Ms. Violet Bludworth
Ravenna Adler heard that there was a wizard for hire in town and Harry made lasagna.
Harry Dresden's Office
So Ravenna heard that another Wizard in town and this one was for hire. Granted she didn't need any magical services being a Wizard herself, but it would be nice to know at least one other White Council wizard in the city since most of the other magic types were... different. So when she had an evening to herself, she heads over to Haight, an area that she happens to spend a lot of time in. Once she finds the offices she ops up the stairs and opens the door, lightly knocking on it as she enters. "Hello? I am looking for Mr Dresden."
If she goes up the stairs, it'll take a bit of time for the door to be opened. The upstairs door, paint peeling, wood cracking, is locked when Ravenna arrives. When it is opened at last, a tiny white-haired woman in a purple flowered nighdress answers it. "Oh! Hello, dearie," she replies. "Mister Dresden is usually downstairs in the garden apartment, but you're actually in luck: he's up here today, helping me with dinner. Do come in. Are you his young lady?" She opens the door a bit more widely, gesturing for Ravenna to come in.
"His young lady? Not to my knowledge, I have never met him. I'm sorry I went to the wrong location, these buildings can be a little confusing sometimes." Or she just followed her feet, as they tend to wander and lead her strange places. "I do not wish to impose upon your dinner, I can bother Mr. Dresden when he's open for business." She adjusts her satchel that is resting on her shoulder and waits.
"No no, please, come in!" The elderly lady's eyes are warm and twinkly. "I'm sure he'll be delighted to see you. Just between us," she adds, leaning close to Ravenna and speaking in what's probably meant to be a whisper but is instead just a hoarser version of her voice, "he could use all the business he could get. Though at least he paid /last/ month's rent on time. We'll see about this one, mmm?" Straightening and smiling brightly, the woman waves Ravenna inside.
The scent wafting from the kitchen is not bad. It's not home cooking, though; even as the old lady is trying to urge Ravenna in, the oven door opens and closes and Harry Dresden, member of the White Council, terror of all sorts of vampires and werewolves and cultists and things that go bump in the night, pulls out a foil pan of formerly-frozen lasagna.
"Dinner is served!" he calls, hunting down a knife to start cutting the cheesy, tomatoey glop.
"Rent is a tricky thing when he has such a specialized skill set. I hope his clients are paying well." Since you know, killing vampires and werewolves is not an easy task. Once she is lead further into the apartment, she watches as the rather tall Dresden slips into the room, and the dish that he is presenting for dinner. "Well, I suppose everyone is in luck, and I happened to bring a red with me." Pulling a bottle out of her satchel, she'll set it on the table near the lasagna. "Harry Dresden I presume?" She says politely.
Harry brings in the lasagna, setting it on the dining room table. The dining room is a bit away from the front door, but the door is open and it's easy enough to see from the hall. The table's been set for two, complete with full place settings and water glasses. He looks up with surprise when Ravenna steps in, straightening to that full and rather towering height. "I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage," he says, stepping around to shake her hand. His eyes rest on her brows, not her eyes, but he does meet them for the briefest polite instant. "You've already met Ms. Violet Bludworth, my landlady. A bottle of red would be perfect, if it's not too good," he adds with a glance back to the lasagna. "Though I did splurge. It's not Stouffer's."
Ravenna does have to crane her neck a bit to at least look at Harry's face. She looks rests her eyes in that space between his brows as well, obviously having trained herself to do so for many years. She does shake his hand smirking as she does. "Ravenna Adler, I saw your ad and I figured I should at least introduce myself. However I don't want to impose on your dinner, I know I got here a little later than I expected." When he mentions the wine she smirks. "Well of course it's good, but it would be arrogant to say it's too good. My family has a vineyard in Napa, we've been creating wine there for well over a century. So my opinion of it is very biased."
"Well, now we /have/ to crack it open. There's no choice. Let me get some wine glasses," Harry says, "and if you're interested in some dinner... are you a client, Miss Adler? If so, uh, I think I can be professional enough to see you in my office -- "
"By all means," Ms. Bludworth cuts in. "Consult away, dearie. I don't think I'll be eating all this lasagna, though I /will/ take a glass of that wine."
The house is a lovely old place, even if it's seen better days. The wallpaper in the dining room is a rather rain spotted pink, and the whole place looks a little like Miss Havisham's. It hasn't been redecorated in about sixty years, give or take, which is probably one reason Harry looks so at home. He snags a corkscrew from the sideboard and offers it to Ravenna, his smile a touch crooked and awkward.
Ravenna shakes her head. "No, not at client, at least not yet. I simply wanted to meet a fellow..." Since she isn't sure about Ms. Bludworth and her feelings of Harry's dealings, she'll let that next word just become assumed. "Well your ad sparked my interest and I decided to come and introduce myself." She'll take the offered cork screw and begins to open the bottle. It's almost a ritual, with the amount of times she turns the bottle, the way she twists off the cork and removes it from the screw and sets it near by to be inspected, even though she's sure no one here is really interested in it. "This one pairs best with Italian food, at least in my opining, but it also makes a fantastic mulled wine."
"Oh! A wizard." Ms. Bludworth's eyes twinkle as she totters over, a pair of wine glasses in her hands. "One for you two and one for me, too. Harry tells me he's a wizard. Personally, dear, you can call yourself what you like as long as the rent's on time." Harry raises his eyes to the ceiling and sighs, but he's got half a grin on his face. He does observe the bottle opening and, when at least Ms. Bludworth's glass is filled, he gestures toward the door: "I live downstairs. I have my own front door and everything; if you'd like to accompany me, Miss Adler?"
"Yes, that's one way of putting it." Ravenna says with a smile to Ms. Bludworth, happily filling her glass with practice ease, not even spilling one drop. "Well we'll see what we can do about Mr. Dresden and his rent payments." Once all glasses are filled, she'll grab the bottle and nod her head toward the door. "Of course, do enjoy our dinner, and if you enjoy your wine you can find more here." Her card is slipped onto the table with practiced ease, it seems Harry isn't the only one trying to sell himself in the city. "Lead the way Mr. Dresden." She says politely.
He definitely can't fault that -- he sees her drop off the card and stifles a chuckle. Harry's not much for poker faces, but he's clearly not judging her, either. He does lead the way, speaking as they go: "Sorry about that. The first round of cards I put out didn't have decent directions. Just the address, which is easy to mix up. But if you go out here..."
He leads Ravenna out the door and down the front steps, around to the side of the house, and down perhaps three more steps to a small dark door. He does have a nameplate there: "HARRY DRESDEN, WIZARD"
The key that opens the door to the basement of the lovely old Painted Lady is a large iron thing. Appropriate for a wizard's place. He opens the door and pushes it open into darkness only broken by the embers in his fireplace. Cranking a little wick up on his lamps, primarily by feel and memory, he announces: "Flickum Bicus." Whoosh! Three oil lamps and half a dozen candles light the small office with a warm glow that begins to banish the fog that San Francisco always lets in.
Ravenna thanks Ms. Bludworth before she follows Harry out of the upper apartment and down toward the lower one. "Wow, how did I miss that obvious sign, I suppose my head is in the clouds today. I hope your landlord will take the wine as a way of an apology." Once the door opens, she'll peer inside as he walks through, since this is a home she knows that she'll have to cross the threshold. Though she'll at least wait until he is fully inside before she leans on the door frame. "Are you going to invite me in?" She doesn't want to have to leave some of her magic at the door after all.
Turning around, Harry lets out a soft 'ah'. "Of course. Please come join me, Miss Adler." He does keep an eye on the protective wards around his door, though. At least they should warn him if Ravenna has any bad intentions. The front room is a little office, small but cozy and, as Harry turns to stoke the fire, getting warmer. "Please, make yourself comfortable. I take it you're new to town?"
"I promise I won't bite." Ravenna says, holding up her hands as she waits for the invitation and once it is granted she'll walk right in. Looking around the office she nods her head at the decor approvingly and takes a seat. "New to the area, but not the state. Like I mentioned my family has remained at our vineyard for quite sometime, however I decided to branch out on my own. It's different, that is for sure. What about you? It's not often you see one of us broadcasting our services like that."
"Magic doesn't exactly pay, not if you're honest," Harry replies with a mild smile. He steps around to the chair she chooses, offering to pull it out for her and nudge it back up to the desk when she's settled. He folds himself into the chair on the other side of the desk, resting his hands on the scarred old surface. "I used to teach dance lessons, back in the day in Chicago. And I worked for a PI, got my license, and here I am. Or there I was, until I woke up in San Francisco one morning."
"Well no, and not everyone has a legacy of family members who hoarded money for centuries. It's logical to say the least, it's why I push this wine, it's what pays my bills." When he pulls out her chair she raises a brow but allows it. "I see that it's not just the furniture that is old fashioned in here. And you gave dance lessons? It must have been hard to find a partner who was the right height for you." Though his last line does cause her to pause and furrow her brows. "You woke up here? It's not every day that you wake up on the other side of the country."
He's an old-fashioned guy, it's true. Harry just shrugs and smiles. If it's an accusation, he'll take it like a compliment; if it's a compliment, he'll just take it contentedly enough. "I learned to manage. Like everything else, you adapt. I danced with a lot of tiny old ladies a foot and a half shorter; they never did complain. But I admit, there's something about finding the right partner. When it comes to dancing." He inclines his head to the last statement and goes on: "Tell me what you've noticed in the area in the past... oh, month or so. You must've seen some changes."
"That is what some of us can't seem to do, adapt. However I am sure there were many ladies in Chicago who were oh so happy to have someone sweep them off their feet, even if you were a head taller." Ravenna responds with a slight laugh. "Oh yes, finding the right partner makes all the difference, though not many in this city are willing to even look at the dance floor." At his question, she frowns and shakes her head. "Sadly I've only been here for a few weeks, so I do not have a base for comparison. However I have noticed a lot of different sorts of people, or creatures. A vampire that doesn't belong to any of the courts, magic uses who don't have the same restrictions that we do. I honestly figure it was just the fact that I've gone from living on a vineyard to a large city."
"Yeah. There's a bit more to it than that." Harry hesitates. He's about to make a comment about the ladies in Chicago, but clever quips just aren't coming to mind right now. Blame the damp chill. "The city -- the whole area, actually -- has drawn in everything supernatural for miles. I don't even know how far. I think it was at least in part to weaken the fabric, the boundary between here and the NeverNever. There's going to be more stuff pouring in. Changes in the rules of reality, whether localized or widespread. As far as I can tell, there's not actually anything supernatural at /all/ in Chicago. Or most of the rest of the country. And the rest of the White Council, for that matter, isn't answering -- wait. Vampires? You've run into vampires?"
Ravenna leans back in the chair as the news hits her and she begins to think it over. "You know, you have a point there. I have met more supernatural creatures in the last two weeks than I have in my life. I mean, I know I was a little sheltered but you have a point. I suppose I need to strengthen my wards." When he asks about vampires she nods her head. "Neither of them were hostile, one was a White Court vampire, a Raith I believe and he was very amiable. The other, he felt different. He was out in the sun, but he wasn't of the White Court, he kept his distance however and had no interest in dancing."
"Did you get names from either of them?" Harry's hand moves down to a desk drawer; opening it, he pulls out a pad of paper and a pencil. "The White Court one, that I'll deal with later. But the one that was out during the day. The new kind. There've been a few murders, and I know it wasn't White Court behind them. I don't think it was Black or Red, either, so that points to just like what you say. Something else. Probably not the guy you met," he adds, trying for diplomacy. "But there could be a connection."
"Thomas, was the White Court vampire, and the other just gave me the name Mitchell. Thomas seemed to care more of is appearance, with his fancy loud car and his cellphone. I only met with Mitchell briefly, but I have been trying to run into him again. His has an Irish accent, but didn't seem all that forth coming with information about himself." Ravenna frowns and shrugs her shoulders. "I hope not, I'd hate to be face to face with a murderer and not even know it. Well it's not like they have a sign on their forehead saying that they are. Either way, if you need my help, you have it."
The name 'Thomas' doesn't seem to ring any bells for Harry, but he does write down 'Thomas Raith' and 'White Court'. "Those guys are slick," he murmurs. "The Raiths are a powerful family in the White Court. Just because they don't drink blood doesn't mean they aren't deadly. They might seem sweet as sugar, but they are /bad/ news." But Mitchell? That name gets scribbled down quickly, along with 'Irish' and 'quiet'. "Can you tell me anything more about this Mitchell? What he looked like, where you met him? I don't think he's a murderer," he adds, "but I think he knows more about them."
"Indeed they are." Ravenna nods in agreement as her hands fold in her lap and her posture straightens. "A few in my family have crossed their paths before, they've warned me well." When Mitchell is brought up again, Ravenna takes a second to gather her thoughts. "He dressed in modern clothing, and had on a pair of black finger-less gloves." She says as she closes her eyes as she focuses on the memory. "His hair was chin length and naturally curly, and dark, about your color. He's not much taller than I am and I don't recall his skin feeling cold when we shook hands."
All of these are noted down. "If you can draw?" Harry looks back up to Ravenna with a slight smile. "But that's maybe too much to ask. Ravenna. I keep meaning to say. It's a beautiful name, and a magical place. One of those places I keep meaning to visit. There's these ancient churches..." But that's a segue, and not terribly relevant just at the moment. He clears his throat. "Do you recall where it was you met him?"
"I don't think my sketch would be of much help, the last time I attempted to draw a human, it came up rather pig like. My brother was the artist." The compliment isn't missed and she nods her head. "Thank you, I've wanted to travel there myself, for the wine of course." She says as she brushes a bit of her hair out of her face. "There is such power and history in those old churches, regardless of what I believe, you can't deny the serenity in them." His question brings her out of her musing and she nods. "Yes, there is a park a few blocks from here, there was a random gathering of musicians and he was enjoying the music. He was able to hold down the Grappa I had on me, so he is able to consume alcohol."
"Fair enough," Harry replies with a crooked smile. "And yeah, serenity. And power, too, from what I've been told. As far as belief is concerned, well, mostly I believe in magic. Everything else I take as it comes." When she mentions the nearby park, he frowns a little and tenses as if to stand. "...Maybe not just now." Though he does write a few more lines before going on: "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this? As it were. You were just curious about the one wizard who advertises?"
"If you're part of the right club I'm sure, still I enjoy looking at them from time to time." Ravenna replies as she nods her head in agreement. "It's easy to believe in what you can see, and what you feel, I envy those who can just let go and believe some cosmic being is controlling everything." When she sees him tense and hesitate she smirks. "I'm sure he's not there right now, I highly doubt that he lives in the park." She doesn't be in any rush to hunt down a potential vampire. "This is hardly a bad part of town, but yes, I was curious, and I thought it would be best to at least introduce myself to another White Council wizard. However I am sure my mother would tell me I was doing it wrong, I didn't bring you a casserole."
"Casserole at this point would be -- I mean, we have one upstairs, technically, if you're really interested in one. I think after bringing a bottle of nice wine, casserole would be gilding the lily." Harry's good humor is growing, apparently. "How long have you been at this? You look young to be on the Council -- younger than most of the rest of the Council, anyway. Who taught you?"
"She's just a little too old fashioned." Ravenna says with a smirk and nods her head. "I have a spare bottle with me as well, if you want to hoard it to yourself." When he mentions her age, she smirks and shakes her head. "I'm twenty six, I know in comparison to some wizards that is young, but I passed my tests years ago." When he asks about her mentor has a smile on her face showing her obvious fondness for this person. "My aunt, actually. There are a lot of magic users in my family, so we tend to learn from our elders. I knew the Laws before I even knew how to read, which was a little arrogant on my parent's part but it ended up paying off. What about you?"
"Thirteen," Harry replies. "Dad didn't know. I got what you might call kind of an unorthodox education." He can be grateful that she /doesn't/ know about him. Young as she is, she wouldn't have been on the council ten, fifteen years ago when they judged him. "I'd love to get a real taste of it. And I'll take your card," he adds. "Especially if you'll keep mine, Miss Adler."
"But it was an education none the less. It's not like there's some magical castle some where that we can all get a formal structured education at. Which I am thankful for. Everyone learns differently, and we all have different strengths." Lucky for Harry, she was a bit too young to be on the council, nor would her parents even mentioned it. Reaching into her satchel, she pulls out another red, this one looks darker than the one from upstairs. The card for her tasting room is also left on his desk. "Oh of course, it would only be fair after all." She says holding out her hand, when another thought occurs to her. "I have a random question, have you ever encountered a reaper?"
He turns to find a corkscrew of his own. It takes him a moment, and he has to finally pass through into the apartment proper, calling back: "I'll be just a moment!" When Harry does return, it's with a corkscrew and a pair of... coffee mugs. Apparently he doesn't have wine glasses. "This is probably a complete travesty," he offers. "But a little better than drinking from the bottle." He hesitates at the question, though, tipping his head to one side. "A reaper. I've encountered ghosts who drag the dying across, but I'm not sure if that's what you mean."
Ravenna smirks as she waits for him to fetch glasses and a corkscrew and she does laugh when he puts down the coffee mugs. "Not a complete travesty, that would have been if you presented me with a solo cup, or worse, styrofoam. This shouldn't effect the flavor of the wine, but the wine might stain it." Ravenna says as she taps the side of the glass with her fingernail. Again, she goes through the ritual of opening the bottle, inspecting the cork and setting it aside, however the liquid coming out of this bottle is far darker, and richer than what she presented upstairs. "This one is a little richer than the one upstairs, if the glass was clear you wouldn't see the light through it." It does have a fruitier smell and flavor to it, but over all it is a well made red wine.
"At first I thought he might be an Ectomancer, since he was appeared to be conversing with a ghost. He nearly started a soul gaze when I spoke with him, and what little I got, aside from being very unsettling, was that he was ancient. He was pleasant though, and even removed his eyes so we wouldn't accidentally soul-gaze again." Ravenna makes a face and shakes her head before she takes a sip to clear out her mind. "Rather unsettling, but still I haven't come across one yet, and I'm still waiting for some research material from back home to arrive."
"Madam, I have at least /some/ pride." Harry says it with a fair amount of fake hauteur, but not so much that he can stop himself from grinning. He offers her the corkscrew, watches her open the bottle, watches the wine fall into the cup. Picking up his mug, he tilts it slightly toward her. "To new friends?" he suggests.
He takes a long breath of it before sipping, and makes a low sound of pleased approval when he does at last. To the matter at hand, though: "What was he, then? Did he give you a name or anything? I could start looking into it if you like. I have some research resources of my own."
"You can call me Ravenna, I doubt we're going to be scolded for being informal." She does however raise her glass for the toast. "Indeed, to new friends." Again she sips from the mug, obviously enjoy the wine by the pleased look on her face and continues with her story. "He told me that he was a guide, he helped ghosts that were stuck here that needed to move on. He was interested in my religious believes, I believe he might have been some form of angelic being. However he was summoned away? It's hard to tell, he had a conversation with something, than disappeared in a bright light that no one else really seemed to notice. I'm more curious than anything. He said his name was Doug, and I thought to myself, why would anyone name a reaper Doug?"
"Sure. I'm -- you've probably noticed I'm a little old-fashioned." Harry's eyes crinkle at the corners: "But if you're Ravenna, I'm definitely Harry." He listens to the description, his brow furrowing further, and he shakes his head: "As far as angelic beings are concerned, I've met one of those. I'm not shocked to meet more here, or at least more related creatures. I can start working on it. His name probably isn't Doug," he adds with a quirk of the corner of his mouth. "Names matter. And they have power over even angelic beings. Not the same as human or demonic, and not as much as if we knew Enochian, say. But they still do have power, and he'd know better than to give his true name to a will worker. Besides, Douglas means... uh. Dark something in Gaelic. Dark water, I want to say. I can do some research. What would you like to know?"
"It's refreshing, if that's strange to say. Half the male population that has been brave enough to speak to me keeps getting distracted by their tiny phones, and photographing every minute of their lives, it's nice to know someone still knows how to have a conversation with someone. And Harry it is." She'll smirk as he talks of names and nods. "He did say that Doug was what he had us call him, and he looked like a Viking. I didn't feel threatened by him, I am just very curious and he didn't leave a calling card." She replies with a sly smirk. "While my family does have a large library, it's not easily accessible to me here in town."
"Let's just say I have some pretty good resources. Maybe even a good contact or two. Can't give away all my secrets at once." A broad grin stretches across Harry's face. "Tell you what. I'll work up a report for you -- free of charge, in thanks for the wine, which is remarkable -- and bring it to your shop in no more than two days. I'm curious to know what's running around here myself. Already I'm hearing about half a dozen things I've never seen before."
"I'm still building up resources myself, but as I said I have only been in town for a few weeks." Granted this whole visit could be her building up contacts herself, but at least the company is pleasant. "A whole report? You don't have to get all that fancy." Ravenna says with a smirk, and as he compliments the wine she nods. "Of course it's remarkable, we made it." Her voice has more confidence than arrogance to it, but she at least isn't over selling. "Well no, if you gave away all of your secrets today, than what fun would it be to get to know you Harry?"
"Oh, I'm used to it. I enjoy it. It's my livelihood; I've gotten a little out of practice, so it'll be handy. And if this Doug turns out to be dangerous, I'll pass the information along to people who can use it." Harry rises slowly again, unfolding to that great height of his. "I can see I'm going to enjoy knowing you. Maybe we can learn a thing or two from each other."
"Well far be it from me to keep you from getting out of practice, what sort of friend would I be?" Seeing that he is getting to her feet she'll get to hers as well. "I didn't feel anything from him that would make me think he was dangerous. He looked like a viking, he was tall enough to be one." Though looking at Harry the same thought crosses her mind. Shaking her hand she at least holds out her hand for shaking. "Oh I am sure we will, and you'll let me know when you come across weird things as well?"
"Naturally." When it suits him and he doesn't think it'll get her into trouble. Harry Dresden, ladies and gentlemen. Even if he has the best intentions right now. He does scribble down that description -- Doug, tall, Viking, reaper. Investigate what the hell that means. He takes her hand and shakes it warmly: "Try not to get into too much trouble. I still need to head upstairs and keep Ms. Bludworth company, and then, believe it or not, I have another appointment. I hope you don't think I'm chasing you out."
"Me? I rarely get into trouble, I can't help it if it finds me however." Ravenna returns the hand shake with a smile as she reaches for her satchel. "Enjoy the bottle, but the next one will have to be out of your pocket." She says with a wink and shakes her head. "I came by unannounced, I am sure we'll find time later to have a longer conversation. Besides, I am keeping you from dinner." Walking back toward the door she'll give him a wave. "Until next time Harry."