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The elf was the epitome of sergeant pepper meets steam punk. The long tailored dark blue blazer's tails flowed down the back of his thighs, shoulder epaulettes dripping delicate braids of silver chain as the knee high boots rose the 5'5" frame to nearly 5'9" with their thick soles and heels. What was startling was the confidence in which it was borne. The elf was not "dressing up", every stitch was worn as though a second skin, even the dark azure top hat with its dark lace border and fluff of peacock feather that lay along the brim to softly flutter off the back of the hat, kissing the ebony waterfall of hair that billowed down to his hips. Front hair had been pulled back and braided to lay over the back cascade, exposing unabashedly the elven ears. The slender elf somehow was elegant and sensual in his almost effeminate grace and not a "dandy" in the attire.

 

Soft click of the ornate cane hit the cement rhythmically as they made their way through the wintery cold to the Federal Reserve building. Storm blue orbs flicked up the walls of the concrete jungle, faint frown on his expression as breath curled in white wisps from his lips.

 

[durion]…how do they live in this dead filth.[/durion]

 

Words were to no one particular as Enaleri fluttered up beside him, her delicate stride looked more like floating than walking as the magenta curls bounced behind her shoulders, the far more modern plum colored dress hung to her ankles, wool coat fitted and cinched at her petite waist with a belt.

 

[npc]It's pretty…. in its own way, though wouldn’t want to live here.[/npc]

 

Like the elf, the fae was more suited to the wild nature of South America. She had made the trek with the boys to New York so she could meet with one of their bigger coffee clients. Starbucks had fallen to the Resonance but in its place Filter had filled the gap. The Filter coffee shops had started to make their way into any and every inhabited city in North America and was already beginning to expand to Europe. Her coffee division just increased volume on the contract by 20% thanks to her negotiations.

 

Long strides halted at the main entrance, a shiver running his spine as the hairs on the back of his neck rose. There was magic thick around this building. Ebony brow lifted, intrigued as he side glanced the other elf. That hadn't been in Kashmir's report.

 

[durion]…well then. Lets see what we can do for our "friends".[/durion]

 

The ornate nature of the interior lobby was appreciated by the deep blues. Perhaps these people were not a lost cause after all. Click of the cane on the marble floors signaled their approach to the reception desk. The woman looked up and paused, unsure what to make of the "animated" trio.

 

Smile was warm as his eyes danced over her, her cheeks warming inexplicably as her lips fluttered into a shy return smile.

 

[durion]I believe we are expected. I am the NARWA president.[/durion]

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[kashmir] The same way the dead filth lives in them. [/kashmir] 
 
The iron elf muttered his words. It was his reality that he spoke. Humans were inert scum, encased in flesh and the occasional personality. He much preferred the company of his fellow veil crossers. Enaleri's bright hair caught his eye as she floated next to Durion. [kashmir]The architecture is impressive, especially given the destruction, not a decade ago.[/kashmir] He felt it necessary to admit some admiration for the resilience of these sub-optimal creatures.
 
The three strode into ARMA's headquarters and Durion announced their presence; a president flanked by his generals.
 
These mages... humans given the slightest window into the power of the cosmos... at least some of them could understand how insignificant they were in the grand scheme of trans-human life the universe had to offer. Brown eyes caught the reflection of his face in a mirrored surface. The fuck was that? Oh... he was scowling. Inward scowls, Kashmir. Hate inwardly, smile outwardly.
 
Kash turned to Durion for a moment.

 

 [kashmir]Something unnatural surrounds us, sir. We should remain vigilant.[/kashmir]
 
The elf was picking up on the wards and magical reinforcements ARMA had put in place to defend the building, but had no understanding of exactly what they were.

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[npc]The delegation is here.[/npc]

Alistair groaned slightly, pushing himself out from under the machine where he'd been working and looking up at the one who'd spoken. Alia was about average height, but thin in a way that made her look almost fragile, with pale skin that was at stark contrast with her dark brown hair and eyes. She had also been Alistair's first apprentice, and these days was one of ARMA's scarier combat mages. He didn't take too much credit for that - the willowy Italian water mage had always been intensely focused, calm under any sort of pressure, and even her anger burned cold and precise. The fact that she happened to be the granddaughter of one of the highest ranking Archmagi currently running the OFL from Vatican City might have been expected to earn her a little mistrust around ARMA considering most of the group had broken away from OFL due to... irreconcilable differences about two years ago, but no one who knew Alia would ever doubt who she owed her loyalty to. Much like with born-again religious types, her anger with the Order burned even hotter than most.

She was also, rather less surprisingly, not-infrequently exasperated with her scattered and sometimes questionably professional former teacher. [npc]Please tell me you didn't forget.[/npc] Alia's jacket and pencil skirt might have worked even if this place was still the nation's highest bank. Alistair's khaki pants and just slightly battered coat (one of a series of duster-length coats he'd worn over the years, this one wool for the winter) probably would not have flown. Even if he had worn a button-down shirt today, it looked even more rumpled than it was next to Alia's cleanly-pressed look.

Alistair blinked at her for a moment, walking over to the sink to wash his hands quickly before he pulled his sleeves back down, working awkwardly at the cuff buttons. As if there was any way BUT awkwardly to do those things. Made to be torture, he was convinced. [alistair]Of course I didn't forget, I was just... hoping if I pretended they wouldn't come, they actually wouldn't. Elves, right?[/alistair]

Alia shook her head, her long single braid rippling down her back for a moment before she snapped a hand out. The faucet turned itself on, and blasted Alistair with spray from nearly head to toe. At another snap of her hand, the water flashed to steam, and Alistair did his best not to jump, instead smoothing out the fabric a bit before he gave his old student a dirty look. [npc]Yes, elves.[/npc] she said, ignoring the fact that she'd just steamed his outfit for him while he was still wearing it.

Alistair decided to ignore it too. For now. [alistair]The fun kind or the snobby kind?[/alistair] he asked, grabbing his coat as he started out of the lab, while Alia followed.

[npc]Well, these ones ARE from South America.[/npc]

[alistair]So, snobby kind.[/alistair]

[npc]Probably.[/npc]

[alistair]Awesome.[/alistair] He got in the elevator for the lobby, and the pair exited about a minute after Durion and the others had arrived to introduce themselves. The grand lobby of the former bank had been retained mostly as it was originally - an impressive welcoming place, though if you looked closely enough you might see where magic had been used to repair significant battle damage over the years. The old Reserve had been a barracks and defensive focal point since Resonance hit. First against the chaos of zombies and uncontrolled altereds, more recently against the OFL itself. But it had always stood the test. He did think it set a slightly unrealistic expectation on the level of class of the people inside, though. They were, after all, more cops and soldiers than anything else. Excepting a few notable examples, like Alia, who'd grown up in the sort of world where appearances tended to be very important anyway.

It wasn't hard to pick out the delegation. There was an elf or two in the building, but they had started out human. New York didn't see a ton of veil-crosser elves these days. There had been some initially, of course, but... Well they unsurprisingly preferred other places to New York's vast expanses of concrete.

[alistair]Good afternoon - I take it you're the group from NARWA? Alistair Greene, I run operations around here. This is Alia Safina, one of my lieutenants.[/alistair] he said by way of introduction, holding his hand out to Durion - the man fit the description that had been given initially, so hopefully that worked. Not that the report had explained that he looked like he stepped out of an 80's glam rock tour...
 

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Perhaps some here weren't worried about how they dressed or presented themselves, and they were soldiers and cops more than anything, but that didn't mean they all lacked professionalism. Cassandra had been keeping to such professionalism in her dress where possible. While she wasn't as dressed up as would fit a bank worker, she wasn't without taste and keeping herself presentable had always been important to her. Didn't matter the work either. Came from all that time moving about her circle in Italy as a dancer; schmoozing the bigwigs meant fulfilling certain requirements of presenting yourself. She'd already partially had that aspect of a work ethic before then, but it'd been enhanced by such experiences. As it was, she wore a dark blue long-sleeved silk blouse with small pearl colored buttons up the front and that had a loose bow done around the neckline with neatly pressed black slacks that hung just over the back of her dark blue pumps. She'd done her hair up in a loose french braid, but there wasn't any ornamentation beyond the normal jewelry to be expected: her locket and her cuff. Both magically enchanted to offer her security in one way or another.

 

It was as she was heading back to her office, files on the Guillotine Murders weighing down her arms, that she took notice of the Elves in the lobby.

 

This was the first time that Cassandra had seen actual Elves. Not meta-human Elves, but veil-crossers standing here in the middle of ARMA headquarters. They looked like quite the trio. The woman — who Cassandra could now tell was Fae not Elf — was shockingly colorful in ways she'd only seen Drag Queens pull off, and they would so be jealous of her style. The one man looked like he'd stepped out of an 80's music video and by the deference being shown in him Cassandra guessed he was in charge. And then there was the last one who was scowling at everything like he'd just stepped in a puddle until he saw his own reflection and the expression changed. An intriguing group indeed that stood out in glaring ways in comparison to the rest of the people walking around.

 

Who are they?

 

Cassandra was still there observing them off to the side, as discreetly as possible, when Alistair and Alia approached the group. She caught the name of the group, and curiosity kept her rooted for a moment.

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[kashmir]Something unnatural surrounds us, sir. We should remain vigilant.[/kashmir]

 

Faint nod bobbed the thick main of ebony.

 

[durion]…magic… a lot of it.[/durion]

 

Quiet words vanished before they reached the receptionist and he made his introduction. Despite his appearances, the elf was well versed in the major players in the concrete jungle so he a knew a little bit about ARMA. They had broken away from the Order of Light. He had a respect for those that shirked the mantel of the elite and made something of themselves. Something he himself had done, though perhaps only because of the great event that ripped him from his own world.

 

Dark blue orbs smiled at the receptionist who seemed to have forgotten to respond to his announcement regarding his station in NARWA. She wasn’t a bad looking thing, for a human, though likely shy as hell in the bedroom based on the tickle of crimson on her cheeks. He was about to note once more that he believed they were expected when another pair of ARMA came through the door. Strikingly dull in attire compared to the elven contingent, they were like the receptionist, attractive enough as far as humans went. The female seemed more confident than the receptionist, definitely would be more fun, not that the elf was looking for company… not tonight at least.

 

As the confident strides marked the head of NARWA he immediately inferred that this was Mr Greene, the assumption confirmed only a moment later.

 

[alistair] Good afternoon - I take it you're the group from NARWA? Alistair Greene, I run operations around here. This is Alia Safina, one of my lieutenants.[/alistair]

 

Alistair Greene. He had been heading up the organization not long ago. Now it had been taken over by an enigma that Durion had yet to learn much about. Aura something. Elegant fingers reached forward to meet the other man's hand, grip surprisingly solid and firm considering the elf's flamboyant aura. Magic. It emanated from both. Releasing the grip he lifted his hand to lightly hold the brim of his hat, inclining his chin to the female with a charming smile.

 

[durion]Durion Caranthir…Head of NARWA… this is Enaleri Thana, Director of our coffee division, and Kashmir Dorsanos, Director of our Iron Ore Division.[/durion]

 

There was a lyrical tone to the words, the elven tongue leaving its accent on the mundane language.

 

[durion]…I am looking forward to seeing how we may assist you.[/durion]

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This certainly was a busy building. The architecture, grand though it may have been, was stifling all the same. Kashmir wondered how it could be that so many people could spend so many hours in this mausoleum without smashing down a wall or two in a sudden urge to escape to the outside. And yet it seemed the humans had an admiration for the place, or at the very least for the people who populated its halls. Were these magi so foolish as to think any among their number deserved such blind admiration? Nonetheless, the elf shoved his thoughts away and waited for the arrival of the ARMA leader.

 

His eyes roamed over the room, tracking paths of movement. Durion's comment had confirmed his suspicion that magic was at play in the building. It was not surprising, by any means, but it did cause Kashmir a a bit of concern. With so many people milling through this space populated with such unfamiliar magics, and an as-yet unknown quantity in Alistar Greene and his merry band of magi, the first of his concerns was a potential ambush. NARWA represented a significant chunk of the land and capital in South America, and three of its most important agents were standing here in one place. If someone wanted to cripple the development of Elfin or Fae lands, now would be the perfect time to strike.

 

Ah, the chief clown and one of his lieutenants. It amused Kashmir to no end the way Alistair carried himself. Was he a bureaucrat, a warrior, or something in between? Durion introduced the NARWA delegation and Kashmir nodded his head slightly by way of greeting. 

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Alistair would have been surprised to know that the trio was surprised by the amount of magic in the building - after all, it had been a headquarters for mages for the better part of ten years now, and that particular fact was no kind of state secret at all. But then, they were from out of town, and perhaps the degree of sophistication that human mages had accomplished wasn't well known among the veil crossing population.

Alistair shook Durion's hand, smiling pleasantly (he might not have been the most socially skilled person in the world but it didn't mean he was intentionally rude) before he turned to the others. Kashmir was nearer, so Alistair extended him his hand next, then turned to Enaleri, grinning. [alistair]No offense to Iron ore, but I have to confess I think Coffee division is going to be my favorite. I was an engineer before all this upheaval and I'm more or less a cop now, so I remain a predominantly coffee-fueled organism.[/alistair]

Alistair caught Cass off to the side a moment later, showing him up in the 'sharp dresser' department as she usually was, and considering it might just work to keep the numbers in the room balanced, he motioned for her to come over. She might as well get in on this. [alistair]This is my sister Cassandra, she's another of our operatives. Cass, this is Durion Caranthir, Kashmir Dorsanos, and Enaleri Thana. They're here to offer us some help with our supply chains, from South America.[/alistair] Perhaps surprisingly, his pronunciation on the names was good - if nothing else, the Magus had a good ear. And he had to repeat the names or he'd forget them. That, he was not good at.

Supply chain... here he was feeling a bit like an engineer again. He could deal in logistics... but he was and would always be a shitty bureaucrat. [alistair]How about we head upstairs to one of the conference rooms? Get out of the traffic down here?[/alistair] He motioned then for the elevators, and walked back to one of the larger ones. He wasn't going to take them past any of the secure wards, but there was at least one decent room with a view that looked out on the city. Not that the building had any great views - it wasn't tall enough or near enough to the parks, but... Well you couldn't have everything.

The recently returned Order had a taller building... but at least Alistair's building had windows, for crying out loud. The trip in the elevator was brief, and hopefully not too worrying for the fae, but it opened up on a short hall to a large conference room with wide plate-glass (and magically reinforced) windows. They were nearly floor to ceiling - a sharp eye might notice that the brick work around them was just slightly different than the rest of the building's exterior.

[alistair]There weren't originally windows like this here, since the building is so old, but... Well we lost half of the northern wall during an attack back in 2014, so we thought it would be good to have some rooms with a bit more light.[/alistair] he explained, holding the door for the group before he walked in and motioned for the others to sit. [alistair]So... Am I correct in thinking you came with some sort of pitch? I imagine there's more than coffee and iron on order. I should tell you, we're not a company, not an industrial concern, not a wholesaler... We're more like a supernatural police force and occasional military. 'When things go bump in the night, we bump back' and all that. There's only so much we use in significant volume.[/alistair]

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Before she knew what was happening, Alistair was bringing her in to the conversation. The way he introduced her made it clear too that she was going to be busy elsewhere for the next hour — at least. She had cases to work, and her arms were full with those files, but Alistair was her superior and. . . her curiosity made her eager to know more about this delegation.

 

[cassg]Kallie, take these files to my office, please?[/cassg]

 

The young woman, a secretary, nodded and took the files; grunting as she began walking off with the rather heavy load. Cassandra felt bad making the woman have to carry that much herself. She motioned for an intern to go help then headed over to where her brother and the others stood.

 

[cassg]A pleasure to meet you.[/cassg] Cassandra offered a nod and warm smile to each individually, and then added onto what her brother had said earlier, [cassg]I must admit, that coffee is one of my favorite things in the world. I think we Greenes are made up of more coffee than any other liquid.[/cassg]

 

Coffee might be their favorite. However, Cassandra was intrigued by the Iron Ore Division. What would they offer? What could be done with it? So many things, she imagined. She gave Alistair and Alia a look then followed along to the elevators. She didn't say anything on the trip upward nor once they entered the conference room. Instead she quietly took a seat at the table.

 

Sitting back in the chair, she folded her hands in her lap and observed for the time being.

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