of people who are oblivious to magic her whole life, this isn't something new to her. "Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft, sorcery, .. and other stuff like ghosts and necromancy which isn't so important to what we're doing here," she says.. then realises that might sound bad, "As in she polices necromancy because it's not meant to happen on Earth."

    "There's a cross roads not too far from where we are.. well, everything on Long Island isn't that far unless you want to leave Long Island. Main street, Melville road, and Fairview road all meet at a single intersection. I've never been there but I've heard it mentioned before. It won't take long to determine if it's applicable or not," she says and lets Mittens go as he suddenly twists and jumps down. He rubs up against May's side and then races off up the stairs.

Melinda May has posed:
May's brows rise as the cat suddenly moves and rubs briefly against her leg before taking off. "Alright," she says, figuring that's the cat's way of saying 'go,' while he finds a sunbeam to nap in. "Hell, I'll try anything once."

And, if nothing else, it will give her a chance to become somewhat better acquainted with their unexpected house guest. Maybe it will ease Peggy's mind some, too. "There's a car out front. Unless there's something you need, we might as well go." It seems to her that a potential solve to her immediate problem is far more important than monitoring activities in a house full of agents.

She pulls her keys out of her pocket and heads toward the door, glancing back to see that Abcde is coming with her.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    Abcde claps her hands with delight, "Wonderful!" A reason to get out of this house but with a super spy who can protect her from evil HYDRA bullets. She too takes off up the stairs two steps at a time and comes back down pretty quickly with a bag over her shoulder.

    "Just needed some things. Do you have any jewellery - a ring, a necklace? that we can use? if not, we can improvise something," she natters as she heads toward the door. The head of Mittens peeks around the corner staring down the stairs as they head off.

    Abcde goes straight for the passenger seat. The car doesn't seem particularly special to her so she asks, "Is this like a 007 car with hidden buttons and compartments and the like?"

Melinda May has posed:
May has all she needs in her jacket -- and in the concealed holster under her arm. Though jewellry is more of a problem. "I... Not on me," she admits. "I don't wear jewellery." She gives a mild shrug. "I get into too many fights. Most of it would just break. Or it's too personally identifying." Welcome to the world of superspies. "I do have a couple of pieces at home, in my apartment. But that's in Salem." And probably being watched.

She manages not to roll her eyes at the question about the car, giving a brief, sidelong glance and half smile instead. "No. It's just an Impala. The goal is to not stand out." She eases away from the curb and begins to take them out of the neighbourhood. "So... where should we go first?"

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    There's a long stare from across the passenger seat at May as she explains why jewellery is a liability. She nods slowly, her eyes slightly widened at the logic that went behind it. It was sound logic - but Abcde has never met a person like May before who has that kind of thinking. "Right. Well.. anything you pretty much always have on you is going to be fine," she says as her eyes swish over May searchingly like she's a different species.

    May's half smile sidelong glance elicits a big grin on Abcde's face in response. "Right, not stand out. How did you learn all this stuff? was it from Peggy?" She takes out the burner phone she was issued and shakes her head at the primitive thing. She can't believe she literally has a burner phone like she were in an episode of Burn Notice - except no Bruce Campbell. A few clicks and touches and she's got the maps program open, "The intersection of Main, Melville, and Fairview. Our cross roads, where Hecate will hopefully be watching."

Melinda May has posed:
"No, actually," May says. "When I was a young agent, Peggy was the Director of SHIELD. She didn't have time to train anyone and wasn't often out in the field, anyway." If Peggy did take an interest in her then, it was probably more because of Lily Chen and half remembered cases from her early days in the agency than anything May herself did to attract attention. But cryostasis wiped most of those memories out, until very recently, it seems.

That's not something May needs to share, however. Instead, she says,"I went to SHIELD Academy." She gives a mild shrug and a wry half-smile. "Spy school."

She glances to the map app briefly to orient herself and then starts the car heading off to the necessary intersection. "How did you become a witch?"

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    "Oh," she says trying to align her image of Peggy Carter that Daniel gave her with the person she's now met. A true pioneer of the spy craft. She's going to have to take some liberties with these characters in her new book to avoid accidentally linking the story to the actual people involved.

    There's another big grin from Abcde as May tells her she literally went to spy school. "There's actually a spy school? amazing," she says almost letting out a laugh. "It makes sense I just never thought about it before."

    Then she's asked about becoming a witch, "Oh. Hm. Well it's a family tradition. Every second generation is chosen to carry on the tradition. My mother couldn't do magic, but I can. Some of my aunties can do magic. My grandmother could do magic. She was apparently really good at it. I try to imagine I'm making her proud."

    "When I was eleven we were at a big family reunion out in a park and some of my aunties took me for a walk. We went in to a thicker part of the trees and they told me that magic was real. I was eleven so of course I just nodded my head. duh, of course magic is real. They told me it was my destiny to be a witch like them, which I thought sounded pretty cool," she grins.

    "It wasn't until I was fourteen that I managed to make an actual magical spell work though. So it's mostly been reading and practicing the craft ever since. Trying not to get too ambitious with what I attempt of course. The dangers to a practitioner are very real. I'm sure you've heard the rule of three before? When you create unbalanced magic, it blows back on you three fold," she says, "Which is a gross simplification but as a rule of thumb - pretty accurate." Her tone raises a bit at the end there suggesting she's experienced this more than once.

Melinda May has posed:
"No Hogwarts then, huh?" Though, really, the process doesn't sound *that* dissimilar. "Most of the magic-users I've met are either aliens like the Asgardians or elementalists who seem to have inherent affinities for one type of magic over most others." She doesn't name Nessa; she doesn't know what the protocols are for such things.

Neither has she heard of the rule of three in that way, either. But the idea of blowback, right now, in this endeavor, does *not* sound good to her. "Sooooo," she says slowly, "how dangerous is this... talisman thing we're trying to make today? I'd really rather not put you at undue risk. I can find another way." She's just not sure where or how.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    She does laugh this time, "No Hogwarts. If such a place does exist I've never heard of it. I'm not sure it'd be a terribly safe place to go to school. All those kids throwing spells everywhere even as evil sorcerers try to infiltrate the place? Great for a story but not ideal for the practice of magic. Learning it requires a lot of study and mental focus, not playing a magic broom sports game or sneaking around old castles."

    She nods her head, "Ah yeah there are people with an innate ability. I've met a couple of them. They can do more magic but usually struggle to break free of their idiom. The focii paradox. Where you need a focii to do bigger magic but the focii then becomes part of the magic and thus you can't do it without it. For magic people who have innate ability, that innate ability usually becomes their focii and it is bound to everything they understand about magic."

    She shakes her head quickly to May and says, "Oh no this isn't dangerous at all. Unless Hecate specifically hates you or me, either she gives her blessing or she doesn't. If she does the rest if quite straight forward - doing the spell will be drawing from her blessing, not from myself. Balance. If she doesn't give her blessing.. well.. then I'm afraid I probably won't be able to help you. Divina Magicka is the hardest kind of magic and the risks are far too great for me to do it unaided."

Melinda May has posed:
May nods slowly to what Abcde says, both about magic and about just what they're trying to do. guiding the car to a stop at the intersection they were looking for. "I'm pretty sure Hogwarts would get shut down in the real world," she agrees. "Even at spy school, our weapons were locked up." Wands are weapons. She's learned that much.

She pulls the car into a suburban strip parking lot when they reach the intersection they were looking for. "This is the place?"

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    When May asks if this is the place, Abcde starts to look out and around the intersection. There is a triangular shaped set of stop signs and turn signal signs hanging in the middle of the intersection. "The flames," she motions to the lights. In the distance there's a dog howling probably because their owner locked them out of the house, "The howls."

    Then her eyes go wide and she blurts out a laugh. A man with a mullet hair cut, died bright red, wanders across on the far side of the streets. ".. well I never. Yeah, this is the place." She motions to the man, "One of the signs that hecate is watching are red mullet - fish, but, I mean.. that'll do."

    She gets out of the car and looks down the six roadways that converge here. Traffic is very low, which is a good thing. There's even a pot hole right in the middle of the road and she nods her head, "Definitely the right place." She motions to the pot hole, "You need to go out there and announce yourself to Hecate, then scoop up some of the dirt."

    She opens up her backpack and takes out a small pouch. "Put the dirt in here and bring it back to me," she says offering the pouch to May. "So.. something like.. Goddess Hecate, I am Melinda May and I seek Apotropaia, please grant me your blessing." She motions to the road, "Also don't get run over. If you get run over I'm taking that as a sign that Hecate is not giving you her blessing."

Melinda May has posed:
May gives Abcde a flat look. This is now pushing her boundaries. Hard. "Wait. What? Apotrowhatnow?" Announce herself to the universe. Oh, yeah. That sounds like a fun time. Not. "And don't get run over. Oh, sure. Easy."

Internally, she is now questioning every shred of common sense she's ever thought she held, fairly certain it's all completely deserted her. It's probably off galivanting with her sanity somewhere. Because, clearly, she must be crazy to even consider this.

She pulls in a tight breath. If the other woman's emotions didn't register as completely sincere in this moment, without a real hint of cruel amusement, May would likely refuse. As it is, the only thing that keeps her from smacking the girl. "Just so you know," she says darkly, "if I get run over, Hecate will be the least of your worries."

Before she risks exiting the vehicle, she takes a long moment to look for traffic cams and what surveillance is on the street. Because the last thing she needs is this to get back to HYDRA, nevermind SHIELD. Satisfied the camera situaiton is largely under control, she pops open her car door and climbs out. What she mutters under her breath -- mostly commentary about just how desperate she must truly be to try something this collossally humiliating -- is largely inaudible to human ears. Yeah, maybe she's risking pissing off Hecate, but even with half the world's emotions swirling through her brain (figuratively speaking), she's still Melinda May. And Melinda May does not do well with things like this.

Her fear of being overwhelmed by all the emotions she can't control, however, is far greater than her fear of humiliation it seems, since she closes the car door firmly and starts heading for the street.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    There's almost a complete lack of emotion when it comes to the technicalities of doing the magic. She's quite specific about and her eyes widen a touch when she realises just how uncomfortable this is making May. "It's not a.. big deal. Hecate is casually glancing at this cross roads - she needs to hear you to pay attention," she says.. of course, this is magic and intent matters. Abcde knows this is the only way she can bind May in to the spell needed to create a protective talisman.

    She gulps a touch at the threat if May gets run over. She peeks her head up and down the streets again just to be sure because super spy lady May is obviously not someone you should mess with.

    She motions to May as she finally starts making her way out there. She repeats, "Apotropaia, the magic of turning away, protecting." She then nods trying to be encouraging to May as she presents herself to a goddess. "I promise you this is the only bit you'll need to do, besides supplying me with something you always have on your person," she says with two thumbs up.

Melinda May has posed:
May steels herself with a tight breath. She looks about. For the moment, the intersection is clear. If she's lucky, it'll stay that way. "Here goes nothing..." she mutters, finding herself approaching the pothole, almost as if she's looking for something.

Hell, Melinda. You've dealt with weirder shit than this.

"Hecate," she says, letting out a breath. "Goddess of magic. I am... running out of options." Her shoulder fall a little and, even though she continues to watch for traffic, she closes her eyes for just a moment. Then, she squares her shoulders and glances up, becoming more the confident specialist and agent she really is. "My name's Melinda May. I really suck at this sort of thing. I'm sorry, if I screw it up. But I need help. And Abcde says you can help. So. Please. I seek... Apotropaia..." She stumbles a little over the unfamiliar word, but plows ahead stubbornly. "Please grant me your blessing."

She stands there awkwardly for a moment and then adds. "Thanks..." Because, that's what you're supposed to do in a prayer, right? And this must certainly be some sort of a prayer.

She shakes her head briefly and crouches down, scooping up a little of the dirt into the pouch before wiping her hand on her jeans and trotting back towards the parked car.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    As if listening, a group of three stray dogs stop their running and pause at the corner of the cross roads and watch May talking to nobody. Tails wagging, one dog jumps on another and then suddenly all three are running off down the road again when she says Thanks.

    It's subtle, but Abcde is watching this. There are so many ways the signs can come to them, subtle things, to let a magic user know that the spell is in motion and the magic is real. She nods her head to May and smiles, "Good job."

    She holds out her hands for the pouch and then slides it back in to her backpack. "Now I need to pick up some ingredients..." she says and taps on the phone to find a local magic store. A real one, not a new age hippie con job. "There's a place on Beach st that should be open today. Hopefully they don't need too much convincing to let us shop."

    She smiles to May and nods her head, "You did good. Hecate was watching and granted you her blessing. The rest is easy from here." This is the first time she's ever tried to walk a person through magic like this before. But, May really needs her help and this is the right thing to do.

Melinda May has posed:
May slides into the car, closing the door before she hands over the pouch. Then, she glances at the young woman, who seems pleased. That... settles her just a little. "I hope so," she says, flexing her hands around the steering wheel. She rolls her shoulders briefly and lets out another soft breath.

"Okay," she says. "Beach it is." She turns the car on and glances to the map app briefly again. Then, she pulls out of the parking space to head on to the magic shop.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    As they drive Abcde casually ask, "So... first time talking to a goddess as part of ritual magic then?" Rhetorical question really. She remembers the first time she did it too. She was super nervous that the god would take umbrage with her words. She didn't understand the way things worked yet.

    "The guy who runs this shop doesn't know me. So either this'll go real easy and he'll let me buy what I need, or.. or not," she says. Usually 'or not' means she finds somewhere else to buy things. This time, though, she's with an agent of SHIELD, so may be the 'or not' turns out differently.

Melinda May has posed:
'Or not' very well may turn out differently. But it may not. Because May is trying not to attract attention, here. On the other hand, if this guy refuses, and the next guy refuses, by the time they get to guy number three, 'or not' is very definitely on the table.

She pulls the car to a top in front of the shop. "Yeah. First time casing magic at all. Usually, I just hit things." She likes hitting things. She'd like to be hitting things right now, in fact.

The HYDRA bastards who launched the attack on Afterlife are very high on her list of things she'd like to hit, in fact. Vogel, however, comes in as a close second, though mostly by proxy.

As they approach the shop door, she glances to Abcde, "Let's hope he's feeling cooperative." A beat. "Are magic shop owners usually uncooperative?"

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    She glances at May and raises her eyebrows, "Please don't hit him." She smiles though and says, "Ah well to strange witches from out of town? they can be wary that something is amiss. Besides which, the ingredients I'll be asking for my raise a few eyebrows."

    She opens the door and enters the shop. A small bell rings and she notices the runs carved in to the door frame wood. Protection against corrupted influences? curious. She notes that they're drawn wrong.. or else it might have affected the sliver of djinn in her arm.

    There's a shorter man wearing rounded glasses standing behind the counter cleaning some mort and pestels. The shop is filled with a mixture of hokey magic trash and misc herbs and ingredients. Abcde grabs some garlic in a baggie as she approaches the man, "Merry Meet." She offers her hand to the man and says, "I'm Abcde. A friend recommended your shop. I need some supplies for a protective talisman."

    He shakes her hand and nods his head, "Alfred. Welcome to my Beachside Curio. Protective talismans are on the wall." Sure enough on the wall are an assortment of necklaces with colourful stones or perhaps just melted glass on them.

    A small laugh at the misunderstanding, "Ah no, I need some cypress, yew, mandrake dug up by dogs, and hecateis."

    There's a sudden quiet in the room as Alfred stares at Abcde and Abcde stares back at Alfred. She's not sure when he's going to stop this but it sure is awkward. "A little young to be practicing witchcraft aren't you?," he eventually says accusingly. Abcde bristles a touch and bites back, "A little old to be scamming people with trinkets aren't you?"

    The staring contest resumes. The man has patience for it and eventually says, "aconite and mandrake are poisons you know, could get me in trouble selling poisons to a young woman." She narrows her eyes and replies, "They're poisonous, but technically toxins, as in toxos the Greek word for yew."

    The corner of his mouth twitches up in to a small smile, "cypress, yew, mandrake dug up by dogs and hecatei you say... coming right up." He turns and heads out the back. Abcde visibly slumps a touch and turns around to look at May, "We're in business."

Melinda May has posed:
"If they give you more shit about being too young," May tells her dryly, as the man retreats, "tell them they're for me. I'm over 50." She doesn't look like it. She looks mid-forties, and, indeed, since Terragenesis, there's an almost ageless quality that's settled about her shoulders, but it hasn't actually slowed her aging any. Otherwise, she wouldn't wake up so damned stiff in the morning after a combat mission.

Still, her eyes dart about the shop, looking at the various objects and talismans, books and trinkets. "You said you need something I am likely to always keep on my person, right?"

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    She peers in surprise at May and mouths, "50?" but doesn't say it out loud. She has hopes and dreams of looking that good when she's fifty. There's a nod of her head, "Yes. Something that matters to you." Her eyes follow where May is looking, "I don't think anything here qualifies May."

    She leans her butt against the counter as they wait for the man to come back with the goods. She counters on her fingertips the various ingredients she needs. A small nod to herself that she has everything. "Mittens is going to love this.. we haven't enchanted a protective talisman in a couple of years. He likes the smells," she says.

Melinda May has posed:
"No," May agrees. "But would a knife work? I always have a holdout blade in my boot. Never leave home without it." She leans a hip up against the counter, arms folding lightly across her chest. Her eyes continue to observe, however, and she inhales gently to try to identify some of the scents. She's probably better at it than most people realize, simply because of all her time in Asia and the Middle East.

"Mittens is a very sweet cat," she says after a moment. "I think I like him. I wasn't sure at first. He was very free with his claws, but... I can respect that." Since she tends to be the same.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    "I.. uh.. well yes I suppose it would. Kind of fitting given we're using Hecate's blessing. One of her symbols is the dagger.." she smiles, "First time I've ever done it on a dagger but it'll work." She finds May rather fascinating. Their worlds couldn't be farther apart. She carries a knife in her boot for combat; Abcde carries a ritual dagger in her backpack.

    "You know I'm glad there are people like you out there doing your thing. Because you seem like a very sensible person who does what needs to be done but doesn't do it blindly? you know?," she says.

    The discussion of Mittens brings a grin to her face, "Oh he can be quite the jerk sometimes like all cats. But yeah, he's a very people oriented cat. The claws come out when he wants to climb or he's playing one of his teasing games. One of his favourite is to sit on the windowsil behind the curtain with his tail dangling out. If you touch his tail, he yanks it away and the whole paw and claws come out. He seems to like you."

    The shop keeper comes back out with small essence vials and bags and places them with the garlic, "$37.99." Rather matter of factly. Abcde gets out her card and taps it on the payment receiver. He puts all the stuff in to a brown bag and offers it to Abcde, "Good luck with your enchantment." She smiles and nods back to the man, "Merry met."

    Truthfully he was starting to get Abcde's goat, so she's glad to be leaving and hopes she never has to do business there again. On the other hand, he had what she needed and didn't tell her to scram.

Melinda May has posed:
"Going in blind gets people hurt," May tells Abcde seriously. "Usually the wrong people. Following orders is part of the job. But even then, you've got to trust your own judgment. In the field... command can't make all the calls."

Still, she's pleased the knife will work. It just means she'll be more careful about using it as a throwing knife. She smiles some at talk of Mittens, too. "I'm glad. I hope he doesn't find a house full of people too much of a trial. Daisy will probably try to spoil him rotten."

Then the shopkeeper is coming back out and May falls silent once more. The supplies are bought and paid for and they slip out without further incident. "So... back to the house, then?" That would suit her just fine.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    Abcde puts the ingredients in to her backpack and nods her head, "Yeah. Well, he's not been around this many people that often.. he will soak up all the sook he can get if Daisy is willing to give it." She smirks a bit and says, "Besides, he has jobs to do so he can't just snooze all day long."

    She nods her head to him, "Yep. Back to the house. Now it's time for me to do my magic and then.. fingers crossed.."

Melinda May has posed:
Sounds like every other cat May has ever met. Well. Barring the truly standoffish and skittish ones. But even they come around eventually. Probably because May tends to be quiet and still for long periods of time.

She gives Abcde a brief nod and pulls back out into traffic to retrace their way home.

When they arrive, some time later, and they make their way into the house, it seems the place has quieted down considerably. Vogel's anxious, sullen presence is still in the basement. But many of the others have gone out to deal with other business. That said, there's at least two other people in the house (possibly three), since the rule is no one in the house alone with Vogel, if possible.

May is good with there being fewer people. That will make this easier for her. "Where do you want to go?"

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    Abcde is quieter on the trip back. She's not anxious, rather glad to be out and about and doing things. Her extended periods of being an introvert are usually when she's deep in to her writing. The rest of the time she likes to be active and engaged with the world.

    "Kitchen," she replies with a nod. Somehow Mittens is already in there sitting on the kitchen counter top. Abcde gathers some candles and matches. She gets out a mort and pestle and the various ingredients and blessed dirt from her back. An unimpressive action of mixing it all together carefully is then taken as she grinds it. The candles flank her work and then she nods to May.

    "The blade please," she asks and holds out her now dirty hands, "Careful though there's toxins on my hands. No licking." Mittens sniffs at the mort and pestle a bit but doesn't touch it. He seems to know the drill.

Melinda May has posed:
May enters the kitchen, greeting the cat with a finger wiggle before moving automatically to put on some tea. Green tea, this time. It's a comfort thing. She keeps it out of the way of what Abcde is doing, however. And she watches what the girl does. Not that she'll ever try to duplicate it. Not that she ever could. But she is curious.

When Abcde askes for the blade, May lifts a foot to rest it on the edge of a chair. She fishes a pair of fingers swiftly inside the collar of the shaft and easiliy retrieves a small handled, short blade. She passes it to the witch handle first, the blade on her open palm.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    Abcde carefully takes the blade and begins to wash the muddy sludge over it. When it is covered she rests it in the bowl and then holds out her hands for a moment, takes in a deep breath and shuts her eyes.

    It's not the first time May has seen a little bit of magic from Abcde. She made her broom leap over to her hand somehow back in her apartment. But it's the first time she's seen her invoke magic. Blue swirls of energy, light with some sort of texture to it, spreads from her finger tips and she kneeds it in to the air where it touches the flames and then suddenly leap a foot higher and burn as black as night.

    "Hoc ferrum apotropaia parvo usque ad immdesco praefoco motus erit benedictionibus Hekate," she intones and the contents of the bowl and the gunk on the blade burst in to black flames too.

    Mittens seems perfectly find with this. He breadrolls himself, tucking his toe beans up underneath himself and his tail lazily swishes off the edge of the counter. If May is paying attention, Mitten's eyes are swirling in that same blue energy that Abcde summoned moments before. He is, after all, her familiar.

    ....and then just like that, the flames go out and Abcde opens her eyes. All of the ingredients she put together, including the dirt, have burnt away leaving only ash. She picks up the knife and moves over to the sink and washes it, and her hands.

    Abcde presents the knife to May and says, "May Hecate's blessing stay with you as long as you need it." Then when May takes it back, she starts clean up the mort and pestle too.

Melinda May has posed:
May takes an uneasy step back as the flames leap higher. She has seen the blue energy before -- on the surveillance video from the precinct. But the black flames is new. Fortunately, there's no blood involved. That's a bonus. She does note the cat's involvement. Her whole job, after all, tends to swing between close observation and hitting some of those things she observes.

For just a moment, she finds herself wondering just what she's allowed to happen to her knife. But the witch does clean it well, so... When it's presented to her, May takes it gingerly. "Thanks," she says as she does.

But as her fingers touch the haft, wrapping around it, she startles, nearly dropping it. A bit of a shock, like static passing from a doorknob. She manages not to drop it, however. And as the small shock passes...

Abcde's emotions are just a little more distant. Vogel, further away, is quieter still. The others haunting the house also mute just enough that they're no longer raging in the back of Melinda's mind. She closes her eyes for a long moment, breathing, 'listening'... feeling... herself.

"Oh, my god..." she breathes. "*Thank you*."

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    Abcde wipes her hands down and smiles to May. The look of relief on her face is evident. "You're welcome," she says pleased to have been able to help her. "My aunties always say there's no point having magic if you can't help people with it. They meant it in the 'dont be selfish' kind of way.. but in this day and age with Superman and Wonder Woman and...."

    Her expression goes blank for a moment. 'She's telling the truth', 'Wanted for robbing a vault in Saudi Arabi', 'Kept the Nazis back', .. all the times she's seen Quake in the media it never really twigged.. 'Can you sign my book?' -- "Daisy is Quake!?"

    The revelation hits her like a door to the face. She shakes her head, "And I thought my life was unusual." She grins a touch and then begins to put her things away. Mittens jumps off the bench and wanders away to find a slither of sun to sleep in front of now that the action is done and May is safe.

Melinda May has posed:
May slides her blade back into its ankle sheath, inside her boot. She appreciates the advice Abcde's aunties have given her and isn't surprised when the heavy hitter's names are pulled out. She was expecting 'Captain America' or 'Iron Man' on that list though, not Daisy.

Still as the woman finally twigs in to Daisy's alterego, she gives her a sidelong glance. "Mm," she nods. "She is. We try not to advertise that fact, though."

As she straightens, her shoulders have less tension in them, her spine isn't as stiff as it was, and she no longer seems quite so defensively hunched -- an unconscious defensive posture that she's just gradually adopted over the past few weeks. Standing up straight again is a relief. She can't quite keep that relief off her face.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    "I really enjoyed the trip today May. Thank you for letting me do this and coming with. It's nice to get to know you. The only person in this house I know is Daniel and I've only known him for three days.. so.." she grimaces a touch. There it is, not just upended from her home but thrown in to a house with a bunch of strangers. Agents of SHIELD. And a terrorist leader in the basement.

    "Though I am getting a lot of ideas for my next book. Do you want to be in it? I mean, not as May - just as a character that's sort of based off of you. Some kind of Empath Extreme lady ninja spy. Her car won't even have gadgets in it. Low profile," she asks. She is all about consent after all.

Melinda May has posed:
May blinks at that. "I... I think I'm good. But thanks." She still prefers to keep a low profile. "I don't recommend you put too much of us in there," she says after a moment. "You might attract HYDRA's attention."

She moves to pour herself a cup of tea. "Do you want something?" she asks now, letting the green tea steep. She moves her cup to the table, taking a chair at the end away from the clean-up. "I know it must be hard to be here," she says after another moment, not really needing to feel the full brunt of the woman's emotions to know that. "We're all on edge. And, frankly, it's hard for us, too. Most of us were actually at a small victory party when the news that the agency had been outlawed... specifically for the missions where we tried to stop everything they're accusing us of having done. Still, if there's any way we can help you, we will."

She gestures to the table. "Tell me more about this djinn? It responds to blood, doesn't it? That seems to be the common denominator betweeen your story of the antique shop and what we saw on the footage of the precinct." Footage she can likely show the witch, now.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    She nods her head, "Ahh a shame." She nods her head, "I really can't wait to be told HYDRA no longer is after me. I like my life, I don't want to be in hiding forever."

    She nods to the tea and pours herself a cup as well, then sits down to join May at the table. "I thought you'd all be used to this kind of life. But I suppose not. I'm sorry, that's .. really shit. These HYDRA people are the worst."

    "You want to know about the djinn? hmm.. well djinn are spirits that are very good with magic - usually they came from sorcerers and witches and mages etc who grew too big. Too powerful. So powerful others ripped them from their physical bodies and bound them to common objects because they didn't know how to destroy them entirely."

    "Magic was used to make these objects uninteresting, forgotten... but something happened to this djinn. People noticed it. I noticed it. It was bound to a mirror. It had connected itself to Daniel and that other person and told me it had been watching their lives."

    She frowns, "And when it realised I was a witch it used my power to set itself free by tricking me in to making a wish." She rolls her eyes, "It turns out you don't even need to say I wish. The mirror exploded and cut me and it pulled blood out of me to do its magic."

    She lifts up her right arm and points to the bandage, "And a piece of that mirror is embedded in my arm. Hurts. Can't remove it because I'll bleed everywhere and it'll be able to do more magic. So... I need help from a more experienced witch or similar to help me get this djinn out of me and banished away again. That's way out of my league."

Melinda May has posed:
"Can your aunties help?" May asks, sipping her tea. "I'd like to see it out of you sooner rather than later. However, there are only two, maybe three magic users I'd consider asking." Mainly because they're the ones she knows. "The one I like... it may be way out of her league. The others... the one don't know well; the other I really don't like very much." Lucifer, she's met maybe twice. Constantine... is an ass, as far as she's concerned. She really can't believe Peggy ever got so desperate as to actually sleep with him.

"Part of why I ask, though, is because we need to understand how Daniel got here." She looks bleakly out toward the rest of the house, where she knows he and Peggy are. "I hate it. But I also know he's going to have to go back. Time doesn't like blips like this. Him... and that HYDRA man. They're going to have to go back."

She shakes her head. "I just don't know how to break it to the others, yet."

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    She huffs a touch. "They can. In a couple of months the coven will have the ability to handle it. But that's.. months. If there's a better way to handle it before then I want to find it. I'm putting out feelers." She shakes her head and says, "And I feel embarrassed I got used like this. But I need to push that aside and work out what to do."

    She takes a sip of the green tea and breaths out slowly, "Daniel.. does he have to go back though? I mean.. he just met up with Peggy again and it is the sweetest thing ever. It'd be so heart breaking. Time travel is biiiig magic, which should give you an idea of just how powerful a djinn is. It deliberately unbalanced the universe to break its own bindings. But it didn't entirely work. So now I have to be thoughtful about the next steps."

Melinda May has posed:
May grimaces. "Like you said... it's big magic and it's unbalanced the universe. So, yes. He has to go back. If he doesn't, it will change our entire time stream. Maybe for the better, but just as likely not." She shakes her head. "I'm no expert on any of it. But I did get a crash course." Between what Howard and Wilkes were on about and what Morse impressed on her, she got the message.

"And if you think I'm remotely happy about knowing I'm going to have to shatter my best friend's heart a second time like this..." She shakes her head. Her voice drops. "I'm afraid it could kill *her*."

She looks to the witch. "If there's any way to fix it for both of you, save Daniel and still rid you of the djinn, I will move heaven and earth to do so. But..." She raises her hands helplessly. "I just don't see it right now."

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    She nods her head, "Right. So.. you think you need the djinn. But it won't work May." Her tone turns serious, something new from the young witch. "It's not going to obey you and it's not going to help you. It cares about itself and nothing else. It lives in a sliver of broken mirror, there's not many fucks it has to give to the world..."

    She frowns, "I strongly.. _strongly_ encourage you to find another way to do time travel. Blood magic is corruption and djinn are .. worse." She sips the tea again but her expression looks extremely troubled. She knew eventually this kind of thing would come up. Her aunties warned her when people learn about magic they want what they want regardless of consequences. "You're a time traveller, can't you just do that, whatever that was.. again?"

Melinda May has posed:
May shakes her head to both assumptions. "I wasn't suggesting we need the djinn to make it work. I was suggesting we need to get that djinn out of you. If there's a way to do that, save Daniel, and be rid of the HYDRA threat all at the same time, that's what I'd like to do."

She picks up her tea and sips it slowly. "If we had access to the vaults at the Triskelion, we *might* be able to come up with something similar to what allowed me to return home. But, ultimately, that technology relied on harnessing the same forces that took me there in the first place." Hence the question about the djinn. She doesn't know of a convenient wormhole through time, currently.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    The look of relief on her face is instant. She smiles and nods her head, "That's good. I really want it out of my life too. It seems you have a lot you want to achieve all at once. Can you really do all that?"

    The tea is sipped and she relaxes some more. "The Triskelion is the big building that SHIELD was in? I don't understand that. I thought you were all spies. Why would spies want their headquarters so public?"

    Her eyes widen a little bit, "Time travel through a wormhole? like in a tv show?" Technology is not her forte; she is as good at it as any other twenty one year old who grew up with instagram and social media. "What kinds of things are in the vaults at the Triskelion?"

Melinda May has posed:
"Most of what's in the vaults is classifed," May says dryly, eying the kid. "But you'd be surprised. We've been dealing with the unusual, the alien, and the occult since before we were officially founded." No, she's not going to give specifics.

She gives a mild shrug, instead. She didn't actually say the word 'wormhole'. Or 'time hole'. "I don't know how it worked," she says. "I'm not a scientist. I'm a fighter. More intelligent minds than mine figured it out. I just know that there were two anchor points -- one in the here and now, the other in the there and then. I don't know what let me through or what happened when I left." Oh, she's got some idea about things that happened after she left. But she's not spilling those beans.

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    "I thought magic users had a lock on crazy. But you're an empath who works with a superhero and a time traveller who is married to another time traveller and you're wanted by the US Government. What are the other people you work with like?," she says with a touch of amusement over the rim of her tea cup.

    "Also, I keep getting this feeling that some of you think the other guy who came through the mirror works with HYDRA, instead of having been taken prisoner by HYDRA. What's.. I guess I'm missing something? Daniel and I were worried for him. But what do you think?"

Melinda May has posed:
"I think we need more information," May says decisively. "But we have an ongoing investigation that makes his appearance just a little too convenient. So... it's speculation. If the universe is kind, your concern isn't misplaced and we'll end up being able to rescue him." She lets the corrollary to that statement go unsaid.

Ultimately, though, she pushes back from the table, giving the girl more of a smile than she affords most people. "Speaking of... I need to go check on Vogel," she tells her. "And I should let Peggy know I'm back."

A beat.

"Thank you," she says again, glancing down to where her dagger now rests in her boot. "Truly. You have no idea what a relief this is."

Abcde Prescelta has posed:
    Abcde nods her head, "I guess I'm used to the idea that most people are good. Perhaps I'm a bit naive. It's the monsters that I'm used to being the bad ones.. people can be monsters too though."

    She nods her head, "Yes, of course. Spy business. I'll be in the living room reading probably. I'll see you around. And you're more than welcome."