No Hiding Here

February 16, 2017:

Kida and Dana meet in the Slums after an exchange with 'Aunty'.
The truth is revealed to Kida, as well as open doors.

Suicide Slums - Metropolis

"Slums may well be breeding grounds of crime, but the suburbs outside of
here are incubators of apathy and delerium."

Welcome to the Suicide Slums, also known as Southside and The Simon
Project. This area is the dark recess of Metropolis, where every corner you
take can likely be your last, and the glimmer of hope that glistens off the
skyscrapers ceases.

The high rises here are in shambles and disrepair, the markets seem
shadier, pretty much verging on that of Black Markets, and the malice is a
palpable feeling in the air, if not coming from the looks of the local
residents.

Those that benefit from this neighborhood are the ones who can make money
from nothing, or come from nothing and seek to have that glimmer on the
other side of the pipe-lain wall. Prostitution, gambling, drug dealing,
criminalizing - all of this is where most start and never find their way up
and out, and if they do, it is likely running the business they started at
or heading the gang they ran with, though tales are told of those that have
broken free.

Streets bear potholes, newspapers roll across the roads like tumbleweeds
and an old lady dumps trash from the upper story of her flat to splash into
the dark alley below where a stray cat growls and runs from it all, even the
rapid fire of bullets.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's late in the evening. The sun has set, which makes places like Suicide Slums not the place you necessarily wanna hangout in. At least, it's not a place Dana Hunt necessarily wants to hang out in. But, the reality is, she often finds herself in places she'd rather not be. It's pretty much a given, with her.

She walks down the street, a large white dog at her side. Her stride is long, but remarkably relaxed… or, more accurately, confident. She learned a long time ago the value of a fearless front. And, besides, it's a whole lot easier to be sanguine about possible attacks when the already big dog beside you can reveal itself as a bloody-muzzled hellhound the size of a small pony.

She actually emerges from the mouth of a narrow alley, one hand on the satchel that hangs on her left hip, the other on the ruff of the dog beside her. She pauses long enough to take stock of the street before she steps out of the shadow, and then starts to make her way along the sidewalk, glancing, apparently, at building numbers as she passes each darkened storefront and narrow apartment door between.

It is not often there are /other predators/ on fours in the streets of Suicide Slums. At least not at a specific level of 'rare' in cities. The trio of wolves that keep company with Kida lift their heads from the small lean-to forged between buildings to keep the cold wind to a minimum while the propped and wrapped pieces of old and broken wood as well as the hood of a car make a nice little wall/roof. A tarp the door held down by bricks, but when Dana and the large dog pass it to enter the streets the wolves rise silently and slip out one by one in silence behind them. Most people mistake them as well, 'some sort of massive German shepherd mix' is about all you'll hear and assume at first glance, at least the 'Slummers' have.

As they follow they stay distant, wind path is checked and their lope is silent and sticking to where shadows dominate. Kida… However was rudely awakened by their departure and the warmth of pack left with the furred bodies. A other-tongued curse and she grabs her bag and walks out with them, but not as secretive, instead she simply walks in plain sight down the sidewalk behind the woman.

To think that Rex wasn't aware of the wolves in the tarped den when he and Dana passed is to think him completely noseblind, which no hound with the pedigree of the Wild Hunt can ever be called. Their scent can't help but be around the But, back in the alley, he was willing enough to overlook them in favour of staying by his mistress' side.

He's also the first to become aware of Kida — not because of scent this time, she's upwind, after all, but because of sound. His big head swings around to check out the path behind them, giving a small chuff as he does. Dana glances back over her shoulder as a result, as well, and notes the woman following her. Her hand drifts into her satchel and stays within for the time being as she continues to glance at numbers, trusting her immediate safety to the hound.

At one door, a narrow green thing that's worn yellow around the edges, she pauses and, after a moment, knocks a light rhythm on its front.

Rex would also then, smell that the wolves smell like Kida, or vice versa. Not wholly natural, but predators and Hunters alike. Kida stops when the woman stops though, leaning against the nearby broken lamp post, not bothering to look non-chalant. Nope. She's being forthright about her nosiness while hazel eyes go from the woman, to where her hand lowered to and then the beast at her side.

"Never seen you here before. How do you know them?" Kida speaks lowly, but her voice carries, as well as that deeper accent that is nothing like anything from around here either, familiarity may only come if you ever stayed in the Alaskan areas in this world.

But as she speaks one of the three shows itself, having went a long way around to approach from in front and not behind. To be seen and known intentionally.

"Business acquaintance," Dana replies, turning slightly away from the door, now, as Rex turns to face the wolf that makes itself directly known. The door cracks open and an older woman eyes her through that crack. The old woman says something softly, her tone sounding a little peevish and demanding. Wordlessly, Dana reaches into a pocket and passes her an envelope. In return, she's given a leather pouch, which she slips into her satchel. "Thank you, Auntie," she tells the woman, giving a slight bow. The woman makes another soft, sharp reply, and closes the door. "Spices for my mother," she tells the wolf-woman, by way of explanation. Probably not actually spices. Might be for her mother, though. Or not. Who knows?

Regardless, Rex juxtaposes himself between the strange wolf and his mistress. He's not openly challenging the wolf, but there's a definite sense he won't back down from one.

Dana, meanwhile, steps away from the door, moving further into the street light, her hand again resting inside her satchel. "Known her for years. I've just been out of the country for a while."

Her head cants faintly. "Who are you that you care?"

Kida was watching the exchange with narrowed gaze. "I don't care what you are peddling. Not police." As Dana gives her explanation and Rex begins to move into position, her own creature just stops and stares, head lowering while remaining focused, mouth lolling open just enough to show scenting.

The lack of Dana removing her hand from her pouch though has Kida's own hand going to the Haida inscribed shaft that is tucked along her hip. Tattered boots bring her forward then, but slowly as she speaks further.

"I just care. These people have needed help lately and strangers have done no good." Finally then, her hand leaves the hilt and rises.

Dana watches her carefully. As she releases her spear, Dana slowly removes her hand from her satchel and lays it atop the tooled leather surface. "Well, I'm not here to cause trouble," the witch says, letting the winter wind ruffle her dark hair. Not, mind, that trouble doesn't tend to find her. Her vision still dances with shadows and she can certainly see the other woman's magical nature as well as that of her wolves. "You're a magic user," she says finally. "And I don't think you're actually from around here. But, I don't recognize your accent."

"Good for our health." Kida states and as both women seem to come to a momentary impasse, the other two wolves step out, but when Dana mentions her magic Kida then takes a step back and her hand twitches back towards the small shaft, but does not grab it. It is still hard to not know that this is not her Earth and those words will not have her disappear messily or without a trace.

Eyes still return to that narrow, now more on the side of suspicious. "How do you know?" One foot steps back, but she does not give any more distance between them, more a shift of balance as a mode of fight or flight surges through her. "Did your animal tell you?" A glance between them then and Kida gives a long moment of silence while watching her and then looking to the door she had come from.

"Not from anywhere near here. Name's Kida."

Dana shakes her head and touches the side of one eye. "I'm a Seer," she says. "I can see it in you naturally." She doesn't go into her pedigree. It's not just complicated, it's outright annoying to her to recite. There's a beat as she considers which name to give Kida. "Dana," she says by way of return introduction.

Kida nods to the greeting, more of a slow lowering of chin that causes loose ends of hair not held back in the braid to fall along the defined structure of facade.

"What do you see? My…" Pause, swallow, a glance around and her voice lowers.

"I was told that seeing is a double edged blessing. Can you see far off or last week? Or just life? Can you hear too if you listen?" Another few glances wrought by nerves have her looking back and forth down the street, all the while those wolves come closer with no posture or rigidity to show challenge, but wary, watching. Like Kida.

Rex stands his ground soundlessly, watching and waiting. Dana watches the wolves move, but keeps much of her attention on Kida. "I see many things," she says with a small half-shrug. "Sometimes the past. Mostly the present and future. Always, the Veil Between Worlds and What Lies Beyond." She smiles wryly. "They call me a True Seer. I see the true nature of things." Kida can make of that what she will. "It's very definitely a double-edged gift." One that often cuts her personally, thereby pissing her off, since that gets her in trouble more often than not.

She is watching the other woman's feralness, watchfulness. She is so definitely not native to this place. Perhaps not to this time. Dana isn't sure. But, she recognizes the woman isn't keen to discuss her own past. That neither surprises or offends her. Indeed, in her experience, that's just smart.

"I hear and see sometimes, but my focus is elsewhere." A small shrug and her hand extends to reach for the massive head of one of her wolves, resting her hand on it.

"Is there many like… us here? How many are left? Do they hide? I know the ones with other powers do not, but that doesn't feel like magic. A lot here doesn't."

Pause.

Finally her posture rights a bit and she studies Dana differently now. "What do you do here?" But Kida did not mean here, where they stood, she means -here- in this world.

Yep. Dana is pretty sure, now, that Kida is a realmwalker of some sort. She's been there, herself; asked these sorts of questions. "Homo magi exist," she replies, "though not in great numbers. But, we aren't typically hunted to extinction, either. The others with powers… they're called metas — sometimes mutants or other names. But, they're not magic, no. Strange science, instead."

She can read between the lines enough to guess the stranger's true question, and her lips pull wryly to one side. "It depends on the moment," she says, again with that faint half-shrug. "To make a living, I take photographs. But, often enough, I think I am used as an Agent of Change in this world… whether I intend to be or not." She's not sure whether the changes she brings on account of the magic's that drive her are good or bad, sometimes. But, then, she's partly a creature of Wild Magic… and partly a woman raised by a fierce mother to be on the side of humanity's 'better angels', whenever possible. So, it can go either way. Nevertheless, she adds, "The Fates aren't nearly as hands-off as everyone thinks."

Dama's words are only bringing more questions from Kida, the questions there, dancing beneath the surface and nearly palpable but instead Kida chooses a long silence and a slow nod as if answering them herself or telling herself to just ask later, but the Strange Science phrasing brought in a new tension and that barrage she needed a moment to regroup from.

"I was told I should open a garage." A look back up to Dana and then down the road.

"Fates? Are those your Spirits? Doesn't one walk with you?" A glance to her beast then and her hand sinks into the ruff of fur at her owns neck.

"This world needs change. They are cruel here. If we do not have to hide… That makes it easier." And there it is now, a bit more resolve on new meanings for Kida.

Dana cants her head at the odd statement about a garage. "If you need a place to stay, I know of one. It's neutral ground and safe. Rent can be bartered with the Landlady."

She glances down at Rex at the next set of questions. "Not so much a spirit, as a companion. A familiar, perhaps. The Fates are spirits, of a sort, I suppose. They like to meddle in the affairs of Life. If they're meddling, though, you can be sure it's to stop something Life threatening."

Finally, however, she gives another wry smile at the woman's conclusion. "Magic isn't especially common," she notes, "and there are other reasons to hide besides hunters. But, yes. There are enough others with unusual abilities that magic is usually considered little more than one more source of uncanny power."

She watches the woman straighten and does so herself. "All worlds need change," she notes. "I've seen realms far worse than this one. Though, it's true. There are certain cruelties here that make crueler realms seem almost benign at times."

"I am…comfortable here. But I can visit these other places?" A small smile seems to flicker its way across Kida's features, but there and gone and a thing that'd likely cause muscle cramps due to the rareness of it.

"Do not meddle in affairs of dragons, you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup." Perhaps not Dana's whole meaning, or even a bit of it, but even though vague it was understood and just caused a reminder was all.

"My world, was bad, but yes, you are right. This one has it's own difference of bad and others that are hunted while I have gone easily overlooked. That just makes them stupid… and crunchy." There it was that twitch of a smile again.

"Where can I find you again?"

Dana actually chuckles at that. "I think Dragons prefer bar-be-que, myself." But she does appreciate the saying. At the last question, a slender brow arches and she considers. "Ask for me at the Silveroak Inn & Tavern," she suggests. "If I'm not there, they'll at least pass on the message you seek me. You're magical; you'll be able to find it when you need it, though I do know its door is often found in Bakersline, in this city, by those that seek it."

"Bakersline. Bar-be-q? I will have to try that some time." Kida states, brows furrowing as she goes into thought and then nods to the other woman.

"I will look for your green and yellow door then." A light smile as she turns and walks back the way she came.

"Here they call me Tattoo. I'm not hard to find if you ask the right people." And with a small wrist-cocked wave she tugs her hood up from the hoody stuffed beneath patchwork leather jacket and dips back down her alley.

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