Jasmine
GM: Slinger
Players: Slinger (GM), Lilith, Chameleon
Synopsis: Both Lilith and Chameleon are awakened by a strange dream, involving a beautiful woman — who is clearly a spirit of some sort. They meet, bring in Slinger, and begin planing a rescue. Along the way, they get strange senses of deja vu at every turn.

Upon arrival, Slinger discovers that far from being a simple pawnshop, the target location is owned by a mage of some repute. And even as they prepare to enter, the lights turn on, and the sign changes to 'Open', at 5:30 in the morning. Apparently they are expected.

They enter, and everything becomes suddenly clear when the proprietor thanks them for coming — again — and there is the sudden realization that all of this has happened before — and that their memories have been toyed with. The proprietor tries it again, but this time they have a powerful mage as an ally: Slinger. His spell defense is sufficient to protect Chameleon almost entirely, though Lilith is still under the spell.

Chameleon attacks the shopkeeper, and makes some progress — but that is when the bound free spirit that he has emerges from her prison and attacks him, nearly killing him. Lilith breaks free from the enchantment through force of will — and something deep within her psyche breaks free at that moment. She kills the shopkeeper, fiercely attacking him — and this releases the free spirit from her servitude.

As the evil mage dies, his elementals are loosed from control — and start wrecking the shop. There is barely enough time to grab things that look valuable and escape. The foci are later fenced, getting only a small percentage of their value — but they are hot items, tied to the
explosion that is being investigated in that area — and thus worth only about 15 percent of their value.
Date: Aug 10, 2069


Part 1: Dreams


Dreams. They are fleeting things, disappearing like so much fine dust on the wind once the light of consciousness touches them. But this one lingers, even after you awaken. Powerful. Intense…
There is a woman there, her form ethereal, her beauty unearthly. She is an elf, that much is clear, but gorgeous, her clothing flowing wisps of silk that conceal her form while hinting lusciously at it. Her skin tone is just dark enough to be exotic, a multi-racial blend with the best taken from each of the human subraces, melded into a perfect whole.
Her beauty, though, is marred by the expression on her face, one of intense sadness. She does not speak, but instead floats before you, suspended upon the clouds of vapor, and she reaches up, brushing a hand over your cheek. Not touching, not quite, just the softest caress of ethereal air. And then she winces, her head arching back, lips parted in a soundless cry of pain from the whiplash that descends upon her back. Once, twice… and on the third strike, she pulls back away from you, her ethereal form dissolving and vanishing — toward a lamp.
The lamp rests there, vibrating a couple of times, and then it is picked up and placed on a shelf. There is the briefest flicker of images: Jetty's Pawn and Curiosities. And just the softest whisper of an ethereal, almost magical voice. "Help me."

Chameleon awakens rapidly, sliding out of the dream with alacrity, only to find himself in the closet he calls an apartment. It takes a few minutes to go from 'waking up' to actually being awake, and when he does he simply sits there for a few more minutes before coming to the realization that there is something to this dream.
After a few moments for thought, the shapeshifter decides that he can't let someone like that hurt. He's gotta do something about it… and he even knows where to start. Grabbing a middle class outfit, the adept spends a little effort to shift his appearance to something unusual for him, then finds a phone book and looks up Jetty's pawn and curiousities.

Lilith hasn't been sleeping well lately, despite being sent of to sleep in very happy circumstances. She shifts uneasily next to her lover, fist clenching, murmuring indistinctly…then bolts, sitting straight up, a shout dying softly on her lips. She's heaving for breath, still tense, and then slightly angry. Not another one…but…this one is different. She grunts, trying to compose herself, looking down at the sleeper beside her with a faint smile…then a frown. Shit. She presses a soft kiss to his forehead, then restlessly gets out of bed. She paces. She worries. She checks the clock…it's really late. Her friends are asleep…but…she heads to a pocsec, just to check something.

This dream was different then the others.

You are left with the faint hint of… jasmine, lingering in your nostrils, along with the faint taste of chocolate. The dream lingers, the memory clear. This is something beyond a typical, mundane dream. And it come with a moment of de-ja vu… this… this is not the first time you have had this dream. You are sure of it.

Chameleon grumbles, covering the fear that hits him when he realizes he's had this dream before but only now remembering? What's happening to him? Is this something that comes with the magic? Please no… not the mind, anything but that. These thoughts skim through his mind as Chameleon searches for an address, a phone number, something, that can lead him to some answers.
Lilith grabs a shirt, wrapping it around herself and slowly calming as she smells his scent on it. She smiles a bit, flitting through the pocsec, muttering softly, hoping her man…elf…doesn't wake up. She rubs her forehead. Fucking hell. She knew she was having weird dreams, but this…fuck…she needs to call Ally first thing tomorrow. She's not quite sure what she's looking for…but…think…training. Be thorough. Pawnshops. What the hell.

There's that one weird mage you met on that job. The one who smokes all the time. Maybe he'll know. On the other hand, he's… well… you've heard things about him. On the other hand, you can be pretty sure he won't try to hit on whatever it is in your memory. That might be a plus.

Chameleon pauses in his search, remembering the words of his sensei. He takes a few calming breaths, relaxes some. Holding the memory of the dream in his mind, he takes the time to think about how to handle this… ghosts? Spirits? Magic? Maybe it's time to call in an expert… He picks up the phone and dials a number.
Lilith blinks slowly. Of course. She mutters and pinches the bridge of her nose, her tail swinging in agitation. But thank goodness, he might still be up, and at least he's someone she knows she can trust, being in the group…she grabs her cellphone and makes a call. Yes. She should call someone right away, Johny made that much clear before, if anything happened that she should be concerned about…

A slightly groggy voice answers. "Yo?" it asks, sounding a little rough, followed by a soft cough as the young mage sits up in bed. There's another male voice in the background, groaning, mumbling something drowsily. It /is/ after all about four-thirty in the AM.

Chameleon says "Mr. Slinger? This is the Chameleon. Do you recall our meeting?"

"Huh? Yeah… I remember it, mostly. Whassup?" There's the distinct sound of somebody climbing out of bed, picking up a plastic electronic alarm clock, then setting it down with a grunt as he staggers toward the bathroom.

There's no background noise from Chameleon's end of the line, not even the sound of his own footsteps. Just calm, controlled breathing, almost as if in a partial trance. "I find myself in need of a magical specialist… at least… I believe that is what I need."

"I see. What sort of magical specialist? And… can it wait until morning?" he asks, as he lights up a cigarette, inhales thickly from the addictive smoke. Feels himself slowly starting to awaken. How in the hell do nonsmokers actually wake up?

Chameleon replies "I don't actually know Sir. I believe a spirit is begging for help and has chosen me as her helper."

"I… see," Slinger says, with a slow exhale of smoke. "All right. What happened? Some kind of vision? A message?" he asks, as he draws again, moving to the living room to avoid disturbing Orpheus. He oughtta plug in the transducer, but that's more wiring than he wants to do right now.

Chameleon explains what he saw in the dream, describing the woman as the most beautiful example of metahumanity that he's ever seen. "She seemed to take from all races, almost as if she were another approach to my own abilities Sir… perhaps that means something?"

"Perhaps it…" And then his phone beeps, indicating another call. "Drek. Apparently it's Grand Central, here. I'll be right back." Click-click. "Yo!" he says, to the second caller. Sounding… well, at least mostly awake.

Lilith gets to her feet, moving downstairs so she doesn't wake the fella up in bed. He's old, he needs his rest…"Slinger?" Her voice says softly, already fully awake, genteel as ever. But…strange, for the normally cool madame, there's a tremor of real fear there. Well hidden, but there. "I'm…oh gods, it's early. I'm sorry for waking you but I felt it couldn't wait. I've been having odd dreams, but tonight…tonight something strange happened. It was a real…real bad one."

Dreams. "You aren't the only one. Second call I've got tonight." He sounds amused. "Just tell it it was about this sexy woman who's kinda this mix of all races… something about being whipped, and a lamp. That way, I can save some time, handle both calls at once." He's joking, of course, a grin on his elfin features.

There's a clatter. It's her cell, hitting the floor, getting coated in dust in the process. Lil takes a breath, then gets the phone again. "Don't do that…I'm…I'm not frightened, but I'm no mage, Sling. This shouldn't be happening to me." Her voice is tense. "I'm worried. After what Johny said…well, I called someone in the group, just in case. But…how? How'd you know? Did this happen to someone else?"

Slinger was exhaling a cloud of smoke, and coughs. "You mean… you had the same damned dream? I… see." He considers that for a moment, tapping ash from his cancer stick. "You got room for us to meet at your place? I have another guy, guy who just called, who just had the exact same dream."

Lilith rubs the back of her neck, subconciously blushing. "Aye…aye, we can meet at my place. The party room will be sufficient for now." She looks back at the nice, warm, half full bed upstairs and sighs. Oh, damn. "It'll take me a moment to get ready and drive over."

"Gotcha. Call it 30 minutes?" Slinger asks. "Take me that long to get showered and head there."

Lilith takes a deep breath. "Of course. I'll see you shortly…and thank you, Slinger, I know it's shite waking you at this hour." She laughs a little.

"It's okay. As long as it wasn't to talk about the weather. Take care." He clicks back over to the other line. "You there? I got somethin' interesting. You know where the Apple and Snake is?" he asks, lighting up a fresh cancer stick as he slips into the bathroom, turns on the shower in preparation to get clean.

Chameleon replies "Yes Sir, Mrs. Dewinter's establishment. A very kind woman."

Lilith clicks the cellphone shut, then moves back upstairs. She writes a quick note for the fella, gets dressed, and then bends over the bed to kiss him softly on the forehead. "I gotta run, love…something's come up. Sleep well."

Popper grunts softly in his sleep and makes an unconscious attempt to grab Lilith and drag her back into the bed. Being dead asleep, he naturally misses by a mile.

"Yeah. Well, we'll be meeting someone there. Someone who may have some insight into what happened," the youth explains. Meet us there in thirty minutes. You'll be expected."

Lilith smiles gets incandescent. She brushes away his hand, strokes his hair, makes sure he's cozy, then murmurs goodbye. The note gives more details…she makes sure the coffee is set to go off when he gets up…and then she's off, pulling away from the building with a quick spray of gravel and the low rumble of her Shelby's engine.

Chameleon gives an unseen nod. "I will be there Sir, and thank you. My apologies for waking you."


Part 2: Apple and Snake


Slinger arrives at the place, pulling up in his dark-purple SUV. It's dark enough to not be horribly gay, yet light enough to be distinctive enough that people will remember the color. Which will, of course, change. He sets a Watcher spirit to guard the thing, then heads toward the entrance to the place — which at this time of the morning, ought to be deserted. Most of the employees, after all, work… nights.

Lilith pulls up soon after. The place is, in fact, deserted, as it should be, and she nods her approval at how things are left and managed by her den mother and girls. The glow in her cheeks and the still lingering smile on her face all but hide the deep, nervous tension in her jaw as she strides in, nodding to Slinger, moving to unlock the party room and call up some coffee. If she's not asleep here, no one else is either.

Chameleon actually shows up about ten minutes late, having taken the time for his morning Tai Chi rather than deal with the nagging sense that he'd failed his sensei and all of the clumsiness that the distraction of guilt so often brings with it. He pulls up in his little primer grey sports car and heads up to the Apple after locking up.

Lilith head immediately snaps up as she guides Slinger downstairs. In the dim light, before the room is turned on, she almost looks…well, shadows do weird things. She almost looks like she's about to sniff, then nods. "Someone's here. Our other guest?"

Slinger steps inside the place, calling out a tenuous greeting. "Hello?" the kid asks. He's never been all the comfortable here. After all, this tends to be the sort of place men go when they want women. Slinger does not want women. He's prettier than most of the women, though hates having that pointed out.
He moves into the place, then smiles with a hint of relief as he sees Lilith, and steps forward to offer her a hug. "How're you holding up?" the youth asks.

Lilith smiles briefly and hugs Slinger in turn. She does seem a little…warmer in personality before. Still herself, but there's been changes. "I'm very well, and yourself?" She motions for him to make himself comfy on the cushions surronding a long, low table. "The coffee will be down directly."

"I don't usually drink coffee, but put enough cream and sugar in it and I'll enjoy it." He takes a seat, reaching for his cigarettes; right now, nicotine is what's keeping him awake. "He'll be here shortly. He's in the same sort of line of work I am, broadly. Meaning we shouldn't have to guard our words too much around him."

Chameleon reaches the front door of the Apple a few minutes after Slinger, having sped a little to keep as close to the schedule as possible. Once he's there he checks and finds it unlocked, so he steps inside and looks around the darkened interior for a moment before deciding that they probably aren't upstairs, so that leaves the main club room. Having reached a conclustion as to where to look he steps into the club room, adn from there it's easy to find Lil and Slinger. They're the only two people in the lighted room with the door to the club room standing open. Hoping to avoid waking anyone up, he calls "Miss Lilith?" in a soft voice.

Lilith nods slowly. "That depends on what kind of work you mean, Sling." She murmurs softly. "I don't think relating my dream with him present will be a problem, since you're here…but…well, I'll be talking things over with the firebird later as well…" Thank goodness she lowered her voice. She nods to herself, not looking up as she calls back. "Mr…Louis, yes? Down here."

Chameleon nods and moves down to the party room, looking around as he tries to take in the every detail of the environment, though of far more interest is the idea that the lady he met so recently is the other person contacted. Ghosts are scary… Johnsons are sorta scary…. a ghost that is a johnson? That's just too surreal not to be scary.

"Good to see you," Slinger says with a warm smile to Chameleon as he enters. He just lit his cigarette, and is leaning back in the folds of the couch, with his feet up on the small table — shoes removed, of course. "It turns out that Ms. Dewinter here had a very similar dream to yours. You should talk about it," he says, gesturing invitingly. "I'll listen."

Lilith glances at Cham. She looks…well, damn good as always, but there's that early morning weariness in her eyes, a tense line in her jaw. "A beautiful elven women, Gaia is the word that springs to mine…trapped in a lamp, calling out to one…then the drawn back, and there's images of a pawn shop. She was sad. In pain." Her hands clench a bit and she looks back to Slinger. "Dammit, I don't like it! I'm a bloody mundane!"

Chameleon smiles, seeing Slinger is already comfortably established "Evening Mr. Slinger." he says, then turns to greet Lilith. "Good evening Miss Lilith." he pauses to listen to her explanation, nodding as she speaks. Then, "I am not in fact mundane Miss Lilith. I don't much enjoy it either, to be honest. I had much the same dream however. In yours, did she also beg for help?"

Lilith takes a slow breath, turning back to him. She nods. "Aye, she did. It was not pleasant."

Chameleon nods. "I belive the lamp is at a place called 'Jetty's pawn and curiousities', did you get the same impression?" he asks, studying Lil's reactions.

Lilith doesn't react much, but it's there, subtle. She's trying her best to remain cool, professional. "I did, sir." She sighs. "This is worrying on two parts. One, because we both have been contacted, and two, because I, myself, am…well, for lack of an appropriate term, normal. I confess my thoughts are rather muddled and chaotic and I can't seem to get over that paticular point. I've never had this sort of thing happen to me before."

Chameleon considers that for a moment and offers "Perhaps it has something to do with your profession?" in a curious yet hopeful tone.

Slinger's gaze snaps around at Chameleon's comment, eyes narrowing a little at the remark. Not nice — at least, unless he's misinterpreting. But he says nothing, does nothing, giving the man the benefit of the doubt.

Lilith blinks a bit. "I never thought of that." She frowns. "I know I'm not the only whore in Denver, nor am I, by a long stretch, the only upper class escort or dom. But I may be the only true courtesan." She says this without real arrogance, just quiet self assurance. "You think she's calling to me as a fellow Companion? Or because I am one, myself? My ears and arms always being open…" She muses, apparently not taking offence to anything said.

Chameleon notes Slinger's reaction and quickly clarifies. "Your profession puts you in a position to protect those who work here, yes? Perhaps this spirit seeks a protector?"

Lilith nods slowly again. "Perhaps, yes…but, even so, I am a woman of secrets, not…" She blinks again as well. "Well now."

It's an interesting thought, and Slinger's expression relaxes. He taps ash off into the ashtray, takes another slow draw. "So… were there any details? Or was it just that, just a woman? Without more than that, it's… well, hard to do more than call it interesting. Hard to act on it in the real world, without more information. I didn't see her, so there's no way I could do an astral quest."

Lilith murmurs quietly. "She reached out to me. Touched my cheek, and then she was whipped, three times…I know what that looks like." She says simply, but darkly. "And then she was drawn away, and whispered 'Help me'."

Chameleon adds "She was drawn into a lamp that shook two or three times and then was taken and placed on a shelf. Other than that, I'm afraid I have nothing more to add that I can recall."

"A slave," Slinger suggests. "Dreams… and even magical visions, those are symbolic, a lot of the time," the youth remarks slowly. He exhales a cloud into the air, and then leans forward. "Magic itself is all about symbolism. Because… the human mind cannot directly conceive of magic. Cannot directly perceive it. So it gets mapped onto our other senses… symbols, signs, portents… all that sort of thing."

Lilith nods. "I've been reading up. I understand that much, at least." She looks to the two men and gets out a cigar for herself. She arches a brow at Louis, offering one. "But still. Why *me*, or is it just random chance? Could the dreams I've been having be related?" She looks worried, at that, fingers flipping the cigar back and forth.

Chameleon considers that input and then just falls silent as Lilith speaks up, he's already got his theory, he's already presented it, now it's time for the experts to talk.

"Might be. It's hard to tell. But I'm not sure what else we could do, without something. A name. A place. A description." Slinger says this as he crushes out his cancer stick, reaches for another one of the things. He's still a little groggy.

Chameleon gives a polite cough and offers, "Perhaps we should investigate this business? Or would that be more symbolism?"

Lilith nods to both men, lighting and dragging on her cigar with a faint sigh of release. The coffee soon arrives, with sugar and cream ready to be heartily blended in. "Aye. Look up this pawn shop, maybe search the 'net for anything similar to that bloody lamp."

Slinger blinks. "What business?" This is the first mention he's heard of it. "Pawn shop?"

Lilith winces a bit. "There was…an image…briefly. It said something about a pawnshop. I'm sorry, I thought we mentioned it earlier."

Slinger shakes his head. "Can you remember the name? Any of it? Might be a false lead, but might be real, too. Might be the way to get somewhere…"

Chameleon interjects, "The name was Jetty's Pawn and Curiosities. I am sure of it."

Slinger nods, and reaches down to his pocket secretary, and makes a quick note. He looks up, double-checks the spelling. "That was J-E-T-T-Y, right?" he confirms. Then does some searching, a faint frown on his features. He has a datajack, but he doesn't use it right now. Sometimes, the familiar old interface is the best. "Here it is," the youth says, and turns the screen of his pocket secretary around, showing a street view of the building.
There is a faint chill that goes through each of you, that hint of deja-vu returning just for an instant. And yet, you are both utterly certain you have never seen the place before in your life.

Lilith just…swears, in her old, familiar fashion. It makes her feel better, although the air may or may not turn blue with the ripe Cockney word she uses.

Chameleon gives a confident nod. "That is the place from my dream, I am certain of it. Though…. I don't think I've ever been there. I know I've never contracted with them. Not my sort of security."

Lilith shakes her head as well, biting back another curse. She instead blows the smoke out her nostrils, huffing a little. "Aye, and I've never had need for them, unless a coin of mine came from there, me unawares."

Slinger nods slowly, thoughtfully. "Right. So it sounds like we go in there and talk to the proprietor," he suggests. "Or… we play like real Shadowrunners and break in and steal it," he adds, with a drag of smoke, exhaled through his nostrils with a faint laugh. "I mean, how hard could it be?"

Chameleon offers, "Perhaps I could make the first contact? As you are both aware, my name and my appearance are somewhat more… variable, than most."

Lilith chuckles faintly, and nods. "I've got a mask, but yes, you are quite versatile in that aspect." She smokes much more lazily then Slinger, the slow draw and then long puff almost suiting her, in a way. "I can wait outside, in disguise if you wish. Slinger, maybe you can scan the place when we drive up or some such?"

Slinger nods thoughtfully. "I should go in with you. Backup. Assuming you decide you want to talk to the guy, that is," Slinger adds, with a faint grin. "I mean, it seems pretty obvious to me. Steal the lamp, free the spirit within… badda bing, badda boom. Of course, there's the chance the guy doesn't know what he has. But the whip… that bothers me.

Lilith growls lowly, a vaguely disturbing sound. "Aye. I don't like seeing women enslaved, not like that."

Chameleon notes "Legends frequently have spirits in bondage of some sort, I believe. Perhaps she is under the control of another and the proprietor is as yet unaware?"

Slinger nods, grinning. "Whips and chains are fun, as long as it's voluntary," he agrees. He glances to Chameleon. "You guys are the ones with the vision. Only you can really decide what it means," he says, spreading his hands.

Lilith shrugs, puffing again, her tail brushing over the cushions behind her in slow curves. Not too agitated, yet. "I don't think it was a trap or nefarious in tone. I truely think she needs help, or we need to help somehow there."

Chameleon chuckles, his educated speech patterns slipping into the patois of the street as he mutters "Yeah, leave the 'danes to figure out it out. I ain't equipped fer this drek, ain't even worked with a spook before."
He takes a moment, breathing a couple deep breaths, before responding. "My policy is to scout an area before moving against it, perhaps that would give us a bit of insight into the nature of the proprietor, allowing us to reach a decision for future action from that?"

"We should all go in. You two, with me stealthed. I'll scope the place out in the astral first. We'll take care of that first… and then head inside as a group. I can drive — the SUV should get us all there. 'Cept it's a smoking vehicle — hope you don't mind," he says apologetically to Chameleon.

Chameleon gives a faint frown at the thought of being engulfed in smoke for an extended period then shrugs. "Perhaps I could keep a window open?" he asks.

Slinger chuckles. "Of course," he replies. He glances toward Lilith. "Not so sure I can project from in here. I think you have a ward on the place, yes?" he asks sheepishly. "Which means we should drive that way, then park nearby, and I can investigate it.

Chameleon nods. "I can tolerate the smoke, so long as I have a window. Thank you." he says, then falls silent, apparently deep in thought.

Lilith chuckles faintly and nods. "It is warded, yes." She looks thoughtful herself, but still tense. "I'm out of my league with all this…gods, Popper's going to be grumpy when he reads my note." She sighs, stubbing out her cigar. "All I can do is sneak a bit and fight. I've got some background studies in magic but I'm not sure what else I can offer."

Slinger nods, smiling. "Well, it's early enough in the morning that perhaps we can just sneak in," he says hopefully. "I'm dressed and ready, and the place isn't that far away. Y'all have SINs that can pass muster, right, for getting into that part of town?" he asks, referring to the southern part of the CAS sector.

Chameleon nods, "I believe my french SIN would suffice? It would not be the first time I've claimed to be a foreign diplomat to achieve a goal."

Slinger nods. "Right," he says. "Can we get the coffee to go? I think we're gonna need it." He tosses his keys from his pocket and catches them in midair, then starts toward the exit, to get the SUV warmed up and head in that direction.


Part 3: Arrival


Lilith nods. "Should do." She gets to her feet as well, calling out to a sleepyeyed girl to get everything ready to go, then handing them out to the lads. "We taking your car, Sling?"

"It's got plenty of room," the youth agrees. "Let's motor!"

Chameleon politely refuses the coffee, shaking his head as he explains "I do not take mind altering chemicals. I have a bottle of water in my car, thank you." and makes his way out behind Slinger.

Slinger chuckles. "I don't think I could deal with things without my mind bein' altered a little," he remarks. He exits the club, glances around carefully, and then walks toward the SUV to climb up and inside. Little elf. Big car. Vroom.

Lilith slips into the vehicle as well, thankful she was wearing her more dressed down tank top and jeans when she went over to visit the previous night. She still has Pop's shirt tied over and around her top, though.

Chameleon pauses to grab a bottle of water from his car, locking it behind him before he slides into the back seat and immediately rolls the window down, holding his face as close to hanging outside as humanly possible in an effort to escape the smoke and chemicals in the air.

Lilith mutters. "Thank goodness I always take a pistol with me…" She looks over at the others. "You don't think there'll be any real violence?"

Chameleon notes, "I will endeavor to avoid violence where possible."

"I'm hoping not," Slinger says quietly. And then he drives toward the shop in question — and parks about three blocks away. At this hour, the city is just beginning to wake up, though the vast majority of places are still closed.

Chameleon tapes his micro-transceiver in place and hides any visible telltales under his clothing, then leans back in his seat to focus his mind inward.

«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Magic:
2 3 4 5 5 10
«OOC» Chameleon says, "TN 10 to identify him, takes 4 minutes."

Lilith just rolls her hair into a ponytail, grabs a cowboy hat that she snagged back home, and slaps on some sunglasses. It'll do to misdirect for a disguise for now.

Meanwhile, Slinger begins powering up. And leans back, opening up a compartment which is beautifully hidden under the rear seats. And from within, he pulls out a rather nice set of military armor, grinning broadly at the other two. "I'm your ace in the hole," the youth explains, while he gets dressed, stripping down to his skivvies and shooting Lilith a teasing wink. That done, he puts his armor on, then begins casting spells, while keeping a casual eye on the place.

Lilith grunts, completely indifferent to the strip down. "Of course, me with nothing more then my vest. And the pistol…well, the monowhip as well. And the razors." She smiles a bit, tucking her tail up and around her waist, hiding it like a belt.
Chameleon finishes his shift in time to reply to Slinger by chuckling and saying "Speaking of aces in the hole…" as he flicks his wrist forward, dropping a two shot heavy pistol into his hand and checking the load, then pushing it back into place.

Slinger nods, grinning broadly. "Bingo. All right. Lemme scope the place out," he remarks quietly. And he lies down in the back seat… and goes limp.

Lilith leans over Sling, watching carefully. She slips into pro mode, face cool and calm, eyes flicking to the still body, then to their surrondings, then back.

«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Intelligence:
1 2 2 4 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Intelligence for "KP 5/6":
1 4 4 4 4
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 1 2 4
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence:
1 3 4 5 5

From what you can both see from here, the place occupies a corner location, in the ground floor of a larger building. The rest of the building appears to be a warehouse of sorts, not very well-maintained. This isn't a great section of town — not horrible, like the Warrens, but this is hardly the sort of place that has a donut shop every other block to attract Lone Star officers. There is a single light on in the shop, dim from here — a night-light, or perhaps simply a security lamp for the cameras.

Lilith eyes narrow in on that light. She nudges Cham and points.

Chameleon nods and focuses in on hte light, asking "What do you see?"

Lilith shakes her head. "Not a lot. It's just an old shop in an old building…but that light. It either means someone's up, or that lamp…" she trails off, not looking pleased.

Slinger wakes up, shaking his head, and breathes deeply. "Crap," he whispers. "Didn't spot me, I don't think. But that place is warded to the hilt! He's got a good ward… was barely able to make it through. But inside, he's got spirits. This guy's a mage," he mutters. "But I saw it. I saw the lamp — and it's got something bottled up inside. It's on a shelf in the back room."

Chameleon nods. "Mage, keeps spirits, and the lamp is there… is there any particular reason to be polite about this? Or shall we simply help him shuffle off this mortal coil?"

Lilith curses softly. "Of course. How good do you think this bastiche is?" She nods to Cham, idly flexing her hands.

Slinger lets out a breath, after lighting a smoke. "I dunno," he admits. "Pretty decent, actually. Good enough that I can't go in without getting noticed. But I can stay outside, provide you guys spell defense, at the very least."

Lilith nods. "Do we try and feel this guy out, first? See what's up? Or…" she shrugs again. "Do we just kill him? Did he come of as paticularily bad or no?"

Chameleon raises one thin eyebrow and asks "Am I likely to suffer the same difficulties if I enter? As I understand it, my abilities are also magically based, regardless of what I was told initially."

"Just don't have anything active," Slinger tells Chameleon. "Other than that… I don't know anything about the guy. Just keep your comms on… and we'll work on this."

Chameleon nods. "It occurs to me that we may have to kill him. I would prefer not, but I am given to understand that magical abilities permit one to identify the soul, rather than just the face, is that correct?"

Lilith nods, checking her comm and her gear. "All right. We'll go in, poke around…" She looks blankly to Cham. "If we have to, don't worry. Unless the magic is an issue, I'll take care of it myself."

"It's more complicated than that. And I could wipe his memory, yeah, if we have to. But if he's a really bad guy, then we might be justified. But I don't want to be a party to murder if it's not warranted. That make sense?"

Chameleon nods. "I can certainly understand that. However, how do we find out? I, for one, cannot speak to spirits that I am aware. Can you perhaps ask one of the storeowners thralls?"

"All right. One of you hold the door open, and I'll slip outside," the young mage says, and powers himself up. Concentrating — as he fades from view, as he begins to float above the seat of the SUV. And then, when you glance back, you might notice something.

The lights in the shop are now on. Fully. And the 'Open' sign flicks on. At five thirty in the morning.

Quickly, Slinger shares comm frequencies, along with spare comms to those who need them.

Commlink-Chameleon> Chameleon says, "Testing"

Lilith rotates her neck. "If the shop is open, I could go in there and chat him up a bit. Flirt a little." She says dryly. "It's what I…oh, damn, there go." She chuckles and holds the door open for Slinger, grabs a comm, and steps out

Commlink-Slinger> Slinger says, "Can't talk to his spirits. They'll instantly turn me in. Controlled spirits are loyal.
Commlink-Alice> Lilith says, "Damn"
Commlink-Alice> Lilith says, "As I said, want me to play nice with the man for a bit?"

Chameleon slips out of the vehicle and pauses… after a moment he shrugs and starts towards the store as if in desperate need of a curio cabinet from the 18th century, right fragging now.

Commlink-Chameleon> Chameleon says, "If you can distract him from attempting to identify my soul, I would appreciate it."
Commlink-Alice> Lilith says, "No problem"

Lilith follows Cham easily, hands in her pockets, just a friendly country girl out following her brother or something, maybe.

The front door to the store is unlocked, clearly, as you approach. There are bars on the windows, neon inside. And you can't see the front counter from here, which might work for or against you.

Chameleon opens the door of the shop without breaking stride admitting, at least to himself, that it's easier when they leave the doors unlocked. He pauses to hold the door for Lilith, subvocalizing something over his comms as he waits.

Commlink-Chameleon> Chameleon says, "Let Slinger go by first Miss Lilith. Walk slow."

Lilith tilts her hat forward over her face, smiling in a friendly fashion, takes a soft breath, and waits for Cham to be a gent and open the door. She grins a bit, nodding her head in encouragement…then follows, slowly, looking carefully around. Like a tourist might.

Commlink-Alice> Lilith clicks back once.

The young elf is actually moving upward, hovering in the air, and using the structure of the warehouse itself to provide him some astral cover. « I'm watching, and can shield you. Keep me apprised. Set your comms to higher gain, so I can hear. »

«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Willpower vs TN 5:
3 3 4 5 8 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Willpower:
2 3 4 9


Part 4: Bric-a-Brac


There is a cheerful sounding bell hanging over the door, which given the somewhat dimly lit interior of the place just manages to sound creepy, somehow. The place is dusty, with knick-knacks and bric-a-brac of all sorts scattered around the shelves. A breath of the air inside, laden with incense and dust and age and a hint of mildew — and you just barely fight off a sudden, intense sense of dread that washes over you. There is movement from the rear of the store, where the counter is. And the sound of someone humming… a voice that is slightly cracked with age.

Lilith hands clench, but her face remains smiling, oh yes, yes it does. She keeps the sunglasses on, tilts the cowboy hat back a bit. She glances pleasantly towards Cham. This does not bode well for the shopkeep.

Chameleon pauses to examine a china figurine of a dog on one shelf, adjusting his tie and nudging the comms to a higher gain as he does. Once satisfied with both tie and comm settings he proceeds to walk through the shop towards the counter, pausing occasionally to examine this or that piece of junque, a higher class of junk, as defined by the unique spelling.

Commlink-Slinger> Slinger says, "Reading five by five."
Lilith takes time to look over the knick knacks as well.

Slinger is waiting at the edge of the periphery, floating, maintaining spells through his foci… and exploring. Staying well out of range of any spirits, of course. He doesn't dare light a cigarette; he finished his last one in the car.
As you round a corner, there is a man there, slightly bent over with age. "Be with you youngsters in a moment," he says, without even looking up. He is familiar, eerily so… and yet, you have never seen him before in your lives.
You are certain of that. Completely certain of it.

Lilith nods and keeps smiling. "Sure, sorry to interrupt." Her accent is now a clear and light Midwest, average everyday American.

Chameleon nods to the older gentleman and waits, stretching his senses as far as they will go while appearing to study yet another piece of old drek on the shelves. Old drek is interesting. Old drek is fascinating. Really.

«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Acting:
1 2 3 3 4
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Acting for "kp 2/17":
1 1 2 3 9

The old man finishes fiddling with something, then looks up at the two of you. He's wearing a pair of glasses that seem to constantly be in the process of sliding down his nose, and his expression splits in a warm smile. "So kind of you to come," he says, with just the hint of teeth showing from that otherwise tight-lipped smile. "As it turns out, I have another job for you. Another project, if you will." He's watching both of you, with a certain tension to his stance, his posture, despite the slightly bent, stooped stature.

«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Acting:
3 5

Lilith holds her hands behind her back. "Whatever do you mean, sir?" She says with practiced calm. Very practiced. She's been having bad dreams. She had a creepy magical one today. She got booted out of a warm bed. And she does *not* like being made afraid. She gets angry instead.

Chameleon almost starts at the unexpected greeting but keeps it under control as he replies with a simple monosyllable. "Oh?"

The old man chuckles. "Just a little joke of mine. Every time, you don't remember. Just like you won't remember this time, either. And I get my little projects done for free." He looks at the pair of them, and smiles warmly — and the item in his fingers suddenly crumbles to dust.

Chameleon gives the old man a very geniuine looking smile in reply, saying "Well, if we won't remember anyway, then perhaps you'd like to explain? For my personal curiousity, if nothing else."

Lilith keeps her mouth shut, wisely deciding it's better she not speak. She's angry, growing furious, and thinks it better to try and control herself. For now. Under her eyeglasses, though…in this odd, dim light…there might be a shift, however faint, as her fury grows.
Lilith just keeps smiling.

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 12 (sorcery and whatever) vs TN 4 for "Targeting Chameleon with Control Thoughts F9.":
1 1 2 3 4 4 5 5 7 7 9 10 = 8 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 13 (sorcery and whatever) vs TN 5 for "Targeting Lilith with Control Thoughts F9":
1 1 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 13 19 = 5 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 8 vs TN 5 for "KP 1":
2 3 3 3 5 5 10 11 = 4 Successes

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 8 (willpower) + 6 (centering) vs TN 6 for "F9, +1S, 6S drain…":
1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 14 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 13 vs TN 6 for "KP 2":
1 1 1 1 2 3 4 4 4 5 5 11 13 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 11 vs TN 6 for "KP 4":
1 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 11 vs TN 6 for "KP 7":
1 1 2 2 2 3 4 5 7 7 9 = 3 Successes

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 10 vs TN 9 for "Holy crap… spell defense on Cham, need 8 succs.":
1 1 3 3 3 5 5 5 5 5 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 10 vs TN 9 for "Holy crap… spell defense on Cham, need 8 succs. KP 4/27.":
2 2 3 4 4 4 5 5 9 17 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 8 vs TN 9 for "Holy crap… spell defense on Cham, need 8 succs. KP 6/27.":
1 1 2 3 4 5 5 9 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 7 vs TN 9 for "Holy crap… spell defense on Cham, need 8 succs. KP 9/27.":
1 1 1 4 5 8 14 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 6 vs TN 9 for "Holy crap… spell defense on Cham, need 8 succs. KP 13/27.":
4 5 5 8 10 11 = 2 Successes
«OOC» Slinger says, "Knocked yours down to 2 successes, Chameleon."

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 11 vs TN 9 for "Spell defense on Lilith…":
1 1 1 2 2 3 4 4 5 5 7 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 11 vs TN 9 for "Spell defense on Lilith… KP 14/27.":
1 1 1 1 3 4 4 5 8 10 16 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 9 vs TN 9 for "Spell defense on Lilith… KP 16/27.":
1 3 3 4 4 5 5 7 17 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 8 vs TN 9 for "Spell defense on Lilith… KP 19/27.":
1 2 3 4 5 5 5 10 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 7 vs TN 9 for "Spell defense on Lilith… KP 23/27.":
1 1 2 2 3 4 5 = 0 Successes
«OOC» Slinger says, "And that's it. Lilith has 4 successes coming at her."

«OOC» Slinger says, "Lilith needs to get 3 successes. Chameleon needs only 1."
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Willpower vs TN 9:
3 3 4 11 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Willpower vs TN 9 for "Son of a BITCH":
1 1 1 3 16 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Willpower vs TN 9 - 1 for "Son of a BITCH, kp 3/17":
3 4 5 11 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Willpower - 2 vs TN 9 for "Son of a BITCH, kp 5/17":
3 4 4 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Willpower - 2 vs TN 9 for "Son of a BITCH, kp 8/17":
2 4 5 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Willpower - 2 vs TN 9 for "Son of a BITCH, kp 12/17":
1 2 2 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Willpower - 2 vs TN 9 for "Son of a BITCH, kp 16/17":
2 3 4 = 0 Successes
«Plot-Page» (To: Lilith) Slinger says, "The order you are given is, "You will obey all of my commands, because you are loyal to me. I've done you many favors in the past. You owe me. And you'll forget /all/ about it afterward…""

Lilith face seems to briefly twitch into a snarl…but smooths over. Her whole demeanour changes, almost unnaturally, from the slow burning, angry tension to something weirdly calm. It's not like her. Under the glasses, it'd look like her eyes glazed over. "I think…I'm ok with this. If we've helped before, what's the big deal now?" Her accent is gone now, back to Brit. "What do you need, sir."

Chameleon feels his thoughts start to slip and shudders. Dreams are one thing. Having your mind raped? That's an entirely different matter. It. Will. Not. Happen. He growls softly, rage helping him shake off the effects and make his mind his own once again. "That wasn't nice." he says, then gives Lilith a confused look, this is not her at all, and it doesn't take much to know that. Dominatrix just sitting up and begging? Uh-uh. No way. Cham steps back a few paces, keeping both people in his vision now and flexes his wrist in that special way that calls up his friend, but pauses before that last inch, leaving that ace up his sleeve both figuratively and literally. Instead he looks at the man with a blank expression as though the effects were simply slightly delayed and asks "What's the job sir?"

Commlink-Slinger> Slinger says, "Holy /frag/… what the frag was that? Powerful, whatever it was…"

«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Acting:
2 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Acting for "kp 4/6":
1 1
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Acting for "kp 2/6":
3 4
«OOC» Slinger lets you keep that 5.

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 6 (intel) vs TN 5 for "Does he notice?":
1 1 1 3 5 7 = 2 Successes

The man smiles at Lilith's apparent cooperation, and then Chameleon's. But something wasn't right… something was wrong. The smile changes to a frown, as he stares at Chameleon, his jaw dropping slightly. And he starts frantically rummaging under the counter…

«OOC» Chameleon says, "Oh no, I do not think so. Can I vault the counter and hit him in the face?"
«OOC» Slinger says, "You can certainly try. Athletics TN 5 to vault the counter… it's all cluttery. And then you can melee him."
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Athletics vs TN 5:
1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 5 5 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Tai Chi Ch'uan + Combat Pool: 5 vs TN 4:
1 1 1 1 1 2 3 3 5 5 10 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Tai Chi Ch'uan - 3 vs TN 4:
1 1 1 2 3 3 4 11 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 3 (brawling) + Combat Pool: 3 vs TN 4 for "Guy trying not to get pummeled.":
1 3 3 3 5 15 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 4 vs TN 4 for "Trying not to get pummeled s'more… KP 8":
2 4 7 13 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 3 (body) + Combat Pool: 3 vs TN 3 for "Soaking 3M…":
3 3 8 9 9 15 = 6 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 3 (body) vs TN 6 for "Knockdown test…":
2 3 4 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 3 (body) vs TN 6 for "Knockdown test… KP 9":
4 5 22 = 1 Success

«Plot-Page» (To: Lilith) Slinger says, "Hey! This is a nice man you do work for. He's done al ot for you, and this guy is /attacking/ him…"
«Plot-Page» (To: Lilith) Slinger says, "Of course, you know Chameleon — so you probably don't want to seriously hurt him. Just break up the scuffle. I'm /sure/ this is just a misunderstanding…"

Chameleon goes from still to sprinting in the blink of an eye. He charges the counter and plants one hand on the edge to push off with, letting the momentum carry his legs up and over. As his feet hit the ground on the other side he drops low, one hand on the ground to act as a pivot and lets the the momentum serve hum further, swinging one foot around to connect on the old mage's ankle. Unfortunately it's not quite as effective as the changeling had hoped. The old man remains standing, but staggers back a pace from whatever he was searching for.

«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 2 2 9
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence:
1 2 3 4 4

«Plot-Page» (To: Chameleon) Slinger says, "Out of the corner of your eye, you see something. At first it looks like one of those ultrasound humidifiers… but no, it is a billowing column of something, pouring out of an item on one of the shelves. And it seems to be… coalescing…"

Lilith blinks at the sudden movemnent. What's this? She knows Cham, she likes him. Good kid, charming…but…but…this old guy…she shakes her head, wagging it back and forth. This isn't right…no…no. She has to stop. Can't let this nice old fella, the guy who's helped her, given her honest work, get beat up. He's just an old man. She takes a step forward, then two, hands rising. "Cham, come on…don't make me do this."

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 1 (to no one) for "+4 mage init":
1
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Initiative with a result of 11.
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Initiative with a result of 11.

«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence:
2 4 5 5 11
«Plot-Page» (To: Lilith) Slinger says, "Out of the corner of your eye, you see something. At first it looks like one of those ultrasound humidifiers… but no, it is a billowing column of something, pouring out of an item on one of the shelves. And it seems to be… coalescing…"

Lilith is stepping forward. Don't want to hurt anyone, just…stop all this. It says something about her enchantment that Lil's taking such a pacifist route…she moves to maybe step around the corner, grab Cham's shoulder, but then…notices something. She turns. It's like a cloud of smoke, forming a shape, flowing from a humidifer…distracted, she frowns, tilting her head, curious.

Chameleon starts to bring his hand up, preparing to lock, load, and fire, but something tells him to pause a moment and make sure this is really the right decision. We're here to rescue a spirit, one that took a form of mist… hurting her would be sorta contraindicated.

As you watch, the spirit is taking shape, materializing… and the form is familiar, eerily so. A beautiful woman, forming from the column of mist from that lamp. Taking shape before you. And she smiles to you…

The old man stares up at Chameleon, eyes wide. "What the frag was…" But that's all he says, before he lifts his hand and sends an arc of energy winging toward Chameleon…

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls Sorcery + Sorcery Pool: 3 + 3 (power focus) vs TN 4 for "Manabolt, TN is willpower (4). No visibility penalties, no cover modifiers…":
2 3 4 4 5 7 = 4 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 6 (sorcery) vs TN 4 for "Forgot to include these. Targeted at M drain.":
1 1 1 3 3 8 = 1 Success

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 6 (willpower) + Sorcery Pool: 3 vs TN 3 for "F6, (DL), 3M drain.":
1 1 1 2 3 3 5 8 13 = 5 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls Sorcery Pool: 6 + 7 (power focus) vs TN 6 for "Slinger's spell defense…":
1 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 5 8 22 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 11 vs TN 6 for "KP 24/27":
1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 5 10 16 = 2 Successes

«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Willpower:
2 2 3 4
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Willpower for "KP 0/6":
2 3 3 4

While Chameleon is waiting that split second to see what the spirit will bring, the old man is apparently quite on the ball. He spends that split second focusing his magics and slamming the changeling's mind and body with a spell. Cham staggers from the blow and turns with a glare, the spirit forgotten in his need to end this problem now.

«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Willpower vs TN 9:
1 2 3 5 7 = 0 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Athletics vs TN 5:
3 4 5 8 = 2 Successes

Lilith blinks suddenly as Cham gets hit. She turns away from the pretty cloud lady and begins to bolt for the counter, trying to get between the two men. "Stop! Stop!" She leaps, lands, moves between them. "Stop! Why'd you hurt Cham?! What's all this?"

«Plot» Slinger says, "Chameleon and the mage now have +6 partial cover from each other, due to Lilith being in the way."

«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Body vs TN 4:
1 4 5 5 5 = 4 Successes

Chameleon tries to push Lilith into the old man, hoping to actually distract the mage enough to get a clean shot in. Unfortunately, in his wounded state he's barely able to connect much less actually shift her.

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 1 for "+4 mage init.":
3
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 1 for "+14 spirit init…":
4
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Initiative with a result of 7.
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Initiative with a result of 6.

«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Willpower vs TN 9:
1 1 5 9 11 = 2 Successes

The woman fully materializes, and that smile remains… but it turns suddenly creepy as she seems to simply /blink/ across the room in a heartbeat, instantly right next to Chameleon. And she attacks him, her nails suddenly razor-sharp, lashing out at him in an eerie silence…

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 7 + Combat Pool: 7 vs TN 4 for "Melee on Chameleon, no FIMM.":
1 1 2 3 4 4 5 5 5 10 10 11 11 13 = 10 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Tai Chi Ch'uan + Combat Pool: 7 vs TN 6:
1 1 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 7 8 8 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Body vs TN 8:
1 2 2 4 5 = 0 Successes

Chameleon just doesn't have time to react. His forte lies in avoiding a fight, certainly not in taking on beautiful spirits with razor clawed fingers, and he's already injured no less. His last thought before the combination of magical beatdown, blood loss, and physical beating via spirit is "This was a bad idea…"


Part 5: Awakening


When it happens…the whole world seems to snap suddenly into focus. Every breath sharp and fresh. Every heartbeat clear as day. Lilith looks down, at, the mage before her. For a moment, just blankly. Confusion. Then understanding. Then…rage.

Something deep, deep, inside her begins to spiral loose. How dare he. How DARE he. HOW DARE HE. Her eyes focus with terrible, terrible intensity on the mage. They seem to glow with pure, feral anger. A low growl starts somewhere deep in her chest, something beyond ancient, primal, primeval, deep and snarling at men from the caves in the dark shadows. It climbs, the rage moving higher, her aura now shaking with it, the sound filling the room with the awful, chilling reality of ending…

The mage can see her eyes, for the briefest of second, flare yellow. Narrow slits. Her body almost hunches over with the force of her rage as she immediately, unstoppably, reaches for him. Time means nothing. And her aura, that deep part of her, that hidden subconcious, that unknown piece of her, that conflict, for the instant of a breath, SNAPS. Supernovas. Burns and burns and burns outward, a rage of unbelievable proportions, turning her, her aura, into a white hot, blinding blaze. Claws come out, the growl pitches to a scream.

"HOW DARE YOU?!"

«Plot» Slinger says, "Lil? Your KP just refreshed."

«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls 5 + Combat Pool: 5 + Karma Pool: 3 vs TN 4 for "Cyber Implant Combat. Draconian levels of rage, going to gut him then go for the throat. KP 6/17":
1 2 2 2 2 3 4 4 5 5 7 10 13 = 7 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls 6 vs TN 4 for "KP 7/17.":
1 1 1 2 8 10 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls 4 vs TN 4 for "KP 9/17.":
1 1 1 4 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 3 (brawling) + Combat Pool: 3 vs TN 4 for "Guy trying not to die…":
1 1 2 3 4 11 = 2 Successes
«OOC» Slinger says, "That's 9M->9S->9D->10D->11D by my count."
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 3 (body) vs TN 5 for "Resisting 11D damage, F6 armor spell.":
1 4 5 = 1 Success

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 12 vs TN 7 (to no one) for 'Mage keeping control of Jasmine':
1 1 1 2 2 3 4 4 4 4 8 8 = 2 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 7 vs TN 6 (to no one) for 'Jasmine breaking free.':
1 2 2 2 2 4 11 = 1 Success
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 6 vs TN 6 (to no one) for "Jasmine breaking free. KP 2":
1 3 4 7 11 15 = 3 Successes

The personality that emerges when Lilith lunges seems to go beyond her, be so far beyond what anyone could describe as human…it's not, no, not by any stretch. The room's walls feel like they could bow out from it, filled with the sheer force of whatever was buried inside her….and then it all comes rushing back, faster then a blink, and she's turning all of that, turning it on the mage.

She lunges, leaping slightly, clawing savagely at the man with long, shining talons. Razors from her hands. Another terrible growl, and she tears at his throat with her teeth. Retractable fangs. Blood…flies everywhere. Splatters on the walls. The mage collapses underneath her, from fear, from his wounds, but she can still *hear* it. Hear the heartbeat. She *wants* it.

Chameleon bleeds quietly on the ground from several slashes…

The spirit solidifies — freezes, pulls back away from Chameleon with a look of horror as he falls to the ground. As the mage falls as well, though, her appearance transforms. She gasps — for the first time, making a sound, her voice beautiful, yet also soft and full of sensuality. She crouches down beside Chameleon, letting out a soft murmur of pain, regret, sympathy, and apology — then touches him, her hands seeming to glow with energy, oblivious to the carnage behind her.

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 6 (spirit sorcery) + Sorcery Pool: 4 + 3 (spirit energy) vs TN 4 for "Healing Chameleon…":
2 2 2 2 3 4 4 4 5 5 7 9 11 = 8 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 6 (spirit willpower) + Sorcery Pool: 2 vs TN 3 for "F6, 3D drain.":
1 1 2 2 2 4 4 5 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 6 (spirit willpower) + Sorcery Pool: 2 - 3 (succs) vs TN 3 for "F6, 3D drain. KP 5/3":
1 2 4 4 9 = 3 Successes

Energy flows from the spirit's hands into Chameleon, mending his broken tissues, removing most traces of the damage, and restoring him to health. He hurts, yes, but not nearly like he did. And when he awakens, it will be to a beautiful woman who holds him in her arms, cradling him and sending her energies into him to heal him, far faster than any merely /magical/ healing…

Lilith doesn't scream this time. No. Nor make any real noise. Now it's the chill silence of a predator, almost business like, her claws pinning the mage's body to the ground while she silently snarls and leans over him. She's not herself…or more herself then she's ever been in her life. She can't stop. And she doesn't want to.

Finally, the killing strike, her claws ripping, cutting, her head darting down to the jugular…blood. So much blood.
Chameleon's eyes flutter open to reveal, quite literally, the woman of his dreams. He hurts, oh does he hurt, but he's alive… that's more than he really expected when this woman lunged to the attack… wait… this woman? There's a moment of panic as he realizes he's being held by the same woman that just tried, and nearly succeeded in killing him.

Blood, indeed. A huge amount of blood. And with a final gurgle, the old man arches his head back in a spasm — and then his entire body goes limp, eyes opening to sightlessly stare up at the ceiling as his very blood leaks from his body…


Part 6: Jasmine


"Sssh," murmurs that sensual voice — a voice that fits the face. "You are still hurt. I am so sorry." Her voice carries an exotic accent, perhaps reminscent of a harem somewhere in the middle east, her clothing made of fine silk that conceals her form. But her flesh is warm and so delicate, so soft. Her body perfectly sculpted, lithe, yet strong at the same time. "He is dead, the one who bound me. And now I am free, thanks to you."

Chameleon croaks out "Free? You're safe… I'm glad." and pauses for a breath, then looks around, lifting his head just the barest distance from the woman's lap, just enough to look and see that Lilith is safe, before letting his head fall back again, satisfied that the situation is resolved. "Thank you…" he says, still gazing into those exotic eyes.

Lilith breathes heavily, rising. Her face covered in blood, especially from her jaw as she spits something out. She still seems to…lurk, larger then herself in a way. She turns slightly, snarling at the man below her, taking another savage swipe, and only when the heartbeat stops…when he knows he's dead…does she slow. Stop. Dripping with her kill.

She moves, then, to look at Cham. It wasn't about him. Not really. She was the one who was offended…the one used…her eyes glare yellow for one final flash, then gone, then she speaks. But it seems to come hard, almost painfully, like she's suddenly not used to it. Thick and growling and full of teeth.

"Who…are…you…?"

The spirit-woman smiles to Lilith, gazing at her, and she inclines her head. "I am Amankatetukahmenathera," she intones, speaking the words as if from some distance away, gazing off at them. "That is my name, and I entrust it to you three, and you three alone." A glance toward the ceiling, where Slinger is hovering, outside. "You may call me Jasmine, though, daughter of dragon," she adds, her gaze turning upon Lilith. She pauses, nodding once. "We should leave. I will stay with this one until he is healed." She strokes Chameleon's hair. "I have no further interest in this place. Its contents… are yours."

Chameleon pushes himself to his feet as the spirit stands, then waits, swaying as she speaks. When she's finished, he turns to Jasmine, Lilith, and where he thinks Slinger might be in turn, saying "Thank you" to each of them.

Lilith stops. Blinks. "What?" Her voice is…clearer now, all that energy in her suddenly leaving. She takes a breath, narrowing her eyes. "I…don't know of what you speak…but…thank you." She bows her blood soaked head. "Thank you. I am glad you are free. And that you healed my friend."

Chameleon, moving carefully and slowly, moves behind the counter to rummage through the materials there, muttering "He wanted something here… if he wanted it, we want it." to himself as he searches.

Anyone who has ever witnessed death, from the lowest mouse to a real person, knows here is an instant when it happens, when it becomes truly final. The soul leaving the body, some would say; the moment that consciousness truly ceases. It is a profound moment, that transition to finality. And it happens to the mage's tattered body at this instant, one singular moment in time. Silence reigns for a few seconds.
And then… that is when it happens. An unearthly shrieking sound — and suddenly, rising from the space around him, are six creatures, six forms, six ethereal creatures.
Three of them shriek — and head immediately for the roof, flying through the air in their efforts to be free, to escape from the control of their master. But the three others are lingering, forming. Three creatures of the elements — one of Earth, one of Air… and one of Fire…
Jasmine stares at them for an instant, and then concentrates. "I can hold them for a few seconds, but no longer," she says swiftly. "Take what you want and /go/." I will meet you where it is safe."

Lilith watches Cham, and wiping her bloody hands on a spare rag or some such, begins searching the room as well. Goodies. Yay. What did she mean by daughter of dragon, probably the Watchers, dammit, shit!….she turns swiftly, nodding to the woman. She grabs at a few trinkets, a large bag, and then reaches out to Cham. "Let's go!"

«Plot-Page» (To: Chameleon) Slinger says, "There was a drawer that he pulled open beneath the front counter… pawing through it, looking for something…"
«Plot-Page» (To: Slinger) Chameleon says, "Grabbing the drawer, grabbing the biggest sack or box in hand, and dumping teh drawer into the container before running."

Chameleon spends a few scarce seconds searching for a container, and decides on the largest one he can find. Not bothering to dump the contents out, he simply rips the drawer out of the counter and adds the contents to whatever was already in the container he selected. That done, he says "I hope I've got it. Let's go!" and starts for the exit.

«Auto-Judge[]» Lilith (#8983) rolls Intelligence vs TN 3:
1 2 5 10 11 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Chameleon (#3977) rolls Intelligence vs TN 5:
1 3 3 3 11 = 1 Success
«Plot-Page» (To: Lilith) Slinger says, "Something catches your eye — there is a necklace around the mage's neck. It looks… well, like the sort of thing that might be nice and shiny and magical."
«Plot-Page» (To: Chameleon) Slinger says, "You can grab the drawer, which is filled with all sorts of trinkets arranged in no particular order… there's a sort of sack that you can improvise…"

Lilith takes one, brief, frightenly short moment to snag a claw around something on the mage's neck before she turns back, necklace in hand, running for the door.
Chameleon clutches his improvised sack full of goodies and makes best speed for the exit. Not only did they save the girl… well, Lilith saved the girl, but they both get goodie bags! He's actually smiling by the time they get to the car. Either he's completely snapped, or he's a serious adrenaline junkie.

Commlink-Alice> Lilith says, "Slinger! Now! Move!"
Commlink-Chameleon> Chameleon says, "Get any toys you want and let's get gone!"

The spirits are swarming. Jasmine is losing control; you can see it. "Hurry! Run! Please!" She watches the two running for the door — and that is the instant when her control breaks. The spirits go free at that instant, while she backs toward the door, staying between the two runners and the three spirits.
The spirits start to move after them, offering pursuit — but then they seem to think better of it. The earth elemental rumbles powerfully, fully manifesting in that moment, and begins to trash the shop. The fire elemental manifests — and begins to gleefully move around the wreckage, starting fires as it moves, flames leaping up — especially when it discovers the alchemy rig in the corner of the shop. There are crashes of glassware — and then a roaring fire that seems to feed the creature with magical energy. And the air elemental swirls around the interior, blowing everything loose. Spell formulae, swirling through the air, catching the flames, while the fire spreads swiftly into an inferno, with thick black smoke curling up toward the ceiling of the cramped space just as you reach the door and push it open…

Commlink-Slinger> Slinger says, "What the frag is happening? Toys?"
Commlink-Alice> Lilith says, "Get in the damn car! Elementals are trashing the place!"
Commlink-Slinger> Slinger says, "Holy crap… did you grab anything cool? I bet there's foci in there…"
Commlink-Chameleon> Chameleon says, "Got his special drawer. Gotta be something good, I'd think."

Lilith emerges, coughing and sputtering and…covered in blood. Her mouth in paticular. She heaves a bag over her shoulder, some junk under her arm, and a necklace in her hand.

The door swings open, taking a hard push to open it — the earth elemental already bent the frame. The fire is roaring already in the back of the shop, the black smoke near the ceiling beginning to descend as the fire elemental gleefully spreads more flames around the interior, the heat starting to become even more intense…

Commlink-Alice> Lilith says, "NOW GORRAMIT"

Lilith does NOT sound like someone to cross right now.

Commlink-Slinger> Slinger says, "I'm moving, I'm moving. Frag… so much cool stuff," Slinger whimpers. "Okay. I'm there. I'll drive forward and pick you two up."

Lilith bolts to the car. Runs. And runs. Supports Cham when she can. Focused on moving. Her breath comes in short, hard puffs, blood spatters from her with every step.

Commlink-Alice> Lilith says, "I'd like to apologize for the state of your car's interior, Sling"

Jasmine runs out of the shop as well, right behind Chameleon. Up the street, the powerful engine of the SUV roars to life — Slinger can move fast when he hears Lilith sounding like that. The big vehicle starts to move as he guns the engine, shooting down the street, staying near the sidewalk, as he brakes to a hard stop. "Get in," Slinger orders, his eyes moving to the third person who exited with you. "Friend of yours?"

Lilith jerks the front door open and leaps in. She grunts. She also squelches. She tosses her goods on the floor before her.

Chameleon throws himself into the car when he arrives, landing across the backseat with his sack clutched tightly in one hand. It takes a minute for the exhausted and still not so healthy changeling to recover, but once he does he sits back up, panting heavily. "That's the girl from our dream. You didn't hear her name?" (Reposed for proper placement)

"I… I heard it," Slinger admits as soon as everyone's inside. "I — Close the damned doors! — I thought I'd imagined it." His eyes move back to the woman, and he feels his cheeks flush."
As Lilith comments about his interior, he waves a hand. "I had it Scotchguarded for a reason. Null sweat," he remarks. He hits the button to close the windows even as the doors are being closed, with all four of us inside, guns the engine.
And just in time. Flashover occurs inside the building, as the hot smoke ignites, and the windows blow out all at once, sending fragments of glass out which pelt harmlessly off the heavily armored vehicle.
But that's only the beginning. Fresh oxygen rushes inside, feeding the magickal fires inside — and then suddenly, the building explodes outward in a blast of flames that ripple through the air, rushing out toward the vehicle…
And bounce harmlessly off its armor, rocking the suspension as the vehicle peels rubber and takes off.

Chameleon gives a weary shake of the head at the destruction of the shop, the slaughter inside, his own near death… just too much for him to take right now. Compassion does force him to ask one thing though. "Miss Lilith? Did you do that to the shopkeep?"

Lilith leans back in her seat as Slinger speaks. She seems to take the blasts and the rocking in stride, even closing her eyes, taking a moment to relax. "Thanks, Sling." Whatever drove her before, whatever burned out some spiritual retinas, is gone now, as quickly as it came. "Get us to a doc. Tha' changelin' there needs an hand up." She cracks an eye open, looking at Cham in the mirror. Eyes not flat, just…hard to describe. "Yes."

Jasmine leans against Chameleon, gently cradling him, and she reaches forward to softly, gently, affectionately touch Lilith's shoulder, a little sensually. "I owe you three my freedom. You have been there… four times before. All except you," she says to Slinger. "He forced me to do that… to appear in your dreams, to influence you to come. I hated it… but I was compelled to obey," she murmurs, genuinely apologetic, that exotic accent coloring her words.

Lilith stiffens in her seat. "Four times?" She says, ever so quietly…a bit of the old rage still heating her tone. "Too bad I can't kill him four times over. Hopefully I desecrated his body enough."

Chameleon nods, realizing quite well what that likely means about the woman, and says simply "Thank you." before laying back in Jasmine's lap. To the spirit he says "Please, don't punish yourself. You had no choice. I'm just glad you are free now."

Lilith mutters those words to herself, even.

Slinger chuckles self-consciously. "I didn't do anythin', really. Was stuck outside for all of it," the young mage says, and lights a cigarette — he does roll down the window, at least, now that it's safe to do so.
"I am free… and owe each of you a boon," she murmurs. "And you know my name… you may always call upon me to ask my assistance. Though spirits need energy as well," she admits, with a heavy sigh. "So I may have to ask for some of yours in return, to sustain me."
She strokes Chameleon's hair. "No doctor can heal him after my magics have touched him. But I will nurse my hero back to health," she murmurs, with a warm smile. "Daughter of dragon needs no healing, of course."

Lilith looks to the woman, suddenly. "Jasmine." Her tone is firm, but respectful. "I don't know what you mean by calling me…that…but please, it's not appropriate right now." Cham isn't in the Watchers. That's what the woman is speaking of, obviously. She continues, voice still calm from a face full of blood. "I need you to tell us precisely what we did each time we came to you, what he had us do, what we did, what we brought back. Anything you can remember. How you got us to come, precisely what *you* did. If you need some energy, take mine, I've got plenty, but I *need* those answers, and quickly."

Chameleon chuckles softly at being called a hero, the soft sound fading into a wracking cough that has him doubling over for a moment. When he's recovered enough to breath Lilith is speaking, so he remains silent to listen. Finally, when he has the energy and time to speak, something as simple as correcting Jasmine as to who the true hero is seems… insignificant. He does feel a need for justice, and so whispers "Lilith is the hero. I just bled."

Lilith snorts. "Hardly."

"You stopped him. Not me." is all the changeling has to say to that before closing his eyes to rest.

Jasmine smiles warmly to Lilith. "Ah. You think I speak of what you /do/. No. I speak instead of what you /are/, Daughter of Dragon. You are not the daughter of /that/ dragon. But of another." She seems highly amused by this, enjoying the riddles she is telling.
The question, though, makes her more somber. "The first time you were there, you arrived separately, and he took control of your minds, and send you on a quest to steal a focus from one of his competitors. Each of you killed a man that day, and brought back the item he requested.
"The second time, his request was that you burn down the home of a minister who was preaching against him. This time, no one was killed.
"His third task for you was more complex, requiring you to travel to Free Cal to retrieve an item of power that had been lost to the troops who occupied San Diego. You might have noticed bits of that, when you returned… a strange, sudden extended vacation on which you remember having a great deal of relaxing fun, though it is hard to remember the details. That was the memory he gave you.
"The fourth and final mission, which you completed successfully, involved a hazardous mission into the heart of a dead nuclear reactor. You managed to retrieve some of the spent fuel for him, at great personal risk. In all cases, you were successful, heroic, even. Except that your choices were not your own. You cannot be held responsible for any of these acts."

Chameleon, eyes still close, comments "He needed to die. I can accept his death, and only regret that I couldn't save you the pain Miss Lilith."

Lilith face freezes. "What the sweet hell, woman…" She looks utterly confused…no, shocked. And curiously surprised. "Enough of that. I don't know what riddles you speak of, Jasmine, and I have no patience for it. I am tired, I reek of blood, and I want to wash this off before I see my lover again." She looks to Cham. "There was no pain. I am not the lady you think I am, but a monster as much as anyone else. I might feel…poorly about this later, but it will not scar me in any harmful way."
Lilith tone is flat, and suddenly very, very weary.

Chameleon replies "I would prevent even that, if I could." his voice too is weary, though likely from the strain of approaching death's door so close and being pulled back.

Lilith nods and falls back. "Take us away…hose me off…drop me off at the Bastille, Sling." She's watchful still, but more and more of her fire is draining away. "We're done here."

Slinger drives both of them back to the Bastille, stopping off there first. He's been strangely quiet on the way back. Jasmine has been curled up in the rear with Chameleon, gently stroking his face, his shoulders, giving him warm murmurs of affection. Promising to care for him as he heals.
"You all got a place to go?" he asks, directing the question mostly to Chameleon. After all, he now has a second person.

Chameleon asks, "Do you know where Mountain Hills apartments are Sir?"

Lilith stumbles out of the van. Uses an outdoor faucet and rinses off. Stumbles back into Pop's place. Clothes are left in a damp, mucky, bloody pile by the door. Without speaking, heads to the shower. Hot, hot shower.

Slinger chuckles. "That's where I'm goin' after I drop Lil off," he murmurs. "You gonna be okay?" he asks Lilith, gazing at her — and scrutinizing her aura for a moment. He looks… puzzled, more than anything. "We should talk a little… after you've had a chance to rest."
Slinger smiles. "I live downstairs. And Ms. Marsh has /no/ idea what I do for a living. Which is good. She'd have a fit. She likes me — well, she likes that I pay on time."

Lilith idly waves a hand in agreement to Slinger before she disappears

«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 6 (centering) vs TN 2 for "centering against any background count.":
2 3 3 5 10 14 = 6 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 6 (intel) vs TN 4 for "Astral perception.":
2 2 3 4 5 16 = 3 Successes
«Auto-Judge[]» Slinger (#669) rolls 4 (aura reading) vs TN 4 for "Complementary.":
4 4 4 5 = 4 Successes

Chameleon replies "Ms. Marsh has never seen me enter or leave with anything but my natural face, though she does believe I am a security consultant. Fairly close to accurate, and I did once claim that profession."

Slinger chuckles. "I'm not sure what Ms. Marsh thinks of me bringing so many boys home. I bet she thinks I'm having my little friends over for a slumber party," he snerks. He gazes back at Lilith. "Sleep well… and call me. We'll talk."

Chameleon says, before Lilith has left the car, "Be well Miss Lilith, and thank you." from his place on Jasmine's lap.


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