Curious Curio Shop

January 11, 2018:

Lara, Sara and Robert spend some time in the Curio shop bonding.

Characters

NPCs: The Curator

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

New York City

The Snow Storm from the Frozen Wastes of Hell still rampages outside. The howling wind so loud the screams of neighbors are a distant memory. It is not healthy that this blizzard continues to rage as it has, people are losing their lives, businesses are shutting down, Krampus has made the news, the Justice League is overbusy, civilization has become a thing of the past, society has lost itself to the clutches of nature, supernatural inspired or otherwise…

Warmth. The indoors and surprisingly roomy for the upstairs of a East Asian Theme Curio Shop. The Curator is at least a gracious enough host, he has a plush couch with blankets over it, a centerpiece table that looks to be of ivory and a strange black tree, a divider that likely once belonged to Queen Katherine with the lewd depictions upon it and a wide screen TV with one of the worldes largesst DVD collections spanning two whole walls. The hanging ceiling fan lighting up the entire floor where corners do not lead to a hallway or extra rooms. The blades on this fan are massive, one imagines when it swings it cools the whole room.

"The No Mo doll, this is a very specific find." The aged man muses, turning it over and over, "What you are describing, also quite telling, has it given you any idea of where you are to go next?" It's not that he intends to sound like Yoda but hes embraced his place with this group. This clandestine troop of Artifact seekers.

Robert is sliding one hand against the other, a rasping slither of bio-metallics. It's almost musical. His attention not on the Curator but the television, a woman in a powersuit, beautiful, long necked, graceful in body and poise with a wide ruby lipped smile is giving a speech, showing off Pittsburgh and portions of what used to be Steel City now absorbed together, despite protestests. She is encouraging the petitions of renaming the place Millenium City. A far away stare is held on the mutant's face.

The Curator doesn't appear to notice or care. That is not related to their own task… the Artifacts.

Lara Croft was in the process of making herself tea but whatever means the Curator had provided and she was moving back toward him around the time that he started to speak. Her heavy jacket was tossed over one of the chairs and she sat down beside it with her cup of hot beverage.

"Where to go next?" Lara asks. She shakes her head a moment later. "None." She tells the Curator, glancing over to the others that were nearby. "With this weather blanketing the city in a white cold hell… I'm at a loss on where to go next at all, to be quite truthful." Croft said before sipping her tea and her brown eyes going back to the Curator.

"What CAN we do with this kind of enviromental hazzard hindering us?" The tea was still quite hot, so the British woman started to softly blow upon its surface, rippling the drink within the cup.

Leaning forward into the flickering light etween the televisio of 'NEWS' and the dispaly the Curator has laid before them a 'chipped' and 'lacquered' nail taps over phallic centerpiece, rocing it, before she leans back and into the shadows alight by Lara's own words.

Sara seems stoicin comparison to how she should be after..

… Blink!

The Spbynx 'feline' is in her lap and has a hand rested upon it - there or not - palm splays in her lap and she watches between Curator and Lara, but a flicker of periphery does not disregard Ripclaw.

"We do what we have to. I will always uphold the constitution, my community, and the agency I serve."

"Nothing." Robert says in a hoarse tone. "There is nothing we can do right now. We're forced to wait unless one of you has some special talent you're willing to share with us right now."

The Curator smiles large, teeth showing under that Fu Manchu, "Weather a concern indeed. No no, I was asking if you know this… " The doll is rattled at Lara and then Sara before dropped on the table with a bout as much compassion as a child would show a toy theyre bored with. "Takes you to the French Quarter of Metropolis or New Orleans. One closer than the others but likely to yield lesser results. It's got a signature to it, they always do. It's maker is unlikely to leave where comfortable."
Gnarled fingers disappear inside of the sleeves of his silky qipao.

"Same question, special talent or a snow mobile?" Robert asks again. "It's a bitch enough meeting like this. Our timing was lucky the plows pushed through an hour ago."

Lara's attention went from Robert to the Curator, then to Sara. She smiles at Sara and the feline and then looks back to the two others. "Magical fingerprints aren't a speciality of mine." The Agent of WAND said. Its true she worked in a division of SHIELD that specialized in those sorts of things, but that wasn't what Lara Croft provided that group. She provided them expertise on the world at large and how to traverse it.

"So if we can find a… magical tracker… then we can use the doll, to locate their… current location?" She asked next, her eyes going to said doll where it lays on the table now. Discarded.

The hairless feline departs Sara's lap, her hand lifting as she causes the old chair to groan in (dis)cordant moan to the weight applied.

Her eyes flick among those in the room while her hand fists into her lap. Tattered jeans, underlain by patterned spandex of 'leggings'. The fastenings of leather coat keeps torso, abdomen, and chest coveted in the metal on hide fastenings to splay just at her neck.

A lift of chin is enough to show the slow swallow in her look to the side that casts her eyes to the figurine and the Curator himself, narrowing them in a 'mote', of distrust. Tis her nature, afterall.

But business, that /pledge/….

"Do we need snow-shoes, or not? What do you want? Death?" Sara shoves her hands in her pockets and seems to recoil in closer to herslef for warmth… A motion that has her regarding Lara… and Ripclaw a bit more closely.

Weather/whatever!

"I'm about as magical tracker as it gets." Robert says, "Nothing about that is strong enough to give me anything unless we want to have me sniff or fondle every person in Metropolis or New Orleans but signature isn't always just… essence. Which this thing is gross on that aspect. F Y I." Back turning to the television with arms folding over his chest so he can watch the others present. CyberData Technologies can wait.

"Indeed and no no, Miss Pezzini, I do not want any of yoru deaths, there will be no travel tonight. Your eyes found it Miss Croft, I was hoping your expertise might shine out in this but our creator of this particular effigy might just fall too short of your usual acquisitions. No matter. The woman or man who crafted this likely has more out there, I will do my seeking meanwhile as you others can, other particularities of interest in this encounter, the ice shards and more Angelus Warrior clues." The Curator carries on, walking out of sight through a doorway of beads and blankets, his voice sstill heard as it shouts, "This says they are not together."

"Obviously." Ripclaw intones studying the hairless cat that is walking away, apparently it also lives here. Ugly animals. Not that he can blame the beast for it's looks. "They fought, the Angelus Warriors, the Ice Shard whatever and the Trogolodytes that lived down there. Sara here also fought meaning it might as well have been a four way."
"Enemies in all corners."

"Possibly also allies though." The yells still unseen in the backroom.

The yells still, Curator remaining unseen in the backroom.*

Lara showed a soft smirk as she held her cup ot tea. "My speciality is finding relics in lost locations, not… modern day creations in modern day cities. Thats the job of a Detective." She quietly commented, glancing over at Sara. "For when there aren't mountains of snow to combat." She smiled softly and sipped her tea again.

"Well in the mean time, at least we're not stuck in those wretched caverns beneath the surface." She'd comment to the others still within the room. Lara's eyes glanced toward the television, but she'd never really been one who could stare at one of those things for very long without feeling sick and bored (her father had trained her well).

Lara stood up from her seat, carrying her tea as she started to eyeball things around the room… gather more tidbits of information about her surroundings.

…."… All I fought is death…" But the tone from Sara is nearly a wisper, her hand resting in her lap seeming to 'cusp' the shadow of the departed feline, while eyes flash its way, or that of the Curator's. While he carries on in the background, Sara sighs and nearly slumps in her chair, one leg crossing over the other to flash sigils in archaic sewn imbedding beneath the openings of denim.

Special ordered, by the way!

Long dark hair hangs over the neck of the high-backed antique chair, neck rolling back when eyes come to half-mast and she looks between Ripclaw, that flashing mtallic /history/, and Lara - /history/ unto herself.

"Nawwhh'leans." Sara says slowly. "Voodoun, Hoodoo. Death Magic." A shake of her head and she waves dismissively, casting a warning towards Lara in glance with a sweep of finger over her own lower lip before she speaks. "I still smell death, but it's my job."

A look then to Ripclaw and the hands that had ben clasped in her lap spread in a small shrug, the bracer of the 'Blade flashing from beneath jacket-sleeve. "You both lead me there, I'll fight again with you - show me again."

Apparently Sara has faith in them..

Like below the house of the Curator is covered in eclectic treasures from all around the world, vases, Shamanic necklaces, beads, talismans, protective idols, African carved wooden animals, dusty Hindu ceremonial masks, a warbonnet from one of the many plains tribes, Zanzibar, Kathmandu, Japan, India, Markovia and even outer parts of the recently discovered Savage Land. A place heavily guarded by SHIELD right now. Lara Croft will recognize all these things and more, the Curator has been a busy man and is likely very wealthy to acquire so much.

As if reading the mood of those around him Robert flicks the TV off, no reluctance in it. "Don't worry, death shall have no dominion beyond it's stench." A grin given to Lara, "You picked a risky job in these times, Sara."

"I see none of you wish to talk strategem or theorize about who or what. You take all the fun out of my existence the lot of you and i was watching that Mister Bearclaw." The Curator chides as he enters back in, full on nighty, he looks like Scrooge. "I am to bed, see yourselves out and I'll know if you stole anything. I keep a very strict inventory. There are cots and blankets. Stay out of the basement and stay out of the loft… the store, the backroom and this floor are all you may use. I do suggest you consider our foes, read my notes and take mind that one of those 'icy shards' likely belonged to the Glacier Stone. Given the current weather… a very dangerous foe. Perhaps right now capable of defeating the Angelus, Witchblade or Darkness alone."
An irritated handwave at them all and the man begins to climb the winding ugly orange shag carpeted stairs that lead up and to a world beyond.

"He continues to waste our time." Robert says as the man disappears, "Calls us on meetings to talk in riddles, trick us in to spells or questions us inanely."

Lara's eyes were wandering over all of the gnick-gnacks and she was quite impressed by his personal collection, some of it really shouldn't even be in a private collection like this… Some of it was definitely not rightly his, and belonged to other countries. But she wasn't the type to really call him on such things.

Lara's eyes turned toward Robert when he turned off the tv and then to the Curator when he came back in in his PJs. Lara sipped her tea and watched him ascend the stairs…

Then she lowered her eyes to Ripclaw. "I believe he speaks in riddles because he hasn't had a lot of interact with others. He seems to be missing a lot of social normalities." She showed a faint grin. "I've been there myself."

Lara's eyes glanced over both Ripclaw and Sara and then she sighed. "I guess I should turn in for the night. I'm not sure what else I can do here and now to help with any of this." Disappointment was on her tone, she wanted to do more…

Sara ignores the TV, 'Media Frenzy' is not her way, but also, when the flicker of the faux light withdrawals, so does her notepad…

The curator passes, speaking his words and the window long frosted over is eyed with a forlorn look of regret in not having departed this place hours ago. "I would speak strategem," A breath in, out, fogging further on glass she has approached in a smooth rise and silent approach, fingers scraping through the 'frost' on their side. "But some things take… time." A glance back and she casts a grin to Lara, but at her owrds it fades and Ripclaw is leveled upon.

The notepad is drawn back out and finality is made in the scrawl of the teeny pen upon papr before it is tucked back within inner pocket of her coat, once the Curator is off in his Jammies - that is!

Sara is a Detective, and that takes analysis, breakdowns to the minute… no sleep….

Nothing said to the risk of her job, but then again… Lara and Ripclaw are regarded with the same formailty of pride and… a small grin.
Pride.

This is why the woman doesn't/wont sleep.

"He's having his fun. What have any of us seen that is not in riddles of the socially inept bordering on personality disprders with padded cells for Life?" The notepad that is a truncated version of -everything- the Curator has said is offered to the two.

"Who wants to go claim a cot?"

Wiggle-wiggle - *Paperflap*

Sara's /enticed!/

"We are the same in this right now, Lara." Robert assures the explorer. "We're stuck in the snow awaiting an attack that may or may not come while also seeking things that require travel beyond our means right now. It's frankly just bullshit. These are the kind of games… yeah, social retardation." He agrees, "Spirits do this as well, I am more accepting when the source isn't human." Not that he is sure the Curator is.

"I live in Brooklyn." Robert admits, "This cold isn't a huge bother for me but I was hoping for actual headway on any of this but he just gives us more questions, how about we switch from that tea to some coffee?" A half-grin at the Brit then the Detective.

"I suppose we can just consider this some bonding exercises, we familiarize ourselves with what notes hes left out for us and learn more about one another. Turn this in to something positive. There are worse places to be." A thumb juts over his shoulder out in the darkness beyond the window, darkness smothered in a white wash.

"I'll start with some honesty… I hate Bearclaw donuts and no, I never watched Edward Scissorhands. I refuse."

Lara mostly agreed with what each of them said about the Curator and then she smiled softly at Sara's words. "I'm fine sleeping anywhere. I don't need a cot to be able to rest. I've slept in far far strangerand uncomfortableplaces than this odd little shop."

At Robert she smiled faintly at the coffee part. "Not sure I want the caffeine in my system right now, but I'm not entirely against it either." She so happened to be passing by the window he motioned toward as well and she let her eyes looked out into the winter wasteland. That just made her draw in a deep breath and slowly release it.

"I've never had a Bearclaw donut and I don't know what Edward Scissorhands is." Lara said then, moving toward the living room now to sit down on the edge of the sofa.

Sara is making small noises to call that hairless Sphynx to her, a reminder…

… Princess?
…Maybe… Perhaps…

But as it comes *chh-rrupprrring* out, lashing a whip-like tail around her booted ankle in affection Sara /plucks/ it from the ground and nestles the 'water-bottle' of /purring/ and clawed! heat against her chest (despite its protests - ELMIRA!) and slowly steps out to join them, despite the Curator's words about the Witchblade.

"I'll take coffee." Sara states when the pad of paper she had offered drops upon the (coffee) table and rises dust, just the couch likely does to the asses of Lara and Sara while the feline *squeaks* and finally accepts the lap in the clouds of upheaved dust. "You all need to define the Ouija-parts of his speech… I need coffee… a Bearclaw Donut, warmed… and a good movie…" Oh yes, Sara knows of Burton, Donuts, and caffeine.

She's ready, but bonding…?

"I don't like semantics. Not when pragmatic is necessary…." A dart of eyes to her notepad.

Hint…
Hint!

"I am Sara Pezzini, Detective of… " A gesture and she leans back, staring at her witing before looking at them both.

"… You have got to be kidding me… It's a Cult Classic…"

"Hard pass." Robert remarks about the movie and donut. The cat returned gets just a look but nothing more. "Probably for the best." A response to Lara about the doughnut and movie.

"I'm in the lead if this is a game and you two are no good at it." Coffee for three despite the minor protest from Lara, he fetches the cups and pours for them but neglects any form of creamer or additives only to return and set them down.

"A trip to Louisiana, that sounds like our next option, on the backswing if we find nothing there we hit Metropolis. Thats what I got out of tonight, the three of us, your knowledge, my uh gifts and your training will give us the ability to find out who this No Mo belonged to first." A rake across that dark oaken tabletop, it looks hard as metal but the man just managed to gouge it with a clawtip, "Old and dead, thats what the doll, that magic an this oak top feels like." At least it's a dry, brittle death feel not a cold, frigid hollow bone feel like the ice shard.

Lara's eyes went to the cat as well and she smiled toward it and to Sara. "She likes you." Lara said at Sara, even though pets were not something Croft understood all that well. "A movie, ah… I've… seen probably less of those than most."

She turned her eyes to where Robert was, now preparing coffee. "Louisiana?" She told him. "The south United States…" Her mind seemed to go distant for a moment. "At least it'll be warmer than this place, right?" A smile was shown again.

"Everything about that doll represents Death and Deacy. So I'm glad that all it does to me is look like a shody old plaything, rather than actually give of… sensations of some variety."

When Lara states about the felines /kinship/ to Sara, she only smiles lightly, her hand pausing as its back arches in defense to the draw of Ripclaw's claw over the table, marring its surface. A flashe of teeth, the hiss resounding with a final *snort*-/spit/, and it leaps from Sara's lap in a draw of claws through denim and leggings into skin for anchor of its departure.

Only one corner of Sara's eyes tic in the cringe, but it comes when she leans forward to gather her cup of Black As Your Soul, coffee. "My Incognito Team of Occult, doesn't like Burton…." Sip. "So doomed." Muttered lowly, plainly as Sara listens to them both and nods.

"I still can taste the decay of that subway…" Despite his coffee fixings, shockingly!

"Louisiana." Beat. "Sounds like it spells Vacation. Like you all haven't seen good movies, I haven't had one of those."

Her notepad is gathered and tucked back into her coat, left hanging in the deep 'V' of openness to glimpse badge and holstered weapon.

Smells like death, tastes like sin… "I'm in."

The doll is stared at now over the rim of mug while index looped through the ear of said cup points to the tiny effigy. "That needs to go."

"Very doomed." Robert affirms, "I don't find going to a giant swamp better than surviving it out in a blizzard. Not personally." The man is proving to be all sorts of positivity each and every encounter. "It's our only clue, it has to stay. Afraid of dolls, Detective?"

Ripclaw leans over and picks it up, turning it over and over, "It's inert. It was already used to hex someone or this No Mo doesn't exist, we are safe." He offers it jokingly to the Detective.

"Question… anything different for either of you since that asshole tricked us in to that spell?"
"If so let me know. I have found nothing harmful as of yet… if we're to have roles in this team I know mine. I've been observing you people long enough now to figure that out."

Lara watched the cat dart away from Sara now and she followed its hairless form for a few more seconds before she looked away again toward Robert, she could hear Sara's words and then listened to his response.

"I'm still not sure what my place in all of this is." She admits. "I work for a division of an agency that deals with this sort of affair, but its not precisely my field." Lara's right hand went up to rub the back of her neck. "I just want to feel useful here, as though I'm carrying my own weight." She glanced between the two of them.

"So to speak, anyway." And a breath inward was taken. "I don't think there's anything outwardly different that I've taken note of… Not… not that I'm aware of at the very least."

Sara's hand pauses, that place in the pocket over her heart where she tucks the notepad, clutching the leather fabric into a tug over the tank top beneath as if seeking warmth.

The feline is forgotten for now, she has a soft spot for animals and children, it'll be the /death/ of her, likely. It reminded her of Princess…

"No. Nothing.. Different." Not to Sara in this new turn of events.

A pause and she is regarding Lara with Amber eyes that seem to be a paler shade, almost /umber/ in the minimal lighting provided to them in the Shoppe. "How are you not sure? You're a detective of the ancient, I am a detective of the mystery, he's a detective of the Between." The shake of the Doll at her though has her slapping a hand out in deflect, as if aiming to fire it *at* Lara. Swing Batter Batter!..

"Swear to…" Pause… "Touch me with that Thing!" Unspoken and unfinished threat as her jaw clmaps closed against the desire to smile - Heaven forbid!

"We haven't even begun for you to start doubting your measure." Robert says to Lara. The doll mock walks around the table then springs then is set down on it's face. He's not knowing or comfortable enough yet with Detective Pezzini to toss it at her like he considered. Plus… shes a cop and the other one is a SHIELD agent. No doubt long before they determine he is hosting a fake identity to get by. It's a sour situation to be stuck in.

"We're a team at this point and we'll all have a role to play. When words like fate and destiny start getting tossed around by the insane you stop and listen. I find the Curator to be quite insane but not without… possible warrant. You're a detective, Sara Pezzini. I am a tracker and a medicine man not something so official… I prefer it that way." The coffee is sipped at. The first real warmth of the night.

Lara watched the exchange with the doll and she smirked at it softly. "The real fear is that thing being found down in the sewers, not… its inert and expended magical properties." She looked to Robert then. "Might wash your hand there, bad boy." She said at him with a slight grin before she'd sip from the coffee that he'd made her as well.

"Well. I'll grow more comfortable in my place the further we can get through all of this. If we can start making real headway, then I'll grow more confident in it all. Thats how it all works for me… Whenever I'm chasing something, the closer I get the stronger and more assured I feel. And we're still teetering on the tip of the beginning here…" Lara sighed and leaned back on the sofa.

"Its all just very frustrating at this point." She glanced toward where the Curator had disappeared toward, wondering where on Earth he'd gone. She still didn't trust him…

Sara had already surmised their 'roles' in this matter. Even though they were Three, there is 'More' that need to connect all the dots.

Life.
Death
In
-Be
-tewwn
sie(s')!

Nothing is ever crsytal clear in the manner of It All. Her own smirk is muted by the sip on her warm beverage, one that is finally seeping in enough to make her forget the frosted window she had /scraped/ a tally mark of a line across in the window of the Shoppe.

Ripclaw is watched carefully as she rests back and settles the mug in a clasp of hands braced between thighs. "We know our places, we live them, enough that even the Insanity can cut through the bullshit…"

A look to Lara and a tilt of her head her way. "That's your role, isn't it?"

One Black. One White. One to 'mince' it all together? Maybe, but to piece the puzzle…? "Even in pie choices you overdo it." So says the overly-analytic bitch!

… But thats not even a part.

"We're a team. The Curator has made sure of it. Blind leading the….So fu-c—k…" SIIIPPP!

Lift of mug. "To us… Sara…Detective." Truth. "Of /everything/ seen and… not."

"Her role is to be the sane one?" Robert inquires, "We'll see about that." A look follows Lara's after his response to Sara, it doesn't need to be said again, none should trust that man. No matter how kind or crazy friendly old grandparent he comes off.
"A team of sorts. We can go with that."

"Jackie is our current wildcard. I am getting a feel for you two, starting to sort you both… him though, hes a different kind of creature." A noise from the man and he is looking at the two women the only thing making it not appear so rude with a stare and complete social awkward is the coffee he uses to interrupt himself with.

A light grin was given to Sara's rundown of her role in all of this and then a little laugh was given at Robert's summation of it. "The sane one…" She repeated. "Right…" Lara raised her own mug up for a sip from it. "I think I"ve seen enough things in my life, lived through enough things… to fully believe that I am far from that. Perhaps I just hide it better?" She showed a slight grin at the both of them.

Jackie was definitely the one of this group that she knew the least about, though she knew next to nothing about all of them…

More coffee was consumed and then Lara looked up at them both. "Either of you want to see whats in the basement that we're not supposed to be seeing?" She asked then, grinning again. Her mind couldn't keep thoughts like that out of it."

A slow roll of tongue over lower lip at the (re)mention of Darknes and where that feline raced off to is regarded in a dart of eyes to… and fro.

Sara draws a breath in through her nose and with a motion rocks forward again, her spine remaining straight enough to show more of the tank top beneath the leather coat, a few glimpses of -
-itch-
-ill
-y
-ibe.

((Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe))

White lettering on Black backdrop, but interrupted by the drop of mug onto the table lightly drawing hands back to press palms in splays over upper thighs to clap them upon knees before she rises. "Let's go downstairs."

Keywords for: I don't want to talk about …

The grin… mischevious as it is from Lara Croft gets a tilt of brows from Robert, "The man said not to." He says, then Sara is joining the other in the new plan of exploring the Curio Shop's basement… "Which I suppose is more reason to do just that I suppose. If we find out this man is some sort of warped fetish enthusiast we're out. Straight up out of everything to do with this."

The coffee mug now empty drops on to the table with a 'clank'
"You're the famous explorer… or so the man said. Once more, lead the way." Just like the train tunnels, Croft gets to be the first one in. Fortunately the curio shop itself is a much more peaceful place than the old undercity tunnels of the Big Apple.

Lara was relieved to hear that they were both in on this 'plan' and she stepped lightly over to her jacket to gather up her phone and her LED flashlight. "It won't be sexual." She said back to Robert. "A man like this doesn't have a sex dungeon." She scoffed at the very idea of it, but part of her wasn't entirely sure of her own words there.

A clear of her throat to get that doubt of her mind and Lara would move toward where she assumed the door to the basement was. She looked back over her shoulder to see if they were coming. "Step light. Like children sneaking for cookies in the night." Something Lara had done a lot as a child, trying to sneak past her family's kitchen staff quarters to get into the pantry… sometimes she'd even been successful at it. Those were good nights…

Lara stepped up to the door, she tested the handle and should it give way to what laid beyond, Lara stepped through and flipped her flashlight on.

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