Closing time at the Adler's Vintage, Alexander and Ravenna get to know each other.
Adler's Vintage, Marina & Waterfront, San Francisco
Tuesday, November 3, 2015, Evening
It's getting close to closing at Adler's vintage, and since it is Monday night, the shop is mostly empty. The lights are still on for reasons, but it's easy to see that Ravenna is spending her time cleaning up around the shop. She's removed the grey vest she normally wears while she's working which leaves her with a crisp white shirt with the store's logo on it and her hair is pulled back in a sloppy bun.
Today Alexander is dressed in his usual black outfit with a lilac shirt. It's a good color on him, really. He's not aware of the fact that the venue has almost closed and thus strolls in quite casually, cane in hand. Looking around, he notices that the place is empty and mutters "Why is my timing always so abysmal?" However, at that precise moment he spots Ravenna tidying the place up before it closes. An eyebrow arches as he recognizes her and he heads in her direction at a leisurely pace, stopping a few feet away and clearing his throat to announce his presence.
Ravenna was about to announce that they're almost closed when she spots who it is. She remembers this gentleman from the day she had to stop deadly magic from infecting her shop. Straightening up after cleaning off a table she'll push a stray bit of hair out of her face. "Your timing is impeccable." She says dryly, smirking just a bit. "Though I suppose we are still open for another fifteen minutes, is there something I could get you?"
Alexander looks a little uncomfortable for a moment, then seems to compose himself. "Actually, madam, I came to call on you. Personally. Though the wine was delicious last time, and I would certainly welcome more, I was hoping we could have a more... private discussion." He looks around, then adds in a more quiet tone "Regarding my last visit. I'm not sure if you recall the specifics." He's being vague, because it’s not his style to just come right out and say things. But it's pretty clear to what he is referring.
"Madam, do I appear to be that old?" Ravenna gestures to the empty room around her and shrugs. "We're not going to get any more private than this. Well I'm sure we could but we're not that friendly." She will at least walk over to the door, flip the open sign and lock the door, so hopefully people don't think to wander in. "I'm guessing you're wondering what I did with the item?"
Alexander turns slightly pink at Ravenna's immediate response. "I was merely being polite. While I would never hazard to guess a woman's age..." He trails off, because he can't see a safe way of ending that sentence. He lets out a slight chuckle at her statement about being 'friendly.' "I assure you, miss, that is the furthest thing from my mind. I would not be so inappropriate." As he taps his cane on the ground, he nods at her assumption. "You are a shrewd woman. Indeed, I was curious what became of the object within the handkerchief. I will conjecture you were able to contain it, but the disposal of such a thing is a delicate matter."
Ravenna smirks as he trails off with his first statement and grabs an open bottle of wine. She'll motion toward the two wing back chairs by the fireplace while she grabs glasses. "You don't strike me as someone who does inappropriate things, you look more buttoned up than my grandmother." Once she settles in one of the chairs she'll fill the glasses with a white wine. "Indeed, it was a delicate manor, but I followed the protocol for my Order, and I passed the item on to my betters. They assured me that they would take care of it."
Alexander follows Ravenna to the chairs and takes the seat across from her, setting his cane against the arm and crossing his legs, resting his left leg on his right knee. The comment about her grandmother causes him to shift a bit. "I'm not sure how to take that. As a compliment on my chivalry, I suppose. We'll go with that." As she mentions passing the object along and an Order, he nods with interest. "Ah, it is good to know that it is in good hands. Such things are dangerous when trifled with. I, myself, try not to keep artifacts of such a nature nearby. I have select individuals who specialize in properly... dispatching them."
"Indeed they are, and while it was something I might have possibly been able to disperse on my own, it was better that I handed it over. Have you ever heard of the White Council?" She figures since the man already knows about magic in general, that she might as well let her cat out of the bag. "I have yet to see proof of your chivalry, I have seen proof of your manners, which are nearly flawless."
Alexander leans forward with interest at the mention of the Council. "The name is known to me, but I confess to never having come directly in contact with someone of the Council. At least, no one who admitted it to me. I'm certain that I have at some point crossed paths with one, but I'm not exactly on friendly terms as you say with many people." He shrugs at the last statement and says with a very faint tone of humor to his voice "Oh, I assure you I am quite chivalrous. Perhaps I'll have the opportunity to demonstrate it someday."
"Than that's probably all that you need to know about our Order then." Ravenna says with a smirk. "The simple version is that we are an order of Wizards, good ones at that, but we're a secretive order so I am sorry that I am unable to provide more." She finally leans back in her seat and reaches for her wine glass to take along sip from it. "So that explains who I am, and what I did, but that doesn't give me a lick of information about you." When he mentions a demonstration she'll smirk. "Oh I am sure you'd love to show that off."
Alexander narrows his eyes. "Chivalry," he says as he sits up a bit straighter "Is not something to be shown off. It is an attitude, and one I wear with pride." He's not being stuffy, he's defending his... quirkiness. As she explains about the Council, he nods. "It is as I suspected. Perhaps it is best I not know more. They say that Knowledge is a dangerous thing, and the less I know about a secret Order with which I have had no direct contact, the better - and safer - for me." As she mentions not knowing anything about him, he looks away. "What exactly would you like to know? I, too, am a wizard of sorts."
Ravenna holds her hands up defensively and shakes her head. "Forgive me, that is a word that men like to throw around these days without actually knowing the meaning. You appear to have a firmer grasp on the concept, I did not mean to bring it into question." Still she nods her head to his resignation about her Order. "I believe it is. I have come to find more magic users as of late and not all of them have the same sort of restrictions mine has. You say that you're a wizard of sorts, what sorts are you?"
Alexander calms down as she backs off about the chivalry. "I did not mean to alarm you. I understand that people use that word nowadays with no conceptualization of its truth." As she mentions more magic users lately, he says "You know, I too have been noticing an increase in the commonplace mage. That is to say, more and more supernatural beings are crossing my path of late - locally. I used to have to travel to find them. Now they're practically cropping up everywhere." At the question about his magic, he clarifies "I have no innate gift for magic. I am self-taught. I don't know if that even makes me a wizard, but given the extent of what I have mastered I feel somewhat entitled to call myself one."
"From what I gathered, there is some sort of convergence happening. I have heard that people fell asleep in one town, and woke up here. I don't know if something huge is going on, or if we're just being fucked with by other supernatural forces. Granted, I felt a pull to come here myself, but I wasn't on the other side of the country." Hearing about his magic, she nods her head. "My power is inherent, but I still have a lot to learn about wielding it. Though I am considered a full wizard by my Order's standards, meaning I have passed certain tests and am free to practice as I choose. Within limits of course."
Alexander listens with attention and nods periodically at what she says. "Indeed, I too have noticed a strange... change in certain things. It's as if places that did not belong are suddenly here, and places that were here are suddenly not. I've lived in San Francisco for some time, but I mostly isolate myself to my country manor. It's safer there, warded as it were." Shrugging, he continues "So most of those changes have gone unnoticed. But I have heard of what you speak in the circles I travel in." As she goes on to explain her magic, he pipes up "Well, innate magic then? That's fascinating. I've learned everything through study and practice. I feel as if I've reached the pinnacle of my potential in such arts, however. Tis a shame."
"That sounds like the life of a Wizard." Ravenna says dryly. "The vineyard is also heavily warded, we actually just replenished them over the weekend, as we do with every new year." At least the Pagan one. "I don't know what it is that is happening, but I am sure that in time, all will be revealed, and I have a feeling not many of us are not going to like it." Frowning she nods her head. "I suppose there comes a point in everyone’s life that you've learned all that you can. I hear it's something to do with memory, or age, or some other lame excuse. My magic makes it impossible for me to interact with most modern technologies. Which is why you see that this room is as about as Amish as you can get." Which might explain while the room is lit by candles.
Alexander nods in understanding. "Well, I am glad you approve of my lifestyle." There's a certain dry wit there, he's trying to make a joke. "And you are correct that all things are revealed in due time. We must wait to see what Fate awaits us." As she goes on to mention limitations and her own technological problems, he tilts his head thoughtfully. "I do not know what my limitations are. Perhaps I simply have not found anything new to study and learn from. My library is vast, but even it does not contain every occult volume known to man." With a distasteful look, he adds "And there is certain magic I will not consider touching." The corner of his mouth tugs up as he says "I'm not good with technology either. Though it is not magic that impedes me, just... let's call it being old-fashioned."
"Isn't that the role of a proper wizard? The solitary life of contemplation, while grumbling about the kids being on your lawn? Either that or a white spire to look down upon the world, but no one builds those these days." Ravenna muses while she sips from her wine. "Well if you are self-taught, than you likely don't have such limitations. I could be powerful, dangerous, but we govern ourselves to keep such things from happening. Which keeps us from touching those more forbidden magicks, besides, Necromancy is just disgusting." There is a twinkle of amusement in her eyes before she tilts her head at him. "And just.. how old-fashioned are you?"
Alexander chuckles and says "I have a country manor that is warded for protection. It's completely inaccessible except by magic. Perhaps someday I'll welcome visitors, but for the time being my artifacts and books are too precious to risk." He's been sipping the wine casually between talking. The mention of Necromancy causes him to visibly shudder. "I concur with your sentiment. I wouldn't touch Necromancy if my life were threatened." Which is has been, not that anyone can actually kill him. As far as he knows. Narrowing his eyes at her, he goes on "Perhaps there is more I can learn, but not having the Gift from birth limits my strength. While I could learn a great deal more magic, I fear it will never be as strong as someone such as yourself. So in a way, we are both limited by things beyond our control." The question of his 'old-fashioned' nature causes him to look uncomfortable. "Let us just say that I have been around sufficient time to see customs change. Significantly."
"If you do, let me know. I would love to get a look at your library. Our family library is extensive, but a lot of it is personal accounts of all the wizards who have lived at the Vineyard, and some from before my family came over from the 'old country'." Ravenna even makes air quotes when she says the words. "Besides technologies I have other weaknesses. I never got a knack for potions, though I still enjoy gathering the ingredients for them. My fire magic isn't what it should be, and while I could hone it more, I chose to focus on what I was good at. I enjoy rituals, planning out what will happen, gathering the components and the anticipation of it all coming to fruition." She'll drink form her glass again and stretch out her legs. "Significantly means at least a century. A lot happened in the last one, especially with different customs, and technology."
Alexander nods absently. "Mine is a collection of times, history, academic and of course the supernatural. Almost every subject, even some of that which is forbidden, is available to me." He tilts his head in the opposite direction and says "Perhaps when we're a little more acquainted it can be a possibility." Never say never. As she goes on to explain her magic, he shrugs. "I've no skill in the magic that commands the elements. Fire, water, wind, all that business is beyond me. I assure you, whatever degree of mastery you have over such far exceeds my capacity. And potions, well, I'm not much of an alchemist." As she mentions the word century, he coughs. Taking another sip of wine, he looks slightly caught off guard. "Well. A century, eh? Do I really look so dated?"
"Perhaps it is best you keep me from the forbidden things, it's better that I not be tempted to learn them." Ravenna says in a practiced manor, as if she has been saying the phrase her whole life. "Air and earth are my strengths, which comes in handy when you're life revolves around growing grapes. The ability to call a storm in times of draught have been helpful over the years." When he mentions alchemy and potions she smirks. "Those are two very different things to me. Alchemy changes one element into another, potions are nasty little drinks that help improve your life, or hinder it were you to be so wicked." When she catches him off guard she smirks. "Looks have nothing to do with it. Sure, your clothing isn't up to date, but you could one of those people who enjoy dressing up in costume. It's your manners and attitude that have me guessing you're at least a century old. Wisdom of that level doesn't come around in a handful of decades, let alone a lifetime."
Alexander frowns faintly. "They're kept under lock and key. Such things are not to be handled so frivolously." As she mentions her strong suits, magic wise, he looks impressed. "Air and earth both? How talented. And, I agree, it must come in quite handy when used creatively." The explanation of the difference between alchemy and potions earns a reserved chuckle. "I should have known that, but neither of those things are the sort of magic I practice so I must confess to not being well versed in the specifics." Her observations about him and the reason for pegging his age earns a respectful nod from him. "You are quite the shrewd observer. I will be quite frank, it numbers just over two." He's speaking of centuries, of course.
"Of course not." Ravenna says with a nod of her head. "It's not uncommon for someone of my Order to master more than one element, some of the older ones might have time to master all of them, but none of them had shops to run." Granted she brought this on herself. "And it works well defensively, for those situations that cannot be avoided. Thankfully I have avoided them since I've moved here." Though she fears that fate might deem otherwise. "Over two? Well that is unexpected." She does some quick math and raises a brow. "You really have seen the times change. Tell me, did you revolt against women wearing trousers?"
Alexander blinks. "All of them? Really? That sounds like quite a challenge, to do properly. Spreading oneself a bit thin, isn't it?" He sounds more curious than critical. As she mentions the shop and how her magic has come into play he responds "I've never really been much for shops. I mean owning them. I trade in antiques and occult artifacts, which is why I was present at our last meeting here. But I refuse to open a shop. I'm a specialized broker, after all." Shrugging at her questions about women's rights he shakes his head "I don't get involved in civil unrest or politics. People should be free to do as they please. I must admit that while my mannerisms may be a bit outdated, I have found that my views on humanity have not changed and there's never been anything wrong with them."
Jack of all trades, master of none, though oft times better than master of one." Ravenna quotes, before she shrugs her shoulders. "It could be a matter of pride honestly. What else are you going to do with your time when you're old and no longer taking on apprentices?" Looking around she has a bit of pride on her face. "I wanted something of my own. Granted, it would have been better if I built the shop from nothing, but bringing the brand to the city has improved sales both here and at the vineyard itself. Honestly I couldn't sit there under my family's wings for much longer, I needed to branch out. I only have a year to prove myself, and I hope by then I will be turning a profit. I will say that my electric bill is very, very low." She says with a smirk.
Alexander listens to the quote and then her explanation of why the older wizards practice -all- the arts. "Apprentices? What an interesting concept. I imagined such things had become unpopular by now." As she goes into the explanation of her shop and family he says "All that is well and good, I completely understand the desire. Not that I share it, but I can see your point." Something she says catches him off guard and he asks "What do you mean by one year to prove yourself?"
"Where else are you going to learn from, it's not as if there is some magical school out there. I thankfully had aunts and uncles to teach me, since there were a lot of us in the family that are gifted with magic." Getting to her feet she'll gesture toward the door. "My family put up a lot of money for me to experiment in this, and they want to make sure that it isn't wasted of course." Ravenna says with a smirk. "But now it's officially closing time, and I must finish up here and get to the rest of my duties. The conversation was lovely, I hope to have more of them in the future." She says with a smile as she escorts him out of the shop.