Neutral Ground

January 19, 2015:

Peppper knows just where Jericho can find some Neutral Ground

Silveroak Tavern

The Silveroak is a magical inn, a waystation, run by the old rules of Hospitality.


NPCs: Wassea


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Evening, well after work for the CEO of Stark Industries — though it's debatable whether or not Dana's finished for the night, given how she helps out around the old pub. Nevertheless, the Silveroak is her home, and she's expecting 'guests'… so to speak. In his customary fashion, Rex is sprawled in front of the hearth at the far end of the bar, taking up as much room before the great stone lip as he can. Dana leans against the bar, chatting with the bartender Paddy, awaiting the others' arrival. Wassea is nowhere to be seen, at the moment. But, that will no doubt change in due course.

It is, after consulting with K'nert, the height of rudeness to disk into the Silveroak. So Jericho doesn't. In fact the little imp didn't particularly seem to keen on going anywhere near the place, which is why Jericho has given him permission to watch from Limbo rather than accompany him as his mission usally mandates. Instead the demon-tainted hacker arrives in the usual manner, on foot, pushing open the door to look about the rather ornate and oddly widdershins interior. It's safe to say he's never been in a place like you and it takes him a few steps in - blade case swaying behind him - before he sees Dana and the bartender.

Pepper Potts insisted that she and Jericho arrived by more mundane means, because she suspects that K'Nert's usual mode of travel would NOT be looked kindly upon at the Silveroak. However, as he insisted on arriving separately, one of the more non-descript of Tony's garage of cars pulls into a parking lot within easy walking distance of the establishment. After an electronic chirp, Pepper walks briskly toward the building and inside before pulling the gloves from her hands. Jericho she spots immediately, as she entered just a moment or two after him. Dana she doesn't see as quickly.

The jingling of the bells as the door opens once, then twice, draws Dana's attention. She glances up, first to see Jericho, and then to see Pepper. The latter, certainly, she quite recognizes. The former… perhaps she's not quite so familiar. Pushing off the bar, she gives Paddy a smile and heads over to meet her guests. "Pepper," she greets. "You made it." Jericho is given a light nod and a simple, "G'evening. Wasn't too hard, getting here?"

Jericho shakes his head, stepping aside so Pepper can move past him. "No, finding the place was easy enough. Good evening Miss Hunt. Thank you for agreeing to talk to me." Though less familiar with Dana the fact that she's Pepper's friend carries some weight with her. There's a brief moment as he wonders if Evil-Pseudo-Nazi-Pepper was Dana's friend too before he shakes the memory off and focuses on the task at hand.

"Did Pepper mention why we're here?"

Pepper Potts smiles and steps past Jericho to greet Dana. "Thanks for agreeing to meet with us." She's also hoping to impose on the kitchen here for something resembling supper, but that can wait a moment. "Jericho has been dealing with some… unique problems recently, and we were hoping the Silveroak's neutral ground would help us discuss matters with people from several different schools of thought in a safe and rational manner."

Jericho nods. "Unique is a nice, polite way to put it. Would you like to sit for this?" He gestures toward the bar and tables, hoping greatly that his apparently growing demonic nature isn't a put off or a problem. Dana's been nothing but nice to him so far.

"In passing," Dana replies to Trent, studying him for a moment, her eyes squinting some. Unlike outside, she actually has to concentrate to use her Sight in this place. It's nice to have the respite, once in a while, but she likes to know whom she's dealing with. Especially if she's going to invite them deeper into her home.

She cants her head as Pepper elaborates a little bit. She flips her hand towards the woman, smiling to the man. "And that would be the sum total of my knowledge of the situation." She considers for a moment and then, nods slightly to herself. "Won't you follow me?" she says to them, glancing about the room. "The ambiance out here is excellent, but I'd prefer a less public setting for that sort of discussion." She then turns to lead the two of them towards the kitchen door, and through into Wassea's domain.

The kitchen is remarkably spacious, and it looks out onto a grassy clearing that is most definitely NOT in New York. There's a trestle table at one end with half a dozen chairs set about it. It's there Dana settles the three of them. In the far corner of the room, a short, silver-haired woman is working on a fresh batch of bread, kneading the dough quite professionally. Indeed, the entire room is chalk full of aromas, some exotic and magical, others homey and comfortable. All of them exquisite. The woman, Wassea, looks up as Dana leads the other two in. "The guests I mentioned," Dana tells her. "Wassea, this is the Lady Pepper of the House of Stark, and…" She pauses, head canting as she looks at Jericho for a moment. "Mr. Trent."

Wassea wipes her hands off on a nearby towel, brushing flour off her apron. "Good evening," she says smoothly. "Please, make yourselves comfortable."

Pepper Potts looks around the 'kitchen', clearly a bit awed by what she sees and, yes, smells. And then Dana introduces them to Wassea, and she can't help it. She finds herself greeting the Lady of the Silveroak in the manner of Thailand — her hands are pressed palms-together in front of her sternum, and she offers the silver-haired woman a bow. "It's a true honor to meet you, Wassea. And I must extend my thanks again for the loan of a leather sack that spared me a large amount of internal turmoil." With that said, she sets her bagon one of the chairs at the trestle table then sheds her coat, knowing without having to really consider it that the area would be a comfortable temperature.

Jericho nods. "Unique is a nice, polite way to put it. Would you like to sit for this?" He gestures toward the bar and tables, hoping greatly that his apparently growing demonic nature isn't a put off or a problem. Dana's been nothing but nice to him so far. He's relieved when Dana invites them further in and perhaps a bit surprised to see Wassea as they come into the kitchen. He blinks a moment as his traces start to light up with a soft, silvery glow and his HUD starts streaming unusual characters. Ah. This place is magic. And of course, his traces are absorbing it like they always do.

That's just… slightly awkward, he thinks, as he becomes covered in faintly glowing circuit lines on his arms and under his shirt (his pants are too thick for them to shine through). He bows to Wasea politely. "Ma'am."

Jericho takes a seat and waits for a few moments before starting. "I'm here on behalf of Illyana Rasputina, the Darkchilde." He's her Familair, Wassea and Dana will easily be able to tell. Clearly marked with demonic power. That a person should be a familiar is highly, highly unusual. "She wants to organize a meeting of some magically inclined individuals to discuss a recent threat. HYDRA, or someone very like them, has recently started using occultists to target their enemies. We believe their attempting to manipulate current events toward a particular outcome."

Dana has encountered scarier 'demons' than Trent. And this is neutral ground. If, for whatever reason, he steps out of line, Wassea will come down on him like a ton of bricks… and even Sidhe royalty think twice before crossing her. As the traceries on his skin start to glow, a brow rises slightly, but she doesn't question it. Stranger things have happened, here. And they can tell the difference between automatic, natural 'glamour' and purposeful offense.

Likewise, Wassea studies the young man, but evidently decides he's not a threat as she nods a greeting to him. To Pepper's bow, however, she draws herself up a little more formally and returns the gesture. "Lady Stark," she greets the CEO. "Be welcome in my abode this night, both you and your companion, Dana's guests." She straightens, then, and smiles. "Let me finish up with the bread while I listen, if you don't mind." A kitchen this size doesn't run itself, after all… so to speak.

"I'm familiar with Magik," Dana says, once the formalities have passed and the others take their seats. "We've assisted one another on occasion." Though Magik knows her more familiarly as 'Rune', rather than Dana Hunt. But, nevermind. It's all the same. "Drink?" she asks then. "Food?" Rules of hospitality. They're guests, and she has to ask. Even in the midst of business. "Can you elaborate? What outcome?"

Pepper Potts nods to the offers of food, as lunch today was a typically hurried affair without Cricket to help facilitate things and without the Tower's catering facilities. Elaborating on his opening statement is something Jericho will have to do on his own. She's only heard tiny bits of what he's mentioned, not enough to really offer more than opinions.

"Food would be nice." Ah, they've met. Good. That makes this considerably easier. In fact the hacker seems to relax a bit at the news.

"I don't know. Yet. Magik and I and maybe one or two others will be headed to Central America soon to find out. But I do know that they've been doing divinations on the possible futures of specific targets and have been trying to scratch names off that list. Aside from generally removing their enemies the only thing I can think of is that they have some kind of… ideal state they're trying to force things into. Removing peices from the board so that events fall out a particular way." He shrugs. "It's a theory. Best one I have at the moment."

The seer grimaces at that, even as she rousts up a fresh loaf of bread, some cheese, honey, various meats (some of them gamey), and a rich stew, all served on wooden dishes with bronze utensils. She also brings over a pitcher of water and a pitcher of mild mead. It suits the ambiance of the old world kitchen. "Eugh," she grumbles. "Diviniation is probably the most unreliable of magicks out there." She ought to know. She's thwarted her own visions often enough. She's also spent an inordinate amount of time trying to avoid being used in that very way by powers more potent than she (*coughMaevecough*). "And, in my experience, magic does not like to be forced. It always finds a way to rebound."

She settles down in a seat once the food is served and pours out glasses for each of them. "Please. Help yourselves." Then, she frowns again. "How many targets do they have? Any idea? And how successful have they been against them, thus far?"

Pepper Potts is more than unsurprised by the homey nature of the meal and the old school implements, she in fact seems quite enamored of it all. Sometimes nothing beats the basics. "And this is all related to the attacks on New York, Gotham and Metropolis, yes? That's the impression I got." Okay, she's tried to make stew like this before, and it just never tastes this good. Is there some secret ingredient she doesn't know about?

"I'm not sure actually. So far the attacks I'm aware of have been more targetted. Focused on a single person or group of people." Jericho sighs and considers Dana's question. "That I'm aware of, HYDRA has succeeded in four attacks and killed twelve people, some of whom may not have been targets. Collateral damage is not a thing they care about. A further six attacks have been prevented or defeated." Some by his action, some by he targets themselves.

"I don't know how many targets they have. At least twenty. Ranging a gamut from researchers to intel anlyists to field agents to… seemingly random mutants. The fact that there doesn't seem to be a pattern which is what makes me think that there must be one… and I just don't know what it is."

Well, whatever's going on, it's not yet been strong enough to trigger a VoID for Dana. No Visions of Impending Doom, here. Of course, there's still time. There's always time for doom. She reaches for some bread to dip in her stew and considers it all. "So, basically, your goal is to put together a coalition of magi to counter whatever it is they're doing. And you need a 'neutral' place to discuss it with everyone and convince everyone to come on board, is that it?" Might as well get to the heart of the matter.

Pepper Potts nods to Dana's question. That is exactly what they came to ask. But, really, this is Jericho's request, so she continues to let him do the talking. Especially as she just sampled a rather bland looking cheese and got the all but slapped in the face by the sharpness of it. Wow. This tastes like … she has no frame of reference for it.

Jericho nods. "Sort of. I can fight them, when I can find them, but I can only react. And I can't prevent them from doing their mojo. If we can develop countermeasures of some kind we might be able to slow or stop them before this gets more out of hand than it is."

Dana smiles a little smugly as she sees Pepper's reaction to the food. Wassea's cooking has that effect on people. She reaches for some mead and leans back in her chair. "I think I'm confused," she says, canting her head to Jericho. "Are you looking to build your countermeasures here? That can't happen; this place is neutral ground. But, you can use it for a 'summit' of sorts — a meeting place to discuss your options."

Wassea continues to listen, nodding her head slightly to Dana's words. She finishes putting the fresh dough aside to rise and washes her hands before she comes to join the table.

Pepper Potts looks at Wassea as she moves to join them at the table. "I was under the impression that we wanted to meet here to form alliances and discuss what resources we have available to us to fight back against these people." SHe offers Wassea a smile and a nod of thanks for the honestly amazing food.

Jericho shakes his head. "No not here. I don't know what'll be decided. I don't have any magical talent. Just some exposure. We just need a place where folks will feel comfortable talking. Neutral ground sounds about right."

Wassea nods to Jericho's words. "That, I can allow." She glances to Pepper, giving a smile to acknowledge her thanks.

Dana also nods. "We'll simply need to know the timing of the gathering," she says. "So we can close the pub to outsiders." Yes, that's what will have to happen; but that's fine. It's not like they pay rent for the place, anyway. And the food and drink will still be available.

"I can keep in contact about when this will happen, if that helps," Pepper offers. "I know that it's going to take some work to coordinate all of the people we want to involve." She finishes her portion of stew and pulls her phone from her bag. Does it work here? She's never bothered to check. "Should I just keep you appraised, Dana, or is there an alternate contact I should use?"

Jericho rises here and gives Wassea another polite bow, then one for Dana and Pepper. "I'll be in touch with Pepper… and with you Dana, if that's alright."

Wassea gets one more very polite nod. "Ma'am. Thank you for your hospitality." Then he's headed back out. He'll let Pepper hash this part out.

Dana nods in response to both. "That will be fine," she says. She rises as Jericho takes his leave and then chuckles to Pepper. "For the queen of a technological kingdom, you sure do attract the magic, don't you?" Yeah, this is going to be interesting, she's sure.

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