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  • Winner Winner Raven Dinner!

    Guest Istas Trenor

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    Guest Istas Trenor

    9/11/17 8PM


    The crash of the bowling pins was thunder, deafening to the shifter after years of the same sounds day in and day out. She could not help wincing a little and rubbing over one lobe as she moved slowly past the bowlers filling the lanes, weaving around one of the waitresses serving drinks from the bar with a tray of snacks supported easily in one hand. But Issy refused to leave the casino, even if this was the last place she should be with what little cash she had.


    Her parole officers words still rang in the young womans mind, just a little louder than that of the breaking formation of pins on the other end of the bowling lanes. The man had been most annoying that morning, his nasally voice irritating and filled with the hateful tone she had come to expect from most of the prisons guards...


    "If you miss your call-in, you will receive a visit fr-"


    "I know, I won't miss the calls, I'm not stupid."


    "Remember to report your income and living arrangements at each report."


    "I know, jesus! Can I go now? God!" She sat insolent in the chair across from the officer signing the last few pages of her release papers and trying to ignore the guard in the corner that was more than ready to put the cuffs back on her and escort her back to her cell. There would be another of those awful drinks waiting for her, Issy almost able to taste the foul concoction from where she sat on the edge of freedom.


    "If you should be detained for any reason whatsoever-"


    "Yea, yea, I'll be taking a happy little trip right back here.  Woo. Are we done?"


    The officer, Roberto she was told, though she believed that about as much as she believed the big guard behind her was not gay, gave her a flat look for the longest time before finally turning the stack around for her to sign at the bottom as well. "Sign here." The parchment simply said that she was no longer a detainee and was now on a one year parole. If she should be caught in any crime for whatever reason, she would be returned to New Alcatraz as a permanent resident for the rest of her freakish life...


    Those documents, two grand in cash, a notepad with some numbers, and an ID identifying her as one of the 'freaks' were all she had outside of prison now with no promise of work, employment, or anything remotely secure to rely on. Most of the folks she had known were likely dead, so there would be no mooching off a friend (or former tool, even) for anything now. All she had was in her pockets and here she was walking through a casino. Issy grunted in annoyance and stepped out of the bowling alley and back into the main hall, the clang of gamblers to greet her this time instead of the boom of breaking pins.


    It was an old habit, at that point, to turn her eyes casually around the room, picking out the cameras easily as well as the subtle placement of what amounted for the casinos security staff. They were designed to blend in with the setting seamlessly to make customers feel as at ease as possible. Some were enjoying a horse race on the huge screens in one section ahead while most kept busy at the gaming tables, shouting mirth or disbelief at a hit or missed mark. And beneath it all, Issy felt the pull of the thief in her as she moseyed towards one of the Pachinko machines occupied by...well it didn't matter. They were making themselves an easy target by their casually placed winnings cup at the edge of the bench beside them. The shifter felt the lure of a bit more cash to add to her limited funds even before her feet began to carry her closer, stopping next to him to watch over his shoulder and oh so subtly position herself from there so that the camera overhead and the other down and to the right would not see how her hand slid down through the shadows of their close bodies towards the cup with its winnings and wads of bills and coins....

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    Toghenma didn't typically go gambling, not because he didn't enjoy it, but more because there were much more productive ways to spend one's money.  That being said, he'd felt the urge to do something frivolous that day so to the casino he went.  When he first arrived, he'd started with card games.  He played some poker with some stone-faced poker veterans who were almost as perceptive as some of ARMA's covert operatives.  One man had been able to tell that he was bluffing based off of some minute muscle movement in his cheek, or some silliness like that.  Tog thought the poker players had to be magical in someway to be able to read him and one another so well, but his necklace and mage's senses were still and quiet.  Sometimes, practice and natural skill could do some pretty spectacular things.


    Naturally, Tog lost all of the chips he put into that game within a fairly small amount of time, though he got some compliments from a couple of the players who stated that he was quite good for a beginner.  They said that if he wanted some pointers on how to hide his tells and on how to catch other people's, that come by at the same time next week.  Apparently this group had been meeting regularly for quite some time now.  Promising to take them up on that offer, he bid them fair well, and then made his way to something a little less skill intensive.  After some bad luck with a roulette game, and losing a series of blackjack games that were almost certainly rigged, he decided to settle down at one of the Pachinko machines.  At least if he lost at this machine, he wouldn't feel too bad.  Next to him, he had a little cup which was filled with what remained of his converted money.  All in all there was about $100 in there, and he'd set it just to the left of his seat.  


    Putting a coin into the machine, the small metal balls shot out and he began to play for the jackpot.  That's when he sensed the presence of someone magical approaching him.  Tog divided his attention between the machine and the sensation, trying to pinpoint it.  For the longest time, Tog's magical senses had been rather untrained, a fact that he mitigated using the sensory necklace he wore which served a very similar function.  However, in recent months, he'd been exercising them quite a bit, and now he was able to sense magical power in much the same way that the necklace did though with greater clarity and discrimination, if in a significantly smaller smaller range.


    The magical entity was now standing more or less behind him, though Tog pretended to be engrossed in the bright display of the machine.  Now that she was so close, he could practically perceive her shape in his mind without looking at her, the magic she gave off giving form to the senses in his head.  Whoever this pickpocket was, she much not have been very accustomed to robbing those with magical sense.  Even someone with as little talent in that department as Tog could more or less see what she was doing.  Tog moved swiftly, his hand blurring and he grabbed the hand of the pickpocket as it rested just above his cup of money.  Turning his head, he gave the woman a look that said, 'Really sweetheart?'  At first, he debated making a big deal out of what she'd tried to do, but he wasn't really one who liked to get people into trouble, and in this world, there were many worse things one could be into than petty thievery.  Aware of the cameras, he put on an embarrassed expression and gasped.


    [Togen] Oh I'm sorry!  I was just trying to get my cup!  I didn't mean to grab your hand like that.  How embarrassing. [/Togen]  With that, he snatched his cup and continued to hold onto it so that the woman didn't get any other ideas.  He let go of the woman and let out a fake embarrassed giggle.  [Togen]So you, like Pachinko, huh? [/Togen]

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    Guest Istas Trenor

    The man seemed oblivious to her, but then looks could be perceiving. She could remember a time when her skills had been so novice that nine out of ten times she would wind up caught and chased off without so much as a penny to show for it. Her sense for combat was fairly lacking, all things considered, which meant fighting for what she tried to steal never happened. Survival of the fittest for a Bird did not make one keen to lose their feathers or flesh alike. Still, Issy was cautious, sparing a sideways look to the cameras once again and keeping her body positioned so that nothing would be seen.


    Just a quick dip of the fingers in, grab a small handful, and slip away with nobody the wiser. Running with the whole cup would make her more likely to be caught than making off with a few dollars worth of play! She thought for sure she would be home free when the rim was almost touched, but the man at the machine shifted...It was such a small, innocuous thing that others might have mistaken the flutter for nothing more than a man trying to get more comfortable on the seat while playing. But she knew better. The problem was that it was too late.


    Before she could simply walk away, allowing arm to swing in what would appear a natural flow of one sliding away from the machines and back into the crowd, the man had her hand. She went rigid, flight instincts almost summoning the Raven but unwilling to risk injury in that more frail form by his unimposing grip. He was smooth, no less, the shifter locking eyes with the stranger as he oh so casually mentioned simply grabbing her hand instead of his cup by mistake (which was now taken out of reach, notably) before she was released.


    Allowing for barely a moments breath after he grabbed her, she picked right up, adding inflections of disbelief and just a small bit of annoyance that he could make such a mistake. "You wanna watch where your swinging that hand then? I was just walking by man. What'dya think I was, some kinda pickpocket? Geez, lighten up!" It was all perfectly reasonable and believable, Issy pulling her hand back with a sharp tug and rubbing the wrist as if he might've hurt her. "And nah, I'm not much for the machines. I like something with more risk, less chance to it." That was pretty close to the truth, honestly, Issy taking a small step back now and folding her hands behind her back, having taken note of how he guarded his cup more closely now.


    "Like Roulette. All risk, there. The odds aren't really in your favor, especially if the house weights the ball...not that I'm accusing or anything!" She added quickly, noticing one of those gentleman in falsely casual clothing pass her, the earpiece they wore identifying them easily. "Course, I'm just on my way out anyways. Nothin' but bad luck tonight, heh." She grinned, a bright and friendly thing that lit up those dark eyes congenially. "Couldn't even get a strike on the lanes, a real bummer that since it's nothin' but a bunch of old men in suspenders in there. You'd think a gal could best that lot!"


    Shuffling her feet a bit, she spared a final look at the casino-man then turned her attention back to Tog. Out of sight, she subconsciously rubbed her grabbed wrist and blew out a quiet breath, still wondering how it was the man had guessed. Issy was good and though holed up for too long, she was still good enough to get away with most of the easy stuff. It wouldn't pay the bills, but it would get her settled probably faster than a job hunt would. Ex-cons might not be so bad as some of the altered and magicals out there these days, but humanity still frowned upon it...especially if your rep was as a thief.

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    [Togen] Roulette huh?  Not really my cup of tea, especially considering that I don't seem to have the requisite luck to play that game. [/Togen] He smiled wryly, remembering the fifty dollars he'd lost oh so quickly just an hour before at a game of roulette.  When he'd arrived Tog had set himself a reasonable fifty dollar limit.  Now he'd more or less spent four times that, and while it didn't dent his pocket book too much, he lamented the sudden lightness of his wallet.  The fire magus vowed to himself that he would never play that game again if he could help it, not unless he'd found a four leaf clover and seen a shooting star first.  


    Tog was somewhat surprised by his new acquaintance and underneath the mask of cheerful embarrassment, he examined her closely in the magical spectrum.  It was said that a very experienced mage could tell what kind of magic a person possessed merely by looking at them, but that had never been Tog.  All he could tell was that she possessed talent, and little more than that.  Still, he didn't need his senses to know that the girl had skill. She had shifted into their polite fiction rather quickly, hardly missing a beat.  Few pickpockets had the fortitude to remain at the scene of the crime, let alone play along with their target after being caught.  Not to mention that the girl really had been smooth in her execution of the theft.  Anyone without magical senses would never have caught her in the act.  Even a less exerienced magus might not have.  In short, this woman had experience, and that made her interesting to Tog.  Resonance had made many a thief out of formerly straight shooting individuals.  Necessity and a need to survive had pushed so many people into avenues of work that they would never have considered in the pre-Resonance world.  Yet it was also rare for someone to survive very long in these lines of business without being pretty damn talented, or having an ace up their sleeve.  This girl was magical, and she was clever.  It was this that made Tog say, 


    [Togen] Well, I am hardly a believer in coincidences anymore.  If you're on your way out, how would you like to join me for a drink.  By way of apology. [/Togen]  To those listening it would seem as if he was apologizing for grabbing her hand, but the small look of amusement he flashed her said that he wasn't the one who would be apologizing.  [Togen] And before you think this is some kind of a come on or something, I'll just let you know that I bat for the other team, but you seem interesting, and I'm always looking for new friends. [/Togen]  


    [Togen] Plus, I wanna leave while I still have money to my name...[/Togen] he said, grimacing.

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    Guest Istas Trenor

    Though lacking any sort of extraplanar senses beyond what the Raven provided, the woman knew when she was being evaluated. It was the same kind of looks the officers would give her each time she missed an opportunity to take from the guards. She had been fortunate enough to never have to be dropped into the hole, her behavior not quite so poor as to warrant that level of detention. Still, it was the weighing and calculating look and sense about the man that identified him as one who was judging. This was further underlined by the offer her presented next.


    Issy shifted her feet uncertainly, a nervous bird ready to fly and looked about the room again, certain to see the ranks closing in upon her, cuffs ready and a little black-rimmed cup that smelled like stale water and tasted worse than horse crap...It made her 'quills' stand on end, searching for the cage. That he admitted this was not an attempt to get cozy only made her sense of comfort drop even further. He wasn't turning her in to casino management, though, which lumped him in her mind as an undercover agent of some sort. Was her parole officer spying on her?


    Issy kicked herself and bit her cheek to keep a far too bird-like squawk from being expelled. She was getting paranoid after just a day and absolutely had to stop it. However, neither could she feel completely comfortable following this man who'd already caught her trying to steal from him once. Besides..."I don't really drink alcohol..." Now that was more of a lie. She loved a good whiskey, but she hadn't had a shot since before her imprisonment. And though it appealed, it was also god-awful expensive. A five dollar half-glass was five bucks that could pay for a train ticket to a shelter for the night. Five bucks that could be used towards a few days meals until she could get some permanent (or even temporary) labor. Five bucks that she couldn't afford trying to spend on this nobody who thought he was hot shit, trying to con the con. The woman hushed a grunt of perturb and eyed him silently a moment longer.


    "Besides, I can't really do the drinkin' thing right now. I blew what was left of my cash in the lanes." That should satisfy him enough and keep the little fake tale going without too much need for investigation. "So unless yer cool with us just sittin' at the bar, lookin' like fools drinkin' nothin' but water, I think maybe I'll pass." Issy let her eyes slide over him quickly, searching out of habit for the location of his wallet, but done in such a way that suggested she was simply glancing at the floor where a glimmer had 'caught' her attention before returning her gaze to meet his. She might still be able to come out on top of this if she could nab his wallet. Credit was no good when cards could be cancelled faster than you could swipe them. But cash changed hands quickly and could not so easily be tracked.


    The voice of her parole officer flitted across the surface of her mind once more, an echoing reminder that if she was brought in again, things might not be so easy as the first time. It was that alone that stilled her making out a plan to nick his wallet on his way out. Though ready to depart, she could not make her feet move, held in place by the knowledge that a word from this man might force her to fly the coop, literally. She kept her cool, though, and added in a very low voice, lips barely moving to keep it just between them. "I don't have much cash anyways, mister. I'd rather not waste my time in a bar, yea? You're not gonna turn me in, are you?"

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    Her refusal to go with him outright was actually another point in her favor.  Tog would have been just as wary of a such a stranger's motives if he were in her shoes.  Not only was she clever, but she was cautious too, levelheaded.  Yes, Tog knew that he was looking at a diamond in the rough, someone who could be molded into someone productive, someone useful.  Leaning back in his chair, he folded his arms and picked up the little cup which contained a hundred dollars.  He placed it closer to the girl, but didn't remove his hand from the mouth of the small receptacle.  


    [Togen] Alright then, let me pose this to you a different way.  My name is Togen, and I have a history of helping people out of shitty situations.  It's not for any real gain on my part, it's just something of a hobby of mine.  I can't stand to see people suffering, and there is a lot of suffering out there. [/Togen]  The fire magus reached into a coat pocket with his other hand and reached into his wallet yanking out another hundred dollar bill.  Casually, he placed it into the cup.  [Togen] Now in my experience, people don't usually resort to petty thievery at Pachinko machines when they are doing well with their lives.  Either a thief is killed, they retire, or they graduate up to bigger and more expensive things.  [/Togen]  Tog let go of the cup.  [Togen]  That means I've caught you at a very opportune time missy.  You haven't really chosen which of those options you plan to take.  So I am going to make you an offer.  You may choose to accept or decline the offer as you desire, and if you decline, I will disappear and besides happenstance you will likely never see me again. [/Togen]


    Toghenma swiveled his chair until he was facing the girl directly, his eyes no longer quite so cheerful, his demeanor no longer playful.  [Togen] What I offer you here is an opportunity to, perhaps. discover that you are capable of far more than you think you are.  In a way, you'd be working for me, though your job would be to improve yourself.  To discover your true capabilities and to build yourself a stable living environment.  You would not be the first person I've helped this way, but everyone's skills are different, and I can hardly stand by and watch potential go to waste.[/Togen]  His eyes locked with her briefly before he stood up.  The fire magus stood straight, and despite the fact that he wasn't that tall, he bore himself like someone who towered over others.  He disliked being so serious, but he found that the stern mentor approach worked better than the relaxed bartender method when it came to cases like this.  A little part of him was always worried that if he acted like this for too long he'd break something and stay that way.  Then what fun would life be?  


    [Togen] This is yours. [/Togen]  Tog pushed the cup filed with 200 dollars towards the woman.  [Togen] Two hundred bucks, no strings attached, they're yours.  If you want, you can walk away with them right now and that'll probably be the easiest money you'll even make again.  Or, you use a little bit of that money, and meet me at the Guilded Rooms, a few miles away from here, in three hours.  When you arrive, leave the rest of the 200 at the front desk.  The man there will know what to do with it.  Then you'll come up to Room 301, and we'll talk about what happens next.  It's up to you how you wish to proceed.[/Togen]  He began to walk away from the girl and as he was turning the corner, he flashed her a smile.  [Togen] Think carefully about your choice though.  Success and stability is always great, but it's hard work too, though you already know that.  [/Togen]  And with that he turned the corner and was gone.  The fire magus headed straight for the exit and his car.  He would await the girl's arrival in three hours.  Let's see if he couldn't make something out of this thief.  

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    Guest Istas Trenor

    Her eyes followed his movements as much as her ears picked out his words, marking where his wallet was mentally. Though she wasn't going to attempt it, the habit could not so easily be deterred. So when he offered her a hundred bucks and his name, her first thought was repulsion. Whoring was definitely not her thing, not since the old gang fell to the wayside with the Event. She might have some decent looks to her name, but paid sex was too much of a risk for her. She might wind up dead or jailed as a thief, but she didn't want to be suffering some sick alien disease with all the world-shifts that'd happened. You never knew what kinda illness people carried!


    But as this...Togen...went on, she began to understand. Link it to the fact that he was a gay man, it made more since. It wasn't sex or even a good ol' fashioned BJ he was after: he was looking to elevate her to something better than what he described simply as petty theft. He had the courtesy to keep his voice down, at least, Issy shifting where she stood and eyeing the cup while he talked of offering her the opportunity for advancement. Was he some sort of con-lord? The big time guys that did large-scale thefts professionally, to the point that they could procure nearly anything a buyer asked of them with nothing more than a name and location of the item. Issy had made certain that she never got involved with that sort, knowing too well that if one was ever brought down, they all would be. Either that, or you were thrown under the boss as the cover for it all. Better off just being a one man army, in that sense.


    Taking the now offered cup, the woman glanced inside and even allowed a finger holding the rim to flit through some of the coins, nudging aside the bill as she did so but not dismissing it. When she found her voice, though, her tone was even more cautious. He at least had pegged her as something worthy of note, the Raven's pride identifying and accepting the praise easily. "Success is measured in the accomplishments of your life and the risks you took to get them. Why should I trust that if I show up at that time you and this other guy won't shank me before I can take a step back out the door? Or in for that matter? I'm far more keen on living than dying, you know, even with so fucked up a world as this." She didn't really expect an answer as the man made his exit, leaving the free money with the shifter without another backwards glance.




    Scrubbing her face with her free hand, Issy grumbled and made her way to the exchange booth to turn in the coins and get the sum. She left with a stone in her belly that this might well be  the worst idea in her life. The flipside, though, that little voice that'd often benefited her greatly was whispering that this was the best opportunity she had. It wouldn't be her money she would be spending, but this mans. Pausing at the tobacco shop nearby, she grabbed a pack of Camels, nodding her head to a...thing...that looked like some cross between a cricket or mantis or some other creepy insect, a fish, and a man. She thought at first he might be an Altered, but the unusual speech (a watery echo that rose and fell in pitch) was definitely nothing even an altered human could reproduce. Maybe it was a Veil Crosser. Who knows. With all of it done, she took a walk, her mind echoing this Togen's words as she dragged on one of the cigarettes from the pack. It was still risky, but...


    "Better than possibly sleeping on the street tonight." That decided her. She could've taken to the Raven form and slept in the cities upper levels, the various ledges offering a safe spot for her to reside as she desired. But she didn't want to sleep outside and didn't want to sleep on a ledge. She wanted a proper bed in a proper room with a proper blanket...


    Coming to the streets edge, Issy stared up at the dark sky and took a moment to do some calculating for how long it'd take to get to this "Guilded Rooms". By wing, it would take probably no more than a few minutes. Then she could save the "bit" that she would have otherwise had to spend, feign the cost of a taxi, and give Togen's 'man' the rest. Yea, that sounded good. But first, to see if she was going to be setup.


    There was little more than a flash when she shifted, the snowy white of her secondary form stark against the dark concrete while beady blue eyes flitted to everything in sight. It always stood out more sharply in this form than otherwise, Issy gathering herself up and taking wing now with a noisy RAWK. Time to get a move on!




    She arrived more than an hour early at the location, the Raven perching on a powerline across from the building and eyeing the third story. She was not sure which room 301 was, but it was obviously on the third level. The only reason it'd taken so long to get to that point when she'd flown was the simple fact that a much larger and more aggressive Shifter had caught sight of her and thought they'd be more clever and cruel and try and catch them a raven for dinner. She denied that with some fast maneuvers that eventually outran the fellow and allowed her to take the straight shot to the Guilded Rooms.


    With a final ruffle of her feathers, she lifted from the power line and picked her perch at random on the third level, coming to a halt in front of the first window on the right facing the street. Would it be the right one? What would she hear?

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    The Gilded Rooms, was a colloquial name for a set of condo complexes in the better side of town.  The place is so named because it is one of the most ritzy places in the city, and the only reason Tog was able to afford living there, was because he'd done the owner of the Gilded Rooms a very big favor.  The owner of the buildings, a man named Tobias Grant, worked out an arrangement where he was able to live for free in the building, and should Tobias need Togen's help again in the future, the fire magus would provide it.  Besides, Tobias was rather handsome.  He'd help the man just to be able to sit next to him for a couple of minutes.  This latest arrangement was not quite as easy to negotiate.  While Mr.Grant was a reasonable and even generous man, he was always hesitant to help the magus with his humanitarian projects, as it always involved him losing out on a bit of money.  Of course he usually always acquiesced in the end with a bit of haggling, and Togen couldn't blame the man for being cautious with his investments.  Indeed, the man was far more trusting of Togen now than he had been upon their first meeting, where he'd had the magus detained for suspicious activity.  'How things change.'  Togen thought with a small smile.  The price Togen agreed to pay in order to have Tobias grant him his requests was to pay a small amount of rent while the project was in motion.  Once it ended, their arrangement would return to normal.  All in all, it was a small price to pay, and Tog made a note to buy Tobias an expensive bottle of wine the next time he passed by a store.


    Togen turned on the tap and filled up one of his ornate tea cups almost to the brim.  With a small effort of will, he heated the water until the cup pleasantly warmed his hands and wisps of steam rose in lazy tendrils.  He plopped a tea bag into it and waited, watching the water go from clear to faintly reddish, then to something more like purple after a little prodding.  Tog had enjoyed drinking tea ever since he was little, and he had a cabinet more or less devoted to different flavors of the stuff.  His favorite was Cherry tea, which was just sweet enough not to need any extra sugar to make it perfect.  As he took a sip, he found his eyes wandering to the clock.  The girl was due to show up soon, and he really hoped she would.  Though it would be no skin of his bones if she decided to skip town with the 200 dollars, he would always wonder what she could have become had she made the other choice.  A number of new magi serving under him and his allies in ARMA were success stories from his out reach program.


    Tog stood up and moved to his couch, which was white and covered with a couple of brightly colored throw pillows.  He plopped onto it after putting his tea cup onto the coffee table, and let out a sigh.  Looking out of the large windows across from him, he could see the city lit up by the lights of other buildings, cars moving to and fro, and people in the windows of neighboring buildings going about their business.  A bird of some kind landed on the ledge of his balcony and he glanced at it for a moment before dismissing it.  It was a balcony, birds landed there all the time.  Besides, his apartment was well protected.  Over the past few years he'd had the place warded with numerous deterrence and alarming enchantments courtesy of some members ARMA, just to make sure no one got any funny ideas about breaking in or trying to kill him in his sleep.  If an unauthorized aura was identified by the room, many obnoxious things would happen to make sure that Tog was awake and many abrupt and painful things would happen to the intruder.  Luckily, Tog had yet to need the enchantments, but it was nice to feel secure at night.


     As soon as the girl arrived, one of the security guys down stairs would call him, and then accept the girl's money.  They would send it straight to Tobias and then step one of the program would be complete.  Then when that was done, everything else was more or less on the girl to follow through with.  Tog wasn't going to force her into anything, but he was going to be damn certain that the pros of accepting his deal would far outweigh the alternative, which from what he could tell just offering a place to stay, and a potential for a steady income would already improve her living situation.

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    Guest Istas Trenor

    The raven noted immediately the well-to-do establishment of the interior she peered at, everything white and pristine  and orderly. It set her nerves aflame to cause a little chaos and for an instant she considered trying to break the window just to do so. That was until she spotted the fellow from the casino, moving through the dwelling at ease. Her luck must've been in order as she watched him make his way through the condo and eventually to what she guessed to be the living room, sharp eyes tracking his movements easily and pulling out the vibrant colors of his home as keenly as a heron that fished.


    The man looked completely at ease, making the woman within the bird feel all the more uncertain about this affair; but she could not identify anyone else within, at least no one moving in the living room. Just the man with his dark hair and slightly oriental features. Ruffling up her feathers, she canted her head 'round and peered back down to the street, then across where a clock blinked red from what could've been a bank for all she knew. She still had thirty minutes. Showing up early, though, would convey eagerness. And though what he proposed could allow her the ease of settling quickly and even having a job at hand, she didn't want to jump into something that could cause her more harm than good. Twisting her head down, she preened a few of the snowy feathers while she thought.


    The flipside would be to show up late, but that was not a good option either. Tardiness could discourage the man into trusting her, a matter hard to come by when you'd already been caught once. That he thought her no more than a small time crook, of course, made her want to laugh...If he only knew.


    Finally making her decision, she raised her head back from its preening and lifted from the ledge, taking the short route back to the front of the building where she'd land again upon a powerline, balancing easily. She noticed, at that point, the remnants of a sandwich in the trash, and while she was definitely not hungry, the Raven could not help but see an opportunity. Descending to it, she gathered the messy thing into her claws and took off once more, this time flying around to the front and releasing the meatball sub as she passed to splat against the doors glass. Freed of the goop, she alighted over the doorway and stared down, waiting for the doorman to come and open the door. She figured she could just bypass the first step she was told to do by tricking the guy into just letting her in. If luck was on her side, of course.

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    Gilded Rooms: Lobby


    Eric Reager sat at the front desk of the gilded room reading a paper back sci-fi novel as the Foo Fighters played somewhat quietly in the background.  To most that saw him he was a little bit on the chubby side, he wasn't particularly handsome, and over all he cast a rather unimpressive figure standing at little more than 5'7 or so, though he was dressed in an immaculate suit that befit his station.  The portly door man often seemed to be slacking off in someway, and often times so engrossed in his work that he noticed little of what happened around him.  In truth, he was actually a rather talented magic user that worked for Tobias, and despite his rather poor work ethic, he was actually rather good at his job.  The man was a psychic of a rather rare sort.  He was a psychometrist, capable of feeling impressions and seeing the psychic imprints left on objects and people.  In it's most light-handed application, he was able to feel what emotions a person who had stood in a specific spot the previous day had been feeling.  In it's most extreme usage, it allowed the man to see imagery of events that had happened in a specific area for days, even weeks in the past.  Tog found this specific ability very unnerving.  When Tog first met Eric, they'd gotten off on the wrong foot, and to show Tog that he didn't merit trifling with, he grabbed Tog's hand and began to relay back to Tog a conversation that the fire magus had participated in the night before.  The fact that this conversation had taken place in a private place, away from onlookers, made the man's demonstration of power all the more startling.  His ability to read these psychic impression was frightfully clear, and what was worse, the man could more or less figure out all of Toghenma's secrets indirectly without really intruding into his mind.  In other words, the guard was dangerous.  As Tog wasn't the sort to kill people just because they presented a threat to him, he decided to just give the man his due respect, and from that time on.  That and Tog demonstrated his  own powers in an extravagant and yet harmless way making Mr. Reager realize that he was not to be messed with either.  Their relationship was quite a bit better now than it had been in those days.  Occasionally, Tog would buy the man another paperback novel for him to read during his breaks.


    That being said, he was still a lazy, stubborn, grouchy and rather inattentive asshole when there was nothing to put him on alert.  So, when a sandwich had been splatted against the sliding glass doors of the Gilded room, he looked up and scowled.  Eric grumbled to himself and picking up a phone next to him, he dialed a number.  The man spoke in an annoyed, nasally voice,


    "Patrick, we have a mess over here.  Clean it up.  Thanks."  then without another word, he hung up the phone and went back to his reading.  A moment later, a rather spindly man, more or less the opposite of Eric in many ways, strolled over pulling a small cart laden with cleaning supplies.  The janitor's outfit was utilitarian and clean, though it seemed to be a little too baggy for the twiggish young man, making him look more disheveled than he otherwise would have been.  Patrick, who must have be fresh out of high school, shot the door man and security guard a defiant look.


    "The door is right there!" Patrick said gesturing with his mop, "You could have just cleaned it yourself!  Or have you gained too much weight to get out of your chair?"


    "Less talking, more mopping.  You're not paid to complain kid." Eric said, turning another page in his book and taking a sip of a diet coke next to a monitor. 


    "And you're not paid to just pig out and sit on your ass all the time, and yet you do it anyways."  Patrick walked over to the sliding doors, which parted, and remained so as he picked up the rancid sandwich with a latex gloved hand, and then put it into a small garbage back.  Then he took out his mop and a cloth, proceeded to removed any remaining goop from the pristine entrance to the building.  "I swear, the building staff might as well hire a pig to watch the monitors!  At least the pig has an excuse to act the way it does!"


    "Ay, you watch yourself kid.  I can have you replaced by some other little shit whenever I feel like it."  The guard pointed a pudgy finger towards the boy. "You better keep your tongue in your head and mind your manners, got that!  Unless Tobias hearin' you've been causing trouble again."  Patrick went quite pale and gulped.  The guard noted the reaction and give the boy a condescending, yet knowing smile.  "That's right.  Now just keep cleaning, and zip your yap, and you won't be kicked outta here."  Patrick turned away from the guard, his lips pressed tightly together in pent up fury, but he just continued to clean the mess the bird had left outside, his body keeping the doors from closing until he finished his work.

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    Guest Istas Trenor



    It was a mistress who loved to trick those who played her card. Sometimes, the misfortune bestowed upon one was a victorious lottery for another, a gamble one the moment glimpsed. Sometimes, she teased and taunted from afar, flirting with many to grant or take what was desired from another.


    So when the door opened, and remained open, a young man stepping out with cleaning supplies to take care of the mess she had purposefully made, Issy almost laughed in delight. She could hear him and someone inside arguing between themselves, but what was said didn't matter much to the snow-feathered bird as she leaned forward a little more adventurously...unfolded her wings...and dropped.


    Her claws brushed the custodians hair with a raucous KRAA before deft manuevering had her twisted around to soar inside, a loose plume falling from her breast as she made straight for the deskman. A white bird, big bill, nearly the size of a large hawk coming straight at your face tended to freak people out quite a bit and she had to hope the man at the desk would just duck for cover as she rawk-rawk-rawked at him, alighting at the top with a flurry of wings. Just in case he wasn't scared enough to back off, the Raven spread her wings again and fluffed up her feathers, mimicing the sound of a snarling dog.


    She took the opportunity thereafter to glance with quick little tilts of her head for a room list so that she wouldn't be flying around randomly on the third floor until she found 301. Once it was identified, the Raven let out a final hissing kraa at both the doorman and the custodian and took off towards the elevator, punching the up button and landing in front of the polished doors, her wings folding comfortably against her side. She positioned herself to leap into the elevator as soon as it opened but as well so she could watch the two other men in case either of them had half a mind to make a grab for her. Oh yes, she was going to surprise Tog. Let the rumors of a crazy bird spread all they wanted, she was bypassing this step one way or another!

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    Patrick had always liked birds.  There were times where he really envied them, able to go anywhere they wanted and travel to places that a human being couldn't.  Often times, he would catch himself day dreaming about becoming one, and making his way somewhere where he could be useful, or at least where he could be happy.  Of course, he was born without any special gifts when Resonance occurred.  His older brother, Roger, who was an asshole of the highest degree, had ended up with at least some useful abilities in the wake of all the chaos that had split their family apart all those years ago, and as a result, Patrick had lived under his tyrannical sibling's torment for a matter of years before Roger dumped him somewhere as useless baggage.  To this day, Patrick was clueless as to his brothers location and he was perfectly fine with that.  'Let him live in his own little power fantasy without me.'  Roger continued to mop up the slop that some bird had dropped onto the front doors of the Gilded Rooms, letting out a sigh every time he had to wring out his mop.  Perhaps it was better to say that he liked the idea of being a bird.


    As he reached the completion of his task, he stood up straight and it was at that moment that a large white bird seems to manifest of out nowhere and nearly raked its claws across his scalp.  In shock, he cried out and stumbled backwards over his own cleaning supplies sending himself and the cart's contents sprawling across the ground.  Door Guard Reager stood up, an effort reserved for only the greatest of emergencies, or the most annoying of patrons, said, "What the?", as a giant bird swooped in and cawed at him so loudly that he flinched.  The man said, "MOTHER OF...." as he dove out of the way of the mad bird's assault on the lobby.  Eric used considerable effort to get to his feet again and inwardly thanked the gods that no one important was there to see this.  


    "Patrick!  Get that thing!"  Eric said, pointing frantically at the bird.  Patrick, who was just picking himself up, cursed to himself and picked up his mop, brandishing it like a quarterstaff.  As he got closer to the bird, it let out an angry sound which deterred him from further action.


    "Now now birdie, just stop right there...and I won't have to mop you..." Patrick said, making a slow approach.  It was then that the elevator arrived, which made both Eric and Patrick momentarily confused.  At the same time, the phone rang, and Eric scrambled to pick it up.  Make himself sound as composed as possible he said,


    "Uh Hello."


    [Togen]Has the woman I asked you about arrived yet?[/Togen] Tog said.  


    "Uh no, nope.  She's still not here.  Sorry.  But if she comes, I'll do what you asked.  Don't worry."  Eric replied in a somewhat calm voice while gesturing emphatically for Patrick to just capture the damn bird already.


    [Togen]Remember, be very respectful, I want her to feel as calm as possible, not like she's going to be attacked at a moment's notice.[/Togen] 


    "Look Tog, this isn't my first rodeo okay!  I know how to handle people.  Now lemme do my job."


    [Togen]Okay okay,[/Togen]  Tog said before he hung up.


    "Jeez," he said under his breathe, "Damn magus is gonna drive me crazy."  The elevator doors slid open.  

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    Guest Istas Trenor

    Mop me?!


    The raven hissed again, incredulous at the idea of it and let her throat pinions extend until it was as bloated as a frog's in spring. If it were possible for the snowy bird to look menacing, she certainly tried in the way her wings extended slightly and she made a threatening hop towards the young custodian. The elevator had dinged at that moment and her head swiveled towards it. The light above said it had landed on the ground floor but the doors were not opening yet. What was more, the phone at the desk rang and the fellow there, Eric, answered, speaking to someone on the other line. Roger, however, was much too attentive on her, that mop rising dangerously...


    The elevator doors slid open and Issy rawked just loud enough at the men for the person on the other line to hear before she hopped in, flapped her wings, and mashed the door close with her beak, forcing it to close while she hovered there. The kid was about to swing the mop in at that point, Issy on the very cusp of freedom from the chaos she had caused. The mop head swung down...Ding. The doors closed, and with a righteous laugh, Issy shifted quickly back, feet touching the ground and hands tugging the jacket she wore more comfortably in place before hitting the 3 button.


    Smug was the best thing to describe the look on her face as she slid to the corner and relaxed while the elevator rose, her eyes half closed and her hand fingering the pocketbook in the jacket pocket, all $2200 tucked within. It was a proud thing she wielded as the machine dinged again and opened onto the third floor, the shapeshifter now making her way casually down the hallway -after noting which way 301 was- to stop in front of her destination. Recalling what he'd said at the casino, Issy smirked anew and opened up the jacket, rolling up her shirt so that it could be wound around the front of her bra and left to dangle a tail between her breasts. She adjusted her jeans at that point to let them ride a little lower then pulled her hair over one shoulder, the ends twisted around her fingers casually as she lifted a hand to knock upon the door four times, leaning against the jamb afterwards.


    The moment the door was opened, Issy let her voice drop in pitch and said in a smoldering voice, "I'm ready for my close up, Mr. Tog..."

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    Tog hung up the phone, one eyebrow raised.  Had Eric seemed just a little bit too calm, and had he heard cawing in the background?  Something was definitely going on here.  Tog slurped down the rest of his tea, and made to pour himself a second cup when he heard a knock at the door.  He paused and looked towards the door for a moment before putting down the tea bag he'd been about to rip open and strode towards the entrance to his apartment.  The very lightest of his wards was giving off a light spiritual buzzing, like feeling static on his skin, which let him know that there was indeed someone standing near his door.  Despite the fact that he didn't think this was going to be an occasion for violence, he found himself grabbing hold of his power anyways, ready to will a spell into motion.


    Pulling the door open, more or less expecting his scheduled visitor, he did not expect to see her made up as if she were going to seduce him into giving her a job.  The way she stood, the way her curves were revealed and accentuated in small ways by her clothes and manner, would likely have incapacitated a straight man.  Tog however, was not such a man.  Instead of standing there with his tongue lolling out of his mouth and touching the floor, he threw his head back and let out a hearty laugh at the sight of her.  It was funny enough that it took him a couple moments to stop giggling, and even then he'd just start up again when he looked at her.  Once the fits of laughter ceased, he let out a sigh and moved to wipe a tear from his eye.  


    [Togen] Oh that's good.  Really quality comedy.  Welcome, please come in, make yourself at home.  [/Togen] and then he turned back into his home shaking his head in amusement.  With a thought, he disengaged the wards that would make it difficult for her to enter the room.  Walking to his desk, he opened a drawer and pulled out a plain manila envelope which was closed tightly and appeared to be rather full.  


    [Togen] Want anything to drink?  Water, Juice?  Or maybe something a little stronger?  I have wine, liquor you name it.  I work as a bartender a lot of the time for fun. [/Togen]

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