The Store

April 26, 2015:

Wanda tracks down a shop that can supply the right kind of present for her friends.

Transian Trinkets

A shop in the East Village located down a narrow sidestreet.


NPCs: Olyena


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

“’Well you can tell by the way I walk I’m a woman’s man’…no, that’s not right. That is the wrong way round. A man’s woman? Hmm.” Wanda is musing on the confusion of disco lyrics as she struts her way down New York’s 8th Street in the East Village. There have been some changes in her life. She is actually washed and clean for a start. Her black knee-high boots, black latex pants which make the word ‘tight’ an understatement, black and red corset and red elbow length gloves are all brand new. Her beaten, torn and bloodied scarlet jacket is less so – but that has at least been washed! Wanda even walks with a bit more confidence, not flitting from alley to alley but actually on the pavement…though not /too/ far from the shadows. Back to the singing. “’Well you can tell by the way I walk I’m a man’s woman, no time to talk’” The Eastern European accent not helping with the rhythm. “Hmm…why don’t I have time to talk?”

Overhead there are dark clouds forming in the late afternoon sky. Another spring storm on the way. Wanda might get paranoid the rain is deliberately following her if she isn’t careful. Passers-by still look at her but now it is for better reasons than before. Now it is because she is reasonably attractive rather than an obvious derelict with a hygiene problem. But Wanda doesn’t notice. She is on a quest!

Wanda slips into a narrow side street you would be lucky to get a car in. Lining the street are numerous small shops barely bigger than a bedroom and offering exotic wares from all around the world. A few people mill around checking out the offerings and the sound of haggling can be heard. Wanda goes further down the street to where the shops are in darkness thanks to the awnings over their windows and the greying sky above. There! She nods as if an unseen person had said something to her before slipping through the narrow door of a store without a window. To most observers it is a Ukrainian store selling all kinds of odds and ends of dubious quality and nature but Wanda knew the faded writing on the door was actually Transian. Her homeland.

A little bell tinkles overhead as Wanda closes the door behind her. The only light in the cramped store is coming from a gas burning lamp on the counter. It casts an orange glow over the stock; clothes, toys, books, pots and pans, imported food. The air is damp and a musky smell is inescapable. “Can I help you?” asks an old woman’s accented voice from behind shelves packed with old clothes of all shapes and sizes.

<I hope so> replies Wanda in Transian – a dialect of Romanian with enough uniqueness to qualify as another language.

A native speaker causes the old woman to lean around the shelf and offer a smile to the witch. <It has been so long since I have heard our language. My husband speaks it of course but who listens to their husband? Come. Come. How can I be of assistance?> The woman, barely five feet tall and easily in her seventies, comes forward to take Wanda’s hands, turning them over to examine her palms. Apparently this is perfectly normal in Transia.

<I do not think you will like what you find there> warns Wanda as the old woman begins to read. It is only a few seconds before the storeowner swallows nervously and gently curls the witch’s hands into fists.

<I do not have my glasses> she explains, <So I cannot do a proper reading. I am Olyena and welcome to my store>. The woman moves to find safety behind the counter before her smile returns.

Wanda offers a polite nod of greeting. <I am…> For a moment she wonders if she should give her name since there are people from the old country still looking for her and Pietro but surely this woman isn’t one of them. <…Wanda. I am looking for ‘Provrajitoare’. Do you have any? Can you make some? I have some friends that I wish to give them to…for helping me>

Olyena frowns as she looks over her customer. <Protection from spells? Do you know any witches?> She lets out a soft sigh before nodding. <I have the knowledge…though I think you knew that before you came. How many do you need?>

A quick mental count before Wanda replies. <Four. If you could put it in something innocuous.>

<I can do that> Olyena shrugs, <But I cannot guarantee them against…everything.> Her dark eyes look over Wanda once more. <The best defence is avoidance. Perhaps you should tell your friends that? They should understand that magic is not something that can be controlled>.

Wanda nods solemnly. <I know.> A pause before she adds, <I shall return in three days if that is acceptable.> Olyena nods before the younger woman turns to leave.

<Wait!> the old woman calls out before coming from behind the desk and grabbing some clothing off a shelf. <Take this. No charge. It will rain soon and your jacket is holier than the Patriarch> She hands over a long scarlet hued coat. <I think this will suit you. That jacket you wear…that you should burn>

Wanda offers an amused smile as she takes the coat. <You are not the first person to dislike my jacket> She looks over the new clothing, considering it before nodding in acceptance. <Thank you. Three days> A nod of thanks before she slips back out into the narrow street and the beginning of a storm.

Olyena whispers prayers to herself once Wanda is gone before locking the front door and then making her way out of the storefront and into the back room. There she sits down at a computer that looks out of place in the rustically furnished surrounds. Her fingers move with surprising speed as she types an e-mail – ‘Wanda Maximoff has been located’. The message is sent before Olyena rises to make herself a nice, soothing cup of hot tea. Life is about to get busy.

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