A Knight, a Wizard and Werebear walk into a bar... The Werebear owns it. The knight has something for the wizard, and the Werebear has something for both of them.
Bear and Staff Pub - San Francisco
Public It has been a long day.
With night falling, activity in the Bear and Staff pub is at a relative high - all those folks winding down after a day's work, or winding up for a night's work - and plenty of tables are taken, keeping the barstaff fairly busy.
Into this walks Michael Carpenter. At a quick glance, the fellow is 'just another bloke' visiting the pub - in his work clothes - except that upon closer inspection, he appears to be sporting numerous injuries: bruises here and there, lacerations on his neck and arms...
Nothing too serious.
Casting an eye about the place, he heads for the bar - carrying a satchel with various items in it. It is not his toolbelt - and the items are distinctly... arcane.
Pretty busy, yes. A cute redhaired waitress is being flirted with, halfheartedly, by a tired looking businessman who looks almost like he's doing it from a script, not because he wants to, but because it's the expected thing. Moving along the bar, a large, mixed race man hands a bottle of hard cider to a woman in a grey skirt and blue sweater, then the man's gaze shifts. His eyes rest on Michael...and most especially on the satchel, but the look on his face as he approaches the man is pretty typical "barkeep."
Ravenna has been sitting at the bar for a while, idly thumbing through a magazine while she sips on a beer. WHile it might be expected that a vintner would be drinking wine, sometimes she just wants something simple and not complex. She does make a point to stay away from any eletronic devices and if someone comes near her with one of their fancy phone she'll slide further down the bar. Seeing the rather tall man enter in with this slight wounds does cause her to tilt her head to the side. "It looks like you might need more than a beer."
Michael lifts his chin and smiles faintly at the girl that has just addressed him, and sits himself down on a stool at the bar. He puts the satchel on the stool next to him, and glances from the girl to the barkeep.
"I'll have a beer, thanks," he tells the large man, then turns his head toward the girl once again.
"Probably," he replies with a wry look. "But the rest can wait. The work's not quite done." He pauses. "I'm Michael. Pleased to meet you, Ms...?"
Thaddeus Bailey doesn't ask Michael what kind of beer he wants, which might seem odd. He pulls him a pint of something golden brown with a decent head, slides it across the bar. "You aren't just here for beer," he says with, perhaps, surprising perception. Then he falls silent as the man turns to the other customer. Only to be expected. Barkeeps are confidants, but most people don't make friends with them when they're on duty.
"Beer is very important." Ravenna says with a smirk as she sips from her own glass. "Ravenna Adler, it is nice to meet you Michael." Though she watches the exchange between Bar Keep and Michael, raising her bow just a bit. "Well I am sure he might be here for the food."
Michael glances back from Ravenna to the barkeep and reaches for the drink presented to him.
"I'm here because I'm supposed to be," he replies simply - without pretence or presumption - and drinks a mouthful of beer. The taste catches him by surprise (perhaps it is not a type of beer he has tried before?), but it does not disagree with him.
"Food's not a bad idea; I'll have whatever's on special, thank you." After a moment, the man reaches for the satchel and begins sifting through it. Some of the items inside appear to be religious relics - like the odd crucifix - visible for a moment before tucked back inside. He glances askance at Ravenna, closes his eyes and murmurs a short, silent prayer.
Some of the items in the satchel have a much darker aura, but everything would - to a magic-user - feel... tainted. Michael's lip curls in distaste, but not for the beer. To the barkeep he adds: "I believe I'm supposed to deliver something. I'll know to whom when the time's right."
Thaddeus Bailey nods, calling the order through to the kitchen behind the bar, then he turns back to Michael, and sniffs slightly. "I'm not sure I like what you have there," the bear says very softly. "It stinks." It's a risk, to blow his cover, but he's not getting a vibe that Michael...or Ravenna...are evil. Just whatever's in that bag.
"That sounds Omninus for a Friday Night. It isn't the thirteenth is it?" Ravenna replies with a smirk before she peers at the bag with random objects. Her posture straightens just a bit and she frowns. "That looks like a whole bag full of crazy, and I really hope it doesn't have my name on it." She's already had one artifact that she had to deal with already this week, another would just be icing on the crazy cake.
Michael sits up straight and puts his beer down. Giving the barkeep a nod of thanks for getting his order ready, the knight releases and breath, and the expression on his face turns more... knowing. His lips in a thin line, he nods again to Tad, and gives Ravenna a sideways look.
"Nothing in this bag is good," he says softly. His eyes focus on a crucifix in the satchel, his face darkening with both sorrow and righteous anger. "Not anymore." Taking another breath, he lifts his chin and speaks as one taking a leap of faith.
"It has to go to the Council."
The man's eyes shift between Ravenna and Tad solemnly.
"Probably for the best." The bear doesn't ask which council. "It's a good job most of the people here can't smell it." It might put them off their appetite. For Tad? It's making him rather more tempted than normal to sample his own stock. After closing time, maybe.
"Yeah that's the vibe I am getting from it." Ravenna says with a slight frown and slowly goes for her beer again, but once he says where it needs to go, she lets out a dejected sigh. "Of course they do. That'll be me, I'm the one you were probably sent here for. Please tell me that bag is warded and all of that bad mojo is going to stya inside."
The knight's eyes close briefly, and he murmurs something in Latin followed by a simple word of thanks to God. When he opens his eyes again, he gives Tad a glance - there is a lot of trust in this moment, a lot of faith, for the bartender as much as the wizard - and eventually looks at Ravenna.
He closes the satchel, fastens the buckle... and holds onto it.
"I believe you," he tells the wizard. "And it's warded. But I won't just hand this over. You should know who I am before taking anything like this from me - and I should know you." He looks straight at her, quietly waiting for her to do the same toward him.
"First we See. Then we deal."
Thaddeus Bailey glances around. He shoots a look to the waitress, and she gently suggests to an incoming customer that he would be very comfortable in this booth over here. There is magic about to happen and he doesn't want civilians any closer to it than needed. Just in case. One large hand is now under the bar. Again, just in case.
Ravenna slowly closes her eyes and nods her head. "Sir, if you will, I am going to need at least two shots of vodka ready and waiting for after what is about to happen. I promise nothing is going to blow up your pub." Ravenna turns her chair toward Michael and shakes her head. "I normally wait for the third date to roll something out like this, but you gave me such lovely presents, I suppose I'll break my rule." With that she'll turn her eyes toward his, allowing the Soulgaze to start.
Probably the most insightful, most enlightening - and most frightening - thing any wizard (that Michael knows of) can endure. And it is something to be endured. For Michael, who is NOT a wizard, it is no less gruelling. To any nearby that can sense the use of magic, the bond of souls between Michael and Ravenna becomes a palpable thing, as though the atmosphere itself has become electrically charged.
Michael holds the gaze resolutely.
Every door in his mind is open, inviting.
Even the darker doors - leading to darker rooms where memories exist of things that 'had to be done'. The events themselves are not for viewing, but the sense of whom Michael was - and is - throughout them remains strong.
When he eventually looks away, he holds out the satchel to Ravenna... and finally bows his head, squeezing his eyes shut and lifting a hand to massage them with his forefinger and thumb. He lets out a breath, looking and sounding exhausted.
Without saying a single word, Tad simply offers a glass of vodka to each of them. Whether he knows what just happened or not? He can smell the magic, and any magic sense turned on *him* will show his, inherent, wild, bound to his very soul. Not a magician, no. Something far more primal than that.
Ravenna shakes her head and takes a deep breath after it is all said and done. Of course, she reaches for the vodka, knocks it back like it was water and winces as it burns it's way down. Once that's completely devoured she'll take the satchel and carefully set it on the bar. "I'll be sure that this is delivered as it should be." She's still trying to shake the images out of her head, but she knows that they will forever be burned there. "Thanks for the vodka, you're a life saver." She say sto Tad.
Foregoing his beer, Michael too reaches for the much stronger drink and downs it in one go. The knight hisses through his teeth at the taste - it's not a favourite beverage of his at all - and puts the glass back down. He gives Ravenna a look once she has the satchel, and then turns his attention toward the barkeep.
"You're more than what you appear," he tells the burly man. "But a good sort, I believe. What's your name?"
"Tad Bailey," the bear introduces, offering his hand. The one that was under the counter earlier. He doesn't allow fights in his bar, and his presence is often enough to prevent them. Especially amongst supernaturals, who can often tell, like Michael, that there's something odd about him - enough to cause, at least, a measure of hesitation.
"I don't think I will leave this to linger in your pub any longer than it must." Ravenna says, getting to her feet and putting cash down on the bar to pay for her time here. Gathering her other items she does give a ndo to both men and a slight smirk. "Try not to find anymore dangerous artifacts, I think you filled your quota for the month with these. Tad, great establishment, perhaps next time I'll try the special." With that she'll wave and walk toward the door, satchel in hand.
Michael gives the woman a nod of his head.
"I hope I never come across such a profane ritual again," he remarks in farewell, then turns on his stool back to Bailey. Letting out a sigh, the man reaches for his beer and adds: "I could really use that meal now, friend."
"Hey, where's..." Aha. Out comes a waiter, handing the tray to Tad to do a human chain to set it in front of Michael. "I hope you don't either. I don't like stuff like that in the bar." The bear shrugs a little. "But...it's something of an occupational hazard."