Avocados and Witches

February 03, 2016:

Jesana Ravae and Walker Beck head to Chinatown in Gotham, to see a friend of hers — when events take a turn for the stranger…

Chinatown - Gotham

Chinatown - Gotham

The Vincefinkle Bridge leads in to Chinatown from here one can find themselves in direct route along Gate Street towards the beautiful highly cultural China Basin, Gotham's predominant location for all things oriental, home of the Vauxhall Concert Center, Kyoto Twers and the Asian Markets.

Further northbound the highly diverse Upper West HIll lies, a location known for it's upper class directly mixed with it's lower. Parts of Upper West Hill are beautiful, majestic, new mingled gorgeously with the old while a others like Battergate have fallen in to ruin and poverty.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

"…kinda reminds me o' that trip t'Asia, Boss," remarks the black rat riding in Walker Beck's jacket pocket. The Lichbane and his Familiar find themselves walking the streets of Chinatown… in Gotham, no less — beside their new friend, Jesana Ravae.

It is evening.

Casinos, nightclubs, and brothels dominate the streets as far as 'night time entertainment' goes, with the odd fast-food restaurant thrown in between everything. By now, the 'evening scene' is in full swing.

"Oh," Walker replies as he follows along beside Jesana. "You mean the exhibit we visited?"

"No, the red-light district!" the rat replies happily.

Walker frowns in reproach at his Familiar, then turns aside to address Jesana. "We were pleased you called," he says, all too happy to change the subject. "This is much more preferable to an evening of poring over tomes."

"Yew can say that again," Crotchet agrees.

Jesana scratches her nose to cover her smile of amusement. The red-light district hm? She's more familiar with such things than she usually admits. "I like to read myself but I'm better at when I'm laid up and needing to heal. If there is something I can be doing.. I want to be up and doing it." Besides, though they aren't pack animals coyotes are social and so are most humans actually. Jes's social circle has grown rather small of late. She's an idea that Doctor Beck's is even smaller, so here they are.

"Really, this is one of the better parts of Gotham here. It can still be pretty dangerous at times but not like some places." Jes is wearing black leggings and a dark earth brown sweater dress. Black leather dress boots and a belt at her hips that holds the daggers and gun hidden beneath her jacket. She studies the people moving about them with a small smile. Her hair, usually left free to flow down her back is tied into a ponytail so that the silver dragon hoop earring in her left ear is clearly visible. Whenever anyone notes it they move out of the trios way. Often with a nervous expression.

Walker agrees, signifying with a nod of his head.

The necromancer still looks like a gentleman of the early twentieth century — it is largely due to the coat and pocket watch — and walks the streets of Chinatown as one who has visited such places before, if not in a long time.

And usually alone. Unless one counts Crotchet.

"Artefacts surface in casinos more often than most folk would admit," he goes on to say, enjoying the chance for conversation. "The smart collectors keep the truly dangerous — or merely rare — items somewhere secret, but too often… you will see them in glass casings on the floor with the crab tables."

He smiles, looking aside at a group of Triad henchmen congregating out the front of one such casino. "You mentioned helping a particular Triad leader?" he inquires of Jesana.

She nods as her eyes go to the henchmen. "He's like one of them in that he has his own territory and he doesn't stand for interference there, and he's somewhat powerful but that's where things differ. The real Triad leaders and their men don't really care about anything but themselves. My boss protects his people and the people in his area. So long as you follow the rules, you're taken care of and don't have to worry about much. He doesn't let hard drugs into his neighborhoods, or crime, murderers, rapists and thieves."

She considers for a moment. "Thieves and assassins he does have but they're directed at bad people and not the innocent. He makes shit tons of money in the casinos and a few other businesses. Strip clubs, bars, some less legal things. You're right about those artifacts though. That casino has been having a real run of good luck for itself. It's a rival place but it's popular and people are losing everything and still coming back. It's weird…"

It is hard not to stare at the casino doors, having heard what Jesana is saying. Walker tries to look, but draws unwanted attention from some of the henchmen outside.

It would seem they only appreciate those going in — not those going by.

"The Azure Lotus…" he murmurs to himself as he turns his attention back toward Jesana. "Is this what we are here to investigate? If they're using Luck magic in there, hmm… curiouser and curiouser. Luck magic is not as reliable as it sounds, but then I'm not an expert in it, per se." He wrings his gloves hands together.

"But I understand 'price' all too well. Tell me, does your Triad… ally have a name? And will we get to meet him tonight?"

"Everyone calls him Fan Yin. I doubt we'll see him he's trying to figure out who tried to kill us last week." Jesana glowers down at the sidewalk. There are some questions she wants to ask her boss once the current threat is over with. He's promised her real answers this time. "It's more likely that whatever they are doing is compelling these people. Most of these casinos are rigged in the houses favor through just regular old cheating. I'm hoping that is all it is. If someone is messing about with luck magic.. I'm gonna be like ten different kinds of screwed and not one of them is gonna be a good kind." Jes sighs.

"I don't know a lot about magic stuff and I might be able to tell something is an artifact but not what it does. I had a really awesome revelation about how limited I am around here not knowing the language last week." Her use of the word awesome sounds sarcastic. Whatever the revelation was, clearly didn't please her. "That isn't the only reason I called you though. Now you have my numbers and.. well." She shrugs and reaches over to pat Walker's shoulder. She suspects a few things about him but will give him time to tell whatever he chooses. "Friends are good, yeah?" Jes finishes.

Walker finds himself smiling.

Surprised, he clears his throat and nods a few times to Ravae, a wry gleam in his eyes. "Quite right," he replies in his usual, refined English accent. "Friends are… oft a rarer commodity than half the artefacts I handle." He steals one more glance back at the casino and clears his throat again.

"A divination spell would serve our purposes — a pity I'm not much of a Diviner. However… if there are restless spirits around the premises (such as the souls of the 'too curious', snuffed out for asking questions)… I can call them up."

The Azure Lotus gives off a distinctive 'salty' smell, to those with a nose keen enough to detect it. It increases whenever the front doors open, wafting out into the street. Perhaps it means nothing, but the building is far from anything to give off 'sea-salt' as an aroma.

Walker nearly misses a stride when a ghost promptly wanders through the wall of the building next to the Azure Lotus and out into the street. It too smells like sea-salt. Strange…

"I think I rather like the sound of this Fan Yin of yours," Beck mentions mildly, trying not to pay attention to the apparition nearby. "My father would turn over in his grave to hear me say such a thing, but… well, his grave is a long way away, so I think we're safe."

"Mmm..well.. at least he stays dead?" Jes casts a careful glance behind her. Sometimes she's followed while in Gotham. "Mine just keeps coming back. Awesome for him, me not so much. Do you smell that? I keep getting whiffs of sea salt but we aren't near the harbor and really a lot of it is on the river and it mostly smells like nasty ass water out there. She eyes the ghost after catching Walker's look at it. "Well that's messy." Leaving ghosts to wander about and proclaim you're a murderer is more than a little dumb and reckless. If these people are mostly mundanes though, they probably don't even know.

"Fan Yin is interesting. He's not an evil being but I wouldn't call him good either. Gotham needs people like that though. People who will do what's necessary to protect their own or at least a part of the city if not the whole. This place is… " Jes trails off and then kinda shrugs before continuing. "I'd say a viper's nest but it's more like, a viper's nest full of thousands and thousands of mad, crazy, drugged vipers. Gotham is a freaking hole. I hate it here. It's a cheap place to live though, if you can keep from getting killed or eaten or whatever."

Attracted by the ectoplasmic activity at the casino (now behind them), Walker Beck's hands suddenly swivel about — facing backwards — their gloved fingers extending, reaching toward the casino… Their behaviour is not unlike children's hands reaching for that next potato chip, knowing they've already had their fill.

Walker glares at his hands and immediately folds his arms across his chest, hunching his shoulders.

"Yes, he stays dead," he tells Ravae, eager to keep his mind off the squirming of his somewhat disobedient hands. At least they remain attached at the wrists… for now. "I once considered raising my father, just to… talk, but… It would not be right. He sacrificed enough already."

Now that the pair of them have walked past the casino, a pair of the henchmen gathered out the front surreptitiously break off from the group and follow Ravae and Beck down the street.

"Tell me about your father, Jesana," Beck continues, his elbows tightening down upon his hands, hidden by his arms. "I must say, worshipping one's father does strike me as odd, but given who he is…" The necromancer has never doubted for a second that Fenris is EXACTLY who Jesana says he is.

It takes her a second to sort that out. "Ohh. No Fenris I worship yes. He isn't my father though. I chose Fenris over my Father and the other gods of my people. Fenris is a Norse god or, as most people see them now.. an Asgardian. The Fenris from legend. Bringer of Ragnarok, Eater of Suns. The Destroyer Wolf. I don't really think of the other Asgardians as gods. They're aliens and most of them are assholes. A few of them I'd kill if I could. Fenris is different. To me he is a god and one I'm proud to follow." Sometimes belief is all that stands between whether or not a thing is real and true. She believes in Fenris with all of her being and while her way of worship may be different than most, she sends her belief and the power that it brings him with everything she does.

Jes notices Walker's hands but doesn't comment on them. "I was adopted when I was a baby. I didn't learn til this past year who and what I really am. Old Man Coyote is my Father. I'll probably never know who my mother was. My adoptive family are all dead." Her voice turns flat and her expression cold but the pain in her eyes is easy enough to see by anyone looking.

"The Old Man is.. he is a Trickster god among other things. Always meddling, doing whatever he wants without regard for anyone or anything else. He and Fenris hate each other." Jes shakes off the sadness thinking of her family brings and smiles a bit. "That is one of the reasons I chose Fenris but it isn't the only one."

Walker nods, sidestepping to avoid walking into pedestrians coming the other direction. At least no one else at this point appears to be paying him or Jesana any particular attention: just the two henchmen tailing them.

"I misunderstood," Walker admits, regarding his friend's relationship to her father, and her god. "It makes more sense now."

He goes silent for a while.

"I understand the appeal of your god," he confesses, frowning intently at a space on the sidewalk some feet in front of him. This is territory… slightly uncomfortable for him, which Jesana would surely sense. "I have a similar god — whom I serve, I suppose — although I would not go so far as to worship him. I'm Protestant after all."

He pauses, mid-stride and snorts in self-derision.

"Oh, that's going to make for an interesting conversation when my time comes…" he remarks ruefully. Then he pulls back a sleeve to show one of the Bands to Jesana. "That animal, the canine-looking thing, is called the Sha. It represents the Egyptian god of the underworld: Set."

Walker gives Jes a bemused look.

"The trickster-god of the Egyptian pantheon — and neither entirely evil, nor good. Just… for lack of a better word, 'tricky'."

This startles a laugh from Jesana as she studies the Bands. "I see. I'm, I'm not making light of your situation.. it's just.. it figures. I'm often drawn to people who are different like that. My Father has been known to break the laws of man and even the universe itself when he so desired to. Some Native American legends even say that it was he that created this world, or that he has been here since its creation. Chaos and change call me to them like nothing else. Another reason I was drawn to Fenris. He broke the chains of fate binding him and quit the cycle of destruction he was doomed to repeat forever more. He came here, to earth and he fights to remain himself, to protect this planet and its people every single day. I admire that and I respect it. To do as you will instead of what everyone and everything else is trying to force you into doing, or to change things from the course they were supposed to follow.. It appeals to me. I am my Father's Daughter still even if I'm not what he wishes me to be. "

Brown eyes move up to study Walker. "You know, obviously, that there are other gods and other realms. I can't claim to know how your Christian God thinks. I know a little about his opposite though." Her expression turns from thoughtful to pained. "It may be better for you to find something that doesn't uhm.. frown upon what you do so much it ignores how you do it." Maybe that is something she could help with but it's really too soon to tell. It is a thought though and she will remember it.

"My… faith has always been a product of family and tradition," Walker replies, pulling up his sleeve to hide the Bands once more. He comes to a halt as the street intersects with another, and waits for a chance to cross. "That is about the depth of belief in me — unless you count my ties to Set… and Death. How macabre, I know."

While waiting at the street-intersection, Walker watches the reflection of those following them in the window of a nearby Curios Shop. He has no particular interest in the shop itself… until something inside the shop… 'resonates.'

He frowns, now looking IN the window, not the reflection.

"I don't particularly worship Death, although if you saw some of the rituals I must do regularly… you might… hmm. You might think… I say, that's interesting. I… do believe there is something truly magical in this store… Can you smell it? Oh, and those burly looking gentlemen behind us are closing in. We should do something about that, hmm?"

She'd been aware of the men and is pleased that Walker was as well. "Not from out here I can't but..um.." Jesana frowns. She's still learning this new.. not a skill exactly but more of a sense. "I can feel something. I think you're right." Jes turns and kneels to fiddle with the tie on one boot. She also brushes her hair aside in what looks to be a total random manner but it's meant to make the dragon earring visible. If the ones following them don't turn back upon seeing it and instead attack then she'll feel free to kill them. Following one of Fan Yin's people and attacking, let alone in such a public setting is a big heap of no. It's also not a good idea to piss Jes off in general. She has a temper and can hold a grudge like there's no tomorrow.

Jesana stands and looks at the shop too, ignoring the henchmen for the moment. "Let's take a look shall we? There's also less people in there. If any aside from the clerk or whatever." So not a bad place for a fight and less chance of any innocents being harmed. "I'm curious why they picked us to follow too. We didn't actually go in the casino and weren't looking like trouble."

The henchmen tailing them hesitate upon seeing the dragon earring, conversing heatedly and quietly between each other. One of them pulls out a cellphone, and steps aside to talk while the other attempts to keep an eye on Jes and Walker.

A crowd approaches from across the street, and Walker hisses, "Quickly!" and leads Jesana inside the store the moment their bodies are concealed by the throng of people.

Within the Curios Shop, there is barely enough space to walk through. It is crammed FULL of… well, curios. There are items here from myriad cultures, but Chinese features more than most. There are not only shelves stacked to overflowing, but objects hanging from the ceiling.

Any particularly tall person would have a nightmare in here.

An elderly woman waits behind a counter at the far end of the shop, while Walker casts his gaze about the room. At least, for now, his hands are behaving like they're HIS hands. A veritable buffet of different scents assail Jesana's nostrils, here.

But near the back, there is something that smells of…

As they enter the shop Jesana continues. "I think you can have faith in anything really but it should be about more than family and tradition. It should speak to you, and have some kind of deep personal meaning beyond what you've been told or grown up with or whatever. Having that kind of belief in a person or thing gives it power but it also gives you power in return. And for all I know, you could end up on the side of angels for using your power to good when you can, but if not.. You don't seem the type that belongs in Hell. It's not.. 'it's not a good place' is such a vast understatement it's not even remotely accurate." Her grin is more of a grimace than anything else.

Looking around at everything, and then up at the ceiling, Jes kinda boggles. "Holy episode of hoarders Batman." She mutters. Her nostrils flare as she sorts the information she's getting from scent. Wood, metal, incense, herbs, spices, oils, perfumes, mothballs. Various people, sweat and even a few emotions. Here and there are small hints of magic but the real sense of it is coming from the back and her head slowly turns in that direction. "There's something back there.. it smells like.. that weird pasty fruit people are putting on sandwiches everywhere. Uh.. avocados? And magic." A magic avocado? Yeah that makes sense Jes.. She frowns again. "…maybe some of this incense is meant for private use. Or they're making a weirdass magic sandwich."

"Something you like…?" asks the old woman behind the counter, smiling happily at her two new 'customers'. She appears content to just wait there, whether Walker or Jesana reply or not.

Walker gives Jesana a nod and heads straight for the place she indicates — and by 'straight' one means he wends his way through a veritable labyrinth of paths (one could hardly call them aisles) in the chaos to somehow reach the back of the store.

What he finds… is a pile of stuff.



The old lady doesn't seem to mind.

"Splendid…" Walker mutters, and immediately begins sifting through it all. Item after item is held and discarded (as neatly as he can manage), while he murmurs things to himself about 'magical resonance' and 'peculiar smells' and, "I've never liked avocado…"


The necromancer produces a knife — ancient, made of obsidian with a wooden handle, and sporting a tassel on the pommel. Walker holds it up, and the old lady behind the counter… utters a faint gasp. "This…" Walker tells Jesana. "Is an Aztec Tecpatl, a ceremonial knife. And I think I know why you smelled 'avocado' too…"

But his eyes are on the old lady who is acting… very strangely: nervous, awe-stricken, more nervous…

Jesana takes a different series of paths all while looking askance at books, boxes, crates, shelves and shelves full of wooden carvings, statues, metal odds and ends, jars and bottles, decorative items. So much stuff and plenty of things she can't even guess at the use for. She listens to Walker's muttering with a small smile of amusement as she approaches. It occurs to her that if the old lady isn't oblivious to what's in her shop then she's gonna realize that Jes and Walker aren't regular customers.

Jes finds it a little strange the woman speaks in English. She's betting the lady knows what she has back there… yep there's a gasp. Jes hurries out from around the last corner. "Aztec? I.." Jes knows a little bit about them. Only a little. Enough to know that knife was used for some bad things. She's seen similar knives. A set of them had been used to slaughter her family. Her children. Jesana eyes the woman with a flat expression. "I would like to know where you got those and why you have them sitting out here were just anyone could come and pick them up." She moves to Walker's side and mutters low for him. "Or are people like us the only one's who'd notice them?" That's worse actually. Someone like them would probably not being buying those knives for decorative purposes.

Walker stands up and gives Jesana a long look. Then he glances over at the old woman, gauges her reaction when he uplifts the ceremonial dagger, and returns his gaze to Jes.

"It's worse."

"That item no' for sale!" the woman tells them, pointing a finger rudely at both 'customers'. Walker holds up the knife, internally hoping his hands behave themselves for once. He effects a glare of reproach — the kind reserved for someone of greater age than the recipient of said glare — and walks up to the counter.

"Avocado," he barks. "From Spanish, from ancient Aztec — meaning 'testicle'. This blade was used in ritual mutilation and sacrifice. BLOOD magic. What's it doing here?!" He glances askance at Jesana. "What is the bet you'll never look at an avocado the same way again, hmm?"

He smirks ruefully.

Then, the old woman's demeanour… shifts.

Gone is the fear, the worry. Gone is the 'helpless old lady'. Her eyes flash, and she lifts her hands up, revealing long, curved nails (each one beautifully painted, but still… curved and razor sharp). "A test, Wolfsworn — ," she says with a glance at Jesana. " — Lichsworn," she tells Walker.

"I prefer Lichbane," Walker mutters just as the Wu (Chinese witch) flies up over the counter and attacks Jesana!

Jesana's eyes narrow as she looks from Walker back to the woman. His question about the avocado amuses her and that helps her to calm herself a bit. There was a time not so very long ago that Jes would have seen the knifes and immediately either killed the woman or started questioning her in a not so pleasant manner as this. She's aware that doesn't make her much better and she's trying, serious trying to not give in to those impulses now.

"A test forwhoa! What the hell you crazy bitch?!" Jes growls and leaps back. "Lookit lady I don't like hurting the elderly but if you don't knock it off I will!" There isn't much room to manoeuvre in here and her back is against a shelf so Jesana grabs a weird monkish looking metal statuette and throws it at the flying witch's face.

The witch's head comes off.

Not from being hit by any statuette, but rather to AVOID being hit by the statuette. Up the head floats into the air as arcane… green mist leaks from her eyes, her mouth and nostrils — and the stump of her neck. The witch's body continues to fight, slashing at Jesana's arms and chest with her nails.

She is strong.

Very strong.

Meanwhile, Walker finds himself under assault from a magical green cloud of smoke — smoke that seems inclined to grow arms and teeth. He flails about, disoriented for the moment, until fighting back with a blast of phantasmic energy.

It seems to help (Walker that is), but the mist reforms as more pours out of the witch's head floating in the air. The necromancer goes to say something — and chokes mid-sentence as a tendril of the cloud forces its way down the man's throat.

"Uh." Jes mutters stupidly as she goggles at the witch. "Holy fuck! How is that even..Ow!" She growls and dodges aside as the claws rake her left cheek and tear through her leather jacket and sweater to score several slash marks across her shoulder when Jes turns and throws her right shoulder forward to protect her chest. What, those assets are important to her! "Do you know how hard it is to find these sweater dresses in thrift stores?!" Jes snarls as she tucks and rolls and comes up a few feet away.

She sends a quick glance towards Walker and gasps in dismay. It's poisoning him and she doesn't know how to stop it. Or how to fight this, whatever the hell that is. Not a lady, that's for damn sure. Jes's eyes move around her immediate surroundings. There has to be something here.. something that will.. there! on the counter, a spray bottle of something.. hopefully flammable. Jes grabs the bottle aims it at the witch's face and sprays with one hand while fishing her lighter out of a pocket and flicking it open with the other. She brings the flame up to the spray.. oh this is gonna end badly and look stupid if it doesn't catch fire. She should really start to learn some freaking Chinese. Second time in a week that point has been driven home.


The word alone fails to convey exactly what befalls the (likely undead) Wu when Jesana holds a naked flame up to the spray bottle. White flames erupt from the bottle, causing it to buck in Jes's hands, but completely envelop the witch's head.

The scream that follows causes the glass windows to shatter outward, spraying the sidewalk, the street and pedestrians there with thousands of tiny pieces of broken glass.

The pedestrians who cop the brunt of the shattered window: are the two henchmen of the Triad, who had been tailing Jesana and Walker to this very store. They drop to the ground, shielding their faces from being cut to ribbons.

Walker takes a gasp of air as the mist suddenly dissipates, and in that moment of respite he HURLS the Aztec dagger at the witch's head, skewering it through its eye-socket.

The head drops to the ground with a horrible noise.

The body… falls twitching at Jesana's feet.

Jesana eyes the body for a moment, then the spray bottle. She considers the placement of the building, how close the other shops are and how long it should take the fire department to arrive and nods. Then she sets the afire and turns to Walker. "We should probably get out of here and somewhere…else. Quickly. Are you okay?"

Her lips quirk. "You have no idea how glad I am that worked. Beats the hell out of looking like a total idiot while some crazy headless broad with a freaky bad nail job rips my head off." It was a risky play but Jesana holds no fear of death and it shows when she fights. She takes risks that others wouldn't. Those risks don't always pay off but when they do, it usually turns out rather spectacularly well.

"Fire should take care of anything else hidden in here and the body. You wanna do anything about those two jackasses outside? I hope they got most of the glass instead of random people." Jes frowns. "Whoa that fire's spreading fast."

"At least the fire will destroy anything else in here of forbidden magicks," Walker manages to say after coughing some more. In answer to Jes's question, he nods his head.

As for his hands, he keeps them gloved and tucked under his jacket. He does not like fire. Well, literal fire anyway. With a motion of his head to indicate the windows, he makes a break for the street, leaping out and landing on concrete and slivers of glass.

"Call 911!" he yells to anyone listening, and then turns to make sure Jesana is beside him. "We should be going. Do you think Fan Yin would welcome a pair of guests, suddenly? He might thank us for removing a rival Wu from his town."

He halts mid-stride and looks wide-eyed at Jes.

"Good Lord, I hope she WAS a rival…"


Jes looks back at the shop for a second. The henchmen are fleeing and she decides to let them go. "If she was with him she shouldn't have attacked. He might try to offload something like those daggers on a rival but just having them sitting out in the open like that, I don't think so." She eyes the time and considers. "We can go drop by and see if he's in but I doubt it just yet. Or maybe go get something to eat. I'm hungry." She eyes her sweater and coat and sighs. Leather jackets aren't cheap either. "Either way, we should be going."

Jes can hear the sirens already.

Good, the other buildings will be alright. The Native American takes Walker's elbow to lead him through the crowd. People move out of her way but this time it's not the earring. It's the wave of angry, edgy, animal menace that leaks from her. Not nearly as strong as he would have felt from Fenris but quite similar. It's harder for her to tone it down when she's excited or angry.

Both were-coyote and lich-keeper make their hasty exit from the street out the front of the now-burning Curios Shop. They try to look as inconspicuous as possible… for what little good it does them. There is one saving grace in that they are not the only people looking disturbed, or excited about the unfortunate blaze behind them.

"Let us be thankful then," remarks Walker as they round another street corner. "Affairs did not run any further into chaos."

Behind the two, someone watches them.

And smiles.

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